Marriage Is The Great Teller Of Truth
Written By: Mark Smith
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The following is an email from a very interesting client of mine. I'll call him Michael. He is emailing a buddy of his offering marital wisdom and experience. His buddy is single, confused and currently waffling between two objects of his desire. My client is mid thirties, brilliant, emotionally repressed, insightful and locked into a painful marriage due to his commitment to two little ones. His message is pretty blistering. I would bet his buddy immediately checked himself into a monastery for a lifetime of prayer and solitary reflection as a monk after reading it. I taught this man most of what you will read. He has been a good student. His voice in the email is a bit dark and cynical though, a bit over the top. I will step in and comment along the way In CAPS to even that part out. It is my Blog this week because he does a masterful job of articulating immutable laws of marriage that everyone needs to know in an edgy, front line of the battle manner that really rocked! If you are happily married now, unhappily married or single LISTEN TO THIS MAN! While he is somewhat jaded, he knows what he is talking about...
"Marriage is the great truth teller. There is no where to hide in marriage. You will never be alone. (MY BROTHER GOT A LITTLE DRAMATIC HERE. HE FEELS TRAPPED SO IT FEELS LIKE HE IS NEVER ALONE. HE DOESN'T TAKE ENOUGH TIME FOR HIMSELF WITH BUDDIES. MARRIAGE DOESN'T END YOUR INDIVIDUALITY.) You will never again make a unilateral decision for yourself. (OKAY, HE IS OVERSTATING AGAIN HERE. LET'S SAY, YOU SHOULD NEVER MAKE BIG UNILATERAL DECISIONS WITHOUT YOUR SPOUSE.) Your weaknesses as a man, in fact, as a person, will become magnified. (UH, CAN I GET AN AMEN!) You will be tested every day as to who you are, what you are, what you want to be and how you should conduct your life.
No matter who you choose to marry, no matter how perfect you think the person is before you're married, you will marry the salt that will be placed in your biggest psychological and emotional wounds. (SMOKIN!!! THAT IS WHAT MARRIAGE IS, KIDS. SALT FOR THEM WOUNDS!) If the marriage is to persevere she will penetrate every part of your being, especially your weaknesses and your wounds. And if the marriage is to work you will have to allow this. She has to become you and you have to become her. (WHAT OUR AUTHOR MEANS IS THAT YOU HAVE TO BECOME A TRUE TEAM WITH SHARED POWER AND ACCOUNTABILITY.) Your shame, your guilt, your pride, your defensiveness, your deceitfulness, your Counterdependence and Codependence, your anger, your rage and your vulnerability will all have to be dragged to the surface and faced.
If they are not, your marriage will not work. You will begin to see your wife in contempt and disrespect. You will become angry every minute of every day...until you either walk away in miserable failure...............or you break. (AS IN BREAK DOWN PSYCHOLOGICALLY IN A GOOD WAY INTO HUMILITY, EMOTIONAL DEPTH AND INTIMACY.) Marriage is made to break us. It is made to make us change. It is made to make our strengths weaker and our weaknesses stronger. It is made to make us uncomfortable with the man we see in the mirror. (I COULD NOT SAY IT BETTER.)
No matter who you marry...no matter how perfect she seems. No matter how many sunsets you and her sit under, no matter how many minutes pass with eyes deeply locked, no matter how much laughing and joy and playfulness you have before you get married, you must understand that this season will pass. It is a narcotic whose effect is swift, powerful, euphoric, empowering and transcendent....and destructively addictive. Like any narcotic, it will not last. It is not made to last. It is not meant to last. It is meant to die down and be periodically called upon as a reminder. These are the things that inspire us humans to greatness.
It is why singers sing. It why painters paint and sculptors sculpt. It is why dancers dance and poets write. (WOW, I LOVE THIS! SO TRUE AND POETIC IN ITSELF!)
But it is fleeting. It is the sweetest drug know to all of mankind and we are not meant to have this drug every day of our lives. When it ends you will be left to face the things that I mentioned in the previous paragraph. No matter what, you will have to face yourself. You will come down from the drug and you will be left with real life and a wife. You will be left with the ugliness and the darkness and the wounds. You will have to face them together.
And you will either quit and walkaway because it is too hard and too painful, or you will stay and stand side by side with each other as best you can and you will persevere. No matter the pain you cause each other; no matter the injuries you cause to each other, the emotional batterings that you place on each other.......you will stand.......because there will be glimpses of the girl you shared the drug with and you will relent. You will remember why you are here. You will remember why you have this life...why you chose this life. But the glimpses are sparse at times and the despair seems in abundance. You will either quit and walk away because it hurts too bad.......or you will stand.......because she is still standing........you will stand. You will persevere.
These things will not be avoided.
This is why I said that I would undo my marriage. (IF HE COULD GO BACK IN TIME.) For I feel I am too weak to meet these challenges in facing myself. I fear I am not nearly emotionally intelligent enough to change and to persevere."
As you can tell, Michael does not suffer from any lack in emotional intelligence. It is just that his childhood wounds are profound, scary and deeply painful. There are days that he perhaps lacks the emotional fortitude or the courage to stay in the box and keep swinging even though it feels like he is getting pelted with 100 mph inside fastballs. Marriage is hard, so hard. It will uncover the deepest wounds of your childhood and that is painful news for us all. Real marriage and relationship are reserved for the mightily courageous alone. No cowards need apply.
But it is so worth the work and the pain. Marriages and families are sacred. If you are walking on a beach at age 70, trust me, the very best hand to have in yours is that person you married when you were a kid. You have a lifetime of memories, battle scars, tales of the journey and generations of your family to embrace and love.
Thank you, Michael for laying down some kick ass truth this week! Marriage is to be entered into with joy, with fear and with trembling. Embrace your pain and embrace your teacher/spouse. They are in your life to help you, heal you, break you and love you. It is all good!
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