It’s been a hot minute since I got one of these out to you. To be honest, with moving and the world’s events, I needed a mental break from trying to help everyone else and I needed to help myself. If that’s you too, here’s your permission to take a much needed break to take care of you! It was tremendously helpful!
During that time, I noticed a lot of patterns within couples I’m coaching, couples that are friends or acquaintences and even with my husband and I. It seems like everyone is at odds with their spouses these days. Interestingly enough, as a professional in this industry, when I look at a relationship quarreling, I see two people playing the blame game while looking in a mirror.
One person, let’s say the wife, needs connection, touch and for her husband to show affection, desire, and interest in her. So she asks for it in a subtle way. That call for connection is missed by her husband so she feels rejected and protests, picking a fight, criticizing, getting angry and throwing a tantrum. Now in most cases, this happens after many attempts of connection but for time’s sake, roll with me here.
Now, he withdraws or mirrors back the behavior she exhibits out of defensiveness or a need to keep the peace. All the while, inside, he needs connection, affection, to be wanted and needed as well.
Men don’t typically ask for their needs to be met because men are taught that if they show need or feelings, they’re weak. Women typically protest by literally fighting for the relationship. See how both behaviors are less than desirable but showing the same need?
So what’s the answer to keep this from happening?
What I realized when my husband and I were going through this a few weeks ago is that as the woman, I’m more in tune with our connection. I see it going off the rails much more quickly than my husband does. Additionally, I can’t control him or his actions/reactions. I can only control me. So I had to get extremely deep in my reflection of my own behavior. It’s human nature to think we’re doing better than we really are. So when I started looking at myself in the mirror and asking the question “Would you want to be married to you?” The answer wasn’t a resounding yes. In fact, there were many instances where I had been more critical than praising, wasn’t as appreciative as I could’ve been, and wasn’t always assertive in conversations. I had to own my own faults and responsibilities. After all, it does take two people to make the relationship work. I couldn’t blame him for everything and I had to ask to be loved in a more loving way.
Secondly, I had to connect with my husband on a level that made him feel safe emotionally. That’s our job as spouses, to create a safe space for our partner to be who they are authentically, to be able to talk to us, open up and be vulnerable, without judgement or ridicule. I wasn’t doing a great job of that and neither was he, we were both to blame and that’s why the relationship was becoming disconnected.
I literally had to be the change I wanted to see in our relationship. I controlled what I could control and continue to do so. I got real with who I want to be as my best self and started living into that. My clients started doing the same as well.
The result? My husband started noticing the effort I was putting in, how I was changing and started changing his own behavior, becoming a better husband and being more appreciative of me. Both of us became the change we wanted to see. Our marriage, and each of us as individuals are better for it. Our boys are seeing how to come out of hardship in relationships as well. My clients started seeing the same results I was.
It’s important to note, this is a great jumping off point but becoming your best version isn’t a quick fix. This is a long term investment in yourself. It may take months but the quicker you start, the quicker you’ll start seeing some results in your marriage. You also have to do it for yourself, it can’t be change for your spouse or you’ll only build resentment later.
If you’re going through the storm now, drop the scorecard, stop playing the blame game and start looking inward. As always, reach out if you need help.
Monthly Workshop- June 19 @ 7 PM CST
Do you feel like you and your partner go around and around in the same cycles of conflict? Want to know how to approach conflict as a team? Want to end the cycle? This workshop is your answer!
This workshop can be done as a couple or as an individual and is completely anonymous with the ability to chat directly with me during the workshop.
Can’t make it that night? Sign up anyway and shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you a replay link on June 20!
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!