Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. 
Matthew 5:37 

Perhaps you have heard the term “passive–aggressive behavior”.  It is a term that describes certain types of behavior in interpersonal interactions. It is typically characterized by a hostile manner that is camouflaged as something else.  In other words a person who avoids conflict or who has a hard time being assertive may resort to displaying their displeasure in a subtle but aggressive manner.

Some examples of passive-aggressive behavior include hostility masquerading as a joke; sullenness, intentional forgetfulness; procrastination, deliberate failure to accomplish a task; sulking; etc.

The bottom line is that the person isn’t getting their way and rather than be direct they attempt to manipulate the situation until they are successful.

Perhaps it is a task that my spouse has asked me to do that I would rather not do.  I might “forget” to do the task or do it so poorly that my spouse figures it would be better to do it themselves.

This is one of many forms that self-centeredness takes.  It also displays a level of insecurity, an inability to communicate, an unwillingness to be forth-right and honest, and an inability to be assertive.

If you are that kind of person take advice from Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback church.  He summarized twenty years of counseling in two words – “Grow up.”  Practice being direct.  “Honey, I’d prefer to not bath the kids but I’ll be glad to tuck them in and pray with them.”

Whining and complaining does not become an adult.  Honest communication is a much healthier approach than sulking, being sullen, or being manipulative.  You want a sports car, your spouse wants a mini-van.  An honest exchange of why you hold the position you hold can clear the air.  The operative word in that sentence was “honest”.  A passive-aggressive approach might be to leave articles on safety, mpg ratings, reliability information, etc. laying around the house in conspicuous places.

Certainly that type of information could be helpful in making a final decision.  However in a God centered marriage the couple would pray about their decision.  They would then use an active listening technique to be certain they understood one another’s position.  They might close with a prayer and agree to reflect on their discussion and come back together the next day to resolve their difference of opinion.

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