I recently read about a newly married husband and his bride who finished their inaugural dinner in their new home. His wife spent most of her day preparing what she hoped was going to be the perfect meal. His first mistake was to leave her alone to clear the table and do the dishes while he sat in front of the TV. His second blunder soon followed when he announced, “my mom would have had the kitchen cleaned up by now.” Seconds later, the vase came flying across the room, just missing his head, shattering on the wall behind him, showering him with broken glass. When asked if it was a warning shot or a miss, he clearly declared that she was trying to hit him. There was no doubt about it…his demeaning statement made her very angry. The good news is this husband learned from his mistakes and is happily married today. He maintains that it’s not just about saying the right things it’s all about not saying the wrong things. So let’s look at some of the negative messages that we should avoid.
First are what we call disengaging statements. These messages break your sense of connectedness. They imply that you’re leaving or letting your spouse fend for him or herself when it comes to meeting their needs. Phrases like, “I’ll do it later” or “whatever,” or “I’m working late” or “I’m going out again.”
Second are patronizing messages. These belittle your spouse, making him or her feel inferior and unappreciated. They’re often condescending and depreciating. Phrases like, “let me explain this to you in a way that you can understand”, or” you’ve got it easy around here” or “why don’t you just do this?”.
Third come the nullifying messages and they convey how one spouse’s thinking or feeling is not right. They’re dismissive, leaving the other partner feeling invalidated. Things like, “relax, you’re overreacting,” or “is this your time of month?” or “here we go again.”.
And finally, are the degrading statements. These make your spouse feel like he or she is of little or no value or importance to you. These statements are usually blaming and judgmental, saying that you don’t measure up to my expectations. Phrases like, “wow, your space is a mess,” or “she’s hot,” or “he looks like he works out,” “you know, I love you, I don’t need to say it.”.
So if any of these negative messages have found their way into your regular communication, take some time to filter them out because the last thing we want to see happen is for you to be pulverized by an incoming vase!
September 18, 2023
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