SWM011: How to train your spouse

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This week we’re discussing how you train your spouse.  In all human relationships, we teach others how to interact with us.  Sometimes it’s positive, sometimes it’s not.  But, often we don’t think about it and then we are surprised by the results of our training.

My wife and I trained each other horribly in the years of our marriage and spent years undoing those bad teachings.  But, you can’t start unless you understand what’s going on.

Show notes

  • We all train other people, whether we mean to or not
  • Training is done through positive or negative reinforcement
  • Doing nothing can be positive or negative depending on the context

Examples of bad training

  • If every time you have a discussion, you start fighting, or get angry, you will teach your spouse not to talk to you
  • If every time your spouse does a task you criticize it or them, you will teach your spouse not to do that task
  • If every time your spouse initiates sex you roll your eyes, you will teach your spouse not to look to you for a sexual relationship
  • If you don’t express appreciation for something, you will teach your spouse that it’s unimportant to you

Examples of good training

  • Thanking your spouse when they do something you appreciate
  • Engaging with them when they try to engage with you
  • Accepting invitations to grow your relationship
  • Buffer negative feedback with positive feedback

How to use this in a positive way

  • Explain yourself and have your reinforcement match your explanation
  • If your spouse makes an attempt toward something you want, reward it
  • If you just tell them it’s not good enough, they may never try again
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