It may have been a long time ago, maybe even twenty to thirty years ago, that you made a very important choice: your life partner. Perhaps you were a high school senior or college student. In any case, you were probably younger than you are today. On the flip side, your current marriage may be your second or third go around. It may only be a few years ago when you said “I do”—but you still made a major life decision, wouldn’t you agree?
How did you decide on a partner? Do you remember the reasons you made a life commitment? I hope some of your reasons sounded like these:
- My mate physically attracts me.
- We share a history of similarities. For example, we like the same type of hobbies. Our ethnic heritage and religious views are the same. We agree on family values and more.
- My partner has a great personality. Not just a good a sense of humor, but also an upbeat view of the world.
And maybe there are other reasons. Now that time has passed, it is worthwhile to remember what you first saw in each other that convinced you that “this guy/gal is the one!” And the following story shows why.
For example, Livvy and Gene were very attracted to each other when they met at a fancy party. He saw her as a raven-haired beauty who was smart and capable. She found him to be a man of the world, charismatic, and sensitive. She was captivated by his shy grin and wicked sense of humor. He felt at home with her, able to talk about anything, and as a plus, she even liked gardening as much as he did. Although both were very successful in their high-powered jobs, they shared having had a working-class upbringing, and they were spiritually in-sync. Everyone who knew them was glad when they got married.
But because Gene was magnetic and gathered friends around him, over time, Livvy became jealous that other people wanted to be close to him. She liked it better having him all to herself. She came to resent the time he spent with friends; and although he was responsible in the marriage and faithful, she could see that women found him handsome.
Gene began to feel Livvy was trying to control whether he could go out or not, and who could come over to dinner. He explained to her that he was feeling trapped, more like he was owned than like he was married.
Because she realized that her behavior was pushing him away, she began to come to terms with her feelings of jealousy. She remembered why she had married him in the first place—what they had in common, such as spirituality and enjoying being at home with each other as they gardened. If she wanted to stay married to him, she had to let go of being possessive of his every minute. That other people liked being with him, too, was no surprise, and she suddenly understood much better what a marriage was all about, two people allowing each to be themselves.
As Wayne Dyer puts it: “Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.”
You might find it worthwhile to go back and remember why it was that you chose your partner. Those are the reasons on which you have based a lifetime relationship. When you keep those initial feelings for each other current it makes working your way through a difficult issue more rewarding in the future. It also helps the spark to keep glowing brightly.