Sometimes we get to a place in our relationship where we get stuck. Stuckness is not always recognized as such. It expresses itself as a lack of joy and interest in each other, dissatisfaction, lack of honesty, energy, sexual interest and creativity. We may avoid each other and distract ourselves with TV, alcohol, food, work, etc. The relationship may feel flat and unalive, depression or aggression is in the air.
When one of the partners rocks the boat by expressing their unhappiness, change is inevitable. This can easily be interpreted by the other as rejection or a threat to the relationship. Conflict arises; fear clouds the love.
In actual fact it is another one of the many thresholds that are met in a relationship that is alive. Being on the threshold, in an impasse, is a frightening place for both. We have left our safe and familiar ground and have not yet arrived at the new place in our relationship. We are asked to let go of the “old” in the relationship, not knowing if the “new” will arise.
We may feel the dilemma very strongly. Out of fear that the whole relationship may die we are tempted to go back to the familiar, as to not rock the boat. Yet if we do, something in us has to die: our natural desire for growth. When we numb what is new and alive in us, our physical health is effected. We may develop chronic aches and pains, become more accident prone. In the end, we become resigned, disillusioned, cynical or bitter.
When one partner rocks the boat by expressing their unhappiness or discomfort, it would not be helpful for the relationship to treat it as “his” of “her” problem. This would only isolate the partners and weaken the bond. It is a relationship issue, a call for the next step in the growth process of a relationship. Imagine the relationship to be a tree that needs to shed its bark as it grows. Change is part of being alive.
“My truth serves your truth”, as John Welwood says. Your unhappiness reflects the relationship’s unhappiness. If I feel supported and manage to not feel rejected by it, if I can see that change is part of the life of a relationship, I can begin to relax into the change. The relationship asks for deepening.
“Discomfort is a sign of dishonesty”, says Fritz Perls. The way back to comfort is through honesty. As we become more honest with ourselves and each other, our relationship deepens. We experience more depth in our love, more happiness and well being.
Mirjam Busch & Rudolf Jarosewitsch
Copyright © 8/1999 by Rumijabu | Originally published in Southshore Beacon #110, Aug1999