Co-Authored by Eric S. Jannazzo, Ph.D
Too many marriages get stuck in unending loops of conflict because the latent content is never understood, let alone addressed. So the flame of a fight might die out, but since the combustible latent material remains untended to, it needs only an emotional spark to ignite again.
Of course the combustible latent material is not limited only to unaddressed issues within the marriage, for we all bring to our marriages our own individual traumas big and small, complex emotional histories that have nothing at all to do with our partners.
These histories, together with our natural temperaments, leave each of us with emotional and cognitive tendencies. That is, each of us tends towards certain feeling states and thought patterns, and these thoughts and feelings tend to shape our interpretations of relational moments, even – perhaps particularly – within our marriages.
To put it simply: much of what we tend to feel within our marriages is not about our marriage at all, but is rooted in our own emotional patterns and histories.