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The body is an alarm system.

The body-mind is an alarm system. A couple must know what sets off each partner's alarm system, and what disarms it. If you or your partner are not attending to signs of alarm, and/or don't know how to disarm each other, you will both suffer.


Over time however, couples may habituate to states of alarm and see them as normal or inevitable; they may even no longer notice them. But their adaptations to alarm will already have limited their vitality, creativity, and happiness.


A simple way to disarm your partner is to soften at the end of every turn they may hear as critical or challenging. Instead, take your stand at the beginning of your turn and end with something conciliatory.


Here's an example: "The family zoom thing is on thursday night–you missed it last time and everyone asked about you. I know it was unavoidable--but I also know you don't like those things. Is there anything that could make it easier for you?"


Agree to use soft endings like these. Many couples stop after one; but continuing soft endings that disarm to the end of the conversation (from both sides) renews the message that we are friends. If this isn't easy to do, set aside time to practice deliberately until it's second nature.

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