Got an advice call today from a new friend. I’ll share:
Background on couple: Both husband and wife’s first spouse has died. Both have adult children from first marriages.
Husband and wife have an argument and husband packs two boxes and leaves. Wife cries and begs him to stay and “coldly”(her words in “”) he leaves anyway. Husband’s daughter calls to say she wants to come by and visit. Wife says now is not a good time and your father is not here. “He just left me.” She goes on and on with the daughter about why she “thinks” he left.
Next day husband is back; they kiss and make up. Later husband talks to his daughter then confronts wife about things she told his daughter. Wife says, “That’s not what I said, all I said was…”
She asks me, “You see what kind of husband I have and what I have to deal with?”
I asked if she REALLY wanted my opinion. She said yes. So here it is…
1. Husband was wrong. If you’re in it to win it, you shouldn’t be packing up and leaving. You need a “no revolving door policy.”
2. Wife was wrong. When you are in the middle of a disagreement or argument with your spouse, you should get quiet and begin to replay what happened and find solutions. Chatting it up, doesn’t allow you to reflect most times. This is because rarely do we admit our culpability when relaying a story to others. We are trying to get someone to agree with us that our spouse was wrong. So she talked way too much to the daughter and shared her personal hypothesis, the daughter twisted it up (intentionally or innocently) and it went to the husband and got back to the wife all wrong.
Lesson 1: Good confidants (friends or family) have an unwritten code of confidentiality and above all MUST be mature. Don’t talk personally to anyone who may take it upon themselves to mention parts of your conversation to your spouse. Nor should you confide in someone who has their own personal relationship with your spouse, because now you are infringing on their relationship. My mother is my confidant. She knows and loves my husband but will not ever have a conversation with him that I am not privy too. So she is not HIS confidant. Get it? (Note: If you’re wondering, I’ve never met my friend’s husband and have no plans on “double dating”.)
Lesson 2: Husband was wrong FIRST. Had wife just waited for him to return from MARS; shared her anger at him for leaving; resolved the issue that frustrated him; it would have been over and he would have learned his lesson. But when she went and “wronged” too, she took the focus from husbands wrong and now she’s the focus of the argument. When one person is wrong, let them be wrong. When you point out their wrong (at the proper time) you can end the battle, come out smelling like a rose and have peace once again.
This is what I know NOW. If I knew Lesson 1 back in 1998 or even in December, I’d have had a few less arguments with my own husband.