Many times, when we are in a situation with our spouse where there’s been an error, there’s been a struggle, we’re in conflict, or they’ve done something that we don’t like or vice versa, it’s a place where we want to confront them. We want to say, “Hey, can we change this?” Or maybe they did something to hurt us, and we’re looking for an apology. But no matter what that is, we can often go to our spouse, present our case, and find out they don’t see their error. I know that this has been a part of my life several times. When my wife would say, “my husband thinks he does nothing wrong,” I used to joke and say, “I’m not actually wrong; sometimes, I’m mistaken.”
But we know that the reality is that those are the same thing, and you will make mistakes if you’re a human being. And it’s not the resistance to making mistakes. It’s not the resistance to doing something wrong. It’s when someone comes at us accusatory, even if we’re wrong, we tend to defend ourselves. I can’t explain that. Humans can be complex in some of the simplest things. I know I’m guilty; I’m human. So I do the same thing. Sometimes your husband thinks he does nothing wrong.
What I want to encourage you to do is to accept the fact that it’s going to be frustrating. If you come up with an issue and start talking to your husband, and as you’re beginning to share that with them, they are not getting it. Your husband thinks he does nothing wrong. Or they flip it around and maybe become defensive and say, well, it’s your fault, or it’s your thing. The point is that you need to keep your head. So, expect that there will be very frustrating times, and you might even know it might be that you’ve alluded to the problem in the past and they didn’t recognize it, or they joked it off. It doesn’t mean they don’t want it, or they’re closed to it. It just might be in their blind area. Or it just might mean they don’t see it.
The key is this: don’t get overly emotional if your husband thinks he does nothing wrong.
If you get overly emotional, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re not going to be thinking, right? So resist getting emotional and realize this is going to be a frustrating situation.
The next thing I want to encourage you to do in this is to resist lecturing.
One of the things we are tempted to do, and not everybody, but a large majority of people, is to continue to speak. Suppose another person can’t understand. Usually, we don’t adjust our words or our approach. Usually, we get louder and maybe more descriptive, but we don’t get any clearer for the other person to hear.
Now, just like there are many languages in this world, there are many languages regarding personalities. There are four of them. So when it comes to personalities, sometimes we’re speaking out of our perspective, our view of the world. So there are times a husband will do things, and the wife might look at it, and I go, man, that’s wrong. We don’t do it that way. But it really isn’t wrong; it’s just, I wouldn’t do it that way. I hope you’re following what I’m saying here.
When it comes to reaching people, you want to be careful that you’re not lecturing them because, in your personality, you may think you’re explaining, but on their side, all they see is nagging. And if your husband thinks he does nothing wrong, all they see is an attack. And so you have to step up and align yourself with what they probably will see and how they react. If you’ve been married for a significant amount of time, I’m sure you have certain insights into that person’s behavior. Nevertheless, be careful about lecturing.
Let me tell you one thing that lecturing will do. If you’re not careful, the other person will agree or shut up, but they don’t really agree. They only agree for you to shut up. We call this an avoidance motive. An avoidance motive is when someone does or does not do something to avoid the penalty or the pain that’s coming as a result of it. Now we know the consequences are coming in life, and that’s not what I’m saying. I’m talking about how we use control or use pain to direct people, to influence people.
Maybe it’s continual talking. So as I continue to talk and lecture on the problem and try to get you to understand it, sometimes people will just shut down and agree, but it’s not agreement. It’s just submission or the white flag. Your husband thinks he does nothing wrong, so he doesn’t want to deal with this anymore. Well, you know, as well as I, that’s not going to get you anywhere. That’s just kicking the can down the road until the next more significant event happens. You don’t want to lecture your husband until he shuts up and submits. You want to communicate in his language.
If I go to a Spanish town or a Spanish country, I need to speak Spanish to communicate. I can’t go to China and get mad at people because I’m speaking English and I can’t understand them. It’s not their language. So, I want to be careful that when I am confronting or speaking to my spouse about something wrong, I’m speaking in their language. And it helps if you can do that. We can also help you find that with something called the DISC profile.
In addition to that, the word wrong can be confrontational just in itself. Just by mentioning it, you are making an accusation that they were wrong. Immediately defenses come up, because your husband thinks he does nothing wrong. Then he will begin to protect himself. So what I want to offer you is a reframing, maybe a way to see this thing differently.
So a lot of times, I’ll walk up, or my wife will walk up, and she’ll see me, and we’ll say it doesn’t work that way. Don’t do it that way; that’s wrong. Well, it really isn’t wrong because there isn’t a wrong or right to whatever’s happening. Maybe it’s washing the dishes, okay? But we have an opinion on what might be better. Sometimes our husband does things to us, says something to us, or we have an expectation of our husband that we allude to it being wrong, but it really isn’t wrong. It’s just a different way of doing it. And I’ve found in my career and experiences that people have a tough time with that. I believe this is right, or this is what it needs to be. And in doing so, we discriminate against the other person’s opinion.
What I would encourage you to do is realize that it may not be wrong; it just may be different or less than best. And if you can approach it from that way, you allow face to be saved instead of saying you’re wrong. You allow someone to be more relaxed and respond and think about it. You don’t just want a person to say, “yeah, I’m wrong”, because your husband thinks he does nothing wrong. What you want is a person to see how it’s impacted you if they’ve hurt you, and communicate to them how it will mitigate the hurt if they could do something different.
It’s not about being wrong or about someone admitting wrong. It’s not about winning the fight. What it’s about is establishing a connection and a relationship that you could communicate through, no matter what happens. And if you can do that, you can survive anything that comes in life and thrive. But if you get stuck on the black and white or right or wrong, you might find yourself at a stalemate and not be able to move past that. So I want to encourage you not to focus on the wrong.
The last thing I’d encourage you to do is concentrate on the solution.
Often, we spend so much energy and effort and even time talking about the offense. You did this, you said this, whatever. And we talk about the offense, but we don’t look at what the solution is. And if we only talk about the offense, that’s going to bring separation. At some point, once we’ve identified it, once we voiced it, we have to say then, well, what’s the solution here? How do we fix that? How do we work around that? And if you can do these things, it can help you better influence your husband when he feels like he hasn’t done anything wrong. And you know what? You’ve felt that before. We’ve all felt that before. So a little grace in this situation goes a long way.
So I promised you that we had a free resource for you at the end of this video. And here’s what we have for you. It’s called Seven Keys To Fix Your Marriage. It’s an ebook. We have it written just for you, and you can have it by just asking for it. So please do that today. If you’re having trouble getting your spouse to talk to you, we have a course for that. It’s called the SMART Contact Toolkit. And again, if you haven’t subscribed to our YouTube Channel, please do so. That way we can keep you up to date on any information that will help you in your marriage, relationship, and future. Take care.