Now, what to do with these intense emotions??
As I tried to talk with Craig, it soon became apparent that the intensity of my problem solving was overwhelming him. I know you will be proud of my deductive abilities in this. My intentions were to get the issues out, work them through, forgive each other and move on. As I tried to do this, Craig stopped talking, got that “deer caught in the headlights” look and escaped to the study. I followed him, he said nothing and proceeded to escape to the kitchen. It was a small 800 sq ft house. We are talking postage stamp. Small, not a lot of places to run. No matter where he went I followed him, still talking, until he finally said in desperation ” I just need time to think about it.” Here is where my deductive powers really sparkle. I realized that my emotional intensity was shutting him down. Thank you! I thought that was rather perceptive myself!
I also realized that our conflict styles were so completely different, that if something didn’t change, we were in trouble. Both Craig and I needed to adjust our conflict style radically.
We began the journey of finding a balance that would work for both of us.
I learned to pray about when to bring something up, stay as emotionally neutral as possible, and give Craig the space to think it through. I learned not to panic if I needed to wait for resolution until after some time away from the issue.
Craig learned to stick it out, verbalize his side, and let me know when we would come back to it if he needed time to think. He also learned my need for resolution through apology and forgiveness. We were so very imperfect at this to begin with, we kept trying and in time developed a conflict style that worked for both of us.
If we are starting to view the one we love critically, we struggle with letting the little things go. Everything becomes a battle. Even the little irritants become big. This kind of thinking is a red flag. It is a warning that something needs to change in how we view them.
The beauty is that Craig offers me these same things. That is what makes our marriage so great.