Welcome, AwakenYou listeners, so happy to be here with you this week because today I have some promising information to share with you as we work through this divorce-proofing, divorce-awareness series. The topic for this week is all around the repair attempts we make or don’t make when we are in a conflict with our spouses or anyone for that matter. If you haven’t been in the habit of attempting to make conflict repairs AND if you have all of the first four indicators, which include the four horsemen then your chances for divorce get up there, into the 90+ percentage range. The good news I have for you today is that if your relationship contains those first four divorce indicators: harsh start-ups to conflict, contempt, criticism, stonewalling or flooding and defensiveness but you are willing to learn how to make repair attempts then you are on the road to improving your marriage because being able to make successful repair attempts after conflict turns out to be the secret ingredient to a successful marriage!
As we have worked through these divorce indicators, some of them are easier to start changing than others. Many of our conflict styles start developing at a young age through modeling from our caretakers, how we learned to connect with them, and how we learned how to protect ourselves. As we grow and develop, these patterns run in the background and start to become who we are and how we unconsciously deal with conflict in our adult relationships. As we begin to notice that we aren’t getting the results we want in our relationships we typically see it as an outside problem, that our partners are the cause of our discontent.
We might start thinking that we are married to the wrong person and that if we could find the right person then the conflict would end. The problem with this thinking is that most of us have unresolved conflict coping mechanisms and we carry those into our next relationship along with mixing in the new relationship dynamic that comes from starting new with a person that has a whole different set of conflict coping mechanisms.
The other dynamic that I see with couples is getting to this place of complacency in their marriage. A place where they assume that their desires are overrated and that a stale relationship is what happens after years of being with the same person and so they stop addressing the conflict that is happening inside of them to “keep the peace.” Though this might seem to work on the outside it keeps us from growing and creating what we really want which is an intimate relationship that we look forward to going home to, a relationship where we look forward to connecting honestly, even if it means working through some differences of opinion.
Today I want to share some hope with any of you who are feeling lost and resigned to a lackluster marital future. I’m going to share a simple solution that can start you moving in a different direction and it’s something you can start implementing on your own, right now.
Stopping the conflict and stating you need a break is the secret ingredient
As you start to pay attention to the common conflict interactions between you and your spouse and begin to recognize the damage these dynamics are having on the health of your marriage you can start the process of change. As you listen through my AwakenYou episodes and start to recognize what your relational habits are you can start implementing new ways of reacting that will have you taking a u-turn in your relationship. Back in episode 38: How To Self-Soothe To A Happier Marriage I talked about coming up with a way to stop conflict in its tracks, then stating to your partner that you needed some time to decompress and then agreeing on a time to come back together and continue the discussion after both of you have had time to re-think and re-approach.
In AwakenYou if I am working with an individual this helps them create awareness within themselves while diffusing the tension allowing their partner to do the same, they become the leader in creating a new conflict dynamic. When I am working with both partners each of them is working on themselves with the tools I share so that together they can create a new relationship dynamic tsunami – meaning that the change happens much quicker when both partners are willing to do the work and are committed to finding a new way to work out their differences.
When you are able to stop the conflict and take a break you diffuse the tension helping to avoid flooding and you are sharing that you want to change, that you want to do something different in an effort to build a stronger relationship. This is called an attempt to repair and if your partner accepts your attempt to repair, over time you will start to grow closer and get to know each other better because you are actually working through your conflict instead of avoiding it. This repair attempt has you offering to start a process of reconnection with your spouse after the disconnection that comes from the conflict ( through the process of reconnection, you feel the power of connection.
What to do if your repair attempt doesn’t work
Keep at it. If you’ve been in an unhealthy conflict loop for as many years as I was, recognize that this will take time, especially if you are working it on your own. Initially, it won’t be surprising if your spouse doesn’t react in a way you are expecting because they are on the defense, they are not used to the way you are reacting and looking for an unexpected punch to be thrown! You keep working on what you are doing to change the way you show up in your life for yourself, your spouse and your marriage and things will start to shift.
Along with this is that because you are working on your relationship with yourself, you start showing up differently in general, you stop showing up the way you think you need to in order to have a happy life and are creating your happy life. With this new life dynamic you will be incorporating other tools that will help you build a stronger marital relationship outside of the time that you are in conflict. As you learn how to recover from conflict you will have more connected time to work on some of the other tools I share in this podcast to build up your relationship including Ep 37: Getting To Know Them, which by the way, is the topic of this week’s Marriage Masterclass so go get yourself registered for that right now! Also recognizing bids for connection (Ep 40) as well as responding positively to them (Ep. 41).
My action steps for you this week are to decide how you will stop conflict when it happens, share with your partner that you want to work on this and what your conflict pause action will be. Then share that with this pause you will be taking 10-15 minutes to get emotionally regulated (find out how in Ep 35) and that you want to come back together at a designated time to discuss what happened. Note that you can do this same work without having an explicit conversation with your spouse about what you are doing and you can still implement the work.
My last action step for you is to schedule a mini-coaching session to get help with this, I will share thirty minutes of my time to help you resolve a specific conflict and get you moving towards reconnection in your marriage. This month I am challenging myself to help 25 people by sharing with each of them a free mini-coaching session and right now with what is going on in our world, who doesn’t need that? Now, get that free session booked and get registered for my March Marriage Masterclass where I am going to help you get to know them better!
I am a life coach who works with women and couples struggling with how their lives and marriage feel through awakening their true selves. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your life and marriage, which by the way, will have you see your partner changing as well. If you’re ready to take yourself to a place where you can fall back in love with your life and your spouse, then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s talk about your next steps to a life you are crazy in love with!