Learn to “Mend it” not “End it”!
3 Wreckers to Watch Out For
There are more of these, but here are three biggies. Read the description and listen to yourself in conversation with your wife or husband over the next few days.
The first step in getting rid of a relationship wrecker is to recognize it is present.
So, do the self-exam…not later, RIGHT NOW!
Relationship Wrecker 1: Pick, Pick, Pick – Nitpick
We’ve all encountered a nitpicker before: they pick at every little thing you do, holding you up to a standard that exists only in their minds and if you don’t do things the way they would – you’re automatically wrong.
A nitpicker always seems to be on high alert to catch you doing something in
“not the right way” and then they criticize:
- “Why are you doing it like that?”
- “Why didn’t you go there first, before you stopped at the store?”
- “Why are you driving in the middle lane?”
It really gets old being nitpicked, feeling like you’re on the stand before judge and jury, defending why you said something or did something!
Remember these admonitions about differences of opinion?
- Can you see it from an airplane? (If not, close your mouth and breathe)
- Will you remember the issue 20 years from now? (if not, let it go)
- Is this really the hill you want to dig a foxhole into and defend with your life? (If not, learn to pick your battles very carefully)
To stop this relationship wrecker, tell yourself “my spouse has his/her way of doing things, and I have mine. We both are both individuals with unique thinking.” My way or the highway just does not work. Respect your differences and learn from each other. Also, focusing on any “WHY?” question will never change the “WHAT”…think about it.
Relationship Wrecker 2: Air of Superiority
Do you think you’re smarter than your husband/wife? Does your spouse give off an air that he or she is smarter than you?
A person who is condescending gives this impression, verbally and in body language. They talk to you and look at you as if you aren’t at the same level as they are, and their words drip with sarcasm.
- “Who thinks like that?”
- “You gotta be kidding me.”
- “You don’t actually believe something that trivial, do you?”
A condescending attitude makes the person on the receiving end feel “less than” and a relationship can’t survive with one of you always giving off the vibe that “You just don’t measure up.”
To stop this relationship wrecker, measure your words and body language at all times: do they indicate respect, or condescension? How about this: For the next 7 days keep a track of how many times you say things to your spouse that are negative. Then make a commitment to go 30 days without a single negative statement. See if you can do it. It’s harder than you think.
You simply can’t be condescending and have a servant’s heart…you CAN’T.
Relationship Wrecker 3: Hailstorms Won’t Shut Up and Turtles Retreat into a Mind Cave
Some people tend to handle the tougher parts of their lives by withdrawing from the crazies. Others raise their voices and insist on finishing whatever is going on. Harville Hendrix coined the terms hailstorms and turtles. Hailstorms just won’t let anything go. Turtles retreat into their mind caves and shut down. There is usually one of each in a relationship.
To stop this relationship wrecker, understand that “conflict is just growth trying to happen. “Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt have said in their Safe Conversations workshops:
“Talking is the most dangerous thing most people do, and listening is the most difficult. Learning how to talk without criticism and to listen without reacting negatively makes communications possible. Having a safe conversation may not solve problems, but no problem can be solved unless you learn to talk with respect and listen with acceptance.”
My best admonition to you in ridding your relationship of these wreckers: get some help before these escalate and ossify.
One Final Note
If you are really stuck give me a call at 214.668.2989 and let’s talk. For more info, check out the rest of our website www.24kgoldmarriage.org. Families matters to the Iveys. We are heavily invested in your success. These relationship wreckers are
not fatal. We care and we can help.
With gratitude to Stephanie Anderson of Marriage Sherpa for the germ of this idea.