In a previous blog entry, I concluded it with the following statement: When we do not appropriately match up our needs and wants within the appropriate context for addressing them, we have issues.
I provided a couple of examples to illustrate my point: we need to become more self-aware and attentive to the love arena we are in at any moment AND manage our expectations accordingly. One example was of a woman who acted as if a social relationship was the place to meet her needs for intimacy; a second was of a widower whose loss of a key intimate relationship cost him vital feedback that his spouse once provided. In both examples, these folks suffered in all their relationships because of an imbalance in the area of intimacy.
Another example that might help us understand the need for balance involves a gentleman with the opposite problem from those two folks. He is a quiet introverted sort married to a sociable wife. Their imbalance was not obvious while the children were at home. His wife was busy with the commitments involving her children - she was active in the PTA, they had sporting events to attend, one of their children was active in a local theatre group. But once those kids flew the nest and before grandchildren arrived on the scene, a previously contented marriage began to fall apart at the seams.
What went wrong? Can this marriage be saved?
The wife grew increasingly restless and discontent in the marriage. The more she complained about her situation, the more withdrawn her husband became - exacerbating the problem. How did they move through this rough patch?
They figured out that they were out of kilter in a rather simple and fixable arena of love. They had TOO MUCH intimacy and NOT ENOUGH tribe. This required the contented husband - who was living his dream of a quiet and peaceful home with his beloved - to acknowledge that too much of a good thing was too much. And his irritable wife had to come to grips with her changed circumstances (reduced social interaction) and take responsibility for herself. She needed to figure out how to re-introduce more tribe back into her weekly schedule.
Kind of neat, right? Both had some responsibility in the situation. All of this came about because each accepted the premise that every human needs three love arenas: ME, YOU and ME, and WE. He preferred the “you and me” place; she really loved the “we”. Both were a bit off kilter.
Tomorrow, we will explore a couple of very practical ways these two got back on track. For today, notice these things: 1. They were looking for answers not just blaming their life stage OR each other for their marital woes and 2. Both were willing to take responsibility for their part (they both were fairly health in the “ME” arena).