Are you feeling mistreated and unappreciated by your husband? Is he being rude and disrespectful?
Even though he is behaving in appropriately, it doesn't mean that's' the way it always has to be. People can change and do change all the time but they need to know how.
Here are three powerful videos from Dr. Dana Fillmore, Author, TV Relationship Expert and Clinical Psychologist to help you understand what to do when your husband is being disrespectful.
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Even if one partner wants a divorce or separation, it is still possible to recover what has been lost. You can save your marriage even if you are the only one willing to work on it. It may be easier than you think.
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Dr. Dana Answers Angie's Question About How To Deal With Her Disrespectful Husband
Whenever we receive a question that touches on a broad issue, it’s a great chance to not only help one couple resolve an issue, but also to share some insights with you.
“My husband has no filter when it comes to saying things that hurt. We’ve been married 5 years, and his mouth – and the lack of control he has when it comes to thinking before speaking – has caused endless problems in our marriage. I’ve had enough of this. He complains about our intimacy not being what it should, but fails to understand that I can’t work on intimacy if I feel disrespected and hurt as often as I do. If he doesn’t change, I’m afraid I will have to call it quits. Please tell me what I can do about this issue…”
Angie sounds like she’s in a lot of pain and understandably so. It really hurts when someone we love speaks to us in a rude and inconsiderate manner. We tend to want to fight back or shut down. Neither is answer. Instead, we need to let them know how we feel in a manner they can hear - in a manner that is effective.
Effective communication begins with first understanding your own motivation. Asking yourself WHY you need to say something gets you in the right headspace to have a conversation they will actually hear. Because our spouse will always be more open to hearing what we have to say if our motivation is Love. Meaning if our motivation for asking for what we need is about protecting our love for them.
Angie talked about how her husband’s disrespectful communication is causing problems in their marriage. She’s actually even contemplating “calling it quits.” But she really just wants to stop hurting. She needs to keep in mind, that her motivation for talking to her husband about his disrespectful behavior is about ensuring that resentment does not build up so that she can stay connected to him.
There’s a difference between saying, “I hate it when you talk to me that way. Your so mean and condescending. Why would I want to sleep with you when you’re being such a jerk?” or saying, “Hey, when you speak to me with that tone of voice, I feel really hurt because it makes me think you don’t love me. Then I’m angry all night and I feel really distant from you. I love you so much I don’t want distance between us so can you please talk to me in a calmer voice? That would make it so much easier to hear what you have to say. I also feel so much more attracted to you when I feel close to you.” See, one is blaming and shaming and one is about making sure they stay close.
You probably caught my use of “I statements” here. If you have my StrongMarriageNow system, you’ve heard me talk about the importance of “I statements” many times but let me touch on them again because they’re so important.
Help Your Husband Hear You By Using An "I Statement"
Basically, any time you have something to say that you want your spouse to hear, the best way to get your point across is by using an “I” statement. There are four parts to an “I” statement.
1. "I feel ____________”
“I feel hurt.”
“I feel rejected.”
See, when you start the statement with “I feel,” you take responsibility for your own feelings. On a side note, remember we can’t feel a “that.” “I feel that you are being a jerk,” is not an “I” statement.
2. "when you ______________________________”
“I feel hurt when you raise your voice.”
“I feel rejected when you forget to call me.”
All you do here is state the specific behavior that caused the feeling. Again, resist the temptation to make a judgment. Don’t say, “I feel angry when you’re annoying.” Also, keep it short. Don’t go on and on about what they did. You’ll lose them at about the 3rd sentence.
3. "because __________________________________________”
“I feel hurt when you raise your voice because it reminds me of my father.”
“I feel rejected when you forget to call me because it makes me feel disrespected.”
Explaining the consequences of the behavior helps your spouse understand the impact of it. This one’s important because they might not think it’s a big deal because it wouldn’t be a big deal to them
4. “I’d appreciate it if you would_____________________”
This can be a little awkward because it feels kinda touchy-feely, but it's extremely important because we often tell people what we don't want from them but it's way more important to tell them what we do want. So go ahead and put it in your own words. Try something like:
“I feel hurt when you raise your voice because it reminds me of my father. I'd rather you use a quieter voice when you speak to me.”
“I feel rejected when you forget to call me because it makes me feel disrespected. I'd appreciate if you didn't promise to call me if you're not sure you'll be able to.”
When you kindly and lovingly ask for what you need, it's so much easier for your partner to give it to you. Then make sure to follow it up with the LOVE connection. “I’m telling you this because I love you…”
Tone Of Voice Is Important
So, let me finish all this by talking about How we say it. In other words, tone of voice. How we say something is sometimes way more important than what we say when it comes down to whether they will hear us or not . In fact, tone of voice is likely, at least in part, what Angie is referring to when she says her husband is being disrespectful. Our voices can convey the entire range of emotions from humor, affection and patience to frustration, defensiveness, contempt and pain.
Walk Away Until You're Both Calm
This is why I’m going to wrap up with some advice to Angie. If your husband is being disrespectful, walk away. That’s right! Don’t fight back. Just walk away and wait. Wait till he’s cooled down. He will not hear you - ever - at all - if either of you is mad. It’s a waste of time to even try and honestly, I have found that there is very little that needs to be discussed right away. Unless your house is on fire, it can wait.
So wait till you’ve both calmed down, wait till you have your head on straight and you’re sure your motivation for talking to him is coming from a place of love, then tell him how you feel. It is only then that he may be able to finally understand how his disrespectful behavior affects you.
Still got questions? Please comment below.
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com