Janet was second guessing a recent decision and needed a little marriage advice from her long-time girlfriends. “Just don’t tell Tony,” Janet said as she sipped her chardonnay. “He doesn’t know I feel this way, and I don’t think he’d understand.”
Why Janet was so comfortable telling her girlfriends what was in her heart or on her mind, but not her spouse, should have bothered everyone (it didn’t). What Janet probably didn’t realize was that she was confessing to having a dishonest marriage.
The sad truth is that many marriages are dishonest. Maybe most of them are! It isn’t intentional – at least not at first. In fact, it happens easily and almost by accident.
Is Your Marriage Dishonest?
The dishonest marriage often has an innocent start. It happens when one or both partners aren’t truthful with each about what’s happening within the marriage. Very often it starts with one partner not being straight-up about some internal change. The change is likely to be the result of a significant emotional event, like the death of a parent, a serious car accident, or winning the lottery. However, the most common SEE for young couples is the birth of a child.
Have Significant Emotional Events Impacted Your Marriage?
Nearly every couple will tell you that the birth of your first child has a tremendous impact on how you think and feel about almost everything. When it was BC (before children) and it was just you two, you were able to come and go independently. If you wanted to go out for drinks with friends, you could. If you got an idea for a quick trip, on a moment’s notice, you’d do it. If your job required some travel, no problem. Your plans could change on a dime without a big hassle. You thought about what you wanted, what fun things you could do – together or separately – and, most of the time, you focused on NOW.
How Did That Event Change You?
With the birth of your baby, life changed and, now that you have a baby and you can’t just pick up and go. In fact, just getting out the door in the morning takes three times longer than BC. You new experience of last-minute changes is putting on a new shirt because the baby spit up on the first one.
A new baby means another person is totally dependent on you. And, while you expected to kiss quiet nights goodbye, you didn’t expect to spend so much time worrying about how you’ll keep that precious baby safe, or what to teach it so that s/he grows up healthy and well. You also didn’t think you would question your self or your job or wonder what opportunities are elsewhere – ones that will be better for the family.
Gradually your thinking changes and that’s normal and natural; but here’s the thing: the birth of your child is a significant emotional event that alters the way you think about life and love. You become someone else – maybe a fuller, richer expression of who you really are. It’s a good thing to grow.
Change Can Destroy A Marriage
The downside is that, too many times, partners change and don’t keep pace with each other. Time moves fast and, before they know it, ten years passed. They get into an argument and she says to him (or vice versa) “I don’t know who you are anymore. What happened to us?”
So the BIG question is this: are you sharing (with your life partner instead of your friends) the internal changes resulting from your SEE? If you aren’t, you are hiding your SELF. And you’re make your marriage dishonest.
Dishonesty is how a marriage breaks down. You live together, share your food and your bed, but not yourself. Without the transparency that sharing those intimate details of change brings, the bond between you weakens.
Moreover, your partner knows – even if it’s on an unconscious level – that you aren’t being honest. S/he says, “I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel like something’s wrong. What is it?” And the [dishonest] answer is “nothing.”
Without honesty there can’t be emotional safety. Without that, what do you have together? Do you even have a real marriage?
Worse yet, consider this: if you aren’t being honest about who you are, when s/he says “I love you” how do you know if that love is for you? You don’t. In fact, the likelihood is that the love is really for the person you used to be…because your spouse doesn’t know you aren’t that person now.
There’s a Proven Method for Successfully Handling Change in Your Marriage!
Instead of leaving emotional safety and true intimacy to chance, you have a practical alternative to traditional marriage in The Five-Year Marriage. It isn’t some airy-fairy pact you make one day when you’re both in love and hot for each other. No, in The Five-Year Marriage, you and your partner make a decision to stay connected – in writing.
The Five-Year Marriage® includes (for starters) what your goals are, how you will accomplish those goals together, and what expectations you both have for your five-year marriage. You commit to working together and prioritizing your marriage in your daily life. You stay in touch with each other – mentally and emotionally – through regular family meetings.
While The Five-Year Marriage® is designed to facilitate strong connection
s, it also helps you notice when “shifts” are happening – in life, inside you, in the partnership – early enough to get back on track while you are still orbiting in each other’s emotional energy.
If you want to learn more about how The Five-Year Marriage® can offer you the advice you and your partner have been looking for, click through to read more about The Five-Year Marriage or contact me today.