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Designing YOUR Dream Marriage Begins with Daily Doses of ForgivenessBy Lori S. Rubenstein
As a relationship coach, I often hear clients (especially after a divorce) asking, "Why bother with marriage?" With all the gusto they can muster, they will inevitably insist that they will never get married again and that marriage doesn't work!!! They don't know anyone with a happy marriage and if it looks happy, it's probably fake anyway. However, there was always one question I dreaded even more.
The question I dreaded was, "Do you know anyone who has a really healthy, happy marriage?" I looked around me and very few couples came to mind. So the inevitable question was, "is marriage worth it?" I mean, why strive for marriage if so many people are unhappy with it?
Here is the truth as I see it. Your entire life is what you make it. If we want to slide through life, blame others for our unhappiness and not look within, then yes, that is what we will get.
For me, forgiveness is the greatest gift anyone could have in their lives. Couples who are happy and have been married for many years will tell you that they forgive often.
What is forgiveness? It is giving up the wish that the past can be different. It is giving up the need to change another person and finding acceptance. It is taking personal responsibility for your piece in the situation and making amends. It is seeing the gifts that every situation brings, learning the lessons, and then living in gratitude for what has been, for what is, and for what is coming down the road. With forgiveness, peace in marriage, in all relationships, is possible.
Now, this does not mean being a doormat. I always say there is a season for forgiveness, and a season for boundaries. Safety, emotional and physical safety, comes first. Forgiveness comes after you are safe.
While we live in a society filled with neurotic people seeking a quick fix, be like the turtle... slow and steady wins the race. I recommend taking charge of your own happiness and learn how to forgive by building your forgiveness muscles daily with a simple 4-Step Living with Forgiveness Process.
1. Accept and Acknowledge the TRUTH of the situation
2. Take Personal Responsibility for your piece of the "problem"
3. Find the gifts or the lessons in the situation
4. Live from gratitude daily
Since practicing forgiveness, I no longer dread the question. I can honestly answer "My marriage is happy and this is how I got there..."
While being on the same page helps, I have seen miracles happen when just one partner steps fully into the process.
I've studied relationships for years, and I certainly made my share of mistakes. I suggest being gentle with yourself and not beat yourself up for past mistakes. Rather, practice increasing your ability to live a long-term committed relationship by practicing these steps as often as you can, making each step a habit. Allow resentment to leave your relationship so peace can reign.
Copyright © by Lori Rubenstein and The Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Lori Rubenstein is a passionate lifetime learner in the art of forgiveness. As a Divorce Attorney, Forgiveness Teacher and Relationship Coach, she believes that our life path, our journey, is exactly what we need to meet our soul's desire. Thus, there is a purpose and a reason for everything. Her life set her up perfectly to be a beacon - lighting the path for others to find their way back to love. Whether she holds you with grace and love, or a "tough-love-tell-it-like-it-is" attitude, you know this compassionate warrior has your back! www.LoriRubenstein.com
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I want to be married but he doesn't want to commit - what do I do?
I've been with my partner for 14 years, and although we have a son together and have lived together for the past year, he doesn't want to get married. He loves me, and is devoted to his son, and we are best friends, but he is afraid to commit because he says we have "issues". I want to be married... What should I do?
~ HB from California
Susan responds ...
That's a a tough situation. It's clear that you have a lot invested in this relationship and sharing a son makes any decision about change complex. It sounds like you aren't getting the level of commitment your heart desires and that this man is not likely to change his position.
Asking yourself what you intend to have in relationship, taking a stand for your intentions and deal-breakers can help you come to a decision about how to move forward. From my view (not knowing any further details about your relationship) it comes down to a decision on your part. Are you feeling that your needs and requirements for the relationship are being met? Is this something that you and your partner can work through? If your requirement of being married isn't being met, what else isn't being met and are they grounds to leave the relationship or is it worth staying and not feeling as happy as you want to be?
I encourage you to think about what ideal relationship looks like for you, what your deal breakers are, taking everything into consideration. You have major decisions to consider when you feel you aren't getting the level of commitment your heart truly wants. Working with a Relationship Coach can help you sort this out and guide you to come to the decisions you are facing. It can support you in sorting out more of what is happening in the relationship itself. I invite you to consider working with a Coach. It can really make a powerful difference.
Susan Ortolano | www.conscioussoulmates.com
Chuck responds ...
In the generally standard loving exchange, the female wants to be cherished, understood and respected, in exchange for which she trusts, accepts and appreciates her mate. Being respected has a special biological as well as emotional basis for the female. Her biological evolution taught her to seek a male, who would provide and protect her over the full length of time it took to bring their progeny to adulthood. This meant that he had to not only hold her in high esteem, which is the common definition of "respecting," but he had to hold her in esteem above all others.
Your desire to be married may actually be a desire for the respect commensurate, with that high level of esteem. Males have a drive that sometimes clashes, with the female desire for formal commitment. He evolved as a hunter, who, having made the capture, felt a sense of finality. This may be the underlying issue, for him. He may have an innate desire to stay "in hunting mode," so he doesn't stop the loving exchange.
Find a good relationship coach to help you both through this dilemma.
Chuck Ames | www.lovelinkguru.com
Michelle responds ...
I honor you for seeking support on such an important issue.
Did your partner recently let you know of his intentions not to marry? If so, did something happen that changed his mind? You mentioned that you started living together in the past year; could this have something to do with it? Living together gives you an understanding of what married life looks like being together day in and day out.
If you have known that he did not want to marry for some time - why would this be an issue now? Were you hoping that he would change his mind? You want to get married but what will you do if your partner does not change his mind? Ultimately you need to be clear on what you really want and why do you want it?
You mentioned that he is afraid of commitment based on issues you have as a couple. Can you work through these issues together as a couple? Do you need to speak to someone that could provide support? Talking to someone either as a couple or individually can help you gain clarity regarding the situation.
Michelle Bianco | www.coachmichellebianco.com
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here www.relationshipcoach.org/ask-the-coach and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
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