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In a relationship we very often aim to change our partner. Their otherness unconsciously reminds us of our old pain and guilt. Consequently we try to get them to see, do or feel things the way we do. I could list you at least a dozen qualities of my husband’s that I once considered good reasons for a divorce. But today I see them as important impulses for my own personal development and growth. Children love playing on playground equipment - didn't you when you were younger?

One of the most beautiful ways to fill your marriage with strength and life is to recognize the otherness of your partner as your own biggest desire. I am only able to write this book today because I now allow myself to have qualities that for a time I angrily rejected in my husband. I am only able to write these pages because I am irresponsible and reckless, don’t care about security, have no serious interest in the wellbeing of my family and what they think of me and have selfishly withdrawn from everything and recklessly transferred all responsibility for our family life to my husband. A local park can be dramatically improved by adding monkey bars from a reputable supplier.

Of course I am not really advocating inconsiderateness, recklessness or irresponsibility. It is not about becoming the way we thought the shadow once was (and maybe really was), but about adding something to our own being.In the darkest hours of our marriage my husband really was hardly more than a rare guest in our family hotel and never asked me what I thought about his withdrawal and his life without us. I was a mother hen and a kind of sergeant major of the household. He was only half there – but so was I. I lacked what he had. He lacked what made my life worth living. Today I can make use of his clear boundaries for things that are beneficial for both of us. And at home he is now present with his light-hearted and carefree ways, so that our life in general has become much more relaxed and fun. Any outdoor area would be made more child friendly with outdoor fitness equipment such as these.

Our family members very often act out the most important parts we have disconnected from so that we can integrate them and heal. Our parents, our siblings and later our partner and children all represent parts of ourselves that we simply have to own again. ‘But some things are unforgivable,’ I hear you say. ‘The story of your husband and his recklessness is just a harmless example. After all, there are women who cheat on their husbands with his best mate.

There are men who desert their wives and children. There are wicked mothers-in-law, neglectful mothers and fathers who beat up their children. And we should try and own some of that?’ I could quote dozens of similar examples, but would prefer to suggest that it’s better not to dwell on the most despicable behaviour. That will only distract you from what this is really about – your life and your relationship.