A dear friend of mine who’s a Buddhist sent me this post from one of her favorite blogs, TinyBuddha.com. It’s about dealing with the difficult people in our lives, but I thought it had some great advice for loving your spouse when your spouse isn’t being particularly
lovable. You know those times: they get snippy or snarky because they don’t feel well or are having problems at work. They don’t want to do anything you feel like doing. There are any number of “symptoms”.
Here are a few of author Lauri Deschene’s great tips:
1. Dig deeper but stay out of the hole.
I love this one. Essentially, dig deeper for the cause of the problem, but don’t climb down into it by condoning or excusing a bad attitude or bad behavior.
2. Maintain a positive boundary (or a boundary of positivity)
I like the way Lauri puts it:
I tell myself this, “I can only control the positive space I create around myself.”
Then when I interact with this person, I try to do two things, in this order of importance:
a) Protect the positive space around me. When their negativity is too strong to protect it, I need to walk away.
b) Help them feel more positive, not act more positive–which is more likely to create the desired result.”
3. Temper your own emotions.
People in bad moods often seek out people who can be counted on to have a reaction, whether it’s shock, anger or being offended. Try not to feed into this human trait if you can help it. As Laurie says,
People remember and learn from what you do more than what you say. If you feed into the situation with emotions, you’ll teach them they can depend on you for a reaction. It’s tough not to react because we’re human, but it’s worth practicing.”
4. Don’t take it personally but remember that sometimes it IS personal.
In other words, try not to let your feelings get hurt if your spouse is snapping at you or being critical. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that everything they say is just due to their foul mood. Listen to what they’re saying and decide if there’s something you need to do to change the situation.
Loving your spouse when they’re not being very lovable is one of the many challenges of a happy marriage. Just remember that they face the same challenge with YOU!