Heal Defensiveness in Relationships
When arguments happen between couples, it can be hard to not become defensive, sparking cycles of defensiveness in relationships that run counter to what you’re really wanting…closeness. To be seen, heard and understood by your spouse.
Many times, we get defensive because we feel we are being treated wrongly, attacked or misunderstood. Defensiveness in relationships is a protective measure we all have that allows us to advocate for ourselves. To stand up when we feel we’re being misrepresented. To begin defending ourselves and perhaps pointing the finger back toward the other person. We all do this…
While defensiveness in relationships is a natural response to feeling “threatened,” it can hurt relationships, it can hurt marriages. Because it runs counter to what we are really wanting…
Antidote to Defensiveness in Relationships
An antidote to defensiveness in relationships is to take responsibility for your own feelings, your part in the argument, and to express a sincere interest in learning more about your spouse’s stance. This includes not blaming your spouse.
It’s about acknowledging your part, being able to express your thoughts and feelings and taking an interest in your spouse’s feelings. This can allow defenses to go down and can bridge a friendship through seeing each other as a teammate. Viewing each other as a friendly partner versus an adversary.
When we begin blaming, criticizing and becoming defensive we move into seeing our spouse in an adversarial role. But when we move into this new way of relating, we can deepen our understanding and connection of each other. And hopefully come out the other side with more understanding and a deeper emotional connection to each other.
Example of Healing Defensiveness in Relationships
Below are hypothetical examples of what this could look like. It’s a simple and brief example to show how our defenses can easily go up and how blame can easily start.
The antidote example shows how in this hypothetical example, the couple can turn it around and actually find a way to connect and do things differently next time.
Here’s an example of how defensiveness in relationships might look:
Spouse 1: You never call me when you’re running late at work.
Spouse 2: I have a lot of work to do and meetings that came up last minute. There’s a lot on my mind and I just forgot. What’s the big deal anyway, you know I’ll be home soon.
Spouse 1: No, I don’t know you’ll be home soon, that’s what makes me so angry. You never think about me first.
Antidote to defensiveness in relationships example:
Spouse 1: It really helps me when you call me when you’re running late. I start to worry and it helps me know what to expect.
Spouse 2: I don’t want you to worry. I know I tend to get caught up at work and it’s easy for me to lose track of time. I’ll try to text you if I can’t call to tell you when I’m stuck at the office.
Spouse 1: That would really help me. I appreciate you doing that. I know it’s a busy time for you right now at work, what do you need from me?
Spouse 2: Your understanding and patience with me because I might be a little overwhelmed and tired these next few weeks.
Blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only.