Building Trust in
Your Marriage when You are Triggered
By Susie and Otto Collins
One of the things that a
majority of people find the most challenging about
marriage is being able to act from and be in a place
of love even when they are triggered and when it's
difficult and uncomfortable to do so.
Here's what we mean...
Some time ago, we visited
friends who live about 1 1/2 hours from our home.
Because it was late when we
left, Susie was tired and she wanted to get home as
soon as possible because she had to teach a class
Otto was driving and stopped
for gas at convenient mart on the way. When Otto
went inside the mart to buy some water and pay for
the gas, he also decided to search for something to
buy to eat.
From the car, Susie could see him
leisurely walking down each food aisle and she began
getting more agitated by the moment.
She got out of the car, walked
to the mart, opened the door and in a very agitated
tone of voice said "Could we go?"
What Otto did next was very
different from the way he might have reacted in
similar situations several years ago.
What most likely would have
happened in a situation like this several years ago
was that he would react from a place of fear, anger
and rebellion instead of love, compassion and
Years ago, he might have
thought the other person had no right to tell him
what to do. He might have reacted negatively,
harshly or with anger if he even suspected that
another person was trying to tell him what to do or
"restrict his freedom."
We all have our triggers and
predictable patterns when we're upset or angry.
Those just happened to be Otto's. Whatever triggers
and predictable patterns you have tend to tear down
trust instead of build it up.
Years ago, Otto might have
ended up lashing out at the other person or becoming
silent, distant and cold.
What he did this time was different.
He initially felt himself
react negatively to what Susie was saying to him
but then shifted his thinking to his love for
her and having compassion for her needs.
He quickly made a conscious
choice to come from love and not fear, anger or the
desire to be right. As a result of his decision, we
stayed connected and there was no distance between
the two of us. We took a step toward building trust
instead of tearing it down.
Coming from a place of love can
be very challenging when there is a perception that
the other person is being critical.
It's important to understand
that while we are encouraging you to come from a
place of love, compassion and understanding as much
of the time as possible-- we are not suggesting that
if you are
being emotionally or
physically abused that you just "take it" and
not do anything to help yourself.
Setting boundaries and
expressing how you are wanting to be treated is
important in all relationships.
The lesson in all of this is to
approach every situation with as much love, kindness
and compassion as possible because you have no idea
what the other person is going through in the
In order to create trust and
great relationships, it's important to act from a
place of love as much of the time as possible no
matter what else is going on.
If you think that doing this
might be difficult, start by taking baby steps,
noticing when you have a better awareness or more
positive reaction to things that would normally
trigger or upset you.
When you find yourself
triggered, stop and take a moment to ask yourself
"Will this reaction move me closer to or further
from the love and connection that I really want with
This simple question may be
difficult to do in the heat of the moment but if you
practice it, it will become second-nature to you.
The more you are able to do
this, you'll find that your relationships will
be closer, more loving and more connected and
your life will be much more rewarding in every