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Linda: There comes a time when the pain of the power struggle becomes so exhausting and unpleasant that we are motivated to find another way. When our pain becomes a motivator to be creative and responsible, we discover that there are options to speak our truth without blame and judgment, to negotiate for our needs, to risk being vulnerable and that our partner is sick and tired of the exhausting struggle too. That’s when the idea of personal disarmament becomes appealing and we begin to experiment with making a peace treaty. 

The treaty is a set of agreements that will work for both of us, and the implementation of those agreements will require us to practice personal disarmament. Personal disarmament means that we need to lay down our sword and shield and take off the armor in all the many forms that they symbolize. Surely, we will be afraid when we do this, but the suffering of the old habituated patterns that are not working are a splendid motivator to risk trying something new.

Making a clear choice to take off all of our armor, the breastplate, and the helmet and to put it aside is a risky proposition. By stopping the swinging of the mace, we are no longer threatening attack. When we unhook the belt that is holding our sword in its sheath, we communicate I am not going to attack you. When we take off the breastplate, we expose our vulnerable heart. The removal of the helmet allows us to look into each other’s eyes. By looking at our partner, who is also taking the time to find their courage to trust, we see two frightened people who care for each other struggling to have a civilized meeting where no one is injured. 

With that heavy clanking armor removed, we can see each other as the vulnerable humans we are. The possibility exists for the language we speak when we are unarmed will be tender. Discarded along with the armor, lying all around us on the ground are the sarcastic remarks, threats, intimidation, blame, and shame. What remains to be spoken are our feelings and needs. Expressing our gentle words sets our partner at ease and invites them in the newly established safety, to do the same. When an authentic sincere exchange has taken place, there is a real meeting. Understanding can unfold now that the threat is no longer high.

The couple can embrace body-to-body, chest-to-chest, feeling the warmth and comfort that only an embrace can offer which is tremendously reassuring. There is recognition when we are on the same side, not archenemies. It may take many repetitions of this deliberate process to free ourselves of every bit of armor that we collected in hopes of protecting ourselves. 

When we outgrow our low-level warrior stage where we were more of a barbarian, we trade in our outdated program. We get rid of both sets of armor, as they are no longer needed. We have graduated to a high-level warrior, who has sophisticated means of communication that allow us to speak without blame or judgment. Our life becomes more peaceful, built on a foundation of trust. When commitment is strong, fears of being dominated or abandoned calm down. Fun, cooperation, pleasure, enjoyment, and growing into our best self, are all outcomes of learning the fine art of personal disarmament. 

It’s impossible to get close with all that metal between us. Isn’t it so much more fun to dance and embrace without all that clanging armor!


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