Skip to main content

Hurtful Attitudes in Marriage


Last weekend we stumbled across something that made us stop and re-evaluate our attitude. Sometimes our attitude comes across as a superiority – like when we believe we possess qualities or traits that our spouse doesn’t and become condescending – and this hurts our relationship. By “qualities” and “traits” we mean things such as: generosity, patience, understanding, compassion. Perhaps a couple of examples would help.

Paul: We were talking with another couple when Steph became “hazy” in her recollection of the story she was telling. I interrupted to provide the “correct” information with “clarity and accuracy.” I didn’t notice right away that she had become quiet, and I certainly didn’t recognize that I had hurt her. My attitude of superiority – my belief that I am more “clear” and “concise” than she is – had surfaced again. Before I even realized it, I’d caused a hurt in our relationship.

Steph: One attitude of superiority I  have is that I judge I am more easygoing than Paul. I judge I am a better person than Paul because I do not get as annoyed about things as often as he does. The other day we were driving to the store and Paul made a comment about another person’s driving. I said,” I am sure he just didn’t see you, geez.” I could tell by the hurt look on Paul’s face and the silence all the way to the store that I had hurt him with my words. In my mind I was thinking that I would never get upset about something as silly as that and judgment came through in my tone as I believed I was a better person than Paul in that moment.

After 33 years of marriage, we were reminded that we’re not immune from falling into the trap of superior attitudes and the trouble they cause. Having these two recent experiences reminds us that we need to be more vigilant and aware of how they can unexpectedly creep in and cause havoc. Identifying and recognizing our superior attitudes is the first step in reducing these destructive behaviors. Acknowledging the hurt they cause and asking for forgiveness can lead to healing between us.

Questions for Reflection:
1. Do I have an attitude of superiority that has a negative impact on our marriage?
2. Where is this attitude coming from? (Hint: An attitude of superiority is an attempt to compensate for my own self-doubts/low self-esteem by judging others (even my spouse) are inferior to me. In an attempt to build myself up, I put the other person down to magnify my positive traits/qualities/abilities, to convince myself that I am valuable.)



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Great Sex!

Sex between a married couple is not only good, it’s very good. If you read the research and surveys, you will find that married couples experience better and more frequent sex than non-married couples. Married couples are healthier, happier, and live longer. When we went on a WorldWide Marriage Encounter weekend, we were more than a little surprised when a priest told us that our love-making is good, is important for us, and is important to the world. He encouraged us to “make mad passionate love!”
    So, why has married sex become something else? Society and media portray sex for married couples as dull and lifeless, a tool used to manipulate, something to joke about, and something that - beyond the newlywed phase- gradually drifts away. We’ve been sold this bill of goods, and we often buy into it! What we really crave in our sex life is to give and receive something powerful- to experience the depths of our passion and love for each other, to be as intimate as possible. Our freq…

Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

Yes, this is a strange twist.  We recently heard about James J Sexton's book, "If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late."  James is a divorce attorney from New York, who started noticing some patterns after 20 years of working with couples whose marriages were ending.

Tone of Voice

Something that we’ve become increasingly aware of in our marriage is how our tone of voice so significantly affects our communication – for better or for worse! It is remarkable how something so seemingly small can make such a huge impact on whether our communication is healthy, productive, and enriching or debilitating, disheartening, and provocative. Believe it or not, tone of voice is huge. WE would go as far as to say tone of voice is at the root of most of the small hurts we experience in our relationship.
Perhaps it would be easier to make our case using an example. Recently, we were trying to get out of the house to go to church and be on time. I (Stephanie) have to admit I am typically the one who is running behind trying to get one last thing put away or rushing because I did not plan my time well. Paul will often playfully turn the hall light on and off letting me know he is by the door ready and waiting. Usually I will laugh it off and tell him I am coming. This particular…