Here’s the 2nd Key to Help the Emotionally Distancing, Pulling-Away Spouse or Significant Other
(It might be helpful to share this with your spouse, if s/he is willing to receive.)
Key #2: You Need Not Lose your FREEDOM once the “Knot is Tied.”
I see it, especially in young couples: typically one of the partners grieves the loss of perceived freedom and feels overwhelmed with the perceived responsibilities.
And so, you withdraw, back away or want to escape.
Have you ever reflected on the purpose of Bachelor or Bachelorette parties? In the USA it is a common tradition that friends of the male and female respectively throw a party for each before the wedding. The party often involves raucous behavior where those in attendance “let loose” in a variety of ways. It’s like the last hurrah before the marriage.
It would appear the underlying message is: This is your last chance; your last chance to have some “fun” to be “free.” After all, once you are married, responsibilities kick in and you will have little chance to “let go” again. You are getting married and tying the knot – a very interesting choice of words!
Although a couple often anticipates the marriage with positive expectations and celebrates the wedding, the underlying thought is; my life will be much much different. It’s time to grow up and enter the world of responsibility whether it is children, vocation or meeting the needs of another.
There is a sense in which a person often believes that s/he must put aside the carefree and unrestrained single life.
For some, I believe it is carried a little further. One may subtly think that his/her life not only loses its freedom and capacity for spontaneity, but it must be subjugated to the wishes of another. My very self will be shoved away and aside.
Of course, most do not entertain these thoughts before the marriage. (Although my experience in premarital counseling tells me that more have these thoughts than most know.) However, as the “demands” of married life are assumed these fears of loss of self emerge, whether it is 5, 10, 20 or 25 years down the marital road.
Another dilemma for the newly married couple is observing the married people around them.
They often observe married couples who struggle. They have friends who recently married describe the frustration and conflict they encounter. The marriages that struggle and endure with pain far outnumber those they observe that offer life and health to the couple. Reality indicates to them that just perhaps marriage will be difficult.
Or, the recently married couple will observe the “perfect married couple.” Everything about this couple seems ideal. They do perfectly what married couples are to do. By looking at them interact; you would never know they have problems.
However, intuitively such a couple often seems fairly plastic and contrived. They play the roles of a happily married couple, but each person seems to lack the spark which comes from being accepted as a fully unique person in that marriage. They play the roles, but their “selves” are submerged under the perfect roles they play. They seem to have lost their humanity.
Good sex and intimacy will die the longer we are married, is another latent belief. It is expected, especially if they talk to other married couples, that the marriage will grow “cold.” The passion will fade. The advent of children, the pressures of vocation and intrusion of a number of factors will dull the senses.
At some point you will be too tired, too overwhelmed and too busy to have good sex.
You will lose passion, excitement and spontaneity as you give to your spouse, children, work and community.
The underlying fear seeps through; I will lose more in this marital process than I personally will gain.
A word of hope: it need not be this way.
Marriage can be an environment in which freedom, fun, excitement, spontaneity is cultivated. Sure, not all of the time, but even in the more difficult time you can be ready for the humor and loving support that is able to stand at arm’s length from the overwhelm and embrace possibilities that truly excite.
This unlearning that loss of freedom and your personal self takes particular shifts in thinking that can get you on the road to see your relationship with your significant other as a means to enhance your personal freedom.
I offer extensive help for implementing these shifts at www.saveamarriageforever.com/ebook