Let the record show that this isn’t intended to be gender-specific. This dysfunctional conversation/argument dynamic can just as easily exist in a role-reversal scenario in relationships that look differently than mine did. But this is generally the kind of relationship I see and hear about most, and the kind I lived through.
The one where husbands and wives get caught in a Man vs. Woman vortex, and slowly hurt one another repeatedly for many years until their marriage fails.
Not from any one moment. In isolation, none of these past arguments seemed like a big deal as they were happening. Certainly not marriage-enders.
None of these moments were scary enough to trip the emergency alarms. Marriages have fights! You just get over it and move on! No big deal!
Until one day the pile of No-Big-Deal arguments gets so big that the floor collapses beneath you, and everything falls apart.
Most marriages don’t end because of something big and dramatic like a gunshot or bomb explosion.
Most marriages end from bleeding out after being paper cut to death. One, even 10, paper cuts aren’t that scary. But after tens of thousands, maybe you bleed so much that you die.
The #1 Thing That Ends Relationships
I believe, when you strip away all of the bullshit and psychobabble, that one idea sums up why more than half of all relationships fail:
Men frequently demonstrate an inability or unwillingness to recognize the pain they cause their wives or girlfriends and then fail to intentionally adjust the behavior to stop hurting them.
Empathy can often be hard for people to exhibit when we don’t relate to nor understand what someone else is going through.
His wife is telling him that something he is doing HURTS her—not unlike him punching her in the face or stabbing her with a knife.
Only the smallest percentage of men would ever actually punch or stab the woman he loves. The VAST majority of men take seriously their role as “protector,” regardless of whether his wife or girlfriend needs protecting.
“I would never hurt you,” men say to their wives or girlfriends.
He says it over and over again, and believes it with all of his heart. He’s being totally serious and genuine.
This situation his wife or girlfriend is describing during this most recent silly argument is too ridiculous to be taken seriously.
She’s overreacting again. Making a federal case out of something that doesn’t matter. She’s saying this HURTS her? No way.
I don’t care when she leaves a piece of laundry on the bedroom floor, so how could it HURT her when I do it?
I don’t care whether she gives me a gift for our wedding anniversary, so how could it HURT her when I forget to do it?
I don’t care when she forgets something at the grocery store, so how could it HURT her when I do it?
I don’t care about Valentine’s Day and think it’s stupid that people make a big deal out of it, so how could it HURT her when I don’t agree to treat the day the same way she wants to?
I felt like my wife was getting lightly hit with a pillow but responding emotionally as if I was swinging a bat at her.
And I thought that was CRAZY.
I thought she was wrong.
I thought she was hard to please.
I thought she was acting like an ungrateful bitch for acting like nothing I did was good enough for her.