So I decided to ask PA Man the three questions that are in the book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.
The author believe that these questions will be very helpful for several different reasons..
“First, they will give you an opportunity to have a different kind of dialogue with your husband…one that will catch him by surprise and allow you to see beyond his anger and defensiveness, into a deeper part of his heart.”
Ok. That sounds pretty good. Right??
Second, “It will give him time to be self reflective and more aware of his own thoughts and feelings.”
Ok, that sounds great!
Third, “His answers or lack of answers will give you feedback that will help you to know how to best shape future conversations with him.”
Awesome! Future conversations….I can dig that! 😉
So ok, I’m ready to roll…I have my sympathy hat on…my respect alert button in on full throttle (all suggestions she makes in the book) and I PROMISE…no eye rolling, no arguing, no debating if his answers are wrong or unfair….check! I sooo have this!!
Ok, so here I go…I calmly ask PA Man if I can talk to him, that I’d like to ask him three questions from the book that I’ve been reading (he knows about THE BOOK since I mentioned it to him several days earlier)
PA Man is sitting on the couch, with his laptop on his lap (first mistake, I should have asked him to put it down)
Anyway, I’m at the table in the dining room, it’s a open concept so while technically we aren’t in the same room, we can see and hear each other.
Ok. Here it goes…the first question….
ME: “Are you happy?”
PA Man: Am I happy?
ME: Yes, are you happy?
PA Man: No.
ME: Ok, I’m sorry you’re not happy.
PA Man: Well I’m not happy because I know YOU’RE not happy!
ME: OH, ok….ME: “Well you know I’m not happy because of how broken our relationship is”…. <silence>…Okaaayyy then…on to question 2…
ME: Question two…”What do you see as our most important goal or challenge as a couple if we’re going to improve our relationship?”
PA Man:I don’t know…want do YOU think??
ME: This isn’t about me, I want to hear what you think. (By this time he’s now looking down at his laptop, more then he’s looking at me!)
PA Man: Well, I guess I want us to understand each other.
Me: “Ok”….I wait, hoping there would be more…nope. Nothing.
ME: “What kind of husband and father do you most want to be?”
PA Man: A good provider.
ME: Well, ok, but you’re already a very good provider.
PA Man: (As he’s looking down at his laptop) I guess a good relationship with the boys…and you.
And that was it. Those were his responses. I sat there in silence for a couple of minutes…and then I asked him one final question…It was MY question, not from the book I was reading…
I asked him, “What are your future goals in life?”
PA Man: “What so you mean?”
ME: You know? Future plans…looking down the road, do you want to still be with the same company, do you want a higher position within your company? Do you want to live elsewhere? Where would you like to retire to one day?”
PA Man: “I don’t know, I never think that far ahead.”
So there ya go. That little experiment was a dismal failure.
In her book, Leslie Vernick says that “Honest talk, when bathed in compassionate listening, builds intimacy.”
I do agree with her…but that’s in a NORMAL marriage…and marriage with a PA is ANYTHING but normal.
But at least I tried.