My Husband Puts Me Down In Front Of His Family: When Your Husband Puts You Down

Some words have fangs. Among the sharpest are those classified as negative labeling. Negative labels come in the form of adjectives: "You're lazy, selfish, unreasonable, insensitive, etc.," and also in nouns: "You're a loser, slut, bitch, bad boy, etc."

Sometimes tone of voice grows fangs on otherwise benign words. "I love you," can imply with nefarious inflection that no one else could, because you are pretty much unlovable.

In addition to the fact that negative labeling implies unchangeable characteristics of personality rather than negotiable behavior, negative labels virtually guarantee that you'll get more of the behavior you're condemning. After all, what do "lazy" people do? Well, they don't help around the house. What do "bad" kids do?

Once negatively labeled, it is never clear how many good things you have to do not to be bad anymore or how much work you have to finish to no longer be considered lazy. Early in my career I worked with a 12 year-old who had blown several foster care placements with stunts like putting out light bulbs in the middle of the night with paper clip missiles launched by a rubber band. He complained in his first session that all his life people told him he was a bad kid. "So why don't they just back the (bleep) off and let me do my job?"

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Criticism

Criticism is often thinly-veiled negative labeling. "You play the TV too loud," can easily beg the question, "What kind of person would do such a thing? An inconsiderate one, that's who!"

Even when it avoids direct negative labeling and seems to focus on behavior, criticism is destructive when filled with blame, when it doesn't focus on improvement, when it implies that there is only one "right way" to do things, or when it's belittling.

Critical people tend to be highly self-critical. As hard as they might be on others, they are usually harder on themselves. They were often criticized as children, at least implicitly - the message was clear that, in important ways, they weren't quite good enough. Self-critical patterns tend to form in early childhood and by late adolescence mutate into chronic criticism of others.

Negative labels in the form of nouns, adjectives, or criticism, like all forms of abuse, are more autobiographical than descriptive - they tell you more about the people who use them than those they are meant to describe. They tell you whom to avoid if you want a cooperative workplace or if you long for love without hurt.

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How do you make sure your marriage is going to stand the test of time? What are some good marriage tips for a successful relationship? How hard is it to follow successful marriage tips?

Accept Him

First, don't make the mistake of marrying someone who you believe you can change. People are very hard to change and instead of trying to force something on him, change yourself. You will need to accept your husband for what he is if you want to have a successful marriage. If there is some destructive behavior that must be changed, do so with love and encouragement and never put him down.

Communication

The most important successful marriage tip is to communicate. This means that you will have to open up about everything and talk through any important decisions or issues which may arise between the two of you. These open lines of communication will enhance the respect and love you have for each other. In addition, open communication keeps things from being bottled up and can help the two of you avoid fights.

Be Intimate

A lot of times relationships start off hot and heavy, but the intimacy seems to wane after a while. However, in order to have a successful marriage, you will need to keep the love in your marriage. Intimacy is one of the single best ways to keep your partner close.

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Be Accepting

You must understand that no one is perfect. We are all going to have flaws and you must accept these in your spouse. Instead, appreciate any differences and love them in spite of any flaws or shortcomings.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Another important tip for a successful marriage is to let the small stuff go. Don't harp on the socks on the floor, but rather pay attention to the big things in your marriage. There are always going to be challenges in a marriage and you will have to learn which ones are more important than others. Make sure that you pick your battles carefully. Sometimes, it is just better to let the little things go. Remember that life is short and it is really only the big things that matter in the end.

Have Friends

While you want to spend time with each other, having a successful marriage also means spending some time apart. At least once every two weeks, you should schedule some time with your own friends. This will help you retain your own identity. In addition, absence always makes the heart grow fonder.

Care for Each Other

Never take your spouse for granted if you want to have a successful relationship. Be sure that you compliment them and tell him how much he means to you. Do the little things such as bring your husband some water if he has been working in the yard all day or simply say that you love him.

Go on a Date

Don't forget to continue to date each other even after you have been married for a while. Take the time to go out to a dinner and movie on Saturday night and spend some time with just the two of you.

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Marriage counseling questions are a good way for couples to find out about their issues, and address them before it becomes too destructive. It gives each spouse the opportunity to bring out issues that the other side may not have known about, or it can directly address problems and differences that have been noticed by both sides. Asking these questions is important in that it gives couples the chance to rebuild their relationship into a stronger one. Marriage requires compromises on many different levels, and marriage counseling can be a constructive way for couples to address the needs for compromise.

What needs to be fixed?
Most couples do not have the open environment that marriage counselors provide to encourage communication and discussion, and therefore, many couples lack the answer to this basic question. Many times it is just a handful of issues that is the cause of many other problems in a relationship. Being able to identify the problem allows couples to backtrack and see what the underlying issues are.

What issues have brought you to this point?
Issues that have been the cause for marriage counseling require immediate attention from both partners, as well as the counselor themselves. Being able to collectively prioritize your most important issues gives couples a better chance for building a strong marriage since most marriage problems stem from one or two major issues. It is important to know why are you seeking marriage counseling since it helps couples realize what they expect to gain from counseling.

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How do you feel about your spouse's issues?
Knowing which issues are the most important for each spouse gives them a better understanding of how to fix those issues and what areas each partner needs to work on. Seeing what the other partner values most also gives insight into the decisions they make, and possibly give each other a better understanding the next time an argument arises. Having too many issues at one time can be overwhelming, and prioritizing this list lets couples work together to figure out how to resolve their issues.

How are you willing to improve this relationship?
One of the harder questions, each spouse needs to understand that a stronger marriage requires compromise. Marriage is a two way street and runs on compromise, which makes it that much more important that couples take the initiative to realize what they need to change, and how to do it. Couples need to realize that change is not truly change without the proper attitude and action.

All relationships have problems that need to be smoothed out, and these marriage counseling questions provide a great place to start. Actively communicating and talking about what issues bother each other can lead to a much more relaxed marriage that doesn't revolve around fights and arguments. With or without counseling, couples should look to always ask each other the necessary questions before making any quick judgments and decision that could harm the marriage in the long run.

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Before we discuss marriage vows let us first take a look at marriage. Marriage is a covenant or a binding agreement between a man and a woman where they commit to love and live with each other. It is a covenant that is made before God and people. It is therefore a sacred and legal institution and is to be both monogamous and permanent. According to the Bible, the first marriage occurred between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The seriousness of that relationship is evidenced in Genesis 2:24, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh (NIV)."

The above represents God's ideal but society clearly demonstrates that there is often a discrepancy between God's ideal and reality. Divorce and strained relationships characterize many marriages today. What was meant to be an intimate and fulfilling relationship has become something of a horror story for a number of people.
I want to identify some of the factors that contribute to this problem. Human nature tends not to be altruistic and it is not long before selfishness surfaces in marriage. One person or both become motivated by self-interests and the relationship suffers accordingly. Some individuals come into marriage with idealistic and unrealistic expectations. Sooner than later they realize that their picture of perfection is anything but. A chief problem is lack of commitment. Marriage, in order to survive and do well, needs two individuals that are committed to each other in spite of internal and external factors.

We are products of our society and diminishing value is placed on keeping one's word and truth. Additionally, our society has an over-preoccupation with sex and pleasure. Both women and men are victims of this outlook but perhaps the greatest damage is done to women who really are looking for emotional intimacy but instead are treated as sexual objects. The pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification (as opposed to delayed gratification) often leads to a lack of responsibility. As a Christian and a pastor, my biggest concern is the lack of reverence for God. Sadly, some Christians who made a covenant before God are willing to discard that covenant when the marriage experiences difficulties.

For some people, the solution is not to get married at all. However, marriage is a beautiful institution established by God that can result in personal and emotional fulfillment. I have been married for just over twelve years and my life is richer for the experience. In fact, the only decision that has been more important than getting married has been accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. Although some marriages end in divorce, the good news is that most marriages can be restored. Ruined marriages have negative impacts on children, family, friends, finances and on other things. Those who think that leaving a husband/wife for another person is rewarding need to consider that the failure rate for second marriages is higher than for first marriages and third time marriages are even worse.

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There can be variety in the marriage vows and some people even make up their own. Traditional vows typically include words like love, honor, cherish, protect, forsaking all others, holding only to her, to have and to hold in sickness and in health for richer or poorer. Such words are powerful if we are prepared to live them out. The marriage vows, therefore, are not trivial words recited in a ceremony but should be a philosophy that governs the marriage.

Marriage involves love. Love is a commitment to another person. It is a decision to care for someone else. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 gives characteristics of love which include patience, kindness, selflessness, forgiveness, truth, trust and perseverance. Love is also an emotion. People talk about being in love and there is a certain euphoria attached to that statement.

However, true love is to be distinguished from lust and infatuation. Lust is when the primary motivation for the relationship is sex. Many newly weds can attest that sex is a big part of the relationship. Sex alone cannot produce a committed and balanced relationship. Infatuation is that in love experience that drives people to do all kinds of crazy things in marriage. It typically lasts for about two years. The couple must then decide if to break up or to allow true love to grow and blossom. Both lust and infatuation are selfish behaviors that actually prevent healthy relationships from developing.

Marriage also requires us to honor our spouse. We are to treat him or her with respect and not be rude or demeaning. The Bible encourages Christians to honor others above themselves, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3 NIV). Synonyms for the word cherish include treasure, appreciate and take pleasure in. Our spouse has value. Apart from God, my wife is the most important person to me. She came before my children and unless death occurs, she will be there after the children have moved out of the house. The Bible says that we are one flesh which prompted the apostle Paul to write, "In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies" (Ephesians 5:28).

We have a responsibility to protect our spouse from every form of attack whether physical, verbal or otherwise. In history, and I'm by no means defending this, men dueled to defend the honor of a wife. Jesus described the greatest love of all where a person is willing to sacrifice his life for another as He did on the cross for man's redemption (John 15:13). Although we typically think of men as the protectors, some women can be fierce protectors. It is an insult to your marriage vows when for example you allow your parents to verbally humiliate your spouse.

In our overly sexualized culture, having multiple partners is nothing big. Even in an age of HIV/AIDS, such behavior is still prevalent. It is even possible to have secret affairs via internet chat rooms and pornographic websites. There are also affairs that don't fit the typical mould such as emotional affairs that stop just short of physical intimacy. Marriage vows require that we forsake all others and be committed to our spouse in body and soul. Jesus raised the ante when He said, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28 NIV). We are to forsake all others and hold only to her or to him. Very few things are as beautiful as the marriage of childhood sweethearts.

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The marriage vows call for commitment in spite of negative or positive circumstances. It's easy to remain married when things are going well but how do we respond when problems surface. Do we pull away from our spouse? Do we head to the lawyer, cursing saying that he/she is not going to get a cent of my money, the property or the children? It is the ability to overcome challenges that make us better people and strengthens our marriage.

Marital vows have no magical quality. Without commitment on the part of both persons, they can easily become meaningless rhetoric. I want to challenge you to honor your marriage vows. Keep these points in mind. Recognize that neither you nor your spouse is perfect. In light of this, learn to forgive your spouse when he or she makes a mistake or does something to hurt you. Remember to appreciate your spouse. There was a reason why you chose to marry this particular person. Generally, you have a good man or a good woman. If you can fall out of love, you can also fall back in. Love is not simply about feeling but is definitely about commitment. Determine that you will love and be faithful to your spouse until you die. Discard the word divorce from your personal dictionary. It is not an option; many times it is just a cop out.

Go over your vows with your spouse or choose a fresh set of vows if you can't remember what the original ones were. Write them down, laminate them, frame them, put them somewhere visible to remind you of the seriousness of your commitment. Along with this, it would be good to renew your vows. This is like getting married all over again except to the same person. I would even encourage you to have a honeymoon after the renewal. Keep passion and romance alive. Leave the kids at home or with a babysitter and have a date night. Additionally, keep things sizzling in the bedroom. I remember an anecdote where a child asked her grandmother how old do you have to be to stop having sex. The grandmother told her, "Child, you going to have to ask somebody older because I'm not there yet."

Take immediate steps to save your marriage if problems are developing. Talk to a pastor/priest, counselor, a trusted friend or someone that is in a position to listen to you and offer good advice. The danger is when you wait too late. You see symptoms but you do nothing to remedy the sickness that is destroying your marriage. Also, take a look at yourself. The problem isn't just the other person. Learn to talk about everything. The three main problems in marriage are communication, sex and money.

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