Plus: 4 keys to a mutually satisfying relationship.
For example, at a recent extended family gathering, I casually mentioned to a family member a wish I had. She told someone else, who told me, "I hear you are buying your dream house." I immediately felt betrayed and irritated. If I had chosen to take out my irritation on my husband, I would be without a support person. Instead I confided in my husband the hurt I felt.
Then I cleared up the misconception with the family member that I had been wishing. I also addressed the original family member and asked for their confidence and not to share information about me with others. I maintained my relationship with myself, my husband and my family members and maintained our supportive roles for each other.
2. You protect each other. As partners, attacking one another only distances you from them. In actuality, the attacks are often an attempt at getting your own needs met by someone else. Your partner is not living up to what you want them to do for you. In healthy mutually satisfying relationships, partners will view the health of their partner as their duty to protect.
Using the example from the last point, if my husband had gotten irritated with me for sharing the hurt I felt from my relative, I would have felt attacked by him which would create emotional distance between us. Instead, he chose to listen to me, and protect me, which brought us closer to each other and I felt safer.
3. You build each other up in self-esteem. Couples who blame and attack their partner emotionally will develop or deepen self-esteem problems. Seeing your partner as your ally is important for a healthy mutually satisfying relationship. Choosing to see the best in your partner and telling them what you see builds self-esteem for yourself and your partner.
I have some annoying traits for my husband. He has annoying traits for me. We could focus on these annoyances which would create emotional distance in our relationship, or we could chose to see the best in each other and share that information. I appreciate his dedication and loyalty to family and his commitment to working on having healthy mutually satisfying relationships.