Not so long ago that I was attending my good friend’s 1 year old daughter’s birthday party, it was a typical family and friends event and with my darling friend being 13 years older than me, there were quite a few of her “mother and wife” friends attending of whom I knew well. As at all family gatherings, after a few heady (pink )champagnes the truth all starts to come out and in this case I was the walking emotional punching bag for all these women ( or rather an emotional dumping ground !) Not sure if it was the fact that I had attended alone and was therefore driving so could give a rational answer and sober solace for these women. One by one they came to me, armed with a wine glass clutched in one hand , a crying child or two hanging off the other sporadically and no husband within attendance. They all came to me with the same story, the same anger and the same disappointment… they were alone in their marriage.
When we sign up for the Happily ever after , we forget to read the small print that for these women had become BOLD in their life “ husband may or may not decide to change his mind about being present in your time of need, your decisions, raising your children and every other important thing in your life”…. perhaps this is read as an extreme , but for these women it was very much a reality. One by one they each had a story where their partner had decided to abandon them either physically, emotionally, financially, sexually and in every other way they as a woman, mother and wife needed them . The lack of their male partners attendance at this important event was a reflection of their lack of presence and responsibility in their marriage.
It was sad to know that these women like so many out there were in a marriage where they felt like a single parent or just a single in general, yet it seemed like such a common story. It made me wonder who was to blame? Were these men aware of their role as a man , father and husband or were they confronting their own demons and only able to handle one thing at a time ( like true male form!) With the ever growing and changing role of females in society , men seem to become emasculated to such a degree that perhaps the step back they take for us to become “ equal” is a step completely off the plate altogether. Women it seems are expected to not only be a wife and mother but also an equal bread winner in some cases … so what role does this leave for the husband? Where does he, as the traditional “ head of the Family” sit now…he becomes lost trying to find a position that requires him as a man, but more poignantly needs him.
The woman is left alone to contend with everything herself, which in time usually breeds resentment and division. And then a vicious cycle begins which commonly ends in separation, which after being constantly physically and emotionally separated anyway, doesn’t seem that abnormal.
So what does one do? How do you pull your partner back into your world, your marriage and even your heart? How do you not let the disappointment and resentment you have for him outweigh the chance to be a unified couple? Marriage is a working progress, and as long as two people grow older and change so will a marriage. There is no set formula , but there are steps and words and services to help you and your partner through change. But lets tackle just this one of “ being alone in your marriage”….
IDENTIFYING THE ROLES
Firstly identifying what you roles you have is imperative, but more importantly you must be aware of the depth of these roles, as your partner may or may not agree and it will be up to you to help him step into it subliminally. As mentioned earlier men need to be needed, they yearn to be the hero, the provider and protector (even if they don’t want to admit it because they see it as a form of weakness). Woman naturally being able to cope with more than one thing at a time, sometimes isolate themselves from the help willingly offered. Being aware of what your actions and words are having effect on your partner will help you to identify when you need to step up and say something or rather step back and allow him to be who he needs to be. Communication is vital to any relationship, and laying everything on the table is ideal, but this must be done from an point of a calm mind and heart or EI as I like to call it.
Emotional Intelligence is such a useful tool , being able to emotionally remove yourself from a situation in order to make a sensible decision will save you many fights and help with bitterness, remember you are two whole people whom each have a story , past and life of your own before you met.You as an independent woman already know what you need from your husband ( if you’re not sure its simply whatever you nag him for, or compare to with what others have !) , you know what his lack is and therefore you need to create a space for him to be moved into, to forfill that lack . In essence you have the knowledge on how to improve your relationship, therefore you have the responsibility to initiate this change and be accountable to it. Some of you might scoff and say “ why should I , he started it! It’s him that needs to do all the work!” and you have every right to say that. But what is the point in being in a stale mate, eventually someone has to make the move, and how much more effective will it be if the move is made from the right position, that being a mind and heart that sees beyond the now. In heated moments and after years of neglect its hard not to get caught up in the bitterness that the present brings, but choosing to shift your focus from what has happened to what can happen is what will make the difference. Use your E.I , see beyond the past and choose to use words and actions that will initiate new habits in your man and relationship.
IT’S ALL IN THE COMPANY
Women love to talk and when we are in groups , we are a force of opinions unstoppable! Because all these women at this party were friends and going through the same thing , it was easy for them to gather together and start talking about their partners. It’s one thing to talk to friends , get something of your chest and receive some comfort and counselling, but it’s altogether another thing to gossip, slander and bitch about your husband. This unified hatred for men not only creates more division in your heart for your partner, it also breeds bitterness, resentment and worse it also confirms to your friends that their own opinions and bitterness is justified. In no way am I saying that any woman’s cry for help is not justifiable, indeed these men have a lot to step up to and need to have a slap in the face. My point is that when you are surrounded by people of the same situation and opinion whether it be positive or negative, you start to believe and take on whatever emotion or belief is being discussed. So you have a choice, will you choose to confide in a friend that will support your hatred and give you even more reason to hate, or will you talk to someone who will empathise but encourage you in a way that is wise, practical and without self gain?
IT’S ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE, NOT WHAT YOU DON’T
It’s the old adage,” the glass is half full not half empty..” ( blah blah, I ordered wine not water!) its annoying but somehow its true, how we choose to see something can entirely alter our perspective, our actions and eventually the situation. What we focus on we manifest into our life, whether it be physical or emotional, the mind is more powerful than you could know. What are you seeing right now in your relationship? Are you focusing on what you don’t have rather that what you do? Remember what you fell in love with with your husband, focus on his good qualities , acknowledge them rather than criticise his bad points. Something more powerful than the mind is the mouth. What you say and speak into your life will ultimately confirm that what you think. There is power in words, say something out loud enough times and you will subconsciously start to believe its the truth whether in reality it is or not. Praising you partner for the good things he is and does will install confidence to move into new directions of change where he lacks confidence, usually because of our constant criticism of it. It’s called an EGO my dear… use it to your advantage since you’re stuck with it for the rest of your life anyway. Tell him he’s fabuous at handyman work, instead of nagging him , and vola , before you know it, he’s finally fixing that leaking tap! Be aware of what you are thinking, but also what you are saying. Keep yourself accountable, choose to say nothing instead if you can”t find anything nice to say, hell gag yourself if you have to! Whatever it takes till you build the willpower and start to change your mindset, do that. Writing a list of his good qualities and focusing on them daily will help with your bitterness and attitude. Men can’t be forced to change or do something, they hate being nagged and being put down as a ‘man’. Love him for who he is and he will become who you want .