A Quick Note from Rachel:
‘Holding space’ is a newer concept to hit the pop-psychology scene and its a beautiful way of looking at physical making a place for intangible items. As Damla talks about how to hold space in this piece, think about the concept itself and where you can continue to create more room and space in your life for things that you want more of. Example: Creating more space for intimacy in your relationship or creating more space and time for your self-care. Or, creating time and space to do the WWC Family Meeting. Anyway, just a quick note! Enjoy!
How to Hold Space for Emotion in Your Marriage
Our patterns of interaction as men and women are ancient and complicated. One day everything is peachy, the next day your partner can say or do something that drives you insane. The trick is to realize that it is almost nothing personal.
Imagine being at the dinner table, and your partner says something that usually would upset you. Imagine that you also know that they had a stressful day and didn’t have time to process what that meant for them. At that moment, you then have a choice to make this about you, react back and turn it into a fight. Or, you can realize that the majority of the time, your partner’s reactions are not about you – and it’s right in this moment of increased emotion that they need your compassion the most.
Being in any sort of inner (sadness, fear, worry) or outer (anger) reaction is stress.
See, it is easy to relate to your suffering; You know what triggers you and what pushes your buttons and you know how to navigate your own inner atlas. BUT, when it comes to our partners, we often expect them to be an impossible ideal of calm, support, love and positivity. As anyone who has been in a relationship knows, this is almost impossible.
One of the greatest gifts you can give to your partner is to take the time to notice and learn what pushes their buttons. - @adropofom Click To Tweet
In addition, you can find out things about your partner and share things about yourself. For example, what keeps them from sleeping at night, or what childhood wound keeps showing up in their life? Perhaps asking what triggers them most? Some of these may feel trivial to you but what matters is how they react, feel and respond to certain stressors.
When we notice how our partner handles stress, we can learn not to engage and make space for them to go through it at their own pace. It takes time to understand how they suffer.
Mostly, instead of voicing what bothers us, we all put our anger, worry, fear, and sadness into something trivial and lash out on it.
See, when one partner is reactive, the other can hold the space if they can recognize that this is not about them. Most of the time our reactions are all about learning to be with our stress.
Still, even while going through an intense emotion, you can hold your partner accountable for not blaming, not naming names, basically not doing something they will regret later. Or, when one of you notices your stress and tension, you can give each other fair warning that whatever one of you is going through is not about the other person.
Then, after the emotions cool down, you can take some time to reconnect and tell your partner that you understand what they are struggling with even if you don’t have an immediate solution.
It makes all the difference to someone under stress to give them the time and space they need to go through an intense emotion.
Finally, think about a stressful time that someone held some space for you to go through an emotion, without trying to change or fix you. Remember how that felt and what it meant for you at the time. And consider offering the same gift to your partner the next time that they are under stress. Be sure to come and ask any questions you have about this in the Facebook Group.