How defensiveness is destroying your marriage…

In case you’re not, you should be aware of how defensiveness is destroying your marriage…


I would like some input in dealing with family communication, or lack thereof. When someone does something insulting, deceptive, etc. to upset me and/ or make me angry, the defense mechanism is to get angry at me-first- so I’m on the defensive. The usual responses range from, “I said I’m sorry”, “you’re not very forgiving”, “you’re being passive-aggressive.” In other words, if I dare to get upset at someone, at all, for their bad behavior, I’m in the wrong. Prayers, patience and striving to see the reason behind this lack of respect for me has not availed much over the years. 

Dare 5’s timeliness isn’t lost on me when I received the above question from a reader over the weekend.

Heaven help us if we are the defensive ones.

If you’re communicating in a respectful way:

  • asking permission before giving feedback
  • showing appreciation
  • giving compliments
  • asking questions instead of being directive
  • asking questions instead of being critical
  • listening instead of judging
  • assuming the best about someone
  • being trustworthy
  • honoring boundaries for yourself and the other person
  • putting others needs before your own
  • thinking of others instead of being selfish, etc.

If you’re doing all that already, know that sometimes people will still be defensive, so much so that they view a lot of things from a mindset of “they’re not on my side,” or even, “she’s out to get me,” and you can’t do anything about that.

The below are some articles that may help you, however, as you explore this topic. And I’d encourage you to take a few moments to determine whether YOU are the one who is defensive! A key thought you may have is that people in general aren’t as smart as you are, or you have to know everything, or be right. This attitude violates a number of scriptures, and is sin. Ouch. I know. Take it up with God, because only He can help.

Why people are defensive and how to stop

12 truths about defensive behavior

4 ways to stop defensiveness from making conflict worse

Podcast on how defensiveness drives you apart

Gottman Institute article on how defensiveness destroys marriage

Why he might be defensive when you are NOT critical

A few ways of dealing with someone who is defensive 

How your husband might be thinking that causes his defensiveness

How you might influence your husband towards change

What NOT to do and how boundaries help

Some AWESOME ideas if you are new to this

And if you want to know how defensiveness is sinful behavior, check BackyardMissionary’s post. 

Bottom line, his behavior is his behavior. You can’t do anything about it. You can only determine how you will respond. It’s wise to take care of yourself, and in the meantime, PAUSE before you respond – remember, defensiveness will often breed more defensiveness – and as all the research shows, it kills your marriage.

What about you? Are you the defensive one? If you’re not, how do you cope?

Looking forward to hearing from you today!

Love to you,


One more thing?

It’s not a small thing.

Seriously, if you lead women’s studies, and you want to do marriage ministry that makes a crazy wild lasting difference, you need to pray about joining us for Boot Camp.

We have marriage and family ministry for you – ministry that makes a difference – it’s His, but it’s amazing, and we’d love to help you grow as a leader – and make a greater impact in the neck of the woods He’s entrusted to YOU.

I’d like YOU to pray about Boot Camp – September 7-12, 2016. Discount through Valentine’s Day. More info HERE.

If you won’t go, whom will He send?

This is different – it’s becoming part of a ministry that has a lasting effect, a dramatic impact – a discipleship method that deepens a woman’s relationship with God, her husband, and others – and over 95% of our participants say so! 

And just so you know, we have a team of people across 5 states – and none of us, myself included, make any money off of any of what we do.

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I recently discovered that many of the same elements in Celebrate Recovery and AA (two proven programs) are in Daughters of Sarah. There’s a touch of them in RD, too, especially if you do the videos and the small group experience. The training method is unlike anything else you’ve probably done. Okay, I’ll stop now.

I get excited.  The women that keep coming back do so because they LOVE what they see God doing, too. 


titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

5 thoughts on “How defensiveness is destroying your marriage…

  1. What about you? Are you the defensive one? If you’re not, how do you cope?

    Yes, I am defensive but not as bad as it could be (—ha, ha, ha, ha. . . . of course I am biased). —Anyways, I know those so defensive they cannot even tolerate a kind act. . . . For me, the defensiveness is usually me silently screaming to my husband that I need him to value and respect me, even though he totally does. He always says “—I’m not offended until you think I’m offended.” . . . . . So, I must be looking for the deeper meanings behind my pain so I can begin to heal not only myself, but others. . . . .It could be that all defensiveness is a fear response but to what I can never fully tell. That said, love is the only weapon I have. I will defend with love, I will attack with love. . . . .Whatever thing we get quickly angry about is generally our idol, and whatever thing me make our idol becomes our religion. When we can’t accept something inside of ourselves, we generally project it onto others. I don’t know, it may have only one psychological root: the sense of my own inferiority, which is not logical either. That said, everyone must have dignity and identity. If they can’t do it peacefully, they will do it defensively.

    Love you, daughter of the King!

  2. I can attest to the fact you stated that defensiveness kills marriages. How do I cope? Recognizing it’s not my problem, that I can only do my part to communicate respectfully, sometimes people have issues to where they will be defensive no matter what, conduct myself as a woman of dignity.
    We are separated for many reasons, this being a pretty big one. Can’t have a relationship with no ability to communicate.

    • Agreed. I saw an article today where this line created a powerful image: “Having a conversation sitting next to their spouse was, to their bodies, like facing off with a saber-toothed tiger.” When we don’t know how to say anything, we end up saying nothing. So hard. Prayers for you, beautiful.

      Love to you.

  3. Beth, I’m so sorry – it is exhausting to deal with, and standing up for Love, Truth, Grace, and Gentleness, Lovingkindness in the midst of that environment can wear you down. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Spend lots of time with people who build you up so you can pour back into your family and be a light in the darkness.

    Love to you.

  4. Lord willing we’ll read all of these articles….the spirit of defensiveness is alive and well in our home and with a mere 10 member to our family it’s a real concern. Pray. Thanks for the time and effort it takes to research and write about respect and marriage. Thank you God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

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