relationships

JUST ASK JO: My Partner and I keep fighting over the same things over and over again. How do I get us past this?

Image Credit  here

Image Credit here

Question:

Hey Jo!

I feel like my partner and I have the same fights over and over who does more of what who’s doing less of what. And of course silent treatment. How do I get us past this?

Thanks, 

Tracy


Answer: 

Hey Tracy,

I know the feeling all too well. My husband and I went through almost 2 years of arguing over the things over and over again. It was exhausting! So please know that you're not alone and not the only one who's gone through this. The repetitive arguing lead us to seek out a marriage counselor, which helped to draw out the things we were missing from one another: quality time, quality conversations. After 6 months of what felt like we were just running in the same circles of blame, we finally confronted our shit

The first step in getting past the recycled arguments is to look at the behavior (or reaction) that happens when you get into a fight. Is there a repetitive pattern or recycled behavior that happens immediately after? We all tend to be reactionary when we get hurt. It's a natural human behavior that happens in order to protect our emotions or feelings from digging deeper into that pain.

The second step is to switch from reaction to reflection. Reflection allows us to take a step back from the disagreement and to look at it from a distance with a different perspective. For example, if your fight is over the housework not being done the reaction to the argument will typically result in negative assumptions about the other person's intent ("they are too lazy to care about me...they don't appreciate what I do").  But if you can switch your mind towards reflection you might be able to see things like "maybe they had a bad day at work or they are probably tired and exhausting day".

One of the things that I've come to realize is that at the end of the day Jonathan really cares about me, he doesn't mean to piss me off or hurt me even when we argue. The moment I started to switch my heart from reacting from a place of hurt to reflecting from a place of love I was able to better approach the arguments to find a resolution. 

If this is a relationship you want to keep, hang in there. Love will always find a way.

Sincerely,

Jo

How We Saved Our Marriage

How We Saved Our Marriage

LOVE IS A CHOICE, NOT A COMMITMENT. Each day we have the choice to show up in our marriage, to be courageous and choose to love with honesty, integrity, and empathy. Just like everything in life the moment you understand and accept that no one can make you fall in and out love, just like no one can make you be healthy or unhealthy; the power is yours to create the type of love you want to thrive in.

Love Authentically

Love Authentically

The one thing that has held us together was our honest and open communication. We're still learning what that looks like from time to time, but the more and more we practice opening up to one another about our fears, concerns, hopes, and dreams the easier it becomes. Sometimes I wonder if I had been more open about some of the issues I was facing with other friends who were married than maybe we could've saved ourselves a few nights of going to bed in separate rooms furiously angry at one another. Last year when my husband and I were going through some rough patches I was actually open about it to women and a few men around me. I can't tell you how much hearing from other people who would just say, "GIRL, we've been there too..." helped. It was as if the feeling of loneliness, shame, and lack of self worth had subsided. It's crazy how when you get married, you somehow feel like you're supposed to be some love expert, when the reality is you've just opened up a whole new chapter of messiness to sort through with your "till death do us part" partner. 

Finding Strength in Our Weakness

Being intimate involves the mixing of our life with another’s, a mingling of souls, a sharing of hearts. We are all designed to connect. Real intimacy is not found just by merging bodies in sex. Real intimacy makes us feel alive like we’ve been found, as if someone finally took the time to peer into the depths of our soul and really see us there.
— Lucia Pador, Utterly Engaged

A few months ago I was asked by the editors of Utterly Engaged to contribute to their Volume 4 magazine edition which encapsulates the topic of intimacy and love.  And to be honest I was stumped on what to share to an audience that is traditionally reading this publication to find inspiration for their wedding. But the biggest reasons why I have always believed in Utterly Engaged and who they stand for is they are building a space in which people can create a meaningful wedding and life with those they love. 

Below is my written piece in Utterly Engaged Volume 4 paired with the beautiful and strong imagery of Elizabeth Messina, an incredibly talented photographer. 


Vulnerability can often be seen as a sign of weakness, but I’ve always believed that being vulnerable to our emotions, thoughts, and feelings and allowing others to see this side of us brings on strength and intimacy. Sharing our individual story and journey to others, enables us to connect with one another on deeper levels. It allows us to be able to share a side of our lives that most people have never seen or experienced. I know from my own personal experience how frightening this can be. I’ve always been afraid of unlocking and unfolding certain truths about myself, mostly because I want to believe I’m a strong woman, wife, and mother. But I’m learning that strength shouldn’t be just the perception of who you are to the public eye if you are holding back from some of the most intimate truths to the ones you love and surround yourself with.

I struggle with depression. I have since I was 15 and it has always been a very hard truth for me to share with those around me especially my husband and daughters. They have always depended on me as a strong minded, determined, and hard working woman. So when signs of my depression begin to unfold, it causes a lot of internal pain for me and I find myself trying hard to cover it up and hide the emotions that are stirring up so much agony inside. Not too long ago I had an episode of depression that hit me like a wave and my husband was the epicenter of the storm. He has often experienced my moments of anxiety, but has never seen the side of my mental illness that swallowed me whole. It was a rough few weeks for the both of us, but in that struggle we both came out of it even stronger and more transparent with emotions and truth. It's common that in relationships we try our very hardest to not allow the darkest emotions to infect others because of our fears of bringing them down, but the truth is it is these moments where we need to lean on each others hearts to create the authentic connection we need in order to find a place of healing.

I’ve been married to my husband, Jonathan for the 7 years and we’ve been together as a couple for nearly 13 years. The very moment I shared some of the darkest and most painful moments in my past with him brought out the most light in our relationship. It's difficult to carry the pains of our past, but in order to move forward with the future there are secrets we need to let go. These secrets to us can seem like moments of weaknesses, but the truth is they are the reasons for our strengths. Each day I feel like our love grows on a solid foundation of transparency and truth. We are able to tell each other how feel openly, which has brought us even closer than we have been before.

We are most alive when we find it, most devastated when we lose it, most empty when we give up on it, most inhuman when we betray it, and most passionate when we pursue it

Pick up your copy of this exquisite magazine here

Last night I had an incredible time at Sugarfina in SF seeing some old friends, sharing laughter, and catching up on this thing called life at the UE Volume 4 release party. Thanks for the good times. 

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