Episode # 5 – Are you a Safe Spouse?
Welcome to Healthy Married Life, a podcast dedicated to learning, growing and maintaining a Healthy Married Life so that you can take your relationship to the next level.
In this episode we want you to ask yourself (and your spouse) Are You a Safe Spouse?
In our last episode (Five Healthy Ways to Plan for the Busy Holiday Season) we discussed making sure that you left breathing room in your schedule to have what we call Couch time. This is the time where you just sit on the Couch and talk with your spouse. Ideally it would be something that is spontaneous and not something that is forced.
The subject came up because we had previously found couch time in the day and realized that it had been months since our last chance to have couch time. During the episode, we asked the question of why we don’t do it more. What is holding us back? In trying to answer this question over the course of the past couple weeks, we realized that for some couples, it might be that one or both do not feel “safe” talking to their spouse, so they hesitate to have couch time.
That was part of the reason we decided to ask the following question in this episode: Are you a Safe Spouse?
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
Having the ability to freely share emotions in a vital part of a healthy marriage. If you are afraid to tell your husband that something he said hurt your feelings because it will just set him off, that is unhealthy and will only lead you to visiting Leh’s office one day. And for you first time listeners out there, in case you did not know, Leh is a divorce lawyer, who, by the way, hates divorce. If you are afraid to tell your wife your hopes and dreams because you think she will laugh at you, that is likewise unhealthy and could lead him to telling his hopes and dreams to another woman.
Without safety, you will remain emotionally disconnected, which is never healthy. It interferes with intimacy, it interferes with growing in a relationship (if you are not growing, you are dying), and it interferes with your ability to develop effective conflict resolution. You want to be able to be completely honest about your fears, joy, pain, dreams, hopes for the future, etc. You need to tell your spouse when they have said something that hurts their feelings, otherwise it will be like an open wound that you do not treat. Open wounds usually become infected and can cause someone to die, just like your marriage can die.
Much of the following information is directly from the Thrive, Building Stronger Marriages . . . Together by North Point Ministries, Inc. (http://marriedlifeonline.com/thrive/) Unfortunately, this material is not yet ready for sale or distribution to individuals or other churches. But, North Point Ministries is in the process of making it available to others.
WHAT DOES A SAFE SPOUSE LOOK LIKE?
A Safe Spouse:
1) Stays engaged and connected during conversations;
2) Is patient with their spouse rather than prone to angry outbursts, fiery emotions, or defensiveness;
3) Does not shut down, respond passively, or draw away from conversations;
4) Does not interrupt, argue, or respond with contempt or sarcasm;
5) Does not criticize another’s feelings, but is empathetic;
6) Refuses to judge the motives of others and tries to give the benefit of the doubt;
7) Makes the other person fell honored, valued, and understood; and
8) Can be trusted to maintain confidentiality.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF TO HELP DETERMINE IF YOU ARE PROJECTING ‘SAFE SPOUSE’
Trust – Are you Trustworthy and do what you say you will? Do you have 100% of your spouse’s best interests at heart, really?
Compassion – Do you make a concerted effort to understand your spouse? Are you sensitive and respectful of their vulnerability?
Presence – Does your spouse have your undivided attention when you are talking? Are you emotionally available when your spouse needs you?
For the Date Segment, Leh took a Friday off to spend with Stephanie while the children were at school. This was great. Breakfast is much quieter than Dinner (and cheaper), and there is no feeling of the need to rush because you have the entire rest of the day together. There is no worry or cost of a babysitter because the kids are in school. Leh turned his phone on Do Not Disturb and Leh and Stephanie spent the day relaxing and talking together. At Stephanie’s suggestion, they went shoe shopping for Leh (he had not bought dress shoes in about 13 years and his current ones could not be re-soled anymore).
Reality Check Segment
Stephanie – I need to remember that questions Leh asks are coming from a good place because he is usually trying to understand me, even if the questions do not sit well with me at first.
Leh – I need to remember that comments Stephanie makes to me are coming from a good place, and, before I react to anything she says, I need to think about how she may interpret it and avoid saying something in a way that might hurt her feelings.
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Thanks for listening!