Shedding Light on Blind Spots: Secrets to Improving Your Marriage

Couple leans into each other in front of open door by walls of windows in bright houseShedding 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?

Often in relationships, boundaries can become blurred. Good boundaries can keep you from stumbling and falling on the slippery slope of infidelity.

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.

Conclusion

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.

References:

  1. Glass, S. P. (2004). Not ‘just friends’: Rebuilding trust and recovering your sanity after infidelity. New York, NY: Free Press.
  2. Gottman, J., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

© Copyright 2017 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Angela Bisignano, PhD, therapist in Palos Verdes Peninsula, California

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 3 comments
  • Leave a Comment
  • Ned

    Ned

    August 8th, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    We can all be blind and see only the things that we wish to see. If we don’t feel that we are at fault then it can be hard to recognize the things that we are doing that will contribute to the situation.

  • Caroline

    Caroline

    August 10th, 2017 at 11:52 AM

    Thank you, thank you, I am so glad that I found this today. I have been mourning the loss of my own marriage, but now I see that I should look at this as a new starting point, a way to start over and become who I have always wanted to be. Marriage to my husband has made me cynical, bitter, bit at all like who I really feel like I am and can be. I want to be better than this, and I know that I have to let go of the toxicity of the marriage to do that.

  • addison

    addison

    August 11th, 2017 at 3:11 PM

    I have read those stories from couples who will say that the affair and the knowledge that it happened in the end made their marriages stronger. I say kudos to them although I am not too sure that I could ever forgive on that kind of level that continuing with the marriage would require. I have so much faith in my husband that I think that I would be left just shattered if I ever learned that he had violated that kind of trust that he and I have with each other. And that would be the thing. How would I ever learn to trust him again if that vow was ever broken? I guess I can’t say because I have n’t ever been put in that situation and all I know is that I never want to be!

Leave a Reply

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.