The Eye Roll in Marriage

A Sign of Problems in Your Marriage?

Eye Roll
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You've seen it. The eye roll. It is often accompanied by a big sigh. If you are like most folks, seeing the eye roll makes you angry, or defensive, or both.

The upward eye roll is an optical nonverbal communication maneuver that usually is perceived as a negative response to something that was said.

Frequent eye rolling could be a clue that there are problems in your marriage relationship with your spouse.

The eye roll, like hurtful jokes, sarcasm, denial, stonewalling, and blame, is a form of provocative communication.

What the Eye Roll May Be Saying

  • Disagreement with what is being said.
  • Dislike for how something is being said.
  • Venting frustration or exasperation.

How the Eye Roll May Be Perceived

  • As a display of contempt for your beliefs.
  • As an insult.
  • As condescending sarcasm.
  • As a put down or scorn.
  • As a lack of respect.

What the Eye Roll May Show

  • Lack of caring.
  • Superiority.
  • Lack of respect.
  • Dismissive attitude.
  • Passive-aggressive behavior.

What the Eye Roll Can Do to Your Marriage

  • Intensify hostility in your relationship.
  • Diminish trust.
  • Build power struggles.
  • Hurt communication.
  • Bring about withdrawl.
  • Encourage defensive reaction.
  • Create a sense of intimidation.

What You Can Do

  • State that your perception of your spouse's nonverbal is that there is a problem with what you've said. Ask for clarification.
  • Talk with each other about what triggers the eye roll. Have this conversation when neither of you are angry.