How to Handle Your Spouse’s Aggression

A barrage of fury usually awaits all of us at the bargaining table. This is predictable. However, if we know how to prepare for this, we have a good chance of neutralizing its effect.

How do we brace ourselves? We do it simply by expecting it. If you expect your spouse to cross the line, then you are prepared to handle it when they do.

We should not be concerned about what our spouse says or does; how we respond to what’s said and done is what should be important to us.

We should accept our spouse’s behavior as the first part of a dance that will lead us to settlement. It is better for your partner to blow off now rather than in the corridor in front of the courtroom.

We seem to feel that bracing ourselves for an onslaught is optional, when, in actuality, it is of paramount importance. Don’t take your spouse’s confrontational behavior personally. Instead, see it as a mere part of the whole settlement picture. It provides an excellent opportunity to show off your newfound poise. Welcome it.

We must anticipate some grief from our spouse and not allow ourselves to get bent out of shape when things start flying. Boxers do not flip out when they take a few punches; they expect it. The same is true when football players are tackled; it is part of the game.

It is, however, also very important that we do not underestimate how bad the aggression will be. We must expect the worst blast imaginable or we will instinctively respond with all the nastiness at our command. This reaction, of course, will cause the very delays that we are seeking to avoid.

Our goal is to dismantle our spouse’s anger because angry people do not make deals. They fight.

Competitors in other endeavors know the importance of preparing for their event, so why don’t we? The stakes in our contest are hardly unimportant; they involve our house, our kids, our pocketbooks, and our future. What makes us think we can just wing it and say whatever pops into our head? The answer is we cannot, and our expensive, overcrowded legal system proves this.

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Kari and Richard are staunch advocates of the non-court approach to divorce, and are also active and seasoned litigators with over 80 years of combined trial experience in the Illinois divorce courts of Cook and DuPage counties.