When we stop meeting in loving kindness it leads to divorce. That’s when we start taking each other for granted. It’s important to approach your partner with loving kindness. We usually get the reaction in return that we send out to our spouse. So if you greet them with loving kindness it only makes sense you should be greeted with that in return. But most of us know it doesn’t always work out that way. We are human. We have to do the best we can. So when is it okay to hold a different emotional pattern in their presence? When your spouse’s anger is exaggerated, ill-mannered and mean, it’s okay not to greet them with love. If they are being stubborn, rigid and unreasonable, passive-aggressive or sarcastic or in some other way obnoxious you don’t have to be kind to them. If they are no fun to be around or treat you in a disrespectful manner it’s best to just get out of their presence. Even though most couples love each other and love to be around one another, times may come up when you find them difficult or even impossible to deal with. This doesn’t mean the relationship is over. It’s perfectly natural from time to time to get caught up in a rough patch. When your spouse is in a foul mood or there is some issue you are both trying to deal with and they are being negative and ornery, how is it best to handle it? Usually more negative behavior as a response only makes things worse.
One thing to do is to sympathize with your partner. Get them talking about what is upsetting them. Sometimes just letting them vent, without comment is all they need to get whatever is bothering them off their chest, or whatever through them in an emotional tizzy out of their system. Try to understand where they are coming from. Sooner or later your spouse is going to say something that really hurts you. But think about how you react to that situation. You can blow up at them. It might make you feel better temporarily. But in the long run your relationship will be far worse off, and it will take far longer to fix things. Instead reflect on why what they said hurts you so. When you find out why it hurts it will take the sting out of it. It will also give you some perspective. Then you can address the issue clearly with your mate, tell them what they said that hurt and why. They should be able to respond appropriately at this point and the ensuing dialogue usually wraps everything up. Another important aspect of marriage is not only listening to what your partner is saying it, but looking for the underlying cause. What emotional place are they speaking from? Sometimes anger for instance can be a mask for fear. If you can get at what your spouse is afraid of you can unravel the mystery and solve the problem. Then you’ll have a happy spouse and a happy you.
If they are denying your emotions or rationalizing them away, they may be feeling diminished or criticized by you. Have you put them in an unfavorable light recently? Were they picked on when they were younger and something you or someone else did put them on the defensive? Are they withdrawing, ignoring or not listening to you? They may feel you are being critical of them, judging them or rejecting them. Are they being hypercritical of you? They may feel insecure and are turning it on you in order to deflect their own insecurity. Lots of children for instance put others down in order to solidify their own security. Are they being hostile, sarcastic or argumentative? If they have issues with a certain parent, you may have reminded your spouse of them. If they over-react to you, then you should not take this personally. They aren’t really having the argument with you, they are having it with that parent. Sometimes a spouse can get jealous if you are helping someone else. Their inner child feels that your priority is to take care of them. If you do something nice for them, get them a little treat or do something thoughtful, they will probably feel terrible, apologize and try to make up for their outburst. There are lots of others. Finding the root of the problem, talking it out, and using compassion, kindness, openness and understanding toward one another are the best ways to help these marital problems. It takes a lot of patience and self-control. But your relationship will be strong and vibrant in the end. For more pick up a copy of, Dealing with Difficult Spouses and Children by Roberta Cava.