This article first appeared on Divorced Moms and has been republished with permission.
Creating drama is never the answer to marital problems. Picture the scene: a couple is arguing and one is not getting their way. The one not getting their way decides to punish the other by freezing them out, not talking to them for days until they finally give in.
Is this the best way to get your way in your marriage? Definitely not.
A spark of drama may be enticing or exciting at first but using dramatics to get one’s way can lead to intimacy issues and severe problems in your relationship. If chaos seems to be the status quo in your marriage, it’s time for a change.
Still not convinced?
This is what drama does to a marriage and what can be done to curb bad relationship behavior.
Unhealthy Behaviors that Create Drama in a Marriage
Relationship drama can be addictive for the simple fact that it generates attention. Of course, attention is key to maintaining a healthy relationship, but if relationship drama is starting to play out like a bad reality show, it’s time to start acknowledging negative behavior.
Here are some unhealthy, dramatic behaviors that may be causing intimacy issues in a marriage.
1. Freezing out your Spouse
During a heated argument it is sometimes wise to choose silence over saying something one may regret, but when silence extends for hours or days it can become harmful and even emotionally neglectful.
The “silent treatment”, sometimes called “demand-withdraw” involves freezing out one’s spouse. A partner may stop speaking to their spouse for an extended period of time, despite the other’s efforts to patch things up.
2. Fighting in Public
When couples are in a long-term relationship, it’s natural to become frustrated with one another every now and then – sometimes even in public. However, when fights have become so uncontrollable that they occur when couples are out in public, you are damaging the relationship. This behavior is not only embarrassing, but it is also disrespectful to both partners.
Drama lovers tend to overreact to the slightest inconvenience. Raising one’s voice happens every once in a while, but it should not be a habit in a marriage. By shouting at someone you claim to love, you devalue your partnership.
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By overreacting to situations, a person may end up training their spouse to expect a blowout at even the smallest of comments. This creates more, unnecessary drama in the relationship. It can also damage communication between partners, as they may feel no matter what they say it will be taken the wrong way.
4. Crying to Win an Argument
Crying is a natural response to having one’s feeling hurt or even feeling frustrated during an argument. However, when crying is being used as a tool for manipulation to get one spouse to feel guilty or to concede in the argument, it becomes damaging to the relationship.
5. Using Sex as a Weapon
When using sex as a weapon, a partner may dangle the promise of sex in front of their spouse in order to win an argument, give them help with household chores, or to get money. Withholding sex is also another way to dramatically manipulate a spouse to get your way.
This is a terrible, unhealthy idea that leads to intimacy issues and other marital problems. Using sex as a weapon is an overly dramatic way to control your spouse. It does not actually help solve marital issues, it depreciates the act of sex, and may actually lead to more fights in the future.
6. Erratic Behavior
Some spouses resort to erratic, dramatic behavior to get their way. Punishing their spouse by destroying property such as laptops, smashing phones, or keying a car fall under erratic behavior. Overdrinking, threatening self-harm, and racking up credit card debt are damaging methods to use just to teach a spouse a lesson.
4 Ways to Stop the Drama in a Marriage
In order to have a healthy relationship, both partners must fight fair and give each other due respect. Here are 5 tips on how to stop relationship drama and reduce marriage problems.
1. A Change of Perspective.
Should one person be absolutely, positively, need to be right in an argument? Those who pursue relationship drama to win an argument should take a step back and work on changing their perspectives.
2. Speak to Solve.
Arguments should not be about berating or manipulating the other person, it should be about solving a problem. Couples can fight fair by staying calm and patient during disagreements, attacking the issue at hand, never resorting to name-calling and yelling, and by being emotionally present. Couples should work together, not against each other.
Remove Negative Influences. In order to reduce marriage problems caused by drama, it is recommended to reduce negative influences from friends and family.
A study done by Harvard Business Review found that bad behavior is contagious. The more one surrounds themselves with perhaps a dramatic friend, the more likely it is that they will begin to mimic that bad, dramatic behavior.
4. Communicate Clearly.
Healthy communication leads to healthier relationships. This is especially true for couples who can’t seem to kick their dramatic habits. The more spouses are able to talk to one another, the fewer misunderstandings they will have.
When spouses communicate openly, not only will they get to know each other better and avoid unnecessary outbursts, but they also earn how to talk to each other about uncomfortable topics such as financial management in marriage, intimacy issues, and other marriage problems.
Using drama may be effective in getting your way, but it is damaging to the health of your relationship.
Don’t create intimacy issues and other marriage problems with your behavior. Instead, cultivate positive habits when interacting with your spouse, remove negative influences from your life, and communicate honestly in order to create a long-lasting, happy marriage.