When we reach a crunch point in our marriage,
the stage where we can no longer tolerate the
status quo, and to quote my favourite film title: ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ there’s usually ONE question uppermost in our minds:
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
This is the question that keeps us awake at night. The one we wrestle with and agonise over.
Our minds swinging back and forth like a battered pendulum as we weigh up the seemingly equally terrifying consequences of each option.
We just want to decide. We want to know what to do.
But the answers elude us. Fear and uncertainty rules.
Here’s the thing.
It’s the wrong question to be asking ourselves.
Here’s why. In fact here are FIVE reasons why it’s the wrong question:
(1) We Use It as a Way to Escape Uncomfortable Emotions
Whenever we’re in a hurry to make a decision, it’s a red flag. What’s the hurry – why are we in such a rush? The truth is, there’s something driving our need for speed – something we’re not consciously aware of.
When we have a potentially life-altering decision hanging over us, such as the future of our marriage, it creates a lot of uncertainty. Not to mention fear, anxiety, stress, worry, etc. We don’t enjoy experiencing these emotions. We don’t like the feeling of uncertainty – in fact, we are hardwired to seek certainty. In our minds, certainty equals safety. And one of our most basic human needs is the need for safety.
Uncertainty is an uncomfortable emotion. We don’t like how it feels in our bodies. We want the feeling to go away. We want to feel better – now. We believe that making a decision one way or the other will eliminate it. And we are right. In the short term.
It is true that making a decision will offer us temporary relief. But our desire to escape uncomfortable emotions is not the basis on which to make any decision, let alone such an important one.
A reactive decision is often a regretted decision. One that leads to guilt, shame and a whole level of emotional pain far greater than the one we were trying to escape from.
(2) We Must Learn to Get Comfortable with Discomfort
All emotions are simply vibrations in our bodies. While uncomfortable and negative emotions don’t feel great, they can’t hurt us and they can’t kill us. If we allow our emotions to be there and we are willing to fully feel them, they will simply pass through our bodies. It’s when we resist and deny our emotions that they cause problems to our physical and emotional wellbeing.
When we learn to ‘be’ with our emotions, we understand that we don’t have to make hasty decisions. We can take the time to understand what our emotions are trying to teach us. We can listen to what is really going on within us and figure out what we really want. We can get clarity. And peace of mind.
(3) Your Husband is NOT the Real Problem (Really!)
When we believe that the only way we can be happy is by changing our circumstances (i.e. leaving our marriage) or waiting for our husband to change (good luck with that one!), we are screwed.
It means we have handed over the responsibility for our happiness to something or someone else; i.e. circumstances or other people. It turn us into victims and takes away our power. It means we can only be happy when certain conditions are met.
This does not mean we have to tolerate behaviour we find intolerable or stay in a marriage we don’t want to remain in.
It means we take responsibility for what we are choosing to think and feel about our husbands’ behaviour, what we are making that behaviour mean and how we are choosing to respond and react, based on our own patterns. It has nothing to do with him. It means we become aware of the results WE are creating in our lives.
When we take back responsibility for our own happiness we can make decisions from a place of power, instead of from fear, blame, guilt and resentment.
(4) It Doesn’t Address the Root Cause of Our Unhappiness
We’ve all heard the saying: ‘Wherever you go, there you are.’ What does this mean? It means ‘we’ are the common denominator in every problem and challenge we ever face in our lives.
When we change our circumstances, such as leaving our marriage, we believe we have solved the problem.
But changing our circumstance doesn’t deal with the root cause. The root cause of our unhappiness is always ourselves, or to be more accurate, our own thinking. It is our thinking that creates our emotions, our emotions that drive our actions, reactions and behaviours and the sum of these that create every result in our lives.
If we don’t take the time to understand ourselves and our own minds, we take our unconscious thinking and behaviour patterns into our future. Including our future relationships. And then we are surprised and dismayed to discover that the same ‘problems’ reappear.
(5) Making an Empowered Choice Means Doing Our Own Work First – Transformation Starts with YOU
When we do our own work first, when we take responsibility for our lives and our part in creating our relationships, we can make empowered, confident choices about the future of our marriages. We can make choices based on love and compassion, for ourselves and our husbands, instead of from resentment and blame.
We can make choices that allow us to live true to ourselves, without apology, however that looks. Why is this so important? Because being who we truly are in our lives and our relationships is THE key to true happiness.
So, what IS the right question to ask ourselves when we are no longer willing to tolerate the status quo?
I’m so glad you asked. It’s simply this:
Who am I today and what do I actually want now?
When you can answer that question with clarity and confidence, your decision about the future of your marriage will become self-evident.
Ok, I hear you say, but where do I even begin with answering that question when I haven’t got a clue?! It’s a simple question and the truth is it takes time and work to uncover the answers. I get it. The ‘you’ that you’ve become has got lost amidst the busyness of life, marriage, building a career and raising kids. But she’s in there, I promise you!
That’s why I spend three months working with my clients to get them crystal clear on exactly this in my Empowered Choices, Empowered Woman Programme.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get started…
Next week, in Part 2 of this article, I will share with you my top tips to get you on your way to answering this question for yourself.
Want a (Free) Taste of Working with Me?
So many of the women who become my clients tell me they’ve been thinking of working with me for some time before they finally get in touch. Often they’ve been waiting for a sign or a nudge that ‘now’ is the right time to invest in themselves and get the support they need. Sometimes it’s an inner knowing that now is their time to take action.
Again, I get it. I get that signing up to do this work takes courage and a commitment to yourself and it can seem like a huge, hairy-arsed step!
I posted a quote on my Facebook Page this week that said: “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”
Here’s your opportunity to take the smallest step…
A One Hour Clarity Session – For You
I am currently offering full one hour Clarity Sessions, instead of the usual 30 minutes, to my Newsletter Subscribers (I’m not sure how long I will keep this open.)
Most of that hour will be spent on personalised coaching focused on helping you get clarity on your situation and how you can begin moving forward.
If after coaching you, I feel you are a great fit for my Empowered Choices Empowered Woman Programme, I will spend the final 10-15 minutes explaining how you can benefit from working with me and the results you can expect. I will explain the practicalities of the programme and answer your questions.
And as I only ever want to work with women who are an ‘ideal’ fit for my work, I will never offer to work with anybody who doesn’t meet that criteria.
So, what have you got to lose? If this post resonates with you, this is your risk-free opportunity to explore if working with me is right for you..
Are you ready to take the first small step towards creating the changes you want in your life and marriage?
If so join my mailing list today by entering your details below. Then email me at Julie@JulieMarah.com to request your one hour Clarity Session and provide 2-3 dates with UK times that you are available to speak via Skype. I will respond and get your session confirmed.
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