Marital Misbehavior #276: Stomp the Eggshells
Why do we walk on them anyway?
- We don’t want to hurt each other.
- We fear we’ll make a mess if we say it straight.
- We fear our partner’s anger.
- Someone taught us: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
- We’ve been told we can be difficult.
Lauren (37) needs a change. She stays at home with her two young children. Her husband Jake (39) works long weeks in a job that has him traveling around the state. Lauren remembers, once upon a time, they both felt this was the best plan
But now, she feels anxious and bored, although she works constantly and has no time to herself. She tries to keep the house neat. But having two pre-schoolers makes this impossible. Lauren adores her kids, but she needs a break from them once in a while. The thought makes her cringe in shame. She hardly sees Jake until the weekend – when they’re both exhausted from the week. They avoid emotional topics.
Lauren feels deeply torn. What’s wrong with me? Isn’t this what I wanted? I should be so thankful. Poor Jake! He works so hard!
Lauren needs words. She needs a way to air her frustration, tell the truth.
- I need something more…
- I feel frustrated and bored – and like a bad mother for feeling this way.
- I appreciate that I get to stay home with our kids, but I’m starting to think it’s not good for me.
- I need change.
- I’m afraid you’ll be angry with me.
Jake gets quiet. He looks worried. Lauren starts to back away. Then something new happens. She scoots closer. She looks him in the eyes. And STOMP!
Talk to me, please! I need to know how you feel!
This takes courage. It ignites a spark. They argue. She cries. He gets defensive. She sees the cage door. He tells her it’s not a cage. He cries. They hug. They argue some more.
This is new territory. This is where the good stuff happens. This is where it’s all on the table, instead of under it. This is where people grow.
Is she hurting him? No. Does he need this stomping as much as she does? Yes.
The Stomp starts things. Now we can fight. Now we feel the presence of each other. Now we hear, see, smell the emotion. Now we can connect. Sometimes couples like Lauren and Jake seek marriage therapy to guide them through these emotions and teaches couples how to communicate.
For more blog topics, check out these posts:
- How EMDR Trauma Therapy Helps Couples Reconnect
- Marriage Therapy and how EMDR Therapy Helps Unresolved Grief