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When my first marriage failed, I wanted desperately to fall in love and start again. I wanted to show my princess-obsessed little girls that lasting love was possible; that their romantic dreams could come true. That my romantic dreams could come true. When I met Mark, the man who is now my second husband, I was optimistic. He met my propensity for anxiety with a proclivity for deep calm. He told me that he wanted to dedicate the second half of his life to romance.
I was sold. Even better, no one was a bigger champion of me or my work than him. In that first year together, he gushed over me in a way that only my grandmother had done before. It felt great. Four years after we met, we married. It was something I had to talk Mark into; going through a divorce is hard, and neither of us were eager to go through that again. It was so much more fun to have an adult to talk to at night.
I also married Mark—again, unconsciously—in an attempt to preserve those feelings of being adored which are the hallmark of the early stage of almost every relationship. Nothing could be more romantic than a wedding and a honeymoon; nothing, in theory, could make our relationship more permanent than marriage. This is obviously faulty logic. There was, of course, no actual connection between the feelings I wanted to resurrect and the institution of marriage. The only ingredient in common is the partner.
And that might have been the wrong ingredient to bottle. Marriage did move us onto a decisively different plane, complete with a move to the suburbs and the ensuing long commute. Three of our teenagers decided to live full-time with us the fourth goes to boarding school. This was a departure from the week-on, week-off custody arrangements we were used to. Mark and I lost all the alone-time we had as a couple, but our family life blossomed.
I thrived in a house full of teenagers. Without the time to ourselves, we were used to—and with some ificant family stressors hammering away at us—Mark and I started operating a little more like middle-aged business partners than twenty-somethings in love. It became unclear to me how people with teenagers underfoot could ever have sex without the constant and libido-killing threat of interruption.
An unending family feud about how to load our new dishwasher developed. If that sounds familiar, you have likely married the wrong person. We all marry the wrong person. For many decades, it has housed my most cherished hopes and dreams. I am in love with my husband now. We human beings have a wonderful capacity to create rich fantasies. The truth is not very appealing: There is no prince in shining armor coming to save me from my loneliness and anxiety , to rescue me from my feelings of inadequacy.
Can I let go of my attachment to a cultural idea that is, quite literally, a fairy tale? I like them. They are like the promise of an amazing meal or unforgettable vacation. And every once in a while, I do, in fact, get one of those things. Someone younger. In my heart I knew it was true: I would marry him again and again, even now that I know that marriage is not necessarily easier or more pleasant than being alone, even accepting that marriage does not have any power to transport us back into a state of romantic bliss.
I know now that no actual human being can ever measure up to the romantic fantasy of a soulmate. Mark might be imperfect and imperfect-for-me , but I am also highly imperfect and, as such, imperfect for him. Determining the rightness of a match between ourselves and another is a fundamentally flawed enterprise, because nothing outside of ourselves—nothing we can buy, achieve, and certainly no other person—can fix our brokenness, can bring us the lasting joy that we crave.
A more empowering—and more deeply romantic—question is: Am I the right person for you? A more constructive and potentially satisfying proposition is to ask: Can I accommodate your imperfections with humor and grace? Can I negotiate our disagreements with love and intelligence? Without losing myself to fear and emotion? Am I willing to do the introspective work required of marriage? Can I muster the self-awareness needed to keep from driving you away?
Do I think I am brave enough to continue loving you, despite your flaws, and, more importantly, despite mine? View the original article. . By pausing to notice the way we respond to others, we can open ourselves up to more honest communication. When we open our hearts and minds to those around us, we can explore ways to express compassion.
Mindfulness can help us tap into the courage and compassion necessary to recognize our own prejudices and sit with them long enough to find a thoughtful way forward. Christine Carter, Ph. Or had I? Did you marry the wrong person? Can I tolerate your inability to read my mind and make everything all-better?
Cheryl Fraser June 21, How Mindful Communication Makes Us More Compassionate By pausing to notice the way we respond to others, we can open ourselves up to more honest communication. Giving and Receiving with an Open Heart When we open our hearts and minds to those around us, we can explore ways to express compassion. How Mindfulness Can Give Us the Courage to Examine Bias Mindfulness can help us tap into the courage and compassion necessary to recognize our own prejudices and sit with them long enough to find a thoughtful way forward.
Rhonda Magee October 5, About the author. Newman and Janet Ho. Register for the Mindfulness in Healthcare Summit - Fall This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.After 25 years of marriage whats different about dating family feud
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Chapter Marriage and Family