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What Do You Say About Your Partner When They Are Not There?


What do you say about your spouse when they are not around? Is it positive or negative? Is it helping or hurting your relaitonship? Picture this: The PTA meeting broke up and a handful of moms were gathered in the school parking lot. “Gary just cannot seem to make a decision…he is driving me nuts with his wishy-washy attitude,” begins one mom. Another soon joins her, “At least he has a job. My husband has been out of work for 3 months now. Having him home all the time is making me crazy.” A third mom soon adds, “I cannot get my husband to help around the house at all. He won’t even take out the trash.” Other women join in complaining about their husbands and trying to top each other with stories of how bad their partners are.

Unfortunately, this scene is not uncommon. Acquaintances gather together and complain about their spouses. The complaints vary from sex, to household chores to bad breath. The negative statements seem to breed more negative statements until it is almost expected, and to be included in the crowd you must contribute your own negative statements about your spouse.

There may be several reasons why this scenario occurs. Perhaps people are frustrated and feel they need to vent their feelings. Perhaps they think it is a way to connect to their peers. For whatever reason the behavior continues and more people join in with their complaints about their partner.

The real question is: What kind of damage is this doing to your relationship with your spouse? I would like to suggest that it is harmful to your relationship with your spouse to engage in these negative tirades. Even though your spouse is not there, the energy that you are expending on negative thoughts by hearing and talking about them, leads to more negative thoughts and feelings. Further resentment develops and you find yourself looking at your spouse with a critical eye, trying to find all the things they are doing wrong.

I would like to challenge you to change this dangerous cycle for one month. Make a commitment for 30 days to only say positive things about your spouse. You may want to think of a few positive statements ahead of time that you can have ready, such as: “Kelly really is great with the kids.” Make an effort to make at least one positive comment about your spouse when you are with others who talk about their spouses. Take special note on how this makes you feel towards your spouse. I would like to suggest that by consciously making a choice to make positive and only positive statements about your spouse, you will feel more positive about your spouse.

Your statements affect your relationship even if your spouse never hears about them. To improve your relationship, you must change your behavior. If you want positive feelings about your relationship and about your spouse, speak positively about them. Try this for one month and you will notice the difference.

lynda r. williams would like to invite you to visit help talking and take a free relationship quiz.

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Listed: December 26, 2009 8:37 pm