Column: Marriage is a mirror

Commentary by Kristen Boice

Do you feel unhappy in your marriage? Do you wish your partner would change? Have you found yourself wishing your partner would meet your needs? Do you wish your partner would grow up or wake up?  If you answered yes, to any of these questions you are not alone.

It’s important to begin with a fact. We cannot change someone else no matter how much we try. We can’t make someone want to change no matter what we say or do. They have to want to grow and do their own work.  We spend a lot of lost time trying to get someone to see the light.

Couples therapy is not about fixing someone in the relationship. It’s about each partner getting curious about their own triggers, their behavior and taking ownership for growing and learning a healthier way to show up.  Marriages, along with parenthood, mirror back deeper issues for us to explore.

  • Begin by working on you. All change first has to start with you. Write out what you want to work on and why you want to work on them. Take ownership for your needs and emotions.
  • Your worth or value doesn’t come from someone else. Your security has to come from within. Often if we didn’t get our needs met earlier in life, we look to someone else to heal the pain of the past. We project our needs onto our partner and when they don’t meet them, it recreates the same unhealthy cycle.
  • Don’t push down your feelings or bury your pain. If we don’t feel, we don’t heal. We have to learn to deal with feelings and not numb or bury our pain. We look to our partner to make things better or heal our hurt. Journaling is an excellent way to process through them and gain insight into our behavior.
  • Keep in mind it is never too late to begin this journey. It leads to freedom, joy and the ability to cope with hard things in life. Go within to find the healing instead of looking on the outside.

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