Never forget that nobody is perfect. And that includes you! So, since one of the goals of your marriage is to stretch and mature you, you must be open to correction. You can’t allow yourself to get so insecure and defensive that every attempt to suggest an alternative way of doing something turns into a big drama.
Even if you are not sure that the suggestion or correction is ideal, learn to open up to the possibility - if it is not a life and death situation. Anything less and pride will blind you to the many positive possibilities you may have missed. Resist the temptation to peddle the “My way or no way” philosophy.
First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. (Proverbs 16:18. The Message Bible)
For instance, I am very tactile. My love language is to ‘touch’. When I want to show appreciation or kindness, I put my hands on people’s shoulder or around their back. I also like to be touched. So, for the first few years of my marriage, I didn’t see anything dangerous in being this way.
Finally, my wife confronted me a few times with the dangers of my actions (especially as it pertained to the opposite sex) and I’m glad that I listened to her. I might not have become more conscious of these dangers and I might have got into trouble if I wasn’t willing to listen to my wife's evaluation of my pet behaviour.
The point I am making is simple: Listening to your spouse’s suggestions or correction or criticisms can save you from a lot of pain and regret. You see, your spouse sees your blind-spots and loves you enough to be honest with you. Don’t quench that indispensable help.
Sadly, I know a few marriages that could have been saved if the couple had listened to each other's suggestions and corrections. When couple's don't listen to each other, they dishonour each other. The person who is not being listened to hears her/his partner saying, "Your idea is silly." "You have nothing sensible to say." "And, by the way, I know better."
Openness to constructive correction or criticism is a sign of maturity. It shows that you value the opinions of others and that you are aware of your own flaws as a human being. Openness to suggestions keep your communication channels open.
If you stay open to suggestions and corrections:
- You will be a great example of humility to your family.
- Your attitude will earn you more respect from your spouse.
- Your partner will be able to do a better job of watching your back.
- You will be acknowledging that you have room in your life to continue to grow and improve.
This can only be a good thing!
There is much unhappiness in the world because of the many nice things that are left unsaid – Adapted
...To be continued next week.
Extracts from KEYS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IN MARRIAGE...
Written by Pastor Tony Peters.