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In this issue of RELATIONSHIP CALISTHENICS - The Third Habit

The Seven Habits for a Breathtaking Relationship

In my practice - the title Amazing Couple - is often used to acknowledge those that have accomplished some amazing feats within their relationship. Overcoming obstacles that once got in their way of happiness and peace of mind together.

How did they overcome these obstacles? Practice, but practicing what?

The Seven Habits for a Breathtaking Relationship

I will take you through one habit each week over the next seven weeks. These are not presented in any particular order and are intended to be practices that you learn and use throughout the life of your relationship.

What do you fear?  What disrupts your reality?  What makes your spine tingle and your heartbeat fast?

We Aren’t Just Talking about Ghosts and Goblins

Welcome to habit three: Pay Attention to and do Not Minimize Your Partner’s Fears.

Ah, fear, one of the most natural forms of human emotion. Fear is primal and encoded in our DNA. Evolution taught us to be fearful because if not, we might make the wrong decision and never get from point A to point B in the evolutionary chain.

Fear comes in all shapes and sizes and can feel different for everyone and in varying degrees.

This is a really simple example so hear me out:

Perhaps your partner is deathly afraid of spiders while you are also a bit uneasy around them. However, you might put your uneasiness (small fear) aside where your partner cannot (intense fear). There is no guess as to who ends up “relocating” all those wandering critters in your home?

Or you might be someone who ridicules, makes fun of, and minimizes their fear. See the difference?

Intense anxiety or other deep-rooted psychological fears affect not only your partner but also you. You might not know the best way to interact or communicate with your partner when they are experiencing fear, either because you do not share their fear or you also become affected by it secondhand.

My Life

My partner is afraid that his children or I will die before him. It is a genuine fear that he has. It shows up in our relationship in various ways. One way that it shows up is in how he will try to manage our diets, the way we exercise, and the like. This can be irritating for his kids. Not so much for me, because I do share most of the same exercise and dietary habits as he does.

I do, however, empathize with his kids. They can get resistant around him and will sometimes go to extremes. Like eating complete junk in his presence. Then it is I who is left to interact with him around the fear and sometimes possible anxiety.

I often want to defend them, after all, they are adults, parents themselves. They should be able to live their lives exactly as they want - but I stop myself. I support his view, and by supporting his view he feels that I understand his deepest fear. Though I do try to minimize his reaction, I do not try to minimize the realness of his fear.

I listen to him, acknowledge his love for them, for me, and his fear as a concern. It always seems to disappear for a while when I can do that.

If I am unable to do that then this can lower the levels of trust between us.

Can you see that in your relationship too?

When your partner is fearful for whatever reason, the most important action you can take is easy- listen to them. Acknowledge what they are feeling and how it affects their experience. Ask questions to engage and show you genuinely care about how it is for them. Before you go judging your partner for having a fear that is minuscule to you, pause for a moment. Just because their fear isn’t your fear doesn’t mean it isn’t prominent for them.

Instead of immediately rushing to find a rational and logical answer to your partner’s fears, validate their experience. It’s important to show empathy and understanding, so your significant other know they aren’t being judged by you.

Once empathy and understanding kick in and you two have worked through all those initial emotions, you can begin (gently) searching for a solution to what triggers the fear and, thus, the response. One solution is outlined below.


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