Many marriages slide relentlessly into a sort of flat lined, vacant, humorless existence. But if you’re reading this I have reason to believe you want something better. You might want a marriage that fulfills the promise of your enthusiasm the day you agreed to marry. You might imagine a relationship that works where conflict is an asset, intimacy is a felt need and frequently available, and where conversation is intriguing, challenging and meaningful.
You might want to realize the vision we’ve shared with you in the recently published With These Rings, Vol. I. We see marriage as full of promise. It is often unrealized and that explains the flat lined existence many couples live in.
Marriage is really three journeys within one journey. Each journey is legitimate in its own right and each journey is realized by your courage to embrace its challenges and its promise. You can’t talk about these journeys in the usual way. They are not “linear,” reasonable, sequential or predicable. We think the journeys can only be talked about in something approaching mythical language.
You’ll have to create your own language. Stories serve us well here. Like the teachings of Jesus, our stories carry meaning far beyond the details. We look for milestones – those moments that stand out, that coalesce around your desire to fully claim your marriage. And we look for turning points. Turning points?
A good marriage will build a base that is founded on what each individual in the marriage already knows. They’ll work something through or out – like the purchase of a house, or an agreement on child care. But there will come a time when what you believe or how you relate is challenged by your partner. It will need to be. There’s new information. New understanding of needs. Times change. We grow.
The opportunity for “tipping” your relationship into bigger and deeper possibilities is present. It is at this point that some seek therapy. The story/ stories surrounding this time will hold lots of challenge and drama. Some think their relationship is over. Some believe they no longer love.
But if you can stay the course and keep on heading toward a new level of intimacy waiting to be revealed, the discoveries are life altering. If you can’t you may be heading toward the end. This is why we call most divorces abortions.
The tipping point may be as simple as the surrender to a new way of seeing. It may involve the discovery of deep empathy. It may mean you are discovering a new level of your own authority.
We say, trust it. Don’t run. Don’t diagnose your partner. Don’t judge, theorize, speculate. Instead, Stop. Look. And Listen to what’s going on. You may be on the edge of a whole new way to relate, expand, and enjoy your choice of partner.
Marriages seen in this way embrace conflict, anticipate growth spurts, welcome the challenge of new ideas. They are partnerships in real time, always increasing in confidence, always deepening their love.
If we don’t, every day will look a lot like yesterday.
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