Corey and Maya were experiencing a great deal of tension and frequently fighting about issues both small and large. Their real problem wasn’t about the issues that kept cropping up. The root of their problem was that Corey was not really committed in their marriage. Sure, he tried to keep the promises and vows that he and Maya agreed would define their relationship, but that was more a matter of honoring the word than understanding the spirit of their agreements. For Corey, most of the time, it felt more like going through the motions than really embracing the essence of the covenant, and you can be sure that Maya felt that lack of his being fully present in their partnership.
Exploring resistance, envy, self-pity and resentment
Corey hadn’t yet surrendered his resistance, which manifested itself in second-guessing his decision to marry, envying other men who weren’t tied down, and feeling resentful for having missed out on more time to sow his wild oats. These thoughts often left him feeling sorry for himself. In those stressful days, he often found himself criticizing Maya and picking arguments to blow off his self-created dissatisfaction.
Thanks to a combination of perseverance, good help, supportive friends, understanding from Maya, and the maturity that comes from staying with something long enough, Corey eventually grew beyond his feelings of being trapped. He began to appreciate the many blessings and benefits of sharing a relationship with a loving, supportive partner.
Corey came to value the security that comes from sharing a life with someone who knows you at your best and worst and who will not withdraw her support when you’re having a bad day. He came to trust that he could not do anything to jeopardize Maya’s love. This freed up vast amounts of energy that had formerly been locked into patterns of approval seeking that showed up not only in my primary relationship, but with others as well.
When we grow in understanding, we feel compelled to share it
Corey came to understand the nature of commitment. And once he really got it, he attempted to share it with his single friend Howard. He enthusiastically announced to his friend, “commitment isn’t a prison; it’s a means to greater freedom”. When he shared this observation with his friend, Howard looked at Corey as though he had taken permanent leave of his senses. Corey didn’t blame Howard for his reaction. It hadn’t been that long before when Corey had the same association with the dreaded “C word.” It wasn’t until after Maya and Corey had been together for several years, and Corey had matured and done a lot of deep exploration about what he really wanted in life, that he stopped feeling like he was stuck in a trap and began to experience the liberating nature of true commitment.
Just as Corey came to understand, we too can come to realize that as our capacity to love each other grows, we become increasingly able to rest in the knowledge that we are loved for who we are, not what we do. Over time, we come to develop a previously unknown well of self-love. Feeling loved and really letting that in provides a fantastic freedom: freedom from fear of loss and freedom to be fully ourselves.
Linda Bloom L.C.S.W. has served as psychotherapist and seminar leader practicing relationship counseling almost forty years. Check out her OMTimes Bio.
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