Read this latest blog by Harville and Helen Hendrix: Every couple meets, falls madly in love, falls out of love, fights and makes up, goes through crises and periods of smooth sailing. We can’t eliminate periods of difficulty from our lives any more than we can eliminate rain from the cycle of the seasons. Nor would we want to, for both rain and difficulties bring new growth.
Our only choice is how we RESPOND to our experience. We can remain ignorant of the forces that shaped us as children. We can refuse to learn new behaviors and change the outcome of our unhappy lives. Or we can open our eyes to the truth about ourselves and our past, and, with our partner’s support and compassion, learn new and effective ways of coping with our experience. This is what adults choose to do in a conscious relationship.
Today, think about a common pattern or occurrence in your relationship, perhaps a recurring core argument to which you have a knee-jerk response – to complain, to withdraw, to blow up in anger, to sabotage. Try to recall where you first encountered this behavior and when you first started to use this tactic. What one thing can you do differently today that might get a different response from your partner and might break this old pattern of stimulus and response?