Long-term relationships grow stagnant and stale, especially after having kids together. But Jayson Gaddis insists there are ways to bring the love back to life.
I see it all the time: Married couples who are withering away, married after many years but are simply pals, buddies, roommates. A long-term partnership gone stale. Newlyweds who get stuck in the weeds (wounds) after the honeymoon wears off and have no tools to move forward. New parents, who after a few years of marriage, begin to drift due to the demands of children. An affair, after kids, a stagnating connection, and the absence of sex. And, on and on…
It’s all normal and understandable.
But folks, it doesn’t have to stay like this. Marriage and parenting are designed to get at the deepest of wounds and agreements that need upgrading. The only reason things suck is because you don’t know how to move forward and do it differently. You lack a proper view, tools, and guidance. We were never taught this stuff in school and our parents modeled what they modeled, so here we are.
The longer we are with someone, the more potential there is for stagnation. The more potential there is for our old wounds to arise and take over. At the same time, there is also more opportunity to heal exactly what is arising within our relationship “problems.” This is the divinity in the relationship matrix—other people show us where we are fragmented, broken, hurt, blaming, beaten down, so that we can heal and grow and be who it is that we actually are. This is how it works at the deepest of levels, plain and simple. But most folks have no idea of the hidden power of partnership.
The good news? There is a map, a path, a way forward. Some of you may not believe me. Your situation might feel unworkable. Others of you know that somewhere inside you probably know it can get better than this. Even if that voice is tiny. Trust it. Because the truth is, you can have what you want.
Marriage, and of course parenting, are full of challenge, yes. But both are also full of nutrients and deep nourishment. Nutrients we need to grow, awaken, and become who we are. And, it’s not that our partner “completes us.” It’s that our partner helps us repair the rift between our hurt, wounded self and our true self. As this process begins to happen, we are coming home and it feels great, inside, and out.
Of course, to get the marriage you want, you’ll need to make some changes.
1. Brutal Honesty. Can you really look in the mirror and admit your marriage isn’t what you want it to be. Can you acknowledge whatever is true. Maybe it’s bad, real bad. Maybe it’s pretty good, but you have an inkling it could be even better. Maybe you haven’t had sex in months or even years. Maybe you are hurt and your walls are up, still. The first step is getting very, very honest. If you are okay with limping along, then there’s no issue. But if you have a longing or a desire for things to be different, then face it with the person in the mirror.
2. Share your truth. Can you share with your partner how you really feel? Risk it. What do you have to lose? Do you really want to suffer along or have a relationship that is just “okay?”
3. Decide. Once you’ve admitted it to yourself and to your partner, decide if you want to dig deep and give it another go. Are you ready and willing for marriage 2.0 with the same person? If so…
4. The marriage upgrade. If you are game to continue with this person, then it’s time for a relationship upgrade. Time to update the files and start fresh. Can you both give yourself permission to vision it, exactly how you want it. How does it feel? What does it look like? Vision it until you feel inspired. Dream it in the most brilliant of ways and share it with each other. Perhaps you’re not a good fit anymore. Perhaps there’s a spark in there that’s wanting to be lit by both of you!
And while you are visioning, be careful not to vision some childlike fantasy of “happily ever after.” Remember, you already tried that route. As, I’ve taught many times before, chasing happiness is a trap. Your new vision must include challenge, the hard times. It must welcome adversity. It must accept conflict. So, in your visioning process, be realistic and remember, that at the deepest of levels, relationship is a path to your own wholeness, so include that in your new vision. The only relationships I’m inspired by are ones that see relationship in this way.
Of course, there are many other steps to a marriage upgrade. The two of you will need all kinds of solid tools and the proper context, so look around on this blog for more excellent resources. And, if you really want to go for it, hire me for some serious coaching and guidance that will help manifest your vision. Chances are you two can’t do this process alone.
Originally appeared at JaysonGaddis.com
Lead Photo: Flickr/Andrea Rose
Body photo: Flickr/David Goehring