Can you imagine being married for 28 years and feeling miserable for all 28 of those years? That was how one of my coaching students felt when I met him at the beginning of our 10 week coaching program.
As with every coaching student, I began the process with an orientation interview, to get a baseline understanding of his background, to grasp some of his formative experiences, to learn what really inspired him and what it was that held him back.
After a bunch of background questions just to get the facts straight, I asked him the big question “What do you want to achieve with this coaching program?”
He replied. “I want to attain financial security.”
I asked again – but this time with different words and a different tone. I said “Close your eyes and finish this sentence for me ‘What I really, really want more than anything is...”
“I can’t say it.” he replied.
“Say it.” I insisted.
“To feel like I am in love again.” And I could hear the tears pouring down his cheeks. He surprised himself by being able to speak his greatest desire.
I asked him to describe the interaction between them and he replied by describing his wife’s ‘wrath’, the tension between them, and the complete lack of warmth or affection. 28 years???
“Do you love her?” I asked.
“I do.” He replied. It was clear that regardless of all the pain he felt where his wife was concerned that he still wanted to be married.
“Do you love you?” was my follow up question.
It was like I just threw a bucket of cold water on his face. He was stunned.
“Do I love me? That sounds so selfish, so egotistical, so self centred. I am not supposed to love me.” Was his reaction.
“That is your job over and above any other responsibility you have. You need to love you so that she can love you too.”
In that moment, his whole view of the world changed. He no longer saw the wrath of his wife – but saw the wife he had been longing to see for 28 years. He saw himself as the designer and story teller of his life and decided to begin creating another story with a new ending. The story of a great love. The one he gave himself permission to feel for himself. The love he then extended to his wife.
Within two weeks, he and his wife reconnected. I mean REALLY reconnected. We were both blown away. Not long after that I received an email from his son thanking me for the work I was doing with his father. He told me how amazing his father was. I already knew that though – anyone who can take the risk and find the love for themselves has to be amazing!
Kim Ades, MBA is president and founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and JournalEngine™ Software. Author, speaker, entrepreneur, coach, and mother of 5, Kim is one of North America’s foremost experts on performance through thought management. By using her unique process of coaching through journaling, she works with clients to unveil and switch their thought patterns to ignite significant change and life transformation. For a free online journal, visit www.frameofmindcoaching.com.