The Reluctant Missionary

Authentic stories from the travels of Michael Smalley.

4 repulsive reactions you have to stop now

conflict management marriage podcast the joy of difficult conversations Aug 17, 2020

Repulsive.  Just saying the word out loud should get your attention. "Arousing intense distaste or disgust." The Urban Dictionary defines repulsive as, "Something or someone that is gross and provokes disgust; disgusting." Let me ask you something, is this your goal each day you wake up lying next to the person you chose to spend the rest of your life together? Is it your dream to destroy your marriage and spend tens of thousands of dollars on arguably the worst experience a human being can go through? Are you intentionally trying to be repulsive through your words and actions?

Unless you are Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, or Jeffrey Dahmer, my guess is you are not, in fact, waking up in the mornings dreaming of creative ways to repulse your spouse. The bummer is, we are naturally gifted at being repulsive when things become difficult.

The family of your youth taught you many things.  Some good things and some bad things. The perfect family system does not exist.  Are you aware of what your family of origin taught you? You'd better be aware. Because these things or ways of reacting to trouble in relationships will cause your relationship to spiral out-of-control during difficult conversations.

The 4 Repulsive Reactions

The difference between happy marriages and miserable ones comes down to how you react when your spouse is being a big turd. Remember when I asked you if you wake up in the morning dreaming of ways to destroy your relationship? These 4 Repulsive Reactions are the ingredients you need to remove from the recipe of reacting to your spouse.

What are they?

  1. Getting Nasty
    Choosing to spiral by yelling, defensiveness, rude comments, and blaming or criticizing. Repulsive reaction.
  2. Refusing to Engage
    Choosing to shut down when feeling negative emotions (angry, hurt, disappointed, etc.). Repulsive reaction.
  3. Dishonoring
    Choosing mean words, adjectives, or accusations when you feel hurt (i.e. I hate you.  We should divorce.  You're just like your mother.).  Repulsive reaction.
  4. Believing the Worst
    Choosing to judge your spouse's intentions and believing their heart is against you. Repulsive reaction.

Notice how I use the word "choose" for each repulsive reaction.  You are not a victim of your spouse's poor reactions.  You are making a choice to respond poorly when your buttons get pushed. This is good news! You can choose to react in healthy ways! It's the point of this 7-week Marriage Booster course.  React better, relationship better. You already learned about patience, kindness, soft-startups.  These are ways to react better, increase intimacy, and feel more connected. Next up is the most important reaction of them all! The Sacred Pause.


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