Shedding light on blind spots can make the difference in whether a marriage thrives. We all have blind spots. Discovering and understanding what yours may be can have a lasting impact on the quality of your relationship.
A blind spot is a range of view that is blocked. It can be an area where a person fails to exercise judgment, awareness, or perspective. In a relationship, a blind spot can mean any area a person fails to recognize is impacting their relationship either in a negative way or as a needed growth area.
3 Key Questions for Shedding Light on Blind Spots
What kind of person am I becoming?
Answering this question shows a willingness to look at yourself. Understanding that conflicts and problems in your marriage aren’t just about your spouse’s faults, personality, or behavior is key. It takes two people to have a healthy and strong marriage.
We all come into our marriages as unique individuals with different histories and relationship experiences. We all have different family stories and ways we were modeled love, affection, and comfort. Understanding how your background has influenced and shaped you is important.
Asking this question shows a desire to want to improve not only yourself, but the quality of your marriage.
How is your communication style impacting your spouse?
Dr. John Gottman, one of the foremost experts on couples with over four decades of research, reports he can predict with 94% accuracy whether a couple will break up. He does this by observing them for 15 minutes while they try to resolve an ongoing disagreement.
Dr. Gottman’s research concludes it’s the way a couple argues that indicates whether they will remain together. He cites contempt as the number one culprit. He believes if a couple continues with this type of communication style over time, they will most likely end up getting a divorce.
If you feel your communication with your spouse is colored by contempt, you can make a change starting today. Becoming aware of the way you are arguing is a first step.
Contempt is attacking your partner’s sense of self by conveying disgust. It can be expressed both verbally and non-verbally. Verbally, it is often expressed as harsh judgment, insults, sarcasm, hostile humor, and name-calling. Non-verbally, it can be expressed by rolling eyes, a dirty look, curling the lips, or sneering.
If you feel your communication with your spouse is colored by contempt, you can make a change starting today. Becoming aware of the way you are arguing is a first step. Beginning to practice the antidote—a softened, non-contemptuous style—will help you develop healthier communication and, according to Gottman, reduce the likelihood of eventual breakup.
Are you exercising clear boundaries in your marriage?
A boundary is a clear line of demarcation. We should actively be putting up stakes around our marriages. When we do so, we are stating claim to what is ours. Good boundaries should apply to our behaviors, thoughts, feelings, choices, and decisions.
In many situations, the shift from friendship to affair can be subtle or unnoticeable. Often, it happens gradually over time. For this reason, having clear boundaries is paramount. At any given time, you know what is acceptable in a friendship and what is not.
Dr. Shirley Glass, in her research on infidelity, discussed the importance of walls and windows. She explained that when a couple constructs a wall together, it shields them from forces that have the power to separate or tear them apart. The couple can view the world outside through a glass window of openness and honesty. They exercise a united front when engaging with friends and family.
When an affair happens, it creates an interior wall of secrecy. A window of intimacy is opened between the affair partners. The united front the married couple once had becomes compromised, potentially even destroyed.
Take inventory of the boundaries in your marriage.
Asking these three questions is a good place to start when examining our own blind spots. The questions posed are not exhaustive, but they can be helpful. We all want our marriages to thrive. For that to happen, shedding light on our blind spots is imperative.
- Glass, S. P. (2004). Not ‘just friends’: Rebuilding trust and recovering your sanity after infidelity. New York, NY: Free Press.
- Gottman, J., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
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