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Matrimonial minefields -part one--track one--smmr


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Matrimonial Minefields: Subtle Ways Satan Seeks to Undermine Your Marriage: Part 1, B.J. Clarke

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Matrimonial minefields -part one--track one--smmr

  1. 1. Matrimonial Minefields
  2. 2. Matrimonial MinefieldsMay Appear In Serene Settings
  3. 3. Satan Wants To Destroy Your Marriage!
  4. 4. Matrimonial MinefieldsConstant Conflict and Criticisms
  5. 5. EXERCISE Relationship Dynamics ScaleUse the following 3-point scale to rate how often youand your mate or partner experience each situationdescribed: 1 = almost never or never, 2 = once in awhile, 3 = frequently.1. Little arguments escalate into ugly fights with accusations, criticisms, name-calling, or bringing up past hurts.2. My partner criticizes or belittles my opinions, feelings, or desires.3. My partner seems to view my words or actions more negatively than I mean them.
  6. 6. 4. When we have a problem to solve, it is like we are onopposite teams.5. I hold back from telling my partner what I really thinkand feel.6. I feel lonely in this relationship.7. When we argue, one of us withdraws—that is, doesn’twant to talk about it anymore or leaves the scene.Markman, Howard J.; Scott M. Stanley; Susan L. Blumberg (2010-03-18). Fighting for Your Marriage:A Deluxe Revised Edition of the Classic Best-seller for Enhancing Marriage and Preventing Divorce(p. 42). John Wiley and Sons. Kindle Edition.
  7. 7. Ted, a 34-year-old construction worker, and Wendy, 32, whoruns a catering business, had been married for 8 years. Likemany couples, their fights started over small issues:TED: (sarcastically) You’d think you could put the cap back on thetoothpaste.WENDY: (equally sarcastically) Oh, like you never forget to put itback.TED: As a matter of fact, I always put it back.WENDY: Oh, I forgot just how compulsive you are. You are right, ofcourse!TED: I don’t even know why I stay with you. You are so negative.WENDY: Maybe you shouldn’t stay. No one is barring the door.TED: I’m not really sure why I do stay any more.
  8. 8. Sarcasm KillsDara is upset that Oliver has not been doing his partaround the house. When he suggests they keep a list ofhis chores on the refrigerator to help him remember, shesays, “Do you think you work really well with lists?”Next, Oliver tells her that he needs fifteen minutes torelax when he gets home before starting to do chores.“So if I leave you alone for fifteen minutes, then you thinkyou’ll be motivated to jump up and do something?” she askshim.“Maybe. We haven’t tried it, have we?” Oliver asks.
  9. 9. DARA: “So you think that’s the cure-all, to give you fifteenminutes?” (sneering)OLIVER: “No, I don’t think that’s the cure-all. I think,combined with writing up a list of weekly tasks that haveto get done. Why not put it on a calendar? Hey, I’ll see itright then and there.”DARA: “Just like when I write stuff in your Day-Timer it getsdone?” (mocking him; more contempt)OLIVER: “I don’t always have a chance to look at myDay-Timer during the day.” (defensive)DARA: “So you think you’ll look at a calendar, then?”
  10. 10. OLIVER: “Yeah. At any point in time, if I’m not up tospeed, you should ask me about it. But when that happensnow, it’s not you asking, it’s you telling me, “You haven’tdone this and you haven’t done that.” Instead say, “Is thereany reason why you haven’t done this or that?” Like, I mean,when I stayed up and did your résumé that one night. Stufflike that happens all the time, and you just don’t take thatinto account at all.” (defensive)DARA: “And I don’t just all of a sudden do things for you,either?” (defensive)OLIVER: “No, you do. . . . I think you need to relax a littlebit.”DARA (sarcastic): “Hmm. Well, that sounds like we solved a lot.”Gottman, John; Nan Silver (2002-02-04). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (pp.32-33). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  11. 11. • This sarcasm and cynicism are types of contempt.So are name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, andhostile humor.• In whatever form, contempt is poisonous to a relation-ship because it conveys disgust.• It’s virtually impossible to resolve a problem when your partner is getting the message you’re disgusted with him or her.• Inevitably, contempt leads to more conflict rather than to reconciliation.
  12. 12. Peter, the manager of a shoe store, was a master atcontempt, at least when it came to his wife. Listen towhat happens when he and Cynthia try to discuss theirdisparate views about spending money.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------He says, “Just look at the difference in our vehicles and our clothes. Ithink that says a lot for who we are and what we value. I mean, youtease me about washing my truck, and you go and pay to have somebodywash your car. We’re paying through the nose for your car, and you can’tbe bothered to wash it. I think that’s outrageous. I think that’s probablythe most spoiled thing that you do.”-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------He’s not merely pointing out that they spend theirmoney differently. He is accusing his wife of a moraldeficiency—of being spoiled.
  13. 13. Cynthia responds by telling him that it’s physicallydifficult for her to wash her car herself.Peter dismisses this explanation and continues to takethe high moral ground. “I take care of my truck because ifyou take care of it, it’ll last longer. I don’t come from thementality of ‘Ah, just go out and buy a new one’ that you seemto.”Still hoping to get Peter on her side, Cynthia says, “If youcould help me to wash my car, I’d really love that. I’d reallyappreciate it.”
  14. 14. But instead of grabbing this chance at reconciliation, Peterwants to do battle. “How many times have you helped me wash mytruck?” he counters.Cynthia tries again to reconcile. “I will help you wash your truck ifyou will help me wash my car.”But Peter’s goal is not to resolve this issue but to dress her down.So he says, “That’s not my question. How many times have youhelped me?”“Never,” says Cynthia.“See?” says Peter. “That’s where I think you have a little responsibility,too. It’s like, you know, if your dad bought you a house, would you expecthim to come over and paint it for you, too?”
  15. 15. Cindy says, “Well, will you always help me wash my car if Ialways help you wash your truck?”“I’m not sure that I’d want ya to help me,” Peter says,laughing.“Well, will you always help me wash my car, then?” Cynthiaasks.“I will help you when I can. I won’t give you a blanketguarantee for life. What are you gonna do, sue me?” asksPeter.And he laughs again. Listening to this discussion, itbecomes clear that Peter’s main purpose is to demeanhis wife.
  16. 16. His contempt comes in the guise of assuming thehigh moral ground, as when he says: “I think thatsays a lot for who we are and what we value,” or “Idon’t come from the mentality of ‘just go out and buy anew one.’ ”Gottman, John; Nan Silver (2002-02-04). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (pp.29-30). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition. Philippians 2:3ff; 1Cor. 13:4-7
  17. 17. To sustain love, we have to learn how tonegotiate ... differences of all kinds ... and tospeak to each other in ways that allow us to beheard, that allow us to be received. —DEE WATTS-JONES Proverbs 13:3; 15:1-4, 28; 18:6-7; 21:23; 29:11, 20
  18. 18. INVALIDATION: PAINFUL PUT-DOWNSWENDY: (very angry) You missed your doctor’sappointment again! I even texted you to remind you.You are so irresponsible. I could see you dying andleaving me, just like your father.TED: (bruised) Thanks a lot. You know I am nothinglike my father.WENDY: He was useless, and so are you.TED: (dripping with sarcasm) I’m sorry. I forgot mygood fortune to be married to such a paragon ofresponsibility. You can’t even keep your purse organized.Markman, Howard J.; Scott M. Stanley; Susan L. Blumberg (2010-03-18). Fighting for Your Marriage:
  19. 19. Preventing InvalidationWENDY: (very angry) I am very angry that you missedthe doctor’s appointment again. I worry about yourbeing around for me in the future.TED: (surprised) It really upset you, didn’t it?WENDY: You bet. I want to know that you are going tobe there for me, and when you miss an appointmentthat I’m anxious about, I worry about us.TED: I understand why it would make you worriedwhen I don’t take care of myself.
  20. 20. Negative Interpretations— When Perception Is Worse Than RealityNegative interpretations occur when one partnerconsistently believes that the motives of the other aremore negative than is really the case.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Margot and David have been married twelve years, and they aregenerally happy with their relationship. Yet their discussions attimes have been plagued by a specific negative interpretation.Every December they have had trouble deciding whether totravel to her parents’ home for the holidays. Margot believes thatDavid dislikes her parents, but in fact, he is quite fond of themin his own way.
  21. 21. MARGOT: We should start looking into plane tickets to go visit myparents this holiday season.DAVID: (thinking about their budget problem) I was wondering ifwe can really afford it this year.MARGOT: (in anger) My parents are very important to me, even ifyou don’t like them. I’m going to go.DAVID: I would like to go—really I would. I just don’t see how wecan afford a thousand dollars in plane tickets and pay the bill forJoey’s orthodontist too.MARGOT: You can’t be honest and admit you just don’t want togo, can you? Just admit it. You don’t like my parents.DAVID: There is nothing to admit. I enjoy visiting your parents. I’mthinking about money here, not your parents.MARGOT: That’s a convenient excuse. (storms out of the room)
  22. 22. Given that we know David really does like to go to herparents, can you see how powerful her negativeinterpretation has become? He cannot penetrate it.What can he say or do to make a difference as long asher belief that he dislikes them is so strong? In thiscase, David wants to address the decision they mustmake from the standpoint of the budget, but Margot’sinterpretation will overpower their ability tocommunicate effectively and will make it hard to cometo a decision that makes both of them happy.Fortunately for them, this problem is relatively isolatedand not a consistent pattern in their marriage. Proverbs 18:13; John 7:24
  23. 23. Alfred and Eileen are a couple who were high schoolsweethearts; they have been married eighteen years andhave three children, but have been very unhappy in theirmarriage for more than seven years—in part due to thecorrosive effect of strong negative interpretations.Although there are positive things in their marriage,almost nothing each does is recognized positively by theother, as illustrated by this recent conversation aboutparking their car.
  24. 24. ALFRED: You left the car out again.EILEEN: Oh. I guess I forgot to put it in when I cameback from Lizzie’s.ALFRED: (with a bit of a sneer) I guess you did. Youknow how much that irritates me.EILEEN: (exasperated) Look, I forgot. Do you think Ileave it out just to irritate you?ALFRED: (coldly) Actually, that is exactly what I think.I have told you so many times I want the car in thegarage at night.EILEEN: Yes, you have. But I don’t leave it out just totick you off. I just forget.
  25. 25. ALFRED: If you cared what I thought about things,you’d remember.EILEEN: (anger rising in her voice now) You know thatI put the car in nine times out of ten.ALFRED: More like half the time, and those are thetimes I leave the garage door up for you.EILEEN: (disgusted, walking away) Have it your way. Itdoesn’t matter what reality is. You will see it your way.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Proverbs 21:23We all have a very strong tendency toward “confirmation bias,”which is the tendency to look for evidence that confirms whatwe already think is true about others or situations.
  26. 26. WITHDRAWAL AND AVOIDANCE: HIDE AND SEEKWithdrawal and avoidance are different manifestationsof a pattern in which one partner shows anunwillingness to get into or stay with importantdiscussions.Withdrawal can be as obvious as getting up and leavingthe room or as subtle as “turning off” or “shuttingdown” during an argument. The withdrawer often tendsto get quiet during an argument, or may agree quickly tosome suggestion just to end the conversation, with noreal intention of following through.
  27. 27. Let’s look at this pattern as played out in a discussionbetween Paula, a twenty-eight-year-old realtor, andJeff, a thirty-two-year-old loan officer. Married forthree years, they have a two-year-old baby girl, Tanya,whom they adore. They were concerned that thetension in their relationship was starting to affect theirdaughter.Markman, Howard J.; Scott M. Stanley; Susan L. Blumberg (2010-03-18). Fighting for YourMarriage: A Deluxe Revised Edition of the Classic Best-seller for Enhancing Marriage andPreventing Divorce (p. 57). John Wiley and Sons. Kindle Edition.
  28. 28. PAULA: When are we going to talk about how you arehandling your anger?JEFF: Can’t this wait? I have to get these taxes done.PAULA: I’ve brought this up at least five times already.No, it can’t wait!JEFF: (tensing) What’s to talk about, anyway? It’s noneof your business.PAULA: (frustrated and looking right at Jeff) Tanya ismy business. I’m afraid that you may lose your temperand hurt her, and you won’t do a thing to learn to dealbetter with your anger.JEFF: (turning away, looking out the window) I loveTanya. There’s no problem here. (leaving the room as hetalks)
  29. 29. PAULA: (very angry now, following Jeff into the nextroom) You have to get some help. You can’t just stickyour head in the sand.JEFF: I’m not going to discuss anything with you whenyou are like this.PAULA: Like what? It doesn’t matter if I am calm orfrustrated—you won’t talk to me about anythingimportant. Tanya is having problems, and you have toface that.JEFF: (quiet, tense, fidgeting)PAULA: Well?
  30. 30. JEFF: (going to closet and grabbing a sweater) I’m goingout to have a drink and get some peace and quiet.PAULA: (voice raised, angry) Talk to me, now. I’m tiredof you leaving when we are talking about somethingimportant.JEFF: (looking away from Paula, walking toward thedoor) I’m not talking; you are. Actually, you’re yelling.See you later.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you are seeing this pattern in your relationship, keep in mindthat it will likely get worse if you allow it to continue. That isbecause as pursuers push more, withdrawers withdraw more.And as withdrawers pull back, pursuers push harder.
  31. 31. Get Off To A Good Start!After many years of research, John Gottman has begunemphasizing something that we find very compelling. Some yearsago, he determined that how couples begin talks about issuesdetermines 96 percent of the subsequent course of theconversation. That means that if you start out angry as you raisea concern, the resulting talk is likely to be an angry one, and youare not very likely to pull out of it. This is all the more true ifyou start with an edge of hostility. If you begin on a morepositive note, you are very likely to be able to keep theconversation on that level.Markman, Howard J.; Scott M. Stanley; Susan L. Blumberg (2010-03-18). Fighting for Your Marriage:A Deluxe Revised Edition of the Classic Best-seller for Enhancing Marriage and Preventing Divorce(pp. 59-60). John Wiley and Sons. Kindle Edition.
  32. 32. The Danger Of FilteringBOB: (thinking he’d like to go out to dinner with Mary, asshe comes in the door) What should we do for dinnertonight?MARY: (hears “When will dinner be ready?”) Why is italways my job to make dinner? I work as hard as you do.BOB: (hears her response as an attack and thinks, “Why isshe always so negative?”) It is not always your job to makedinner. I made dinner once last week!MARY: (The negative cycle continues, because Mary tendsto feel she does everything around the house.) Bringinghome hamburgers and fries is not making dinner, Bob.BOB: (With frustration mounting, he gives up.) Just forgetit. I didn’t want to go out with you anyway.
  33. 33. MARY: (confused, as she can’t remember him sayinganything about going out) You never said anything aboutwanting to go out.BOB: ( feeling really angry) Yes I did! I asked you where youwanted to go out to dinner, and you got really nasty.MARY: I got nasty? You never said anything about goingout.BOB: Did too!MARY: You’re never wrong, are you?----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sound familiar? You can see where things went wrong for them on thisevening. Bob had a great idea, a positive idea, yet conflict blew out theevening. Bob was not as clear as he could have been in telling Mary what hewas thinking. This left a lot of room for interpretation, and interpret Marydid. She assumed that he was asking—no, telling—her to get dinner on thetable as she walked in the door.