Looking After Your Relationships As Parents
It was about 8 weeks after Sam, my first son was born. I was storming around the house, slamming doors and packing my bags. I told Peter I’d had enough, and I was leaving. We then argued about who was taking the baby. I couldn’t even fathom that he thought he could breastfeed this child. I was furious – no one was taking my baby – and as we argued he felt the same way – no one was taking his baby. So, in the moment, we both surrendered to our gridlock – and realised we had to work it out. That was 25 years ago, and we have now been together for 30 years.
What has amazed me over time, is that when we get over those big huge walls that sometimes seem insurmountable, on the other side is a greater level of understanding for each other, a great intimacy, greater compassion and acceptance of our humanness. In our struggles, I have made many assumptions about him, who he is, why I think he is wrong and what his intentions are. I have created many stories about what I think is going on. I have been humbled many times when I have discovered I was completely off track or have come to the conclusion that I am not perfect either, so why would I expect him to be.
It has amazed me that we don’t get taught this stuff, because learning to be in relationship with anyone is so fundamental to our wellbeing, and yet it is hard – and it takes skill – it takes ownership of your own stuff – and it takes a lot of letting go of your own ego (defence mechanisms).
I have learnt so much from my relationships with my husband, my mother, my children and my closest friends – and most of all, my relationship with myself (and my triggers). You won’t get it right all of the time, and that’s ok, because when you create a mess, then you are given the greatest gift of cleaning it up and doing some repair work. That’s when you really learn to look after your relationships.
Here are some tools for the tool kit;
The 5 love languages, by Gary Chapman, was one of the most mind-altering tools I’ve used. Do the quiz and discover what your preference is when expressing and receiving love, and then match it with your partner.
The work – Byron Katie
This has been a fantastic tool in helping me to get clear about what is my issue, and what do I need to raise with my someone else.
Journaling ‘the work,’ has also helped me a lot to release the emotion of a challenge and be able to have conversations that are not loaded with ammunition.
Learning to just listen, has also meant we get to really hear each other – and have an intention to understand. One person at a time leaves the listener free to really get what is going on for the other person – rather than mounting a defence.
My relationships with my family, friends, and you all are the most precious things in my life, and worth putting time and energy into. May you experience all the fun and laughter, along with the hard bits in your relationships, it’s all valuable.
Love to you all,