Marriage conflict is not only normal, it opens the door to your healing and wholeness!
Today’s relationship experts tell us that compatibility with your partner is the recipe for boredom.
And that incompatibility (which results in conflict) is the recipe for a transformative relationship! One that is dynamic, powerful, growing and exciting.
Jessica burst into tears as she shared the pain and disappointment she felt after only a few weeks of marriage.
“I thought Ron would be there for me, but now I feel like I’ve married my dad who was never there for me!”
Jessica realized that her new husband was triggering pain from her childhood that she didn’t even know was there.
This happens to some degree with all of us, because recent relationship research shows that…
...couples fight because they bring their childhood into their current relationship.
It’s not something we try to do, or we’re even conscious of, but our childhood adaptations and defenses continue in their “adult versions”, wreaking havoc in our present intimate relationships.
And that’s why we have conflict.
According to relationship expert, Harville Hendrix,
“Romantic Love delivers us into the passionate arms of someone who will ultimately trigger the same frustrations we had with our parents, but for the best possible reason! Doing so brings our childhood wounds to the surface so they can be healed.”
I’ve heard pain like Jessica’s expressed in so many different ways by so many frustrated partners, but underneath, the message is always the same:
“This dream I married has become my worst nightmare!”
This happens after the “romantic stage” when a couple enters what we call the “power struggle stage” of the relationship.
It happens sometime between a few weeks and a couple of years after saying “I do.”
In the Romantic Stage you’re high on drugs!
What? That’s right. Your brain releases pleasure chemicals called dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin that cause you to fall madly in love and see your partner through rose-colored glasses.
And the events that occur in the brain when we fall in love have similarities to mental illness (smile).
That’s no joke!
And yet romantic love is wonderful, and if we understand it, it’s a foretaste of what is to come – healing, wholeness, mature love, passion and full aliveness.
But soon after a commitment is made guess what happens?
The drugs wear off.
And like Jessica, you feel like, “Oh no. What have I done? I think I’ve made a huge mistake.”
That’s why many Millennials today aren’t too keen on marriage. They see what a commitment leads to and they are reticent.
But like most of us they miss the point.
It’s just the power struggle stage folks.
It’s normal, and though it may be hard to fathom at the moment…
…it’s simply a sign that you’re with the right person!
It’s confirmation that you’re in the best place on the planet to heal, and grow and recover the wholeness you lost along the way.
Not every case is as extreme as Jessica and Ron’s, but most couples admit that at some point they wonder if they may have married the wrong person.
Tragically, almost half of all marriages fail and most fail at this point.
Many of us have relationships that failed because we didn’t know how normal the power struggle is, and how conflicts provide such great opportunities to grow.
Some of you understood it, but your partner didn’t and wouldn’t, and because it takes two, the marriage died.
No matter where your are it’s never too late to change your paradigm about conflict and get on the journey of healing, growth and transformation.
Somehow we got the idea that when romantic love fades, it’s time to move on.
Some of us are in love with being in love. So when the the feelings of love leave, so do we.
Others of us are so committed that we’re determined we won’t move on (at least for now), but we’re stuck in the power struggle and we’re wondering if we’re going to be sentenced to a life of unhappiness, or mediocrity in our marriage.
With your permission I’d like to challenge those ideas.
I see couples every week experiencing transformation in their relationship and that shift begins when they start to see their conflicts as opportunities.
You can move through the power struggle stage to mature love and experience healing and wholeness!
And not only that, after Mature Love comes the next stage which I call World Impact where your partnership for healing and growth becomes a positive force that begins to transform your family and the world you live in.
If marriages are transformed, our communities will be transformed as well.
I’m so happy to be a part of your life and I really care about your marriage. So please let me hear from you in the comments below.