What couple doesn’t dream of the day when they become such masters of themselves and the relationship that the bickering dissolves before it has time to start? We are horribly guilty of getting into it with each other for one reason or another, poking at open wounds or pushing the buttons we’ve learned over the years. I can play out these scenarios while programming for NASA I know the terrain so well.

We were in one such spiral leading to nowhere the other day when I stopped and realized EXACTLY what I’m looking for in that moment. My husband asks me all the time what he can do or say to prevent things getting out of hand, and I never have an answer. Then it struck me. I’m just looking for him to make a little space, to give me PERMISSION to feel what I’m feeling. He can think I’m dead wrong, he can think I’m an idiot. None of that matters. I just want him to grant me the liberty to express myself (as long as it is kind and considerate).

I don’t know why it surfaced, but the phrase ‘I hear you’ jumped out. When I’m venting and he starts to feel defensive, he can tell me that he hears me and it immediately allows me to settle knowing that I’ve been heard and that he has attempted to see my perspective.

He actually used it the very next day, and while I did a double take, it totally worked. I was able to let go and move on when ordinarily we would rush down a very narrow, winding path of blame and destruction and harsh words in an effort to ‘resolve’ an issue that was never an issue at all, but just a feeling that one of us was grappling with.

Feelings, man. They’re not forces, but messages we can choose to read and digest on our own time.

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