We did something constructive that 1/2 the couples who are married would not do. It was natural to us even though many married couples shy away from doing this one action towards each other.
Both of us did this effortless achievement without knowing that we practiced a secret which nearly half of marriages lacked.
To reveal a well kept secret to you – we would later find out it is the number one indicator to see which direction a marriage is headed. It is a shame more couples don’t know or perform this easy process for one another. When you achieve it, it is really a lot of fun.
Do you know the #1 indicator that a marriage is heading in the wrong direction?
The answer may surprise you.
The unhealthy habit is “hostile putdowns” uttered towards your spouse.
One of the more dramatic memories from my childhood is how my parents argued.
When I consider why they did this to each other, I believe it stemmed from a lack of respect for each other.
They divorced when I was thirteen. Beginning at thirteen, I would see firsthand – ten divorces, by my parents and their spouses.
Yes they argued over a lot of different problems.
The most tragic subject matter, was their tirades about each other’s personal nature.
Here is an illuminating excerpt by two very credible men who have studied a lot of couples.
Their conclusion should cause you to reflect on your own marriage.
“When psychologists Cliff Notarius of Catholic University and Howard Markman of the University of Denver studied newlyweds over the first decade of marriage, they found a very subtle but telling difference at the beginning of the relationships. Among couples who would ultimately stay together, 5 out of every 100 comments made about each other were putdowns. Among couples who would later split, 10 of every 100 comments were insults. That gap magnified over the following decade, until couples heading downhill were flinging five times as many cruel and invalidating comments at each other as happy couples. ‘Hostile put downs act as cancerous cells that, if unchecked, erode the relationship over time,’ says Notarius, who with Markman co-authored the book We Can Work It Out. ‘In the end, relentless unremitting negativity takes control and the couple can’t get through a week without major blowups.’ U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 1994, p. 67.
How about your week together? Do you seem to argue or spit insults at each other all the time or most of the time?
What can you do to ensure that your marriage will last in spite of the natural tendency to become negative?
Here are 5 no sweat, eye-opening solutions, to treat your life-partner with respect:
1- Tell your wife / husband one positive action you see them doing every day. Yes, every day.
Catch them in the act of doing a good work or action and tell them. Keep finding great aspects of their life to highlight.
Just imagine how they will feel when thoughtful words come out of your mouth on a constant basis.
It took many years of me continually complimenting my wife’s expertise about sewing to have her finally understand that “every woman can’t remake a bridal gown”! She literally tears them apart and sews them back again so that they fit and no one can see where the previous problem existed. She has several marvelous qualities while being a professional seamstress is only one of her good talents.
2 – Tell at least three people every week one positive segment of your spouse’s life.
How they helped you or someone else. How well do they accomplish something that just makes you smile? Whenever Elaine brags about me, I am a bit embarrassed on the outside and all warm on the inside. These genuine compliments get me over the rough spots that life throws at me.
3- ALWAYS say only good things about your spouse to others.
Never, not once, say a demeaning word to anyone else, family or friend, about your spouse. As hard as that may seem, especially if this is your normal practice, from this day forward, say only nice things about him or her.
In a short while others will follow suit. In forty one years of knowing her, Elaine, has never said a negative word to anyone about me. We have talked about this because we do not want anyone else to look at our spouse in a bad manner.
How do you correct a situation if you uttered negative words to someone one else – a friend or close family member – about your honey?
First apologize to your spouse and then share a lot of complimentary comments with that friend about your spouse. It will take more positive comments to have them see him/her in a good light.
4 – Write a love letter once a month that tells your husband/wife how glad you are that you two are joined for life.
All over our refrigerator are flyers or notes I made for my bride. They have cute pictures which make her smile. This is to drive home the point that I am so blessed to have her for my wife.
5 – Make yourself a solid commitment that from now on, you will NOT utter hostile putdowns, against your spouse, in anyway.
Let me clarify a point. This does not mean you cannot oppose each other’s opinions. Two humans – – will disagree every day – – when they live together. The old adage to “agree to disagree — agreeably” is what to strive for.
Your first impulse must be to defend and honor your spouse rather than tear them down.
When they do something you find upsetting, you can discuss the action in such a way that you strengthen your marriage instead of driving an emotional wedge between each other.
Take some time to consider these five alternatives to putdown against your loved one.
Dr. Dobson had this conclusion from the two psychologist’s information:
“Watch what you say! Little, nit-picking comments are like a cancer in marriage, slowly draining the life out of a committed relationship.”
Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Bulletin, May, 1994.
If you need help creating new speaking habits for your marriage, let’s get together for a free 15 minute call ,to see how we can help you.
We will assist you as we have many other struggling married couples. Let’s make constructive changes together. Your marriage and those around you, need to hear constructive comments come out of your mouth towards your spouse.
We coach people to provide warmth and insights to manifest a healthy respectful environment for your home.
Always Expect The Best For Your Marriage
as The Best Is Yet To Be!!!
Jerry & Elaine Stumpf
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