By: Luscious Mother
ARGUMENTS ARE INEVITABLE, BUT BREAKING PATTERNS CAN CHANGE THE GAME.
Happy Wednesday Luscious Mother Fam!
Sarah here. Over the course of the pandemic, I’ve noticed different themes emerge, and precious few of them have been Luscious: fatigue, stress, grief, anxiety, separation from friends and family, cabin fever, parental struggles with work, offspring struggles with learning… Our plates have been fuller than ever, and we’re sharing our buffet with fewer and fewer people.
We’re together with our nearest and dearest ALL. THE. TIME. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s lowering our flashpoints and firing up the friction. Something’s gotta give, and in the Olin house we’ve had a month’s worth of donnybrooks to rival all the pubs in Dublin. So today, we’re talking about fights, mamas. But thanks to the wonders of support and coaching, my husband Matt and I are a whole lot better at blowing off steam than we used to be.
Pre-coaching, when Matt and I had a fight, there was a very particular pattern it would follow:
Matt would commit a “crime” or otherwise piss me off. (It was always his fault, naturally.)
I would respond with varying degrees of anger, typically in the range of ghost pepper on the Scoville scale of spiciness.
Matt would apologize and try to make up with me. His efforts would be fruitless for at least 24 hours.
Eventually I would calm down and realize I had possibly overreacted. A tiny bit.
We would make up. Exceptionally well.
Rinse and repeat.
This pattern was not fun for either of us, and decidedly un-great for our relationship. (Except maybe for step 5.)
But what I love about patterns is that once you notice them, it’s simple to break them. You just don’t do the next predictable step in the pattern. Note: I said simple. Not easy.
For us, we needed a bit of help both to recognize the pattern and then to avoid the troublesome step. So a few years ago, we started seeing a couples’ therapist. We loved it so much that we have kept going, once a month just for maintenance.
In our last session, I shared about a fight Matt and I had recently that illuminated the value of what we’ve learned: Matt had been out at a socially distanced guys night. I heard a weird noise in the house, got scared, and then furious when he didn’t answer his phone. When he got home, he came up to our bedroom and I was… less than gracious.
His response was to simply say, “you’re tired, I’m going downstairs.” Ten points to him for not taking my bait, and ten more points to me for letting him go.
The next morning, in the light of day, none of it seemed like a particularly big deal. I apologized for being bratty and we moved on. So much pain and suffering avoided because Matt didn’t accept my invitation to a fight, and I just let it pass. The result was more joy, less strife; more connection, less contention. And we still got to make up!
I’m proud of us. That was progress. It ain’t perfect, but hell, what is? There is no perfect fight. But fight better? That we could do.
Our therapist challenged us to create more agreements around how we fight. No fights at night. Say, “I love you, you’re my best friend,” and then circle back when you have calmed down.
Fighting is normal. Fighting better is a gift. So fight nicer. Fight shorter. Practice creating some agreements with your partner around when and how you fight. And if you need support with the simple – but never easy – step of disrupting your patterns, that’s where the coaching comes in.
We’d love to hear from you mama! How do you fight? What are your patterns in relationship that aren’t so luscious? Where/how can you interrupt them? How can we support you? What would you love to hear about from the Luscious Newsletter?
Peace, Love, & Lusciousness!
Sarah & Anna
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