"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it" (Voltaire)
Apparently this is not how all married or to-be-married couples think (!) and so yesterdays session was entitled Resolving Conflict. It may have been that we managed to get home and have some supper together first, or that it was simply more interesting or maybe the course is having some effect, but yesterday's session seemed more interesting and helpful than the past 2.
According to the course, people generally behave in one of two ways at the first sign of conflict: that of a rhino (head down, charge at the other person) or that of a hedgehog (curl into a ball and withdraw, prickles out). Apparently the vast majority of couples split down into one of each type. And yes, M and I seem to be no exception to this. The trick to resolving conflict it seems is to assess which kind you are, what causes conflict, how you behave and then try and find a way of supporting each other and reducing inflammatory behaviour. Sounds obvious but I did find the process of assessing what causes conflict and working out how we behave during scenes of conflict (and then how our partner views our behaviour) helpful. M and I are lucky in that we talk a lot anyway and I was already aware of how I behave - despite having less success in changing it - so it did not come as too much of a surprise, but apparently it really does to some couples.
We also had to list things we appreciate about the other and it did surprise me to see that M listed my 'stubborn and determined' attitude as something he appreciated in me, despite me knowing that this, combined with low blood sugar, is almost always the trigger for my shouting. OK, I admit it, I am a rhino.
Last on my list of things I appreciate about M I listed this: "I love it when M brings me a cup of tea in bed". This morning I was woken up by M telling me it was time to get out of bed and that he had moved my phone (alarm clock) to the bedside table. And there, on the bedside table, in my favourite mug, was a cup of tea.