Do You Really Know Your Spouse or Relationship Partner? (Video)

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In today’s video, we’re discussing the idea of knowing your spouse or relationship partner.

I think most of us default to the belief that we know the people in our inner circle, with whom we see and interact most, including our romantic partners. But I think we might be confusing ideas like familiarity, or being comfortable with someone, with the more critical idea of knowing them.

I wrote in my book This is How Your Marriage Ends at the beginning of Chapter 4:

“I never really knew my wife even though we were married for nine years and met when we were teenagers. Not because of any crazy spy shit or from deliberate attempts on her part to hide her identity from me.

“I didn’t really know my wife because for the entirety of our relationship I never invested the time, effort, and energy to really know and understand her. Some effort would have eliminated my blind spots and equipped me with the information I needed to avoid hurting her.”

In the video below, I explore three ideas that I believe relate to “knowing your spouse or partner” and that I think are critical concepts for maintaining Safety and Trust in your relationship, and might explain why it seems as if your spouse or partner is “never happy no matter what you do.”

Those ideas are:

1. Being able to tell the story of your relationship, with your spouse or partner sitting next to you, and then having your partner agree that you totally get it. That you 100 percent understand with accuracy and precision how they feel, and how your behavior positively or negatively affects them.

2. Eliminating negative surprises. I was frequently surprised by how my wife reacted to things while we were married. Not most of the time. But sometimes. Certainly enough to demonstrate that I didn’t truly understand how she felt about many things, which I argue suggests we can’t be trusted with their emotional care. If you don’t even know what does or does not hurt someone else, how can they trust you to act in their best interest?

3. The ability to anticipate needs, and accurately predict in real-time how life happenings will affect your spouse or relationship partner.

Relationships are like most things in life. When we accumulate knowledge and practice developing skills and better habits, we increase our level of competency or mastery of whatever that subject or activity is.

It requires intention. It’s a choice. A choice I hope you’ll make.

7 thoughts on “Do You Really Know Your Spouse or Relationship Partner? (Video)”

  1. Do you want corrections? There are two things that leapt out at me – one being the reference to the video being above rather than below the post (at least on the website on my browser)

    1. Haha. It’s because I’m an idiot and tried to insert it at the top of the post and failed, but then didn’t remember to reword the post. I’ll fix that now. I absolutely want corrections. Thank you for sharing them. If there’s more, I hope you’ll say so.

  2. I can guarantee that I know what my wife will say about any story I tell. #YoureWrong

    A dead clock is right twice a day and that’s twice more than I am.

    1. Forgive me, but I don’t know what this means. Are you implying that you know your wife at a really high level, anticipate her emotional needs, avoid doing or saying things that result in her feeling pain, and yet STILL — despite you executing husbandry at a masterful level (and your wife doing the same for you) — conditions of safety and trust have still eroded in your marriage?

      I really want to understand the part where “knowing your spouse” on a level commiserate with whatever we have the most mastery in in life, isn’t sound relationship advice. (If that’s even what you’re saying. I honestly can’t tell.)

      1. Buddy, I’m saying that no matter what I say my wife will say I’m wrong. We went to counseling and she told the counselor that I am wrong about her telling me that I’m wrong all of the time. The counselor was just like “do you hear yourself?”

        1. Ahh. Jesus. Beg your forgiveness. I’m a touchy, defensive little shit sometimes. Obviously.

          Okay. Starting over. Your comment makes absolute sense now.

          If I may… and this is private, sensitive, personal stuff that is nobody’s business, but I’m compelled to ask…

          If you’re with someone who YOU can’t trust. Who dishonors you in that way… what is the argument for remaining in the relationship?

          There’s no answer you can give that I won’t respect. I just try to advocate for people not allowing others to mistreat them. I don’t think it’s okay for someone to tell you that everything you think and feel and say is wrong.

          If I’m taking you at your word, and I don’t have reason not to, your wife essentially does what I did in my marriage. And it’s not okay.

          1. No forgiveness needed boss. It was clear that you didn’t understand what I was trying to communicate so no harm done.

            The argument for remaining in this marriage is this…..Jesus. We both made a large commitment to each other and Him before we got married that there were going to be “no outs” on this thing. We were both saying we’re really in it until death and I have no reason to believe we’re not. In comparison to my first marriage, I would say this marriage is a lot better by light years. We’ve been to hell and back a few times thanks to my first wife. She’s had every right to just walk away if she wanted to but by the grace of God, He’s held us together. Our marriage is time-tested now and we’re coming up on our 20th anniversary later this year. It’s not perfect but it could be and has been worse. There were many close friends of her family that said we wouldn’t make it so everyday we’re still together is a finger in their eye.

            That said, it’s not that she’s purposely out to tell me I’m wrong about everything, it just works out that way. Her love language is physical touch and mine is words of affirmation. I couldn’t pay her for a compliment and as a result, I’m not interested in being physical with a mother-figure. It’s small things everyday that I’m wrong about, all day. It’s been things as big as my driving, which was a really sore subject for a long long time, and as small as my cooking. I do a lot of things that most men don’t do and I have an expectation to get points for those things that never transpire……cooking, washing clothes, ironing, washing dishes, etc. I guess I just have to lower my expectations on a lot of things. If anyone asked her when the last compliment was that she gave me and what the compliment was, she wouldn’t be able to answer. There is just an overall spirit of negativity that comes from her towards me but she’s always very quick to point out how negative I am. A few times, I’ve said “if you were wrong all of the time, you’d be negative too”…..

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Matt Fray

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