The Challenge of Love and Marriage

The Challenge of Love and Marriage

We all face many challenges in our relationships, both big and small. Marriage and love don’t come with a manual. Sometimes all we have is what we learned as children. As a relationship coach, I hear the same complaints over and over: “I don’t feel heard by [my partner].” Or “I’ve fallen out with my partner.” Or “My partner feels more like an roommate.”

When I saw a truck with the plate EZ2LOVE on it, my brain immediately thought of this saying. As a relationship coach, love is something I often think about. There are many ways to improve communication. But “easy” and love are not words that I hear clients use in the same sentence. I was puzzled by the driver’s posting of “easy to love” on his Facebook page. Even though the divorce rate has dropped in recent studies, especially among Millennials, it is still difficult to love and requires a lot of commitment and effort. It is not easy to love, relationship, or marriage.

Why is it so difficult to have a happy marriage? Why do many couples have difficulty getting along and sometimes even get divorced? Conflict will always happen, no matter how much you love and cherish your partner.

How does Our Past Influence Our Relationships?

Many people start their romantic lives believing that love is sufficient. We love and live happily ever after. It is that simple. This is what fairy tales tell us. This is what movies often depict. It is one of the most pervasive cultural myths.

Many of us give up on the idea that “it’s happily every after” when we are in a relationship. We stop looking for the perfect partner and insist that our Prince Charming is still waiting. There’s another myth that can trip most people up personal myths.

Each person enters a relationship with their own story. Each person grows up with a variety of beliefs about life and love. There are many misconceptions we have about love and our partners. We also have unfinished business from the past. Let’s look at a few examples.

Imagine that a father spoils his child by giving him everything she wants, whenever he wants it. As a little girl, this man may be able to show her that he loves her by buying her many gifts and providing an extravagant lifestyle. What happens to her if she marries an economical man? Although he may be deeply in love with her, he can show his affection by washing her car, listening to her when she is upset and taking her on cheap outings such as a picnic lunch at a charming spot. These are all thoughtful and romantic gestures, but a woman looking for love might not be able to accept them.

Unintegrated Trauma can bring us together for healing

Imagine a family where a boy was raised by a mom who lived her life around him: she was a full-time homemaker and a mom who always worked to make a home comfortable and cook delicious meals. He may become irritable if he marries a full-time employed woman and feels fulfilled by her job.

What if one of the partners grew up hearing lots of praises and was used to receiving verbal validation? They may marry an introvert who has not received positive feedback from their parents or is constantly criticized.

Your invitation to grow is also your perfect match

You can see how difficult it can be when you are in a relationship. It’s not easy, and it is far from the perfect match. Is the three-legged stool of attraction, love, and relationship just a roll of the dice or a real possibility?

Listening to hundreds of couples over the years, I doubt it. Our unconscious is a strong magnet that draws us together. We are drawn together by our perfect match–someone who can challenge us and help us heal the parts of ourselves that need healing. We must stop pointing fingers at our partners. They’re imperfect, yes. All of us have our flaws and imperfections.

What if your partner is annoying you? 

“Your task does not include finding love. Your task is to find and remove all barriers that you have created within yourself.”

Let’s go back to the above scenarios and look at them differently. The princess who her daddy has spoiled must look for evidence and discover the unique ways that her husband shows his love. She also needs to appreciate her husband’s thriftiness as a counterbalance to her father’s excesses and overindulgence. She will need to be grateful for the simple pleasures of life and quality time spent together.

The boy who was the center and only of his mother’s universe will need to learn self-restraint and view this as an opportunity for self-development. He should not see it as deprivation or loss of his partner’s affection. He must let go of the belief that he is entitled to his partner’s attention 24/7. He could see his partner’s devotion to her work as a way to contribute to the greater world and the financial stability of their family. Not as something he has to compete with for mommy’s attention.

Last, someone raised with positive validation and who married someone without it as a child will have the opportunity to stop relying on external praise and build inner encouragement. This relationship is a great reminder that self-esteem only comes from within. An added benefit would be to learn to be more sensitive about the need for validation from others rather than looking for it.

 

Love & Relationship