Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of the Year Fidelity Checkup--Part 3: Repair Your Marriage by Ending Disrespectful Judgment!

In every marriage, there are two dynamics at work: actions and behaviors that are Love Kindlers and make the passion between the spouses grow, and actions and behaviors that are Love Extinguishers and usually hurt your spouse. This End of the Year Fidelity Checkup Series examines the Love Extinguishers to be sure that you are not doing the things in your marriage that leave your spouse wide open to an affair. The first Love Extinguisher in the series was "Leaving & Cleaving." The second in the series was “Angry Explosions.” Before a spouse can start doing the things that kindle love, they need to stop doing the things that extinguish love, and one of the love extinguishers that can be a bit insidious is Disrespectful Judgments.

What is a Disrespectful Judgment? Merriam-Webster says that disrespect is “lack of respect” (haha—thanks that's not helpful), but respect is defined as “an act of giving particular attention: consideration; high or special regard : esteem; the quality or state of being esteemed : expressions of deference.” So disrespect would then be not giving particular attention, not showing consideration, not showing high regard, not showing esteem, and not expressing deference. Judgment is a fun definition. According to Merriam-Webster, judgment is “a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion: an opinion so pronounced; the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing : an opinion or estimate so formed; a proposition stating something believed or asserted.” Thus we can conclude that by definition, disrespectful judgment is “uttering an authoritative opinion of something believed or assert, spoken with lack of consideration and showing a distinct lack of regard and esteem.” Caustic sarcasm, ridicule, judgmental statements, accusations, and put downs fit into this category.

If you're wondering if you engage in disrespectful judgments, listen to yourself speak to your spouse and ask these questions (and remember this is not about “Anger” but about your internal attitude toward your spouse):

Do I respectfully request that my spouse do something with perfect freedom to say no?
Do I demand that my spouse do something or do it my way?
Do I make condescending or caustically sarcastic comments to my spouse's honest statements?
Do I “poke fun” at my spouse's mispronunciations or correct his/her grammar in public?
Do I say something mean and cutting, then say it was “just a joke” and that they have no sense of humor? Or say they're making a mountain out of a molehill?
Do I ridicule his/her thoughts, preferences or decisions ?
Do I roll my eyes in response to honest thoughts from my spouse?
Do I judge how my spouse did something, how well they did it, or when they did it?
Do I blame my spouse for my own failings or for things that are clearly not their responsibility?
Do I accuse my spouse of things and then discover it was moved or right there all along?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you may be extinguishing the love in your marriage and making it vulnerable to an affair. Do not treat your spouse with disrespect and a judgmental attitude, and then, when he or she finds someone who treats them with respect and admiration, act as if you are the victim because they were unfaithful. You CAN change now and save your marriage! Please consider speaking to a professional or contacting me directly at or coming to my website at Don't let your marriage be vulnerable to an affair. There is hope!


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