Thursday, August 19, 2010

Invalidation in Marriage

Q. I've seen the last three blog post and have really been working to better my marriage. What is the fourth negative pattern we should avoid in marriage?

A. The final negative pattern to avoid in marriage is invalidation. We tend to invalidate by subtly or directly putting down the thoughts, feelings, and character of others. You can either directly say that your spouse is wrong or you could simply minimize what they have to say. It causes your spouse to feel unimportant, hurt and disregarded. Of all four of the patterns to avoid in marriage, this could be the easiest to avoid.

Luckily, in order to validate your spouse, all you have to do is treat them with respect and listen. Many times, when a spouse comes with an issue or hurt, they do not want a plan of action to fix it. They are often looking for someone to listen to them and respect their perspective. Many arguments in marriage could be solved simply by listening and validating.

Does this mean that you have to agree with your spouse? No. You can validate feelings and concerns simply by acknowledging them. In fact, research shows that invalidation is one of the best predictors that there will be future issues in the marriage. However, having validation does not say that you will have a healthy marriage. Therefore, stopping invalidation is more important than actually validating. Just listen to your spouse - it will make all the difference.

We are reminded of this idea in Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." When we apply this principle to our marriage relationships, we will see a drastic change in the amount of invalidation that is currently present. Work to build up your spouse and help them to feel validated in their life.

All information taken from: "A Lasting Promise" by Scott Stanley, Daniel Trathen, Savanna McCain, and Milt Bryan


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