Marriage Crisis: Think Larger to Heal

Conflict between the man and the woman

In the beginning sessions of coaching I often ask someone: “What would you truly like to say to your spouse? What would you say if s/he was standing before you right now? Uncensored. No holding back. Let it fly!”

Often I get the agitated response, “Well, I’ve said everything!”

I urge them to tell me exactly what they’ve said.

This is a very frequent response: “I’ve told him/her that I love him/her; that I want us to work on our marriage and make things better; they can be better if only we try. We have too much to lose and we don’t want to give up on the marriage.”

This person’s spouse responds in a predictable fashion: ignores the statements, argues with the statement, gets frustrated or angry, and perhaps walks away. The distancing spouse keeps giving the same response to the same plea – over and over again.

The pursuing spouse, blinded by the hurt, desperation and locked into a painful personal need system, keeps reiterating the narrow slice of the perception of the situation.

Pain is his/her world; a very narrow world with seemingly few options and not much hope.

As coaching proceeds a larger world is revealed. And, this larger world gives more options, more peace, more hope, more strategies and more personal power.

The personal neediness and fear slides into oblivion.

Please allow me to show you how the pursuing spouse’s world becomes larger and leads toward resolution and healing.

1. The pursuing spouse could say, “I’m afraid. I’m terrified. I fear losing everything that is important to me.”

The distancing spouse raises the eyebrows and doesn’t know what to say. The pattern is broken. Their world is a little larger.

2. The pursuing spouse could identify the channel of his/her personal neediness that feels the fear and desperation, stare at it with compassion and take care of that neediness so it lessens its power and grip.

The distancing spouse begins to worry. The pursuing spouse is no longer “playing the unspoken game” that maintains the emotional distance.

Their world is larger.

3. The pursuing spouse says: “You have a problem and it’s difficult for me to watch you throw your life into the gutter.”

At an obvious or more hidden level, this rattles the distancing spouse.

The pursuing spouse confronts with reality rather than patronizes. The world became a little larger.

4. The pursuing spouse could say: “I want resolution. I would like to get at the elephant in the room and move on – with or without you. The sooner, the better.”

The distancing spouse ponders: “What does this mean? Where does that leave me?”

The world expands.

5. The pursuing spouse shifts and says, “I want to be married to an adult, where there is mutual respect and understanding.”

The distancing spouse now knows the lines are drawn.

Again, a larger world view.

Now, realize, I could list a hundred different ways the pursuing spouse could craft sentences, shift the focal point, alter the tonal level of the voice, shift the perception of self, shift perception of the distancing spouse and could make various comments about the process of interaction.

There is NO limit to what you can say or how you respond.

In your pain and narrow world you just don’t grasp that reality.

And so you are limited. You suffer the same suffering every morning, afternoon and evening.

Your narrow world of pain, desperation and worn out perceptions of self, your spouse and your lack of information about intimate relationships suffocate, drain life, hope and passion.

We all experience this to a degree.

A Marital crisis takes you back to old ways of thinking and feeling that are negative, constrictive and fail to serve you well.

It’s like the proverbial horse who runs back to the stall even though it’s on fire because the horse is afraid the wants are familiar.

Here’s another strike against you: you are not taught adequately about the dynamics of marriage and relationships of emotional investment.

You know more about how your cell phone operates than you do your marriage.

You travel through the education process learning how things work, the underlying reasons and dynamics, and how to fix. However you receive very little similar information when it comes to marriage.

As well, counseling or therapy is viewed as “treatment” but not a place for you to widen your perceptual world about marriage.

A marriage crisis is letting you know that you want to embrace a larger world.

You are weary and broken because you keep recycling that which doesn’t work.

The marriage crisis is telling you, you want more. You want to break out of your pain, isolation, and distortions.

You want to remove your relational and personal blinders.

You want to see more, feel more and know more. You want more of what a deep emotionally connected and mutually respectful marriage or relationship offers.

The joy and value in my life is to walk with those I coach in reaching out toward that joyful realization.

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