“How to Transition Toward Getting the Love You Want”

If you have read “About Me” in this website you will know that I am not only a certified coach, but I also have an M.S. in Applied Psychology. Prior to becoming a Coach I worked as a therapist for many years helping people who were depressed, or anxious or who had marital problems resolve their issues.  Coaching is somewhat different from practicing psychology in that coaches take a more practical, “in the present” attitude toward resolving problems.  Coaching does not recognize many psychological techniques for resolving problems.  In particular, Coaching does not recognize the “subconscious”  as a factor in problem solving and goal setting. And this does not bother me since I believe that acknowledging the “subconscious” can be an iffy proposition at best and a very negative experience at worst.

However, today I want to offer to you “10 Characteristics of a Conscious Marriage,”*and you will see that No. 1 (and only No. 1) deals with the individual’s subconscious.  I thought about leaving it out, but it makes so much sense to me that I decided to offer it up to you for thought. Since we are all the products of our parents “supervision”, and our relationship with those parents is really the only parenting we’ve been exposed to, it makes sense to me that we have probably internalized a lot of our parents teachings somewhere in our brains. So here goes.

What is a “conscious marriage”? It is a marriage that fosters maximum psychological and spiritual growth.”*

10 Characteristics of a Conscious Marriage

  1. You realize that your love relationship has a hidden purpose – the healing of childhood wounds. Instead of focusing entirely on surface needs and desires, you learn to resolve your underlying childhood issues.  (Here I want you to ask yourself: does my husband (or wife) reflect any behavior patterns that I saw in my parents? Are these memories affecting the way I interact with my spouse?)
  2. You create a more accurate image of your partner. What is happening here is that you are recognizing any childhood memories which you may have supplanted on your partner  and you are throwing these illusions away and are beginning to see more of your partner’s truth. (For example: did you marry your husband because he reminded you of your father, only now you realize he’s nothing like your father?)  “You see your partner not as your savior, but as another wounded human being struggling to be healed.”*
  3. You take more responsibility for communicating your needs and desires to your partner. “In an unconscious marriage you cling to the childhood belief that your partner automatically intuits your needs.  In a conscious marriage you accept the fact that, in order to understand each other, you have to develop clear channels of communication.”*
  4. You become intentional in your interactions. Instead of just flippantly responding with your gut to something your wife has said, try using your conscious brain to construct a response. For example: your wife says: “Why didn’t you take out the trash like I asked you to? Your response: you put down your beer and get up and say: “Sorry. I forgot.  I’ll do it now.  I’ll try to do better next time.”
  5. You learn to value your partner’s needs and wishes as highly as you value your own.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  There can be no more thinking that my partner will magically make sure my needs are met.  Stop being so narcissistic and start thinking more about meeting your partner’s needs and less about them meeting yours.
  6. You embrace the dark side of your personality. “In a conscious marriage, you openly acknowledge the fact that you, like everyone else, has some negative traits.  As you accept this dark side of your nature, you lessen your tendency to project your negative traits onto your mate, which creates a less hostile environment.”*
  7. You learn new techniques to satisfy your basic needs and desires.  Think about how your getting your basic needs met now.  Are you nagging? Are you yelling to get someone’s attention? Are you using sarcasm in an effort to put someone down (and get your needs met(?)) When you abandon such self-defeating strategies for straight-forward communication you will find that your partner can be a real resource for you.
  8. You search within yourself for strengths and abilities that are lacking. “One reason you were attracted to your partner is that your partner had strengths and abilities that you lacked. Therefore, being with your partner gave you an illusory sense of wholeness. In a conscious marriage you learn that the only way you can truly recapture a sense of oneness is to develop these other traits within yourself.”*
  9. You become more aware of your drive to be loving and whole and one with the Universe. “As a part of your God-given nature, you have the ability to love unconditionally and to experience unity with the world around you.”*
  10. You accept the difficulty of creating a good marriage.  “In an unconscious marriage you believe that the way to have a good marriage is to pick the right partner.  In a conscious marriage, you realize you have to be the right partner.  As you gain a more realistic view of love relationships, you realize that a good marriage requires commitment, discipline, and the courage to grow and change.  Marriage is hard work.”*

It is human nature for us to want a life without effort.  We are slow to comprehend that, in order for us to be loved, we must first become lovers. We must change our ideas about marriage, about our partners, and ultimately about ourselves.*

*Hendrix, Harville, Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples (New York: Henry Holt, 2001) pp. 88-93)