Marriage is the quintessential mirror of who you are.
All relationships are representative of your ability to connect and share information in a meaningful way. When it comes to marriage you bring the totality of all your relationships with you.
Your caregivers and society are the first exemplars of social connection and communication; they help to shape your internal reality.
So when relationships break down, first ask yourself the question what is triggered inside of me and where is it coming from? Look internally and be real with you!
Cultivate self-understanding and compassion
Self-understanding and compassion begin the process of self-responsibility as a partner. It means you are understanding the connections between your thoughts and the meaning you give them.
Over time this will be revelationary.
Not only will you begin to understand your thought processes but you will begin to see the attached emotions.
Understand your own reality to balance relationships
Why is this important you ask?
If you do not understand your own reality how do you know where you begin and end? Much of your reality is projected outwardly into the world – it is how we relate to people, events and how we create and innovate in physical reality.
Therefore owning your reality is key to a balanced relationship. When you are embroiled in your own emotional turmoil you are not aware of the patterns and drama created to prove your beliefs are correct, however, distorted these actually are.
Your beliefs are based on your experiences in utero, as newborns, as 2-year-olds and/or 5-year-olds. These all play out unconsciously in your relationships later in life. They feel real! And yes you do act like your 2-year-old or 5-year-old self and think where did that come from?
So what can you do? How do you look at this during high-intensity emotional disputes?
Press the ‘pause’ button and breathe
We engage the faculty of ‘stop’. And this is a skill you learn through self-discipline and practice. In the waves of emotional arousal that bring out your best and worst, there is little logical escape from the hurt and pain. But there is a way. Next time this happens, press the ‘pause’ button and breathe.
Before you open your mouth and begin to spout excuses and emotional drivel, ‘pause’.
During this ‘pause’ imagine you have a container around you giving you space to understand where all this is coming from. Is it an unhealed hurt? Is it an unmet need from childhood/adolescence/adulthood?
They may not come all at once so be open to receiving the answer. It goes deeper than this but to start, write down the reasons you feel the way you do.
Keep the blame game out of the equation
When communicating refrain from using ‘you’ phrases but focus on the event and use neutral phrases like “when this happens this is how it makes me feel.” In this way, you are taking responsibility for the way you feel while keeping the blame game out of the equation.
This is empowering for both sides and does not shut either party down. True communication begins from the adult part of you and not the unhealed trauma of the infant or child. This will enrich your relationships and how others respond to you.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.