For those of us who have experienced relationship breakdown, I’m sure we can all look back and pinpoint a few things or a few traits, that we now can see as either turning points or as nails in our relationship tyres.
At the time they may have seemed either insignificant or perhaps we were not in enough pain to do anything about them. Nonetheless, they were happening, whether on the surface, beneath the surface, or both.
If only we knew at those times, what would happen if we didn’t do anything about them? Indeed, what would have happened if we did realize the gravity of what was happening, and made the necessary adjustments?
Maybe the same things would have still happened, but there is a much higher likelihood that things would have gone much better, had we paid attention and taken the required action on it sooner.
One-off deficits in communications, trust, and intimacy, might be small enough on their own to not bring our marriages down, but cumulatively, when they start adding up over years, they are able to destroy what we treasure the most.
It doesn’t matter how much you were in love at the start, how many amazing times you’ve had together, how much you cherish the other person. If you want to keep a relationship in the black, thriving and growing, you’ll need to pay attention to what is going on around you. This is part of what we mean by the word presence. It’s having the wherewithal to see what’s happening. Awareness is curative, but only if you follow it up with action.
Now, I realize there are always two people contributing to any breakdown, but I have to wonder, what if?
What if we communicated a little more clearly, kept our word a little more consistently, loved a little more deeply, spoke with a little more kindness, had a little more understanding, and gave a little bit more of a crap about ourselves, and the women in our lives.
There are a lot of stories from surprised men who did not see their relationship woes coming. “I was blindsided”. Sure, they will admit to having a few problems, but surely nothing big enough to start divorce proceedings.
But this is the insidious thing. Often it isn’t one major knockout blow. It’s a series of smaller blows, that knock the life out of your love.
Problem is, by the time you wake up and start smelling the roses, it’s often too late. By then, it’s like trying to stop sand slipping through your fingers. Not a nice place to be.
Good and bad news
So I have some good news and some bad news. First the bad news: You cannot “fix” this. Not in the traditional way. There is no way you can make someone stay with you (this is actually good news because you wouldn’t want to make someone stay, who doesn’t want to, right!).
You cannot bend over far enough to make this happen. It’s completely out of your control. Ultimately, you can (and should) work on yourself, but you cannot ‘save’ another person nor make them do what you want them to do. They have to do the work for themselves. You cannot ‘fix’ them.
The reason it’s so hard, is that when you finally realise what the issues are, and are willing to do the work, it’s it’s often too late. Does it hurt? Hell yes. Does it suck? Hell yes. But is there a future for you? Hell yes.
The good news is, you can make the required changes within yourself, to become the best version of yourself that you can be. And when you start doing that, things can shift, at least in your own heart and life, and then around you. Whether your partner stays or leaves is not up to you.
Be gentle yet firm on yourself, and work towards the goal of self improvement.
Right now you may not see it, feel it, or even want to imagine life without your person. So, allow her the space she needs, to have the thoughts and the feelings she needs to have, to make the choices she needs to make, and let the outcome be the outcome. At the end of the day, it’s all about trust. Marriages work when two independent people can come together and be a team.
If you’re lucky, you’ll take something from this article and see what is right in front of you. Pay attention. Listen. Understand. Make the adjustments today.
It seems to me, to be the little things, done over a long period of time, that make all the difference, for better or for worse.
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