I used to be uncomfortable with my spouse’s disappointment or anger or sadness. I used to think things like:
-I can’t hurt them like this
-They will be so hurt if they knew
-This will make them so sad
-This will shatter their dreams
So many people I coach struggle with seeing their spouse experience sadness or disappointment around their faith status or the mixed faith marriage.
I my opinion, this is often the number one reason those experiencing a faith transition do not share openly about their experience – others may be sad, disappointed, afraid, or just plain uncomfortable with your faith transition.
We ultimately think we are in charge of managing our spouse’s sadness, disappointment, fear or discomfort. Said another way, we think we are in charge of managing their emotions.
What helped me was to learn that I cannot control or manage my spouse’s emotions. Not ever. Sometimes it appears that way, but that is a coincidence and not the reality. Other people always get to choose their own emotions. My actions do not cause another’s emotions.
When I fell into the common trap of thinking that my actions caused my spouse’s emotions it means I am responsible for their emotions and that I should blame myself when they have an emotional response. It causes me to not allow them ownership over their emotions.
This doesn’t mean I have an excuse to be rude or demeaning.
When I was able to learn this and start taking responsibility for my own emotions and not take responsibility for my husband’s emotions it helped me focus on areas I could change and improve and not focus on areas that were beyond my control. It helped me to allow him to be sad or disappointed and allow him to manage his emotions instead of jumping in and trying to change who he was and how he was experiencing his life.
This may sound like small potatoes. IT IS NOT. So much of what makes a relationship healthy and vibrant is to be emotionally responsible and to manage your emotions and let others manage their own emotions. This is the secret recipe for a relationship full of connection and love.
If you are always trying to manage things so your spouse is never sad, disappointed or uncomfortable emotionally, you are probably on the path to burn out as you are trying to control what you cannot. (I know I have been there)
Message me and let’s see if coaching can help you let go of this pattern and use your energy to focus on what you can do to help your relationship thrive.
Talk to you soon,