The goal of marriage should always be to become ONE with your spouse. I’ve learned via the experiences in my personal and professional life that becoming ONE with anything, especially another person takes time, sometimes a lifetime.
I look at the process of marriage the same way I do with starting a business. When we first get started, we have a passion, we take that passion and develop a plan, the plan becomes an action and with that action, comes trial and error; profits and losses. How well a business owner handles the profit or losses determine how long he or she stays in business. What we do know about a business is that the longer it exists, the more it becomes a household name. Marriage is just like that to me. The way the couple manages the profits and losses, determines how long the couple will stay married. Profits are always good! The losses tho’…let’s talk about those…
They say you never know a person until you’ve lived with them, taken a trip together or saw them through a crisis. This couldn’t be more close to the truth than water being wet. When you’re married, AND intuitive, you can’t help but learn the most significant things about your spouse. You find yourself becoming aware of how they chew their food when their happy and how they chew their food when they’re sad; how they take off their shoes after a long day or when they made that extra stop before getting home. Although it isn’t a huge deal, a change in a spouse’s pattern can mean a lot for the trust in a marriage.
People are so quick to scream “INSECURE” when a spouse questions change. The word itself has such a negative connotation to it, people tend to forget that to have an insecurity is quite normal. What people also tend to forget is how their behaviors or words provoke such a feeling. While many people have childhood residue, a lot of them don’t just wake up feeling insecure. To be insecure means to be uncertain, unsure or anxious about a position. Sounds familiar, right?
So what is a spouse to do when he or she begins to feel uncertain about their position? Should they avoid asking where they stand for the sake of seeming meek, mild or drama free? Should they take matters into their own hands and get the answers they need by way of research, such as “snooping” or surveillance? I’ve done both and let me tell you, although it wasn’t fair, the latter one was more eventful. Again, don’t be like me. Be better than me. 😉
Here are 5 Healthy Ways to Decrease or Extinguish Insecurity in a Marriage
1. Ask Questions
Don’t ever let your spouse guilt you for wanting to know more. Sure, we all deserve our privacy but the reality of marriage is that, privacy comes within reason. Your spouse should know your friends, your hang out spots, who’s calling you regularly, who’s texting regularly or when something unexpected comes up. Things that promote insecurities in this area include, a spouse who is reluctant to answer questions; defensive when asked questions, evasive about facts; can’t recall details of an event or a night out, or has a swift unexplained change of plans.
To avoid conflict in this area, it is best that you or your spouse practice proactivity instead of reactivity. Ask yourself, beforehand “what would my spouse like to know about this transaction” and provide it. While I will applaud the effort, it’s emotionally damaging for a spouse to keep having to hear, “I’m sorry.”
There is so much security in being able to ask a question and not be told that “its dumb” or “it’s too much…” There’s even more security in not having to ask at all because you already know the answer. Make your spouse feel comfortable with asking questions by assuming they don’t know the answers to what they’re inquiring about. It never ends well when a spouse is asked a question and his or her response is, “You already know the answer to that…” Consider other possibilities, like maybe your spouse forgot the answer or maybe they need reassurance. Keep the insecurities down and dialogue simple by just answering the question. Similarly, as hard as it may be, be at peace with the answers you receive.
Communication is not as difficult as we make it out to be. Sometimes, people are just selfish and nothing more. Their evasiveness doesn’t mean that they’re being inappropriate, it just means they’re only considering their process, not the other person’s.
2. Volunteer Information
I tell couples all of the time, the less secrets there are, the less room there is for uncertainty. If anyone’s spouse is like me, then they are most likely intuitive and it’s probably best to just volunteer the information. Being a therapist provokes me to explore things all of the time. I ask questions and listen to answers 80% of my day so, it feels good when my husband gives me information that I didn’t have to ask for.
Nothing creates an insecurity more in a spouse than finding out something, they should’ve known. This looks like, receiving second hand information from a friend or family member about their spouse; having to call someone else to inquire about their spouse’s whereabouts, or learning that your spouse really isn’t as happy as you thought they were.
The best way to prevent an insecurity in this area is to share calendars, let your spouse know immediately when something comes up, or play card games that provoke conversation such as the “UnGame for Couples.”
3. Be friends
Being friends is the primary way to build strength in a marriage and decrease the likeliness of an insecurity. There is so much “coolness” in being able to talk to your spouse and it doesn’t escalate to an argument or being able to hang out together in the purest form. It’s so rejuvenating to laugh at the mistakes, joke with one another and reflect on that awkward moment when someone used a corny pick-up line without being asked, “So did you sleep with them?”
Insecurities in this area look like, one or both spouses are unable to take a joke; words become triggers of bad experiences; sarcasm is at an all-time high, and everything tends to relate to the relationship.
To decrease insecurities in this area, discuss topics that are fun such as your favorite music artist, or sport athlete; engage in watching a television series that you two can discuss and find suspense in. My husband and I were addicted to “Truth and Lies.” He almost felt betrayed when I watched it without him. SN: Don’t watch shows without your spouse. It hurts their feelings. 😉
4. Ignore Negative Vibes
I will be the first to tell anyone that ignoring the invitation to be “with the shit” is a challenge for me. Sometimes, people who see that someone is happy in their marriage, will do or say things to the spouse that causes them to question where they stand. This looks like, people who often talk about what use to be or who your spouse use to date. An example of this would be someone saying to a wife in reference to her husband missing her phone call: “Girl, your husband know he didn’t act like that with so and so. He answered every call for her.” Though it’s a very bizarre statement, some people lack tact and can be socially awkward. Therefore, they don’t realize when they should keep certain facts or past observations to themselves.
This goes for our spouse’s too. While it sounds nice to talk about everything, reliving the past can be dangerous and provoke some serious insecurities. No spouse wants to feel like they aren’t good enough or constantly be compared to the last. I’m the type of woman who will tell her spouse to go back there.
To avoid feeling insecure in this area, recognize that just because someone perceives something to be a certain way, doesn’t make it true. Don’t give other people’s perceptions or interpretations any energy. If you are a spouse who relives the past, let it go or explore what unfinished business there might be. When the future of a marriage is bright, don’t dim it with negative vibes or auras. Make a list of topics that are just off the table.
Do you know how many couples I counsel that tell me they don’t talk with each other during the day? At least 70% of the couples that I’ve worked with reported that they didn’t talk or text one another when they were apart. When I explored their reasoning, some wives or girlfriends said they didn’t want to be a bother, and the husbands or boyfriends stated that they were likely too busy and didn’t think of it. Not checking in with one another is a great way to increase the likeliness of an insecurity in a marriage.
If nothing more, it makes your spouse feel good to know that they are thought of through out the day. A call or text to say, “Hey, I was thinking of you” or “hey, I miss you, how is your day” goes a long way. Don’t be that spouse who doesn’t check-in, yet made time to comment and like pics of the opposite sex on IG. This type of behavior is what I like to call an “Insecurity Start-up Pack.” If there is any positive attention to be given, it should be given to your spouse.
Many people, particularly men, see “checking-in” as a form of control or asking for permission but it’s really about respect. It’s a sign that you have respect for your spouse’s time, energy and want to make sure they feel emotionally safe in the marriage.
To avoid insecurities in this area, include your spouse in your day-to-day operations. It’s ok to call and say, “Hey, I’d like to play basketball with the fellas after work. You cool with that and do you need anything before I head to the gym?” It’s ok to say, “The girls and I want to do happy-hour after work. What are your thoughts?”
Don’t provoke stress by having your spouse wonder where you are or what you’re doing. He or she should be the first to know any of that. Keep in mind that, it’s not what we say but how we say, what we say when when we communicate. Let “checking-in” be meaningful. Don’t be afraid to text your spouse compliments, give them accolades when you speak to them, send sexy pics when you’re apart (notice I didn’t say nudes but do what you want), flirt via social media (if you’re connected on the platform), and do something creative, like write them a love letter and stick it in their lunch or the front seat of their car. Let’s boost the marriage’s self-esteem here!
This post was written to give insight to how insecurities are developed in a marriage and how to avoid them.
Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, professor and speaker. To learn more, check out her website, http://www.nya-b.com. Follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b and FB, at Nya B