By, Chava Floryn
Someone gets divorced every 10 to 13 seconds. In the time it takes you to read this article, 5 couples will have gotten divorced. It begs a question, are we as a human race more likely to get divorced when the going gets tough? What is the secret to staying together?
Recently a newlywed couple called to ask me for my advice on a typical argument they keep on having over and over again. This particular young couple were very sensitive creatures, which is why the universe drew them together, because both of them saw the innocence and wonder in life. In my eyes they made a most beautiful and balanced union.
Over the course of their short marriage, we have frequently discussed how to navigate their relationship. I’m not a therapist, just a person who loves to help love and who has broken my share of eggs to know how to pilot through the uncharted waters of staying together happily.
When a couple comes together they often bring with them the need to be seen for their contributions and for their intentions without a whole lot of practice on how to do that effectively. Most of the time a healthy couple will have pretty great intentions for one another. But what if those good intentions are misconstrued or unrealized? Often times, trust can wane when we are afraid to show our true selves, new intentions are falsely tagged to the other person’s behavior causing a lot of unnecessary arguments to arise. This happens a lot of the time with new couples because they haven’t learned each other’s rhythm yet. I’m not crazy, I know it happens to couples married a long time as well. I know this, because again, I am the egg thrower. But I also know that bad habits are always meant to be broken.
Trust should really earn a lifetime achievement award, because it can take a lifetime to master. Here’s a typical “Robocop Argument.” (ya that’s what I like to call it) Here’s a scenario this couple was experiencing as a result of not trusting their own need for connection:
Jane said a passing hurt word because she was feeling like John wasn’t recognizing her in the fashion she was accustomed. In an effort to not be “seen” for her pain, because lets face it- it’s just too darn uncomfortable and she wouldn’t want John to think she was a drama queen, Jane turned away from her partner by snapping at him.
Now lets look at John. John became hurt at this abrupt exchange and his response was to carry around the pain of Jane’s rejection, but without wanting to let Jane know he was angry. (Sound familiar?) Then John felt rejected because Jane had totally ignored the hurt feeling that she unwillingly caused. As a result of John not recognizing his own hurt, because lets face it- it was too darn uncomfortable to acknowledge, and he wouldn’t want Jane to think he’s a big sissy, John turned away from his partner. John did not want to be seen nor did he want to see his own pain either, so he went to bed angry.
Suddenly Jane is ever more confused by John’s unwillingness to be close to her after the “meaningless feud.” And John is ever more confused by Jane’s cross words that started this night of crash and burn. But the cross words were said and it was too hard to let the other person in when pain permeated inside- especially when admitting those words really hurt . The fact is, if they had trusted themselves to be worthy of love, they would have mentioned their hurt right away instead of carrying it around. In this couple’s case, Jane had thought her husband didn’t hear her, she became irritated and snapped, he felt betrayed by her response and went to bed angry. Later when she tried to ask for closeness, he didn’t respond and the two of them ended up in a standstill. A wall had been built around each of them protecting their own sides and territories. And the whole time they both yearned for the same exact end result, to be seen and to feel close to one another. They were both incensed over the same issue, but were too afraid and timid to trust the other person would receive it lovingly and without judgment.
Robocop Arguments can happen like Einstein’s definition of insanity, over and over with the same lousy result. We’ve all been there, it starts out rude, it ends up mean, and before you know it, 12 dozen eggs are broken on the floor by the fridge. (Oh was that just me?)
In this instance, it was clear that their Robocop arguments stemmed from a typical issue that can arise in marriage, the fear of being seen, which is probably why divorce occurs every 10 to 13 seconds.
How many times do we suffer from not feeling heard, or from not feeling seen? Too many. And how many times do we not tell the other person how we really feel? Too many as well. A healthy relationship grows on that willingness to be seen. We ourselves grow when we put our needs on display rather than hiding them hoping they will disappear into oblivion. But many of us have either seen that action play out dramatically like a Telemundo episode or we have watched our parents play it out like a Terminator scene.
Here’s the great news! According to the Telegraph, scientists says it takes exactly 8.2 seconds to fall in love with someone, that is exactly 4.8 seconds less than scientists say we decide to get divorced! Based on that fact, I think we have a pretty good future that might indicate we are better at falling in love and creating connection than we are at severing connection. Not all hope is completely lost.
Instead of throwing eggs, let’s look at each other closely and mutter these simple words when we feel frustrated- Baby, I’m not goin anywhere, don’t turn your eyes and don’t turn your head, because even in that moment that I close up and I am afraid, “I WILL ALWAYS BE BACK.” I’ll be back better then ever, I’ll be back for round two and this time I’ll do it differently. I’ll be back to show you I care even when I feel unseen. Yep, the Robocop Argument needs one small sentence to obliterate it forever— I’ll Be Back.