My challenge to couples is to work on understanding these urges to protect themselves and how these urges can impede our ability to actually hear what our partner is saying. Your partner might be telling you that they’re scared or that they’re confused or that they’re lonely. They may not tell you that directly; it might be packaged in a way that feels emotional or intense, but the message is there nonetheless. However they tell you, though, our conversations will be more effective when we learn to moderate that inclination to step back and defend.
What if framing the high divorce rates as a problem with individual people is, in fact, part of the problem itself? What is the divorce rate has far less to do with anything going on inside of us as individuals than we’ve been told? What would that mean? First, it would probably mean that people could be freed from the sense of guilt and failure that often co-occurs with the decision to divorce. It means that there would be less blame to be used as ammunition. It would also mean that we would need to come up with a new, more complex explanation as to what’s happening. We might even have to admit that marriage as we have designed it, is nearly impossible.
Sometimes, we just feel silly. If you're reading this, chances are your a fully (or mostly) grown adult, but we often find ourselves giggling or feeling playful. We might crack up at some low-brow humor. And silliness can show up in other ways, too. We might try to figure out why we got so upset at something that is so seemingly insignificant. Why is whatever happened such a big deal to us? Whether we're getting irrationally upset or we just feel like dancing, it can feel like there's a younger part of us that temporarily takes over.
As a therapist, I find inner conflict incredibly interesting. This is partly true because I often practice a type of therapy that isn’t very far removed from this very idea. No, we don’t speak about angels and demons on your shoulders, but we do recognize that we often have these inner dialogues and debates. Even if you’ve never said, “I’m on two minds” about something, you might have recognized that “There’s a part of me that wants to say yes, and another that wants to say no.” What are these parts? Why are they so conflicted? How can we get them to come to a resolution? When you can’t come to a resolution, which part wins?
Often, people come to our office and ask what they can do to improve their lives, to fix their relationship, or to make the work experience more rewarding? It is not an easy question and there certain are no easy answers. Everyone has their own unique experience that we explore in the counseling process.