Seeing Her Escalation Curves

Yesterday I said there are two primary ways people escalate a problem. I suggested the effective escalation curve is a far better choice if you want to precipitate change. Today let’s look at it from the other side, being on the receiving end of an escalation curve.

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If your wife tends towards the infective escalation curve, you may underestimate her frustration until she blows. Aside from the facts no one likes a blow up and blows are bad for our marriages, dealing with something after a blow up is far more difficult than dealing with it before a blow up. She blows up because she just can’t take it any more, which means she expects a full fix right now. She’s unwilling and/or unable to discuss the issue calmly, and she’s not going to wait patiently for you to make gradual changes. So, it’s in your best interest to learn to identify an infective escalation curve and deal with issues before they erupt.

If your wife has ever run an infective escalation curve through to blow up, you can assume she will do it again. Even without any blow ups, if she does a low-level nag about something for a long time, the odds are very good she will eventually build up enough frustration to bring about an eruption. Once you know, or suspect, she will stew for months or years before blowing up, take it on yourself to put more thought into her complaints. If you hear her complain about the same thing off and on for a long time, you would be wise to sit down and discuss the issue. Listen carefully, try to hear how much it bothers her, and try to determine if she sees it as a minor annoyance or a real problem. If it seems like something that could lead to a blow up, start working on it now. Be sure to check back with her to see if you’re addressing the issue in her mind.  

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One Comment on “Seeing Her Escalation Curves

  1. Read an excellent post the other day by Steven Kendrick (who produced the movies Courageous, Fireproof, etc.) about losing the heart of your children.  

    The post lists ten things that fathers may do that can lead to losing the hearts of their children.  Of course a few of them do not apply to a marriage, such as unjust discipline or favoritism, but many of the behaviors can also apply to “losing the heart” of your spouse as well – which is then demonstrated in an eruption or blow-up.
    “Intimacy is tied to feeling emotionally safe around someone. If your kids [or your spouse!] get angry with you and you don’t resolve it, then their hearts will close off to you and become bitter. Then the devil will begin to fill their minds with accusations against you. He will develop a “List of Crimes” in their minds of wrongs you have committed and then use this list to help them justify rebellion against you.”
    Another excellent post, again discussing “losing the heart”:

     “…If you do lose your child’s [spouse’s] heart, then quickly find out where and when you lost it, and put into action a plan to get their heart back no matter what it takes to do it. No matter how much time or trouble or money it takes to get back your child’s [spouse’s] heart, you must decide ahead of time that you will be willing to pay the price.” – Dr. S.M. Davis
    “You know how to do this if you’ve ever dated or courted someone. You can tell if their heart is with you or not. You know when something is not right, when the connection between you is strained. If this is a relationship you really want to pursue, you’ll talk as long as they want, go the extra mile, fulfill any promise, do whatever it takes to make sure you have her heart and she know she has yours.”

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