I never really knew my grandparents. I’m the youngest in my family and both of my parents are the youngest of many children in each of their families so my grandparents died before I was old enough to understand who they were. I’ve talked about remembering my alcoholic grandfather on my mother’s side passing out at the table and falling with his face into the mashed potatoes. What I remember of my grandmother on my dad’s side is this. We were standing by the garden, looking at the strawberry patch. Several of the plants were dying and when my mother wondered aloud what was going on, my grandmother pronounced, “Something come in it.” I don’t know how old I was but her odd way of phrasing that thought stuck with me.
In the marriages of the couples I see, something similar happens. Something has come into their marriages. Thoughts and behaviours that are destructive to relationships have been imported from their parent's marriages. That something also resembles cancer.
Like the white cells in a body with cancer, when it comes to maintaining the health of the marriage, one or both cells (partners) have become disloyal to the body (marriage). In fact, instead of working to protect the marriage body, the behaviours of the out of control cell(s) are now actively destroying the marriage. The behaviours have become mutinous, dangerous, destructive.
To turn that around, each partner needs to take a long and careful look at their current / present behaviours, at how they speak to each other, at how they respond to the perception of rejection. They need to honestly ask themselves, “If I continue to act, think, or speak in this manner, can I reasonably expect our marriage to last?”
If the answer is, “No,” then the next question becomes, “What am I going to do about it?”
This has nothing to do with what’s fair.
It has nothing to do with who did wrong first, or who has done the most wrong. This has to do with recognising that the marriage is dying. This has to do with a willingness, and a maturity to do what is necessary to bring about a return to health.
Happy Holy Days
Happy Holy Days