Because I am reflecting about my failed marriage right now, I was especially glad to read Kelli Des Rochers’s post about “How to Rebuild a Flawed Relationship”. Although I know that divorce was the best for my husband and I, I believe in taking time during crisis to evaluate my part in adding to the dissolution. I see that over the years (15 years), I slowly quit expecting much affection, joy, or fun from my mate. I know we were friends at one time but now we are in completely opposite camps. I know that divorce can be less painful than this has been.
Kelli especially writes about being with a friend so that when problems come up, you can work together to come to a solution good for both parties. She includes these suggestions for mending a troubled time in your relationship from Dr. Phil. He includes the following qualities for a better relationship: (1) have a solid friendship, (2) meet each other’s needs, (3) set specific goals, (4) get back to basics, (5) take responsibility, and (6) turn the negatives into a to-do list. I would also add that setting realistic , clear-cut goals helps to undermine any hidden agendas.
Most of all, I have realized that each partner in a long-term relationship needs to share what I call the same world view. My world view is to help others—it is a deep-seated need that I have had most of my life. My soon-to-be ex’s world view is to have fun. Any one who looked at our world view would see where we were headed.
Basically there are three main stages in a relationship. Stage One is that wonderful period that the other person can do no wrong. This stage lasts for 6 months to a year generally. However, I have met people who are fixated on stage one—not a relationship I would care to have but it works for them. Then Stage Two occurs when each partner comes to believe that the other is seriously flawed—it seems that he/she has nothing right about them.
The real growth comes in Stage Three where we each accept the other in total and work on compromising our positions for the greater good of each partner. I never made it to stage three. We have been locked in stage two for fourteen years. So I dealt with the power struggle the same way my mother did. I knew it didn’t work for her because my parents died in stage two after fifty years of marriage. But the roles we adopt generally aren’t clear until after the relationship has ended.