A huge majority of those I’ve worked with over the years regarding their marriage problems profess first and foremost that they are looking for changes in their spouse.
If only s/he would be more communicative, be more emotional, be more caring, listen better, not focus so much on work, not have friends be the center of his/her life, be more ambitious, be less ambitious, etc.
Perhaps you can fill in your own blank regarding the change you profess to want from your spouse.
However, the professed changes desired in the other, are not in reality, under the veneer of one’s life, what a person TRULY desires.
Uncovering these hidden, unexpressed and unexplored desires usually opens the floodgate for transformation and healing in a person and the relationship of mutual investment.
Making this shift from what I think I want to what, at the core of my life is what I TRULY want, is often difficult.
One is usually so entrenched in the old (and superficial) way of thinking and bound so tightly by ones personal need system that to look deep into the well of one’s self and say, “Ah, this is what I truly want” is problematic.
I will present a list of the shifts I’ve discovered that one TRULY wants to make to generate Magic Moments, love, joy and a confident center in one’s life.
Shift #1: From I want to be close to I want to know and be known.
The number one goal most express to me regarding their marriage goes something like this: “I want us to be closer. I want a deeper emotional connection. I want to recapture the romance. I want to feel special. I want to be loved. I want us to talk more. I want us to communicate better. I want us to spend more quality time together. I want him/her to pay more attention to me.”
Here’s the truth as I’ve bumped into it over 3 decades of counseling experience: very rare is the person who truly wants to be close (I will use that word for now.)
A wise person once said that that most courageous act is to truly love someone, truly be close to someone, because in reality that person will leave you or you will leave that person. One will physically leave this plane of existence before the other. You will experience a painful loss.
Most people, when they declare, I want to be close, mean, “I want to feel loved; I want to be cared for; I want to be protected; I want to feel special; I want sex; I want to be valued; I want someone to listen to me or I want freedom from conflict.”
All these statements emerge from one’s personal need system. They reflect a “hole” in a person that longs to be filled. They are cries of neediness.
Now, we all have needs. But, our perpetual efforts to get them met, which often are met with rejection, misunderstanding or frustration become a familiar hamster wheel.
We live with one eye on the other person, wondering when, how and if s/he will accommodate our personal need system. Tremendous emotional and intellectual effort is expended scheming and planning (often unconsciously) to wrangle from the other those longed for words, expressions or touch that will indicate that needs are being met.
I advocate intentional focus on defining one’s personal need system and setting up systems so they are met once and for all. (Yes, that is possible.)
And, then a person moves on to process of creating a radically different type of closeness (or intimacy) that is based on knowing and being known.
Authentic “closeness” may mean a deep exploration of your differences. It may mean significant time is spent apart from each other.
Authentic “closeness” allows the Magic Moments to emerge and be enjoyed.
My new e-book, “Save Your Marriage without ‘Working on it’ or ‘talking’ – 27 days to create a love you can TRUST” is a handbook that enables you to move from a closeness based upon the frustration of perpetual neediness to a closeness, love or intimacy that is a by-product of your best and the best of your spouse or partner.