The Element of Growth In a Relationship
Wow, I was just thinking this morning that my husband and I have been married, together for half of our lives. Can you imagine? This person has now been with you longer than you’ve been with the family you grew up with.
In essence, him and I have grown up together as adults.
I still remember, like it was yesterday, when we first were together. He was just transitioning from a 3rd shift manufacturing job to a desk job at a major tech corporation. Newly out of a committed relationship that didn’t work. Financially in debt. And no college degree. On paper, my parents would not have approved and neither did some of my friends.
And here I was. Also newly out of a relationship that I had been trying to break off for months. Just made a significant leap financially to join the same tech corporation. Still trying to find my way again after an emotionally traumatic experience. And the last thing on my mind was to date anyone. I was trying to find myself, after 20+ years of living with someone else’s expectations for me.
We’ve come a long way.
Now looking back, I believe the universe put us together for a reason. We were both somewhat broken, but we were also both just trying to find our ground again to make things better.
And from my experience, whenever you start to find your way again, to be open to learning and figuring out how to improve your situation, the universe opens up its doors to you.
This is what I call growth. Evolving into a better version of yourself, so that you can in turn, help others around you who need you, and grow with the ones who are ready to grow. I don’t imagine I will ever stop growing.
If I look back at the timeline of our relationship, I can tell you that him and I have seen each other at our very worst… drinking, depression, punching holes in walls, fighting, yelling, calling each other horrible names.
We’ve seen each other just be complacent. Feel like there’s nothing we can do, so we just settle. Settle for each other’s occasional angry outbursts. Settle for a job that didn’t bring us fulfillment. Settle for no intimacy in the bedroom because it was easier for our toddler to just sleep with us.
And we’ve also seen each other at our best. Feeling loved. Feeling desired. Feeling joy and happiness. Feeling hope. Feeling appreciated. Feeling like our authentic selves. Feeling like we were meant to be together.
But through it all, the consistent element that has kept us from splitting up during those bad times, and even the complacent times, is growth. Or I should say, being open to growth.
When we are going through the bad times, it’s because growth is trying to happen, and we are not letting it happen.
Our fights, the drinking, the depression, the ignoring each other… they are all just symptoms of why growth is not happening yet.
They are signs that growth needs to happen.
The root cause for the symptoms is always something much deeper, and usually stems from childhood or our past experience.
How did you handle a stressful situation as a child or teen?
What did you think about someone who you thought was trying to control you?
What deep dark secrets have you not shared with your partner yet but are still lingering in a dark corner somewhere in your inner being?
What past traumas (and these can range widely from the way someone looked at you or said something to you all the way to a horrific incident like rape or molestation) have you not yet dealt with in a healing manner?
So you see, if we never address the root causes of why the symptoms are showing up for us, we never grow. We get stuck.
And what happens then? We either 1) settle for complacency because we think there’s nothing we can do, 2) we part ways or 3) we figure out a better way
If even one of you has what it takes to opt for #3, then you have a chance to grow.
But just know, many couples before you, have chosen #3 (growth) and are now living their best lives, both as individuals, and as a couple. Their most authentic and best version of themselves, and as a loving and powerful couple, all at the same time.
What growth would you like to see happen in order to up level your long term relationship?