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7 More Ways Husband And Wives Injure Each Other — Without Even Knowing It

By February 6, 2014Encouragement, Marriage

I recently wrote two blog posts 7 Ways a Wife Injures a Husband…Without Even Knowing It and 7 Ways a Husband Injures a Wife…Without Even Knowing It. These two posts have quickly become the most read blog posts in my blogging career. I received lots of feedback. Numerous sites re-posted them. I made a new friend when Stronger Marriages shared them. I can see Dave Willis and I becoming friends and working together in the future.

One site, Charisma Magazine, suggested I add more ways husbands and wives injure each other, based on the two post’s feedback.

This is that post.

Here are 7 more ways husbands and wives injure each other:

Sarcasm – In my original post, I wrote it with some sarcasm, explaining it was easier that way to address a more difficult subject. I still think it was easier, but it wasn’t received well by everyone. A few very vocal people were offended, so I edited that version. It reminded me though why I wrote the post. We sometimes unknowingly hurt one another in the way we approach an issue. That certainly was not my intent. Attempting humor isn’t funny if it’s only funny to you, but actually hurts another. (And, I also learned that some people need to learn how to better offer constructive criticism.)

Comparison – I learned that some were offended that they were grouped into a general post, rather than making one post for husbands and wives combined. I get that. We do generalizations all the time though. Conservatives, liberals and moderates. Introverts and extroverts. At the same time, I understand that no one is just like someone else. We are all unique, but equally true, in many ways we are also alike. We all have similar needs and desires. Still, it did remind me of a way we injure our spouse and so the the point is well taken. We should be careful not to compare our spouse to others — especially in a negative way. They are unique individuals.

Ignoring – Some commented they feel ignored in the marriage. It could be the response to an argument or the boredom in a relationship or simply refusing to actively listen. But, when a spouse pretends the other spouse isn’t even in the room — or makes the other spouse feel as if that’s the case — it hurts.

Devaluing the relationship – Some spouses feel they are more serious about making the marriage work than their spouse. Not taking the relationship serious, allows holes to develop and injures the other spouse. And, a spouse knows when we aren’t placing a high enough value on the marriage.

Lack of contentment – Numerous people indicated they were tired of their spouse never being satisfied in the marriage. It feels to them like the discontentment is towards them. In the relationship — in life — with social status — with finances — when one spouse is never satisfied, even when the dissatisfied spouse doesn’t intentionally or knowingly blame the other — it injures. Deeply.

Putting others first – Some spouses feel forgotten — or neglected. When everyone else gets the best of a spouse’s time and the family gets the leftovers — it injures the relationship — and the heart of the neglected ones.

Ignoring a spouse’s needs – Several spouses noted they were hurt most when their spouse didn’t realize how something was so important to them. It could be as simple as closing the cabinet doors, which may seem like a frivolous request to one spouse, but to another, it drives them crazy. When we act like it doesn’t matter or isn’t “that big of a deal”, we injure the one to whom it is a big deal. (Now granted, everything can’t be a big deal — or nothing really is a big deal, but we should value the other person enough to care about the things they care about, and, when it’s easy enough to do, why not comply?)

By the way, the last example is one from my own marriage. It doesn’t matter to me that a cabinet door is slightly ajar. It bothers my wife greatly. I can clearly see that cabinet doors were designed to close. So, knowing it matters to her — I close them. Easy enough. For more complicated issues it requires better communication, mutual understanding and a willingness to humble ourselves in the relationship. When two spouses are doing this — and yes, it takes two — I am convinced that any marriage can be a great marriage.

Sadly, in my experience, many people think they are doing that, but they are really only expecting one spouse to do all the humbling of themselves. If the other spouse would only see and do thinks their way things would be good in the marriage. That doesn’t work, however. It takes two people, both willing to collaborate and compromise towards a greater reality of the two unique individuals becoming one.

Let me close by sharing a couple of general thoughts. First, I’m trying to help marriages. I realize all of these — maybe none of these — apply to your marriage. Some marriages are in serious trouble and these posts can’t help at the stage where you are at right now. You may need professional counseling and I strongly encourage you to get help if needed.

Some have dismissed these as too elementary. I understand that too. Although, I must say, some of the replies were extremely harsh and unkind in the way they expressed themselves. I seriously couldn’t help but wonder if that type response is occurring in the marriage if there is a wounded spouse and the spouse doing the injuring is totally unaware of the hurt they are causing. (Which is why I wrote the posts.)

No post can be an answer for everyone. I’m grateful, forever, for the numbers who have been positively impacted by them. I’m overwhelmed by your responses. Thank you.

Now, help other marriages (and be kind in your reply).

What are other ways husbands and wives injure each other — without even knowing it?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 42 Comments

  • Lynn says:

    Thank you

  • joyce says:

    My husband prefers to talk to me all day long. He called me several times a day when I worked which interrupted my job (counselor) oftentimes skiing, “Who’s more important, me or them?” To which I said them. He expects me to answer each time he calls (whether I’m busy or not) and expects me to call him several times a day while he himself is at work. Frustrated with this behavior, I refuse to call at all. My hope had always been to have much to talk about once we are home with each other but he comes home and is totally silent all evening except for short, sarcastic remarks. I’m ready to move on mainly because of this disconfirm interaction we have daily.

  • Amanda Hull says:

    This post hit a sore part, my husband is a believer and loves the Lord, but I feel like I’m constantly feeling hurt by him and voicing it he just sits there and says nothing, only “well I love you”. Nothing about what I just shared. I’m pretty sure I do things unknowingly that hurts him but we never have anything deeper in Conversations, it’s so hurtful. I want to be respectful and maybe share his post with him but he won’t even read anything I share and Ingres it. And would take it as rude Nd disrespectful.

  • ronedmondson says:

    This is so difficult. I\’m praying for you.

  • Andrew says:

    Your posts have been immensely appreciated. As I pray for understanding, God has guided me to several online resources, including here.

    We were recently married, but immediately after our honeymoon I lost my job. I found contract work but became obsessed with my work to provide for my family (because of the temporary nature) ignoring what my wife wanted and needed (me and us) becoming a self-centered angry person that only focused on trying to give her what I wanted to be able to. As things got worse (or rather as I got worse) I leaned on my own understanding, failed to seek help from God and the earthly helpers He provides and now my wife is with her parents, who pray constantly for our marriage, but she is wanting a divorce.

    I pray for forgiveness and reconciliation, and trust in Him for our family and that my wife and family will be whole once I get help to deal with my problems, for my feelings if shortcoming as a provider and protector.

    I suppose I’m just trying to remind my brothers to not lean on their own understanding. To go to the Great Counsellor and also accept the earthly help He provides.

  • Jackie says:

    Newlywed and I feel like the marriage is going south. I don’t make enough money, my body isn’t perfect enough and I get treated as a bro than a wife. I have voiced and cried about this and I get the response of “you are my first wife and first person I have lived with”! What do I do? I just want to be his wife and not a best friend that’s his “bro”! I know I’m not perfect and have things to work on but how far do I go?

  • Scott says:

    What about the sexual relationship? Isn't that important in a marriage?

  • Eleanor says:

    I appreciate these posts, as well, and am grateful for a Christian audience to pose questions to…mine is this: My husband notices other girls, and sometimes lets his eyes linger…and sometimes when we watch tv, if a Victoria's Secret commercial for their 'tv specials' comes on, he tries to act like he doesn't notice, but he stumbles over his words and his voice rises a couple of octaves. This makes me feel inadequate, and then turns me 'off', so to speak…he is in no way disrepectful and quits when he realizes he's doing it, but it makes me irrationally angry in a way that disrupts my testimony…most Christian men, to their credit, get more and more control over this as time goes by…but for him, you'd think he'd never seen a pretty face before…I don't want to continue overreacting the way I do…I don't want to have unrealistic expectations, when I have a wonderful man who shows me every respect, courtesy, and dedication.

    • Lora says:

      You say he quits when he realizes he's doing it, but do you ever say anything to him to let him know how it makes you feel? One of the best pieces of advice I got when my relationship turned serious was "He's amazing; he's not The Amazing Kreskin." In other words, he's no mind-reader. People are hard-wired to react to physically attractive people. It's only natural. I could go into the scientific reasons, but it would probably bore you to tears! Talk to him directly and calmly if you haven't already. My husband has had his fair share of having a sudden gallery of "babes" strutting by, seemingly for his visual pleasure, but I am reminded of a story I read about an woman whose husband was forever snapping his head to look at some pretty girl. He friends asked how she could tolerate it. She answered "I don't mind him checking out the menu as long as he gets all of his meals at home!"

  • Julia says:

    Hi, although my boyfriend and I are not yet married we are talking about getting married in the near future, and reading your post showed me a lot. So many of these things apply to our relationship already and we aren’t married. I read all 3 of the injury posts and saved them to my bookmarks. They all opened my eyes to see some of the issues James and I are having. Thank you for writing these and I will be reading more.


    • ronedmondson says:

      Thank you. This is awesome feedback. I pray you and your fiancé have a wonderful life together. Thanks for being intentional in your relationship

  • Dana Greene says:

    In regards to the cabinet being left open by the other spouse: for me, this is not just about it getting on one’s (the wife’s) nerves. It most likely has to do with the fact that the wife may be the one who had put the dishes up in the cabinet the spouse just left open. Or swept and mopped the floor that the spouse just dragged mud or leaves onto, or made some other mess of something the wife had cleaned recently. To me this is a sign of disrespect toward the wife for all the work she has done, and is essentially not only NOT noticing her work, but NOT assisting with keeping care of the home.

    • Kris says:

      100% Agree on the lack of respect in this scenario. If you both truly have respect for eachother, marriage is bliss. Enough said.

  • Jeffrey Dunham says:

    I think its a great day because things ur saying is my start to fight for marriage I cant lie its only 1 of her in I want in need it her love so bad I got caught in the streets not coming home at night

  • Cheri Egts says:

    Thank you so much for your blog. It has great information and is so inspiring!

  • Michelle says:

    I’m injured when I’m cut off, when beginning told what I am saying doesn’t matter and when he says that what he says is the only my thing that matters.

    I’m so hurt and Broken.

  • Tent100 leslie says:

    What a blessing you have made for the body of Christ. I hope you enjoy this little story. My husband and I over see an evangelistic ministry in Eurasia. Just yesterday we were discussing ways wives harm husbands unknowingly in marriage and husbands wives. By what I would consider a God incidence someon reported your blog and it came up on my Facebook. You can only imagine my surprise to open FB after this morning training and to find your 7 principles…. I appreciate your blog! Keep up the good work and I might say we are very progressive in our thinking on men and women in ministry, missionary families and their ministries… So even as a somewhat progressive thinker in these areas I would say you hit the mark! There certainly is a reality of human nature we must deal with in all our relationships. The sooner we own our frailties the sooner we have power to change them! God bless you on your journey!

  • Guest says:

    How about one spouse asking the other spouse their opinion on how to do a certain project and then do exact opposite of their response….. Yeah, it hurts… It's like saying I want to know what your ideas and opinions are just so I can make sure you can't have it that way…..

  • raymond says:

    Thank you for your blog. It really helps. More power to you.

  • Paula says:

    I can see how sarcasm can be injuring. In college, I as injured by countless people with it. God showed me that it wasn't a good thing. In fact, the dictionary definition means, "to tear down". 99.9% of folks don't give a second thought to that as the definition and often brag about their sarcastic bravado. 🙁

  • Angie says:

    Thank you for listening to concerns and offering now a balanced post. Human weaknesses, insecurities, and sin whether lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, or pride of life seem to be failings of all humans. Nothing on the earlier lists were exclusive to or even predominate among either gender. Items on your gendered lists were actually similar or identical in nature and have common root issues. Though different, male and female share much more in common. It was the commonality that ish (male) recognized in isha (female)…"At last, someone like me…bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh…" Husbands and wives have a mutual responsibility to honor the covenant, to steward the relationship well, to offer self-sacrificing love, and to regard the other as a co-vice regent image bearer and sibling in Christ.

  • Monalisa says:

    I read your blogs on my Facebook and I wanted to say thank you for them. It has helped me realize how I was with my spouse(still working on it) and how he is with me. Helped me better myself as a wife and as a person. I love the fact that you speak of both sides. It has made me see the positive side of myself in what I think and with our marriage. Thank you again!

  • Cheryl says:

    Very astute observations. I have been married almost 44 years (in a month) and I notice my husband and I do some of these things to one another. Can you suggest a way to broach the subject with the other spouse so that one is not feeling the finger is pointing at them and thus ends up turning it back on the other defensively? Thanks.

    • ronedmondson says:

      One way is simply to make a game of it.  Each spouse takes turns sharing.1. 3 or 4 things you love about your spouse 2. 1 or two ways you could improve the marriage by what you give to the marriage.  3. 1 or two ways you could improve the marriage by what you need from the marriage. 

      • Virginia says:

        Good question, Cheryl!
        And a good answer, Ron.

        I think my husband and I are due for some of this dialogue.
        Thank you for all 3 related articles. Very helpful.
        I follow Dave Willis' blog and surfed over here.

      • Julia says:

        Those 3 points are very good advice. We may need to do that as well. Thanks for your blog!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Love reading & learning ways to help out/better our marriage.

    One request: Is there a way this can be translated in Spanish?

    Really would love my husband to read these. I do try my best to translate but I’m sure it doesn’t sound all that correct.

    TIA (:

    • ronedmondson says:

      You could use Google translate. Just Google that. It's free nd does. Pretty good job translating. 

  • Gus says:

    I appreciate your insights…

  • Darrick Eason says:

    Your posts are wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to be a blessing to others.

  • Guest says:

    Not to be condescending or talk down to your spouse like they are one of the children should be add to that list as well.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thanks. I think that was in the original posts.

      • Guest says:

        Actually, one should not only, "Not…be condescending or talk down to your spouse" as the guest above suggested, but also not be condescending or talk down to your child either. Just because they are young does not mean they do not have feelings. I am not saying they do not need rules, they do. Condescension, however, is no way to talk to anyone.

  • Meaghan says:

    I love this! They are all great things to keep in mind of what to try to avoid to have a stronger marriage!

  • M.Christopher says:

    Thanks for your posts and please keep up the insightful and encouraging work! Don’t be disheartened by the those who are too jaded for what you have to offer. If you only helped one person it would be worthwhile but I think you are having a much greater impact than that!