4. Respecting Each Other’s Inner Worlds
After intimate partners have been together for a while, they affect each other in more and more ways. Those mutual responses show up in several ways. Sometimes they react to experiences that come directly from what is happening between them in the relationship. At other times, something that happens between them triggers memories from the past, which may have little to do with their current relationship. Most often, it is a combination of the two.
When a current interaction activates a prior memory, especially one that is unresolved or traumatic, either partner may think that the reaction is about him or her, when it is not. That interaction creates an interpersonal conflict when it should not. If people experiencing that triggered response understand that it is not coming from their current relationship, they can resolve it more successfully.
It is never easy for anyone to fully understand another’s internal world. Multiple memories drive people’s feelings, thoughts, and needs. It is crucial that both partners do not assume they have experienced life the same way.
5. Memorizing What Is Sacred
There are specific words and actions that can make each person either feel safe in his or her most vulnerable states or can create insecurity, self-doubt, and defensiveness. When people truly love each other, they know the difference between them, and don’t hurt one another by forgetting those that wound.
No matter how angry, hurt, frustrated, upset, irritated, or disappointed either partner gets, people who treasure each other don’t use their partner’s vulnerabilities irresponsibly. They also know what touches the heart, what soothes the soul, and what inspires the mind of the other.