Does it seem like you and your spouse always have the same disagreements? Are you unsure on how to overcome in having the same disagreements in your marriage? To help understand what stems from having the same disagreements in marriage and what you can do to overcome the same disagreements in marriage, I have interviewed therapist Sherry L. Osadchey, MA, LMFT, SEP.
Tell me a little bit about yourself:
“I am a Body-centered Psychotherapist and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. I have been in private practice for thirty years. My Masters Degree is in Psychology. I had originally intended to do research but destiny had other plans for me — a lot of other surprising and at times profound and fascinating plans.”
What stems from having the same disagreement in marriage?
“For the purpose of brevity let’s say that we’re using the word marriage to include all long term, serious, committed relationships. These questions are pertinent to both.
First, I want to affirm that disagreement in marriage is normal. Separate individuals have differing perspectives on everything from where an object should be placed in a room to how often to make love to the best methods for teaching your children how to be responsible. These are all the normal issues of life, which can be navigated like a skillful canoer negotiating the rapids when both partners are emotionally and physiologically resilient. When disagreement becomes an intractable stance that has no give and our hearts begin to harden toward each other this is the indication of something amiss besides disagreeing. There might be stress and overwhelm of sources outside the relationship. There might be unresolved issues from life prior to the relationship. Something is undermining the resilience of the individuals and/or the relationship when disagreements can’t be negotiated.
When we find ourselves having the same disagreement come up repeatedly this can result in feeling deeply misunderstood, not cared for, criticized, defeated — .a variety of familiar feeling “wounds” that often show up in our most intimate and meaningful relationships. We all enter into our relationships with what has become commonly referred to as “old baggage”. The baggage has its origins in earlier events, previous relationships, some as far back as childhood, or even from such critical incidents as surgeries or car accidents. We can end up in feelings that are the last ones on earth that we want to be feeling. They represent our deepest fears or our most dreaded self-beliefs or beliefs about others. These snags that we get caught on are the signs that tell us exactly where some healing needs to happen in order to bolster our resilience and improve our skills at creating harmony while having different perspectives with our spouses and partners.”
What type of impact can having the same disagreements have on the marriage?
“One impact is that we conclude that this person who has been so dear and precious to us, who we never thought could or would hurt us, is now doing that very thing. Our conclusion might be accurate. Sometimes we do in fact hurt each other. But many times in marriage we are seeing our spouse through a filter made up of what are previous, unresolved fears, traumas, or issues. They unconsciously surface when we allow someone to get as close to us as we do allow our most intimate others. The disagreement is not the problem. The misguided conclusions we each make about our loved one’s intentions or feelings is where the stuck or problematic impact can arise. And so often our also unconscious way of managing these places where we are struggling with each other is that our hearts become more defended and not open. We are trying to feel internally safe and don’t even realize how this is happening. Our brain and our body are doing some covert maneuvers that really are very hard-wired aspects of our humanness.
When we don’t realize that our heart is becoming defended we can mistakenly decide that we don’t feel love any more for our spouse. Not feeling our heart openly with our spouse and no longer being in love are two very different things.
A more promising impact of having the same disagreements recycle in the relationship is the opportunity it does afford us to work through these jagged edged places and deepen emotional intimacy in the process. We can learn some incredibly valuable tools and develop a greater sense of safety and security within the relationship.”
How can a married couple overcome having the same disagreements?
“Awareness is really key to changing anything in life. I’m referring to self awareness here not the critical eye we can easily turn on each other from the belief that “the problem” is what our partner is doing. First, ask yourself the question “Am I willing to take a good look inside?” If your answer is “yes”, a pivotal and optimistic shift is already occurring. Next step could be to congratulate yourself but you might want to wait until you’ve successfully taken a breath first before automatically disagreeing on an already well-worn topic. It is truly hard sometimes to listen as with new ears to what our spouse is saying and keep from reacting in an already established, non-productive way. This is critically important though. Allowing a change to occur in a well rehearsed pattern is rewarding in various ways.
What happens from there can range from wide open possibilities to stuck and uncertain. Either is good. Some of us just need a little support to successfully negotiate some new terrain. Others might need the eyes and ears of an objective outside party to help us learn the next steps.”
What type of professional help is available for a married couple that has trouble overcoming the same disagreements?
“There are so many great tools and therapeutic frameworks for helping couples overcome both the small and large obstacles that can develop in their relationship. Some people love to read and find support and productive suggestions in the many books and workbooks that are available at their favorite bookstore. For those who know that help needs to come from having the eyes and ears of a trained third party there are many styles and methods offered by clinicians in the fields of counseling and therapy. Certain key elements will promote a successful experience. The counselor or therapist’s style must feel helpful, trustable, and make sense to each partner. Sometimes this might take a few sessions for this to develop. The particular training or framework from which a counselor or therapist works is not the critical element. “Does it feel right for the couple?” is important to the success of the help they will receive. Sometimes personal referrals from friends are the best source for finding a good match. When this isn’t possible look online, read what the clinician has written about their work or them self, call and ask questions as a way to get a sense of the individual, and take the leap. The future opens up when we set our intentions to grow.”
Thank you Sherry for doing the interview on how to overcome the same disagreements in marriage. For more information on Sherry L. Osadchey or her work you can check out her website on www.sherryosadchey.com.
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