When my husband served time, I hated when Ron and I would argue during our calls or visits.
As our disagreements escalated, my frustration would culminate until they sabotaged our time together. I would leave the prison or phone call feeling angry, irritated, and disappointed. Discord had a nasty way of creeping into every one of our conversations for weeks afterward. It was discouraging, and it was exhausting.
We knew that all couples disagreed. But we later learned not every couple allows issues to come between them. After months of allowing the anger and stress affect us, we knew something had to change or we would not survive this prison experience. We decided to keep issues in front of us and never let them come between us again.
Having your partner in prison creates physical separation. Unresolved disagreements does the same thing to your relationship, mentally and emotionally. The emotional and mental strain can be even harder to navigate than physical distance. After you argue with your partner, you experience a breach in your connection to each other. So, what you do after a disagreement is extremely important if you do not want that breach to grow.
Couples often walk away from a disagreement with no idea of how to repair their relationship.
Thus, they take one of two unhealthy approaches: a. they decide to never talk about it again, or b. they pull it into every future conversation. Both approaches will slowly kill your closeness and eventually destroy your relationship. You must be active in repairing any damage to your relationship as quickly as you can. Do not let offenses fester and infect your relationship. Offenses will poison your marriage.
It is too easy to let conflict divide you when you are apart. An observation can sting as if it were a criticism meant to slap you in the face when you are carrying offenses from disagreements. Every word your partner says can quickly turn into another dispute if you don’t take the time to resolve and heal from past conflicts. Suppose you are serious about saving your relationship. In that case, you must learn to resolve disputes healthily and repair the damage done in the past.
Do not let anger and resentment rule in your communication with your partner. Here is a simple 3 step process to keep your relationship strong.
- Resolve the conflict
- First, resolve the conflict in a way that honors each of you. ind a solution that you are both satisfied with the results. Remember that it is OK to take your time and work through the issue until you are both delighted.
- Actively work to restore your relationship. As you resolve current issues, you will both become aware of past hurts that are still plaguing your relationship now. Moreover, you will need to work through those injuries. Apologize for your part in delivering pain to your relationship and work actively to bring restoration.
- Intentionally reconnect. Disagreements can stir up feelings of insecurity. It is crucial you take the initiative to reconnect with your partner. Find ways to reassure your commitment and love to rebuild the connection between you. There are many ways to reconnect to each other; you have to be intentional about doing something. It takes action to reconnect. Go on a date (even a visit can be a date!), write a letter sharing how much you appreciate each other, perform an act of kindness.
You will weather many disagreements in your relationship. Do not let your differences divide you. Put together a plan to resolve the conflict together and reconnect to each other after these times of conflict. Prison is a harrowing journey. You must navigate it cautiously and recognize the dangers you will face. Your experience will become the foundation for your future together, so take the time to build a solid foundation together. Stop fighting and start solving the problems you face together.
I am rooting for you!