Note: We’ve featured relationship coach Blair Glaser’s posts about using leadership/business skills in relationships a few times now. Here is another. — Amanda P.
Yesterday I awoke to calls, forecasts and Facebook posts, warning me of a huge impending snow storm. I dutifully put my morning tasks aside and hit the store before the crowds, planning two days worth of meals in my mind, contacting any in-person clients about switching to phone, and bringing in enough firewood to safeguard against mid-blizzard trips to the pile.
We were utterly prepared.
And when we awoke to two inches instead of two feet of snow, we were, well, quite disappointed.
Clearly our expectation for the special stillness that being snowed in creates, the way it makes you awe at nature’s ability to shut things down, the bundling up to shovel, and the romance of coming in from the stark white blanket to a steaming cup of hot chocolate — was not met in our neck of the woods.
There is an obvious lesson about hype and expectation, but there is a less obvious one about being prepared. When you prepare for drama, you have the power to manage and occasionally decrease it. Not getting the storm you’ve prepared for is disappointing, but getting stuck on a highway in the middle of one can be terrifying.
In partnerships, we rarely prepare for the kinds of misunderstanding, entanglements and storms of emotion that naturally happen on a regular basis, and as a result, we may feel perpetually awash in reactivity, clean up and recovery.
I’ve written about these kinds of “preparations” and how to prevent fights here. When you notice what’s happening in the energetic field between you and your partner, you can side-step inclement weather, or head right into a storm and duke it out —sometimes a necessary journey. And sometimes, like with today’s weather — your predictions are inaccurate.
One time, a man I lived with started the day with these particularly gruff, distant responses and jerky movements that used to set me off, until I learned that when I saw that stiffness and felt that icy distance, it was best to disengage, remain lighthearted, and focus on what was going to make me happy until he returned to his normal, jovial self. So as he took off rather grumpily to make coffee, I took an extra long shower and rearranged the whole day in my head, committing to my happiness, keeping my heart open and giving him space. But when I joined him in the kitchen, he had made breakfast for us both.
Turns out that either my radar was off, or whatever was “up” for him blew through while I was preparing to readjust — either way it was a lovely false alarm. Would it have gone the same way had I not truly prepared by reading the signals? A relationship koan.
When we are unprepared, our vulnerability gets triggered, which is a good thing in terms of growth and learning about ourselves; and for the next time. If we take the time to really learn, and prepare to better handle what threw us off center the last time, we can create more opportunities to risk and bring our vulnerability to our partners by choice: by sharing our fantasies and dreams, initiating physical intimacy and admitting our insecurities. In this way, we slowly, steadily mature, and learn to create less drama and tolerate the subtler thrill of a deeper intimacy.
You can find out more information about Blair Glaser and her work at her website, www.blairglaser.com