<- Go back to Marriage Killer #3: Pursue-Withdraw
How to Kill the Marriage Killers
1) Recognize the killer. Each one of these killers can sometimes masquerade as your partner. Sometimes the only way you can tell you are in the middle of the cycle is to notice your own stress level. Are you triggered by something? If so, nip it in the bud. Trying to communicate with your partner in this state puts the killer in charge. Try to band together when you encounter it so your relationship has the upper hand.
2) Look to the softer feelings. Look inward – what is it that you really long for from your partner? Are you courageous enough to request it? Look outward – what is it that your partner is longing for? It may go a long way if you can let them know you care about what they are longing for, and maybe even reassure them.
3) Reengage. Try to revisit some of the old battles you have been in, offering apologies for your part of them, translating the old attacks into the vulnerable feelings beneath them. Addressing old hurts can build up trust again. Trust breeds comfortable vulnerability, which breeds connection, which breeds trust. This is a cycle that heals.
4) Ask for help. Sometimes, these marriage killers have done so much damage already, or you have so many other hurdles in your own lives or relationships, that it is almost impossible to battle the killers alone. I encourage you to seek help. A friend, pastor or religious affiliate, or family member who you both trust may help the two of you regain your perspective and join forces against these powerful threats. An experienced, trained marriage counselor may provide the stability, empathy, and objectivity that can help the two of you connect again. If you are in the Orange County/Los Angeles area, you are welcome to contact me for availability. I would be honored to work with you as you bring your relationship to a safer, more connected level.