Your Problem: Your Partner or Your Approach?

By Michael Semon

March 14, 2018

partner, relationships
Couples Therapist Birmingham AL

You chose your partner and your partner chose you. From all the friends, acquaintances and colleagues in your life, you chose your partner. You could have chosen anyone else, but you chose this person. You might ask, “What was I thinking?”

Your Partner

You weren’t thinking as much as you were responding to the WOW factor, a deep and powerfully unconscious need for “resolution” to your own idealized image of how you wanted beliefs, actions, reactions and interactions from your family to be different. The determining factor for who you choose and the motivation for resolving these “old and deep” unconscious patterns is more about you than your partner. How you approach your partner given your intensity for needing this idealized image fulfilled is critically important for achieving resolution or unintentionally replicating these patterns for future generations.

Matthew 16: 25, For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV) Two broad approaches are available for managing your feelings, thoughts, actions and reactions as you re-experience the pain, disappointment and fear from your growing up family in the actions and reactions of your partner.

Your Approach

Saving Your Life, to Lose It.

Saving your life manifests in a variety of ways. Insisting that your partner be the person who fulfills your unconscious, idealized image of who he or she should be in an attempt to heal the pain from your family of origin is one way of saving your life and the result will be losing your life. As your partner experiences your demands he or she may comply for some time, but ultimately retaining some small measure of self-respect your partner will defy your efforts at manipulation and eventually realize there is only one person in the relationship: You.

Expecting your partner to respond to you based on how you give to your partner is another way of saving your life and losing it as a result. This quid pro quo ultimately results in obligation, resentment, entitlement and emptiness with both people feeling objectified, diminished and minimized as a result of the relationship approach. Continually insisting on saving their lives results in chronic anger, resentment and bitterness ultimately ending the relationship with so much polarization neither knows how or why they ever got to the point of divorce.

Losing Your Life to Find It.

The key to losing your life is surrendering what you have to have when you have to have it, not for the sake of your partner, your sake or the sake of the relationship. Your motivation for losing your life is “for my (Jesus’) sake.” The reason you do what you do is not even to overcome these old and deep unconscious patterns of hurt and pain. Losing your life for Jesus’ sake is the motivation and the idealized image of what you wanted from your family of origin will be overcome. The result is finding life.

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