Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Crooked Path of Marriage

When you fell in love, it felt as though you had a connection that would last a lifetime. You had found your soulmate. You understood and accepted each other. Your connection was unbreakable. You were in love!

Ever-closer Connection

You imagined your connection with your spouse growing closer over the years as you shared challenges, had a family and aged together. The important thing is that you found that special someone you could connect with, that someone with whom you could connect emotionally, physically and sexually. You could only see growing ever closer as you shared the years with your mate.

Reality Hits

The fact is that every couple will find disappointments, hurt and rejection, probably within the first year of marriage. One important reason is that your motivation changes. During dating you are motivated to pursue your partner's heart, but in marriage you balance this with your desire to preserve your own desires. This leads to a balancing of your desires with preserving your connection.

Also, you become less open to feedback when you are no longer pursuing your partner's heart. Men hear women's feedback as criticism of them rather than an effort to improve the relationship. Women often build resentments without directly confronting smaller issues until they build into a major issue, which is then confronted in an aggressive manner.

Relationship Repair Versus A Lifetime Connection

Take a look at the drawings above. In one, the path leads predictably and smoothly to an ever-closer connection. Note that is the other drawing the path leads to a closer connection but the path veers from closer to distant, then back to closer. This is the path of connection in marriage.

In this drawing, there is a re-connection after something leads to distancing in the relationship. The distance is followed by relationship repair. Closeness is not predicted by the beginning connection, but by the couple's ability to regain closeness after they have come apart. This is the main task of building a more intimate marriage.

How Do You Interpret Distance In Your Relationship

Distance creates tension which leads to fears and anxiety. It is easy to fall into the trap of labeling your partner as the problem rather than the relationship having the problem. Accept that your relationship is not a failure if you become distant. It is only a failure if you do not repair the relationship. 

It is important to interpret distance in your relationship as a call to addressing the issues that are creating the distance. Not only do you need to assess what is causing the distance, but you must make a mutual effort to repair the relationship bond. 




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