My husband and I love talking to each other…. a lot. And because of this familiarity with each other we tend to be honest with each other. So honest to the point of not filtering what we say. We speak what’s on our mind. One moment we’re having fun and then the next we’d be frustrated and angry at one another.
There are nights when we’d wonder what went wrong? The day would begin right with quality conversations over breakfast and some jokes thrown on the table, then later we’d end up spiting each other. We’d say sorry and forgive each other the next day but then it would happen again.
It seemed to be a pattern. Later on I found out that there are what you call “emotional hot spots” as coined by Dr. Gary Chapman, that could trigger an argument.
“All of us have emotional hot spots wherein when our spouse does or says certain things, we get defensive – because our self-worth has been threatened.”
Conflicts in marriage are normal but the impact of those storms can be lessened if we prepare for it.
One way how we arm ourselves for the inevitable is to discuss what words we should be mindful of saying. I found out that one of my emotional hot spot is whenever my husband says “tapos na ko dyan (I’m done with that stage)”. I feel that my husband doesn’t understand where I am, he is belittling the situation I’m in, or that he disregards it. Of course he doesn’t intend to make me feel that way and his intentions are just to assure me that my situation is indeed no big deal. I do respect his wisdom and experience but whenever those words are spoken it just triggers my emotional hot spot.
When I asked my husband what is his emotional hotspot, one of which is when I compare him to others. If he could just be more like so and so. Or sometimes I hide it through dialogues like, “see? didn’t what he / she say sound better than if you were to say it in a certain way?” I found out that this disrespects him.
What I appreciate is that my husband is open to identify which words shuts us off and then we could learn how to communicate it better so it would reflect the best intentions of our heart. Sometimes the intentions are good but the way we communicate it doesn’t reflect what we really mean.
Some couples on the other hand don’t have the liberty to discuss what their “emotional hot spots” are.
If however that is the case, I submit to what was taught in CCF regarding Reacting vs. Responding. That when something happens, we have a choice to React or to Respond. Reacting is out of impulse but responding is a well thought of action. Whenever our spouse then hits our emotional hot spot, we have a choice to 1. scream our head off or 2. understand where our spouse is coming from and extend grace to them.
We are still a work in progress and it is indeed a challenge to overcome our old ways and habits, we may sometimes still be affected when our emotional hot spots are triggered, but I am especially encouraged by this verse,
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.