This chapter was mostly about a hypothetical situation where a woman finds out her husband has been having an affair. Peterson hypothesizes how this could have occurred and what could have been done about it. One of the most important things (I assume) that makes a good relationship is communication. But the communication needs to be a particular way. It cannot be vague, it needs to be precise. It needs to be specified what is bothering the person, and what they want instead. Brushed under the carpet and it’s a long and torturous marriage, no matter how little the annoyance. From that breeds resentment and bitterness.
The dangers of avoiding conflict is put forth thought-provokingly in an example by Nassim Taleb in the book Antifragile. He surprisingly describes that the frequency of military conflict occurring in his native Lebanon is in fact healthy. He explains that as a consequence conflicts occur as small skirmishes as opposed to a less frequent but devastating all-out nuclear war. In the same way this is why forests should be allowed to burn periodically to clear out deadwood and return nutrients to the soil. If forest fires are artificially suppressed, the deadwood accumulates. When a fire eventually starts, the whole forest burns and gets destroyed.
In a marriage, conflicts that should occur that are suppressed can eventually lead to divorce. The wife and/or husband did not have enough courage to bring up issues that would eventually snowball to the point of no return.
I did a personality test recently that deemed a weakness of mine was that I was romantically clueless. I would love to dispute this but I don’t think I have enough evidence to make a case! Therefore this chapter was quite revealing to me in what can make or break a marriage.
Be precise in your speech.