7 Rules for Saving Your MarriageBy Dr.Margaret Paul
October 12, 2008
If your marriage is in trouble, the chances are that you and your partner are stuck in trying to control rather than learn. Changing your intent can heal your marriage.
The first question you need to ask yourself is: "Do I want to save this marriage or do I want to leave it?" If the answer is that you want to save it, then this article is for you.
Following are 7 rules or choices that you can make to completely change the course of your marriage.
1. Be honest with yourself regarding your primary intention. Which category do you fall into - the intent to protect or the intent to learn?
a. Is your primary intention to protect yourself from your fears with some form of controlling behavior - such as anger, blame, criticism, withdrawal of love, threats, compliance, or resistance? Is having power over your partner and winning more important to you than being loving to yourself and your partner? Do you make your partner responsible for your feelings? Are you more devoted to getting love and avoiding rejection rather than to mutuality, caring, and sharing love?
b. Is your primary intention to learn about loving yourself and your partner? Are you more devoted to mutuality, caring and sharing love than to being right, winning, having your way, or making your partner responsible for your feelings? Is learning more important to you than whether or not you receive approval?
Basic to all the other rules is being in the intent to learn about loving yourself and others. If your primary intent is to protect yourself from pain and rejection with controlling behavior, you will have no chance of improving your relationship. You will continue to create the very problems you are attempting to avoid with your controlling behavior.
2. Let go of the past. Hanging on to old grievances is part of the intent to protect - blaming your partner for your pain rather than taking responsibility for whatever choices you made that resulted in your unhappiness.
3. Disengage from conflict as soon as one person is not open to learning. There is no point in trying to talk out problems and issues until both people are open to learning. If you are open and your partner is not, then give up trying to solve problems by talking about them and unilaterally figure out how to take loving care of yourself in the face of your partner's choices.
4. Keep your eyes on your own plate, sharing only about yourself and your own learning. Let go of analyzing or defining your partner. Let go of interrogating questions that are really attacks. These behaviors are controlling and invasive. Your job is to define yourself, not your partner! The more you define your own inner worth and let go of attempting to define your partner, the better your relationship will become.
5. Do your own Inner Bonding work to deal with your issues of abandonment and engulfment, and to define your own worth and lovability. Rather than making your partner responsible for your fears of abandonment or your fears of losing yourself, do your inner healing work to move beyond these fears. Take full 100% responsibility for these fears rather than making your partner responsible for causing them.
6. Accept your lack of control over the other person, choosing instead to see your partner as his or her own person. Learn to cherish the differences rather than try to make your partner into you. Support your partner in becoming all he or she came to this planet to be. Support your partner in what brings him or her joy, taking responsibility for whatever fears your partner's independence brings up for you.
7. Make kindness to your self and others your guiding light, even when your fears are triggered.
Once again, if you are stuck in the mindset of protection and control, you will not be able to make these choices. Your intent to learn is basic to being able to make these choices and improve your relationship. You are in charge of your intent and you always have the option to let go of the intent to protect/control and move into the intent to learn about loving yourself and your partner.
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When being loving, we are not grasping, demanding, needy or clingy, because love has nothing to do with getting or taking. We give freely, to ourselves and to others. We also receive graciously when the gift is freely given. When being unloving, we may try to manipulate a gift - whether it be of time, money, attention, emotional support, approval, sex or affection - but when we are loving we know that a gift not freely given is not really a gift. Notice when you are being loving or unloving.
By Dr. Margaret Paul