Parenting “can”and, I’m really wanting to use the verb, “will” create strain on our marriages. If you’ve been parenting longer than a weekend, you are clear on that, I’m sure. When you add in parenting a child with significant needs from early childhood abuse, neglect, trauma, or any adversity, you will most likely find yourself and your relationship feeling exposed, and fragile. The balancing act of taking care of a child with significant, often immediate, and on going needs, while continuing to maintain care for yourself and the other relationships in your life takes a new level of awareness and intentional focus. Sometimes our awareness to the damage that our relationships have endured can sneak up on us. We might begin noticing strong feelings of resentment, anger, frustration towards our spouses. Maybe there’s just a silence, a disconnect that is starting to feel normal. It’s so easy to fall into blaming each other for our relationship problems. But… what if this is a normal response to caring for children who are struggling? What if we could recognize the difficulty and begin to become aware of the effects it has on us individually and collectively in the marriage relationship? And what if we could learn to apply the same intervention strategies that we use with our children with ourselves and our marriages?
That got me thinking about one powerful trauma intervention, TBRI, which stands for Trust Based Relational Intervention. It was developed by Dr. Purvis and Dr. Cross at Texas Christian University to be used as an intervention for children who have come from “hard places” as Dr. Purvis says. The intervention works to meet needs in three ways; empowering , connecting, and correcting.
Empowering is about meeting physical needs. With the children in our care, we are typically referring to meeting physical needs with food water and regular sensory input.
Connecting is about establishing trust. We are working towards being able to see beneath distrustful and protective behaviors so that the child will learn through your consistency that they are safe. It is about being seen, being heard, and helping others have a voice.
Correcting is about shaping beliefs and behaviors by disarming fear.
On this week’s episode, I thought it would be fun and helpful to take these three pillars…empowerment, connection, and correction and apply them towards marriage. And of course, who better for the job of helping me do that than my hubby, Kyle?
• I asked Kyle to share his thoughts on empowerment and ways I can better help him feel empowered.
• I shared some powerful ways Kyle has stepped in to offer his support in helping me feel more empowered.
• We discussed connection, deep listening, and “seeing” one another.
• We discussed the intentionality of creating the space to connect.
• We talked about how correcting thoughts and behaviors is a self awareness practice and that it is never wise to begin with correcting the other person. Correction is an inside job.
And finally, we challenged everyone to take some time to look at their marriage and become aware if it’s in possible need of some intervention.