A marriage made in heaven needs stars who can self-soothe

A star at soothing anger responds to rudeness with "My poor spouse must've had a bad day. I wonder what's gone wrong?" You can approach life seeing good in yourself and in your spouse. Don't take anger personally!

When you're in conflict with the most important person in your life, you can easily feel frightened or threatened. The stress causes your fight or flight response. At the very moment you need all your creativity, your animal instincts take over. Self-protection, anger and fear do not help to reduce the conflict or to increase loving harmony.

Soothing skills can be developed. Think of a recurring situation in your relationship when you feel hurt or upset. Describe the situation by leaving out what you think or intend, just describe what happens that could be recorded on videotape: what is said and done. Next, write down what you say to yourself during and after the event. Notice how those thoughts could logically ignite the emotions you're feeling.

Now look at the situation as a Soother. Practice detachment, compassion, assertion and understanding. Look for:

  • A positive intention (even if the words or behavior were negative): "He's just trying to be playful."
  • A hidden benefit (even if there's an obvious cost): "This is an answer to my prayer to learn to be more patient!7quot;
  • A different perspective (even if your spouse sees it wrong): go to the balcony to watch where it's safer.

Remember your Lamaze Class when you learned to keep calm, breathe deeply and slowly, deal with the pain and trust new life would come of this stressful time! Use humor, soft touch and a "goodie" bag to soothe in anger, too.

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Dr. Ray Smith


Ray Wm. Smith, Ed.D
9507 N Division Street Suite A
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