Who do we know better than our spouse? After spending such a considerable amount of intimate time together, couples honestly discover the various layers of one another. Likes and dislikes are quickly revealed. We learn of those quirky pet peeves as well as what brings our partner joy. Our spouses willingly allow us into a world others won’t normally witness. They share their secrets and fears; they get comfortable around us and basically become completely vulnerable. Not everyone finds it easy to share all of that with another person. So when it happens, the expectation is that the information will be stored in a safe place and never used against them.
Why is it when couples get angry, that is the first place they go? Many spouses are using what they know as ammunition. The person we love the most is the one we are willing to hurt the quickest. I generally ask couples the same question, “Have you created a safe place for your spouse?” This usually means a couple of things. The first, does the other spouse feel safe communicating without the fear of being judged? The other is if there is a space for the other spouse to completely be who they are without it coming back to haunt them. A little hesitation usually precedes the response.
Many couples mean well, but most haven’t totally grasped the true concept of marriage: putting our spouse’s needs ahead of our own. If their well-being became our top priority, we would be more intentional with our words and actions. A natural instinct when a person feels wounded is to hurt back and sometimes by any means necessary. What better way to hurt someone than to hit below the belt with the same information they initially entrusted us with? Only when we get out of that mindset can we learn how to handle our disappointments positively within the confines of our marriage.
If anyone has ever considered using what they know about their spouse to actually harm their spouse, below are a few reasons why it simply doesn’t work for marriage or any other relationship:
It will negatively impact the connection, possibly alter the way we view our partner and affect our overall level of intimacy. Once a person struggles in sharing and is no longer comfortable with their partner, how can they continue to give their all in various areas of the marriage?
It will destroy the trust. An individual shuts down pretty easily once trust has been broken and will eventually stop sharing such personal details; leaving the other partner guessing and in the dark. Without trust and communication a marriage will fail.
It will create long-term resentment. Concerns may not always be addressed in the moment, but it doesn’t mean the hurt has disappeared.
We can’t take it back. We can sincerely apologize and think, as a couple, we’re moving on, but we don’t quite know where our spouse is emotionally regarding that situation. Our spouse may need something more, like for it never to have been said in the first place.
In marriage, there will be those moments when couples are tested, get upset and feel angry. The desire to lash out and hit our spouse where it hurts will be there. But part of being a grown up is making the right choice in every situation. Extending grace and choosing the mature route will always harvest the best result.