Has the Flu Bug Bitten Your Marriage
By Michael Smalley
Smalley Relationship Center
There is the West Nile Virus, Influenza, and the most deadly of all, The
Marriage Flu. That's right, the most deadly sickness our country has to
face is the devastating Marriage Flu. It infects over 75 percent of couples
and can leave families grasping for air.
Common symptoms of the Marriage Flu are complaining, too much time spent
at work, angry children, and unmet expectations. However, there are four
severe symptoms of the Marriage Flu, that if left untreated, will lead
to the eventual death of the marriage.
The four symptoms center around the way you communicate during conflict.
Every couple experiences conflict, but if you have any of the most severe
symptoms of the Marriage Flu, then your marriage is at incredible risk.
The four worst symptoms are escalation, withdrawal, belittling, and negative
false beliefs. The good news is that scientists have developed a vaccination
that can cure all of the worst symptoms. The bad news is that very few
couples know about the vaccination. But before I get to the vaccination,
let me briefly describe each of the four worst symptoms.
Escalation can be described as pure energy. It's when your conflicts
get out-of-control and you say and do things in the heat of the moment
you regret the next day. There's a lot of screaming, stomping, and potentially
throwing of common household objects (preferably soft ones).
Withdrawal can be described like the plagues of Egypt. Nobody wants to
be around when conflict is possible. You avoid conflict and try anything
to just keep the peace. The problem with withdrawal is that the hurt and
anger you push down and avoid eventually rears its ugly head years later.
You never bury hurt or anger dead, it's always buried alive.
Belittling is actually placing very little value on your mate. You say
hurtful things that are meant to degrade your spouse. Often you will hear
stuff like, "Why did I marry you in the first place?" "What
an idiot you are!" "I hate you!" These phrases destroy
the core commitment level of the marriage and eat away at its stability.
Negative false beliefs are tricky. Because the victim is typically confused
and bewildered because he or she can do nothing right. Every potentially
positive action is viewed as a completely negative action. You can do
no right in the eyes of someone who has developed negative false beliefs.
Now that you understand the worst symptoms, let me tell you about the
vaccination scientists have developed to eliminate them. The vaccination
is simply good communication. It's your ability to do three very important
1. Listen to the words the speaker is saying.
When is the last time you truly sat back and listened to what your spouse
was trying to say to you? Listening has nothing to do with your ears,
but rather, your posture, attention, and desire to understand.
2. Reflect back to the speaker what you think they are saying.
When you reflect back to someone you are basically validating
their feelings and needs. Your spouse might say something like, "That
really hurt my feelings." When you are properly reflecting back you
will say something in return like, "Wow. It sounds like I really
hurt your feelings."
3. When you value a person, value their words and feelings just
The last step is to place high value on the feelings or needs
you just heard. If your mate's feelings are hurt, then you want to ask
what can be done to repair the damage. If your mate is frustrated, then
you want to ask what can be done to end the frustration. It is your chance
to truly love your mate for who he or she is and to not criticize or judge
Effective communication is ultimately more efficient and takes less time
than any other method you can try. Besides, the ultimate goal of any marriage
is to love and be loved.
The Marriage Flu doesn't have to infect your marriage. Take the vaccination
shot of communication today by ordering our newest book, The DNA of
Relationships, that teaches you not only to communicate effectively
but three other important vaccinations you can take for any relationship.
Courtesy of the Smalley
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