In some situations, when coaching is really the necessary tool to overcome being stuck in marital conflict, we can see that even passive aggressive husbands appreciate having an opportunity to play in a new, honest way.
Having the opportunity to learn new behaviors, -and the constant support of a conflict coach-, some husbands discover that abandoning passive aggression is the right thing to do, and share a sense of satisfaction with their change.
What is the exact moment when they discover that they can change? Perhaps after spending too much time in confrontational positions, something extra clicks....it is the "repair work talk" that gets the job done.
After reviewing the obstacles for accepting their equal share of responsibility for the maintenance of the marriage, the conversation gets to the fact that so many years spent fighting leaves people with little hope. The light comes when we talk about doing some relationship repair work...
What is that work? a silent commitment to do little things for the other; things that nobody is asking for, but make life sweeter...Someone is filling your gas tank when you forgot to do it, and it's getting late; doing some household chores without being asked to; leaving small gifts around...They are easy behaviors because you are not forced to do anything; because it shows that you, (yes, you!) were looking around and thinking: how can I make this situation more pleasurable? how can I bring joy to this house?
No need to apologize, to accept defeat, to submit, but a quiet acceptance of the fact that you live there too, and that you accept that the happiness of this marriage is also your responsibility. Being generous not only confuses your "enemy" and throws the marital battle plan to the waste dump, it also allows a truce in the emotional battle so both can see each other in a new light.