Insult Vs Compliment: Your Choice!

Last week my dear captain (Mr Bonds) recorded this new series called Devious Maids – please don’t ask if it was good cos I’m not sure yet. As I watched this high power Beverly Hills couple dress down each other in front of their baby boy and maid, insult after insult, voices getting louder, venom potency rising, I couldn’t help but wonder how couples get here. I have often had these thoughts on many occasions, both in my situation and as I’ve watched others.

It appears that at the start of the relationship we spend time trying to outdo the other with lovely words, compliment, looking good, demeanour (perhaps often smiling) but somehow as we progress we become complacent. Somehow it becomes okay to wake-up insulting each other (reminds me of a situation in our home this morning) and go to bed doing the same. We get into arguments and we take pleasure trying to outdo our partner’s insult.

As we delivered a Pre-Marriage training to couples last weekend, I found myself using the above example and saying I wanted a relationship that does the opposite of what I’ve described above; a relationship where we try to outdo each other in compliments, happy demeanour, lovely words and a whole lot more of the good stuff. So the question is how do we do this?

1) A Decision: sometimes the decision we make at different points in our relationship -dating, marriage, during discussions and after arguments – keeps us in check. Like me, you might watch or see something that strengthens your resolve to have a certain type of relationship. In the captain’s last blog, I noticed that he said he had made a decision about how he would approach communication with me. Interestingly, I had been thinking the same thing…

2) Respect: Having a general level of respect in your relationship often helps restrain you to a manageable level of damage during times of conflict. Like this morning when I had an outburst “and spoke my mind”, I believe it was the respect I have for the captain that helped rein me in when he said he didn’t like the way I spoke to him.

3) Watch yourself: if there is anyone we need to be careful about not hurting and careful to ensure we are contributing positively to their self-esteem, it should be our partner. After all, we have chosen this person above all others. We need to be careful to watch ourselves in our conduct towards our partner. This way we keep striving for a loving relationship.

4) Evaluate situations and circumstances: there is a need to constantly reflect on situations and circumstances that occur in your relationship. This helps you decide on a regular basis whether you are happy with the rapport you have with your partner. You may think – was I really happy with the way things were with us last night?

5) Avoid Blaming: there will be situations where you decide you perhaps didn’t like the way your interaction with your partner ensued. At this point, most of us go on to rationalise and blame (our partner). What could be helpful is if you avoid blaming but instead make a decision about how to have a positive approach to similar situations in future. How could your reaction be different?

6) Apologise – Learn to forgive: perhaps this should have been the first point as our decision to forgive often feeds into how we approach any breakdown in communication. During interaction with our partner certain things might happen that would hurt both of us. We need to decide beforehand how we approach apologies and forgiveness. This will play a huge role in how we recover from times when we’ve hurt each other and enable us have an ongoing positive atmosphere in the relationship.

Do any of these resonate with you? Have you made any decisions lately that will help you have better interation with your partner? Do let’s talk about it…

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