Tom’s wife made a spot on comment about his behavior, but Tom isn’t buying it. He looks at her and says, “You are wrong” and then becomes highly defensive. His wife tries again to explain her perception of the problem. Again, Tom refuses to acknowledge her point of view.
Is Tom just being stubborn or is his refusal to listen to her and acknowledge her thinking harming the marriage?
Tom’s refusal to accept his wife’s influence will impact his relationship negatively. Researcher John Gottman and his colleagues found that men who accept their wives’ influence have happier marriages and are less likely to divorce. And the reverse is also true, wives’ who honor and respect their husbands and allow them to influence their decisions have better marriages. Accepting influence from a spouse relates to the power dynamic between a couple. When you listen and take to heart what your partner says, you are basically saying, “I respect this person and value what he or she has to say.”
So men, if you refuse to take the influence of your spouse in decision making and power sharing, your marriage will probably experience problems. Accepting influence creates positive feelings that help to solve problems, but also boosts the marital friendship. When conflict doesn’t escalate to a negative place, relationships do better.