Okay, you’ve been married for a while, then ooops, you discover that you’re really not cut out for marriage. You love your spouse, but you feel that your marriage is getting in the way of your love. You find the vows to be stifling, restricting, and rigid to the point that you can hardly feel love anymore. When you try to talk about it with him/her, they are so threatened that the conversation goes nowhere. You don’t want your relationship to end; you just want a different way of being together.
There are many people who find themselves in this predicament.
When it comes to relationships, one size doesn’t fit all. We’re all unique with different histories, experiences, wounds and vulnerabilities so it’s ludicrous to think that we will all fit into the same structure. So instead of just accepting the standard paradigm of what a relationship “should” be, then working to fit ourselves into it, we need to explore with our partners to find out how we want to be together.
Wouldn’t it be great to choose what works best for us rather than just accept what society, parents or friends want? Imagine this: you’re in love, you want a commitment with this person. After deep reflection and exploration, you and your sweetheart come to an agreement about how you want your relationship to work, keeping in mind that there’s no “right way.” Just “your way.”
When deciding upon the agreement, you are honest and true to yourself; no one is coerced. You set up parameters, then commit and give it your all. If over time, you’ve grown and changed (hopefully) and your initial agreement no longer works, you revisit it, and revise it to suit the people you have become rather than the people you once were. An agreement means you have customized your relationship to suit who you uniquely are. That way, there is a much better chance for happiness.
Open your mind, take it off the tunnel vision of marriage for a moment. Honestly, don’t you think that having a relationship agreement, is better than trying to fit everyone into the same paradigm? Thinking that the commitment of marriage is going to keep you happily together is a fallacy. The divorce rate and rampant cheating proves that point. Customizing your relationship, on the other hand, has a much better chance of success.
I’m not against marriage. I know it works for some. And if it works for you, then by all means, go for it. Here’s the deal, anything the two of you agree upon is fine, including marriage. What I’m advocating is choice rather than marriage being the automatic default. We need flexibility in our relationships; rigidity breeds discontent.
Breaking free of the old way takes an open mind and courage. There are many brave pioneers who have stepped out of the mold and are happily living in unconventional couplings. You don’t hear much about them because they’re afraid of being judged. I think that’s sad. The vow, “until death do us part” just doesn’t work for everyone. Witness the high divorce rate in first (50%), second (67%) and third (73%) marriages. Not to mention rampant infidelity.
Why not take some time, explore options with your sweetheart and come to an agreement about the terms of your relationship. If you can’t come to an agreement before you commit, that tells you a lot about the future of your relationship. In the long run, the prognosis is probably not very good. Oh, you might stay together out of pure obligation, but being happy? That could be another story altogether.
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (Kindle).