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A few days ago my Russian wife said something to me that really touched me

We were all busy from early morning. I’m up six o’clock every day with our daughter, driving her to the bus-station from where she go by bus to her school. We always have a small breakfast together before we leave. When I came back home my wife was already up and working.

I asked her if she had something to eat yet and I said something like “it’s not good for you to start the day on an empty stomach”. She answered that no-one ever in her “previous” life ever asked her questions like that, out of care and consideration. No-one ever cared what I eat, when I eat, what I did, what I wore etc. If someone had asked me a similar question she said, I would have assumed they had something to criticize me for. I would have been upset. It is so touching when you care like this, she told me.

It was almost sad what she said.

In the beginning of our relationship we had a few conflicts based on misunderstandings. I would e.g. ask her if she had eaten, and she would be irritated and upset with me.

She would feel it as if I was looking for something wrong. “What business is it of yours”, she would say, and I would be upset and respond something wrong, and then it could escalate into a conflict.

We had several examples of this in the early stage of our relationship. When we now look back at it and understand that it was because I or she said something based on a certain personal perception that the other one did not understand, it could escalate into a conflict that was completely unnecessary and based on pure mis-interpretation of each other.

I could say something that was actually based on caring or interest in what she was doing and she would hear it as control or critique. It would make my wife very stressed.

She would give me an irritated answer, and I would get even more irritated and then it could easily accelerate into a stupid exchange of words, based on not hearing each other.

It took us some time to really see and understand what was going on. I’m just imagining what could have happened if we didn’t take the time to find out!

How many couples end up in continuous conflicts simply because they interpret each other’s intentions wrong?

By Kjetil Sandermoen

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