Twice Married, To Each Other

Click here to view this episode's transcript.

When is the latest marital squabble about the cat and when is it about deep-seated wounds, vulnerabilities and fears?


In this episode of Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel, the same fights that tore a couple apart during their marriage now rage on in their second marriage…to each other. Yet their repetitive arguments mask much deeper emotions. He relives the sense of inadequacy and disappointment from his patriarchal boyhood home. She experiences the aloneness and burdens placed upon her while growing up in poverty.

Twice Married, To Each Other unearths explosive triggers while clearing paths toward understanding, empathy and compassion. 


What to listen for in this episode of Where Should We Begin? With Esther Perel:

  • When we fight, our memories and nervous systems are hijacked.  Each partner’s respective histories indicate what their triggers may be. The message embedded in everyday arguments may stir long-standing insecurities such as feeling shamed, belittled, controlled, silenced, or ignored.
  • The body talks. Pay attention to your and your partner’s body language for underlying emotional clues.  
  • A lesson from Terry Real: Self-confidence is the ability to see yourself as a flawed individual and still hold yourself in high regard.
  • We often admire our partner’s ability to handle complicated tasks unless this makes us feel inadequate. In those moments we feel hurt. One partner’s self-reliance can be experienced as an indictment of the other partner’s incompetence. 
  • Fighting about the same things over and over again? Breaking the loop requires creating new habits together. What would happen if you took a pause, took a breath, and attempted to work with your partner to deescalate an argument? Try one of these coping mechanisms to better control how your next argument unfolds.
  1. Touch: Touch is a powerful tool for regulating anger. When partners argue while touching each other, the arguments change. Finding a way to make decisions together becomes more possible.
  2. Lie Down: A fighting body cannot lie flat. To defuse an escalating screaming match, try continuing to argue while lying down.
  3. Cos-Play: Wearing an unlikely, outrageous costume can disrupt the normal course of argumentation and substitute angry frustration with humor and fun.

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