Want to feel less angry toward your partner? While almost all couples get angry at each other, research shows that this does not necessarily mean that your relationship is in trouble. The trouble comes from not knowing the root of the anger, how to deal with that anger, how to communicate it, and how to dissipate it.
THE COUPLE BUBBLE
Successful couples have learned to deal with it by making sure they have around them something called a “Couple Bubble”- sort of a protective shield, a dome, which surrounds them and insulates them from outside stresses which can potentially harm, erode. or destroy their relationship.
Most people are in an intimate relationship because of the deep emotional connection between them which satisfies emotional, social and perhaps economic needs. Without the emotional connection(or attachment as psychologists call it) there is little benefit to being in a relationship, economic or social aspects aside.
In his book, wired for love author Tatkin writes that the first guiding principal of a successful couple is that of creating that ‘couple bubble’ which allows partners to keep each other safe and secure.
He maintains that each partner’s job is to be unapologetically yourself as a long as you also keep your partner safe.
SOME THINGS ARE HARD-WIRED IN OUR BRAIN
How we attach to our partners is probably determined (hard-wired) during our formative years as we interact with our primary caregivers. In some ways this never changes. In other ways we all change. Both are true, says Tatkin. And that is why acceptance is so important. We can and do change our attitudes, our behaviors, and even our brains over time. However, the fundamental wiring that takes place during our earliest experiences stays with us from cradle to grave.
If you or your partner are often in conflict or are constantly angry at each other, chances are good that underneath the anger are other emotions that create insecurity in one or both of you, puncturing that couple bubble emotional connection that both of you want. Successful couples realize and accept that insecurity in themselves and their partner comes from earlier life experiences, and they do everything they can to lesson that insecurity by strengthening their couple bubble.
The way to strengthen that couple bubble and to move your relationship from insecure to secure is NOT by instilling fear (bullying), duress (adding stress), disapproval (being overly critical) or threatening abandonment.
Instead, what works much better is to increase honesty, acceptance, high regard, respect, devotion, support and safety. Easier said than done when you and you partner are in mortal battle with each other.
SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
Here are practical ways to create and maintain your “Couple Bubble” before you wake up on day sadly to discover that it is in danger of bursting:
1. In your daily life think “we” instead of “I” or “me.” Before making decisions, scheduling activities, OR changing routines, ask yourself “is this good for the relationship?” If not, consider not doing it, even though you would like to personally. Not that you should always do this- sometimes you should do what is best for you- just not always.
2. Schedule and maintain “rituals” that are unique to your relationship. Rituals around food (“we always dine together on Tuesdays and Fridays”, for instance), departing rituals, greeting rituals, communication rituals (for instance,”we never call each other names”).
3. Establish agreements on who does what around the house. DO NOT take it for granted that you both agree on who should do what.
4. Do not allow your children to drive a wedge between you, especially in blended family situations. Discuss parenting issues and practices WITH EACH OTHER first, then with the children.
5. Do not undermine your partner by revealing intimate issues to relatives, parents, friends etc. Behave in a way that your partner can always trust you and not have to worry about emotional betrayal of any kind.
6. Have agreements on spending money (or not spending it) so that, again, a bond of trust is there.
In summary, the stronger your Couple Bubble, the better your relationship will be able to withstand the many forces that are constantly piercing and then destroying it. Remember that both of you will feel much safer, and thus secure with each other, if you know that you have each other’s back!