Shedding New Light On Dark Wounds Spring is a time for change and, as this writer found out, a time that would come to define her marriage. BY WENDY STRGAR
Each spring brings a fresh start and can help heal old wounds.
“ The problems that plague long-term relationships are not significantly different than the ones that define your relationship in the beginning.”
I am redesigning my blog again and have opted to let go of the whole "Daily" concept in favor of my primary voice. As my creative director and I have been going back and forth about the look and feel of these words, saying no to curly cursive, no to all caps in varying shades of bold, I found myself explaining how these words, "making love sustainable" need to look like the small inner voice that moves us to stay, like the prayer for grace we say when we realize we need it most, or like a circle that always comes back around.
The timing for this kind of thinking is pertinent in other ways too, my 31st wedding anniversary is tomorrow. I picked a spring wedding because this season, full of new life, always inspires me to believe that things can be new again and that there is truth in what I can’t yet see. This is one of the keys to a sustainable relationship of any kind—this trust that—like the natural world around us, we can change and grow. It’s not an easy path and it seems like each year as we move through the seasons side by side, there is a place or a time when I wonder how many more times will we have to disagree over this stupid thing again… or how many more nights will I wait for him to come look for me.
The problems that plague long-term relationships are not significantly different than the ones that define your relationship in the beginning. The willingness to come back to them over and over again is where this inner voice of prayer becomes real and grounding. The most persistent and painful issues that wedged a cleaver between us most deeply was our respective relationship to his mother who passed away a few days ago. As only death can, it has clarified so many of the feelings that have kept us estranged for decades. Between his longing to be loved by her and her unrelenting rejection of me, these feelings created a space of abandonment and despair so deep it was crippling. The seeds of divorce had to be tamped down after every encounter.
Even after all these years, I never really learned how to let go of him sufficiently as my husband to be the son she wanted. And now that she is gone, it is clear that it was never about me letting go so much as it was about her inability to open up and receive the love he had to offer.
That is how it is in long-time relationships, we often unknowingly sign up for painful circumstances that can only find resolution and healing with our persistent willingness to stay with it. It is by far the hardest work I have ever done. But then, the spring rolls around again, and another aspect of the shadow between us is brought to light. Building bridges over the spaces between us can take lifetimes.
And so in addition to cultivating an unfailing will to confront the pain between you, it is also critical to have a mechanism of persistent connection. This is the greatest gift of the company I started: to heal my sexual life with my husband. And truly, I don’t believe we could have kept coming back to the painful spaces between us without the soothing release of increasingly reliable and passionate sexual satisfaction. Its magnetism eclipses, or maybe is the fuel, that kept us staying to heal the wounds.
Here is to 31 more years—or however many we get.
Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family. In her new book, "Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy," she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative advice. It has been called "the essential guide for relationships." The book is available on ebook. Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13-23 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. You can follow her on Google+