Honestly, I was going to give up this blog. I felt dishonest. How could I possibly be giving advice on life when I really didn’t like the life I was living? My life looked nice from the outside: good job as a programmer that I liked (paid well, 4 weeks of vacation each year, great co-workers, great boss), amazing wife (married 15 years, 8 fights total, supportive of each other’s goals and aspirations, no pettiness, no jealousy), good kids, investment property, good friends, etc.
But my wife and I had just lost all the passion for the life we created together. I liked my job but I didn’t love it. My wife and I lost our spark sometime in the last 7 years and couldn’t find it. We love each other deeply but the pizazz was gone. We weren’t unhappy, but our life felt boring and disconnected. And we we’re both thinking, is this how’s it’s going to be for the rest of our lives, vacations, raising kids and tepid aspirations.
The one thing I believe about coaching is that you can only help people reach the level you’re at. I started feeling like a fraud trying to help people reach a level where I didn’t want to be.
Then my wife and I had a hard talk about whether we’d had grown as far as we could together. What it came down to was feeling and intuition. We still felt that we were meant to be together so we decided to make “us” work. That meant finding our authenticity which we did, which meant lots and lots of fights and hurt and blame for getting ourselves into a life that we thought the other person wanted. We tore down our relationship to rebuild it, it feels like our relationships is new and exciting again.
So if you’re wondering what I’ve been doing since March 6, 2011, I’ve been talking to my wife almost every night for 1-2 hours. It’s become part of our newness. My life hasn’t changed all that much externally, but I’ve changed and so has my wife. Life is fun again.
This is what I’m currently doing to continue growing.
I’ve been reading and re-reading this book for months. It’s by far the relationship book that I connect with the most. It’s premise is simple: is it possible to keep desire alive in long-term relationships?
We enter into relationships for intimacy and connection. Intimacy forms from familiarity, safety, trust. Desire comes from uncertainty, mystery, risk. The excitement from the new relationship energy phase of the relationship is bound to a certain amount of insecurity, i.e. will they call or not, is the sex going to be any good this time or not, etc. This is why there’s that stereotype of hot sex fading from long-term relationships. As familiarity grows, desire fades unless, as Ester recommends, you figure out how to manage a balance between familiarity and separation in relationships.
I love this book because it’s not a “how to” book. It’s a “why” book. This is why it happens and you have to figure out a methodology that works for you and your partner. The ideas in this book have become the cornerstone of how my wife and I are recreating our marriage.