Are you fighting for your marriage? I do every day. Here is a glimpse into my marriage last weekend: It was a typical Saturday grocery run. The fam and I had wandered every aisle and were ready to check out. We picked aisle 6, patiently waiting behind another shopper to unload our cart onto the conveyor belt. I proceeded to get lost in thought (a common occurrence) while reading magazine covers. I looked up and suddenly realized my people were no longer with me, and some strange lady was looking at me like, yo, are you going to move?
Everything Started on Aisle 7 ...
I guess aisle 7 ended up being a quicker check-out choice. And, my hubby and tiny human had relocated.
I didn't notice.
I quickly scanned the store, saw them and moved to join them.
I was so furious ...
According to me, I was a lit fuse ready to explode.
I was so furious that they didn't say "Hey Dawn, we're moving over here."
According to my husband, it was innocent, and he had no reason to think I would be upset. After all, I wander off all the time. (I do tend to operate in my own little world).
... and then, I flipped out
So, I say "That was not funny. Totally uncool." He says, "well it's a little funny" and chuckles. I flipped out.
Without another word, I stormed off headed for the parking lot. I'm sure it was "I'll show you" paired with legit internal distress; not knowing what to do with myself.
It was nuts. The whole thing.
I spent hours freezing my husband out while simultaneously thinking "this is not rational, Dawn."
My husband came to me with an olive branch ...
He found me watching Netflix and asked if we could talk.
This is important. Despite my less than collaborative reaction, my hubby made the first move to repair things. When fighting in marriage, someone has to make the first move. What happens next is equally important to a healthy marriage. I responded openly, willing to talk and listen.
He wanted to understand why I was so upset. I explained that I felt left behind, embarrassed and then incensed that he would smirk at me instead of apologizing right there in aisle 7.
He was to blame ...
Two weeks later I figured out what I'm going to share with you.
Once I figured it out (this revelation), it blew my mind. I promptly went back to my husband to make amends.
2 Key Behaviors When Fighting for Your Marriage
First of all, you can't hurt feelings.
Anger, sadness, fear, embarrassment; they can't be hurt.
I can feel them, and they may be painful, but you can't actually 'hurt them.'
Blaming Others for How You Feel
The idea of "getting your feelings hurt" implies blame.
There are perpetrators and victims. But, instead, we could notice feelings and take a moment to explore the situation. That would shift everything towards empowerment and away from victimhood.
I take responsibility for my actions and my experience in the world and my relationships. This way is automatically less dramatic, less conflict oriented and more straightforward to resolve.
Second, my husband was utterly innocent. Do I wish he had noticed how upset I was, of course. But, he didn't. And, he certainly didn't intend to hurt me. It all happened so fast.
Your Underlying Reason for Getting Your Feelings Hurt
Which is another HUGE red flag.
When feelings get this big, this fast, it's a big clue that something else is going on.
In the therapy world, we call this a trigger.
I wasn't responding to what happened in aisles 6 and 7; I was reacting to a whiff of a previous experience locked in my long-term memory (probably from around age 7).
Now, I was able to figure all this out because I've spent a lot of time learning about human behavior and what it all means. Here's what I want you to take away from this: (other than a giggle at how ridiculous I must've looked sitting on the bumper in the parking lot) to learn how to take responsibility for your actions ...
#1 Stop Blaming Others for Your Feelings
And stop expecting people to read your mind.
If you don't like what you're feeling, take the time and responsibility to change your life or your circumstances.
Happiness and peace are an inside job. It's no one's responsibility to facilitate or accommodate your experience here on earth. Not your children, your boss, your friends, your parent or your lover. You have the power to unlock your own meaningful and rewarding life experience.
I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but I am saying it's worth it.
#2 Realize When You Are Experiencing a Memo
If you are 'getting triggered' by any of the people I listed above, understand that the experience you are having is a memo. A critical memo. Your mind and body are working together to communicate something epically important to you. There is something deep inside of you and your long-term memory that is asking, no, begging for your attention. It's saying 'I need your help, please heal me.'
You can run, but you can't hide. You will repeat the cycle over and over until you heal. Running leads to burnout, bitterness, guilt, blame, and arrogance. The only way to live with these unhealed experiences that unearth painful feelings to blame someone else, detach from them or go numb. The more you repeat these unhealthy things, the further and further you get from your real and authentic self.
Start fighting for your marriage. I believe in you.
So, please, come back! Come back to the true you. You are worthy, valuable and loved. Become willing to heal and find peace.
“A person who blames others has not begun their lesson. A person who blames themselves has begun their lesson. A person who blames no one has finished their lesson.” ~Dawn Wiggins
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