Dedicated to my wife Antoinette with love
Today is our (Antoinette’s and my) 35th wedding anniversary, which prompted me to write this post. Our friends and family congratulate us and obviously are impressed how we stayed together for such a long time. We do not really see anything to be impressed about. We just are together and it is the most natural thing for both of us. In The Gameless Relationship I have outlined the four principles of a healthy relationship and we are both drawing from it on daily bases. Someone says that all is in attitude. And indeed it is. Let me explain.
Just to be on the same page here is the definition
a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior
So, when it comes to your attitude towards your marriage, do you see it as a relationship between two separate people that have come together to share life, or do you see yourselves as one family and parts of the same family. Although both are true, which one do you think is more likely to support a long-term relationship? How do you see your parents or your grandparents, as two people that got together, merely in a relationship, or as your family? As a family of course. They are yours. Blood is thicker than water. Why is it than, that spouses cannot see themselves as such a strong family unit as their children see them. (Hint: blood has nothing to do with it.) What would it look like if your attitude (settled way of thinking) towards your marriage would be not merely as a marriage, but as a family unit? Remember, you cannot disown your family i.e. parents, children etc. That kind of attitude requires you to make such a choice (“choice” is a key word here) with integrity, commitment, responsibility and love, the four principles of a perfect relationship as elaborated in The Gameless Relationship.
So, whenever a problem comes up, you deal with it as a unit, a family, not as two separate people looking to gain advantage over each other, or get something more for yourself. In parenting there is a rule that you scold children for what they did, or did not do and not for who they are. Take 100% responsibility for your family and avoid personal judgments and personal attacks. Use the same principle in your marriage towards each other and deal with it from the point of view of your family and what’s best for it, which coincidentally, most of the time turns out to be best for each of you. Trust the process and you’ll easily reach your 35th anniversary and not be surprised about it and celebrate it with joy like every other day in your marriage.
Awareness Exercise: Notice in what ways and in what situations you feel alone, although you are married or in a relationship. Do you feel that that your life is, and deserves to be separate? What problems would you consider to be his/hers or yours only? How easily can you disown your spouse/partner? Can you do the same with your sibling or a parent?