Most of us think the self help industry – books, articles, videos – is for us. We want more ‘self esteem,’ we desire to increase personal effectiveness, we long to leverage our income making into wealth creation. All good. But have you thought that your marriage, the marriage itself, could use some ‘self help?’
Marriage is a living organism and has its own identity. It’s not common to think of it like that. We usually think of ourselves as married and we think of ourselves and our happiness or lack of it. Could it be that your marriage itself has something to say? Could it be that your marriage needs to be heard, seen, loved, embraced?
Just like a child is present when you are not very aware of their presence, your marriage stands in the shadows of your kitchen listening to you talk to each other. You may be focused on what’s wrong or you may be striving for a solution to a recurring problem between the two of you.
Your marriage however will have a different agenda, a different perspective. It may be longing for reconnection to the origin of your loving. It may be hurting with the distance created between the impulse to marry (remember the enthusiasm, remember the deep joy) and today’s kitchen talk.
Your marriage no doubt has not been given a voice. No doubt you’ve neglected to recognize it as a viable presence in your home. Without a voice its influence can hardly be felt. But its influence is critical to your joy and happiness. Here’s how.
The impulse to marry carried a deep intuition and a deep loving. You might say the impulse to marry manifested your intention to partner, to share your life and to love. The impulse was born of a larger and deeper wisdom that we bring to this world. The impulse was born of our birthright. We are at the simplest level, relationally determined.
Your marriage is the container of all that. Your marriage says ‘here’s your choice and I will hold you to it.’ Your marriage is also a guardian holding you or anchoring you in your choice to partner.
You may give it a voice by asking it what it needs. Sound silly? I don’t think it is. Try pulling a third chair up when the two of you are talking and calling that third chair your marriage. Have a little fun with this.
Ask your marriage what it thinks – then, one of you answer for it. Speak in the first person singular, like this: “well I think you two spend too much time analyzing each other and not enough time listening to each other.” Or ask it what it is feeling, like this: “marriage, how are you feeling today?’ One of you can answer (thereby giving it voice): “I feel ignored. Neither of you spend much time trying to find out what I need. You seem so self absorbed. How about a date night for me?”
Giving your marriage a voice will help you gain a little perspective on chronic arguments, will help you reclaim your intention in being with each other, and will help you find the joy that is in your kitchen between you right now. Try it.
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