In this post, I will wave my magic wand and–poof!–show you how to get out of that godawful downward spiral known as the spousal fight. I will then–double poof!–show you how you can turn things around with some fun and games.
But at least it gives us some place to start!
OK. Once you’ve figured out which yucky dance (or “Demon Dialogue,” according to Sue Johnson‘s Hold Me Tight) you’re stuck in, one of you needs to pull your act together enough to realize that the fight itself is the bad guy, not you or your spouse. So, yes, it doesn’t matter whether it’s you or your honey-bunny–but one of you needs to have enough wherewithal to step back and get some perspective.
Once you’ve gotten your head above those raging waters, you can then take a step back and say, “OK, where were we? What do we need right now?”
Spouse #1, repeat after me: “What do you need, honey-bunny?”
Spouse #2, repeat after me: “And what do you need, darlin’?”
Yup, yup, you gotta start talking. And listening. Otherwise, hang on, buddy-boy, cause there’s plenty more rapids a-comin’ your way.
Once you start communicating again, you can start connecting again. By now, you’ve (hopefully) created enough space to let down your armor for a bit and actually hear what your spousey’s been trying to tell you. And vice versa.
Now for the fun and games! (Kinda, sorta.)
Next, take some time to figure out what you and your beloved liked to do together way back in the beginning. (This is John Gottman‘s idea, by the way, not mine.)
How did you connect? Did you like to eat out together? Or maybe you liked to hike together. Maybe you took road trips together, traveled down to the corner bar together, got tattoos together or, hell, pasted wet strips of paper together for an entire week in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest paper-mache monkey. Yes, yes, I’m reaching.
As we should. Because I don’t know about you, but heck, those pre-kid years seem pretty frickin far away right now. What the hell did we do when we weren’t changing diapers or arguing over who got their 1.2 hours worth of weekly free time?
Sigh. Been a long time, right? I don’t know about you, but Ken and I don’t exactly take a ton of nights away or do a lot of datey-type things, at least not lately. Every time we think about doing a regular date night, it seems like something else pops up and fills up the books.
Which brings me to today’s special: Time to Shake Things Up and Take A Night Away With the Spouse!
Now, to figure out the logistics….