Resolving combat atmosphere in your marraige
When relationships in the marriage become tense and all your attempts are met with icy-cold indifference, it is time for some serious therapy.
Danielle asked me last week to write more about diffusing combat atmosphere.
The good news with combat atmosphere – it takes one person to start the process, the second person most usually reciprocates and starts making some effort. In some cases, when the damage is not too serious, you will see results within a week.
The bad news – it took you a long time to get to the combat atmosphere stage, so it does require time, commitment and patience to get out of this area.
Here are some useful and powerful tools.
First step – damage control
You have to do some damage control and do not let it get worse. Do not bite his baited hook (do not accept his offer for a fight). Alisa Bowman writes about it in her article How to inoculate yourself against negativity.
Second step - inspiration
Watch Fireproof movie. It comes with the book and if you like the movie, you can have a 40 days challenge on reviving your marriage. The gist of the movie is that the Fireman lets his marriage go from bad to worse and now he has to save it and fireproof it. He starts the process and then his wife understands him and they stay together even after she signed the divorce papers and contemplated on committing adultery. Happy ending, but very believable (even when you remove the religious undertones of the movie).
Third step – actual work
The step by step process solution is offered by one of my valued teachers Oksana Dupliakina. She offers algorithm of connection. The algorithm has 6 stages.
- In order to re-build trust, love and respect in the family, you have to go back to very basics. The first stage of basics is a simple civil conversation. The best topics are neutral or about him: his day, his hobby, plans for the weekend. Use neutral topics for finding out his mood and if he is wiling to talk, go to topics about him. It is like when you meet someone new, you do not want to go too personal, but you want to find out a little bit about the person. This superficial conversation can develop to a deep and meaningful conversation but your main goal at this stage to keep it neutral and civil.
- The second stage is compassion. When he complains about being tired, offer to watch his favourite movie together and just relax this weekend. This will make him feel good about himself and you. He will start feeling that you understand him and listen to him.
- Next are compliments but you have to go through first two stages in order to get here. Otherwise, he might think that you are ridiculing him or trying to manipulate him. He will not feel that the compliment is sincere. Why? It is simple, when you meet a person for the first time and that person starts to compliment you left right and centre, how do you feel? You think: “What does he/she need from me? He/She must be crazy”. And if you start compliment prematurely, that is exactly the way your husband will feel. That is the stage when you start deep meaningful conversations.
- At this stage, relationships get deeper and you already know that he has some problems. You can offer some help but better still ask him for help or advice on problems that you actually want solved. Ask for advice about problems with your studies, your work, your car. Anything that will make him feel that he is contributing and that his opinion is valued and respected. I think, advice is the best because we all love to give advice.
- The fifth stage, real friendship. You start joking with each other because you feel that atmosphere is safe and relaxed. Your relationships are positive and easy. If you have achieved this stage, your are a champion. This is a very good stage, you are now out of the combat zone.
- The final stage is love, your man will try to kiss you, cuddle you and will start flirting with you. This stage is the ultimate. Whether you achieve it or not, is unknown. While you are in the combat area, this stage might feel unachievable, but then again, there are millions of success stories too.
This algorithm became an amazing tool for me. I am always rushing into things but it makes you understand that it takes time to build relationships and you have to allow the other person time.
You can use this algorithm in any relationships.
I use the algorithm with my younger sisters a lot. It is my first urge to give them well-meant but unsolicited advice. Before I used to launch to my advising session as soon as I saw them. They felt that I was patronizing. So, I toned it down and because I allow some time to re-establish connection they seldom retort back as they used to. Secretly, I still give my advice but they are not offended by it anymore, because I listened to them, gave them compassion and then suggested ways out and they feel appreciated and respected and loved. They were always loved but because I was launching to advice session they did not see it that way.
This algorithm is a little but very powerful technique.
Possible other steps
Sometimes, you have to let it go to see if it is yours. Remember:
If you love somebody, let them go. If they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.
If nothing is working and everything fails, let it go. We broke up twice with my husband at the dating stage and we are still together, happy as can be. So, sometimes you have to let him decide for himself, because it gives you time to reflect and re-assess too.
However, if you really love someone that you are willing to give your all to, yet the road is still fraught with combat issues and nothing else is working, consider going to a marriage councillor or local minister of a church for advice before doing anything you might regret.
All of these are really hard and emotionally charged decisions, so that is why I think it is worth it to keep your relationships on extraordinary level and work on them every day.
What do you think? Does letting go help?