My husband and I recently experienced the loss of our 2nd baby. We have been trying to grow our family for nearly 2 years now, and have sadly lost both of the only pregnancies that we have managed to create.
It has been an extremely heartbreaking, and stressful time. There have been a few moments when I have totally lost myself in the grief, anger and heartache over the loss of 2 children we wanted so desperately, but I have always known that with my husband by my side, I would be ok.
He has been amazing and, particularly with our 2nd loss, tried so hard to be strong, to get me through those first days. I wanted to be strong too, to show him he was carrying me through, so I did my best to keep my grief inside.
But there came a time, when I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Rather than come straight out and say how I felt though, I started bitching and moaning about various unimportant household tasks that hadn’t been done, and how my husband was too busy to help me, and that I had work to do too!!!
I can honestly say that I wasn’t a particularly nice person in that moment and he had every right to be mad at me for the way I was acting. I was in attack mode and it would have been so easy for my sweet man to retaliate as the innocent victim of a crazy lady.
But he did something that I absolutely love him for.
He didn’t make it all about him.
He didn’t rush in with his own accusations and defenses, he let me rant, he gave me space, and then he came and held me when I had simmered down enough to get close to.
In that safe space he offered without judgment, I was finally able to tell him that it wasn’t really about him and the housework at all.
He already knew that and yet he could have reacted so differently to my unjustified complaints.
Which happens in so many relationships, with situations both big and small.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you ring your partner, or rush home to tell them something exciting and got a reaction you didn’t expect, or like?
You start spilling your important news and your partner brushes you off, doesn’t seem interested or actually appears annoyed about something you’ve said.
In one moment you’re feeling happy to have a loving partner to share everything with, the next minute you are feeling confused, frustrated or plain angry and before you know it you’re reacting to their reaction by yelling at them about how they don’t ever listen to you, and don’t care about what’s going on in your life.
Whereas the truth is probably something quite different altogether. Even in long-standing relationships, it’s impossible to be 100% accurate about each other’s thinking or intentions.
Maybe they’re in the middle of something important to them and just can’t focus on what you are telling them right at that time? It could be that they are feeling cautious about the news you think is great, but don’t want to burst your bubble? Or even more simply, perhaps it’s just that you perceived what they said or did differently, than how they intended it?
The thing is, when you automatically assume the worst from your partner’s behaviour or responses, you can make a situation much worse than it needs to be.
Assuming The Best And Not Making It About You
There’s definitely a better way.
When you can assume the best, allowing your partner the benefit of the doubt, and remembering it’s not all about you whenever they drop into a funk, you leave a space for love, rather than filling it with your own reactions and creating an explosive combination.
Two people, living their lives together, combine in a complex mix of individual emotions, thoughts, feelings and reactions. Even if you have a great relationship, the majority of the time, there will be situations when stress builds up, when the hard stuff in life happens, and one or the other of you expresses your less endearing side.
The worst thing you can do is to allow that moment, to become your moment, to let your ego step in and respond from a place of personal defense.
While you may not love the way your partner is acting, allowing them the safety to be exactly who they are, in all their different self expressions, and supporting them with love and acceptance, is a powerful way to fasten their heart to yours, and create more intimate connection in your life.
Setting aside your ego, and responding in a way that is calm and supportive also keeps you feeling a lot more positive, and makes it much easier to be a strong ally, rather than a co-creator of chaos.
The wonderful thing about this approach is that in a short time, there is a new peace, a feeling of connectedness and synergy that enhances your relationship. There will always be times when one of you has a bad day, or a challenging and stressful time, but when you can move through those times without the additional stress of a partner taking everything you do to heart, it’s amazing how much easier even the hard times become.
Ready To Try This Out?
Next time you are faced with a situation when your partner is in some kind of negative mood, take a deep breath, say to yourself “It’s not about me” and then respond in a way that is loving, supportive and open to understanding.
Don’t try to fix anything for them, or provide advice unless they ask for it. Just let them know that you are there, that it’s safe to feel the way they feel and that you’re ready to help them in whatever way they need you to.
Notice how differently your partner responds when you don’t let their moment impact your mood.
All of us are subject to some kind of stress and difficulty during our time. It’s a natural part of life. What makes the difference is how you react to those situations.
Important note: The above article is advice offered for relationships that encounter ‘normal’ fluctuations in individual moods, that do not involve mental, emotional or physical abuse. If your partner reacts with aggression or violence during times of stress, please talk to someone and seek help. This is NOT an acceptable situation and my advice is not intended to resolve this kind of unhealthy relationship.