I can tell that #1 happens the most, and perhaps the couple has both things going on…they say nothing, nor do they have a time to connect each day. I don’t mean a romantic dinner or walk in the park when I say a daily time to connect, what I mean is 5-10 minutes of one on one chance to talk and connect. This might mean cleaning up the supper dishes together… or talking on the phone while driving to or from work…something that you can incorporate daily without kids pulling on your pants or within listening distance. A daily ritual of connection is a must. To get some ideas, head to this post from the Gottman Institute, or simply ask your partner what WE can do to make this happen.
As I write this Newsletter on the heels of a long weekend, I do so having a chance to visit and talk to my 81-year-old mother. I often think of her 41-year-old marriage to my father and how they managed the ebbs and flows of a relationship. I lost my Dad to brain cancer when he was 63, so she has had many moments to reflect upon her life without him. Her answer didn’t surprise me. It had the same tonality of most of the answers my mom responds with ‘we really didn’t think about it much at the time, we just did it’. That is a summary of what it meant to go through the many hardships that they did in their lifespan. I smile as I write this, since I think this mindset applies to almost everything my mom does in terms of how she made our house a home and how she raised the 9 of us, pretty much by herself. My Dad had an incredible tenacity to work hard, all with good intention. My mom didn’t have time to think. To this day, when I ask her for any of her wonderful family recipes, it is a spoonful of this and ‘about a handful or maybe a half of cup of that’. She doesn’t own a set of measuring spoons and her measuring cup is whatever coffee cup is closest to her when she opens up the cupboard.
In other words, maybe we have too much time, choices, and information nowadays to ruminate on as to what a marriage should be? What is the definition of a good marriage? Is it about each partner completing the house chores with a 50/50 split? Or do we need to make concessions from time to time as we move through the different stages of the marriage; the infant stage, to the toddler stage, adolescent and teenage stage, the building up the business and saving stage, a change of job or sickness stage?
I have a video on the Resource section of my website that I really like, and that may help you during the low points of your marriage. Please take a look at all resources, but this specific one is the TEDx talk by Stan Tatkin.
This post is simply to make you reflect a bit more about your own relationship, or loss of one. Resentment is a term we use to speak of hurt from the past. The mere fact that it is in the past means it is completed. Nothing can be done about this today – other than to say sorry and show remorse. If the act is no longer occurring, and you are no longer being hurt, then perhaps it is time to let go of that resentment.