We all know that a lasting marriage doesn’t always signal a happy marriage.  Many unhappy couples stayed together for children, religion, financial and other “practical” reasons.  For many, it’s no longer acceptable to just stay together.  They want a relationship that is meaningful, loving and fulfilling.  We’ve all heard that the things that help in a marriage have much to do with communication skills and commitment.  But even these things don’t necessarily make it meaningful, enjoyable or even sustainable.  What if your marriage was merely a reflection of the relationship you have to yourself.  The notion that the best marriages are those where the individuals work on themselves may seem counter intuitive.  After all, isn’t marriage supposed to be about putting the relationship first?  What if working on yourself is the most loving, productive thing you could ever do for the marriage?

For centuries, marriage was viewed as an economic and social institution, and the emotional and intellectual needs of the spouses were secondary to the survival of the marriage itself.   Marriage was more about surviving in a difficult world but for some, things have changed.  In today’s world, more and more are looking for a partnership, and they want partners who inspire them and make their lives more interesting.  Dr. Aron and Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., a professor at Monmouth University in New Jersey, have studied how individuals use a relationship to accumulate knowledge and experiences, a process they call “self-expansion.” Research shows that, “the more self-expansion people experience from their partner, the more committed and satisfied they are in the relationship.”  Although this may be what’s happening, the only way this works long term is if your partner keeps giving you what you think you need, sounds a lot like how conditional love works.  Is it really fair, or even realistic, to expect this from another?

Almost all of us walk into a relationship and hand our “Baggage” off to the other.  It just seems to be “the way it is” even though we usually don’t even realize we are doing it.  Most of us don’t even mind taking on some baggage since we have our own to give.  This “Baggage” is our “needs” and “expectations” coming from our short comings and self imposed limitations.  Can you imagine what it would be like to not feel the heavy burden of a partner’s needs and expectations?  Most of us are well aware we need to deal with others peoples stuff but often overlook we do it right back to them.  Relationships can become very guilt driven.  We try to convince ourselves we put up with things because we love them, but what’s really going on is we are building resentment.  This resentment becomes the justification that has us “return the favor” but at cost of feeling guilty.  By not returning the favor, giving your baggage, you are released from the guilt and freedom within the relationship expands.  It’s not about becoming perfect and having no needs.  It’s about becoming responsible for your own “stuff” by working on yourself.  What could be more loving than not making your partner responsible for your baggage?

Some of this may sound like psycho analysis but that’s not what coaching is about.  If we end up working together I will point things out to you that were in your blind spot.  That’s the value of having a coach.  How can you work on on area of your life that holds you back when you don’t even know it’s there.