Ever wonder how a simple roll of the eyes can lead a friendly conversation to full out fighting? Or how you feel when your partner constantly points out your poor grammar and then follows with, ‘I am only trying to prevent you from embarrassing yourself in front of others’.
“Hmmm – thanks dear.”
Let’s first talk about Betrayal Number 7 – Disrespect. What does lack of respect look like in a couple? Let’s face it. You didn’t marry your partner to help you with your speaking style, fashion insight, or how you mow the grass. There comes a time and place in your years of living together that you will realize, your way is not ‘his or her’ way – and gosh darn it – you are just going to have to accept it. By continuously pointing out their ‘faults’, you not only harm the partnership, but it will help to end it. As John Gottman noted, A loving relationship is not about having the upper hand, it is about holding hands. Spearing out contemptuous name-calling or comments that make anyone feel ‘lesser than’ is just plain childish, emotionally abusive, and needs to stop. Contempt is one of the four behaviours that will end a marriage. For those of you that need a refresh on the other three, they are criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling (a.k.a. avoiding conflict).
“A loving relationship is not about having the upper hand, it is about holding hands”
Okay, onward to the Betrayal Number 8 – Selfishness. Alright, I have to admit, I have been called selfish by my husband. I am the first one to admit I can be selfish with my time. I struggle with the fact we only have 24 hours in a day, and I am on a mission to squeeze out an extra 15 min here and there. That is me.
How are you selfish? Where can you contribute more towards your relationship? To be completely honest, I normally see the opposite in my office. Clients who come to see me are not selfish enough and they are breaking down internally. They are not caring for themselves enough. So, that tells me the ‘selfish’ ones are not the ones that tend to need therapy! Funny how that works. Well, bottom line is, it is a balancing act. At one stage of the relationship, one partner might need to give more than another, then visa versa. We just need to be aware and pay attention to this balancing act. When you know your partner is doing more, showing fondness and admiration can do wonders to confirm long term commitment to one another. You become a ‘we’ rather than a ‘me’ in the relationship.
Next week we are talking about Unfairness and Breaking Promises, which will wrap up this series on Betrayals.
Till then, see you ‘on the couch’.