“For I will pour water on the thirsty ground and send streams coursing through the parched earth. I will pour my spirit into your descendants and my blessing on your children. They shall sprout like grass on the prairie, like willows alongside creeks.”
There are two trees in my backyard. Their trunks touching, roots entwining, they reach high into the sky, together yet separate. They symbolize the life I shared with my husband.
The love we shared was as deep and connected as the entwining and supporting roots of these two trees. We nurtured each other while allowing the other the independence to grow in their own ways.
The tree that was Le Roy has been cut down, and the love that flowed through those roots that nourished each other now seeps into barren soil.
This was a journal entry I made after the death of my husband that reflected the life we shared. It is included in my new book, From Winter to Spring, currently being edited for publication that gives helpful information to individuals moving from losses to creating a new reality.
We bring to the marriage altar a truckload of expectations, myths, wants and wishes hoping that now I will be loved unconditionally and all my needs will be met. The problem is that the other person is bringing their own bag of history with them.
In the first glow of married life, couples radiate the acceptance and undivided attention to each other. Together we can conquer the world, raise a family, establish successful careers and live happily ever after.
However, it isn’t long before the first sprouts of discontent begin to grow, anger lifts its ugly head, and the first not-so-nice comments cut into the fabric of love and affection.
While these moments can be corrected and reduced, many times they escalate into a pattern of sarcasm, blame and accusation. The focus becomes what you should be doing for me not what we can do together.
That can lead to what John H. Gottman, in his telling book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, refers to as “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.” At that juncture, you are in serious trouble.
Marriages do not have to be a constant battlefield. It can be a place where two people share their talents and skills to create a life that can be meaningful for both spouses.
It takes time to build an enduring relationship. But the rapport shared that becomes more important than any momentary dispute or disagreement is worth all the time and effort to create. It requires a commitment to the relationship that is more important than petty quarrels, cross words or misunderstandings.
Where are you in your relationship? How important is your marriage to you? Are you willing to work on making it even better?
In my continued series on relationships, my next blogs will cover those aspects of making your marriage more nurturing and abiding.
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Also in the RELATIONSHIPS series:
Part 1: Relationships: Who Needs Them?
Part 2: Relationships: Where Do We Start?
Part 3: Relationships: Love Them or Hate Them
Part 4: Relationships Book Feature: Tales of Two Sisters
Part 5: Relationships: Oh Those Growing Up Years
Part 6: Relationships: Are You on Top or Bottom of the Heap
Part 7: Relationships: Unspoken Rules
Part 8: Relationships: Grab Hold – Let Go – and Swing
Part 9: Those Good Times
Part 10: Critical Investments
Part 11: Retreat