When Karen O’Connor and her husband attended a marriage seminar on love and respect, it was an eye-opener. She writes: ‘What I was hearing hit close to home … I laid out my husband’s vitamins and prescriptions every morning even though he knows the routine better than me.
I assumed unless I took charge he’d ignore or forget them. I “suggested” what foods would help him lose weight, and took over researching some facts he needed for a speech he was writing … While some see these actions as helpful, in my case they were about control … trying to manage and direct my husband in matters that are his business. I thought my way was better so I imposed it … Here are some of the challenges couples face and how we can change our responses: Old behavior: answering questions directed at your mate.
New behavior: being quiet while your spouse replies – and learning something from their response. Old behavior: giving unsolicited advice.
New behavior: listening … trusting your mate to find his/her own solution, and supporting that discovery. Old behavior: explaining your partner’s point of view for them. New behavior: waiting to hear their viewpoint and encouraging it.
Old behavior: making financial decisions without consulting your mate. New behavior: presenting investment opportunities and talking them over together. Both husbands and wives admitted feeling embarrassed, judged, put down, and angry when their spouses stepped in and answered, or made decisions without asking them.
Everyone needs help … but crashing your mate’s boundaries and manipulating the outcome is something else. When you’re anxious or uncertain about when to step in and when to step aside, pray for guidance.’