One of Sharon’s and my struggles after our separation was that even though we had learned a lot of new communication and conflict resolution skills and adopted more positive attitudes towards each other during our separation – both of which were instrumental in us reconciling – at times we could still fall back into our old dysfunctional patterns of relating.
When that first happened after we reconciled, we got scared that nothing had really changed. However, we realized that even though the old patterns might start, we knew all we had to do was to go back and start doing the new skill we had learned. Whichever one of us recognized the old pattern cropping up first would take the initiative to point it out and suggest that we get back to doing our new healthy behaviors.
So if you have had a major positive change in your relationship – maybe you went to counseling that was effective, maybe you went to a weekend seminar that really helped your marriage, maybe you and your spouse just drew a line in the sand and agreed to treat each other better – and you see yourself fall back into an old pattern, don’t be discouraged. Welcome to marriage in the real world. It is normal for that to happen. Just go back and start the new healthy pattern again. You can always start over.
I often hear from other marriage bloggers/educators that while they teach better ways to communicate and live together to others, they themselves can fall into their old habits and from time to time have to begin practicing anew what they are “preaching”.
What dramatic change for the positive in your life or marriage have you had? What have you learned about getting back on track if you fall into an old dysfunctional pattern?