Tag Archives: How to increase closeness in a marriage

When Love Grows Cold

This week I’ve been asked to look at my love again. And it sequels well to last week’s blog. After being across country for three weeks, I came home to a husband who wasn’t sure he wanted our marriage anymore.

I know him after 26 years of marriage, so I wasn’t devastated, but a bit surprised at some of the things he said, like, “There’s nothing to work on.”

“After 26 years? are you crazy?” was my maybe-not-so-loving response. I knew he had fallen into his black hole where everything is dark and fed by CRH and ACTH (the hormones that physically make everything hopeless if we entertain negative thoughts). And he had obviously been entertaining them.

It’s been good, though, we needed some course correction. It’s not resolved yet, but I’m hopeful. I do take him for granted. Not really, because I think about it all the time. But I don’t do much about it. I love being taken care of. This has been one of the best, if not the best, time of my life. However, though it has allowed me to flourish, he is closing in–by choice.

He has always thought he was an extrovert, and has been in positions that required extroversion, but now has come to the truth that he was always forcing it, and wants to be who he truly is. I applaud that. I have an introverted side, but please don’t become a recluse. You can still have fulfilling relationships.

So now I have to look at me. He doesn’t think I will change. Will I? Can I? That does frighten me a little. Do I know how? What does he want? Who is he really? He says I haven’t tried to know. I say he doesn’t share, doesn’t talk. He says I don’t listen or remember. I’m sure it’s both and…

Risking vulnerable loving is scary. Fear of that is, no doubt, how we got together: as my friend used to say, “The rocks in my head fit the holes in his.” It’s one of my favorite definitions of chemistry. And chemistry is the attraction that makes us fall in love. We had tons of that. But we also had the hard road of a blended family, and probably wouldn’t have survived except for his stroke ten years later.

I was ready to leave when God told me to sit tight, I had things to learn. So I did. And a year later he wanted a divorce. He had often said that, but this time he got the papers. I said to God, “I wanted to leave and You said no, and now You’re going to let him leave?”

God said, “Go on vacation, this is going to take a while.” Which I knew meant Don’t worry, and have fun, I’ve got this.

So I did. I didn’t leave, but lots of invitations came to me. It was a good month.

A month later we found out he’d had a stroke. No, God didn’t cause it; He just let him have his way, by eating lots and lots of bacon every morning when I was in class, on our “working” vacation in Cape Cod two months before. And then probably lots of sugar while we weren’t talking for a month. His diabetes caused the stroke. But God is so good He had it happen in just the right place, just the right amount that it turned him and our marriage around.

(to be continued next week)

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Don’t Pursue a Distancer

My husband has gotten into the ten-second rule, and I like it.

I read my blogs to him to see if he approves before I post them, and it’s very helpful because he’s a voracious reader. So for the past three days, whenever one of us gets negative or critical, he’s been saying, “Ok you’ve got three seconds,” or he starts counting seconds. When I realized what he was doing, I got into it, and it has been good–even fun. It’s a great boundary, and incorporates another relationship strategy of working on the same issue consciously at the same time. That is how you shorten the constant of distance between you.

That just means that everyone gets together at an emotional distance that is tolerable for them, and that becomes a constant in the relationship. If something causes one of you to distance, the other one will pursue to keep the constant distance, otherwise you both get uncomfortable. Status quo is powerful and causes you to do this back and forth distance-pursuer dance. But if one of you crashes and burns in an affair or addiction, the other needs to step back, even if it means leaving, until the burnt one recognizes the distance shift and cares enough to choose help. Then the partner can come back, otherwise they are enabling.

To change the constant distance, you both have to recognize that you want to, and you want to be closer. So you have to do the same thing at the same time (pursue) in order to lessen the distance. It’s a great thing to learn. The axiom goes, “Don’t ever pursue a Distancer. And don’t give a Pursuer an inch of slack.” Or in other words–if your partner distances, distance. If your partner pursues, pursue. Mirror them (unless they are crashing and burning.) That is the way to become closer.

 

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