Tiffany sits in front of me with her face in her hands, crying. Beside her, Eric, Tiffany’s husband, sits, arms folded, with the look on his face “here we go again.” This is not their first time talking about this issue. It is probably the 100th time.
As a Counselor (Gil), this scenario plays out way too often. The previous 99 times of this discussion were probably met with, “we don’t need help, we can figure this out ourselves.” This is a trap of not only immaturity but pride. The best time to get help is when you are NOT in an RDS (Relational Downward Spiral).
Why do couples wait to get help? They think things are okay. Yet if each person would be transparent with their emotions and satisfaction levels, improvements to increase connection would be a priority. A statement of “why bother, we’re doing fine” is an excuse to avoid underlying issues that they don’t want to deal with. “If we just ignore them, they won’t bother us, and they’ll go away” is the internal dialog that happens. If these issues are left unattended for long periods, they will create cracks that lead to drift and eventually couples settle for less than their hearts desires.
Guys stick with me here – this is not just an article for the women!
Men, if you are not leading your spouse with your heart about half of you is missing in your marriage. She cannot do all the heavy lifting of the emotional weight required to make a marriage work. Stop freaking out and apply yourself. Gosh if you can run a business, manage a project, or build a complex structure what are you afraid of?
Emotions are part of every person. Let’s admit it, gents, we need to know and feel appreciated and prized just as much as the ladies. Dang it, do not tell me you don’t have time! Watch a video, read a short article, or listen to a podcast. There is an enormous wealth of materials for guys about emotional health, so no flaking out, that is for wimps. If you are lacking an emotional/physical connection in the relationship and wish to place blame first look in the mirror.
Guys and Gals
What is holding you back from investing in your marriage relationship? Go ahead be honest – really stop and be brutely honest with yourself. What is getting in the way from really committing to your vows and dreams? Are you:
- Scared of being “known?”
- Not feeling heard?
- Not feeling emotionally safe?
- Tired of trying?
- Thinking the pastures are greener somewhere else?
- Letting Pride or Selfishness get in the way?
The list above all have the same remedy: Get a perspective from someone outside of the relationship (Counselor/Coach), create a safe place to share, and be honest with each other. So many couples we work with just need a little bit of awareness and relationship adjustments to be able to get back on track. Honestly, pride and selfishness are the foundation for most divorces.
Recently I (Gil) heard a challenge that made me stop and evaluate my marriage, relationship, and commitment. Not that I am not committed – trust me I am! But the question that stopped me in my tracks is “what quality of commitment” am I resolving to aim for? If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!
If your objective/aim is to have a marriage full of joy, laughter, connected-ness, a strong foundation for your children, and a healthy, positive legacy, that is something to shoot for…to fight for. When you know what you are fighting for (not AT each other) you will not settle for wasting any opportunities to grow into your objective/dream.
When Eric was able to understand what Tiffany’s tears were saying, it was a game-changer. It brought their relationship to a whole new level of clarification of how to protect each other and fight FOR their vows.Get over your selfishness or laziness and start learning to live with your spouse in a way that will impact your grandkids and your current state of mind. Besides, we have learned by doing that, it makes your sex life 100% better! ????
By Gil and Brenda Stuart.