Colorado Life Coach: 10 Characteristics of a Conscious Marriage
Can a marriage be unconscious?
In the book, Getting The Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., a conscious marriage is defined as: “a marriage that fosters maximum psychological and spiritual growth; it’s a marriage created by becoming conscious and cooperating with the fundamental drives of the unconscious mind: to be safe, to be healed, and to be whole.”
Sounds like a bunch of counseling mumbo-jumbo! What’s it mean?
Most of us don’t realize we look to our spouse for safety, healing and wholeness. We expect them to do these things without thinking about it. When they don’t, we’re disappointed in them.
Here are 10 characteristics of a Conscious Marriage:
1. You realize that your love relationship has a hidden purpose–the healing of childhood wounds. It’s amazing how we do day to day things without realizing there’s a little kid inside trying to fix something from the past. When we begin to recognize this, we will view everyday interactions differently. Confusing patterns in your relationship will start to make sense and you will feel more in control of your life.
2. You create a more accurate image of your partner. Early on in relationships, we can tend to idealize our partners, or subconsciously try to work through issues in our family of origin. Then we tend to project our negative traits onto our partner. We don’t see our partner in reality. As we drop these illusions, we can see our partner not as our savior, but as another wounded human being struggling to be healed.
3. You take responsibility for communicating your needs and desires to your partner. You drop the idea that your partner should read your mind, and develop clear channels of communication.
4. You become more intentional in your interactions. You stop reacting without thinking, and behave in a more constructive manner.
5. You learn to value your partner’s needs and wishes as highly as you value your own. You realize your partner’s sole purpose is not to magically make your life better, and you spend more energy meeting your partner’s needs.
6. You embrace the dark side of your personality. We all have negative traits, and we acknowledge them. As we accept responsibility for our dark side, we stop projecting onto our partner.
7. You learn new techniques to satisfy your basic needs and desires. You realize your partner can be a resource for you and stop using manipulation to get what you want.
8. You search within yourself for the strengths and abilities you are lacking. You were attracted to your partner because they had strengths and abilities you don’t, but you can develop these hidden traits within yourself.
9. You become more aware of your drive to be loving and whole. Because God created us, we have the ability to love unconditionally. You begin to live this out.
10. You accept the difficulty of creating a good marriage. In an unconscious marriage, you believe that the way to have a good marriage is to pick the right partner. In a conscious marriage you realize you have to be the right partner. As you gain a more realistic view of love relationships, you realize that a good marriage requires commitment, discipline, and the courage to grow and change; marriage is hard work.
This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.