Probe Ministries
Find us on Facebook

Reasons to Believe: Apologetics
Cults and World Religions
Current Issues
Culture and Society
Education, Government and Public Policy
Engaging the Culture
Faith and Science
Marriage, Sexuality and Personal Development
History, Special Days and Quizzes
Theology and Philosophy
Probe Staff Blogs Posts & Commentaries
Founder's Corner
Q & A: Probe Answers Our Email

Probe Ministries > Q & A: Probe Answers Our Email > Personal Development / Relationships > "Can You Give Examples of Subtle Invalidation?"

"Can You Give Examples of Subtle Invalidation?" Print E-mail

In Kerby Anderson's article Why Marriages Fail he writes, "Invalidation is a pattern in which one partner subtly or directly puts down the thoughts, feelings, or character of the other."

What other examples can you give of subtle invalidation?

I decided to answer your question because it's helpful to have a woman's perspective in addition to a man's (as what you read in Kerby's excellent essay). Here's what I came up with:

• Rolling the eyes at something a spouse says
• Ignoring the spouse when they're talking
• A dismissing or contemptuous tone of voice in saying things like "I don't think so" or "You're wrong" or "Like you would know anything about that!" (Note: those very words can be used in affectionate banter when said with a smile and in the context of a spouse's strengths.)
• Any form of sarcasm
• Making plans without consulting the spouse (which would affect the spouse)
• Ridiculing a spouse's dreams and hopes, even in jest
• Continually rejecting a spouse's romantic or sexual overtures
• Choosing to spend time chatting with internet friends (especially of the opposite sex) over being with one's spouse
• Not acknowledging the heart issues behind the words that a spouse shares
• Not looking at a spouse when they're talking
• Being critical of or ridiculing a spouse in public, even in jest
• In a dispute or disagreement that involves the children, ganging up with them against the spouse
• Saying things to one's kids like "Oh, your mother is just being wierd (stupid, illogical, emotional, etc.) again" or "Don't listen to your father, he doesn't know what he's talking about"

I hope this helps.

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries

About the Author

Sue BohlinSue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to's Tapestry Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565

Copyright information