Building Healthy Marriage: Reactor vs. Respond (Part 2 of 4)

As a spouse, learning why you are a react is important for you and your marriage. To react means to reply back to your spouse in the way you say your words, the tone and attitude behind what you are saying, and the level of intensity in the words you say.

In general, why you react is probably coming from a place of impatience. A reactor is someone who is not patient. They are not slow to listen. They hear words and they are only focused on the words. All you hear are words and your reaction is to the words or message your spouse is communicating.

All of us can relate to reacting. If you watch television or the movies, many of the characters are called to react. As you pay attention, you can see and hear how they talk and what they say to their spouse. The director loves to see spouses argue and react to one another.
In general, reactors are focused on their spouse. When you react you are coming from a place of wanting to accuse, correct, blame or criticize your spouse. You hear his or her words, and the words that fly out of your mouth are focused on your spouse.

Most of the time when you react, it comes from a place of anxiousness or fear. The anxiousness or fear comes from a place of wanting to control something or your spouse, thinking foolishly you can control your spouse. When you react, you are attacking or accusing your spouse of something. Maybe your spouse has made a mistake and you hate mistakes so you are reacting to control your spouse for making a mistake.

To react is to fix a mistake, a problem, looking for who is at fault, angry or anxious of what your spouse has done, and quickly reacting in order to accuse your spouse. Your intention is to try to fix or control something or someone that you feel needs to be corrected.

So pay attention to why you react. Can you see when you react you are focused on your spouse and how this is hurting the marriage? When you react, can you see how your spouse is going to also react back and the two of you are off and running having a major fight? Do you still believe that in your reactions, you can change or fix your spouse? And is this bringing about love and closeness within your marriage? Does your spouse want to curl up with you after you react?