Love is wonderful but definitely not easy. Love is challenging because it’s our greatest teacher, the one that teaches us about ourselves. And marriage, it’s something like an intensive self-development course. It can be really painful to watch how things go in an unwanted direction and to find ourselves helpless, wondering how that happened and what it is that we could have done differently.
No matter how different every love story is, and how tangled “the rope” of our specific problems is, there are some general guidelines that could help us unravel the “knot”.
1. We don’t attract what we want, but what we are
Taking responsibility is the first and crucial step towards resolving any of our problems, and this one is no different. Therefore, it is important to:
Explore and re-define your definitions of love, partnership, and marriage
If we manage to explore and re-design our concepts about love and marriage it will support us to act more consciously. Being more conscious in a couple helps us in preventingthe limiting beliefs and conditioning, that we internalized during our upbringing, from intervening in our relationship. It is our choice what love, marriage, and partnership mean to us, so it is better to define them in a way that those definitions are serving our current marital reality.
Accept that circumstances and people around you are your own reflection
The person we are with is there for a reason, and in some sense, he/she represents ourselves, our personal characteristics, beliefs, views, and choices. So, after we define what we consider is a good husband/wife, we should analyze how good do we fit that same description.
One way to change the reflection in the mirror is to change the face that is staring at it.
To get what you want, you must give it first
If you want to receive love – give love! If you always calculate, keep things to yourself and play games to prevent your ego from getting hurt, you can be sure that you will end up “empty handed”. Giving love fully requires some courage, and it’s ok to be scared, just don’t let the fear control you. Love is not a business, it is not a competition, neither a battlefield. Love is giving without expecting anything in return.
2. Do what you did in the beginning of your relationship
“Do what you did in the beginning of your relationship, and there won’t be an end “-Tonny Robbins
Many of us look at infatuation as an unrealistic and temporary state of mind that, in the majority of cases, becomes replaced with everyday routine that“breaks our pink glasses”.
When we are in love, we:
- Keep our focus on our partner’s virtues
- Try hard to be the best version of ourselves
We think that admiration we had for positive aspects of our loved one was an illusion, and then in time we stop noticing those aspects and even start to neglect them. Our focus goes more and more towards things that bother us. Thus, we stop being inspired to “show up”as the best versions of ourselves, too.
The only solution for this problem is –gratitude. Gratitude is the most effective way to re-focus our attention back to the virtues of our partner and to reintroduce the behavior that was “sparking up” the relationship in its early beginnings.
3. Easier isn’t better
In order to avoid the discomfort of facing our problems, we often bring even more problems and complications to our lives. Our challenges bring us important lessons that could not be escaped, cause they’re going to return to us as many times as it is necessary for us to learn.
Every problem is an opportunity to grow, but only if our approach is open, direct and honest. It’s not easy, but if we choose to play games and to put problems under the carpet, we’re actually giving priority to our comfort and Ego, not to love.
Quality, constructive relationship is based on:
- Honest and relevant conversation about our thoughts and feelings
- Being present, holding space for each other and truly listening
Manipulation may look like a shortcut, an easier way to deal with problems, but it actually won’t bring us anywhere.
4. To catch something you need to release it first
Driven by fear of losing someone, we are usually prone to take actions with counterproductive results. We have to deal with the fact that we own no one, and that we can live without anyone. Love is not fear, nor control, neither dependency. We’re not able to love what we fear of and depend on.
We must be ourselves and let others do the same. There are no guarantees in love, but if we know we did everything that’s in our power and gave the best of ourselves, we will at least have inner peace.
Love can be built, but never forced.