For those of us who are “commitment-phobic,” we may fear that the costs of marriage will outweigh its rewards.
Often, this fear doesn’t stop us from getting married, but may stop us from giving ourselves fully to our relationship. There is a tendency to put our own needs (or what we think are our needs) before our partner’s, in an attempt to compensate for losing our freedom. Not surprisingly, this strategy doesn’t work.
Such a struggle to maintain control results in increased suffering for both partners. In time, the one holding back can come to realize that the gifts we receive are far greater than the preferences that we give up.
Ultimately, our partner’s well-being can become as important to us as our own. In the process, we can experience greater fulfillment and joy than we have ever known. It turns out that sacrificing our desire for control and gratification in favor of a commitment to intimacy, mutual support, and spiritual growth is what makes our cup run over.
We may come to realize that the outcome is a bargain at a hundred times the price!
None of this is to downplay the sacrifices we are sometimes called upon to make in marriage. No, we can’t always do what we want when we want. At the least, we have to negotiate and coordinate with another person’s preferences, tastes, timetable, and styles.
We can’t always choose our choice of the video, the ice cream, the carpet, the restaurant, or the vacation destination. We may at some point be asked to move across the country for a spouse’s career, to have fewer or more children than we’d like, or to care for aging in-laws. We may even be called upon to go through unforeseen periods of hardship, addiction, depression, serious illness, or tragedy. If we stay together, at some point we will either endure the death of our partner, or our partner will endure ours.
In learning to let go of the need to always have things our way, it becomes possible to create a harmonious relationship that brings a much deeper level of fulfillment than does the gratification of ego-based desire.
When we create a shared history with another person, security and trust develop, allowing for a depth of intimacy that’s not possible in more superficial relationships. Most important, in all of this we become more loving human beings.
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 online 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.