Does this problem ring a bell? You’re nursing a grievance. You didn’t bring it up at the moment because there was too much going on. Or you were afraid things would go south. Or you thought maybe it was one of those times in a marriage when you should just cut your partner slack and move on. Except this time you just can’t and it’s still eating away at you.
You know you need to clear the air, but how? If it’s been more than a week or so, you feel awkward going back and saying, “By the way, there’s this thing you did that you probably don’t even remember, but it still bothers me.”
Did you know half your relationship communication problems are products of your imagination? It’s true! Under stress, your brain actually invents stories about how your partner’s up to no good. In our family, we call them “ghost stories.” You can end arguments with your partner faster—and with a lot less pain—if you learn to nip your storytelling in the bud.
When my stepdaughter Kristina was invited to her first slumber party, the first graders buzzed for a week about what it would be like to sleep away from family for first time. Who would be able to handle it? Who might crack under the pressure?
The morning after, my husband and I asked Kristina, “Well? Did anyone get scared? Or call their parents?”
“The only one who got scared was Diane.”
“At her own party? Why?”
“She told us ghost stories. And then SHE was awake all night.” Kristina rolled her eyes. “She thinks ghosts are real.”