Seek to Comfort & Soothe, Not to Be Right
- Attitude Is All You Need! Second Edition will help you to improve your attitude, which improves everything else.
This page describes one of the worst and most dangerous misunderstandings that couples have.
Inner reality: Experiencing self-doubt and psychic pain.
Outer reality: Husband does not care since he is not trying to soothe her.
Behavior: Attacks husband for not caring for her pain.
Intention: Make husband feel pain so he will understand that she is in pain and will then know to rescue her by soothing her.
Inner reality: Feeling attacked and so defensive.
Outer reality: Wife is needy and weak and needs help to solve her problems.
Behavior: Attacks wife for attacking him.
Intention: Stop wife from attacking so that he can then help her to problem-solve instead of whine.
WIFE: (1) Ask if the man is open to hearing her pain: if this is the right time and place to share her pain. (2) If the man has the patience, then share her pain as her pain, not his pain.
HUSBAND: (1) Do not accept or respond to the woman’s attacks as if they are about you. (2) Encourage the woman to share her pain as her pain in order to let it go.
Intention: (1) Wife learns to ask for soothing from husband. (2) Wife learns to acknowledge when her husband has his own stress so is not available to soother her as he may need soothing himself first. (3) Husband learns to help wife to soothe herself by helping her talk out her pain, and to help her cope not problem-solve unless problem-solving is her stated goal. (4) Husband learns not to personalize or take his wife’s attacks on himself as serious or the real issue.
The new danger will be that the wife gets to reinforce, strengthen, and justify her whining, blaming, and damning. Prevent this by focusing on letting go of the pain by talking about it and not blaming others for it—but, instead, taking responsibility for your own emotions and your own mental, emotional, psychic, ego pain.
- The goal is not to problem-solve the imagined “causes” for the pain, but to learn to cope better so that there is less pain.
Quotations from Various Sources
“A wise man thinks all that he says. A fool says all that he thinks.” —Church bulletin board
“Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken.” —Orson Card
“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us worthy evidence of the fact.” —George Eliot
“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” —I Peter 1:15
“Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence.” —Spanish proverb
“Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.” —Psalms 28:3
“Foolishness always results when the tongue outraces the brain.” —Unknown
“It is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and resolve all doubt.” —Abraham Lincoln
“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” —Proverbs 16:24
“Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.” —Josh Billings
“Some man holdeth his tongue, because he hath not to answer: and some keepeth silence, knowing his time.” —Ecclesiasticus 20:6
“The first duty of love is to listen.” —Paul Tillich, 1886-1965
“The most precious things in speech are pauses.” —Ralph Richardson
“There are very few people who don’t become more interesting when they stop talking.” —Mary Lowry
“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson