How do you neutralize your spouse’s defenses? That’s both an easy and difficult task.
It’s easy because, deep down, you likely know what you need to do. It’s difficult because actually doing it takes work and intentional action (at least at first).
If your spouse is always on the defense, there are some things you can do to minimize that.
Figure Out Why They’re Defensive
People aren’t always justified in their defensiveness or the amount they exhibit. But the fundamental reason people are defensive is always the same.
They’re trying to protect themselves. You may be knowingly or unknowingly hurting your spouse.
A negative childhood without enough praise and affirmation would also make it harder not to be defensive, too.
Even someone being confronted about an affair is defensive (though for selfish reasons) because they want to protect themselves. They may fear losing their reputation or a committed relationship among other things.
So, your goal is to crack the case for why your spouse is defensive.
Maybe it’s because they’ve screwed up in a big way and don’t want to admit it.
But it equally could be because they feel nagged, disrespected, underappreciated or that trust has been broken.
Step back and evaluate when and why your spouse becomes defensive.
It’s also valuable to ask your spouse why they are defensive and sincerely tell them that you just want to help.
The challenge may be for you not to become defensive if you don’t like the answer!
But at least you’ll know where you stand.
Compliment Your Spouse About Something
A relationship can turn adversarial and stay that way for a long time. Just like fish living in a toxic river or a cat hoarder living in filth, you start thinking that is normal existence.
Well, it’s not!
There’s is a much better way to live and it begins with “small” things like a well-aimed compliment.
Isn’t a large ship directed by a comparatively small rudder? Compliments or criticism are the rudders of your relationship.
Generously compliment your spouse and watch the toxicity drain right out of your relationship. Watch your relational “ship” take you to places you never dreamed of going before.
Do Something Besides “Paying the Bills”
Life can quickly become a never-ending cycle of responsibilities. It easy to become “business partners” in your relationship instead of soul mates.
Just the everyday stress of life can increase the defensiveness in others. Knowing this, intentionally schedule some times for you and your partner to de-stress together.
Pick a location or activity that you both enjoy. This can help you and your spouse let your guard down in ways that normally can be difficult.
Although spouse defensiveness is a real problem, things can get better little by little. As this area improves, expect the quality and quantity of your communication to soar. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 393-8662, or text us.