Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Adult Version of Spanking

When was the last time someone sent you to your room because of your behavior, or threatened to spank you with a wooden spoon or took away your TV privileges?  Hopefully your answer is somewhere in the neighborhood of your current age minus 10.

You are probably thinking what a stupid question.  And I would counter with -  is it?  Just because the punishment takes a different form it doesn’t mean that we don’t dole out a corrective action meant to teach our spouse a lesson.

Did you ever give your spouse the silent treatment for hours, days or weeks?    Have you ever withheld physical affection such as sex, or even hugs or kisses?  Have you ever just fled the scene?  Or perhaps you are into the more passive-aggressive forms of behavior, i.e. doing something spiteful, just to re-pay him/her for their mistreatment of you.  Punishment is rarely an effective way to change the behavior of an adult.

Punishment versus Enabling

Now there are times when our husband or wife behaves in a way that is detrimental to us or the children and/or themselves.  In such an instance there should be a consequence associated with the offense.  Perhaps the husband who can never take  a minute to call home and tell his wife that he will be an hour late for dinner should come home to no dinner.  Perhaps the wife who consistently overspends the budget every month loses credit card privileges for a week.  There is an old adage that says “the time should fit the crime.”  We don’t want to enable our spouse to behave in ways that are inconsistent with the concepts of love and respect.

Be an Adult
In the world of text messaging the art of conversation is getting lost.  If your spouse is doing something that is inconsiderate, unloving and/or disrespectful approach them in a way that is loving but direct.  Using “I” messages you need to explain to your spouse the way you are feeling as a result of a very specific situation.  For example the wife might say, “I get very upset when I spend several hours in the kitchen preparing a special dinner only to have you call me at the time you are due to be home and tell me you are running an hour late.  This is the third time this month.  Please do everything in your power to not let this happen again.”  The husband might say “I am quite concerned about being able to meet our monthly financial obligations.  When you make unexpected discretionary purchases outside of what we  have budgeted I get very stressed out.  I would ask you to refrain from making such purchases without talking to me first.”

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