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Safe Haven Marriage Challenge- Week 3

Staying focused on fostering a safe haven marriage.

Going from disconnected to loving in your marriage.

Marriage Challenge #1: Stay focused on your vision for your marriage!

We want to be kind, patient, honest, listen well, share our hearts, repair hurts, always ready to listen, say sorry, forgive and reconnect. We want to work wisely, make space for family and what gives us meaning in life, plan adventures, be financially smart, live centered on what we believe and value, do what is most important each day.”

Marriage Challenge #2: Be the best version of YOURSELF

“I want to be a person of integrity, centered on what I believe, mature, wise, kind, honest, open, sensible, a good listener, finding the good and positive in all, fun loving, adventurous, living to the fullest this one glorious life God’s gifted to me.”

Marriage Challenge #3: REACT out of the best version of YOU

The challenge this week is to become aware of how you are reacting and better align your tone of voice, comments and reactions with the best version of yourself!

Right now you might be defending yourself saying, “I wouldn’t have to react the way I do if my spouse didn’t do what he/she did.” I know how frustrating getting along in marriage can be, but each hour of your day, during each interaction with your spouse, you get to choose whether or not to be the best version of yourself!

I often hear people say, “the way I react when I get triggered in an argument with my spouse is not who I want to be, I don’t like the person I become when I react that way.”

It is easy to get triggered and find yourself yelling, criticizing, defending, shutdown and filled with anger, hurt and resentment and that’s just not who you want to be or how you want to relate with your spouse!

Actually all you both want is to be heard and understood! And to live together connected and peacefully… just as you outlined in the vision for your marriage during our week one challenge!

The challenge this week is to react and relate to your spouse out of your best self! Regardless of who said what to start the argument, choose to respond differently. Respond centered, aware of what you are saying, choosing your tone and attitude, out of your best self. You can do it! One interaction at a time!

First, a few exercises to help you understand how you react.

1. What is your typical automatic reaction when triggered or upset?

Pursue: fight, defend, escalate, go after, get heated, talk louder, repeat yourself

  1. Withdraw: defend yourself, explain, then back away, shut down and withdraw

  2. Freeze: get overwhelmed by the emotion or conflict, don’t know what to say next, so shut down and freeze, wait for the argument to be over

  3. Pleaze: to smooth things over, appease, to avoid conflict, distract from the difficult situation you do something nice for the person such as a chore or act of kindness

2. Describe how you would like to react, when triggered or upset, when you are at your best?

Two exercises to help you answer this question:

i. What would you like to change/be less of, so to react out of your best self?

□ impatient □ easily frustrated □ irritated □ unkind □ demeaning

□ give in □ placate □ ignore issues □ avoid conflict □ easily wounded

□ talk over □ control with anger or sulking □ ruminate □ blame

ii. What would you like to remember/do more of so to react out of your best self?

□ slow down □ don’t blame or defend □ think before reacting □ use manners

□ stay engaged □ discover my view □ courage to share □ be kind

□ ask for a time out □ ask for clarification □ ask for a do-over □ be open

□ don’t push for my way □ listen and understand before reacting

□ remember, it’s not always about me, I need to consider my spouse’s view, need, hurt

3. Steps to change the way you react:

Slow down. Take a breathe. Don’t react as though it is an emergency.

  1. Just because you feel it, doesn’t mean you have to share it, or react out of it.

  2. Behind your reaction is something you want understood. When you are yelling, blaming, defending, shutting down or sulking you either have bad manners, or there is something you want heard and understood! Discover it!

  3. Slow down and share it.

  4. To be heard, you might need to use a calm, kind and respectful attitude, tone of voice and choice of words.

  5. When there is a big reaction there might be a dragon fueling it … to discover your dragons stay tuned to our next series!

4. It takes a small change to have a big impact. Chose to slow down so you can react differently with one powerful sentence:

I’d like to understand what you are saying to me, but I just got triggered and feel defensive, can we slow this down …”

“I feel attacked, but I don’t think that’s your intention, can we slow this down…”

“I feel myself getting angry, and that’s not how I want to react, I’d like a time out and come back and talk when I have calmed down.”

“I feel myself shutting down, and that’s not what I want to do, can you say what you want me to understand with a different tone of voice, thanks.”

I know loving well in marriage can be hard work! Choosing to slow things down and staying engaged in a conversation takes courage and character. One interaction at a time!

So glad you are joining us for our 7-week marriage challenge.

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