It’s been 21 years and 4 children later and guess what? We have built a beautiful life together but we are not the same 19 year olds we were when we first met. In the journey of love and marriage, we often encounter rough patches and relationship challenges that can test our emotional balance. As a sensitive person and empath, I even more acutely encounter emotional disruptions and nervous system dysregulation when we are in a triggering cycle of hurt and offense in our relationship. In order to navigate the rough waters, our goal is to give each other grace to evolve and grow so that we can find a way to journey together during this next stage of life. Here are some tips and real-time practices on how we stay grounded when facing relationship challenges:
1. Self-Awareness- The 3H Practice:
Start by looking inward.This can be hard, I know, but observing your reactions and understanding your emotions and triggers is the first step in staying grounded. Get to know yourself. Take time for introspection. Ask yourself, "What is really bothering me?" Identifying your feelings and their sources can help you gain clarity and control over your emotional responses. To bring you back to center try my 3H practice where you rub your hands together, hug yourself and connect with heart emotions to create a sense of safety and security for yourself while you navigate your own emotional waters.
2. Open Communication- “The Shitty first draft”:
In practice, this can be a tough one especially when you may not have tools to help you navigate tough conversations. Consider using the “Shitty first draft” technique. We filter so much when we are communicating and sometimes that filtering prevents us from really being vulnerable with each other. By implementing the “shitty first draft” you and your partner make an agreement to say what is on your mind and communicate your feelings without the “final edits.” You agree that the draft isn’t the final polished version, it is a draft, a mental-emotion dump that is unfiltered. Abundant grace is essential when hearing the “shitty first draft.” Just keep in mind it's supposed to sound like shit and feel shitty. Breathe and stick with it. You can do it. Each of you deserves to be heard, and effective communication is the backbone of any healthy relationship. Speaking from your heart, and being an active listener can diffuse tension. Avoid blame and judgment, focusing instead on understanding and finding common ground, even if it's a little piece.
3. Perspective Shift-Get away:
When facing relationship challenges, remember that this too shall pass. It's easy to become consumed by the present situation, but reminding yourself of the bigger picture can provide solace. Getting away may be a perfect way to practically help you shift. Once outside of your typical environment, shifting perspectives becomes easier. Try to re-engage and remember the love and connection that brought you together in the first place.
4. Seek Support:
You don't have to navigate relationship challenges alone. Reach out to friends, family, a therapist or coach for support. Consider a holistic approach to addressing the physical, mental and emotional resilience necessary to navigate relationship challenges.