So, you’re an empath married to a guy that treats you like a queen – most of the time. But those times he’s angry? You question if you’re more like your mother than you thought. You worry that his behavior is going to hurt your kids and that you’re being irresponsible by not divorcing him. I’ve been there and turned my marriage around totally on my own. My own transformation is what transformed my marriage. It’s the process I detail in my book, The Authentic Wife, and my online course, The Authentic Life. Here’s more about what to do if you find yourself in a marriage or possible divorce you don’t want your children to have to recover from:
You Have to Heal
First, you must heal, but not from this marriage… from your childhood. From those experiences where you were rejected, not enough, abandoned, neglected. We call this Inner Child healing and it’s absolutely vital to having better relationships. You don’t have to do it on a therapist’s couch — you can do it right now, in front of your computer. Get a journal and start exploring and get into the mindset that you are now the parent and you are going to reparent the child version of you that is stuck inside, wreaking havoc in your adult life. You’re going to grow yourself up in the most loving way you can!
From Patterns That Keep You Stuck
Patterns are scenarios that keep repeating in our lives. They start even before we are born by the things your parents did, and their parents did, and their parents did… Because we are conditioned to certain behaviors and beliefs, we tend to just keep repeating whatever they experienced. But you have control over this! Once you identify what patterns are in play in your own life, you can consciously choose to step out of them. Here’s how:
Put in the most simple terms what is happening right now and then discover where that started happening in your life. For example, “He ignores what I say.” Perfect, who was the first person that ignored what you said? What did that mean for your heart? What did you do as a result of being ignored? What did you begin to believe about yourself as a result? Why is this dysfunctional? How do you always react now when this happens? What part of you is seeking to be loved and healed? What can you tell that part of you?
In Order to Feel the Guidance of Your Emotions
Healing is absolutely essential. When you explore these patterns, you may well up with tears, feel hot and angry, or realize you never grieved the loss of something you couldn’t get back. Those repressed emotions not only are a heavy burden to bear, but they can actually affect your physical health as well. And most important, putting a kink in the hose and blocking those emotions means your emotions in the present moment can’t get through. And that’s dangerous!
Why’s it dangerous? Because emotions are just energy that guide you toward your truth. They keep you safe, keep you alive. If a bear is running at your right now, your body SHOULD feel panic and if you shut your mind off and just follow what you feel pulled to do, you might survive the attack. That energy is your WISDOM. You have to be able to follow it to know what you want and what best serves you and your growth. Without this guidance, you’ll never actually know why your husband makes you upset or what you want to experience instead. You’ll also have trouble making decisions.
To Know What You Want and Hold Boundaries
Once you have the wisdom of your emotions back because you’ve let all of that old repressed energy flow, either through talk therapy, self-coaching, working with a conscious parenting and relationship coach like me, physical activity like yoga, or somatic experiencing, you’ll now have your inner compass back… and stronger than ever!
You’ll be able to easily tap into behavior that’s acceptable and not acceptable, so you’ll know when to move away from behavior that doesn’t reflect your worth and when to move toward behavior that does. And if you’re a mom, you’ll more easily know when to hold limits for your children. As you’ll learn from my online course, The Authentic Life, anger is the emotion that alerts you to boundary violation. And there’s a good chance you feel hate toward your spouse right now, which is total boundary devastation… but don’t blame him — that was your wounding at play allowing that behavior. Now YOU are in control, healthy healed you, and you can begin to shape a new dynamic between your husband and yourself.
You Have to Want to Stay Married
I know this one SEEMS to be a given, but I can’t tell you how many women I’ve talked to who say they want to work with me and fix their marriage, but their subconscious wish is actually that it dissolves. It’s as important for you to want it to work as it is for you to do the work.
You Can’t Fix Your Marriage From a Place of Fear
This golden nugget didn’t come to me until I was writing The Authentic Wife. We were deep into the transformation process, and I’d get SO FRUSTRATED that my husband came from such a place of a crazy amount of fear! He was so concerned about protecting us, about money, and about making the right choices (which I later learned were exaggerated masculine tendencies and a good thing at healthier levels). Because of his fear, I’d then start to worry about our marriage even working out!
Finally, it dawned on me that I was simply matching his fear. His fear was about survival, my fear was about survival — but his was in regard to physical survival and mine was emotional survival. Classic masculine vs. feminine energy at play. If he was in an emotional state of fear, I joined him. That’s because we have tremendous power in an intimate relationship to influence the emotional state of our partner. I recommend reading Quantum Love by Dr. Laura Berman if you want to learn more about this. But you can use it and feel incredibly powerful — more on that later. In this case, you have to realize that your emotions are being hijacked by emotional contagion, emotional enmeshment, emotional entanglement, whatever you want to call it is fine. You have the choice to move out of this space and back to your own authentic emotional state.
Don’t Rely On Anything Outside of You to Make You Happy
You can’t save your marriage if you’re depending on anything outside of you to make you happy. If you do that, you give all of your power away, because you’ll never be happy! Happiness is also an emotion that we can choose to generate, choose to experience, align our choices and our life to things that produce it. We can meet our own needs and find other ways to get them met. We can speak our needs and allow our husband to meet them for us. But we can’t set conditions on our happiness born out of old, conditioned, false expectations about what our husband should or shouldn’t be.
Identify the ways you’ve defined what a husband is. Do you really need him to be all those things? What if he defined what a wife was? Chances are very high that you would balk at his definitions!! I’m sure they would include things you don’t like doing, can’t see yourself ever doing. We all have IDEALS and chances are also good that we wouldn’t even be happy with those ideals. If you wanted a very masculine man that could fix or build anything, who had bulging muscles and loved to carry you off into the sunset… that guy is not going to meet the needs that you really have, of someone who is more balanced in his feminine and masculine energy, who cares about living creatures and having intellectual conversations. He’s going to be the extreme end of the spectrum and that kind of guy attracts a woman at the other extreme end of the spectrum– and that relationship is ripe for drama and, sorry to say this, but abuse. You don’t want that man!
Your Intention Shapes Your Experience
Merely setting the intention for the marriage to work is going to change YOUR behavior. It’s going to help you hold space for his feelings as well as your own. It will guide your behavior into actions that show you care and that hold your boundaries. Wanting it to work doesn’t mean that you give up MORE of yourself. It means that you choose to act in ways that lead toward it working.
Put another way, if you really don’t want to go out with friends this weekend, you’re going to find excuses, create delays, you may even wind up physically ill! Your intention is a superpower that shapes your experience. If you have even a subconscious intention that your marriage not work, it won’t.
You Have to Love Him
This one is hard because you have to get to the place of loving yourself before you can love him. You have to do that inner child healing work and experience you as a parent that shows you what love REALLY is, not necessarily what you experienced as a child.
You Can’t Transform What You Reject
You can’t transform what you reject. This applies to your body, money, your kids, your home, anything. It especially applies to your husband. If you want to now begin to allow him to become more authentic and therefore more healthy, then you’re going to have to love what shows up in front of you. Rejecting him at every turn doesn’t allow him to experience the energy of love and safely settle into his own transformation — and there will be one as he adapts to the “new” authentic you. If you have trouble with this, imagine loving his SOUL rather than the human that’s in front of you.
They’ll Mirror Your Love Back to You
Because of that superpower of mirroring, if you’re loving up your husband (or kids, money, etc.) they’re going to mirror that love right back to you. But it has to be healthy love. Imagine a houseplant… first imagine that you rarely think about it, give it the yucky water out of the tap, never prune it, and put it in a dark corner. Is it going to grow?
Now imagine that you water it regularly with filtered water. You give it fertilizer once a year. It has a warm sunny spot in the house. You remove the dead leaves as needed. How is this one going to grow? Is it going to give you the enjoyment you’d hoped for when you bought it?
Love is the Energy of Transformation
Finally, the best reason to love him even when he’s awful (not abusive, just awful) is because that is the energy in which we grow. I don’t mean to just forgive bad behavior, make excuses, or coddle him. I mean that when you are standing powerfully in a grounded place of love that you are ready to share with others, you have the space to give them empathy for their emotions. You actually help them do the work in the first step. You’ll help them release repressed emotions, understand what their emotions in the present mean, and eventually help them think critically through their dilemma. You can’t hold space if YOU are feeling defensive, fearful, angry, or resentful.
We can’t hate others into better people, we can only love them into better people. Just like one random act of kindness could turn someone around, your healthy empathy can help your spouse become the man he truly is. Your authentic living inspires his authentic living. The only thing you have to lose by loving him is more years of the unhappy relationship you’re experiencing now. And if you care about your children, you’ll want to make the family you already have be the family you love. See what happens.