The hard step is safely managing conflict.
This means having good boundaries, accepting that your partner will be right sometimes, and that they get to have a say in what happens as a couple, but not letting them walk all over you.
It means talking and talking and talking.
It also means respecting when your partner gets overwhelmed and letting them stop. Letting them self soothe, and soothing them where possible.
It means watching your partner for signs that they’re getting upset and coming back to it later.
My husband and I are having a big discussion right now about food. I read obsessively about diet, and even though I weigh around 190kg, I put into practice anything I can. For example I take supplements that are associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, I make sure I have a long gap between meals and snacks so my insulin doesn’t stay constantly high and I have a decreased risk of insulin resistance, I increase my protein, vegetable and legume intake and decrease my white carb intake.
Anything I’m capable of, I do.
Yet, my husband and I Both enable each other to eat potatoes, biscuits, chocolate and desserts.
So my husband’s driving license has recently been threatened, and we’re having to do some serious thinking.
It’s tough coming up against ourselves like that.
Last night we were talking and my husband asked for a time out.
We stopped for a minute, and I stroked his hand.
After a while I said something, and he held out his left hand in a stop gesture.
It doesn’t mean that we won’t talk about it, and keep on talking about it, it just means that when he or I get overwhelmed, we pause for a moment and calm down for a while. We can each rely on the other not to cause harm by flooding.