We all have insecurities; sensitive spots we are working on, as part of our journey to maturity. But what if our spouse can’t stand it when one of our buttons is pushed? What if he or she takes our distress personally, and we find ourselves having to calm them down? This can lead to a widening divide, as we feel less inclined to share our struggles with our partner.
The first step is to recognize when our own sensitive spots are being pushed, and to take responsibility for them. This means admitting, sometimes explicitly, to our spouse, that they have done nothing wrong; that this is our burden to bare. For example, if our spouse wants to take a break on the weekends and watch a few hours of sports, but that reminds you of a neglectful father’s inability to connect, we must first recognize that our feelings of abandonment are not accurate indicators that our spouse has done something wrong. How could they possibly know that their behavior is triggering this memory from childhood?
The next step is to ask for their support; simply saying something like “I don’t need you to fix or change anything; I just need to hear that it’s okay with you that I’m struggling in this area.” Even when we take ownership of our insecurities, feeling like our spouse is judging us for even having sensitive spots in the first place can make working on it extra hard. Knowing that your spouse is okay being in a relationship with someone who is a work-in-progress is comforting, and can foster both your growth.