Destructive differences destroy intimacy and sink your love life. You cannot trust, be safe with, or be totally vulnerable with someone who is not honest, dependable, or in control of self.
Destructive differences does not leave you feeling free to make choices or to speak the truth. You will feel like you are walking on eggshells when your spouse comes around you. There is always a fear that no matter what you do that they will cause you to be upset. It springs from the one feeling in control with an attitude of “being who I am,” (at least in their words). Therefore freedom to be yourself and say what is on your mind and heart is greatly diminished.
Destructive differences makes one spouse want to focus on dealing with the person who has the destructive tendencies. It’s not a good situation when a spouse finds him or herself worrying and trying to fix them, or trying to protect him or herself from their spouse. Gone is the experience of observing and interacting in your spouses’ individual cute quirks and acts of enjoyment.
You need to learn to stand up to the destructive differences by carefully telling your spouse how hard it is to tolerate the affects in your relationship. This won’t be easy to do if your spouse isn’t open to suggestions. It’s common for a spouse to go on the defensive, come up with an excuse, to place blame, or deny that a problem exists. Often a person does not see such things within themselves.
What will be good is if your spouse is concerned about the behaviors and wants to work on them. And sometimes it might also take a third party to help. It’s never easy hearing that you have a flaw. Often when you point out (what you think is) a flaw, your spouse will shut down. A counselor might be your only helpful avenue. The problem is fixable; so don’t give up.
Couples must learn to embrace and enjoy the love that comes from style differences. Be a guardian and protector of your love, your freedom, and the growth in the connection with your spouse. And always be willing to listen (My thoughts with Rescue Your Love Life, p.p. 91-92).