EP 92: Communication, Being Offended, and Relationships
Updated: Jan 25, 2022
Welcome to another great discussion on Relationship Fitness! Have you ever said something that seemed normal and appropriate, only to find out later that the other person was offended? Please say that you have been there like I have! These hot spots can destroy relationships if they aren’t handled with intentionality. Let’s discuss how to diffuse the situation.
We need to get out of our head
Many times, we let the dialogue in our head convince us that we should be offended and take action over what someone said. Our ego can be our worst enemy! Another common scenario (more so for men than women) is when we find ourselves “in trouble” with our partner over something we said, and we aren’t even aware that it was offensive! The problem in both kinds of situations is that humans are meaning-making machines, and we make up our own meaning to what the other person said or did. This meaning we assign to another’s words and actions comes from the way we grew up. How do we overcome this problem? Communication is the answer!
If you are offended by someone . . .
First, go cool off before your knee-jerk reaction gets you in trouble. Secondly, look at the problem from the other person’s perspective. Did they 100% intend to offend you? Are you sure? When we assume what the other person meant, we let the voices in our head control us, and the sad part is that we find it easier to erupt toward family members than other people in our lives. Our goal shouldn’t be to punish the other person but to have an intimate connection in a happy, healthy relationship. We can’t achieve that if we always ASS-ume that the other person means harm. Quite often, I find that what I thought the other person intended is not correct at all, and that’s how I’ve learned to take a different approach. That is growth.
Assume the best of people
If you grew up with a power play, ego, and blame dynamic in your family, then you know how exhausting it can be. Who wants that dynamic in their intimate relationship? When you are in love, assume the best of your spouse. Bad days happen for everyone, so give them a break and assume the best of their intentions. This guards against the slippery slope of dissatisfaction and seeking a sympathetic ear from someone who can destroy your marriage. Communicate and confront the issue as you assume the best of your partner. Admit that you assumed the worst and took something the wrong way; chances are that the problem will be resolved peacefully. Show humility, sincerity, and love—and you’ll have a much better outcome.
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