Christian Marriage: How to Destroy Your Marriage (Part 2 of 4).
Greetings. In my first post, I asked you to consider how you are destroying your marriage by participating in criticism. None of us go into a marriage thinking of ways to ruin or destroy a marriage. That is like me asking you to buy a new car and then ask you to think of various ways to ruin or destroy this new purchase. None of us would try to intentionally fail to change the oil, fail to put air in our tires, or fail to place water in the radiator. No oil, water or air will ruin your brand new car.
In the same way, not one goes into a marriage thinking of ways to ruin or destroy it. But all marriages can get ruined or destroyed when we fail to stop doing certain behaviors and we allow or continue to do various activities that only lead to two people really ruining a good marriage. In my last post, I asked you to consider how do you allow criticism to destroy your marriage and in this post, how do you allow defensiveness to destroy your marriage.
Defensiveness begins after criticism when a spouse starts to protect themselves when they feel the criticism or the insults coming their way. If a spouse is being bombarded with insults or attacks, the natural inclination is to defend yourself from the attack. Have you ever heard this from your spouse or have you ever said this to your spouse:
“Hey, leave me alone. What are you picking on me for? I didn’t do anything wrong! It is not my fault. How come I always feel accused or blamed in this marriage/”
Being defensive than gets viewed as a normal pattern in the conversation with your spouse. If one is critical, the other will get defensive as they feel like they are being attacked and their strategy is to defend being attacked or accused. But defensive words, and the attitude they express, tend to escalate a conflict rather than resolve anything. If you are being defensive, and even if you feel completely right in your stance, this will only add to ongoing marital problems.
Defensiveness is an attempt to try to ward off someone blaming or accusing you of maybe being irresponsible, or lazy, or selfish, or attacking your decision making, or a personal problem you may have in your life such as drinking, doing drugs, gambling, pornography, or whatever habit or addiction you may have. It makes sense to be defensive, but in the long run when this continues and happens over and over again, the marriage will start to ruin and destroy the love and trust between two people in a marriage.
Of course, the major problem with defensiveness is that is obstructs and shuts down communication. Rather than listening and understanding one another’s perspective for the purpose of clarifying, each spouse spends their discussion defending themselves. Nothing gets resolved, so the conflict continues to escalate and more discussion characterized by attack and defensiveness continues as a pattern.
So my hope and desire for you is to stop and ask yourself this question: What topics do I get defensive about and where am I seeing how defensives is ruining the love and trust my spouse and I have for each other? Take responsibility for the pattern of defensiveness and work with your spouse to break this destructive pattern. If you need help with this, please give me a call as I would like to help your marriage decrease the frequency of criticism and defensiveness in your marriage. Thanks for reading.