A number of people who have heard me teach on the Song of Solomon have asked me, “But how can I tell if my spouse is upset over something I’ve done?  My spouse doesn’t seem to give me any clue that I’ve stepped on her toes or tripped her up.”  Every person has different means of communicating and sending signals.  It may take you a little time to determine when you have overstepped the boundaries of what your mate considers to be appropriate or good behavior.  My wife’s foremost clue to me is a little look that she gives me in which she communicates volumes.  I’m more verbal.  I sigh very deeply and loudly enough for her to hear me.

They are clues we give to each other to say, “Let’s each take stock of what has just happened here.”  Ideally we’ll replay in our minds what has happened, draw some conclusions, and come together at a later time for a rational, unheated discussion.

What fuels a conflict rather than defuses it is the attitude, “I’m walking away from you until you get your act together and are repentant.”  A cooling-off period is not the same as assuming a cold, unresponsive, punishing attitude.  A cooling-off period does not need to be precipitated by a loud stomping off or the tossing of a final barb over one’s shoulder.

My Question For You: Have you figured out your mate’s “signal” of when you have overstepped the boundaries of what they think is good behavior?

My Challenge For You: When you see this signal from your mate, be willing to think about what has just happened and come back at an appropriate time to discuss the situation.

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