Your Results: Sometimes
So…What Difference Could This Make to You?
Think about this. How many times in your life have you wondered what might have happened if you had known then what you know now? Would you have done things differently? Would you have created different circumstances? Would you have been happier? Would your partner and your family have been happier? I expect that many people would answer, “Yes, there are things that I might have done differently and things that I might have wished had turned out differently.”
I don’t know anybody who hasn’t had some of these thoughts. I certainly have had them. I have gone through parts of my life where I have unintentionally influenced situations that have not evolved into what I really had wanted to have in the first place.
What happens when we realize what might have made a difference – what could have been? A great poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, so compellingly described in his poem, “Maud Muller” (1856), “For all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”
Whittier’s statement is not meant to just accentuate unhappiness or missed opportunities. Not here. It is meant to strongly encourage us to consider what has not yet been and what still might be able to become.
Most of us have heard the song, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Gently Down the Stream. Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Life Is But a Dream.” Like that song, marriage is a stream. It is dynamic. It is flowing. It is changing, and it is becoming, always flowing. It is not an end point. In this respect, you and your partner are rowing down the stream of your life together.
You can measure how you row down your stream in terms of how Close you feel, how much you Share and how Important you and your partner are to each other. When you do this, you will improve the basis that you and your partner could have so that the two of you could row your boat gently down the stream of your life together.
When you decided that you were going to marry your partner, you probably envisioned a loving and close relationship in which you both shared with each other and felt that you belonged. You probably envisioned a relationship in which you felt important and that you mattered a great deal. When you reflect on your marriage now, how do you feel about it? Do you feel as close, have as much sharing and feel as important as you had hoped?
What does it really mean to have Closeness, Sharing and Importance in your marriage? These were all reflected in the questions that you just answered. On the questionnaire, you were asked to rate how you and your partner have been rowing your boat down your stream of life together.
When you feel Close with your partner, there is a feeling of intimacy. You are able to “see into” each other. You feel known by your partner, and your partner feels known by you. You know each other’s hopes, dreams, fears and desires. You feel cared for, safe, secure, and there is good will between the two of you. You don’t feel alone. You are rowing your boat together.
Sharing is about how much the two of you blend your lives together. This is about how much you feel that you belong and are involved in the life that you share with your partner. There is something about the process of being together, like a blend of different chemicals forming a solution. The solution is more than each component added separately. It is the same with the marital relationship. You are rowing your boat together.
Importance is about each of us having a need to feel valued and a desire to be viewed as someone who is an important source of love and caring. To feel honored and respected and to have your feelings taken into account, allow you to feel that you matter, that you are of equal value and that your voice is heard. You are rowing your boat together.
Not everyone has an equal need for more or less of any one of these, even within any marriage. This doesn’t necessarily create a problem. It means that the understanding of where the needs are is what is crucial. We may need to adjust how we are rowing the boat. Nevertheless, we need to think of Closeness, Sharing and Importance in a way that helps us to become more aware of how we experience our relationship with our partner and what we may want to do differently to become happier.
So, what does this mean as far as your answers to the questions are concerned? Well, there are two ways to look at your responses. One is a measure of what you believe about your marriage at present. The other way is some thoughts that give you additional ideas of where the stream of your life’s relationship can be helped to get you closer to the realization of your dreams.
Obviously, when we look at the level of your answers, there are many things that could account for differences in scores. If your score is in the “Frequently” range, you may think about what you can do to maintain this level and keep the positive intensity going or even improve it.
If your answers put you in the “Sometimes” range, there may be some things that you’d like to be different in one or more of these three categories of Closeness, Sharing and Importance. This may suggest to you that there are things that you and your partner might do to feel happier together and closer to the realization of your dreams.
If your answers are in the “Infrequently” range, it suggests even more strongly that there is more that you can do to affect your marriage and, consequently, come closer to realizing your dream of rowing your boat gently down the stream.
Regardless of your score, I would assume that each of you would want to either maintain or increase the positive feelings about your marriage so that your efforts might lead to a better feeling about your life with your partner.
Thinking about what has gone on in your marriage, I believe, has two main purposes. The first purpose is to avoid repeating things that you have observed or become aware of that do not make you feel enough closeness, sharing or importance. The second is to think of what hasn’t been or what you need more of, in order to help build a foundation for doing some things differently.
The outstanding philosopher, George Santayana, expressed a philosophy in which he cautioned us to remember the past in order to not be condemned to repeat it. When we are watchful and aware, we are not doomed to repeat the past. We can become committed to doing things differently. Know what you don’t want to happen again, so that you can use this to build a better set of conditions, a better foundation, for building a happier future. This is the basis for all hope, and personally, this gives me hope for the future.
So, what are you thinking and feeling right now? Are you wondering how you and your partner will row your boat down the stream of your life together? Are you wondering if it is possible to get some honest help, not to tell you how to live your life, but to help you understand more of what you need and how to go about it?
If you feel the need and desire to make things better in the stream of your life that you share with your partner, then you would want to include this as a major goal for you in subsequent discussions with a professional who cares and who knows. I can and want to help you build a better future. I’ve had a great deal of knowledge and experience in helping others build better futures. I will help you, also. You will have an opportunity to meet with me for a complimentary 30 minute consultation (where there will be no pressure and no obligation to go beyond the meeting). If, after this meeting, you feel motivated to want to build and express your efforts leading to a life closer to the realization of your dreams, I will help you.
As a first step, this meeting and discussion will help you know even more about what you may want to have in your life and in your relationship with your partner. This opportunity is not about changing who you are, but about allowing what is inside of you to come out more and differently. At that point, you might make some choices to continue to work on some of the things that we will discuss. You might consider possible future efforts that may help you row your boat better down the stream of life with your partner, so that you might say, “My life is like a dream. We are rowing our boat together.”
Even if you decide not to come to discuss matters with me, you will already have learned a great deal, I believe, about what is possible in your marriage. To sum this up: to be close, to share and to feel important are the real bases of peace within you and harmony between you and those who matter.
On the other hand, if you are aware that you have problems in your marriage, don’t assume that postponement of help will solve the problems. In fact, problems tend to get bigger or worse over time if they are not dealt with. If your participation in this experience has been relevant and you would like to meet with me for this complementary consultation, please go to the next page where you will find out how to contact me. I look forward to meeting you.