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Marriage: The Long Haul – Repetitive Fighting

Stop Your Repetitive Fight Forever
by Mark and Jan Yokers

In our last article, we related how Milan and Kay introduced a couple, Charles and Lucy, who were on the path to divorce because of their relational erosion. They continually had ruptures in their communication without any repair. They grew further and further apart until they were ready to call it “quits.” Read how Milan and Kay came to the rescue:

“Couples frequently find themselves in a frustrating pattern of reactivity that is damaging to the relationship. Once the fight escalates, it’s extremely hard to control, and hurtful exchanges take place. When this occurs repeatedly, love disappears, and the relationship languishes in a slow death. But you do not have to stay stuck. There is hope, and we have the answer if you are willing to learn and do some work.”

“The first step of growth is to own your attachment style (Love Style) and work on the growth goals for your particular style. Instead of focusing on your spouse, pick the style you most commonly display in the relationship. All attachment styles have a reactive element that contributes to the repetitive fight. You can take the love style quiz for free at HowWeLove.com to get started, and if you choose to change, you can use the How We Love book and workbook as resources to help you gain more insight.”

“The second step is to learn to understand your spouse’s love style and learn the predictable pattern that occurs when you combine them. There are nine core patterns in How We Love Expanded Version. Just like the chemistry experiment: Hydrogen gas in an inverted test tube (because it’s lighter than air) + oxygen in the atmosphere + flame = EXPLOSION with a puddle of water on the counter. It happens EVERY time! Remember the Hindenburg Blimp explosion? It was filled with hydrogen. That’s why the Good Year blimp is filled with helium, which is non-flammable. Wouldn’t you like your relationship to be less combustible?”

“In the third step, we learn to explore history with a trip around the Comfort Circle. Learning to complete the comfort circle is a game changer.” (We, Mark and Jan, have been doing comfort circles since the summer of 2011, and it absolutely was and still is a game changer in our relationship. When we have a rupture (disharmony) in our interchange, we have the skills to quickly repair and restore equilibrium and harmony. Our conflicts have actually become a path to growth, healing, greater closeness, understanding, and empathy).

“Listening is a key skill many of us don’t learn growing up. Listening skills are taught by asking one partner to reflect on what they heard their partner say before responding. We slow the process way down and have each person learn to stay in the listening role all the way around the circle.” (“It is so wonderful to be listened to and to truly understand each other,” say Mark and Jan).

Do you remember Charles and Lucy from last week’s newsletter and how Charles was jealous of Lucy’s delight in their three-month-old baby? “We gave Lucy some questions to guide her through a listening experience with Charles, and she began to cry when she learned that Charles was a ‘bottle propped’ baby and left alone in his crib for hours on end, waiting for someone to pick him up. No wonder he was jealous when he saw an attuned and attentive mother. It was a turning point in their marriage because contempt was replaced with compassion. Charles grew also because he was able to focus his anger and grief toward the past instead of making Lucy the lightning rod.”

Understanding Charles’ past helped Lucy to see that their issues started long before their marriage, beginning when Charles was a baby. We recommend a webinar where Milan and Kay address how to find what’s really fueling your conflicts. “Stop Your Repetitive Fight Forever” is available at https://howwelove.com/shop/webinars/



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