It’s easy to squabble and expect others to change. This process can go on for years before someone decides to get off the merry-go-round of fighting. The problem often is not the fighting, but the lack of knowing the answer to the question: Are you in, or are you out?

A.     If you’re ‘IN’ then you want to foster the relationship with love, and with clear, assertive, hopeful, positive, respectful, loving communication always. To learn the skills of this kind of communication you can peruse the many books on the subject, or spend a little time with a good counselor who can teach communication skills, or/and continue following this blog, as communication skills are the central focus.

B.     On the other hand, if you’re ‘OUT,’ then you may wish to communicate that in a loving respectful way, and move on.

If you’re not ‘OUT,’ you’re ‘IN.’  See “A” above.

2. What Do You Do When Your Partner Makes Fun of Your Feelings?

What do you do when your partner makes fun of your feelings? My husband says put them in the shed. Alternatively, ask yourself, am I in or am I out? If you’re out, you might reply, “That doesn’t work for me anymore,” and make new living arrangements. On the other hand, if you’re in, you might reply, “That doesn’t work for me anymore,” and prepare to be astonished one day at a time at how hard this work is, and how rewarding.

Regardless of whether this relationship grows to maturity, you will grow and partner with someone who, like you, is willing (however haltingly), to roll up their sleeves and do the work.

Assume your partner just now made fun of your feelings, and you’re in, and you replied, “That doesn’t work for me anymore,” and your partner cracks up laughing. In response you might:

a. feel sorry for yourself
b. feel sorry for your partner
c. slam a door or worse
d. go into deep thought about what wound in your partner prompted that absurd response to your authentic truth
e. none of the above.

Correct. None of the above is the right answer. What you may instead wish to do is go read your book. You have just set an important boundary that will be true in any relationship you ever have. You have just validated who you are- a person who accepts the responsibility of being the steward of her or his own being. Pat yourself on the back. Leave the results up to the divine. Your partner has just been rocket-launched from a standing still position. Give your partner time to reel, contort, react and ultimately choose life as an unruly adolescent or life with you.

What about your partner’s childhood wounds that excuse her or his bad behavior? Your partner is the only one who can heal them. You can be a confederate in your partner’s healing process by being as healthy as you can be yourself. Your steady insistence on respect is a stable force essential to your partner’s and your own healing and growth.

NEXT:   Am I in or am I out?

1. Declare Willingness to Put Away Your Weapons

You and your partner can get on track to a nurturing non-toxic partnership starting with the following declaration you say together:

Today I am committed to you. You are my partner.  I am willing to go to any lengths to be a good partner. I am willing to roll up my sleeves and do my share of the work. I am willing to clock out from the days tasks, and enjoy your company for a while every day. I am willing to hear your ideas, your joy, your pain and your fears, and to comfort you. I am willing to show you my ideas, joy pain and fears and allow you to comfort me.

I lay down my guns and put away my arrows. I am your friend. You can count on me. I love you.

NEXT: What do you do when your partner makes fun of your feelings?