Hitting a bump in the road

The course of true love and conscious relationship never does run smoothly.  If it did I would be ever so suspicious.  In real relationships people disagree, get their feelings hurt and sometimes are just plain grumpy.  For the most part Steve and I are good.  We enjoy each other, we have fun together, we’re there when the other needs us, and at the end of the day there is no one I would rather cuddle up with and hold.  And yet last night we hit a bump.  I had had a slow and quiet day, and was looking forward to spending the evening together.  Steve had had a stressful busy day, and when he came home he had a lot to share about it.  At first I listened with interest and compassion for all he is up against, but after a bit I began to feel irritated.  “Doesn’t he care about me?  Isn’t he interested in my day?” said the snarky little voice in my head.  Rather than let my irritation take over at some point I ventured that it would mean a lot to me if he would ask about my day.  He immediately apologized and did so, and yet I felt unsettled.

Throughout the evening the sense of disconnection continued.  In retrospect I know that feeling invisible or unimportant is a tender spot for me and so I was more easily triggered by Steve’s preoccupation with work than I might otherwise have been.  Later that night I named my disquiet and asked him to dialogue.  Even though he was exhausted, he listened with compassion and validated my need to know that I mattered.  And that was enough to heal the hurt.

It would have been easy for us to let the bump in the road divert us – all it takes is for one person to start justifying why they are right and the other is wrong for a small rupture to turn into a giant tear.  Luckily we held onto the steering wheel, and and stayed the course of conscious relationship, allowing the others’ reassurance and comfort to be enough.

You see there will always be bumps in the road.  The trick is to remember that this is normal.  The bumps are just bumps, they’re not boulders, and to let in the love and healing our partners send our way.  If you would like to see the dialogue we used go to the Useful Dialogues Section of this blog and and read “Reconnecting After a Disagreement”. 

Posted by Laura

Laura Marshall, LCSW, is the founder and director of the Sagebrush Center for Relationship Therapy. Her experience spans thirty years of supporting couples and individuals to create healthy and meaningful lives and relationships. She is also adjunct faculty for the New Mexico Highlands School of Social Work. She lives with her husband Steve and five sons in Farmington, New Mexico.

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