Fix your Relationship
Creating a Happy Marriage even with an Unwilling Partner
In this free e-course What If My Spouse isn’t Interested- 6 Things You Can Do to Create a Happy Marriage with an Unwilling Partner, you will learn six things that you can do on your own to help save your marriage.
I do want to let you know that if you can go to marriage counseling with your spouse, it is the quickest and most effective way to transform your relationship and make it a happy marriage because it will give you the opportunity to practice being in relationship with your spouse in an entirely new way.
Step #1 Become Conscious
So what can you do? The 1st thing you can do to create a happy marriage with an unwilling partner is to become conscious. I have found in my experience working with couples that there are two major areas that set marriages up for failure: (1) unrealistic expectations/misunderstanding of relationships and (2) lack of tools. While we will deal with tools in future installments, let’s now focus on becoming conscious about the nature of relationships and about yourself. Do you remember when you got engaged or were newly married? What were you hoping for your marriage? When my wife and I were told that marriage would be hard we looked at them like they were from another planet. Like us, you may have thought that you got along so well that there would never be conflict. Boy, were we in for a rude awakening. Until we discovered how relationships work, we just didn’t get it. This was not the way things were supposed to be and it was the other person’s fault for ruining the marriage. Hey, you may even be thinking that you made a mistake.
Getting the Love You Want- Quite Possibly the best tool out there for designing a Happy Marriage
Stop right there. A rather simple yet earth shattering shift can occur once you start becoming more aware of the reality of relationships. One major step you can take is to read Getting the Love You Want: by Dr. Harville Hendrix I always recommend my couples read Getting the Love You Want . It is the basis for Imago therapy and helps couples understand the paradigm through which we are working. I would even suggest you read this book because it gives such rich insight into relationships. Let me tell you how powerful this book is. I recently had someone call me whose husband had committed infidelity. Needless to say, she was pretty angry. Her marriage was suffering even before this revelation and we had talked briefly and I had recommended that she read Getting the Love You Want . When we talked after her husband had admitted his wrongdoing, she told me that if she had not read the book before this discovery, she would have kicked him out of the house. Although his behavior was inexcusable, she was able to look at him in a different way. The book helped her understand what was going on in their relationship and what unconscious factors were contributing to their problems.
The Unconscious Agenda of Marriage
We like to think we consciously chose our spouse, yet while we did make a conscious decision to get married, our attraction to our spouse was also very unconscious. Otherwise, if you knew about your spouse what you know now, would you have been crazy enough to get married? While the book does not frame it in these terms, I like to think of it as a Divine plan. G-d brings you together with the person who is perfect for you in that they are the one most capable of being a catalyst to your growth and completing you. Sounds great! Unfortunately, it is not so easy. While couples often start off in the “romantic phase” where everything is great and it seems like you’ll have a happy marriage forever, they inevitably shift quickly into the power struggle, where most remain to some degree for the remainder of their relationship. It is only through understanding that by working through the power struggle and becoming conscious about your relationship, can you achieve the growth and completion that awaits. This does not happen overnight but the acknowledgment that conflict is for the purpose of growth and healing and that your spouse will trigger the very things in you that you will need to become more whole, will provide you with a whole new way of viewing your pain. You will no longer be stuck in the details of your conflict; rather you will be able to see the big picture. What are you triggering in your spouse? What are they triggering in you? As you begin to view your spouse from a more conscious space and to be more aware of your own triggers, you will be able to act from a place of compassion and understanding. Your changes will affect your spouse and will improve the relationship even if you are doing all the work on your own.
Summary of what you learned in Lesson 1:
- There is an unconscious component to choosing our spouse
- The purpose of marriage is growth and healing
- Following the romantic stage comes the power struggle
- Working through the power struggle brings about growth and healing
- Understanding your triggers will help you see the big picture and have more compassion for your spouse.