Her side of the story

August 17, 2009

in Communication

One thing I have learned over the years is that there are three “sides” to any marriage “story” – his side, her side, and reality. I’m not (just) talking about intentional lying, but rather the reality that we all see things in a way that makes us look good – and if someone has to look bad, we tend to see things so someone else looks worse than we do.  (See It’s all about perspective – a recent post from one of you on this.)

Even if we want to avoid this, it is very difficult because it is, in a way, a form of self deception. Even when we try to be fair, we naturally see our perspective clearly, while her perspective is foreign to us. We understand what we think and mean, but knowing exactly what she thinks and means is very difficult.

If you want to give yourself a real chance of seeing her side of the story, try not saying anything about your perspective until you have heard hers, and asked enough questions to be fairly sure you really get it. If, having really heard her, you think she needs to hear your side, she should more open to listen because she feels heard by you.

2 comments
vhyndman
vhyndman

Also... try writing both perspectives down. Sometimes, the desire to have OUR side heard is borne out of defensiveness... but later, even years later, the way we used to see things, and how our lenses change, can help us accept that the issues we're dealing with NOW will also look different even to US in the future. When the defensiveness or the emotion of the situation is past, being able to compare both sides of your own story with the wife is helpful. -vern-

prov9_18_19
prov9_18_19

I gotta admit that it's hard to sit there and listen when what you are hearing doesn't jive with what your reality is. But I can see the wisdom in trying it. Thanks. I'm going to give this a shot.

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