Relationships are such an integral part of the human experience.
We are born to be in relationships, but often we seek to find a perfect relationship – or seek to change our mate so that they are “perfect.” This often leads to arguments, nagging and a lack of true intimacy with our partner.
This was true for my former clients Bob and MaryBeth*.
Having met and fallen in love in college, this couple moved from Arizona to Colorado right after the wedding. They had two wonderful years of growing in their relationship as a newlywed couple.
Bob was content with his life. He had a good job and a wife that he loved. MaryBeth was also content, but wanted more. As she was not sure what this “more” was, she stayed quiet about her feelings.
The couple continued on for several years in the same manner. The birth of their first son, Jacob, caused some bumps in their relationship mostly due to the needs of the child coming before the needs of the couple.
While this is common in the early years of a child’s life, MaryBeth and Bob seemed to stay stuck in their focus on their son.
When Greta arrived, 3 years later, the relationship was barely intact. Gone were the fun moments in the relationship – diapers, potty training and baseball practice became the big topics of discussion between the couple.
Dates? Romantic evenings? Sharing dreams for their future? What were these?
As they limped along, an additional concern was presented in the form of a job lay off for MaryBeth. Their standard of living was based on both parents working.
To save money from daycare costs, MaryBeth and Bob decide to reduce their living expenses and allow MaryBeth to stay at home with the little ones.
As much as she tried to enjoy being home with her beloved children, MaryBeth was lonely and felt that she was a burden on her family. She did not spend any money on items for herself, as they were not necessary in her new role.
“Who needs new shoes when you only go to the park with the kids and the grocery store?”
MaryBeth was losing her sense of identity. Her lack of connection to her husband and her role in the family caused her to yell more than she would have liked. Bob would often spend evenings playing poker or golfing with his buddies to avoid the anger he was experiencing at home.
It was at this point that she did something very out of character – she reached out for help to a good friend who told her of my work.
MaryBeth called me to see how couples therapy could benefit their whole family. Bob was wanting change, but very resistant to seeing a “shrink.”
We were able to run through a few online questionnaires during the first meeting and came up with a game plan for their communication concerns.
Bob slowly became hopeful and happy at the progress they were making in their relationship.
MaryBeth was able to express that she felt that she lost her sense of independence when they chose for her to be a stay-at-home mom. Bob was able to reassure her that the financial concerns were not a burden to him.
She was able to express that from the beginning of their relationship, MaryBeth had wanted to change Bob into the perfect husband and felt frustrated that she was unsuccessful at making Bob her ideal man.
MaryBeth was able to change her perspective from wanting to have the perfect husband into perfectly loving the man she married without needing to change him.
For Bob’s part, he became much more open and willing to talk with MaryBeth about his hopes and dreams of opening up his own Pizza business with a recipe from his Grandmother. MaryBeth had no idea he had wanted to make changes to his life as well.
Both partners began to trust and uphold the other while encouraging their individual needs. This led to more intimacy in the relationship and more happiness in their household.
At the end of our last section together, Bob had this to say: “I just can tell you how much better we are having come to see you. We talk more, our kids are happier and my wife is really enjoying her new part time job. We can’t tell you how much we have been enriched by the experience of working with you.”
Does any of this sound like your relationship?
Are you in need of a relationship tuneup – or a reboot?
Please give me a call today to see how we can best work to create the hopeful and fulfilling relationship you are wanting to experience with your significant other!
Your call will be returned in 24 hours if you call during the week. Let’s see what bright horizon you and your mate are looking forward to!
*Names and details changed to preserve their privacy.