Laura Munson wrote an amazing little article about how she didn’t leave her husband when he said he wanted out the marriage. This woman pretty much explains it all perfectly and there isn’t much I can add to her story but I will write this blog to encourage others. First off, read Those are not fighting words … it is an inspiring look at a relationship’s reality.
Now, just in case you decided that the few paragraphs were not worth your time, I will demand you click the link above and read it. I assure you, it is worth your time. Good… now we can move forward.
In my office, I get person after person questioning if they should leave their relationship, if it is already too late, if their relationship can be saved, or if they should just move on. Each person sits with their heart breaking open because they very much love the person with whom they are considering staying/leaving the relationship. These are real people with real emotional ties who want to do what is right.
When are you supposed to leave and when you are supposed to stay? Each situation is different there is no mistaking that point. However, there is something deep about considering that a relationship might be in the stages of some sort of growth that has little to do with you and very much to do with your partner.
If you are overall sure that your needs are being met, boundaries are being respected, that you are not being mistreated in a way that is beyond your capacity, and that you very much love your partner… then it might be worth considering to wait out the situation. Not everyone is prepared for the internal strength it takes to hold on while your partner is flailing about during hard times.
Still, allowing your mate to breathe on their own… find their own path… and to know that you will be there as they find their way … can be the very key to bringing you closer.
I find that many of us have lost sight of the fact that relationships go through hard times and that we can be cruel to one another. We blame, mistrust, and hurt our partner deeply. We say we know this but in action we break often under the pressure. I wish this wasn’t the case but often when two people share their most vulnerable parts they end up needing to protect themselves from the very person they want to be most at peace with. This is simply a truth.
So when things turn nasty and you are being attacked it is natural to want to run away from the situation. But maintaining a sense of self that can stand within the face of someone else hurting is another very true part of relationships. The ability to love without demanding the person change but allowing them to figure themselves out is a powerful expression.
I’m not asking you to stay in a relationship that you don’t want to be in (or that you feel is unhealthy/abusive for you)… however if you look at things and consider that you can wait out storm without attacking your partner then perhaps there will be a rainbow at the end.
Relationships require work and often times they hurt … but they can also bring great joy when you look back and realize that you endured and became stronger for allowing your partner to grow in the way they needed.
Taking space and giving space in loving ways is not an easy task but well worth the effort. Consider taking the wide persective on the situation and see if the long term gains are worth it!