It's in our nature to defend ourselves. Doing so when we are in the right seems more, well, defensible (hah). But many of us also defend ourselves though we may be wrong. The problem is that none of us THINKS we're wrong or we wouldn't be defending. Regardless of which side you're on, defending oneself is almost never productive. If we're wrong we look like an idiot. If we're right the other now has you wasting your breath and has helped the relationship turn into a battle that will divide and not unite.
Want a more productive means of building your relationship, one that puts you on the offense?
Silence is one of the most POWERFUL tools you have at your aid. As a matter of fact, in her Diary, St. Faustina wrote:
"Silence is a sword in the spiritual struggle. A talkative soul will never attain sanctity. A silent soul is strong; no adversaries will harm it if it perseveres in silence."
When at odds with your loved one your words, good or bad, give the other something to cling to (to divert, to attack, to twist, etc.). However, when they expect a response yet all they receive is silence, they have no idea what to do next. THEY become powerless.
When your prodigal lobs an attack at you over phone, text, email or even face-to-face (though significantly harder to remain silent when in person), and they receive no response in return it befuddles them. They intended to rile you up and sit poised and ready to pounce at your first response. When, over time, they receive nothing it does several things:
1. It calms the situation as cortisol drops.
2. They begin to wonder what you're thinking, if they were able to "stick it to you" and then whether or not you even received the message.
3. You have time to think, pray and regroup.
4. You gain the upper hand.
I have learned the power of silence and would love to teach it to you as well. Silence takes strength. You are stronger than you think.