Joe and I have talked about triggers before- how current events can trigger painful memories from the past. But I think it’s often a lot more than that. As Joe and I have walked through difficult seasons in our marriage, that word trigger keeps coming up, and then we realized, oh, our triggers are actually each other. Lovely. Well, that doesn’t seem like a hopeful situation. Why is it stuff he does triggers me? And why is it stuff I say and how I say it trigger him?
Lately we have both felt caught in that cycle. Arguing over stuff we shouldn’t be arguing over. Even though we might fight about silly things, at the root of it are legitimate feelings that are anything but silly. If either of us feel unheard, or judged, or trapped, or unloved, that’s real. But our spouse can’t walk with us through those feelings if they don’t know they exist.
This is where the heavy lifting comes in. Being willing to think about why you react the way you do. And being open to see, that maybe my spouse has an equally valid reason for the reason he reacted. Most likely there’s a connection.
That’s why I love this graphic and want to print it out to remind me… if we don’t acknowledge these kind of feelings with ourselves, with God, with our spouses, we’ll never be able to resolve conflict peacefully. It’s giving our spouse the benefit of the doubt that there’s something deeper going on. The same benefit of the doubt we would want them to give us when we feel triggered. It’s learning to live in extravagant grace!