I Would Love to Meet Her…Is She Here?
The seminar was entitled “An Evening on Marriage!” and there were about 40 people in the audience. I was just finishing up taking questions when a lady in the front row raised her hand and said,
“Ken, I really found your seminar so enlightening and so practical for my own relationship! You mentioned being married for over 35 years. Your wife must be very proud of the work you do and one of your strongest supporters. I would love to meet her…is she here tonight?”
I laughed out loud and her expression changed from one of awe to one of confusion!
One of the Most Important Points about Marriage…
I said, “Please excuse me for my insensitivity. Your question raises one of the most important points about marriage and our relationship to our significant other.”
Now she looked even more bewildered!
My partner is not here for many reasons but I would like to offer you my big seven. Although, please remember, she has her own seven, as well.
The Answer to your Question with 7 Questions!
I will answer your question by asking you seven questions. This sounds bizarre but please bear with me and see what you think. She nodded with clear doubt running up and down her face like one of those speedy neon signs you see that catch your attention.
“Who do you think is mostly responsible for my spirit’s strength and commitment to my work?”
“And, who do you think keeps me on my toes checking, double checking and triple checking my ideas to ensure their truth?”
“Who do you think keeps me focused on my work?”
“Who reminds me of our finances…to save…to pay bills and to exercise financial wisdom?”
“Who reminds me to make time for friends and community?”
“Who sustains our family and fills in the gaps I create like maintaining our home, parenting, grand parenting and the other stuff every family needs?”
“Who reminds me to eat, rest, exercise and balance my own life?”
Her name is Anna…
“Her name is Anna and I could not be who I am, do what I do or have what I have, were it not for her. It is her support and her challenge in equal measure at every second of our relationship over the past decades, which keeps me:
inspired…learning…working…enriched…engaged…involved and healthy”
I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. ~ Rita Rudner ~
Lucky for Me…
Then I concluded with, “And, lucky for me she has her own unique value system and so perceives these ideas at best, interesting, and at worst, not terribly valuable to her at this point in her life.”
The lady, clearly shocked by these comments, responded, “Do you mean she doesn’t agree with you in many areas of your life…not just your work?”
“Exactly!” I said, then added, “Fortunately for me”
Pleasure Without Pain is not Possible
I went further and said, “Can you see for me, or anyone else, to expect pleasure without equal pain is not possible and rather naive?”
She responded, “But shouldn’t I want to be happy?”
“Can you see that to expect my wife to support me without challenging me equally would be naive of me? It would be like expecting your relationship to be one long honeymoon. It would be like ignoring the fact everyone displays flatulence, on average, 14 times a day.”
This is not how we were designed biologically…we seek pleasure and avoid pain in equal proportion…this is how we learn and survive”
“Without challenge there is no growth…instead we decay and recycle faster!”
Boredom can be a Danger Signal
She was surprised when I explained to her if she was only seeing her partner’s support she was in danger of losing the relationship! And if she was not noticing and appreciating her partner’s challenges, she was also in danger!
When humans are bored they will seek challenge somewhere else…because that is how we learn and so survive. This is why we try to keep our kids “occupied” so they won’t get into “trouble.” Boredom motivates us to seek new challenges to ensure we continue to learn, grow and survive.
“Wow!” she said, “I never thought of my relationship like that before…so conflict is part of a healthy marriage…is that what you are saying?”
“Exactly! That’s what keeps you both learning and growing in your life!” I said.
“So my partner’s role in my life is to help me learn and survive…is that what you are saying Ken?”
“Exactly! Your partner’s primary purpose is to help you learn to survive which grows your self-appreciation, self-confidence and self-worth.”
“And thank you for your question…it was perfect.” I added.
“Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true” ~ W.R. Inge ~
Check out our “Take Away Tool” for a tool to identify your areas of support and challenge in your relationship. It will change forever how you perceive your partner! Contact me if I can assist you further.
“Your partner’s primary purpose is to help you learn to survive which grows your self-appreciation, self-confidence and self-worth!” ~ Ken Pierce ~
POINTS TO PONDER AND REMEMBER:
- You and I are hard wired biologically to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
- Your biological hard wiring is what motivates you to learn, and so, survive.
- Every relationship you have has this purpose…your survival.
- Your significant other will create equal amounts of pleasure and pain for you.
- Your significant other will challenge and support you equally in your life.
- Boredom is dangerous to you because then you are not learning.
- Boredom motivates you to seek new challenges to grow yourself.
- Boredom in a relationship means you don’t perceive any challenges in it.
- Expecting only support suggests a lack of awareness – naivety.
- Expecting only challenge also suggests naivety.
YOUR TAKE AWAY TOOL:
“Identify Your Areas of Support and Challenge”
Step 1: Fill a blank page with a three column table of eight rows. Label the columns across as follows: Area of Life; Supports Me; Challenges Me.
Step 2: Label the remaining rows in the first column from the top to bottom as follows: Spiritual; Mental; Vocational; Financial; Social; Familial; Physical.
Step 3: Take each row and identify an example of how your partner “Supports” you and also “Challenges” you. Be very specific. (e.g., Social – Supports Me: Lets me be me about my friends! Challenges Me: Thinks my hobby is silly! Mental – Supports Me: Trusts my judgement on finances! Challenges Me: Disagrees with me on how to discipline the kids.)
Step 4: Try to find any area where you only cans see one side. Then go find the other side. It is always there! This duality of support and challenge is what makes your relationship work.