Marital Conflicts Can Create Connection
Did you know that every conflict with your husband is an opportunity to connect on a deeper level?
In this video you can learn the first step to restoring connection and compassion in the midst of a conflict.
Has your husband ever complained about your housekeeping skills? Or about how you parent your children? Or the way you spend money? How did you react? If you’re like me, I bet you got angry and offended. But what if instead of anger you felt compassion. Compassion for your husband, yourself and your marriage. This may sound a little far fetched, but I promise you it’s not at all. It is possible for you to change the trajectory in your marriage, even in moments of conflict.
I’m Danielle Napolio Cox and I help women learn to manage their emotions so they can improve their relationships and create a marriage and life they love.
We've all had that intense moment where our emotions overtake us and we lose our ability to think clearly. And when we try to explain ourselves, it seems to make things worse. We feel like we are chasing after our thoughts but can’t catch them. We feel powerless to our emotions so we react. Then later, we regret it.
Any time we are faced with an overwhelming emotion, it’s easy to get caught up in what we are feeling. In that moment, we say things we didn’t mean, act in ways that are out of integrity, and end up filled with resentment, shame and regret.
But it does not have to be this way. You can face an intense situation without losing control of your thoughts, your words or your feelings. Once you know how to manage your emotions you can stop reacting and start communicating.
It begins by knowing that every conflict is an opportunity for connection.
But when we react without managing our emotions, we destroy more than we heal.
The first step to creating connection in a conflict is to pause and slow down the momentum of our emotions. When we are not trapped in a flood of feelings, we can step outside the emotion to see the pain behind it.
Here is an example from a woman I work with. She felt trapped in a constant battle with her husband over an expensive home upgrade that she wanted but her husband did not want. They argued over it time and time again until they finally reached an impasse. She was angry and bitter towards her husband because he would not see her point of view. His inflexible stance made her choose to dig in her heels. Their disagreement over a home upgrade began to bleed into all aspects of her marriage.
After working with her, we discovered that the problem wasn’t that she couldn’t get her way or that her husband was unreasonable. Through our discussions she realized that at the core, she was worried that he didn’t respect her opinions. She felt belittled and dismissed. When she looked past his surface emotions, she could see that underneath his anger and stubborness was a fear. His fear was that if they spent the money, they wouldn’t have enough savings if an unexpected expense popped up. This breakthrough happened when she was able to stop the momentum of her anger and find compassion for both herself and for her husband. Her awareness gave her the tools to talk with her husband in a way that allowed compassion and understanding to triumph over anger and frustration.
It is not always easy to recognize exactly what it is that you are feeling. In a conflict you will have a variety of emotions, but there is often one dominant emotion that is feeding the others. Identifying this emotion can be challenging because some emotions, such as anger, are a mask for other more vulnerable emotions.
Developing our awareness around our pain, the pain of our husband, and the facts of the situation is a skill. But all skills, including emotion management, can be learned. And with practice, they can be mastered.
Only you can determine what emotions lay beneath the surface. But by pausing and becoming aware, you can respond with intention and break the cycle of resentment, shame and regret.
I hope you found this helpful. Please join me next week when I share more tips on how to overcome loneliness and restore connection in your marriage.