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Philip du Toit
Ever wondered why some couples still look radiantly in love, even after years of marriage and others don’t. Who of us do not envy the few retired couples who still take romantic walks on the beach, while holding each others hand?
We live in a fast paced, ever changing world which puts enormous pressures on our every day lives, especially on one of the most important relationships – our marriages. In our consumer driven world it is also common practice that if something does not work, then you replace it with something new, no wonder our divorce rates still sky rockets.
Why then do we spend so little time and neglect the most meaningful relationships in our lives? Why do some people wake up one morning and realise, now that the kids have left the house, me and my spouse have nothing to talk about?
There is still a general misconception that you only go to a marriage counsellor, if you really have problems. Actually we need a pro-active approach to this; we need to consult someone objectively about your marriage at least once a year. The same way that we pro-actively visit the gynaecologist, dentist or doctor once a year. I am a firm believer that you can neglect your marriage within a week and start having miscommunication, misconceptions and start loosing the “in-love” feeling, which we once cherished so dearly. So I challenge you to take the step and have a reality check, dust off the rut that you are in and became used to and go and have a meaningful and loving relationship again.
Get over the stigma of seeing someone about your personal problems.
So you have what you always wanted: the ideal partner, a meaningful relationship with your Creator, the great job, the dream house, lovely children, the beach house (huisie by die see!) and all the rest...yet, there is still something missing? We are not really happy and we still wonder if the grass will not always be greener on the other side? It does not even matter if you have any, or all of the nice to haves, I have mentioned above. Allow me to explain: in the last 8 years, of which 7 was in Europe, I have asked most of my clients at some stage, the following 2 questions.
When is the last time you have been truly, deeply happy? What makes you truly, deeply happy?
The surprising and sad part of this is that more than 80% of my clients were not able to answer these questions, OR they started crying. What makes it even more surprising is that my clients represent all walks of life.
One conclusion that is a common denominator through all the years, is that we become so entangled in running this rat race, which some of us call life, that we forget to ask ourselves if this still all makes sense? Why am I running this rat race, for who am I running this,
am I still in control? Sometimes it takes the death of a spouse, friend, family member or colleague to force us to stop running and start asking questions about the meaning of our lives. Very sad and very forced indeed, but this is what it takes for some of us, to stop and take two side steps out of this race and for a change, see some others running by, meaningless aimless and without passion.
- Why wait until it gets out of control before consulting someone about your relationship?
- Who says I am not allowed to have a healthy, exciting relationship right now?
- At the end of each day, before you fall asleep, ask yourself: Have I been fun to be with today? If not, why not? Who is the problem: is it me, or is it my partner? What am I going to do about it tomorrow?
- Are we building credits in this relationship, so that I want to be there for my partner, if he/she is having a difficult day, because he/she helped me through my difficult day yesterday.
- Are we connected, do we hear the same music, or are we stepping on each others toes? Can we communicate safely, without the fear of being rejected?
- Do we have at least one hour per week where we share our innermost feelings – what goes on in our heart and our head? (For once NOT talking about the kids, bills to be paid, things that need to be fixed etc.)When is the last time we had a romantic weekend, WITHOUT the kids?
- Are we still defending our own little islands individually, or have we managed to form a unified island that we call US?
- We all make mistakes; no one is perfect, get over it. If you can not ask for forgiveness or get forgiveness, go and see someone who can help you with it, so that you can stop living in the past.
- It is only human (and ok) not to be able to solve all my problems by myself. You are involved and subjective. Go and see someone who is objective, confidential and professional to help you.
- No one likes change, but if you are not happy with your status quo, then get out of your comfort zone. Stop moaning and complaining – we all do that; we are comfortable with the known. Rather take the challenge of the unknown and actually start doing something about your unhappy situation.