- Granite Bay
- Citrus Heights
How often do you wonder aloud, “If this person cares about me, then why the hell would this person hurt me?” The answer is ridiculously simple: because love hurts. But should it? Logic dictates that when you love someone, you don’t want to see them get hurt, let alone be the one responsible for inflicting that pain.
The first thing we need to come to terms with is the fact that there are two types of hurt: intentional and unintentional. But when we are in pain, we don’t take the time to make that important distinction. This is understandable because when someone kicks you in the shin, you are going to be in pain regardless of whether it was done on accident or on purpose.
So what’s the big deal? Why is this distinction so important? For starters, understanding why a certain behavior takes place is the first step toward coming up with a plan to prevent it from happening again. Think of it this way: if you are not feeling well and are experiencing several symptoms, the best way to eliminate those symptoms is by finding out the cause of your ailment and seeking the right treatment for that cause. In other words, antibiotics are not always the solution for flu-like symptoms.
Let’s talk a little bit about intentional hurt, which is considered the most damaging to the wellbeing of a relationship. Many books can be written about this topic, but I will give you the highlights. When we are engaged in this kind of hurt, we are fueled by anger. Hurting your partner in this case becomes a means to satisfy the need to express this anger.
Anger is just another natural emotion for which we are all hard-wired to serve a purpose. But I do believe that we should always be examining whether or not those feelings of anger are valid. Even when our feelings of anger are valid, they need to be expressed in an appropriate way that is directed toward resolving the conflict instead of escalating it.
In short, we intentionally hurt those we love when we are feeling angry. This anger can be born out of valid or invalid reasons. So the hurt becomes an inappropriate means to justify a legitimate need which is the expression of anger. Keep in mind that we are not always conscious of this process taking place in our heads.
Let’s move on to unintentional hurt. It is the most common type of hurt we are engaged in and it is quite harmful to the well-being of the relationship despite the lack of intentions. The main force in play during this type of hurt is poor communication. Communication has two main components: talking (sending) and listening (receiving). If there is a problem with either side, the whole thing falls apart. Think walkie talkies.
Sending problems are caused by not having a clear idea about the feelings and thoughts you are trying to communicate to your partner, therefor you are unable to choose the right words to describe what you are attempting to convey. This causes you to be perceived in a way that is opposite from what your true intentions are.
Receiving Problems are caused by having wax in your ears. The wax is the barrier that distorts a clear message and prevents it from being perceived in the way in which it was intended. The wax can be a result of past negative experiences that are not tied directly to the current person or situation at hand. It can also be the byproduct of personal insecurities. What is taking place in this scenario is that you are consciously or unconsciously mishearing a clear message. This is done in the effort to make what you heard fit a predetermined conclusion or a point of view about what is going on, regardless of how false or accurate this conclusion or view is.
Loving your partner on its own does not safeguard against hurt. What does is the conscious effort in evaluating what goes on in your mind and heart at all times to help you understand your reactions to your partner.
Being honest with yourself about your feelings and thoughts is the first line of defense in preventing hurt because it will allow you to identify whether or not the thoughts and feelings you are having are valid. Once you establish that, you can better communicate about what is going on with you to your partner.
Pay attention to the wax in your ears and go the extra mile to clarify a message that you misheard. Be objective when you listen and give your partner the benefit of the doubt, lending them a hand when they are struggling to identify what they are truly thinking or when they are struggling to find the right words to describe those thoughts and feeling.
But most of all, remember:
You deserve a happy marriage!