Every relationship gets rocky at times. When ours gets rocky and we spend a few days not snuggling, avoiding each other around the house, and watching Netflix independently I find it hard to come back. I feel awkward moving toward each other again. We employ certain strategies to move in after these breakdowns. Here are a few that I use in our marriage to get back on course:
- Being responsible for my own emotions. My anxiety has been in the driver’s seat for the last few weeks (longer, if I’m being completely honest). This state is not fun to be in and it is not fun to be on the receiving end of either. Learning to acknowledge my patterns and behaviours is ongoing and seemingly never-ending. However, when I can do this it leaves me feeling safer to share my feelings and my partner more apt to listen.
- Self-soothing. Expecting my partner to “make me feel better” is an unreasonable expectation. I need to make myself feel better. This may mean that I have to withdraw a little, take more time to myself, do less around the house, do more of the things that bring me joy, and take time to address my emotions in private. These things do not come easily to me (as a caregiver, people pleaser and anxious attacher) but it is necessary for myself and in the long run, better for my partner.
- Zero-negativity. This involves changing my focus to looking for things that my partner is doing, rather than the stuff he is not. It means changing my internal search engine to POSITIVE rather than negative-tear-you-down-throw-you-under-the-bus. It means changing my language and tone from accusation to curiosity.
- Appreciations. Look for, and SAY out loud, the things that I love about him. Our marriage counsellor encourages us to say an appreciation for one another at the beginning of a session. It sets the intention for the sesh. She also encourages us to bring this into our everyday. When we lay down at night, to look at each other, hold hands or have our toes touching, and say 3 things that we appreciate about the other. It’s hard to be mad at your partner when they are fangirling you and there is always something to find in your partner.
I have committed to these before. I’m sure I’ll have to again. It is an ongoing process of recommitment, every day. And luckily, there’s always a new day. New commitments. New chance. New direction. Sometimes, you have to break down to break through.
If you are curious as to how I came to these particular strategies (and more) to course correct in my relationship and think they might be helpful in yours, contact me.
This summary is really helpful. We are going through a rough spot right now and I realize that I need to change my reactions/behaviours but it’s not working so well. I am heading to a silent retreat next week and hoping to do a lot of journaling to clarify my muddled and overactive brain.
Can you tell me a little more about your coaching program?