You Can't Hear What He's Saying
I have a friend who told me that after seven years of rolling her eyes and getting grouchy whenever her husband says, "Calm down," she recently realized what he actually means by telling her to calm down. It's not, as she suspected, a passive-aggressive attack designed to make her feel rotten about her fiery temper. After a particularly huge blowup (conveniently, in front of their couples therapist), she learned something life-altering: what her husband thought he was saying when he said, "Calm down," was—wait for it―"Calm down." She'd been responding to the way she would have said the phrase, as a barb. All of us need to arrive at this moment: when we learn not just to listen to our partners, but also to stop listening to ourselves talking over our partners.