Submitted by: Marie-Claire Smith
Relationships are complicated. Anybody who tells you theirs is any different is either fooling themselves or lying. This is all the more true when the relationship in question is a marriage.
Couples who have been married for one or more years will definitely run into their share of problems and disagreements. In fact, arguing is a normal and healthy part of human communication between husband and wife.
When couples are not even able to argue in order to work out their differences, that is when things have reached an unhealthy state. And, when even the idea of arguing makes one person in the relationship so uncomfortable that they threaten to leave the relationship, the situation is extremely unstable and needs to be addressed.
If you find yourself saying, “My husband threatens to leave when we argue,” here are 5 tips for what to do:
1. Acknowledge to yourself that there is a serious problem in your relationship:
If your husband threatens to leave you when you argue, it is a sign that something is seriously wrong with your relationship. There could be a whole range of possible reasons why he may be acting this way. Some of the possible reasons are:
a. he was raised in a family where arguing openly was not allowed, so he feels extremely uncomfortable when there is a perceived lack of harmony in your household
b. he is afraid of what he may say or do if he gets angry
c. he has something to hide and fears that an argument may cause him to admit it
d. he is looking for a reason to leave you, but lacks the courage to do so without an “excuse”
2. Decide what would need to happen for you to want to stay with your husband:
Obviously, the current situation is not a healthy one for either of you. But before you figure out whether you can learn to communicate with your husband effectively, it is very important that you come to terms with your real feelings about the relationship. If you are not willing to put up with his behavior the way it is now, what would need to change for you to want to stay in your marriage – if anything?
3. Find out if he is having an affair or likes someone else:
One possibility is that your husband has something hide from you (see “c” above), such as an affair. Do what you can to verify whether he may be cheating on you.
4. Start a dialogue with him at a moment when you are not arguing:
Regardless of your answers to the above questions, it is important that you find a way to start a healthy dialogue with your husband. Find a moment when you are not arguing and things are going well. Bring up in a calm voice whatever your issues may be. Avoid any language that sounds like you are blaming or accusing him of anything.
5. Focus on your feelings, but avoid saying what he should do or nagging him:
Put your focus on expressing your feelings to him. This should not be about telling him what he should say or do – doing so will only put him on the defensive. Start sentences with “I feel . . . “.
If you believe there may be hope for getting past this very difficult point in your marriage, seek out resources that can help you repair the love and save your marriage.
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