Yesterday we talked about how a previously happy couple began to question whether or not they wanted to stay married to each other. Instead of doubling down on discontent and blaming, these two chose curiosity and humility. They heard about a workshop that sounded like it might be helpful and they took it. They followed up with a support group - one for him, another for her. They worked hard to apply what they were learning and when they felt stuck, they asked for support from a person they trusted.
Eventually, they made a few changes and found immediate relief and reconnection.
The wife decided that it was not her husband’s job to provide her with a sense of community. She realized, accurately, that her community connections of the past had never involved him. She engaged her “ME” work, and began contemplating what she loved - as opposed to what her children needed. Upon reflection (in the “ME” arena), she realized that she loved gardening (as did her husband fyi) but had neglected that personal interest in lieu of parenting responsibilities. She signed up for a master gardening course and made new friends while learning a ton. Together, she and her husband (who had no interest in classes) began to garden together - a job previously left solely to Mr. Solitary. See what happened there? She used all three relationship areas - her “ME”, her “YOU and ME” (making hubby quite happy), and “WE”. Before she knew it, she was volunteering at local gardening events. Eventually she ended up getting a part time job at a local nursery.
The husband in this story engaged his “ME” to discover why he was so upset when his wife complained about his solitary ways. He was aghast when he realized that his previous passion - his work - had become more taxing and less inspiring. No one was as surprised as he was to discover that he was ready to retire. Once retired, his willingness to socialize a bit more became not only doable but a welcome part of their calendar. (His “ME” allowed him to reduce his “WE” which was no longer serving him well and that allowed the “YOU and ME” to find new “WE” expressions together.)
Finally, notice how as each of them took responsibility for themselves, he positively impacted their intimacy and sociability! Can you imagine if the husband had retired and his wife did not have outside interests? She may have used her gardening skills to fertilize the back yard with body parts!
We can all do this. We must continue to assess and reassess our lives. Notice how important it is to own our “ME”; rejoice in the reality that as we own our “ME” it often benefits our intimate and social connections. This is such good stuff! How are you doing in these arenas? Anything that needs shifting?