The first thing to remind yourself of, when it comes to relationships, is that you cannot control or change someone else. With that being said, matters of the heart are probably the most difficult challenges we can have, because they involve another person—someone who has his own opinions, wants, and needs, and who will make his own choices, regardless of what you may want him to do or believe he should do.
If you’re in the crux of a failing marriage, you need to ask yourself, “What is it that I truly want?”
Do you really want to save this relationship? Do you really want this partner? If so, why?
You need to get very clear on why you want this union to work. You need to muster up all the fuel it takes to stay in a place of courage, willingness, and acceptance. List all the wonderful qualities he or she has, and the ways he or she adds to your life-force.
Once you are very clear on what you want, ask yourself: “What would courage have me do?”
Anger will not serve you. Self-righteousness will not serve you. Jealousy will not serve you. Crying, blaming, whining, bitching, or “guilt-ing” the other person to stay or change, will not serve you.
The kind of courage I’m talking about would tell you to love and honor yourself; courage to trust in yourself that you will only make choices that build your character and strengthens the sanctity of your relationship. It wouldn’t tell you to save the world, save your partner, or fix those around you. Just like no one is coming to save you—you can’t save him either. He has to save himself. Besides, who knows if it’s really he who needs the saving??
Refocus your energy on yourself (and not with bitterness or anger—but on loving yourself, treating yourself well, exercising, eating well, going out with friends who add to your life-force, taking up activities that light you up, and getting yourself financially independent). Then, when you are with your spouse, you will resonate at a higher level. You will look at him through different lenses and one of three things will happen:
- He will love the person you are becoming and will want to join you in your new outlook. He will be inspired by your greatness—your gentleness and understanding. He will begin to change and will soon shine more brightly. Your marriage will soar.
- He will not change and you will know that you can’t change him, but with your new found self-love, you won’t be so focused on his “flaws.” You will “live and let live”. Your marriage will not be the center of your life—you will be—but it will be a wonderful part of your life.
- He will not change and you will have risen to such an empowered, beautiful place that you will lovingly set him free and set yourself free. You are both entitled to be happy and to be with someone who loves unconditionally!
When I separated from a man, whom at the time I believed was the love of my life, it was the hardest decision I’d ever made and yet I knew that I wasn’t honoring myself in that relationship. The lies and betrayals had begun to eat away at my soul. Nonetheless, the day I asked him to leave, I loved him more than I ever had. We didn’t split out of a lack of love—we had a lack of trust and respect. I knew that things weren’t working and that I had to completely and utterly surrender the relationship to God. If we were meant to be—we would be together, just not then. For the first time in my life, I took care of my spirit—my soul.
Every day for nearly a year I would ask myself, “What would courage have me do?” And every day, for nearly a year, it would say, “Do not call him. He hasn’t done any of the work he needs to do in order for you to consider getting back together. Nothing has changed!!”
I gave myself breathing time, grieving time, and then the moment came where I knew I had to get back in the game.
Did I cry? Every day, for over a year – and then some!
For the longest time I wondered, “Did I really love him?” How can you know true love until you truly love yourself?
I may have ached for him, craved him, desired him, wanted him . . . but it wasn’t until I surrendered him—surrendered what I wanted him to be . . . what I wanted us to be . . . what I wanted me to be—that I began to know what true love meant.
Finally I realized that it “was what it was” and that I couldn’t stay in a place of grieving—wishing and wondering and hoping—any longer. I wrote a good-bye letter to my once-supposed “soul mate” and burned it. I then made a “wish list” of all the qualities I needed in a man—qualities I would never live without again. Four months later, in a whirlwind romance, I was engaged. It was the most “outrageous” and yet, most authentic decision I’d ever made. Not to “him” (we’d dated for seven years without marriage!) . . . but to a man who seemed to magically appear out of nowhere—Yes, I’d found my prince. Some would say it happened because I had become a princess. Not the kind of princess who wears a tiara or owns great lands, but the kind who knows the wealth within her soul . . . The kind who is no longer afraid to share it.
Not surprisingly, it wasn’t until I’d committed myself to someone else that “he” came back—professing his undying love for me. It was my test; my moment of reckoning. I chose my husband.
I look back now, years later, at that profoundly significant relationship—at the pain and pleasure—and realize that it was only because I truly loved him that I left him. Had I stayed, I would have disabled him by enabling him to not become the man he needed to be. In disabling him, I was disabling myself. We had outgrown each other—he just didn’t know it. I did.
I also knew that a lack of love had nothing to do with why we split up. What seemed like a huge failure turned out to be my greatest life lesson: Love is not limited to boundaries, licences, zip codes, surnames, or even this lifetime. Love is a place within. It transcends time . . . and asks for nothing in return.
I made a decision to honor my life—to honor my needs, dignity, and self-respect. I am now with a man who holds me in the highest regards from the biggest stuff, right down to the tiniest details. Love shouldn’t hurt. It shouldn’t be difficult, demanding, exhausting, and draining. Love lifts you up where you belong!