I know that one of the number one things women like or need or crave in a marriage is to feel safe, connected, protected, and like they’re on a team with their husband. In this post I’m going to talk about one of the most exciting things that I have ever developed and is giving amazing results for my clients. So, if you want to learn how to transform your arguments into intimacy, keep on reading, and for goodness sakes, please put it into practice!
This is powerful. If you can master this technique (it’s only a two step process) you are going to go the distance in your relationship. This is so life changing. Have I raved about it enough yet? Okay cool.
I am going to use a very real and raw argument that my husband and I had the other night that continued into the following morning. Luckily we have this tool, so we transformed it into intimacy, but it’s about a topic that is a growing edge for us. For the most part, in the 17 years we’ve been married, we’ve been able to tackle most big things (sex being the biggest thing we’ve ever dealt with, and now it is so nice not to have that be an issue), but money is something that both of us really struggle with. Money for me, represents safety. I like to think that I’m a saver, so usually, savers like to have a nice contingency fund, no debt, just a clear budget, planning for the future and retirement. And if that’s you, you’re probably nodding your head.
For people who are more like spenders, money represents freedom and enjoyment and excitement. What can they buy with it? What can it exchange for them? What kind of adventure can they go on? That is my husband. That’s what money represents for him. So, you can imagine a saver and a spender, safety and excitement. It’s a little hard to figure things out. If that’s you in your marriage, well… good luck to you (haha). But I hope that this tool helps you!
I’m going to go through the process of a regular argument and what my husband and I went through the other night (and recovered from… whew) just to give you a clear example.
Boom, right down to negative emotion again… and his flavour, in this moment, was defensiveness. Then he had a reaction, and his voice started to get louder. He started to list all the things and partly blaming and criticizing. “Well, you’re not that great with money. And you did the X, Y, and Z.” And… guess what… now it’s a trigger for me. You can see how this will go on and on and on. That’s why when you have a lot of arguments, a lot of couples will say, “I don’t even know what began. I can’t even remember what we were arguing about” because it has nothing to do with what you were arguing about. It has everything to do with the next stage.
It’s all about the interpretation. The interpretation is what leads to the negative emotion, the reaction, the trigger, negative emotion, and reaction. It becomes really critical for you to be able to figure out what your interpretation is. Some common interpretations are, “I’m not important to you, I’m not a priority, no matter what I do it’s never enough, I’m not enough for you, you don’t care about me, you don’t love me, I’m not safe with you, I’m being abandoned.”
The idea is to realize… okay, we’re human. We’re going to have triggers. Okay, we’re human, we’re going to have negative emotions, but we want to avoid the reaction. That is the red zone. You don’t want to go there. No reaction. Instead, you want to stop it there, (you’ll see the big black stop line on the diagram) and you want to employ The Intimacy Intervention. Ba-ba-da-daaaa! And yes… I actually use this in my marriage. This isn’t some theoretical garbly goop that I read in a book and now I’m just kind of puking over onto you and we’re all just going have all this theoretical stuff, because I hate that. No. I use this. I used this the morning our argument continued, thankfully.
What ended up happening was, my husband was in the shower and I was sitting on the bathroom floor (as you do with these heated discussions), and I thought, “What is the interpretation I’m having?” That’s where you’ve got to go. What’s going on here? And I thought, “Okay, money’s about safety for me and I’m feeling like he doesn’t care about my desire to feel protected and safe. He’s literally (I’m going to say it again because it was how it felt) throwing me under the bus. He’s just all, ‘okay, see you later. Things are more important than you'”, which hurts, I can tell you.
But it’s my interpretation. This is my brain. So, step one of The Intimacy Intervention… you figure out your interpretation. Very, very critical. I spend a lot of time with couples here. If you have a hard time, let’s work together, because it’s very hard sometimes to get out of your own head.
The tricky part about this, is that asking the vulnerable question can become a trigger for your spouse. They might think, “well, of course you’re important to me! Look at all the things I do to show that you’re important to me! What do you mean?!” And it triggers them because now they’re making an interpretation that they’re not enough. Trigger, negative emotion, reaction. Sometimes doing this feels like you’re fighting for your marriage. And it is, I often will say, a battle against your own ego. It’s not a battle against your spouse.
Ask the vulnerable question, and then if your spouse reacts positively… “yes, of course you’re important to me!” Or, “I deeply care about you”, Or ,”yes, you’re enough, all the little pieces, even the pieces that I don’t love all that much, I still like all of you, the whole of you”… well damn. That feels good. It just feels good to have that. It is truly my absolute pleasure to be able to witness this in session with couples. The walls go down, the fog is lifted, and suddenly there are just two vulnerable people who just want to be loved and cared for and seen and protected and desired and admired. Men are desired and admired and women are connected and protected. I just came up with that the other morning as I was curling my hair in the bathroom. So, good job for me. It’s all about the rhyming, folks!
For goodness sakes, this is the real thing. That’s why you have patterns and arguments in your relationship that go on and on and on. If you try this, or if you’re thinking right now, “that sounds hard”, it’s because it is hard. Especially if you’re just so used to this pattern in your life. I do work with couples, so please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I hope that I can work with you guys. You may have to go on the waiting list, but it’s worth it. I promise!