Am I a failure?
Is my relationship a failure because my marriage is falling apart?
“My parents have a successful relationship. They’ve been married for 42 years, and I’ve never seen them argue or fight. My dad is an amazing guy, and he provides everything my mom needs. She doesn’t even have to work. He’s always been there for her.”
“I don’t understand why my marriage wasn’t so happy? My husband always argues with me and we fight at least once a week. Why can’t he learn that happy couples never fight? Why can’t he just be like my dad?”
“Why can’t he just be supportive? Now my business is falling apart because I can’t even focus anymore.”
That is Lisa’s story. The one that forms part of her relationship DNA. The story that is the basis for both her limiting beliefs and empowering beliefs. It’s the lens through which she views marriages and makes her determination on what success means in a relationship. It’s the cane she uses to whoop her own ass for whatever she defines as her failures, wins and sacrifices in her marriage. It’s the party planner that her inner critic uses to sabotage her decisions as she navigates the end of her 10-year marriage.
If you’re wondering about her soon-to-be ex….. well, his story is just a tad bit different. His parents lovingly and amicably divorced when he was 4. They shared joint legal and physical custody until his father died three years later. His single mother raised him by herself, working 3 jobs. She gave him all the love and support he ever needed. He believes that fighting doesn’t mean you don’t love each other, and he is convinced that it is a sign that both parties trust each other enough to disagree, while growing together as a couple.
He believes that no matter how tough things get, you can get through it together. It may take a month, a year or maybe 3, but if you’re committed to working things out, they will. What’s interesting is that what Lisa sees as fighting everyday is what he sees as just communicating. There is never any fighting if he agrees to put on her lenses(or what he calls her parents’ lenses), and he is happy providing everything for her if she chooses not to work.
This is his story. The one he uses to view his life and relationship. The one he uses when he shakes his head as he accuses her of complicating everything. The beliefs that leave him confused, helpless and, sometimes, angry.
Is a relationship or marriage a failure because it ends? Lisa says yes. Ex-hubby says no. One person quips all you have to do is “abc” and things will work. The other person thinks, it’s not EITHER – OR. Why can’t it be AND -BOTH.
What is possible in a relationship when two people with different lenses come together hoping that the other will put down his or her lens and automatically start seeing the world through the “better” lens? The familiar one. The good one. The safe one.
Relationship coaching is as diverse as the business women and couples I support. But there is one common recurring theme. Everyone has a unique relationship DNA.
I invite to you to consider what is predictable when two people enter a relationship without discussing their relationship DNA. This is not a conversation that usually takes place in a bar, at dinner and the movies or on eHarmony. It’s the topic that comes up in pre-marital counsel, couple’s counseling or relationship or life coaching, among a few others.
Sometimes the conversation doesn’t happen because of fear; fear that one person will leave if the couple really digs deep enough to do a root canal “expectations.” So, that discussion is off the table. Swept under the rug until after the honeymoon or after the ring. Maybe after the first three weeks of sleepless nights after the birth of the first child.
Who knows why? But I invite you to consider what is possible when you know your relationship DNA. When you are aware of the lens through which you see life, and the impact that has on you, your partner, the relationship and your family.
Agreements? Expectations? Learning that no one can make you upset/angry? Learning that maybe its your own stuff that’s really in the way? Learning that you get to choose how you react to anything/anyone? Hard to swallow, but true.
What’s underneath the lens is the stuff that will trigger you.
The stuff that sets you off; the stuff that makes you overlook certain things, and the stuff has you playing mind games. Whether you take the passive route, the aggressive route, or the passive-aggressive route, you’re still wearing lens. You get to decide how foggy it is, when to take it off, and when to change your prescription.
What’s your definition of a successful relationship or marriage? Do your stories align with those of your partner?
You’re the expert on your life. You get to decide whether your relationship is successful because you’re both STILL together even if you’re both dying of boredom, lack of intimacy, and you’ve had furniture that was more mentally, emotionally and physically stimulating.
Those who are not together any longer get to decide what label, if any, they put on their time together. Who knows? Those could have been some of the best times of their lives. And now it is possible they have learned enough about their self-sabotaging stories to go create the relationship of their dreams.
Lisa and her soon-to-be ex are not real. But their story is. They both show up everyday in a variety of ways.
How do stories and the questions about failure and success show up? In the stories of each of these amazing humans:
*couples on the brink of divorce, who are still committed to saving their marriage;
*women going through a breakup, separation or divorce;
*women who are sick and tired of arguing with their spouses and want to heal their marriage;
*women intent on bouncing back and thriving beyond the divorce;
*women who are bored and unfulfilled with their marriage, and dying for some intimacy, passion and joy – and at this point, things are so mundane, even an occasional argument would be nice – anything but room mates;
*women who want to learn to communicate effectively;
*women who have decided that it’s their bosses fault; and they just need a new job.
The list could go on, but the bottom line is that humans want to define the relationships. Slap a label on it and try to “fix” it. Even if there’s nothing to fix. Everyone is looking for the icing on the cake The answer that will quiet the guilt and kick the inner critic to the curb.
Well, lovelies, I don’t have the answers. But, I’m full of questions.
What if nothing’s broken? What if we are all just whole, beautiful and complete, regardless of the events in our lives? What if events are just that? Before the labels, the stories, the limiting beliefs. Before the should have – could have – would have party. What is possible from that place?
Whose lenses are you wearing? Whose stories are you carrying with you? What comparisons are you making? Whose rose-colored lenses have you been seeing your experiences through? Whose lies have you been telling yourself?
Whose definition of success have you embraced? What’s your definition of success, and how does it inspire or limit you?
Are you seeing your relationship through your own lenses? Your parents? Your best friends with the perfect marriage who never argue, and are just so immaculately dressed, with the most well-behaved kids in the world?
Or are you looking in the MIRROR? At You. Hopefully, with some compassion.
My invitation to you today is to Consider your relationship DNA. Which lenses are you looking through in EVERY area of your life. How do your beliefs impact not just relationship? How does your lens impact your Health and Wellbeing, Your Finances, Your Career, Your Business, Your Spirituality, Your Life?
What is possible for your relationship, and EVERY other area of your life if you dive deep into your DNA. Not just to create an awareness, but to empower yourself to know your WHO, WHAT, WHY/WHAT FOR?
What will that mean for your life? What, if anything would be different/same? Who would you be? What will you create?
And maybe your relationship is beyond perfect! And you believe nothing in this post applies to you. Well, let me ask you this…. When was the last time you called yourself a failure in any area of your life? Or called anything in your life a failure? NEVER?
I love hearing from you! Comment below and share your thoughts.
Want to connect? Email me at mimidabo@lifecoachforwomen to share your story, your perspective, your comments or your questions.
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Peace and Love,
Your Life and Business Coach
MiMi Dabo, MBA, CPA, JD
I work with women business owners, life coaches and entrepreneurs to create soul-happy 6-figure+ businesses, while working less hours, and living the life of their dreams.
Ready to create or grow a 6-figure+ business that gives you the FLEXIBILITY to have fun, work less and make a difference so that you can ENJOY more FREEDOM, TIME, MONEY, ABUNDANCE and IMPACT?
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