What were you like when you were 13 years old? How were you as a kid when conflict happened in the family? Where did you go and what did you do to feel safe? What was your role in the family surrounding conflict?

Sometimes when conflict happens, we can become like a teenager again. We freeze up, fight back, run away, blame, stonewall, scream, mope, depress, and cry. I think everyone would agree that a thirteen year old does not do all that great as husband or wife. The reality is we all act like a teenager every now and then. 

What some 13 year olds need is a little bit of TLC, which is probably what you or your spouse needs when the “inner teen” shows up.

Try this: Get a picture of when you were 13, have it printed in a wallet sized print, and put it in your pocket. Do the same for your spouse. The next time you’re in a conflict, grab the picture of your 13-year old self (not your spouses picture!), and hold it up to your spouse. 

Talk to them about what’s going on with you. What does your “teenage self” need in this moment? What don’t “they” need to say or do?