Eve, it’s great that you are taking time to reflect on your marriage with Adam and integrate the lessons to move forward. Integration has the power to heal the past, live with gratitude in the present and trust the path for the future. The opposite of this is compartmentalizing which separates, erects walls and leaves you disjointed between your body, mind, heart and soul. So let’s take a look at the lessons you’ve learned.
Lesson #1 – No Substitute Can Replace the Real Thing
If God is not number one then whatever you replace him with will never suffice your deepest desire. The reality is that God is the longing, yearning, hunger of your soul. There is a hole that you may continue to try to fill with addictions, indulgences, possessions, power or prestige. Yet, you will come up short, exhausted, broke, hung over, etc. every time. No substitute can replace the real thing. It must, however, be freely chosen and received. God will never force himself on you since true love only exists in the state of freedom. So how will you remain free to choose God above everything? This takes practice and being self aware of how you spend the most time, your money and how you choose or not choose to share your gifts and talents?
Teresa of Avila wrote, “Nada te turbe; nada te espante; todo se pasa; Dios no se muda, la pacïencia todo lo alcanza. Quien a Dios tiene, nada le falta. Solo Dios basta.” Translation: “Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you; All things pass away, God never changes. Patience obtains all things; He who has God find he lacks nothing, God alone suffices.”
Lesson #2 — The Word has Great Power, Spoken or Not
Eve, communication is key to the human connection. It begins in our mother’s womb. With a subtle or not so subtle kick, movement or even hiccups, the child is sharing his or her world with her. The mother in turn smiles, places her hand on her belly that is ever growing or may simply talk or sing. This verbal or non-verbal communication is the beginning of a dialogue that continues until the last breath.
The dilemma lies in the manner you communicate and the manner in which you are open to receive the other. Are you sharing with them what is best for “we” or only thinking of “me?” I agree it’s important to share your feelings, however, how you do it will lead down different paths. Remember, most of the communication is non-verbal. Sometimes the receiver already has made up their mind about how they feel before you even speak one word.
In relationships, both parties must commit to constant learning of how to express and receive messages from each other. Keep in mind that what works for you may not work for the other. There are many communication styles, tools and studies. It is possible to dialogue and feel valued, respected and heard in a relationship with two people who communicate very differently. The real key is to care for the other and the relationship while sharing your needs; commit as a couple to working at communicating respectfully; and connect with the love you have for each other using verbal and non-verbal ways.
Now read the following, which you have probably heard or read many times, but now it may have a greater meaning after discussing the topic of communication:
John 1:1 and 14
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
So you see, Eve, the word has great power, whether spoken or not. How will you and your future partner choose to echo it to bring about a greater sense of self worth, healing and respect instead of causing wounds and scars that are passed on? After all, both parties are wounded healers who can choose to communicate good or bad news with love.
Lesson 3: Pause so You Can Reflect
Eve, this one intrigues me. I had to think about this and listen to what your heart and soul were really trying to say. If you don’t object, I’d like to add to this statement.
From my understanding silence appears to be the root cause that you have identified as being the problem in an argument. Could this be just a symptom versus the problem? The reason I say this is that sometimes it’s important to pause so you can reflect what you (including your partner) are trying to achieve in an argument, defuse any negative emotions that are not constructive and create space that allows the breath of love to revive your minds, hearts and souls.
What I see and hear is that being ignored and feeling like you don’t matter is the real issue. Keep in mind that two people can be talking and still ignore and walk out on each other with their emotions, words, non-verbal gestures, etc., yet still be talking. In addition, some people process things differently while others can quickly process (such as yourself) and still stay engaged in the disagreement. Having said this, what seems to be necessary is to stay connected in disagreements and still honor yourself and the other while not ignoring the love and the hope of the relationship. Sometimes a time out is important. I believe Jonathan and David have had several time outs that have helped them resolve issues, become more self aware and offered forgiveness because of it.
Adults also need timeouts. In a healthy and ideal situation, the partner who needs a timeout would have to express this need and commit to re-engaging within a certain amount of time that is agreed upon. This keeps the dialogue flowing even in the silence that becomes sacred and not disrespectful towards the other. It’s okay to process events differently. It’s not okay to take a timeout without expressing this need your partner. It is a relationship that requires both parties to relate so that the ship stays intact.
Lesson #4 – Build a Home on the Same Ground
Eve, I say “Amen” to this! How beautifully put. You can build a lovely house, but the foundation is what makes it valuable and helps it endure through the good and bad times. But is the foundation you want to build on the same ground as your partner’s? You probably need to start by clearly defining what makes up your foundation. This will help you determine if you are aligned with the other. It is always important to start with “you” instead of having great expectations of the other yet not holding yourself accountable.
I think this would be a good time to think about what are the non-negotiables that will create a strong foundation to build upon. It will be a little different than when you met Adam. At this point in time you must consider your boys, the lessons learned and your new dreams for the future that did not exist back then.
Eve, it is time to re-evaluate where you attempted to construct a home and what caused it to destruct. Figure this out and don’t settle unless you are on solid ground. It’s well worth the investment!
Lesson #5 – Pray, Parlez and Play
Eve, play dates are essential for everyone, whether you are in a relationship or not. My message is always remember to “Pray, Parlez (French for “speak”) and Play so you don’t stray from God, yourself and your lover.” It may sound corny, but it is what breathes life into your relationship.
So what ideas do you have? I know your mind is thinking of many ways you can do this since you are so full of life. By not playing you are depriving yourself of who you are. If everyone took time to play, adults would create a world that is more colorful, inclusive and forgiving since you are having fun. And isn’t it said that laughter is the best medicine? Maybe, on a simplistic base, that’s why there seems to be more diseases popping up.
Please don’t wait to meet someone to practice any of these lessons. Begin now. Start with having a play date with you. I think you’re a blast to be around. Enjoy it. Go out and do what you love. You can include your boys who are the subject matter experts in this field. So live, learn and laugh because these are the building blocks to calling true love into your life.