How can you have a marriage at peace?
Probably we all marry with as little preparation and understanding of the marital dynamics as we can. Uncounted moments of marital strife can erase the magic of the first encounter, and whittle away any hope left of understanding each other....
We have worked here on issues of attachment, of recognition and more of those deficits that hinder a real compassionate view of the other. What would be the basics, if you could have the magic key to a real marriage where love and personal growth go hand in hand?
If I could teach myself, the person I was at 20 years old, what now I know!...Even worst, if could give my own children the basics of happiness in their marriages, how would I do it? It's simple: I would share a bare bones 5 commandments table.
It would include what now are my core principles, as:
1.- LEARN TO LISTEN: don't be so worried about establishing your own opinion or truth, as to make your partner feel really understood. There is magic in doing reflexive listening, and your loved one deserves the royal treatment of being listened to.
2.- LEARN TO VALIDATE: Find whatever is there in front of your eyes, and mention using a positive comment. We all need confirmation of being sane, attractive, smart or valuable. You will be dispensing the gold of validation in her/his best aspects.
3.- LEARN TO SUPPORT: That is your basic role as a partner. You can never be so busy or interested in your projects as not to identify the moments when your partner needs your support. Other resources can be accessible, but it's your presence there that is so important for the relationship. Make your partner feel that you are there to support him/her regardless of the issue.
4.- LEARN TO SHARE EMOTIONS: If you are not there with your vulnerability, your commitment is only verbal. Learn to risk expressing your real emotions, ask for a moment of privacy to share and expect to be respected and understood. If not, validate your own effort, talk about the health side of opening up your emotional side and ask for understanding and support...Can you give the same?
5.- LEARN TO REFRAME ANY CRISIS INTO OPPORTUNITY: You are not a critic of your spouse. Avoid looking only at problem identification and stop doing negative evaluations...This gift means you learn the ability to transform or reframe failure into an opportunity for learning. You have to become the holder of the best possibility for each experience, so negativity takes the back seat. Any person near you will love your tenacity in identifying and appreciating any bit of learning, of intelligent decision-making even if the results are poor. What you do is focus on the positive aspects and the opportunity of growth that any experience has. No reproach, no guilt, no shaming, but pure appreciation of the value of the intent.
OK, do you think this is too much to ask? In my view now, every step should be in the marital contract...If we are going to grow up as adults through the experience of marriage, the best way to avoid an abusive, passive aggressive or empty marriage would be to accept the points I mention here and do an honest effort to deliver. It can help have a marriage at peace...Consistently, day in and day out...even when the other person is not there yet, and is doing hurtful behaviors? I'd say yes, because the intention is so strong, that could improve any relationship where those commandments are included. Dare to try?