The Marriage Puzzle: To Be Or Not To Be?
This month I had a pleasure of being invited to a beautiful wedding. This invitation came over just a few weeks after the one of my young clients showed up in my office with a huge uncertainty about herself, her future life and most importantly, a big confusion about her previous relationship. This is what she sent me after this session:
“A “happy bride” seems to be one of those statements that are oftentimes assumed to be true. After all, the ring is finally on the finger that was once empty and the gruesome search is over. I am very blessed, indeed, to fall into the blissfully “happy bride” category. This would not have been the case without you, my dear mentor, teacher, and friend.
You taught me to believe in myself, embrace life around me, and channel out negative energy effectively. I can picture my former self as a bride, and trust me, it’s not pretty. Your training and devotion to my progress has made me a stress free bride and allowed me to actually enjoy this absolutely fantastic process of planning my big day. My friends who always told me I’d be a bridezilla are now calling me bridezilla “wannabe” (which I take as a compliment).
But the most important thing I received from you was your gift of understanding and acceptance. I often think of you and feel your warmth and hear your words of wisdom whenever life throws me a curve, and that is the best gift of all, a timeless gift. My fiancé is eternally grateful to you, the woman who brought out aspects of my Being I never knew existed. He believes that without your guidance I just could miss out on a great love story, ours.”
This letter is not about being grateful for finally getting married. It is rather about being grateful for finding the true self and making a decision with confidence and joy of knowing you are choosing what is right for you. For me, this letter is about finding peace with your own Being and sharing your true essence with someone who can understand, appreciate and support what you respect and cherish about yourself.
Working with many couples who were planning to get married, married couples and those who were on the verge of separation, I had a unique opportunity to notice the common patterns that showed up again and again in every interaction I observed. These were common habits of “pleasing others” and resenting it at the same time mixed with the need “to be right” and the need to prove yourself. These behaviors were considered by at least one person in each couple to be a necessity for peaceful co-existence that naturally occurred at the beginning of the relationship. Yet as relationship progressed, the habit of not communicating transparently, keeping your truth to yourself and doing things that did not feel right in order to stay in relationship actually ruined the relationship or attracted the wrong person as a partner. This strategy did not work in a long run.