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June 30, 2016

More Conflict, Less Resentment

The conception of two people living together for twenty-five years without having a
cross word suggests a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep.
(Alan Patrick Herbert)

Whenever a couple comes into my counseling office and exclaims they haven’t had a fight in 3 years, I always respond the same way: Oh my gosh, what’s wrong?!?! And then I listen for whose internal time-bomb of resentment is ticking the loudest.

And that’s what inevitably builds up whenever we bite our tongues in order to keep the peace: resentment. If you think about it, it’s a powerfully descriptive word. Instead of calmly addressing our complaint to our spouse, we stew on it, re-sending it through our brains. Or we complain about it to our friends or, God forbid, our families, and we re-send it through our brains again. And through the brains of others. It doesn’t take long for all this re-sending to build into a resentment. And then it’s only a matter of time when all that conflict avoidance builds into an overall spouse avoidance.

Great spouses are not afraid of conflict because they are terrified of resentment.

Peace begins with pause,

screamfree hal runkel


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