I want you to meet "Mara", who took serious dedicated action and experienced amazing shifts in her marriage using the techniques and skills I taught her.
She now feels tons of love between her and her husband, feels totally cherished, valued, and heard, and like they are really in this life as true allies; she even inspired her husband (without any nagging or mommy-energy) to want to make major healthy changes in himself, so they could be even happier as individuals and as a couple.
It wasn't like this when she came to me, though.
Here is her story:
Mara was one foot out the door of her marriage when she came to me some months back. Her main complaints were that her husband was unavailable and didn't seem to have room for her in his life. She was so nice and kind all the time, but often felt like a doormat, like she was invisible and didn't really matter to him.
She was thinking of leaving him because she felt so unvalued.
She knew that she was a really sensitive person, who felt her emotions intensely. But, instead of allowing them to contribute to the richness of her connection with her husband, she "learned to detach" and "let stuff go", hiding her feelings and truth away inside -- as a way to cope.
As we worked together she saw how this made it hard for her husband to actually know much about what was really going on deep inside her, including what she wanted and didn't want...Because if it came out at all, it was expressed in ways that triggered his defenses, and shut them both down.
As a result, her husband did more or less his own thing, including developing some unhealthy habits, in part because he, too, felt lonely. He had no investment in really pleasing or being present for her because she wasn't really showing up fully herself, hiding out inside herself as she was.
Together, Mara and I discovered that at the bottom of her being inauthentic there was a lot of fear (about being abandoned and being unimportant --common wounds for sensitive souls), as well as old conditioning (all sorts of ideas about how healthy relationships should be, how she should be to be good wife, etc).
As we dug out of the dungeon of all that together, she began to uncover and understand her own authentic desires and needs, and know what really mattered to her when it came to her marriage.
She also started meeting many of those needs herself, by inviting more fun and pleasure into her life (like living room dancing, walks in pretty places, and yummy relaxation). She began to really get in touch with herself, feel more self-respect and self-worth, and feel great about herself in general.
From there we worked on how she could communicate her knew awarenesses and desires to her husband in a way that he could really hear. She began to be much more authentic and effective in her communications with him. And guess what? He started doing the same. Most of his old defensiveness dropped away.
Suddenly they we having genuine heartfelt connection again! And he began really expressing how much he loves her, and even relying on her for some emotional support.
One day she felt strong and clear enough to reveal how painfully much his bad habits were affecting her. She got vulnerable and shared how much she loved him, but did not want to live with one specific damaging behavior of his. After some more conversation, he shared how much he truly wants a life with her, and committed to doing the hard work it takes to grow himself, so he can experience their love into the future.
As she described it, "I’m taking care of me, and asking for what I need, and it's inspiring him! I’m also being authentic with him. In a very loving, kind way, getting across to him what's important to me. I know he loves me, and wants to make it work, and now I know it will!"
For Mara, learning to care for, trust, and really know herself, along with developing some specific essential relationship skills, made all the difference.
The results of this (and the rest of the work we did together) are what she always wanted: she now feels nurtured, deeply loved, and really heard-- like she truly matters. On top of all that, she's reconnected to how much she feels attracted to and in love with her husband.
They now both feel like they are a team together, true allies in both the joy and the challenges of life. When something hard comes up, as happens in our human lives, she feels secure in her ability to handle and navigate them, with love at the forefront.
It wasn't a snap-her-fingers fix. It took commitment, courage, and a willingness to really look hard at herself, and do the sometimes painful work of growing. But it was a journey full of moments of deep gratification and joy, too. And on the other side, she is feeling the depth of love and support she has always wanted in her marriage.
Pretty great, don't you think? My hope is this story inspires you and shows you how when just one person in a partnership decides to take real action to grow and change, she actually changes the relationship as a whole, making space for the other partner to show up in healthier more loving ways, inspiring him to grow and change himself, too.
Let me know how Mara's story speaks to you...What stands out to you? How does it inspire you? Comment below.