I was watching a show the other day where a woman said, “I made it through 30 years of marriage…”
She made it through. Like it was a battle. You might be nodding your head like, “Well, yeah…” because that is what we have come to accept as reality for our relationships.
Remember that good ol’ phrase Quality Over Quantity? We apply this to relationships. We say it’s better to have fewer amazing partners than more mediocre ones. Now let’s take it further and apply it to relationships and time. Would you rather have one incredible year with someone or ten mediocre ones?
We have stopped showing up for ourselves. We don’t strive for enough in our relationships because we’re not willing to take enough risk. We’re sacrificing depth and intimacy for safety.
When we’re willing to open our hearts we can have incredibly beautiful, deep love in short periods of time. My last relationship ended at the ten month mark. One person said to me, “Look it was ten months, it wasn’t ten years.”
Hidden message: move on already.
True. It wasn’t ten years. Having someone walk out without ever mentioning their unhappiness after ten years isn’t something I can wrap my mind around. I can wrap my mind around how devastated I was after ten months. I can remember the dark depression, the shock my entire system went through in the transition from a secure relationship to one that dissolved in a moment’s time. I felt so much pain because I had loved so deeply in just ten months.
It’s not about the time. It’s not about making it to one year or to 30. There is a great cost to making it through. I know a couple who has been together for four years. Every few months they fight horribly and breakup. Instead of facing the truth they fight around it until they’re so exhausted that they comfort each other into safety again.
There is no honor in going to war with your partner. The high cost of avoiding the truth is that we stay in relationships that don’t serve us. We ask for less and less from our relationships until we’re two people living parallel lives. Depth disappears and so does a part of us. We stifle our own needs and become dissatisfied. We have children and show this as a model of relationship to them.
We do this because we don’t want to make a difficult choice. We don’t want to face what the pain is really pointing to. We’re afraid that our partner’s unhappiness means that there is something wrong with us. We’re afraid that if we face the truth then we might not make it.
It’s hard to let go. It hurts like hell to go through a breakup no matter how conscious it is. We are wired to run away from pain, but instead we create more of it. Instead of addressing the issues we avoid them and suffer. We squelch our souls. We suffer in silence. We don’t feel seen or heard. We don’t feel met. We don’t feel understood. We run circles around the truth.
Relationships in which we feel deeply met and satisfied cannot exist if we continue to choose fear. It won’t change until we learn to become comfortable with vulnerability. We have to be brave enough to share our deepest truths. We have to be willing to share what it is we truly need. When we do, our partners have an opportunity to meet those needs, and if they can’t meet them, well, then we have the choice to move on.
We don’t allow ourselves to uncover the kind of relationships our souls so desperately want because we’re afraid we can’t have them. We’re afraid the person we love won’t show up for us, and we’re afraid we’re not worthy of them showing up.
Healthy relationships allow for dependency, but to be able to be dependent in a healthy way we have to learn to love ourselves. Through loving ourselves we learn to speak up for what we need. We know what we deserve and are unwilling to settle for just getting by. We show up for ourselves so we can show up for our relationships.
The path to a deeply fulfilling life is to listen to the calling of our souls. In order to listen we have to trust. We have to trust that there is something greater available to us. We have to trust that on the other side of pain is joy and purpose. We have to be willing to face into the truth and the pain and show up for the incredible lives that are waiting for us on the other side.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to make it through my relationships. I want to be present for each moment. I want to lean in when I feel inclined to lean back. I want to experience depth of intimacy I have yet to experience but my soul is longing for. I want to be willing to hold space when things feel uncertain. I want to truly hear my partner for who he is and allow for his needs to be met inside our container as well as mine.
There is no honor in making it through. There is no honor in allowing yourself to suffer. Honor yourself by choosing to face the pain instead of avoiding the truth. The more you learn to stand by your own side the more fulfilling your life will become and the more met you’ll be in your relationships.