We know when we’re being respected. We know when our spouse is speaking life into our lives and marriages.
We also know when we’re feeling disrespected. We know what words and tones are used to hurt, blame, shame, and put us down.
We all know this is true — but how do we learn to recognize it in the moment or more importantly learn how to stop it?
First, refuse to blame or shame your mate. Blame is corrosive to all relationships because it says: “You’re the problem … I’m not!” Shame ridicules and puts your mate down which leads to his or her defensiveness and more issues!
Second, agree on rules for talking about problems. We counsel couples that they are not ready to talk about an issue until they are ready to pray about it together.
Third, speak respectfully. It’s impossible to solve problems and achieve intimacy without respect. We stop listening when we’re not feeling appreciated and valued, so speak to each other with gentleness and kindness. .
Fourth, attack the problem, not the person. Every problem has a solution. It’s vital to remember that you are both on the same team. Blaming and shaming each other leads to and “I win you lose” mentality … which will never lead to an effective solution.
Finally, seek collaborative solutions. “We’re in this together and we can figure it out.” Should become your “motto.” There are solutions that can work for both partners. Look for them. Settle for nothing less. By working together, you can find solutions that create happiness for both partners.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4: 31-32)