(This week’s blog post from our ScreamFree facilitator Michele Yarbrough!)
My husband Dave and I have been married almost 22 years. We have three children. Jacob; 18, Jared;15, and Jenna; 10. I can honestly say that emotional reactivity has always been a big issue for me. I wish I could take back the many, many times I have had an emotional outburst but I can’t. I remember when I first heard Hal Runkel on the radio I knew this book was what I needed. Chapter 3 is a long one with such great information. I will try to make this short since you have already read so much!
Calm Down, Grow Up, Get closer. Repeat. That seems so simple. So why is so hard? The pause is the hardest part for me. How in the world do you stop your self before the “beast” erupts? “When your buttons are getting pushed, you have to learn to push your own button. Your pause button.” (p.62) I struggled with this for a long time. I prayed. I messed up (and still do). I prayed some more. Then it hit me. I just have to do it. I have to get control. Period. I’m sorry to say there is no easy way. You can use practical things like he suggests in the book (counting to ten, snapping a rubber band, etc..) What it boiled down to for me is this: “How do I want to be remembered by my kids and do I want my husbands respect?” So I had to pause. And in that moment is when we find God and can rely on His strength to help us. Even if you don’t pray, the pause is where you get control. It’s where you gain respect. It’s where you keep your integrity in tact. It’s where you WIN this battle with the beast. This is why I loved this concept of going to the balcony. I can visually think about one of my favorite places-a balcony at the beach and the peace that brings. I want peace in my home. Period.
The rest of the steps are incredibly helpful as well: Calm Down, go to the balcony, Grow Up, step on the scales, Get Closer by showing your cards. champion your spouse (and be ready to accept their response), and Repeat. I realized years into my marriage that I was not able to show ASR very well at all. I would stomp off, slam doors, etc…What did that accomplish? Nothing.
As the wife of a fire fighter I love this concept. How can we make our husbands job more effective while they are away? We can help THEM with ASR by modeling it ourselves. They can feel more secure sharing with us if we would just calm down.
So as you continue on this journey think about these things:
1. What can you do to help you go to the balcony?
2. How can you “show your cards” to your spouse this week?
3. What patterns (not problems) have you recognized in your marriage? What is your part and your spouses part of the pattern?
4. Authentic Self Representation means representing your strengths and your weaknesses, your hopes and fears, your loves and your hates. And in marriage, it means championing your spouse to do the same. (p.59)
5. The real problem is that we either cannot or will not see ourselves as the co-creators of our own situation. But the truth is (and this is a truth that will definitely set you free) that you are an individual capable of making decisions, even in the most heated or annoyingly mundane of circumstances. (p.66 – 67)
6. Nothing grows without strain, struggle, and conflict. Nothing. Not a tree, not a muscle, not a nation, nothing. And certainly not a marriage. Or a person. (p.81)