Out on the playground, or in the sandbox, little children stamp their feet and say, “Me. Me. I want it my way!!!” Often, in relationships we find big kids–we call them adults because they got bigger–metaphorically stamping their feet and saying the same thing.
I am particularly struck by this when I work with young couples. It is so romantic to be falling in love, getting engaged and planning the perfect wedding. It is all consuming and everyone is swept up in the visualization of that perfect day. Reality strikes, often, when the honeymoon ends and daily life begins. They come into my office for relationship help–and, I’m so glad they are wise enough to seek help–saying that all would be well if the other were just reasonable.. That’s code for “if only they would do it my way.”
That guy you fell in love with who just couldn’t do enough for you, especially on your special day, turns out to have habits, requests and, even, demands that you just didn’t see or hear while in the wedding haze. He has an idea of how things should be and he begins to put forth his ideas. When things don’t go his way, he leaves. Oooooh!
That gal you fell in love with who just couldn’t do enough for you when you were courting now has an opinion about how things should be, and she says so. She may give you the cold shoulder or silent treatment and that just drives you nuts. Oooooh!
Now what? There is SO much to learn about creating a mutually-respectful, loving relationship that is healthy and growing. Sorry, but there is no magic. It takes insights, skills and willingness, coupled with the ability to learn to tell the truth in ways that are totally honest and totally kind at the same time. As that is my mission with the couples who come to see me, I’m delighted that they made their way into my room or onto my Skype video. When they come, they can learn that committed relationships–whether legalized or not is immaterial–committed relationships take a new set of skills, a new perspective, and an open heart and mind. They take learning to keep ourselves in the present moment, not in the past. We have to be right here and now with THIS person. This takes true consciousness, and, for many, it takes time.
So, the younger marrieds who often have lived with only themselves to think about and spend their money on, are now shocked and amazed to find themselves living with a person whom they are not so sure they actually know, now. This is the beginning of learning to be married. This is the beginning of the adventure of growing together.
The old sandbox ploy of “We’re going to do it this way because this is my sandbox and you can go home if you don’t want to play nicely.” won’t work. You both live here and you will have to create a new way of being, and a new way of being together.
The bad news is: if you want to hold out for things having to be your way, you’re going to find the slide downhill rough. The good news is: if you do the work, gather the insights, learn the skills, you’re going to have the greatest relationship of your lifetime. And, that’s how long it will last!
If you and your partner are ready to learn how to have that healthy, rich, growing relationship, I’m happy to work with you directly. You can make an appointment or take a class at http://www.optimizecenter.com/join