In Part One; I started the conversation about couples going through separation or divorce and the need for self-care and living their truth. As we continue the conversation, we shift to growing in the space to be created to live our truth and to love yourself. Before we proceed, although this post is written from the perspective of married couples, it is applicable to other types of relationships such as friendships, partnerships, parental and sibling relationships.
Growth is often scary for people because it also means to change. It means to develop, gradually increase, transform from a simple to a more complex stage. Growth is a good thing. However, we sometimes hear about growth in a negative way in relationships. You may hear someone going through separation or divorce say, “we grew apart.” But my challenge to this question is, “which way is a couple supposed to grow?” Don’t we all grow differently from each other? Isn’t growth an individual thing? It is our growth as an individual that allows us to grow in our relationships. The spouse you married 10, 15, 20 years ago should be a different person. They should have grown, and so should you have grown. In fact, if any of us haven’t changed in the last 10 or 15 years with all the life experiences we encounter, then how can there be growth in any relationship?
A couple should grow differently, they should grow independent of each other. What I mean by this is, there are times in marriage that one spouse is growing and the other isn’t. The spouse that grows needs the space to be able to grow, however, it is the other spouse that needs to provide it in support of the other. When we are growing, it is perceived as selfish or self-centered and in fact it is, it is positive selfishness. We see people fall into themselves and try to manage what they are feeling. It is at this time that growth becomes a healing opportunity for all of us. It is a time to change and transform as a person. We need to allow for that pain and healing to occur. The energy consumed for the person growing and the partner supporting them can be challenging. It becomes simultaneous growth for the supporting spouse in developing patience, creating space and gaining knowledge of how their partner grows. We therefore grow as a result of our partners individual growth.
However, there are times when spouses are growing at the same time and have their own individual needs. It is at those times that selfishness and self-centeredness creates a negative reality and that can be the moment where growing apart occurs. There isn’t the support of each other, because both need the space. It is in those moments where conflict develops for each spouse. When conflict results, talking to each other becomes yelling. Body language changes. The dynamic of the living space shifts. Even the sight of each other becomes intolerable. So, what happens? Some choose separation, others choose the status quo, and some choose to work together.
For those who choose separation, it is the opportunity to allow for independent growth and space to be created. It is the time to take to love thyself. It is the space that is needed during chaos because both parties have been thrust to grow simultaneously. We hear that we must create space for someone when they are going through a tough time. The creation of space is a positive thing. It becomes a place to regain your control, for self-reflection, protection, safety, and an opportunity to heal. Separation is a positive step and recognition of the need for growth. It is not a failure. Space allows you to take care of you.
I have yet to acknowledge that when children are involved this can be difficult and getting the space needed is not that simple. Parents will worry about the impact on their children. But here is question to ask when this is the case, “Do you want your children to have parents that yell at each other? What is more harmful, teaching a child to be unhealthy by denying your truth or need to grow or being an adult about it and taking the steps to change, to grow and to ultimately heal?”
In this created space, it is your opportunity to take care of you. It is an opportunity to be present, to live in the moment, not the past, not the future, but in the now. It’s a chance to reflect and take inventory of your emotions, thoughts and feelings. It is opportunity to learn new things about yourself. It is the opportunity to heal from old wounds. To evaluate your beliefs and determine what is truth. It is a time to grow.
You will change. You will be different. You will be freer. You will be given the chance to live your truth. In time, when you know who you are and what your about, you can decide what the next steps are for you. You have the control, you have the power. You must love yourself before you can truly love someone else. Take that time to fall in love with who you are. Be present now. And as you explore who you are, remember these famous words of the character Polonius in Hamlet “to thine own self be true.”
Lastly, answer this question “what are the things you love?”