She walked into the kitchen. It had been a rough night. Why did they always seem to end up in the same argument. She poured herself a cup of coffee and heard his footsteps coming down the stairs. Her heart started racing. She had hoped she could have this coffee in peace. He walked right by her not saying a word but both of their unspoken thoughts were filling the room with tension. So many hurtful things were said. Did he really mean them? How did things unravel so quickly?
Does this scene sound familiar?
Why is it when we have an argument we can easily defend our position and be surprised at how we hurt our spouse?
It’s the difference between intentions and actions.
For example, I’m (Danielle) on the phone with my cousin from overseas. Russ is hearing me on the phone but frustrated that I’m not getting ready to head out for an important event. He knows my routine and doesn’t want to be late. I continue talking and ignoring the looks I’m getting from him. This all escalates into a fight.
After I get off the phone I can’t understand why he is so upset and he can’t understand why I’m not showing more respect in getting ready so we’re on time.
My intention, as I saw the time pass in talking to my cousin, was to scratch taking a shower, shaving 30 minutes off the time I needed to get ready. My actions spoke none of this intention. Russ’ intention was to send a message without interrupting me on the phone that we need to get going. His actions appeared angry so I blew them off because I didn’t understand why he was rushing me off the phone.
This is why it’s so incredibly important that regardless of our intentions we need to hear and apologize for how our actions have hurt our partner. Can you see how easy it is to be stuck on defending our behavior because it wasn’t our intent to hurt our spouse? But all they can measure are the actions they’ve witnessed. We can’t read each other minds, much less know each other’s unspoken intentions.
Do you have a time when your actions blurred your intentions?
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