What makes a relationship grow together? What causes it to grow apart? These are questions I often consider in my line of work. I see couples who fell in love and continue to experience a deep sense of connection and moments of passion. I also see couples who felt the deepest love within the first few months after they met. 5, 15, 25 years later they’re building on resentment and experience high levels of pain in their relationship. Nobody plans for a distance marriage. Nobody gets married to be in pain.
I think on a time a few years back. This was December, 2017 and Kelsey and I made a quick trip to New York City. I remember so many good moments from this trip! But, there was that one time our conflict cycle got way out of hand. Kelsey and I were trying to navigate the train system. We were both running on little sleep from early flight times and long days of sight-seeing. We had walked miles and taken in so much stimulation. We were trying to make it to one last sight before calling it a night. Inside the echo-y noise of the underground subway depot, Kelsey and I found ourselves in an argument.
I don’t remember what the argument was about anymore, but I do remember the feelings, and we were both pretty upset. My reaction, as always, was to flee. To move away. To get away from the pain. And, in an unfamiliar, busy, and arguably unsafe city, I walked away from Kelsey and into the first open subway car I could find.
I can’t explain logically why I did it. My emotions were running so high that it just seemed to happen. I share this story because so many couples have been there. So many other relationships have had these moments of pain. Maybe even yours.
I’ll never forget the look on Kelsey’s face when she found me.
She couldn’t believe I would leave her like that. She was totally bewildered. She was truly questioning how I could care for her, yet behave in such a way. Not my proudest moment.
When we were on these trips we would talk about how these types of situations would pop up. We talked about how they seemed to show up on every vacation. We would try so hard to have a great time, but sooner or later we would end up in a painful cycle of conflict. I am fortunate that Kelsey is such a forgiving woman. Fortunate that we both share a faith that kept us together during these times. Even still, repeated cycles of hurt naturally cause distance. I became so afraid that I would lose the closeness I crave.
Then, we discovered two tools.
Tools that completely changed our relationship. I now use these tools inside my work to help couples break their own patterns of conflict- it’s such an amazing thing to see!
This last week Kelsey and I spent a full week together, joined at the hip. In this time together we continue to talk about conflict that crops up on vacations, but now we get to marvel at the change. No longer does this conflict require a full night of silence and tears and pain. On this trip we pulled out two times we identified as conflict, and both times were resolved within minutes by using these two tools. It felt so good.
You can have this, too. You can feel good. You can change your relationship. Become a cycle breaker today by continuing to follow us and taking action. Or, take it next-level and truly get down to the nitty-gritty by signing up for our Roommates to Romance couples coaching package! Want to learn more? Simply visit us at www.pivotalapproach.com/coaching.