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When I first spoke with Nora, I was near bottom... I had tried my heart out to please my wife, at least I thought I had. It seemed as though our natural position was that of permanent confrontation. All I wanted was peace & quiet. “It shouldn't be this hard,” I used to think. If my wife would only lighten up & try a little harder to just get along, everything would be OK.
Nora refused to be whitewashed by my smooth deliveries. She saw through my defenses.. Slowly but effectively, Nora was able to show me in a way that I understood & wanted to incorporate in my relationship with my wife that my passive aggressive behavior had done a great deal of damage. I needed to accept responsibility for my 50% of the marital unhappiness.
More than just recognizing my part, I needed to learn how to apologize when I was doing the silent treatment, and repair the connection. I had never considered that repair work was in my pile... whenever my wife got hurt, as it was never intentional, it wasn't really my fault & that, in fact, it was no big deal & that my wife should just let it go as easily as I was willing to. Boy, was I wrong…she suffered a lot, and then began reacting with accusations of “passive aggression” that hurt me a lot too.
Now that I am armed with a much better understanding, I recognize that when my wife hurts, I feel disappointed and angry with myself!. Sometimes I need a little time to get past my denial & come to terms with my mistake but even before that, if I can't put it together, I can still apologize for the hurt I've caused. Doing something good for her that validates my apology is now so much easier. I am convinced myself so I am far more convincing to my wife.
Thank you, Nora... so much... you have given me a chance to make a different life... a happy one... inside of a loving relationship with my wife!Jim