This is magnified in a marriage crisis when the one who pursues pulls out all known (to him/her) stops in yanking the other back.
More often than not, these communication blunders kill all hopes for true intimacy and marriage restoration. The gap widens and the marriage dies another death.
Here are 16 common marriage blunders that, although the intent may be positive, are commonly committed.
You hide your anger behind “why” questions. “Why didn’t you…” “Why is it so hard for you…” “Why couldn’t you…” “Why can’t you…” The tone is often of mild or intense frustration.
1. You believe that you’ve “said it all.” You emotionally walk away from intimacy. The resentment burns deeper and deeper and you almost self-righteously throw up your hands.
3. You must have feedback from him/her to decide x, y or z. You look for crumbs of information, hoping that such information will make your life easier. You wait, prod, push and wait for those magic words that will help you “move forward.”
4. You say, “I love you…BUT…” You convey your position of rightness and then continue to make disclaimers on that statement. Or, perhaps the ‘I love you’ statement is an attempt to control the conversation, hoping it will take away any sting that might come from his/her mouth.
5. You apologize for your behavior. You imply that the other will move closer once you express responsibility for his/her pain. In essence you say, “I’m sorry I’ve hurt you.” Are you truly that powerful that you can easily inflict emotional pain on another? Give that some thought. J
6. You bully or intimidate. Stop this. Knock this off. Do this. Do that. Rather obvious, isn’t it that this approach won’t get you far.
7. You lump the two of you together. “We created this mess.” We can make it through this.” “I want us to understand how this happened.” “I want us to fix it.”
8. You mind read. “I know you are scared.” “I know you love me.” “I know you are tired of this.” “I know you are afraid to be alone.”
9. You tell him/her what to do. “You must take a look at this issue.” “You must communicate more.” “You need intensive counseling.”
10. You elicit guilt. “You are hurting the children.” “You are hurting others around you.” “You should be ashamed of yourself.” “_________ people don’t do this.”
You give black and white ultimatums. Do this or do that. “Get help or get out.”
You speak for both of you. “Let’s get help for the marriage.” “Let’s recommit.”
12. You speak for him/her. “I know this is difficult for you.” “You think I’m trying to control you.” “I understand what it feels like for you.”
13. You abdicate responsibility. “You must tell me if you can do x, y or z, so I can decide what to do.” “You must commit to me so I can commit to you.”
14. You engage in Pollyanna talk. “I love you very much. We’ve always been best friends and we can work this out.”
15. Playing shrink with the other. “You are too caught up in your feelings.” “Your problems go way back to your mother.” “You must have an emotional block somewhere.”
16. Make note of these blocks. Observe yourself over time, especially when confronting strong feelings and intense thoughts in your relationship. Do you default to any of these blunders?