"Nobody cares what you think!". A statement I often use in my therapy office with clients. I feel like I should explain.
Husband comes home from work after a very rough day. He walks in and slams the door behind him. Shouting, he says "I can't believe him! He pulls me into his stupid office and tells me that if I am late one more time he will fire me!!"
As the wife stands there watching her very disgruntled husband blow off steam, she has a choice to make. An opportunity to add to the emotional deposit box of their marriage. Or, an opportunity to criticize, say what they would have done themselves or try to solve their problem.
This is what I call the 80-20 rule. The conversation immediately following the husband blowing off steam like this needs to be divided into this 80-20 concept: spend 80% of the time leaning in emotionally to where he is at, to empathize, to be on the same team in attacking the world.. and 20% of the time to suggest solutions. I might add, 0 % of the time criticizing, or turning it around on you by saying what you would have done. That is where my comment, "Nobody cares what you think" comes in.
The husband, in this example, doesn't care what the wife thinks. He doesn't care what the wife would have done differently if the circumstances were switched. The husband doesn't care about solutions. What he wants & needs is the "80" part of the 80-20 equation. The leaning in. The emotional connection. An example of this would be:
wife: "Really?! He pulled you into his office and told you that?! Unbelieveable! What did you say to him? What did he say? How did you manage to stay at work after he said all that stuff to you?! You must have been so mad!"
See that? The wife matched the husbands emotions. At no time did she agree or disagree or offered any suggestions or criticism. She matched his emotions and asked questions to better understand his emotions. During this part, nobody cares what she is thinking. He certainly doesn't.
Only after this connection is made does the wife then, if appropriate, offer possible solutions. If the wife goes here too quick, then the emotional connection will not be made. It has to be 80-20.