The first time that trouble popped up in your marriage, you were
confident that it was nothing that the two of you couldn’t work through
together. But now you’re not so sure.
Home has become a battlefield, littered with booby-traps that
neither one of you seem to be able (or willing) to defuse.
You take the long way home these days, you already know what waits
for you behind the front door. It’s a scene that plays on repeat:
The distance. The quiet rooms. The tension, you make no sudden
moves. The arguments that twist and turn. The anger in their eyes, a slow burn.
The silence on the other end of the phone. In your own home, you always feel so
alone. The pain inside is coiled like a snake ready to strike.
You’ve lost count of the times you’ve asked yourself, “How in the
world did we come to this? What in the world is happening to us?"
The hurt in your heart digs deeper as the distance grows further and
divorce looms larger, you've started calling lawyers.
What is happening here?
If this is a scenario that seems all too familiar, then you're also
familiar with the frustrating feeling of being stuck in an endless loop and
going nowhere fast. That is very much what is happening and why you haven't
been able to make progress- how can you move your marriage forward when you're
running in circles?
Essentially: the two of you
have become stuck in a cycle of painful feelings and coping mechanisms that
feed off of each other.
It's a simple concept that assigns a loose description to the
tumultuous atmosphere that has permeated your marriage. But it doesn't stop
You now have a way to see and describe the problem, which is
helpful, but having a mental picture isn't the same as understanding the sum of
all its parts.
The 4 Stages of Your Conflict
1. Conflict with your spouse
stirs up emotional pain.
Think about the emotions that surface in response to conflict with
your spouse. You'll find that the same emotions surface each time. For example,
you might feel unaccepted, abandoned and defective. Those emotions differ from
feelings of being disrespected, invalidated, and controlled. The differences
are nuanced but critical in understanding the destructive dynamic between you
2. You blame each other for
your own pain.
Conflict is an inevitable part of life, especially in marriage.
These clashes usually prompt us to say and do regretful things towards each
other. When those hurtful things are said and done by your spouse, you
certainly don't feel secure and loved in that moment. Your line of thinking
tells you that someone who truly loved and cared about you wouldn't
intentionally cause you such pain, right?
Are you sure *they* caused the pain you feel?
Most of your feelings and ways of coping were formed well before
Time to take a look at the skeletons in your closet.
Rooted somewhere in your past are incidents that have caused certain
emotions to become strongly associated with a loss of security and love. And
because they are unresolved, the pain of memory is incredibly sharp.
Pain is something that we are hardwired to avoid, so how does one
protect themselves against something like a intangible memory? This takes us to
the next stage.
3. You've developed a coping
mechanism to help protect yourself from the painful emotions caused by
When you feel attacked, what's your first instinct? To defend
When those painful emotions from your past are triggered by the
conflict you have with your spouse, you subconscious rushes to deploy a defense
to help you cope with the sudden perceived loss of love and security.
4. The way you cope with
painful unresolved emotions are also what cause even MORE problems.
You might feel compelled to lash out with harsh words in order to
push your spouse away and prevent further pain. You might shut down and
withdraw in order to guard yourself from them, and you think that perhaps the
hurt they experience from being shut out will teach them to avoid conflict with
you altogether. Both of these ways of coping are destructive to a marriage and
This final stage serves as fuel to the fire and the cycle starts
over yet again.
To be aware is to be empowered. Being able to assign a description
to what is happening is a giant step in the right direction. But descriptions
and information aren't what save a fractured marriage. So now what?
The Hideaway Experience is a program designed around helping married
couples resolve their painful pasts and reconnect with each other, effectively
breaking free of the same cycle that you're trapped in. The program is headed
by a team of licensed psychologists who integrate evidence-based methods with
Biblical teachings to provide an experience that not only heals a marriage but
three locations in Texas, Georgia and California, The Hideaway Experience has
helped save upwards of 2,000 marriages that hail from 48 states and 2
countries. We're ready and willing to help you experience the marriage that you
always dreamed of having