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I remember having something of a Groundhog Day moment in my counseling office. I had heard this story again and again so many times from the person that happened to be sitting across from me. Different client, same story of marriage conflict. I couldn’t help but temporarily disappear into my own magical world. Luckily, my client didn’t notice.
Was it the one who said, “He’s so shut down. It’s like I’m not even there.”
Or the one who said, “You don’t understand how controlling she is. My marriage feels like a prison.”
Or perhaps it was this one: “And then he said, ‘I expect it from you every night. I work hard. I put food on the table. This is not what I signed up for in this marriage!’”
Honestly, I couldn’t remember.
Painful situations, no doubt. But whenever the moment happened for me, it felt like a tiny hit of enlightened wisdom that distracted my sensibilities, a presence of awe that there was something bigger happening in this counseling office.
I tried not to leap from my chair from the excitement I felt. My client’s story triggered a sense of professional compassion and basic human empathy, but more than that, it flooded me with the inspiration that hits a mad scientist like lightning.
I had figured out the formula. Eureka!
And it went like this:
The first moments of a relationship sets the tone for the rest of its existence. How it begins is how it always will be.
Whatever happens in those early text messages, Match.com emails going back and forth, late-night phone conversations, foot rubs and mixed drinks — the dynamic is set in stone from the beginning, growing like a virus, till death do us part.
The love is there. But the power struggle is there too. Look closely. You’ll find it.
“We had sex on the first date,” said a different client on a different day. “Then we went to Vegas and tied the knot. We decided to just go for it after three hours on the craps table and like forty margaritas. I just don’t understand why things are always so bad in our marriage now…”
The case above may be a more severe example, but upon reflection, the theory seemed to be taking shape, in terms of all I had witnessed as a counselor.
The trouble you are facing now was there right from the very first date.
What happens at the beginning creates a context for all that is to come.
A power struggle is planted in ignorance like an innocent little seed, right at the first meeting between two lovers, waiting to bear fruit years later in the marriage.
It’s not your fault. But you will have an extremely serious problem if you don’t grow conscious.
The problems of marriage are never cut and dry. But the if you can see some value in this theory, then consider the idea rooted within it: people have a tendency to get married to someone else before they are marrying themselves – or at least before getting to know their inner truth on a spiritual level.
Therefore, if they are not fully conscious in those early moments of a relationship, they are likely to be absorbed and consumed by a theme and variation of disappointments and denial, war and withdrawal, all of which started in some small (and sometimes not so small way) at the very first moment you met your sweetie.
Not that this conundrum can’t be moved through and mastered. In fact, if you become conscious to the core energies that were present in the initial moments of your relationship, you can look at this condition as a puzzle filling with mysteries that move your life forward into a spiritual awakening, whether the marriage comes with you or not. In this way, the marriage is giving birth to the real you.
However, if you don’t get conscious, if you don’t notice how the core issues of your relationship were there right from the very beginning, then that lack of consciousness will take root and leave you with an extremely serious problem.
Otherwise known as being trapped in a power struggle called marriage.
So, what’s next? Counseling? Sure. Divorce? Maybe. But what is my personal prescription?
A Solo Travel Journey. A pocket of time where you temporarily leave everything in your life behind (including your marriage). An adventure where you set forth into motion, awakening to the wisdom that is waiting for you on the road. A feeling of aliveness that will allow you to meet up with the being you have always been, that perhaps your marriage has not allowed you to be.
A breakaway that guarantees a breakthrough. A voyage of personal discovery that enlivens your spirit and brings you back to your essence. A trip that cleans the palette of your mind, refreshes your body and resets your soul, allowing you the inner peace and personal power to return to a new relationship with the same partner.
When you return, you may feel a deeper level of acceptance. Or you may initiate profound change in the dynamics of your marriage. It also may mean that you are finally ready to move on.
Only you will know. But the answers about you, your relationships and your life direction are waiting for you out there on the journey. They will meet you along the way, in a meaningful meditation of motion.
Always remember to keep it moving….
– Michael Jason Sherman / 10-14-13
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