6 Steps on How to Repair Instead of SwearAug 22, 2023
HOW TO FIGHT
Everyone fights in a relationship. You certainly don't need the 6 steps on how to fight but if you did...
Step One: Accuse your spouse of messing up.
Step Two: When they get defensive yell a bit louder.
Step Three: I'm kidding, I'm kidding...
Why does post-fight repair seem challenging, prompting the need for mediation?
FAMILY OF ORIGINS
Have you observed how conflict behavior from your upbringing can become a norm or be rejected entirely, leading to repeating patterns in your new family that might be hurtful, despite your initial reactions?
Most likely your (great) grandparents were still recovering from the effects of the war on their parents and/or making it through The Depression. Your (great) grandparents were all about survival mode and didn't have the time, energy, or resources to understand how this PTSD would be passed down from generation to generation.
I don't fault our parents for not guiding us on how to recover after conflict but the responsibility is now on us. When you know better hopefully you do better.
And for some people, they're not even aware of the similarities but the damage continues to be the same.
FIGHT, FLEE OR FREEZE
Now if you're like me (Danielle) my tendency is to ignore conflict. If you ignore it long enough it goes away, right?! Or perhaps you're like Russ, you meet it straight on, verbally attack it and then hug within seconds. Everyone's natural tendency is either to fight, flee or freeze.
So how do you undo these natural tendencies?
Patience and perseverance...and a formulaic approach that actually helps you reconnect after a fight.
Russ and I were shocked at how well these repair steps worked. We would experience feeling even closer after conflict. This was certainly nothing we had experienced growing up.
We've led almost 250+ couples through this formula and have watched how powerful it is in repairing disagreements and misunderstandings.
REPAIR INSTEAD OF SWEAR
A FEW AFTERTHOUGHTS
P.S. Men lead by asking your wife to share her story/her perspective of the conflict first. Set an example of how to be emotionally safe.
P.S.S. - Do not say "I'm sorry." Instead say, "I was wrong for .... list out specifics.
P.S.S.S. The higher the intensity of the fight the more it's about what's inside of us than what our spouse did to us. For example, I (Danielle) like to be silly. Sometimes it will embarrass Russ. His overreactions to my silliness are magnified because of his family-of-origin experience. His magnified response does not match the level of whatever I did to embarrass him. Does that make sense?
Have you tried these steps? Need help in executing them? Most couples get stuck on step two. Russ and I needed our therapist for several years to mediate our disagreements.
Have you seen how conflict patterns you bear,
From your upbringing, a past that you wear?
Either you embrace them or push them away,
Yet they surface again, causing dismay.
The cycle repeats though intentions are clear,
Old wounds resurface, bringing pain near.
Breaking this pattern, the goal that you share,
Requires understanding and the will to repair.
Repair here with a Break Free V.I.P. Session
Learn new communication skills you can immediately apply in your marriage and some harder skills (with practice) that will transform your marriage.