Conversation Stoppers

Sam travels a lot. Fortunately he gets paid well for his job, but the three nights a week away, and sometimes stretching to four, puts a strain on his marriage. With young kids at home and a wife who also works, the biggest contention in their relationship is Sam’s travel schedule.

Sam tends to fly out to the west coast Monday mornings. If he leaves Sunday night, he gets out there Sunday night, feeling rested for his Monday meetings and the challenging week ahead. Amy prefers that he’s home Sunday night so he gets a few precious extra hours with her and the kids. For him, that means getting up around 4 am to catch a flight for his Monday meetings.

When they talk about this issue on their own, Sam tends to say, “If you want to continue our lifestyle, I have to travel.”  Amy tends to say, “If you cared more about me and the kids than yourself, you’d leave Monday morning.”  These statements are conversation stoppers. They are ways of attacking and entrenching their point s of view without really hearing each other.

The challenge is to have this conversation so Sam understands the impact of his traveling, especially  Sunday nights, on Amy and the kids. Amy needs to hear how traveling Monday mornings is draining for Sam. In doing so, they have a chance to at least temporarily work through this perpetual issue.