Although we live in a narcissistic society, it is surprising how little we really understand about ourselves, our behaviour, and how it affects other people and our relationships.

‘What we know about ourselves we can take to God and change, what we don’t know about ourselves will control us’. — Unknown.

Taking time to discover who you are and what could potentially sabotage your relationships is a positive step in the right direction. Of course, changing those behaviours might be more tricky.

The Gottman Institute conducted extensive research into what makes relationships fail and these three things featured. If you can eliminate them before you enter a relationship then you’re ahead of the game!


A behaviour most associated with teenagers, has the unfortunate habit of creeping into adult life. But, is it all that bad? Unfortunately, it is! It’s a sign that you are being dismissive of someone else’s opinions and feelings. It’s belittling and disrespectful, and it has been proven to be destructive to relationships.

A study by researcher John Gottman shows that behaviour such as eye-rolling is one of the primary indicators that a relationship is heading for the rocks. Habits might be hard to break, but they are not impossible!

Whether you find yourself rolling your eyes at your siblings, co-workers or family members remember you aren’t a teenager! Stop it. Next time you catch yourself doing it, apologise. Ask friends or family to help you break your bad habit by calling you out on it.


Donald Trump might think he can get away with it, but it’s difficult to respect someone who has to resort to name-calling to make their point. Playground behaviour in an adult world is not funny; it’s destructive.

How can you build a relationship when you are tearing your spouse or partner down? It’s an immature behaviour which is counter-intuitive. Encouraging one another and building each other up is constructive. Name-calling tears down.

We all know the rhyme ‘sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me’. How that lie has managed to be perpetuated, we may never know, but it is essential to recognise that it is a lie! Name-calling kills relationships; that includes relationships with family and friends!

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.


This destructive behaviour was one that I had particular issues with. I always believed I was gifted with the art of sarcasm and was quite proud of my sense of humour. It wasn’t long into our marriage before I discovered that Roy hated it! It was belittling, humiliating and not ‘fun’ for him to feel the brunt of my acidic tongue.

When I finally stopped justifying my behaviour and blaming Roy for his lack of humour, I had to put a considerable amount of effort into changing that pattern of behaviour. Sarcasm was certainly a poison which was killing our marriage, but through God’s grace, I was able to stop.

The Process of Change.

Finding Motivation.

The hurt on Roy’s face helped me understand the pain I was causing every time I used cruel words. That was a motivating factor for me. You might have a different motivator, but it’s difficult to change unless you have a good reason to.

Finding an Alternative.

I didn’t lose my sense of humour; I found a different way to express it, which didn’t involve tearing people down. If you are trying to break away from a bad habit, you usually need to replace it with something else, preferably a good habit.

Finding Support.

I’ve already mentioned getting family or friends on board to help you break a bad habit. If you choose to do this, make sure that they are people whose opinion you respect. If you don’t respect them, you may end up directing your negative behaviour towards them too!

Finding the Power to Change.

Remember the phrase I quoted at the beginning? ‘What we know about ourselves we can take to God and change, what we don’t know about ourselves will control us’. That’s the first place I go when I need to change. Prayer gives me the strength I don’t have on my own.

Bottom line we’re all on a journey and we could all do with a bit of help to #betherightone.



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