Irreconcilable differences begin to accrue as soon as a person forgets that being entrusted with someone’s trust, love, self-esteem, growth, and happiness is a privilege and not a birthright.It is a precious gift to love and be loved.
Once we give something a name, we have given it a definition.Once we have defined it, it no longer has room to grow.What we call a relationship and what we call marriage must grow to meet who we have evolved into.When my first husband and I returned home from our marriage I did not recognize him.He had become a ‘husband’, which bore no resemblance to the man that I had been engaged to.I, on the other hand, did not know how to become a ‘wife’.And, I have to add that the husband he became was his father, a man that I would never have married.So even if I had known how to become a wife, I would have had to become his mother to make the institution function.We did not form a relationship, we entered an institution with strictly defined roles, at least, the ones that worked for my husband.
When two people enter into a committed relationship they create an extension of themselves, a midpoint where they unite. So, the relationship is not a thing, or an institution as marriage is called, but a place where lovers join, share, love and grow together. It is the third entity. It is the form of the bond through which their love flows, through which they share themselves and experience each others growth from that sharing and that bonding. This does not describe most relationships and it does not describe most marriages. The reason begins in childhood.
Children have their first and most important lessons in relationships in their family homes. They learn by watching their parents with each other, they learn by watching their parents with themselves and their siblings, and they learn through their interaction with their siblings. One of the first challenges that we are faced with when we enter into an adult relationship is that it is destructible. The relationship with our parents and siblings is indestructible, for better or for worse – they are always there. Even if we run away, they are still always there till death do we part. The relationship between parents and children is the only relationship that is relatively certain to be till death. Yet, somewhere in our subconscious minds we form, and act based upon a belief that a few words repeated before an official creates the same unbreakable bond. It does not and it has not for a very long time.
Divorce statistics show that eighty percent of marriages that end in divorce do so because of irreconcilable differences. Any relationship, including marriage will last as long as the needs of those involved are being met. This makes sense, but understanding those needs, grasping the importance of those needs and realizing how the survival of a marriage can hinge on the smallest thing is a little more difficult. This is because the smallest slight, or cruel word said in a fight never leaves the relationship. It never leaves the memory of the one who was slighted – never – ever, no matter what the person says. Put a person under hypnosis and you will find that throughout that person’s entire life there was not a leaf that blew by that is not remembered. We are, for better or for worse, memory keepers. No one knows for sure where all of the memories go, but what is a fact is that if the incident is repeated, the original one flies out to meet it and grow.
They say God is in the details, well, a relationship is strengthened or weakened by the details, the little tiny details and sometimes no one is aware of its condition until it snaps. One partner says, “What did I do”, the other partner says, “I don’t know, just a lot of things”. It is just a lot of little things. So many people think that the work ends when you say “I do”. This may be when we stop working, but it is also the time when the things that must be worked on begin to accumulate.
From the beginning of any relationship, we need to understand that if we have, ‘fallen in love’, then we are under the influence of a heavy intoxicant, maybe the heaviest.We are not in our right minds.The more that we struggle to see beyond our need for the next fix of the other person’s energy, the better chance we have at success.Clarity is the most important thing in having a successful relationship, make your needs clear – especially to yourself.My hand is a zillion times more mine than my husband will ever be.When it comes to another human being, we can’t take the word ‘mine’ too literally.No one abandons a relationship that makes them happy.No one cheats on a relationship that fulfils his or her needs.No one can be held down, held back, or controlled indefinitely.The only way to guarantee that the one you love is going to be there is to seek to make that person feel important, appreciated, loved, and most of all respected.
There are always two complete individuals and the relationship.The part of you that enters the relationship is the part of you who thinks first of the other – first my love, then us, then me.If you do this there will be times when you sacrifice what you want for your partner, but there will be equal times when your partner does the same for you.You don’t need to be in a relationship to worry about yourself, you can do that alone.
Forget about being right and never even consider winning. In a relationship if one person wins the fight, both lose the war. Sometimes we want our partners to think the same way as we do about everything. Only, if they really begin to do that we begin to feel that the person we fell in love with has been possessed by a member of the Stepford community. And sometimes if they don’t, we fear that we will lose our partner to someone who thinks the way that he or she does. If you are on opposing sides of an issue, respect the other’s right to see things from a different perspective than yours. If you have left your ego, and your baggage outside, an explanation, or saying, “These are the reasons that I feel this way…” may or may not convert the other person, but at least that person will have an understanding of why your beliefs are what they are and understanding in itself should make honoring your right to your beliefs easier.
Some beliefs, often religious or political are never going to become one.However, they are deeply charged with emotion and should not be criticized, discussed perhaps, but never critically.If there are little things that your partner needs that to you seem ridiculous – honor them.You will have you own share of ridiculous needs to be honored.
At some point in a relationship we realize that we do not want to continue without the other person. Not too long after that we have our first fight and realize that this unbelievable, one of a kind, made in heaven relationship is not indestructible. This causes that monster fear to raise its head. We become possessive, and jealous. At which point we remarkably do everything possible to alienate the person that we feel we can’t live without. We forget the most important thing, for some reason that can be articulated, this other person decided that he or she wanted to commit to us. What is important here is that whatever made that person, come to that decision was something about who we were, and what we did. It was never a specific thing, it was a mode of behavior, a way of being – what comes from the heart that beats inside of us. If you love someone and want to keep that person by your side till death do you part, be who you were when that person fell in love with you, and even more, when that person chose you to commit to.
We want to go to heaven but we don’t want to die.We want a guarantee that our partner will never leave us, but we don’t want to do the work to make them stay.If you are not sure as to what you should do, or if you have been fighting for so long that you have forgotten, ask your partner this, “What was it that made you want to spend your life with me?”“What can I do to make you want a life with me as badly as you did in the beginning?”This is not asking who else you should become, or, who else you should act like, it is asking what part of who you are that you have not been lately, or you could be more of.
To be responsible is not simply to accept burdens, more than anything else it is to accept power. We are the actors in the play that is our lives – we are at all times spiritually responsible for our actions in that play. However, until that spiritual responsibility becomes emotional and material within our lives we will be destined to enact the same play over and over again with nothing changing but the period wardrobe and props.
When I was a child my father taught me how to play Gin Rummy. We would play for hours and most of the time that we played I would win. One day I was feeling very full of myself as a great card shark and I decided to play for money. My father tried to talk me out of it, but I insisted. I bet my entire allowance and in about five minutes my father won. Now the game was over and he had won and I believed that he should give me my money back. My father refused. I cried, I begged, I sulked, I even tried to borrow the exact amount, but he absolutely refused. I could not believe that my father could actually love me and not give me back my money. I decided that he did not really love me. I believed that if he loved me he would give me anything that I wanted. This was what I really felt. It took a long time for me to understand that my fathers’ love had nothing to do with my responsibility for my own actions.
After many months, perhaps even years, I finally understood what he had given to me. I could never again act in any way or say any words that I was not prepared to be responsible for the outcome of. I realized that my father would never make idol threats, if I wanted to do something that I should not, he would tell me the punishment that I would receive if I did it. He was no longer attached to my choice, and when I ultimately did what I wanted to do anyway, he was not attached to the punishment. I am now grateful for this lesson. The one good thing about this lesson is that it is never too late to learn, and never too late to teach to your children. It only takes one time, which was all it took for me. I may have pushed the envelope many times after that, but the difference was that I was responsible and prepared for whatever the outcome. I was in my power.
I suppose that when our belief in reincarnation was taken away from us, so too was the possibility of ever really being right – so we went for the next best thing which was appearing to be right. Of course if we could do neither, we had to place the responsibility for our being wrong on someone else – blame – so that we could escape whatever repercussions we envisioned. The concept of reincarnation has always felt right to me. I always knew that God was Love, and it just made sense to me that placing us in the darkness and giving us only one chance to find the right light – without a manual was not a loving act. To me, it was like taking your child and putting her out at night having this discourse:
Parent: Go find it and you can’t come home until you do – and if you don’t you will be lost forever.
Child: Find what?
Parent: Figure it out.
Child: Which direction do I go?
Parent: Look in the Book.
Child: Which Book – there are so many?
Parent: Figure it out!
Then having the parent close the door on the child. So, reincarnation made sense to me. As someone who has practiced Astrology for many years, I have looked to the chart for past life content. But a chart may be easily verified in this life, but when referring to past lives it is really theoretical. However, since I started doing past life regressions, I find that the chart does give very accurate information as to the issues we need to take responsibility for in our lives that we have failed to do the same in past lives. I see people repeating the same theme over and over again. In the sixteenth century the theme may have been “Romeo and Juliet”, while in the twentieth century it may have been “West Side Story”. Over and over again I see people making the same ultimate choices, life after life, suffering the same consequences only with a slightly different story line. My father put the responsibility for my actions in my lap. I am still growing into that lesson, it is still a work in progress, but at least there is progress. I thought that my choices were pre-determined. I now realize that they are not pre-determined but they are hardwired into my make-up, because they are the choices that keep my ego where it is the most comfortable – on familiar ground. I love the saying, “Better the hell you know than the hell you don’t”. That is straight from the ego’s mouth. When we take responsibility, full responsibility – “The buck stops here” kind of responsibility, we will very likely end up in unfamiliar territory. I know how to function in a bad relationship, but do I really know how to function in a good one? Even happy is scary if happy is unknown. I always go left, maybe I should go right. I always wait, maybe I should act. I always go for the one who needs love, maybe I should go for the one who has it.
We choose the lessons we will learn. We have to accept responsibility for the choices we made before we came here as well as the choices that we make while we are here. We did not choose to suffer; we chose to learn we chose the areas of growth we would work on in this lifetime. This was how we determined our moment of birth<!–[if supportFields]> XE “birth” < ![endif]–>; we chose that moment so the energies of the planets would create the right atmosphere for the growth we came in to achieve.
Taking responsibility automatically puts us in the present. It puts us in a situation in which we have choices to make. As soon as we acknowledge that we have choices, we will realize that we have power. Finding someone or something to blame for our situation relieves us of the responsibility of changing it. It also prevents it from changing. Even if we blame ourselves, we tend to blame something that we label as an inadequacy rather than our own action or inaction, which we can do something about. I will not permit my children to say, “I can’t”, they have to say, “I won’t”, “I can’t” is a great deal more comfortable than, “I won’t”, “I won’t” implies responsibility.
Some people prefer to be miserable; they prefer to be victims. These people are constantly seeking and rejecting answers. Everything that goes wrong in their lives is the responsibility of someone or something other than themselves, and no amount of facts will convince them otherwise. This is a pattern built up over lifetimes.
The wrong people find them; they don’t find the wrong people. They remember the harsh things said to them but not what they might have said to provoke harsh words from others. If they are ever wrong, it is because they were provoked, tricked, or in some way forced to do whatever they were being held responsible for doing wrong.
If there is any good in their lives they find someone to compare it with who has it better. They do not compromise, because if it is all or nothing there is a much better chance of getting nothing. These same people tend to be luckier than most, they tend to be taken care of although they don’t notice it. These people probably live the most tortured lives because they have to keep validating the external source of their misery. The catch is that when we are not responsible we are not in our power, we hand over our power to those people or circumstances that we consider to be responsible. We are not blocked from having a wonderful life, we miss the chances life presents to do so because we are so deeply engrossed in our need to elude responsibility. “I won’t call her because she hasn’t called me”, “I won’t show love because it is never appreciated”, “I won’t try because I always lose”. Even when we blame ourselves, we say, “I am not tall enough, smart enough, attractive enough, strong enough…” We blame an attribute or lack of an attribute; we don’t take responsibility for an action or lack of action, a choice made or refusal to make a choice. We do not take responsibility, as beings.
This is all perception. If you perceive yourself as not responsible, as helpless then the positive side is that you are off of the hook, you didn’t make a mistake, fail, etc., the negative side is you are helpless, a victim of an unsafe world.
Lets look at an example, say that you have a good job, you have never been late, and have never been sick. One day you walk into the office and the boss’s lover is sitting at your desk and you’re out of a job. Well that is a classic case of victimization if ever one existed right? Perhaps, it really depends on ones perspective. This could be an example of how nothing you do works out, so it is a good reason to go get drunk, or lock yourself in your room. You can add this to the list of wrongs done to you. Or you could tell yourself that you’re lucky that you got away from a losing situation. Perhaps you might perceive it as a sign from the Universe to go on your own, or that it is just a sign to move on.
Most people are afraid of responsibility because they fear being responsible for the outcome of our actions. However, taking responsibility for the outcome is unrealistic. When we take responsible for a child or a valuable piece of jewelry or anything left in our keeping this is in a moment. It is not something that we do twenty-four hours a day. However when we accept responsibility for our actions we are taking responsibility for everything except the outcome and we are taking that responsibility in every moment that we are alive. It is being responsible for each thought, each movement and each word that we say. We cannot control the outcome of anything. I may drink and drive and have an accident or not. I am responsible for having been drinking. I am neither responsible for the fact that I had an accident nor am I responsible if I did not have one. To be responsible is to be present and aware in each action that we take in each thought that we have. This is to be in each now of our lives.
There is a part of our brain that works automatically. It regulates our body, it breathes, it pumps blood to our organs it does not take our presence or our awareness in order to function.
When we are toddlers and we begin to walk we are present. Each step is an effort it takes mindfulness. After we walk long enough it becomes automatic. I watched my son focus and strain while he tries to put his socks on. Eventually he didn’t even notice that he was doing it, because it became automatic. Even when we drive to a certain destination enough times it too becomes automatic, as though the car just knows where to turn.
How often do we bump into a piece of furniture and say, “excuse me”? When our living, becomes automatic we cannot be responsible, we are sleep walking. We are not present. Many times the loss of passion in our relationships and even the loss of growth in our relationships emerges simply out of our having sent the functioning of the relationship to automatic. Where once we experienced each word and movement of our lover and were present within the relationship now the relationship becomes automatic. The relationship becomes part of our unseen unfelt automatic world. So we cannot find where we went wrong because we were not really there. We need to relegate the functioning of our bodies to the automatic brain and the functioning of our lives to our active selves.
When we meditate we are taught to focus on our breathing because that connects us with the present. That connection is the key. When we are connected with our present, with our actions we can then assume responsibility for our lives. When we are truly responsible we are again empowered and in control. It may take work and time to disengage our lives from automatic. It will certainly take walking through our own fears. Yet once this is done we are finally connected with our lives, our loves, our souls and our God. When we are awake we can hear sounds that the sleeping cannot hear and feel things that the numb cannot feel.
When we are awake and responsible nothing gets past us or slips through the cracks. When we say something it has value because it is not just an automatic response. When we are awake we awaken those around us, merely by our presence. Our lives do not just happen; we don’t wonder where the day went. We are aware that we have lived it. Each moment is fuller because we are aware of all the wonders within it. In a relationship we feel all the things that we felt in the beginning because each moment is a beginning when we are alive. Life becomes awe inspiring because we are in it. We feel empowered in the knowledge that we are responsible for how we have lived our lives.