My husband is not the handy man type. He wants nothing to do with a hammer, nails and the last place you’ll ever find him in is Auto Zone or Home Depot. No, he prefers all things tech, the internet and visiting the Hugo Boss store… Nonetheless, when I look a little deeper, what I find is that we call up in each other the unhealed parts of ourselves. Usually, these unhealed parts come from childhood experiences we had with our parents. Most people will tell you in a heartbeat: “I married my mother…” or “I married somebody just like my dad” or “I married the complete opposite of my mom.” All of these statements point to the same thing: in marriage, we are mirrors of each other and we attract that which we need to heal and, oftentimes, that which we are…
So the question becomes:
When you look at your partner, which parent did you marry?
Your father… or your mother?
Looking at my husband, I can see his similarities to my father: introverted, quiet, would rather go to the store and pick out a nice suit than change the oil in the car, very sensitive. Although I swore to myself in my teens that I would never marry anybody like either of my parents, here it is… and there you go. But what do you do when you marry someone who brings up in you the unhealed wounds of childhood (and they always will)?
How do you separate YOUR emotional baggage from OUR emotional baggage?
In two words: you don’t.
Yours, mine, ours, two people come together to heal wounds, to choose differently, and to learn how to love and be loved. It is not an easy journey but nothing worthwhile is so the next time you feel like running away from home screaming or you want to rant and rave at your spouse in an effort to make him/her “better”, remind yourself:
This person is one of my greatest spiritual teachers. What needs to be healed so I can move on?
And then heal it. See, you don’t need mom or dad’s approval to go beyond what they were capable of being in relationships. You don’t need their presence to get closure for the wounds they may have inflicted but you do need to process and heal whatever it is you didn’t heal with them with your spouse…. Otherwise, the same spiritual lesson will come back again and again and again… until you are ready to receive it. Don’t repeat the spiritual sixth grade four or five times. Get the lesson here…
If you’d like to learn more about how couples heal the wounds of childhood, check out Harville Hendrix’s work. He wrote the book “Getting the Love You Want” and offers couples workshops all of the time. He wrote a great ‘how to’ article called ‘Stay in the Canoe and Paddle.’ Check it out here: http://harvillehendrix.com/read.html.