After the Honeymoon: How Conflict Can Improve Your Relationship-Revised Edition
Daniel B. Wile
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
After the honeymoon. The very words carry a burden of sadness, as if for a short while we lived in a golden trance of love, and now we’ve been jolted awake. Immediately comes the thought, “Oh no! Is this the person I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with?” When choosing a partner, we are choosing, along with that person, a particular set of problems that we will be grappling with for the next ten, twenty, or even fifty years. Dan Wile shows how to take advantage of the inevitable problems that occur in a relationship to deepen the sense of connection. Most of these problems result from feelings we are unable to express and conversations we are unable to have. We become angry because we are unable to confide feeling hurt. We become defensive because we are unable to confide feeling threatened. We become uncompromising because of the hidden compromises we are already making. Exposing these undercurrents can turn fights into intimate conversations.
effect. Independence is seen as good, and dependence is seen as bad. Growing up means shifting from dependence to independence. And that’s all there is supposed to be to it. But if we look at exactly how we use the term “dependent,” we see that there is more to it. We use the term to describe people who do annoying and disagreeable things such as: • Make whiny complaints about your neglecting them • Shower you with long, pleading, beseeching, hurt looks • Feel easily slighted or neglected •
said “You never talk to me anymore.” She would have said something like: NANCY: I feel hurt and angry because I take your talking less to me these days to mean that you’re less interested in me than you used to be. There is little doubt that Nancy and Bruce would have been better off had she said this. Since her emphasis would be on what she is feeling rather than on what Bruce is doing wrong, he is less likely to have become defensive. Nancy, however, doesn’t feel like making an “I
“paraphrasing rule”: 1. Appreciate how important listening to your partner is, how quickly problems arise when you don’t, and how easy it is to think you are listening when you’re not. 2. Realize that you are not listening because you feel unheard yourself. 3. Know how to listen to your partner’s feelings (how to acknowledge what he or she says) so that you will be able to listen when you want to. If you appreciate all this, you will see that your arguments with your partner are often not
sweetie,” Alice says tentatively, “I’m really tired of how your always picking fights with me when we come home from parties.” Paul, tensing up, responds, “Well I’m tired of the way you get so gushy at them.” How did the conversation go from zero to sixty in five seconds? Simple. Alice led off with an accusation, which turned Paul into an enemy, so he accused her right back. To start a useful discussion, Alice would need to lead off with something conciliatory and, for example, admit her role in
sitting in the kitchen fighting off the strongest urge for a cigarette she’d had since giving up smoking ten years ago. But how realistic is it to expect Sybil and Gus to have such a conversation even with the book so readily available? It’s hard to imagine anyone thinking that fast, being so articulate, and having all the ideas they need exactly when they need them. Fortunately, Sybil and Gus wouldn’t have to have the whole conversation. Even just a fraction of it could make a big difference.