Do you have a healthy marriage?
Well, it depends from another question, that we should ask before:
Why do we get married? and the answers are so different as the kind of people we are:
we marry to have company,
to have a good sexual life;
because we want the specific qualities this person offers (social status, a positive personality, a very out going and connected person, a sexy one…
Reasons are thousands. Here we want to go back to basics and remember what do you need to have a healthy marriage, the one that makes you happy and helps you develop into a well-rounded person along time.
It has been said that marriage is the last chance we have to grow up. The main reason is that a healthy marriage is a relationship where we choose the partner, and we select this person in purpose to play the most important role of our grown up lives.
Not only to fulfill social expectations (as when you mother asks: “when are you going to get married?”) because we are grown up people. More important, it concerns the goals we have for our own lives. What is your life mission? What were you born to do in this life? And how is your marriage aligned to help you become the person you need to be?
Let’s begin exploring what a healthy marriage is:
“A healthy marriage is a learning, mutually satisfying relationship committed to both partner’s ongoing growth and personal development by providing reciprocal support and respect for each other’s individual characteristics and life purpose and for shared goals.”
This is our most important relationship, which can either support or destroy your self-esteem, your health and your life….so we all need to have a deep, sincere look at the present state of our marriage and then decide what to do to align it with our personal goals.
Each marriage is a work in progress, developing along time and with a lot of personal effort. Certain amount of friction and confrontation between partners is part of the process of getting what we need, while supporting the relationship. The most pressing issue is to decide if we share the same ethical and principled goals with our spouse
When marital difficulties appear because both parts of the couple are fighting about different values, or they pursue different dreams, then the gap between the two begins to transform into an abyss.
Painful conversations can make clear to you that the other side either doesn’t see your life goals in the same light, or clearly doesn’t give a damn for them.
When you show your interest for some aspect, (such as, starting a spiritual search) and receive a put down, a sneer or a bad joke, what are your feelings? Beyond the surprise of the reaction experienced as an attack, what you feel is the utter loneliness of your search, because you are left alone in this issue!
The path to marital desperation begins with this experience of loneliness; then it develops into the “feeling of being always alone even in permanent company.” It ends up being a marriage that is an empty shell where both sides are following parallel paths that don’t touch each other, least they help each other accomplish their life purpose.
So, how can you begin to have a healthy marriage?
We probably need to make the conscious decision to talk about a marital “contract” with our loved one where we would share with him/her our personal project and set goals to be pursued…The point here being including those individual dreams as an active piece of the shared relationship.
The word “contract” here means the explicit sharing of the personal, individual goals that were important to us before we got together in a permanent relationship, and thus they need to be included and respected, because they are part of who we are. If we try to fit our personalities only into the gender roles (he as provider, she as the nurturer) this will cut the importance of each goal, and make both of them poorer.
Because these goals and aspirations were our mindset before the marriage, and will be there after marriage…is a mistake to believe that marriage will change them automatically, because they are part of who we are.
Negotiating these individual goals into a shared set of common goals is what makes a marriage healthy and successful.
If this conversation about where do you want to go and be and experience, and where I want to go and be and experience never takes place, we are cheating each other from the basic help to support the other to fulfill his/ her life mission.
So, now, the question is: how much do you know about your spouse’s life mission? How can you get to know more and make of this purpose the focus of your interaction? and tell the other side to give your dreams the same kind of support your loved one needs from you?
Don’t be afraid, giving your spouse your support will not take this person away from you; so you don’t need to smother any of his/her aspirations with control or sarcasm. Your relationship will be based on the reality of each partner’s goals and aspirations, and stronger because of the agreement both will make to help both meet them.
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