Understanding Defensive Strategies Within The Marriage

What are the ultimate defense strategies used to ward off the hurt or pain brought on in a marriage?

Being in a marital relationship can bring about so much joy, that is until you run into the terrible marriage enemy which is marital conflict. Marital conflict and personal conflict which we deal with on a daily basis are two different things

It is generally more difficult to deal with marital conflict being as it generally comes about due to opposing beliefs or interests in a relationship in which both individuals have their weaknesses and strengths exposed.

How can you be aware if you are using defense techniques in your marriage?

It is a natural desire to avoid hurt and pain in our marriage.

If we however depend more on our psychological defenses we begin to see that marital conflicts can be avoided. You can shift your focus from “how can I fix this problem”? to “how can avoid the pain and stress this brings about”?

If you want to change the current course your marriage is taking you must understand that
many of your behaviors are in fact hidden defense mechanisms.

Following are a few defense mechanisms worth mentioning, these are defense techniques many people do not recognize:

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1. Activity Which is Obsessive

This is a mechanism which is used often by those who feel bored and tired with their marriage.

Once the initial thrill of being married has worn off many people begin taking on activities which limit the amount of time they end up spending with their significant other.

The specific activity is of no consequence. Some individuals turn their attention to work and spend as much time as possible in the office and don’t make it home on time for dinner often.

Others choose to take on time absorbing hobbies which take up most of their day. Not only will obsessive activity minimize the amount of time you spend with your significant other, but it also causes a distance between you and your spouse.

2. Giving Up

When an individual gives up or throws in the towel any and all previous efforts of problem resolution or taking care of their spouse’s needs are withdrawn or ended completely.

This is typically seen in relationships in which one individual had become quite critical of his or hers partners weakness or faults as they see them.

When there is an overwhelming amount of frequent and harsh criticism it can be quite difficult to handle. The person receiving the criticism will typically cease any positive effort in order to avoid their spouse’s criticism.

This technique of escaping is not addressing the main issues in a relationship, in fact things can become worse for both individuals and feelings of hurt and abandonment can ensue on both sides.

3. Accepting Pain Stoically

There are individuals who pretend they never feel hurt or pain, this is because they do not want to let other knows they are easily hurt. This defense causes a false projection of an individual’s real personality to be credited to the point that others may believe that their behavior is having no consequence.

Example: John was not fond of his wife wearing makeup so he used off-hand comments as to how unnecessary it was for her to wear it. John’s wife Jane was fond of wearing makeup, it was a boost to her self-esteem and it made her feel pretty even if she put on a bit of lipstick.

Due to the amount John commented on the subject, Jane decided to act as if she was not hurt by his comments just to “keep the peace” in the relationship.

This however only made matters worse because John was clueless to the importance makeup had in Jane’s life. As time went on the comments hurt Jane more and more and because he thought his comments did not hurt Jane, John was not stopping anytime soon.

4. Trying to be “Perfect”

Another defense mechanism used by people who do not want their weaknesses and flaws to be criticized is pretending to be perfect. Those who are sensitive to their vulnerable points try their best to be as compliant and responsive in an attempt to “please everyone”. They believe this will keep them out of range of the criticism of others.

This defense mechanism actually causes a person’s true personality to be hidden and an untrue sense of perfection causes others to pull away being as people perceive this untruth to mean something else is being hidden from them.

In a marital relationship, mindless compliance can cause a gap between couples, no arguments or points of conflict in a marriage is not normal. It may sound unbelievable but conflict resolution is a healthy part of marriage, it boosts couples natural harmony and promotes unity regardless of the good or bad times.

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