Have you ever looked back at a part of your life and wished you had only known then what you know now?
I don’t want that to be you if your current relationship ever ends. So I offer you 3 insights you can use to prevent that from happening.
Occasionally I think about what went wrong in my first marriage, if I could have prevented our divorce. I wonder if I could have caused less emotional pain and financial strain for my family, my kids, had I known back then what I know now… (Here's of a photo of sad me back then.)
If you’ve read anything I’ve written, you’ll probably know I’m very happy in my marriage now, so it’s not about regret.
I look back now for you—if you are currently experiencing some of the pain I went through in the years that lead up to my divorce—in an attempt to help you avoid the mistakes I made… so your relationship can stop deteriorating and start improving.
As you read this, notice if any of the following are things you don’t really believe on some level right now. Be really honest with yourself. I'll illustrate for you how not believing these things can lead to major problems, and eventually, to a ruined relationship.
As you'll learn, if you adopt these are 3 beliefs, you can begin to heal your relationship:
1. I have the right to want deep loving intimacy and I’m not crazy or selfish for wanting it. For me that meant emotional sharing , mutual support, conversations that lead to resolution, and a sense of connection with my husband even when things were bumpy.
I used to do a dance between righteously demanding all this, and then thinking I was asking too much, and feel ashamed. These vacillations in thinking lead me to lots of confusion and ineffective behavior, like trying really hard for a while ineffectively, then giving up. Which got neither of us what we wanted.
The reality is that desire was a good one, for the good of our whole family, and even our world. Deep down what he really wanted was to be able to give me those things, too.
I now know that loving connection is not selfish. That makes it easy to understand and act on the next thing:
2. If I want it, I need to work for it effectively
I certainly did try to make him give me the connection I wanted. I believed he could for a long time…but I didn’t think I needed to learn anything for him to do so—he was the one who needed to learn! I thought he would, if I just kept insisting and pushing him enough…
You may have noticed for yourself, that doesn't really work. He would bristle, defend himself, and eventually felt so bad about himself that he couldn’t please me —he felt helplessly inadequate— and had no will to try to deliver anymore…I now know I could have had the connection I wanted if I had had the right skills/tools (the ones I have now) to help him learn to deliver what I wanted.
3. Men can—and want to— learn how to meet their partner's needs and desires.
After some years of pushing to my first husband to change, I started thinking he was not capable of change. He eventually believed that about himself, too, because I was saying things like, “ You never change, after everything I say to you!!!” Self-fulfilling prophecy, right?
The last straw for our marriage was when we both believed he couldn’t change.
We all would have been better off had I known how to guide him into giving me what I yearned for—if I’d had the skills and knowledge about how to do so.
Because now I understand that men do learn to meet their partners’ needs when they have a patient, team-oriented partner who can help show them how.
I see it clearly now in my marriage: my husband wants to please me just as much as I want him to. He feels successful and satisfied when he does. And he’s most capable of it with support from me. It’s not me against him, it’s us working together for our Love…
We women have the right to want deep loving intimacy, and if we want it we need to work for it effectively, because men in committed relationships actually want to be supported to meet their partners need’s (even if they don’t say so), they just don’t know how.
These understandings have contributed deeply to my sense of relationship empowerment, helping me to stay inspired and motivated to put in the effort and learn the skills I need to support my man to contribute more of what I want.
Because of them I do inspire my husband to be a better man and husband. He told me so outright just yesterday, with a loving glimmer in his eye.
I think they will help you and your relationship, too. Experiment with believing them for a while...See how it feels, and what changes inside you when you do.
Just like I have, with the help of these beliefs, you can make the difference between a lonely resent-filled relationship and a supportive loving one. It starts with adopting these healthy beliefs.
Tell me, do the statements give you hope? Which scare you, bring up resistance, or confuse you? What’s coming up for you? Let me know below.