I’ve been there.
I’ve been in the place where it seems that every problem in my life would be solved if I had just married the “right” person.
Someone who “gets” me better.
Someone who does a better job at making me happy… ALWAYS was my demand.
I’ve been in the place where love seemed like a joke. Harsh and cutting emotions ruled the day.
The thing is, I am a marriage and family therapist.
Which means that I encounter in my clients the very same things.
And at times, they have held up a mirror to my own struggles.
It now seems almost comical – because I’ve been there – when I hear the most common marital complaints.
In the form of, “We are completely incompatible.”
And I say, “Yes. You are.” And I try not to also say, “Duh.”
Because when two human beings marry, incompatibility most likely will move into your guest room and will eventually camp out between the two of you in bed.
I also hear, “I think I married the wrong person. I didn’t marry The One.”
And I am understanding.
And also nauseated.
Because there is no
There never was.
I know this clinically. I know this personally.
And one day I woke up.
Thank God, I woke up one day.
I woke up to see my own demand on another human being – my demand that he fill me with joy and happiness and my anger at his having failed at this job.
And I woke up to see that the areas that needed to change in our union would not change in the face of anger and demand that the other is not enough.
And he is not enough.
And I am not enough.
And this knowledge freed me.
My journey went from being outward focused to being inward focused.
Why did I not start there?
So here is what I did do.
Now, this is not a “how to” in terms of saving a marriage. However it could be seen as “How To Not Drown in an Ocean of Circumstances and Self-Pity.” The title is a work in progress…
1. Self-Care – I began to take care of myself. I released him from this. One of my means of self-care has been yoga. As I breathed deeper and was stretched physically…
… and in all other ways…
I began to see inside myself.
The point is to find a means of slowing down. Whatever method of
self-care you choose, when you slow down from the fast
pace of life, you are able to take in more information.
And what I saw about myself is that I was expecting someone else to
make me happy rather than drawing from my own well.
Rather than drawing from the spiritual abundance that was available
2. Counsel – We have spent a small fortune on therapy. Years of
therapy. And it was worth every penny. And for this unfolding part of
my journey, it became clear to me that I needed the spiritual guidance
of my pastor. He provided that with care, compassion and clear
direction. Find a trusted source to help you see the things that you
3. Contemplative prayer – again, the journey is inward. And it is
challenging. I found that the surest way to stay stuck is to be outward
focused. Find the courage to go inward. There are many books on the
topic. One I am currently enjoying is Into The Silent Land by Martin
Laird. It is both practical and transformational.
4. Be honest with trusted people – I have people in my inner circle who
know all and see all…because I give them all. I give them all the bloody,
infected, mutilated details. And they help me to carry this. And
they ask me hard questions. And they cheer me on. And they do not let
me sit inside my whining excuses, savoring every wound I can
remember so I can validate my pain and my status as an
emotional victim. In other words, they empower me. Thank you, God,
for these trusted friends.
And now I live in a place of wanting to support and maintain the fragile work that has been accomplished in me. I still do yoga. Probably always will. I still find silence.
I crave it like nothing else.
I still talk with my trusted resources. And I try to be transparent. And then more transparent.
Because I know where I have been.
And I do not want to go back.
After a few years of being on this journey, I was very suddenly hit with a realization that brought quick tears to my eyes.
I looked at the man that I vowed to walk beside through life
Til death do us part
And I realized that I loved this man more than I ever had.
And I told him so.
So it turns out that I married the wrong person. And I am the wrong person. And yet somehow, there truly is no better place for me to be.