One of the fastest ways to reduce trust with your spouse is to badmouth them to others, i.e. friends, associates, co-workers, or, worse, to your parents or other members of your family.
If this gets back to your spouse (which it inevitably will), or even worse, if you do it in front of them, this will reduce and possibly destroy the trust in your relationship.
Another version of this is failing to defend your spouse when another criticizes them. For example, let’s say your parents start to criticize your spouse. You have to, at that point, stick up for your spouse. To not do so is to start down a slippery slope. When you said “I do” you agreed to create a team with that person, and you have to defend that person, even if it’s your parents giving them a bad rap. If you don’t, it will begin to drive a wedge between your spouse and your parents.
You have to think of you and your husband or wife as a team. You are working together to create a good measure of survival for the both of you, your kids, and everyone related to the family.
So how do you work well with members of a team? Well, you have to be supportive and positive. This means to consider, think about, and communicate about that person’s best qualities. You want to build them up and make them feel good about themselves.
This doesn’t mean to lie to them and tell them how great they are at something when they aren’t really. And I’m not talking about fake “self-esteem” where you make someone feel great about themselves without any consideration of actual achievement. What I’m saying is that you are supportive of your spouse and make them feel good about the person they are and about the things that they are good at. Protect and defend them against attack.
And they’ll do the same for you. That’s a real team.
This article was written by Stan Dubin. Additional information can be found at the blog: Marriage Success and in the book: When the Thrill Is Gone. You may republish this article in your newsletter or at your web site or blog providing the entire article is kept intact, including the contact links.