Transitions and Speed Bumps, and how to Approach those Challenges of Life
Posted Dec 23 2008 12:50pm
You notice you are feeling unfulfilled in life; perhaps your relationship feels uncomfortable, possibly the romance and love seem absent.
Maybe your relationship has been allowed to wither or maybe you are facing a new situation.
I think it is safe to say most couples, at one time or another have experienced this.
While there are many circumstances that could impact a relationship, this post is directed to those most challenging times of transition.
Many couples notice a distinct, often very unpleasant change in their relationship, (and even themselves), during a few specific times of life; the birth of a baby, job changes, moves, midlife, empty nesting, illness, or basically any time the flow of life seems disrupted or altered.
What is happening and what do you do?
Well, it is called life and it is about growth.
Let me begin to address this topic with a little analogy.
Your body is "set" to maintain a temperature range between 97-100 degrees with the average about 98.6 degrees. Your body, miraculously knows this. It knows the ideal state of functioning. When your body gets too hot, alarms go off in your body and all sorts of things start happening without you even thinking about it. You start sweating, you slow down, your appetite goes away, you get thirsty, you may take off a sweater or take shelter from the sun.
Conversely, when you get too cold, your body knows exactly what to do to get your temperature up again. You start to shiver, conserve energy, your muscles tighten; you put on more clothing, turn up the heat, or crave hot soup.
What we see happen in your body is that the minute your form notices something is wrong it immediately kicks into gear to get you working in a optimal state.
Your body doesn't say to itself... "I'm hot, time to die," nor does it think, "it is cold outside, I don't like it, time to stop working". Nope... it finds solutions to get yourself working in its optimal condition and state.
Now... back to your relationship.
When you notice you are in an unhealthy place or your relationship is not working well what do you do?
Do you just give up and let the relationship die? Or do you kick into gear and do all those things you know will help you bring your relationship back to a healthy and fulfilling state?
Your body doesn't just stop functioning the minute you go out on a cold morning, or spend time in the summer sun... (as it moves into a new environment). Nope, it makes the necessary adjustments to get you back to a manageable state.
And, your relationship can overcome the challenge and become healthy once again as well.
The problem is for many of us, we have this idea that marriage should be a perfect state of bliss (or at least easy and comfortable) and we forget that a challenging time doesn't mean the relationship should end any more than your body thinks a hot summer day means death.
The reality is, those difficult times mean we have to readjust. We are given some warming signs (feelings of discomfort, being unfulfilled, desiring something new, etc. etc.), that are alerting us to do something different.
So, the question is... what do you do if you want to save your marriage and family?
The simple answer is that you do all those things you know help your relationship.
The more specific and direct answer is you step back and look at what is going on in your relationship. Take an inventory of what you have not been doing to nourish the relationship. Notice what sorts of important nutrients have been missing in your partnership.
Are you spending quality time together? Supporting each other's individual goals and dreams? Helping each other with their new responsibilities or duties? Are you focusing on gratitude, kindness, giving, and all those qualities that bring meaning into your life? Are you in balance or out of harmony with your health and personal well being?
This is not the time to complain or blame. We all know how fruitless this is right?
This is the time to decide you will do everything you can to make your marriage work. This is the time to recommit, rededicate yourself to your partner and approach the challenge together, knowing you will get through it.
Because, if you as a couple want to get through it and decide you will, guess what? You will.
You take the challenge as an opportunity to overcome the difficulty and make your marriage more strong, more loving, and more healthy.
This is not the time to give up and move on. Not at all.
And here is the most important part of all....
Marriages become stronger as a couple works together to overcome those times of crisis in a relationship.
When you see older couples who have a soul mate sort of relationship, they radiate love and joy not because they have had a lifetime of bliss without challenges. It is because they have worked together through the difficult times.
Too often couples think of those transitional times, those times when we reevaluate our lives and partners, as a time to move on and end our marriage when that response is not at all the answer. Too often we are looking for a new job, a new life, a new partner to fulfill us. We think happiness is outside of ourselves when in fact happiness is unconcerned with the external.
The response to challenge is not to give up and end the marriage but to kick into gear and revitalize your relationship.
I've posted many articles to address specific topics, techniques, and behaviors to create and maintain a healthy and loving relationship, and I invite you to peruse them, but this article is hoping to remind us all to not give up but to reinvest in our marriages.
Remember those speed bumps that remind us to slow down? They help us realize how fast we are going and tell us we need to consciously step on the brake and pay attention.
Think of a life transition as a speed bump; a time to wake up, slow down, and consciously do what is necessary to heal the marriage and restore the beauty and love that was once there.
Note... as always, I am not suggesting one remain in a physically and/or emotionally abusive and dangerous relationship.