Thursday, October 18, 2012

Muscle Memory for Your Marriage

My heart feels sad this evening for people I don't even know at all. I just read on one of my favorite blogs ( about yet another split up. Some days it feels like everyone is getting divorced.

And ya'll know we've been through the ringer too. I can't tell you how many times I've thought, "I can't be with this person. He is horrible. He is horrible to me. I can't breathe and I need to leave." I know Jake has thought the same thing.

But Wednesday morning we got the privilege to be part of a training/counseling session for The Center For Hope and Renewal in Greenwich, CT. We were counseled by one person while another room of counselors in training watched the video feed. The amazing thing about this session was that it really confirmed something that had been brewing in the back of my mind for quite some time.

Jake and I are used to being honest and transparent about our struggles. We admit them to each other. We admit them to others. This is a strength I think. But there has been a piece missing. Some old wounds from our individual pasts and from our relationship together that have created this wall. This defensive, "I will protect myself." But what I've been feeling glimmers of lately is not that we admit more of the stuggles to each other or dive into the hurts per se.

But learn to think the best of one another.

Yes, we're two screwy people with oodles of faults. But the love is there. That was confirmed by a room full of counselors who said they could see it so clearly.

So many times I think Jake is being a jackass, but in his mind and heart he's really trying to be there for me. He's trying to make me happy. He's trying to comfort me.

So many times Jake thinks I'm picking him apart, but what I really want is to see his true self. To be there for him and his deepest emotions.

Our behaviors are defensive, screwed-up and often wrong....but they're understandable. And beneath the screwy things we do, is a desire to do it right. To be a team. To show love.

It's hard for me to think the best of my husband. My past tells me that if you give someone an inkling of affirmation, they take it and use it to walk all over you. But I need to not listen to that past.

It's hard for Jake to think the best of me. His past says that if you trust someone's words, they will turn around and put you down later.

So many of the things we do in our marriages make a damn lot of sense if you look at the past and the present circumstances. If you understand hurts and feelings and coping mechanisms.

But even if you understand all that, it can be hard to move past the hurt. Past the behavior. People get divorced every day and they totally understand themselves, they understand where their partner is coming from and they understand what's wrong in the relationship.

But I think divorce can be avoided if we all learn to go back, dig deep and see where our hearts really are for one another. That most spouses really want to be with each other and be there for each other in the dark places. The way to move past the hurt is to open yourself up to the best idea of your spouse. To trust again that they love you, that they have your back when no one else will. That they will be there for you in your dark places. It doesn't make the hurt disappear, but it creates space for new experiences of doing it right. To have the "muscle memory" of your relationship be instances of coming together rather than moving apart.

I like the idea of muscle memory. You train muscles, then if you slack off a bit and go back to working out, the muscles remember what it was like to be in shape. They go back to that state of fitness faster. Believing the best is about training your relationship to experience this dependence and closeness. Then when all the daily things work to pull you apart, you know what it's like to be meshed. To be a team. It's a strong foundation.

I left that session feeling great (minus a pesky sinus infection and cranky baby). I'm hoping the great feeling reminds me about hope and thinking the best whenever the next test comes (prob. in the next 5 minutes or so!)



  1. You really have a way of words. Great style of delivering the information and I could relate to it. Such a great information for me. Thanks for this.

  2. Once I started reading your post, it was so easy to just flow with it. Thank you for sharing something so personal on this platform. You have no idea how you have helped me and my ready-to-break apart relationship. It is so true that we have the reflection of our past in our everyday actions and attitudes. Our relationships with people are more often than usually dictated by our own experiences. I know that my insecurities about trusting a person with my life and my heart, is slowly leading me away from my husband, but I simply am not able to control it. At least you made me realize it, I am sure that since I have acknowledged it, I will be able to control it if I tried harder. Thanks again for sharing.

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Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.