I thought of you when I read this quote from “The Self-Centered Marriage: The Revolutionary ScreamFree Approach to Rebuilding Your “We” by Reclaiming Your “I”” by Hal Edward Runkel, Jenny Runkel – “
It was exactly in such a moment, that moment, that Felipe then did something remarkable. Nothing huge, mind you, but remarkable. He obviously wanted this relationship to work. After a calming pause, with both great restraint and great pursuit, Felipe gently reached for his fiancée’s hand. Then he spoke. Softly, but surely. “Let’s be careful right now.” That’s all he said. In reality, that’s all he needed to say. This is because Gilbert immediately knew what her fiancé was doing. She knew exactly what he meant. See, a couple of years before that, the two of them had been in a similar situation, leading to a similar argument. But just as the tone in that encounter was turning nasty, and they were beginning to question the relationship’s very survival, Felipe paused and said, “Let’s be careful.” “Of what?” Gilbert had asked at that time. “Let’s just be careful of what we say to each other for the next few hours,” Felipe explained. “These are the times, when people get tired like this, when fights can happen. Let’s just choose our words very carefully …” Since that initial episode, both Gilbert and Felipe had occasionally used this calming interjection to stop a reactive pattern—and pursue something more response-able. “Let’s be careful right now.” Care-full, indeed. Now back on that bus in Laos. As it had before, Felipe’s calm interjection this time managed to stop their negative, reactive pattern in its tracks—and created the possibility for something new. Gilbert no longer wanted to fight, because it is just too exhausting to fight with someone who refuses to get reactive. Felipe’s calm became calming.
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