Check out this excerpt from John Maxwell's book Winning with People.
My wife, Margaret, and I were married in June 1969, and like most couples, we naively believed that nothing but smooth sailing lay ahead of us. Of course, it didn't take long for us to find ourselves in the kinds of minor disagreements that all couples experience, especially when they're first adjusting to married life.
Like most people, I thought I was right nearly all of the time, and I let Margaret know about it. I've always been a good talker, and I can be pretty persuasive, so I used my skills to win arguments. We never yelled or screamed at each other. It was always very rational and controlled, but I always made sure I won. The problem was that with my approach, Margaret always had to lose.
We did a lot of things right during those first two years of marriage but this wasn't one of them. Unknowingly I was slowly but surely beating Margaret down emotionally. We'd disagree, I'd overreact, and I'd unwittingly lay anther brick in the wall that was building between us. I didn't realize that WINNING AT ALL COST could eventually jeopardize our marriage. Then one day Margaret sat me down, shared how she felt when we argued, and explained what it was doing to our relationship. It was the first time I understood I was putting winning the arguments ahead of wining the relationship. (John Maxwell, Winning With People, page 36)
Dr. Willard Harley would classify John Maxwell's behavior as Disrespectful Judgment – "a deliberate attempt to straighten our your spouses attitudes, believes and behavior by trying to impose your way of thinking through lecture ridicule threats or other forceful means". (Love Busters, page 73)
This type of behavior devalues our spouse, destroys vibrant two-way communication and destroys emotional, recreational and physical intimacy. Who wants to have engaging conversation with someone who ridicules them? Who wants to spend the rest of their lives with someone who demeans them? Who wants to make love with someone who constantly corrects and lectures them? We would rather retreat into our own world or find someone else who sincerely loves us for us.
People want to be appreciated. We want to spend time with someone who believes in us and our abilities. Sure we are not perfect but we do not want a two hour lecture complete with job aids and a PowerPoint presentation every time we do something wrong. We want our spouse to be our biggest cheerleader. We want them to encourage us when we are right while tactfully and lovingly correcting us when we are wrong.
Chuck Swindoll states that he and his wife Cynthia have made a pact to encourage one another. They encounter enough back stabbing, obstacles and negativity outside of the home. They do not need to discourage one another inside of the home. (How to Have A Good Fight, Podcast, http://www.insightforliving.ca/broadcast/strike/SOMD09)
Most of us would agree with Dr. Swindoll. We face enough disappointment and discouragement from forces outside of our homes. We do not need our spouse beating up on us also. We want our spouse to be on our team making constant deposits into our Love Bank. We want to know that if no one else has our back, our spouse has our back. It is us against the world. The inevitable trials and tribulations of life will come but we will stand back to back and fight them together. If one of us is wounded in battle, the other will lift us up, clean our wound, pray for us and then encourage us to get back in the fight.
We are a team! We succeed together! We overcome the issues of life together! We resist the temptations of the enemy together! We prosper together! We grow mentally, spiritually and emotionally strong together! Our Marriage Will Succeed Via Our Togetherness!!!!!!!