WHAT HAPPENED TO MY VALENTINE?
Do you feel alone even at home with your spouse and family? Do you wonder what happened to the love you once had for each other? Vanished love and missed genuine connection agonize many marriages. When that happens, despair turns some to alcohol, affairs, internet exploration, hobbies, or having children to fill the void of emptiness. How do couples evolve to this state and how it can be repaired?
He also believes most men are not so unhappy about their marriages as they are dissatisfied that their wives are so unhappy with them. The tendency is to withdraw or attack when confronted by women who waver between silence, eruption, care taking, and manipulation. Fights about discipline, money, and lost couple time can take over the mood in the home before we know it. The real issue of connection becomes disguised in disagreement over routines. The husband may struggle over feeling undermined during discipline, become angry and lash out in inappropriate ways and finally withdraw completely. It is at this point that outside interests and people replace the family in importanceóan escape from the pain and shame of feeling helpless and displaced. Blaming, criticism, and being right take the place of open communication and mutual understanding for both husband and wife.
I also add that when the first baby arrives, total focus on the new child and fear of doing it wrong can take over. Child and mom become the key relationship and dad feels lost and confused. If dad does involve himself, he is sometimes criticized about how he does it and then feels lost and confused again. Men want to feel appreciated and useful, but in this scenario become emasculated and may retreat or attack. They may find solace in TV, friends, a new relationship, or work. The pain is too much to bear. While the wifeís criticism is intended to be helpful, it is usually heard as a tremendous discount of the husbandís efforts. Many choose to give up rather than face the part they play. Thick walls of silence and distance complicate it even more. In the pain of that moment the theme song for most is: ďIím just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please donít let me be misunderstood.Ē Cyndi Lauperís words ring true.
Learning steps to a new way of being in relationship is like learning a new language. It is the pathway out of misunderstanding. The practice of intimacy requires conscious effort to stop typical responses of anger and hostility, the disguises for feeling unimportant, abandoned, or shamed. Men and women search for connections that validate their value and feel safe and warm. Skill and awareness soften the challenges of marriage and bring growth, wisdom, and compassion to the couple dance. Valentines donít disappear when engaged in respectful and passionate dialogue revealing core fears, vulnerabilities, strengths, and spiritual centers.