Since the middle of the month of February has this “holiday” called Valentine’s Day, I thought it appropriate to commit the next few weeks of blog messages to marriage. I hope you enjoy the various subjects and that in some small way they help you or remind you of your marital love and commitment, starting with these five warnings.
1. Speaking belittling words, name calling or utilizing sarcastic phrases that are meant to make our spouse feel inadequate, stupid or have lessor worth. Put-downs are never appreciated and never build relationship. They actually expose how immature we are as a person. They show off our feelings of inadequacy and our need to attempt to elevate ourself.
2. Talking in a tone of voice that conveys the message: “Listen you moron, if I said this once I’ve said it a dozen times — how can you not get this?” This tone is both demeaning and full of ridicule, not to mention it shows a severe lack of respect and honor. It also conveys the deprecating message, “I’m smarter than you.”
3. Making light of something our spouse cannot change. Your spouse cannot change the size of his or her feet or nose. They cannot change the fact that they lost hearing in one ear or have (in spite of how hard they try) kept on a few pounds after pregnancy. There are many things we can take responsibility for and change, but some things are just not possible, so please stop making these areas the brunt of your jokes. Plain and simple, it hurts even when your spouse laughs with you.
4. Correcting your spouse in public with that proverbial parenting voice. A wise couple once told us, “Praise in public, construct in private” and we have never forgotten that wisdom. Some couples/families use public embarrassment in an attempt to correct or silence another. It is dysfunctional and unhealthy to a marriage relationship. You are not one another’s parents; you are life partners looking out for each other’s best interest and good will.
5. Withholding compliments, praise, words of thankfulness and appreciation. By withholding these you think it will cause your mate to work harder in an effort to gain them. It will not. It will discourage them and for some, to the point of giving up. Heap praise, words of affirmation, compliments, and “I love you” words as often and as frequently as you possibly can. Withholding words of affirmation does not motivate, but readily and often speaking compliments and saying “thank you” will motivate.
Let’s get started operating in the complete opposite of the five grievous ways and always, always remember: You and your spouse are one. That means, whatever you are speaking about your spouse you are also speaking about yourself.