Dear Barb—Stubborn Problems

Dear Barb:

My husband and I have been married 10 years.  We are mostly happy, but when we disagree it’s colossal!  I feel my husband is very stubborn or resistant to most things I suggest.  Even if I point out something that is totally logical and well thought out, he still disagrees.  For example, last year our 10-year-old car died and we began looking for another one.  We found a new car that was reasonably priced and traded our car in on the new one.  I was happy with the purchase, and I thought he was, but within a month he started complaining that he didn’t like the car and I forced him to buy a car he didn’t want.  So that issue comes up quite often.  Now we are in the market for a boat.  We have both been looking online but were only able to physically see three units because of COVID.  We cannot agree on what size boat we want and this is becoming a big issue.  I don’t want him to agree to buy the one that I want and then I have to hear about it for years, as he’s been harping about the car for over a year.  We are at loggerheads about this.  He is a very resistant person and I need to find a way to deal with him, as this behaviour is eroding our relationship.  Thanks for your help, Lydia. 

Hi Lydia:

Great topic!  Stubborn people can be exhausting and hard to deal with, but it can be done, and, when you learn how, you will benefit by becoming a calmer, less augmentative person.  For example, when issues come up and you begin to feel the resistance starting, take a step back.  Take the time to consider the other person’s point of view; don’t just get your back up, because at that point you are being just as stubborn as them.  If you have to take a break from the conversation, go for a walk, go into another room, and take a few minutes to breath and let the anger go.  When you return, try a different approach, don’t begin where you left off, as the same words will trigger the same reaction.  Find the right time; you may have to wait for a few days before bringing the subject up again.  Take it slow, so there is time to digest, as some people take longer to process things; respect the other person’s time frame.  In many areas of life, for example in business, stubbornness, much like perseverance, is a trait necessary for success.  Therefore look for the many ways that you can benefit from having a stubborn person in your life.  Thank you, Lydia for writing.