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Advice to dads: How to diffuse a ticking time bomb your angry wife

This is for the dad's eyes only. Don't open if you are a mom. This contains a secret meant for your husband.

Rants, outrages, we all have been through such storms. Dads, I know. Your wife has changed from before. No. The child is not the culprit. It may be the added responsibility, the lack of sleep, the financial burden, the stress about the future, lack of help, lack of empathy from colleagues. It may be any of these. But yes, your wife has changed.

And as a result, you may find yourself in the situation where you are face to face with a ticking time bomb - your wife who is about to have an emotional meltdown. Now, if you are the cause, dude! What are you doing reading this? Go apologise and make it right! But if you are not, be really thankful that she choose you to open her heart out to instead of someone else.

The analogy of the time bomb may seem sexist. Many moms are going to hate me. However, you have to agree that your husband could use a bomb suit when they face you when you are angry! Back to dads.

Right. Start taking notes buddy, because what I am going to tell you is based on over 15 years of (my own) observation and deductive reasoning. To begin, accept the fact that men and women think differently. And naturally, the way they deal with stress is quite different. So even if your wife is the coolest of the cucumber, you better not take any chances and try and make light of the situation by cracking one of your lame jokes.

Instead, here is a five-step process to diffuse a ticking time bomb, err, your wife.

1# Listen

The difference between hearing and listening is that the latter is an active process. So if you want to really help your wife and diffuse the situation, listen actively. Take into account the tone, the emotions, the anger. And for god's sake, don't interrupt her. Let her blow the steam.

2# Decipher

In all probability, there are just two types of situations that husbands will encounter. First, where your wife wants you just to listen, and the second, when she wants advice and possible action.

Over the period, you will understand the difference. And it is important as if you interpret it wrongly, the situation will escalate quickly. It is like choosing the red wire or the black wire while diffusing a bomb. And that is why I am passing on my notes to you.

3# Take mental notes.

To understand why she is worked up, use your mental whiteboard. You know what I am talking about! You use it to remember the achievements of your favourite sports team. Wipe half of it and start taking notes.

Step 1: Understand the situation.

Step 2: Identify the stakeholders.

Step 3: Classify them into friends, allies, frenemies, and enemies.

Step 4: Look out for cues you are bound to miss. Even though they might not sound out of place, they would be uttered in a different tone.

Step 5: Pause. Listen without interrupting. If there is a gap of more than 5 seconds, try open your mouth to give her your opinion. Here, don't contradict her. Use the sandwich technique.

A sandwich technique is where you start by saying something positive, then lay in your opinion, and end by saying something positive. It is what managers use to give someone a feedback.

But don’t keep quiet the entire time. Respond in one or two words without interrupting the flow, or changing the subject. DONT YAWN, EVER.

4# Break your opinion in two parts

The truth is, folks, women are really smarter than us guys. Even while they are telling us the whole story, they have reached a conclusion and have devised an action plan. So don’t antagonise it by saying something totally opposite. Instead, break your opinion into two parts.

The first part would be to sympathise with her about the situation without patronising her. No one wants that. If you agree with her, tell her so. If you don’t just say, ”Do you think there might be another side to it? Did you wonder why he/she did/say what he/she did/say?”

In the meantime, brew her some coffee/ pour her some wine. The second part comes after the coffee is 2/3rd gone. This part would be the most rational action plan you think. Trust her, but don’t feel bad if she does not act on it. She is an adult.

5# Know when to hug

There are times when she needs one and there are times when you will just intrude her space. She might not always appreciate physical crushing.

A relationship is a journey. So instead of spending time on your phone, study your better half. You will appreciate my advice some day.

And if you are a mom reading this, do let me know what I have missed. Don't forget to tag your husband in the comments below.

Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore

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