It’s a theme I’ve noticed in the couples I’ve counselled that aligns also with my own experience as a husband. Married life pairs partners who were initially alike, but are worlds different. And one key variance is what they want during conflict.
He wants peace. She wants to be heard.
Yes, of course, this is a massive generalisation as there are certainly exceptions.
There is a reason he wants peace. The relationship needs peace, but not at the expense of the truth. He knows she needs to be loved, and conflict, for him, is an interruption to the love he wants her to feel. If only there is peace there’s room to love her – as he wants. But what he wants isn’t always the right way. Truth also told, he wants a peaceful life as free as possible from family frustrations. His desire that everyone get on is good, but his way of securing peace is not always the right way. (I concede that she wants peace, too.)
There is a reason she wants to be heard. Simply, she needs to be heard. And the truth is the relationship needs it. If only he will hear her at this crisis point, he will show her he’s as serious about the issue, and the marriage, as she is. At root, it’s about love showing itself as respect. If he listens – with genuine intent – he will prove not only respectful, but trustworthy. The bigger truth is both he and she need to be heard. Every marriage prospers when, as James says, partners are “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”
Good relationships find peace through effective conflict resolution. So both he and she want what the relationship needs. Both simply need to value what the other wants.