And maybe even stonewalling...
Marriage often brings a whole slew of issues that we maybe weren't prepared for when we said "I do"… that we never considered being an issue when we dated... like nagging that drips... making us wish we could plug the faucet. When we date we all naturally put our best foot forward. It's in this glimpse of time that everyone shines and any blemishes that do surface are often swept away by the heady intoxication we as a society call love. But that is a romantic, giddy lustful state…. not grounded but often blind.
As women we have a tendency to nag… it comes... however frustrating… almost naturally.
Were all guilty of it and truth be told as women were likely more apt to nag
the week before our monthly not-so-nice-friend visits us.
And yet when confronted about our nagging we immediately want to jump to defensiveness and exclaim "Yes, BUT!!! HE does such and such…. he doesn't listen! He doesn't hear me! He ignores me and pulls away. He leaves the room and shuts down. It drives me crazy. So then I nag MORE! It's a vicious cycle! Why can't he just listen like he did when we were dating?"
Everyone wants to please each other in the dating phase… it's like were tripping over ourselves to help each other and then BAM! We say "I do" and suddenly there is so much we DON'T.
Ugh… I know.
It can be a vicious cycle. And it's two fold. Men, they need to actively listen when their wife asks them to pretty please with a cherry on top do something. The wife needs to ask nicely. If she is not heard after the first time and then a second sweet reminder…(post it notes with xoxo) she needs to stop. Because any further it will be deemed nagging by him which translates to criticism and will undoubtedly send him into only hearing "Wah, Wah, Wah" <----- or something similar to that annoying noise emitted by the adults on Charlie Brown.
If this becomes a cycle of: she nags, he shuts down (stone walls), she nags, he shuts down (stone walls) then this has reached a cycle of no one feeling heard and the communication becoming completely unproductive. This doesn't breed life but instead death. Everyone feels mounting frustration (understandably) and they are each sitting there thinking: "Where did that fun sparkly person go that I dated? It's like they were sucked into the vacuum of doom and gloom."
Rest easy, no reason to reach for the wine or divorce attorney just yet. There are some practical things you can do to help put an end to this cycle and begin fresh. Anyone can do this… husband or wife. Sometimes as couples we all get in a funk -- in a temporary phase -- and it's just realizing we are in one… that initial awareness is the first step in taking the necessary action to find a solution.
In most healthy marriages there may be periods when stone walling is done occasionally as a way to disengage, to simply reflect on the issue so it can be re-addressed in a calm manner. This is a healthy approach. It's when stone walling is done chronically, manipulatively, cunningly with purpose to control, to create chaos and hold power that it's taken the form of something evil.
Instead of going to our spouse and saying "You, you, you…. " we can begin our sentence with "I…"
Example of what not to say:
"You always ignore me when I ask you to do something."
Example of what to say:
"Hey, it really hurt my feelings and made me feel unheard when I asked you to please hang that new fan in the guest bedroom for me. Maybe we could do it together?"
You've now instead of making a broad accusatory statement in a sweeping manner that will only bring you a torpedo of defensiveness back at you… you have made a detailed observation based on a SINGLE incident and focused more on how it makes you feel versus attacking the other person.
This is a huge step in the right direction. This is more likely to lead to listening, to a pause, to an "Oh… I see… Oh, gee, I'm really sorry. " … to open communication and then a hug that brings closeness instead of distance.
What a success that is when we transform the words we speak so we can tear down those walls of stone that have been continually been built brick by brick between a couple!
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013