- Simply thinking outside of yourself can stop a LOT of arguments before they reach a boiling point
No, I don’t mean in the bedroom, though that doesn’t hurt either! I’m talking about putting the shoe on the other foot, imagining an experience or situation through the eyes of your spouse.
Now, we have to understand that we all have our own shortcomings, that we can only truly see the world from our own perspective, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying to understand where others are coming from – and simply thinking outside of yourself can stop a LOT of arguments before they reach a boiling point.
First think about something your partner does that really frustrates you. Maybe your husband is irritable and short with you when he walks in the door from work. Maybe your wife goes straight to sleep in the bedroom every night. It’s easy to feel snubbed by these things – like their behavior stems from spite for you.
Most of the time, though, that simply isn’t the case. Instead of focusing on how their actions hurt your feelings, take a moment to reflect on WHY they might be acting the way they are. The gruff husband may have a particularly stressful job, or might not be prepared to talk about his bad day (many men don’t want to bring their work stresses into their home lives). Maybe the wife has trouble sleeping soundly through the night, and by the time she lays down, she just can’t keep her eyes open.
Even if these explanations aren’t correct, the point is to start THINKING from the other person’s perspective. If you can entertain the idea that their motivations might have nothing to do with you, or your relationship, you are off to a good start. I don’t mean that you should make excuses, or try to rationalize all of your spouse’s behavior, but I DO want to prevent couples from jumping to conclusions about their partner’s behavior (and the cause behind it).
The next step is do put yourself in your spouse’s shoes when they don’t do anything that bothers you – in other words, think about how YOU might be irritating THEM.
In this classic, cliché, and all-too-common bedroom scenario, where the husband is initiating sex, and the wife shoots him down, I see one of the best applications for this practice. I’m not saying that wives should feel guilted into sex, but they should take a moment to think about how it makes their husbands feel emotionally and psychologically. Reverse the situation, ladies, and imagine if your husband shot you down, saying he was tired or didn’t feel well (unlikely, I know!). How would it make you feel? Probably not very good about yourself – and not very good about how your partner sees you.
Guys, how would it make you feel if your wife just blew you off when you had something important to say? What if she simply tuned you out to watch the television or work on something else? Would you feel ignored, neglected, uninteresting?
In the situations above, there are plenty of variables – sometimes we don’t feel like having sex, sometimes we simply aren’t paying attention – this happens, but as loving couples, we owe it to each other to consider how we are making our partner feel, intentionally or unintentionally.
Imagining yourself in your spouse’s position is beneficial in every aspect of you marriage, from hashing out arguments to avoiding potentially irritating behavior, from making a joint effort at household responsibilities to pleasing each other in the bedroom. If something seems to be bothering your spouse, and can’t quite put your finger on it, or you aren’t quite sure why they react the way they do, just use your imagination!
Does it feel like your spouse has checked out of the relationship? Do you find it hard to even connect with them anymore? For advice on how to save your marriage, without an office visit, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com