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I'm Not Defensive!
Series: When Leaders Live Together
How Two Strong Personalities Can Thrive In Marriage
Larry and Devi Titus
Devi says that defensiveness is the number one enemy of intimacy in a marriage. Do you know my response to that? ''It isn't either. There are other causes; I just can't think of them at the moment.'' When she tells me that I'm overly sensitive or defensive about something, I respond by saying, ''No, I'm not.'' And when she starts getting even close to suggesting that I have a problem, I immediately begin scanning my mental radar to find someone else to blame. It's critical that I find someone else who is the problem, other than me.
You've probably guessed by now that one of us in this marriage relationship is extremely defensive. Can you guess which one that might be? If you accuse me of being the one, I will deny it. After all, I'm a man. I don't make mistakes, I don't need to apologize, and I'm never, ever wrong. If you think I'm wrong, then that proves who's wrong--you.
Defensive people do not want to inspect themselves to find clues for their failures. Defensive people remain extremely un-teachable because they're never the problem; it's always someone else's fault. Defensive people are very closed, unwilling for people to really get to know them. As Devi says, they always have a defensive, Plexiglas shield in front of them deflecting any attempts others make to try and get to know them. They usually fear getting hurt. Defensive- ness truly is the number one enemy to intimacy.
Defensive people do not want to face facts; they will not open themselves up to correction, and they always look for someone else to blame. Defensive people are paranoid about being exposed in a weakness, mistake or perceived failure. Excuses become the cover-up for their failure. They view others as the true culprits and blame circumstances to deflect their own guilt. ''I would have been on time, but the traffic was bad.'' ''I would have gotten your car back ontime, but my wife was sick.'' ''I would have, but...'' becomes the opening state- ment for every excuse.
When someone asks you why you are late, wouldn't it be refreshing to say, ''Because I didn't calculate in advance how bad the traffic would be,'' or ''I simply tried to force too many projects into my allotted time before I left?'' Best of all, you could say, ''Because I'm an inveterate procrastinator, and I have no one to blame but myself.''
Why do we try to blame others instead of taking responsibility for dumb decisions we make, things that don't go right, and messes we create? What's so hard about raising your hand and saying, ''It's me; I did it. I'm the problem.'' I don't think there's a politician in Washington that is capable of saying, ''I'm the problem. It's me. Don't blame anyone else because I'm the culprit. Tell me what I need to do to correct it.'' If there is, I think ...
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