Imagine…

So as we all know problems are pretty much a given in life. To imagine a life with no problems is to imagine a life with no growth. Marriage gets a bad rep for being really tough the first year. From my own experience, this rep is well deserved. But let’s be honest, marriage gets a bad rep because people enter it with unrealistic expectations. You know, I had someone tell me that it’s actually the first 3 years that are the toughest… and she was married at the time for three years! Although this all sounds discouraging one thing you have to remember is that everyone is different. Our relationships are all different. Our minds are all different. One way I found myself looking at the problems in my marriage was to imagine having a conversation with God, ancestors, whoever you believe to be your source for spiritual energy. Humor me for a minute as I share the conversation…

God/Spiritual Energy:

Congratulations! You are married! Now comes the hard part.

Me/You:

Thank you and uh what’s exactly the hard part?

You’re scaring me!

God/Spiritual Energy:

Well you know you will have problems, when do you want to have them?

Me/You:

What do you mean, when? I get to choose?!

God/Spiritual Force:

Let’s say you do. Would you want to have the problems in the beginning of your marriage getting the problems out of the way, and learning, growing and building together much sooner? Or wait it out and have the problems build up in the end, prolonging growth, and understanding for yourself and your partner?

The rest of the conversation seemed to be a no brainer for me. To grow in any situation is a choice. You have the power to decide with every interaction what your outcome will be. Notice I am not stating you will have control over the outcome itself. I am saying you will always have control of yourself; your mind, thoughts, emotions, and actions. You will never control someone else’s; a grim and hard truth for many. It’s dreamy to think we are the ones responsible for someone else’s change. When someone changes, whether for the better or worse, it’s because that person opted to. The same applies in reverse when someone is claiming to be stuck in their ways. Feeling stuck is something we allow ourselves to feel. You are not responsible for others actions, you are solely responsible for your own.

Control begins with your inner being; no outside force can alter your mind without you first transferring that power. By facing obstacles head on, you learn something new about your inner power, your strength, and your personal boundaries. Your boundaries are tested when you allow your mental walls to come down in the face of a challenge. This is when you submit yourself to vulnerability. This is when we grow in our relationships and have an opportunity to be better. We need to reset our minds to view our challenges in love, marriage and relationships as learning opportunities not only for our partners when they are wrong but for ourselves for how we react to the wrong. Remember growth is an option we always have when we are battling our partner (sorta speak).

For example, you have a heated argument with your partner, and communication might as well wear an invisible hat because you are unable to view its existence between the two of you. What do you do? Where is your mind at? How do you want this resolved? Ask yourself what is the main reason you are upset? These questions should be in your mind before you even go back to speak to your partner. Take the emotion out of it so that you can articulate your feelings in a clear manner. Meditate, to tap into how you truly feel about things and so that no outside force can alter what you already know about your truth. Challenge yourself to see the growth opportunity while in the midst of your obstacle. Remember you have the opportunity to grow with every obstacle that crosses your path. The difference between winners and losers is that losers keep going until they indeed win!

Together, you and your partner will look back and reflect on what you had to go through to overcome your obstacles. This reflection is the stem for change, growth and joy. There have been many times I’ve cried dealing with the present moment of obstacles. Only to come out of it later, stronger and able to reflect with my husband and laugh at times at how silly we can both be when dealing with an emotional state of mind. Through your growth you will recognize your own strength and how it is not physical strength you feel, it is the strength from the inner peace within when we shift our minds for the power of good.

Problems are the ultimate barriers we need to get to our better version of self. Think of anything you ever wanted to do in life. Whether it be fasting, work, education, planning an adventure, hey even planning your wedding; I’m sure none of the journey was without hiccups. There were bumps in the road. Can you imagine having a smooth wedding planning process only to find out on your wedding day all the problems arise? That would be an absolute mess! Not saying you won’t have any in the middle or the end of your journey. Still, you will surely be more equipped to handle what comes your way being that you endured the struggles early on. We all know the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail”. Let’s shift our way of thinking so that we are proactive instead of reactive. If we can be proactive for our own biological health, why not for our relationships and marriage? Let’s plan to have problems, and work through them. Let’s strive to be better individuals for ourselves first. Marriage and relationships can be difficult but that is life and the difficult moments pass. Still that moment is where you need to be to achieve your growth. Marriage and relationships are also full of very spiritual, beautiful, joyous and uplifting moments. Do not get caught up in the moments that challenge you, because challenges come with anything of worth, it all depends on your outlook; your mind. Just think back on the spiritual conversation, listen with an open heart, and think back to what if you did have the choice to choose when to have your obstacles in marriage? Imagine.