It’s my bias, that in a long term partnership, both parties need a small crew of support outside the marriage. The co-dependent isolated couple has no where to turn during the fight except to their partner. And, as some of you have found out thru your own experience, that’s complicated. It isn’t always effective or efficient. The person triggered by you, will struggle to support you in the heat of the moment. Yes, they can learn over time, but expecting them to show up for you if they are triggered by you will prove difficult initially. Going it alone during a fight is also limited.
Thus, we need community. We each need a pit crew to hold us during our struggle. The kind of team that is able to hold both of us in love and respect. This kind of quality support does not mean a person who goes along with our story about how lame our partner is. That’s not support. The support I’m talking about is people who can validate our feelings/experience AND who also challenge us to see our own side. Chances are we are not seeing something about ourselves. We are stuck in self-blame or other blame. We may be looping in an old pattern and can’t get to the roots of our trigger, which can, and often does, change the game. Quality friends and guides with shared context and tools can help us see what we are not seeing.
Marriage in isolation, while socially hiding our struggles, is a recipe for more pain over the long haul. Community support is critical to the health and vitality of a marriage. For example, when I’m stuck, the men in my life love her (and me) by helping me see where I’m blocked. A light bulb goes on, behavior shifts, and now I can return to her more available, ready, and able to own my side. I’m now more resourced tending to the fire of our connection.