Is anyone ever really married to one person at a time? I suggest: no, at least not on the spiritual level. Perhaps there is one physical body, but that, too changes over time, does it not? In addition, I submit that every married couple is actually in a relationship with the parents, siblings and all significant influencers of both in the loving relationship. Over time, these internal relationships shift, and each event impacts the relationship between the married couple.
Time does more than offer opportunities for the mind, body, and spiritual environment to shift. It presents all sorts of twists and turns, as well as obstacles and distractions to growth, maturing, and fulfilling our highest potential – unless we have the tools to become our best self for ourselves, and for those we love and who love us. Marriage vows suggest we have chosen another human on this planet with and for whom we want to grow, change, readjust, and face life – with all its ups and downs. Marriage vows are a declaration of teamwork for the length of time our spirits inhabit our body. That’s a pretty huge promise, and not one everyone can keep.
As one changes and grows, the shift stresses the couple as a team. Ideally, when growth occurs, it is mutual. Each partner fulfills another piece of personal potential and the other embraces that change, opting to continue to fulfill his or her own personal potential along the same lines. Remember, this is the ideal; however, it is unrealistic to expect that both will grow at exactly the same pace in the same direction throughout their entire shared lifetime. There are always challenges, boulders to move, landscapes to share . . . and mountains to climb. So, what happens when one grows in a direction the other chooses to not embrace?
In strength, the couple may decide to not continue along the path together. There are many options to choose from including but not limited to redefining the marriage from the initial spark of seeing forever in each other’s eyes and devotion to teamwork on every level (mind, body and spirit), to becoming ‘roommates’ and/or best friends (embracing just the mind connection without the spiritual or physical experience). There is, of course, legal divorce so that each can embark upon a personal journey without the other – and this may lead to a reunion or two completely different life adventures. The important questions to consider in every step along any scenario are: (1) does this decision represent choices I am making in strength or in weakness? (2) does this statement or action facilitate my becoming my best self? (3) will I be self-distracting from or nourishing personal growth in taking this direction? It is generally a good idea to explore any path-changing decision with a well-educated, licensed and certified marriage and family counselor before altering a path you once thought you’d be on for life. This is of particular importance when you aren’t certain that your possible next step is a result of strength or weakness. Therapy can enlighten both, and may lead to heights greater than any you might have been able to reach on your own. Mutual happiness, joy, and centered peace hang in the balance.
The next article will explore ways in which time itself provides opportunities to enrich (in order to enhance), and/or distract (in order to poison) your relationship.
"Dr. Nancy Iankowitz is a board-certified family nurse practitioner and Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC. She is also host of “Marcy’s World,” which streams live on the Marcy’s World Facebook page. Email your questions to: DrIankowitz@yahoo.com. For more information, call (917) 716-6802, or visit www.DrIankowitz.com online.”