Let’s talk more about fighting today. We had the biggest fight of life, it’s over now.He bought a house behind my back, she used our life savings to open a human hair business. We definitely can’t live together anymore…
So many, many reasons to start a fight and create a gap so big to fit in the Nile. The saddest part of everything is, these fights rest on a mountain of misunderstandings nurtured over time. Contrary to what is mostly believed, mere apology does not solve the problem rather it only pacifies the offended. We neglect addressing the main cause of the hurt we feel. Let’s build a story, shall we?
Nike and Biodun have been married for 3 years and now they are filing for a divorce. Nike is so bitter as she has a list of things Biodun has done from their wedding night till now. Petty right? But the way the brain works is funny, if it doesn’t understand something, it tucks it away to one small little corner and would pull it out later to try to mull over it.
Biodun is frustrated, he always felt off about Nike, she always seemed to hold back, but he never knew why. She’s now so distant, she’s always nagging and she claims she is very forgiving, but she never forgets….
Let’s start from the beginning, after their wedding celebration, they went to the hotel, they had kept themselves chaste and even refused to kiss till the marriage, so that night they were pretty on the edge. But Biodun’s mum had borrowed money for the wedding, her friend chose to ask her for the money that night, so she had to discuss this concern with Biodun, she followed them to the hotel and called him aside for a two-hour discussion. Nike was so pissed, but as the new wife, she didn’t interfere. She was so offended and in a bid to hide her anger, she didn’t ask Biodun what the long conversation was about. Biodun didn’t want to embarrass his mum, so he didn’t explain, he just apologized a lot and the night took care of the rest.
Nike became distant to his mother over time, she kept feeling they had discussed her that night at the hotel. And Biodun being the firstborn, spent some very good time with his mother and siblings helping out with plans for the home as their father was late. Biodun always felt the tension, Nike always said nothing was going on and she always understood him missing their date nights to be with his family. (But she really didn’t understand).
Even after a child two years down the line, they kept having so much strain, Biodun always put his mother first, but you can’t blame him Nike said she understood. She never verbally complained. On the other hand, Nike felt he was just being wicked asking if she understood, did he expect her to say she didn’t? She always had these thoughts “young man, I am your wife; your family is your daughter and I.”
The last straw was when he mentioned the need to do some renovations in the house, Nike thought it was a very good idea, but she was still thinking about what designs to go with. The next day, Nike came home to find painters and labourers changing her bedroom design, Biodun had asked his mum to help them renovate because he felt Nike would be stressed out. He also mentioned that his mum also wants to move in with them, so its was better she made the decisions. Nike was so offended, she listed all the things Biodun had ever done from the wedding night, till present, Biodun was so hurt that she kept all those things in her heart. He can’t trust her again.
The truth is, misunderstanding means to take (words, statements, etc.) in a wrong sense, to understand wrongly. It means not knowing the real intent of an action. The misunderstanding here was Biodun thought his wife was ok with his spending more time with his mother and siblings than with her. He thought he married the most understanding wife. He was so skilled at saying sorry, he didn’t check if Nike understood why he did what he did.
Nike, so scared of being the troublesome wife, didn’t bother finding out why her husband did what he did. She also didn’t communicate her hurt. She always felt, he was supposed to know she didn’t like it. She honestly didn’t know she kept an account of all the wrongdoings, but her brain couldn’t resolve all that happened, so it tucked all these painful memories to one side. They just came tumbling out one day, she never even knew she was so bitter.
The solution to a misunderstanding is not only in quick-fix apologies. You see, saying sorry is very good to pacify the offended, but a lot of times it’s not enough. It’s just the first step but not the only step. The main step is ensuring they understand you meant no harm. They won’t understand when you shout, so don’t go shouting everywhere saying, I explained, they didn’t listen. Learn their love language and explain every misunderstanding the best way they can understand.
Don’t just assume your spouse should understand you didn’t mean to hurt him/her, the same way you don’t understand some of the things he/she does, they won’t understand you too. The same way you feel when your partner is hiding something, they would feel it too when you are hiding hurt feelings. Speak about it, explain it with love and solve the misunderstanding, sorry is not always enough.