Updated: Mar 3, 2019
Remember the last article on marriage (you can find that here) and how we covered the 5 things no one tells you about it? Well, here is another: most marriages I know are BiPolar. One day things are great and you’re getting along and the next you’re infuriated, frustrated and feel like throwing in the towel. I need you to hear that this is actually, incredibly normal.
I was sitting with a colleague the other day
at lunch and we are candidly sharing experiences in our relationships and she brilliantly says, “This is why most marriages fail and why ours will succeed. People don’t talk like this about their relationships.” It hit me right in the heart. People don’t talk about their relationships candidly and that leads to this quiet battle for holding on to love and feeling so alone in the fight.
We, as a society, have created a resounding mantra of “Be Real”, “Do You”, “Live Well”, but we also don’t allow the space to share the real authenticities of our lives. If we did then no one would feel shame for saying, “My husband drives me up a wall frequently,” or “If I have to listen to one more Bachelor episode with my wife I’m going to cancel cable.” Marriages, relationships, they are not all rosy all the time. It is human nature to fight, it is human nature to feel annoyed, to feel loved and to feel any other emotion that comes. When did we lose the ability to have community within our friendships? When did we lose the notion that emotions are only ok if they’re ‘good’ emotions? When did we start telling ourselves that we can only share the ‘good’ stories?
If we cannot speak the truth of our relationships behind closed doors, then we are going to continue to perpetuate the loneliness and isolation felt by so many of our fellow travelers. It is healthy and normal to need a sounding board. If you don’t have friends and family that you feel comfortable doing that with, then reach out to a therapist. Gaining an outside perspective allows you to see your relationship from another angle. You may even hear the same things your spouse said to you but can actually hear them because you’re less emotionally charged. Your significant other will likely love this and fight the urge to say, “I told you that so many times!”
I will fight the urge to say that ‘no marriage’ is without its set of problems, because universal statements are generally not true. However, I’ve seen a great deal of couples and there hasn’t been one that hasn’t had something that would benefit from an outside perspective. Couples therapy is a great place for this to happen. I encourage my couples to come as comfortably as they can be to session. I want them to feel as if they can do or say whatever they need to in order to clear the air and really push into the reasons why they have discord. We use the stories from their experiences, humor, and authenticity to create a space that feels safe to try new things and be vulnerable. If you haven’t been to a therapy session it can feel overwhelming not knowing what to expect and that is why I encourage you to ask questions of your therapist before the appointment, make sure they set the expectations for that first encounter, so you feel comfortable just being you in the room.
At the end of the day, you have chosen to be in a relationship with your partner because you love them. You love them on the days when they’re your best friend and most trusted human; and you love them on the days when you’ve contemplated how a single person can cause so much rage and so much love in your heart all at the same time. It’s a BiPolar Marriage and we’re just living in it.