"We shouldn't be struggling with this..."
“He doesn’t make time for the family like he used to… and he doesn’t pursue me anymore. He’s gotten lazy.” she said.
“Well, she doesn’t appreciate all I do for the family! I work hard so we can live a comfortable lifestyle. I do my best, and it’s never enough.” he said.
“We shouldn’t be having these problems!” she said.
“Right, nobody else we know is struggling with anything like this. If this relationship was meant-to-be, wouldn’t things just work out?” he added.
Ever feel this way? Like if your relationship was meant-to-be, you shouldn’t be struggling like you are?
I know I’ve had those thoughts… they can be a scary thought to have!
I was recently reading the book Passionate Marriage by Dr. David Schnarch. He’s an incredible therapist and writer, and he was talking to a couple just like this.
After listening to these two people argue, and nearly convince themselves that the other person didn’t care enough about the relationship he asked a series of questions that blew my mind.
What if your partner really does care? What if the frustration, passion and raw emotion they’re feeling right now is evidence that they care a lot? Couples who don’t care are indifferent to each other. They check out. But the fact that you show so much emotion about this means you care… so…
(Here’s the part that blew my mind.)
What if you’re wrong, and the problems you’re having right now are EXACTLY the problems you SHOULD be having?
Think about it. What if the conflict you’re experiencing. The stress you’re feeling. The disagreements you’re having… what if they’re all the things you SHOULD be experiencing in your relationship?
What if the story that If it’s meant to be, things just work out is a complete lie?
What if your struggles were actually opportunities to improve yourself, your skills, and your relationship?
What if your arguments about finances were an opportunity for you to learn about money management or investing. Or maybe they’re an opportunity to reflect on your spending habits and how they affect the people around you. Or maybe it’s a sign that the real conversation you need to have is what lifestyle you can afford, and why you feel the need to live beyond your means. (Are you trying to keep up with some friends and neighbors, or impress family?)
The obstacle you face is actually the path to personal growth.
If you’re climbing a mountain and come to a boulder on the trail, you don’t just throw your hands up and say, “Well, I guess this is the wrong trail. We can’t go any further. We should just give up.”
You look at that boulder and you push on it. Or you go find a stick to use as leverage and move it out of the way. Or you walk around it, or climb over it.
There are SO many solutions to confronting a boulder in the path other than giving up.
And often times the tactics you take to conquer this boulder will prepare you and strengthen you for the next one.
If you’re facing struggles right now in your relationship, rather than believing the story that you shouldn’t be having these problems, choose to believe that your problems are PERFECT. They are exactly what you need right here and right now to strengthen you, unite you, and prepare you for the challenges to come.
Are you facing a boulder that feels insurmountable? Are you bumping into the same issues over and over again? Let's talk about them in the comments!
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