The fifth relationship killer is:
The Temptation to Shame and Insult your Spouse
Many of us grew up in an era when shaming and insulting were deployed as corrective tools. When I was growing up, it was foolishly believed that if you shamed or insulted someone enough they would be motivated to change their ways. But the results didn’t prove this belief to be true.
For instance, the teachers we had – back when I was in primary school – would publicly call out our marks and grades for the whole class to hear. One teacher would say something like: “If you don’t want everyone to think that you are a ‘lazy bum’; you better work harder the next time I give you an assignment”.
What she didn’t know then was that being a ‘lazy bum’ was actually a badge of honour for some of the students. The ‘shaming thing’ not only didn’t work for many of us, but it had the very opposite effect on some kids, because it made them popular amongst their peers. It gave them the attention they badly needed.
Shaming Produces Resentment and Anger
Insulting or shaming your spouse never works in a marriage either. It produces resentment, anger and a desire for revenge. Insulting and shaming is disrespectful and antagonistic. It is never motivates a person to change, except to become more negative and hateful towards you.
Let’s say you are having an argument with your spouse and you decide to remind him that he comes from a broken home or is behaving like his atrocious father. Do you think he would put his hands up in surrender and thank you for being so perceptive and right? No, no, no!
You have just shamed and insulted him, even if what you said was true. Nine out of ten times, he will fight back. Why? Because insults bring out the worst in us. Insults offend and hurt us deeply. They shame us profoundly. Insults take a swipe at our identity and our self-worth. And, if that was not enough, insults make us feel severely demeaned, debased and devalued.
Cheap Shots Cheapen Your Relationship
Don’t call your spouse names. Don’t compare him/her to some ugly dysfunctional person. Don’t insult his family, or abuse her siblings. Don’t take a cheap swing at your partner’s physical features; and don’t swear at him/her either.
In the final analysis, whatever you see in your partner is a reflection on you, because you chose him/her to be your partner – warts, bumps and all. That’s why you must never go down that path. It will damage your marriage in unimaginable ways.
If you have done so in the past, I appeal to you to repent, ask for your spouse’s forgiveness and never do it again. I don’t care how upset or angry you are, never insult or shame your spouse. Here are some reasons.
- Your spouse has feelings, just like you do
- Your spouse is not perfect, neither are you
- Your spouse is God’s property, not yours
- Your spouse will not be motivated to change, but to fight back.
- Your spouse is the Apple of God’s Eye – Watch where you’re poking.
Don’t insult or shame your partner privately, and never ever do it publicly either!
Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for building up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander, be put away from you, with all malice. (Ephesians 4:29,31.)
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