In my previous article I shared from a very personal perspective some insights that could save a marriage. The feedback that I received (most of it private via email) showed me that others really are going through similar struggles in their relationships.
We’re exploring eight the Discoveries that my husband and I made that brought us back to a stable relationship. You can read about Discoveries #1-8 in last week’s article. Our relationship is not perfect now, but we are much better at recognizing when we’ve lapsed back into the behaviors (or lack of) that let us drift apart.
Bonus: As I sat down to finish the article today, I realized there was one more important discovery that couldn’t be left off the list. So I’m giving you a bonus #9 at the end.
Discovery #5 – Laugh
There are so many reasons why this is important. Laughter boosts your brain chemicals to make you feel happier, which can be a lifesaver when you’re mired the in the depths of what feels like a failing relationship. It’s also creates an awesome positive shared experience, and it distracts you from the things that feel like they’re separating you.
I mentioned in Part 1 that my sweetie and I are big fans all things Seth MacFarlane. Watching “Family Guy” was really a double-bonus for our relationship: It’s something we continue to have in common, and boy do we get a lot of shared laughs out of it. (Not only when we’re watching, b the way; a lot of “Family Guy” jokes and references float through our conversations.)
Discovery #6 – Seek outside help
After much initial resistance and foot-dragging, we tried several counselors and healers, together and individually. I also leaned on my best friend a lot and bared my soul to a few other understanding friends as well. Every one of these people helped me find the healing and clarity that I can now share with you.
What’s important about this discovery is understanding what “help” is. This is not girlfriends getting together and bitching about how miserable their marriages are. That type of commiseration keeps you focused on what you don’t want, and Discovery #1 was all about focusing on what you do want.
A helpful person, whether she’s a professional or a wise friend, has a good sense of when to let you vent and when to halt the complaining and move toward solutions. She is a mirror in which you can see yourself clearly – both you the individual and the two of you together as a couple. The key to change is often realizing that you don’t like what you see in the mirror.
The next discovery is an example of what I got through outside help that I probably couldn’t create on my own.
Discovery #7 – See the bigger picture of your soul mate relationship
You came together for a reason. Some soul mate relationships are “forever” relationships, while others naturally end when the joint purpose is complete. Rather than obsessing on the question of which one you have, intend to intuitively understand and fulfill your purpose together.
The deeper part of this discovery came during a poignant moment in a counseling session with Marianne Clyde, a holistic LMFT in Warrenton, VA. (I must give her credit and praise for the healing she helped me find. You can connect with her at http://www.marianneclyde.com.)
Marianne asked me to imagine the moment when my soul and my sweetie’s soul agreed to be together in this life. What would I imagine that my soul said to his at that moment? That was easy: “I want to help you be the best that you can be.” That’s what I imagine my soul says to everyone’s soul, because it’s so engrained in my life purpose.
What caught me off guard was when she turned the question around: What did I imagine that his soul said to mine? To my surprise it was the same: “I want to help you be the best that you can be.” I tear up even now thinking about it , because that completely reflects who my sweetie is for me. But until that moment I was only focusing on the first half of the conversation between our souls. That moment helped me open up to receive the help his soul has been giving me, and to see us as equal partners in each other’s soul development.
Discovery #8 – Let go of your need for him to change
You know how when you’re driving a car, things that are moving slower than you can look like they’re standing still? The same idea applies to you on your spiritual path.
As you’ve been taking classes and going to meetups and having healing sessions, you’ve been changing a whole lot and quickly. It can make it look like the people around you aren’t changing at all. In my experience, I was able to make peace with everybody else in the world choosing their own path – except for my husband. My need for him to believe in angels and ascended masters was short-lived, but I was fearful and frustrated for a long time that he didn’t seem to be on any path. “Just believe in something!” I would often cry to an empty house.
My biggest fear was that if I kept moving forward so much faster than him, I would eventually move too far away. This journey that I’m on is pretty important, but so is my relationship with my husband. My biggest fear was that I would eventually have to choose between the two.
Over time, with the support of outside help, and with some personal reflection, I finally let go of the need for him to be on the journey with me. I trained myself (it took practice) to appreciate the moments I have with him in the present, rather than worrying about what was or wasn’t going to happen down the road.
And that, ironically, is when I started noticing changes that looked like him moving in the same direction that I’m going.
Bonus Discovery #9 – Touch
No matter how much a couple talks, it is the weakest way in which they communicate. Through simple touch a couple says, “We are joined.” They share energy, intimacy, and unspoken information simply by one placing a hand on the other.
Both partners feel an absence when the touching stops. The problem is, the more distant you feel, the less that touch is a natural instinct.
Instead, you have to practice it consciously. Do it intentionally. Reach out for the other’s hand, or place a hand on the other’s back. And as I’m still reminded, accept the touch when it’s given.
Do this even when it puts an anxious knot in your stomach – especially when it puts an anxious knot in your stomach. Set aside all the thoughts about “what does this mean? what expectation does it create?” Remember that you are reaching out to save your marriage.