Something truly amazing happens when we’re infatuated with a new love. We’re generous in attitude, careful with our choice of words, creative in planning, and intentional in action. These loving choices fan the flames of desire, passion and love.
Then something happens. We get married. Often with that commitment, something insidious begins to occur. We become passive rather than intentional. Familiarity can breed complacency.
Some justify their passivity because they’re angry. They believe they have been duped. It’s as if they got false advertising. Their mate’s downside has showed up, and now they feel justified in withdrawing, stonewalling and distancing from their mate. In marriage counseling it isn’t all that unusual to run into a couple that haven’t talked in months.
Others believe that when they got married, they got the prize. Their spouse committed to love them for a lifetime. Now they are off pursuing other challenges. Their mate wonders what in the world happened.
Still others fall into the patterns they saw lived out in their parent’s marriage. Their parents may have been nice enough people, but rarely made time for each other. They may have made their work or their children their top priority.
When I counsel couples I often ask, “Where did you learn to express love or indifference? Where did you learn to be passive or active? Where did you learn to be attached or detached? Our patterns are influenced by what we saw modeled by our parents or other couples. It is second nature to mindlessly repeat what seems normal to us.
The familiar can be the enemy of a loving, growing relationship.
Your parents did marriage their way. However you as a couple get to decide what kind of marriage you are going to create.
Occasionally in marriage counseling a woman will express sorrow over her husband’s lack of intentionality. Even though he was thoughtful and romantic when they dated, she will recount how recently he has put no effort into planning for her birthday or their anniversary.
One woman reported that on Mother’s Day weekend her husband’s words were, “Why would I celebrate you, you’re not my mother.” Sadly, this couple had three children who are being influenced by their parent’s relationship.
Periodically a despairing husband will share that his wife who was affectionate, affirming, and creative prior to marriage now treats him as if he is either invisible or a nuisance.
Speaking your vows in a marriage ceremony is easy.
Living those promises out on a daily basis requires intentionality.
Dr. Pat Love (The Truth About Love, 2001) has compiled a list of actions that infatuated couples practice in the first few months of their relationship.
- They make their relationship a priority.
- They make one another’s needs a priority.
- They give one another time and attention.
- They touch one another affectionately.
- They talk of their future together in positive terms.
- They flirt with each other.
- They express their sexual energy.
- They show and express appreciation.
- They laugh.
- They play.
- They support each other.
- They work out differences amicably.
- They overcome great obstacles by working as a team.
- They show love numerous times a day.
- They accept differences.
- They give one another the benefit of the doubt.
- They use energy from the relationship to support work and other personal endeavors.
Conscious Lovers intentionally practice these actions whether they are married or not. The result is that they feel loved by and connected to their significant other.
When these choices are no longer being made, an enormous sense of loss and loneliness enters each partner’s soul.
How are you doing?
Until our next Conscious Lover’s Blog…