Recently in coaching session, I had an amazing opportunity to transform a troubled marriage. In Monica’s eyes, I saw the depth of her pain and a high level of frustration she carried after 10 years of marriage.
At first glance it appeared that she was suffering. She was crying. She felt defeated; “I don’t know why this happened to me? I didn’t sign up for this… I didn’t think this is what marriage is all about. Please…” she begged, “can you help me out of this horrible life…?”
When I heard Monica speaking, it was an open invitation to fall into the trap of false belief that she was suffering from her husband! It was very tempting to see the illusion that she is simply a sweet, pure lady who happened to marry the wrong guy…
She wasn’t lying. She truly suffered.
But after a relatively short discussion, I realized that the core of her suffering was not coming from a husband, she was suffering from a CONCEPT.
“What seems to be the challenge?” I asked her softly.
“The challenge?,” she replied, “this is not a challenge. This is a nightmare… When my husband comes home from work every day, he expects the house to be clean and because I am… how do I say it… a little lazy… he always complains about it. It is ALL he has to say to me- ‘why are the dishes from last week still not washed? Why are there no clean socks for me? Why are the kid’s diapers still under my bed?’
He is a NON STOP complaining machine!!! I can’t take it anymore,” she concluded.
“Monica,” I tried to whisper… are all the above statements REAL? Is what you said about the unwashed dishes, the diapers, the socks… is it all REAL?”
“YES,” she said, “But ok- I am not perfect. I admit I am a little lazy… so what?”
I responded, “Why do you feel he cannot discuss with this issue with you?”
And here came the painful source of her suffering– THE CONCEPT…
She said, “I don’t understand why he doesn’t love me because he doesn’t like the way the house being maintained… isn’t he supposed to love me UNCONDITIONALLY???”
It took no time to realize that Monica was suffering from a deep mixed distinction syndrome. She truly believed that her husband’s unconditional love meant that she could keep her house like a zoo.
Well, here is the wake-up line I shared with Monica that I believe might serve a great tool for all people in a married partnership.
Love might be unconditional… but partnerships (marriages) are EXTREMELY CONDITIONAL!
We are dwelling together as a couple for a reason. We are in a committed relationship for a purpose. We are creating an amazing family as partners. We both have responsibilities. To believe each partner can simply do whatever they FEEL like doing, and expect the marriage to be without conditions, is false. Monica felt that she could maintain the house in a way it is impossible to dwell in, because love is unconditional… Her belief system simply got mixed up.
The moment she understood this distinction, her life dramatically changed– without changing her husband or changing her… it was all about changing her perspective, which allowed her to get rid of a CONCEPT that didn’t serve her or her marriage.
I found this to be a helpful tip to share with all of you. It might support you to start looking at your marriage life with open eyes… to share and discuss with your partner the roles you both play in the relationship so the technical elements are taken care of and now you can LOVE!!! Yes– Unconditionally!