Understanding Defensive Strategies In Your Marriage

What do people consciously avoid in an intimate relationship?

Marriage is often seem as mystifying – after all, it does take courage to commit to someone for your whole life.

Of course, you can always separate from the person you married, but there’s surely the idealism that, when committing to someone, you should do your best to make it work.

Many married couples end up falling apart due to being unable to properly manage conflict in their relationships. While marriage shouldn’t be synonymous with conflict, this sort of problem should be considered normal when you commit to someone on a deep level.

What exactly does marriage change?

When choosing to love and trust someone to the point that you marry them, you’ll be creating a unique path for yourself – after all, from now on, you’ll have a spouse by your side. You probably know a few golden couples out there who look like they have found the formula for a perfect marriage.

I’ve met couples who have been married for over 50 years and have never really felt unhappy with each other. The idea that it is possible to spend over half a century with your spouse without encountering a serious conflict is a seriously inspiring thought.

Of course, we can’t all be like these couples.

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Since each human being is unique, we all have a very different vision of what would a perfect marriage be like. These difference can cause a lot of conflict in a relationship.

What do we try to avoid the most?

People create a defense for themselves when they face the following:

1. Being abandoned by one’s spouse in any way

2. Having a plan or idea rejected

3. Feeling like a husband or wife who’s less than ideal

4. Feelings of loneliness and isolation

5. Not being properly understood

6. Feeling powerless or helpless

7. Emotional or mental fatigue

8. Being emotionally and mentally dominated by a wife or husband who’s controlling

9. All forms of fear

10. Feeling guilty, whether it’s for something imagined or real

11. Feeling humiliated after not achieving something

12. Feeling jealous over anything

Obviously, these are examples of very negative states of mind, and it’s understandable why people always try to defend themselves when they’re in such a state. No one likes feeling inadequate or jealous, particularly when a spouse is involved.

Seeking comfort and security in any way you can is basic human nature.

What kind of defenses are the most common in a troubled marriage?

Like I’ve said earlier, it’s perfectly natural to want to protect yourself from hurt or pain. However, when you start to overdo that, you may sacrifice the integrity of your marriage by closing off your significant other.

Here are some common defenses we often observe in a rocky marriage:

1. Excessive Socializing

When an individual feels that they’ve been cut off from the marriage by an uncommunicative or unresponsive wife or husband, they start to seek social connection by focusing excessively on someone else (such as a best friend) or a social group (such as a knitting club)

2. Shutting Down

Another form of protecting oneself from hurt is by being mentally and emotionally absent from a given situation. For instance, if a wife feels that her husband has been criticizing her landscaping plans excessively, she may decide not to talk to him at all in order to let the hurt dissipate.

Naturally, this behavior often ends up causing the other party to become uncommunicative and cold too – the result is a cold, wide gap between two people who simply failed to realize that talking things through and dealing with the situation is better than shutting it down.

3. Investing Energy And Time Elsewhere

This is another common defense mechanism, found most commonly in those who live in constant fear of being abandoned or left by their spouse. When someone feels lonely or isolated, they may feel that they need to create a “Fall back” plan.

Basically, this means they’ll start focusing their energy and time on someone outside the relationship in hopes that, when the relationship falls apart, there will be someone else waiting for them.

Sadly, cheating often occurs due to this defense mechanism – and people are often unaware of the true roots of this behavior.

4. Developing An Addiction

All sorts of addiction can help dulling the pain of being in a marriage that appears to be falling apart.

Addiction can become a focal point of one’s existence so they don’t have to feel the pain associate with the conflict they’re facing. Logical thoughts become suspended, and emotion gets masked by the addiction – so self-gratification becomes the most important thing in the day.

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