Dancin' in the Kitchen
Yes, we're dancin' in the kitchen! lol! That happens a lot - the kids LOVE dancing! Brandon got virtual dance classes as a Christmas gift last year and we started lessons but didn't quite finish! So we know just enough to look crazy and give everyone including ourselves a good laugh.
Speaking of dancing, I wanted to share something with you that we've been learning in the marriage series we've been taking. It's a different kind of dance lol! - not a good one! So settle in, grab some tea and let's dive into a little bit of relationship drama! haha! :-P
At the end of July I got COVID-19, and gosh, it just pushed all the wrong buttons with me! Crazy part was that I only lost my taste and smell and had a few headaches. That didn't change the fact that I had to be quarantined from Superman and the kids because they didn't have it. (Thank God!) Well, 5 days in and let's just say I was feeling alone.
I had taught the boys to avoid me and "don't touch mommy because mommy has the virus!" but then I would walk down the hall to get a drink and one of them would jump and say "MOMMY!!! NO!! DON'T COME CLOSE!!! YOU HAVE THE GERMS" My heart would sink to the floor as I tiptoed through my own house with gloves and a mask on.
Our COVID Conflict
The mental/emotional stress of the whole situation was getting to me and one day as I was sitting in the yard, Brandon started laughing as he read me a text he sent to our neighbor. "Hey babe! They asked how I managed to not get the virus so I said, 'I chained her up in the basement!' hahaha!" Well, this was the wrong thing to laugh about in front of someone who felt emotionally chained in the basement! I can laugh about it now! ;-) But at that moment, it was like he was throwing it in my face that I couldn't hug the boys or kiss him or just be close! I just sat there because I didn't have words.
Within the same 5 minutes he said something else that was hurtful and quickly apologized but it was too late.. I replied with something hurtful in return saying "hey, at least I know now what it will be like when we get older!" Basically implying that he wouldn't be there for me and I'd have to deal things on my own. He just nodded, looked off and didn't say anything!! :-o Any woman knows that silence says EVERYTHING!!! I only said that because I secretly wanted him to fall over himself going "ohh no babe, you know I'll be there when we're older!" Yes, I can be dramatic at times. lol!
I found out later that he wasn't paying attention. He had received a text from our business colleague and nodded as he thought up a great reply to him. But remember, I didn't know this at the time... so I withdrew and decided to go to the lake. The lake isn't usually my go-to but I literally couldn't go anywhere else because I had COVID! When I came back, we sat down to talk it took a good 10 minutes to get past the tailspin we started doing and finally get to the bottom of things.
I share all this because this was the biggest conflict we've had in a long time and it scared us both! Once this happened, a couple small spats were soon to follow. It made us realize that we needed to take a minute to evaluate our communication styles and see how we can improve moving forward. We had the chance to sit down with Michael Smalley and talk through the whole scenario to see where things started spiraling.
The Conflict Dance:
I learned that the two buttons that were pushed for me were: feeling disconnected and neglected. Once those were pushed, my response was to avoid/withdraw. So, without letting him know why or where I was going, I took a drive to the lake for the afternoon. My leaving pushed his buttons of: feeling unimportant and abandoned and he withdrew too. Notice how our reaction to the event ended up pushing each other's buttons? It creates a never ending cycle of hurt and can lead to bitterness!
Michael Smalley shared in the Pursue Oneness course that there are 4 most common reactions:
Belittle or Dishonor
As Michael says, "You have to view these as unacceptable reactions. You can no longer claim ignorance, you're officially enlightened!"
Understanding the Conflict Dance has helped us to stop doing it!! lol! It has also been so helpful to realize that it's the same dance for every conflict - no matter how big or how small. With this, as soon as a button gets pushed we try to identify it right away.
Check out this video with Michael Smalley to hear him talk about this and download that list of buttons!! haha! We have them on our phones now just in case! lol!
Smalley Marriage Institute - The #1 Thing Video
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Brandon read and approved this post! Lol! I wouldn’t share personal conversations unless we both agree to share it with the hopes that it encourages or helps someone else! 😉