Pre-Holiday Conflict and Miscommunication
It’s that time of year again…
We just put the Halloween decorations and costumes away. And in the middle of what I thought was a lovely afternoon, my husband and I had a horrible argument. I started talking about planning early for the holiday season. My husband started complaining about how much this would cost out of the blue. He said I always spend too much money and he does not like going into the new year with holiday debt.
He couldn’t hear me when I kept telling him that this was the reason I wanted us to start planning early. His complaining got to the point that he was yelling at me in a high-pitched voice.
Look, we’ve been married for over 25 years. Our children are grown, married, and have children of their own.
He is correct. We usually go into the new year with holiday debt.
My question is, “How can I get my husband to hear me when he is so angry?”
Longing to Feel Heard
Dear Longing to Feel Heard,
Not feeling heard and understood is one of the primary problems with which many couples struggle. Whether they are talking about the holidays, deciding where they are going on vacation, what they will do, and how much they will spend.
You would like very much to honor your husband’s concerns. However, the mention of the word “holiday” may have activated unpleasant memories and feelings of his past. His discomfort about what holidays cost you financially and emotionally may have robbed him of the holiday joy that was missing for him.
The good news is you are sensitive to that!
We recommend changing your approach:
- Prepare your message more effectively. What you want to say has value. However, it cannot be delivered in the heat of the moment.
- Before you deliver your message, prepare by letting your husband know you heard him. Writing a love letter to him will help you to focus. Concentrate on letting him know you heard and understand where he is coming from.
- Then, share your message. You not only respect what he is saying, but you also agree with him. You want to work with him to go into holidays debt-free, AND you also want to brainstorm with him to make that happen.
Then, let the conversation begin!
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