You’ve met the love of your life. You fall in love, sex is great, you seem meant for each other.
Time passes, and eventually, what felt like endless passion begins to feel like a trap. Your commitments become your sentence. Rather than looking forward to time together, you find yourself avoiding spending time together.
Are you bad? Are you stupid? Are you doomed?
You are human.
We all enter into relationships with a hope they will bring us pleasure. And they do, but it’s hard to sustain.
Our first problem is that we were never given the tools to build the relationship we want. Then we bought into the fantasy that love is all we need. This is no different than going on a long journey with the hope of having magical experiences as you travel to your designation, without a map or a guide.
One day we wake up from our fantasy feeling trapped, wondering what happened. We are in our own arranged marriage. A marriage we never wanted. Until now we were under the illusion that we were in control.
We were—we arranged to be in a marriage that we didn’t intend.
What makes this tough is the belief that we escaped the unsophisticated for the self-determined. We were under the assumption that being free to create what we wanted, we would have that perfect relationship. We discovered that we learned a way to relate that is not relating. We deny or rebel to no avail. We stay trapped in more than a marriage; we are trapped in an arcane model.
In an arranged marriage, what we might perceive as the trap can actually be a container for connection. In our free society, we expect our freedom to be our salvation. Here it might not be.
Our work with men and couples has taught us that as tough as it is, there is a huge opportunity in our arranged marriages. By bumping up against the edges of our relationship, we have a choice. We can step out, or we can step in. When there’s no place to go but into the relationship, we discover more about our partner, ourselves, and the potential of the relationship.
Without a new model and guidance, we are set up for misery. Without support in learning how to connect we will make others, rather than ourselves and the relationship, the problem. We are so deep in the forest, all we see are the trees.
We often see couples develop their connection skills and take a relationship – that they were sure was doomed – and transform it into a higher order of what they had years earlier, when they first fell in love.
Being trapped in their arranged marriage was the catalyst to finding a new model.
Make it easy
You don’t need to be in a struggling marriage for 20 years before you go, “What the hell, let’s get some real help.” You can start today; even if you aren’t in a relationship.
In or out of a relationship, developing your skill of connecting is the base for all change. This means becoming aware of and expressing your emotions and needs. Our courses, trainings and free groups are the training grounds for men. We are in desperate need of learning how to connect to our own experience and to another person.
The secret I discovered is that many men learn best with other men. For all men, it’s quicker and more fun developing their connection muscle with men. On a weekly basis I see men hone these skills, and then naturally develop a connection with their partner. Single men suddenly find connecting up to women they are attracted to easy and fun.
For couples, one of the most effective ways is through the work of Sue Johnson, PhD, and people who do her Hold Me Tight workshops.
Don’t wait to be trapped. Don’t suffer when you can enjoy your arranged marriage. Start tonight, express a vulnerable feeling, then make a commitment to change your model from one of entrapment to one of love.