Conflict and Intimacy

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I was just thinking about the unspoken expectations we carry about happy couples; and one of the most commonly idealized and fiercely defended is that “we never fight”.
Couples who never fight build a reservoir of unresolved troubles they attempt to sail over. They often pick up the rug labeled “Women!” or “Men!” and sweep the mess under that. Quietly resentment and disrespect builds. If there is no grappling with the problem, then contempt will ripen and contempt is a relationship killer.

I believe couples who ‘never fight’ probably take for granted the important repair work they perform on behalf of their marriage. These repairs happen when partners engage in acts of maturity that serve to strengthen their bond rather than shield it. They may not even notice that they dismiss some annoyance and shift their attention to a positive aspect of their partner, or engage in positive self talk. Its more likely they will wait and think about their distress before they confront anyone; which allows them to have a more thoughtful and less emotional conversation, opening doors to creative resolution. These acts of maturity serve to strengthen relationships through repair and resolution. Good repairs create even stronger bonds of intimacy.

What about emotions? When we are highly emotional we do not have full clarity about anything other than our feelings. Using those feelings to inform our positions is a fantastic resource. But high emotion won’t support respectful dialogue with those who disagree. Staying connected through conflict to resolution is an incredible magic trick that builds LOVE LOVE LOVE! Very sexy, VERY desirable. Many couples learn these skills over time, many learn these skills in therapy. Talk with each other and decide how good your conflict to intimacy skills are. Never hesitate to ask for help. You deserve it.

The Discipline of 100 Breaths

Go ahead. Try it. It really only takes 100 breaths to change your mental state. Believe me, I am not the best role model for meditation, relaxation, or contemplation. Being busy doing what I love is as satisfying as it is stressful for me. I can go for weeks without really stopping which is probably not a good thing.

Eventually, we do need to stop, and finding ways to do that can be very challenging. Consequently, many of us fail to find the time, focus, or energy to integrate those healthful ways of being into our daily lives.

But what if I told you it takes less than 2 minutes to stop completely and relax your mind, body, and spirit? Through the Discipline of 100 Breaths you can disengage from:

Stress Fear  Tension  Grief   Anger  Worry

Obsession   Demands of others  Perfections  Cravings

Anxiety  Hostility Frustration  Agitation  Overexcitement

-and whatever else is charging up your inner emotional state.

If you can do three things and ONLY three things you can change your internal state:

1  Find a quiet place to stand, sit or lie down and close your eyes.

2  Take 100 breaths in and out, in and out. Not fancy deep breaths, -in one second, out the next. They don’t need to be fast, or slow, deep or shallow. Just 100 normal breaths.

3  (Now here’s the hard part) ONLY Breathe. Pay attention to your breathing alone for 100 breaths. No planning, worrying, fretting about one thing or another. Literally for a moment.

That final step is difficult and some of us will fail at that point, usually because our anxiety is so extreme or our ability to focus is impaired or undisciplined. But if you fail the first time, you can train your brain to cooperate, simply with practice.

Give it a try and enjoy your refreshed, calmed state of mind.






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