Is it really about saving or ending your relationship with your partner, or do you just want to find a way to resolve the marriage?
To resolve the marriage means finding a life-giving, self-respecting, other-respecting avenue to expose the old patterns, undo the old patterns and create new ones that give life, hope, true love and a driven-purpose uncontaminated by a personal need system.
Here’s the situation to resolve the marriage:
Sally has been married to Tom for 21 years. For most of those years she lived a life void of trust, intimacy and a meaningful connection. She highly suspected a long history of cheating, taking a variety of forms. She would confront Tom with her suspicions. Tom would deny or turn it back on Sally for being suspicious and not trusting.
Sally was at a point in her life where she refused to live with the familiar pattern and felt a tremendous amount of grief in “losing” opportunities to develop and enjoy her own life.
Sally believed that she had to either end the marriage or capitulate and continue to live a miserable life, stuffing her own health and well being.
In essence, Sally’s true desire was neither to end the marriage or to continue her life of lack. Sally’s ultimate desire was to resolve the marriage to be able to move forward from the impasse in her own life and the impasse as reflected in the marriage or relationship.
Instead of focusing on “saving your marriage” or “ending your marriage” begin to think in terms of ways to resolve the marriage along with the dilemmas you face in your relationship but most especially in your personal life.
Here are common polarities that, in essence, slow your growth and the development you have towards resolving your the marriage:
I must either stuff it and bury my desires, anger, hurt, pain and needs. I try to keep peace with my situation at all costs. I believe I lack the internal power to effectively let him or her know what I want, think, etc. I fear that exploding will drive him or her away — something I dread.
Or, I explode and let it all out. I kick him or her out. I throw his or her clothes on the driveway and say, “I’m done!” I build a very thick shield around myself. I internally convince myself that life is better without him or her and I begin to take action to end the marriage, whether I want to or not.
Both strategies obviously have severe limitations. And, both provide absolutely nothing in helping you resolve the marriage.
Resolution means finding a life-giving, self-respecting, other-respecting avenue to expose and undo the old patterns and create new ones that give life, hope, true love and a driven-purpose uncontaminated by a personal need system.
Allow these concepts to filter through your mind as you think of resolving the impasse in your life and marriage:
I can state fully what is important to me. I would rather do that than criticize or comment on his or her behavior — a true recipe for conflict and/or distance.
I need not give him or her my power. He or she truly doesn’t MAKE me feel, think or do things I prefer not to feel, think or do. I can choose how I think, feel or act.
I can have empathy for him or her without playing the “game.” He or she is struggling, just as I am struggling, to find his or her way relationally and interpersonally. In many ways, he or she is no different than me.
To resolve the marriage takes time. I — we — did not get this way in the past week, month or even year. There is no hurry (unless I am physically in danger). I can set time frames in segments of weeks or months. I envision small steps that take me where I want want to go.
I can experiment. I can put on new behaviors and thoughts and see what type of results I get. When I stand back, I can truly enjoy this process.
And there are many more.
For altering the state of your life and relationship, focus on this: resolve the marriage.