Marriage is made up of moments, ordinary moments, at times beautiful and at times tragic. Whether you have been married less than 1 year of over 50 years, you have experienced a multitude of moments…
Moments of agony — Moments of ecstasy
Embarrassing moments — Unrealistic expectations
Treasured friendships — Monotonous moments
Multiple misunderstandings — Astounding surprises
Cold, stormy silences — Hot, fiery exchanges
Slightly veiled threats — Irritated sarcasm
Tearful tragedies — Accepted apologies
Extended family challenges — Tender touches
Unfortunate timing — Moments of anxiety
Communication gridlock — Moments of loneliness
Moments of deep connection — Moments of renewal
Shared insecurities — Mundane choices
Disappointing differences — Expressed gratitude
Exhilarating differences — Moments of connection
Moments of disconnection — Childish temper tantrums
Sizzling sexuality — Moments of grace
Eyeball-to-eyeball exchanges — Moments of hilarity
Where do you find your marriage at the beginning of 2016?
As marriage and family therapists we find it fascinating that those who
are disillusioned with their relationship look back over the moments of last year and only zero in on the negative, difficult and disappointing moments. It’s as if they have developed selective amnesia. The good moments are minimized, negated, or ignored and the troublesome moments enlarged and used to define the entire relationship.
The beginning of a New Year always holds possibilities. Many of us face the unknown excited at the uncharted waters that lay ahead of us.
Others are pessimistic, certain that nothing will ever change for the better. Sometimes couples think, “Why bother? What’s the use? We’ve tried so many times before!”
What we often define as “starting over” needs to be called what it is… stupidity.
In the name of “starting over”, we often pretend. We white wash our problems, close our eyes, avoid, deny, and ignore. “Problems? Who us? We have a wonderful relationship. Let’s just be positive.” Frankly that philosophy is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Just like a lobster that regularly sheds its shell when it starts to feel cramped, periodically we need to say that the way we are doing marriage isn’t working anymore.
At one point in our marriage I knew that I had to have a ‘heart to heart’ with David. I told him, “I didn’t want to divorce him, but I wanted to divorce the way we were doing marriage. Things needed to change.”
That uncomfortable conversation eventually led to needed growth on both of our parts.
At the beginning of this New Year, 2016, we want to challenge each of you to reflect on these brilliant words from Carl Bard,
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
You have the possibility of creating a new ending to a familiar argument. You can continue to blame and attack or you can share your heart and your feelings vulnerably. You can create moments of connection where in the past you might have chosen to withdraw, avoid, or distance.
“Small tweaks can have an amazing impact! Small tweaks can change the ending.”
It is possible to change our unproductive patterns of interaction. It is possible to stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again. How?
We have to be willing to face our mistakes, admit our poor choices, and learn the lessons hidden in those same mistakes. Henry Ford was spot on when he said these words…
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”
You are not alone! The greatest Conscious Lover of all time, Jesus Christ, wants to accompany you on your journey. He wants to remind you of His unfailing love for you whether you succeed or fail. He wants to help you pause, to evaluate your part in this uncomfortable moment. He cautions you about assuming the worst about your partner. He challenges you to act out of love rather than reacting with disgust, with anger, or with fear in those uncomfortable moments. He wants to help you have the courage to ask for a “Do Over”.
You are not responsible for your mate’s attitudes, actions, or reactions.
That is your mate’s story, not yours. Remind yourself of that reality. It is his/her story and his/her responsibility.
Are you interested in becoming the change factor so that there are some new endings in those same uncomfortable moments in 2016?
Do you have the courage to personally write a very different kind of marital story in the moments of disconnection…one of love, grace, truth, courage, vulnerability, and connection?
If so, spend some time reflecting on this question…
What might be the one tweak I could make in the re-occurring and uncomfortable moments in our marriage?
Perhaps I need to come to those moments with a different attitude. Define what that attitude might be.
Perhaps I need to work on my choice of words. Are there words I need to stop using or start using?
Perhaps I need to act differently. Instead of reacting with aggression, with sarcasm, with shutting down, with threatening, or with distance, what could I do positively?
When we choose to bring a different self to the challenging moments in our marriage, when we choose to change the way we look at our situation, the situation changes.
We have created a new ending!
“Be the change you wish to see!”
Until the next Conscious Lover’s Blog…