Linda:Large numbers of people, some single desiring to be married, and some already married but struggling, would be happy to have a “good enough” marriage. In all likelihood, they are in the majority. Then there is a group that wishes to be happily married, are only mildly interested in striving toward a great marriage, but have not yet made it a central commitment in their life. Only a small group has raised their standards and is diligently working towards manifesting a partnership characterized by personal growth and self-actualization. That group has characteristics in common.
- They have a vision and a belief that it is possible for them.
- They have self-esteem that empowers them to believe that they are worthy of having a great partnership.
- They have a good work ethic and are willing to devote time and energy to make a delightful partnership a reality.
- They have models, guides, therapists, teachers, family members, seminar leaders, authors, or mentors who are in the graduating classes ahead of them who are guiding their way.
- Their daily practice of communications skills, conflict management skills, negotiation skills are strengthening their skill set.
- Daily practice is allowing the signature strengths (such as courage, patience, self-discipline, acceptance, tolerance, humor, curiosity, creativity, flexibility, compassion and loving kindness) to flourish.
- They have a belief that than love is extraordinary and wonderful and worth striving for the highest levels possible.
Telling the truth to ourselves about which category we are in positions us well to proceed. If it is not a central goal of our life to strive towards a great partnership, we can honestly admit that it is not our highest priority. It may be upsetting to our partner if they have a contrasting stance where co-creating a self-actualizing partnership is their core value. Telling the truth about where we stand on this issue is a risk because the discrepancy may even become a severe enough clash of values to end the relationship.
If there is willingness and openness on the part of the less motivated partner, there is room for movement. An exploration can be made to uncover what may be holding our partner back. Are they lacking vision of what the benefits could be such as healing childhood wounds, being deeply known and loved as is, discovering and expressing the inner creative artist, or finding meaning and fulfillment? Is their level of self-esteem such that they don’t believe that it is possible to co-create a great relationship? Do they lack the needed skills and qualities that are prerequisites and have a limiting belief about their ability to acquire them? Do they have insufficient supports to guide their development?
An investigation of these considerations can free us up to go forward with setting higher goals. It’s not so different from working at a job that we are not enjoying, where we feel underemployed. Perhaps we are bored, but fear of risking a change. We would need to feel worthy of having interesting challenging work that utilizes more of our potential to thrive. We would need to understand what right livelihood is and believe that we deserve to have work that is suited to our personality, values and temperament. We might have to retool and get training or degrees to position us for new employment.
Taking a chance to reach higher in our career can make a huge difference in our life satisfaction. Lifting our standards and manifesting a self-expressive partnership will make an even larger difference in our well-being. Some people don’t have a burning desire to see how strong their body can become by running, bicycling, hiking, climbing, dancing swimming or lifting weights at the gym. But those who tap into that desire to become physically stronger allocate time and attention to develop that strength by making it a priority. It begins by telling the truth that this must be an important component of their lives.
Like going after work that we love, developing our physical potential to become stronger in our body, creating a great relationship is not a “have to”; it’s a “get too”. It is a tremendous opportunity to utilize more of our potential and to become the best that we can be. Don’t you think we owe it to ourselves to answer the question of whether a “good enough” marriage is sufficient, or whether a personal growth marriage is actually what we long for? Because if the answer to that question is “I really want to go for the gold!” it’s time to get busy. What are we waiting for?
Our newest book, That Which Doesn’t Kill Us: How One Couple Got Stronger at the Broken Places, has just been published by Sacred Life Publishers and been receiving rave reviews. Their story is illuminating, instructive, and deeply inspiring. It has been described as being as compelling and engaging as a page-turning novel. The book contains powerful messages that are embedded in its pages that can serve any couple that desires valuable wisdom which can serve them in facing the inevitable challenges that frequently confront many committed partnerships. The book is available on-line on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. You can also receive a signed copy of That Which Doesn’t Kill Us by ordering directly from Bloomwork by calling (831) 421-9822 or emailing us at [email protected]. The cost is $16.95 plus tax, shipping & handling.