Perspective is everything. Have you noticed that to be true in your life? After years of marriage counseling I want to challenge you to examine the perspective that you bring to your relationship.
Don’t assume that a difficult time will be permanently difficult, that it will become your future.
When we are parents and we find ourselves knee deep in a challenging child rearing moment, we are tempted to believe that our child will never grow up. Surprise! They do. The crazy part is that when the empty nest hits we often look back with nostalgia on that challenging time.
When you hit a challenging moment in your marriage, what do you assume? If you believe that whatever irritating trait your spouse is exhibiting at the moment will be a permanent trait you have been blinded by negative forecasting. You have been seduced by “all” or “nothing” thinking that assumes your mate will never change or ever exhibit a positive characteristic again. You have completely lost your perspective!
Don’t build on a fault!
Years ago, Dave and I met a beautiful lady at 24 Hour Fitness. Her husband had suffered a stroke and every morning she was with him at the gym helping him walk on the treadmill. She was joyful and he was deeply loved. We found out that they had been married 64 years. We asked her, “What was the secret of her long term marriage?” Her reply was profound. “It’s easy, it is like living in California, if you find a fault, don’t build on it.”
Love always provides an opportunity for a new perspective.
In a long term marriage, it is far too easy to overvalue what someone is not and to devalue who he or she is. It’s at that moment that we need to look in the mirror and tell ourselves, “Attitude adjustment needed.”
We need to broaden our perspective, to see the big picture! We need to focus on our mate’s strengths rather than only zeroing in on their weaknesses. We must live in gratitude rather than just holding a grudge. We need to remember the priceless moments we have shared.
We need to stop and affirm the value that our mate has added to our life. By changing our focus, in no way are we denying that there may be an issue that needs to be worked out. We are realistically admitting that this issue does not represent the totality of our mate or of our relationship. As we widen our perspective and as we do an attitude adjustment, we up the chance that when we raise the issue we will do so in such a way that our mate will be able to hear us.
Don’t assume that you’ve got forever.
Last week the media announced the death of Dave Goldberg, the 47 year old husband of Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook while on vacation as a family in Mexico. In her book, Lean In, Sheryl described her husband as “her best friend, closest advisor, dedicated co-parent and the love of my life….a true partner.”
“We had 11 truly joyful years of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership that I could imagine…He gave me the experience of being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved. I will carry that with me always. Most importantly, he gave me the two most amazing children in all the world…
Dave and I did not get nearly enough time together. But as heartbroken as I am today, I am equally grateful. Even in these last few days of unexpected hell- the darkest and saddest moments of my life- I know how lucky I have been. If the day I walked down the aisle with Dave someone had told me this would happen- that he would be taken from us all in just 11 years-I would still have walked down the aisle. Because 11 years of being Dave Goldberg’s wife and 10 years of being a parent with him is perhaps more luck and more happiness than I could ever have imagined. I am grateful for every moment we had. As we put the love of my life to rest today, we buried only his body. His spirit, his soul, and his amazing ability to give is still with us.”
Last week Dave and I lost a precious friend, Dave Brunk. He was a man of God, a loving husband and an involved father of four. His brother wrote, ”How does a person breathe when all the wind has been knocked out of them?” Both Dave Goldberg and Dave Brunk were conscious lovers. Both died before their time and both left grieving wives, children, friends and co-workers. Neither expected their time on earth to be so brief.
Work on your perspective today. This may be the last day you have together!
What are you focusing on? What really matters?
Until our next Conscious Lover’s Blog…