During a midlife divorce, or any divorce for that matter, we are usually so angry or so sad or so upset when we try to converse with our ex-husband or soon-to-be-ex-husband, that our conversations are either strained and cold, or raging with fury.
I was often so upset with something my wasband said, that I spit our some response that was neither helpful nor constructive. It was a reaction. I sometimes didn’t care what he said, because his actions were showing me that he did not love me, did not care about my well-being, and that he was simply trying to cover his rear-end or make himself look better with his empty words.
I realize those conversations are not like a normal conversations between two rational human beings. Even so, a suggestion from Richard Carlson’s book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is a good one, no matter to whom you are talking. It’s especially good advice when the conversation is tense and angry. Here it is: “Breathe before you speak.” Simple, huh?
If we could get in the habit in every conversation to really listen to what the other person is saying, look at that person, and then pause and take a breath before we reply, it might help in making real communication possible. But here’s something else in divorce converstaions: often, the things he says are not worth responding to anyway, and we are drawn into a response by a stupid statement that isn’t worth a reply. We’d do better by smiling and walking away without responding at all.
Conversation in the middle of divorce is never easy. My heart would often start pounding before a single word was spoken. I’m sure it would have helped if I could have taken a breath before I resplied … or before I slammed a door or threw something!
“My dear ones, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to s peak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19 (NIV) ~ (That’s especially true during divorce.)