1. Avoid the four relationship killers
There are times, even in the happiest marriage, when your spouse annoys you or makes you angry.
Feeling these emotions is healthy.
Using criticism, defensiveness, contempt, or stonewalling to manage your emotions will make an already tense situation worse and thwart your attempts to improve your marriage.
The other day a friend called with a story that I think provides a good illustration:
Her husband offered to go to the store to get provisions. She assumed that meant he would come home with milk, bread, and (if lucky) toilet paper. Instead, he came home with two gallons of olive oil—which they didn’t need.
She realized she had a choice that could have a long-range impact on her marriage during (and after) the quarantine:
- She could say “olive oil? What are you thinking? What am I going to do with two gallons of olive oil? How could you be such an idiot?”
- She could say “thank you, honey, I appreciate that you ran that errand.”
She chose the second option because choosing the first option would have been a fast route to my office. In choosing that option, she was also practicing tip.