Invalidation is trying to “win” by saying the other person’s argument, point, or expectation is not valid. Sometimes it’s done because the person really feels what is being offered is not valid, but often it’s an attempt to avoid discussing an issue. Label what your wife wants as invalid and you can go ignore her and move on, right? It doesn’t generally work that way, but that doesn’t seem to keep people from doing it.

Men have a bad habit of invalidating feelings. Since women are usually more about feelings than we are, this is often a gender-based problem. On the other side, a woman may reject what a man offers because he doesn’t present his thoughts or desires with accompanying feelings. Different life experience and what has been expected of us in the past also leads to invalidation. Invalidation can also follow a stereotype, with, for example, men invalidating woman’s driving or women invalidating men’s sexuality. These positions seem to have some “cover” because so many others will agree with them, at least on some level.

Aside from why invalidation happens, the reality is it hurts. Invalidation often comes across not only as a rejection of someone’s idea but also of them as a person. Invalidation may be useful for winning a fight, but it’s not a tool that has any place in marriage. You would do well to assume that invalidating your bride’s ideas, feelings, needs or expectations is a great way to hurt or anger her.

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