My husband and I just celebrated our 7th anniversary in November. It seems like we have been together forever, but at the same time, it seems like there is no way it has been 7 years. And those 7 years haven’t been easy ones. I would dare say we have been in marriage bootcamp nearly the whole time. Life has been throwing us curve balls left and right, honestly, enough for a freaking novel. You just can’t make this stuff up. But the one unfailing constant has been our unwavering ability to remain in a good place with each other. We are nice. We don’t exchange harsh words. Now before you go assuming what I mean, let me explain. First of all, this marriage is not my first rodeo. I was married before for almost 19 years. And it was hard. Really hard. For a whole host of reasons that are for another time. But in every relationship you learn a lot about yourself and that first marriage was a PhD program, in all the best ways. So, this time I am doing things differently and I picked a different type of person for my journey that mirrors how I view relationships. It’s a game-changer.

Like I said before, we don’t exchange harsh words. Now that doesn’t mean that I am on the verge of my head exploding because I never speak up. I even get comments from people saying, “but all couples fight. It’s healthy.” I would say more along the lines that fighting is a chosen dynamic fueled by what we believe to be true and for some couples it works. The way I see it is that fighting is like driving nails into a fence. Even if you remove the nail, the hole is still there. The damage is done. So how do you shift the dynamic of fighting? The first step is not to be reactive. Instead, first pause and reflect. Does what happened REALLY matter? Are you more upset than you should be about the situation? Was the act that has you upset intentional? If the answer is yes to any one of these, then whatever happened hit something inside of you that needs healing. That is why it happened in the first place. It gives you the opportunity to grow. So, if this happens, stop and take a moment to ask yourself, where is this hitting me? 

Do I not feel seen or heard? Is this reminding me of another time I was hurt? Does it cause me to doubt my trust in my partner?

When you make the connection, it helps you to bring the situation into a healthier perspective and elicit a more called for a response. And when you find these wounded places, love yourself and say, “I chose to heal this part of myself that was touched right now.” Take some deep breaths of light into the space that holds your hurt and let it go. After you have calmed and you feel that there are pieces of the situation that need to be addressed with your partner, by all means, do so. Problem-solve together. Never forget that you are a team. Each of you needs to own your part. If you can each begin to do that, you are destined for a long and happy life together.

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