Can't We Just Forgive and Forget?

Letter #3

Dear Dr. Harley,

How can I forgive and forget the past. Whenever my husband and I argue, the past comes back to haunt us. One of us is always guilty of this poor communication trait. Please help.

D.R.

Dear D.R.,

The Taker is in charge of arguing. And the Taker has a very good memory. As you and your husband debate an issue, your Taker is running back and forth from the files of your mind, finding every conceivable thing your husband ever did to hurt you. You not only use it as ammunition during a fight, but your Taker also uses it to remind you what a bum you married, and how he isn't worth any of your respect. Of course your husband's Taker is doing the same thing for him.

The idea of "fighting fair" is an oxymoron in marriage. It's like "jumbo shrimp" or the famous, "military intelligence" (George Carlin). A fight is simply unfair for both spouses and should be avoided at all costs.

Learn to stop arguing. The whole purpose of arguing is to impose your own views or wishes on your spouse, and it not only doesn't work, but it gets you both upset. Instead, learn to make decisions by taking each other's feelings into account. Use the Policy of Joint Agreement to help you resolve every conflict.

Never talk about the past as part of an effort to resolve a conflict. Instead, talk about the conflict itself, and brainstorm solutions to it. After you think of several possible solutions, try to find one that both of you can agree to enthusiastically.

As you learn to resolve conflicts thoughtfully, all of your memories of the past will represent the time in your marriage when you simply didn't know how to care for each other. You will open up a new era in your marriage, and the past will be just like a bad dream. Try it for a week, it will work!

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