Written by James Miklos, Ph.D.
Unless you had a pre-arranged marriage you married for “love”. Let’s be more precise, you married because your emotional needs were being met by the one you had been dating and engaged to. Here is where the problem comes into play.
Our Unconscious Minds
Your unconscious mind is that part of you that is much like the hard drive on your computer. The unconscious mind is the collection of all of your life’s experiences and lessons that has an emotional charge to them. The unconscious mind is not in a coma but rather your conscious mind is mostly unaware of its operation and can often frustrate you. For example, have you ever said something you regretted and wondered where that came from? Or ever said to yourself: Why did I eat this? Why did I buy this? What about, Why did I marry him or her? This is the unconscious mind that responds much more swiftly than our logical conscious selves. I have heard it said that 95% of all our behaviour and choices are the result of the unconscious mind. Our emotions are part of this unconscious mind and when we “fall in love” and get married this choice is the result of our emotional intelligence. Can you improve your emotional intelligence and thereby shift your unconscious mind’s choices? Yes, but it takes diligent work on a daily basis as well as having a therapist or life coach who can guide and aid you in your change.
You married who you married because of the emotional connection you had with them. The emotional connection with your partner is that somehow they were familiar to you, which I will discuss further on. The person we married at some point met most or all of our emotional needs, they turned us on! I explain this in my article, Happy Wife, Happy Life: Keys to a Successful Marriage.
We also probably married a person who’s emotional style is probably opposite from ours. You’ve heard, “opposites attract”, well they do! For example one might need to have some “cave time” after or during a conflict while others need to talk things out they are the “problem solver”. In this way we can learn to be supportive to each other by being thoughtful of each other’s needs and feelings. This can turn out to be a great lesson for our own emotional balance. Though, all too often couples who come into my office don’t know how to utilize their unique style and be a support to each other. Being considerate and thoughtful of your partner’s needs are necessary for a successful marriage.
We marry a person who is familiar to us. How? you may ask. Back to the unconscious mind, we want to bond to someone who is familiar to us in some way of our family of origin. You’ve probably heard the saying, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know”. This is true in marriage. We are comfortable with the way our partner is, we are also upset with the way our partner is because the unconscious mind is trying to resolve our unmet emotional needs we had in childhood. If you are trying to fix those unmet needs in childhood through your spouse you will be in for long drawn out pain of disappointment. Yes, we are to meet each others’ emotional needs and be a support to one another but there are things that your partner cannot do for you and that is what needs to be fixed in therapy. That is why I offer a two-tier approach to marriage and couples’ counselling (for more info click here).
We also entered into our marriage because we experienced emotional safety on some level. Emotional safety helps us to not only connect but to feel safe enough to open up and become vulnerable. The safer you feel the more you are willing to let down your guard and expose yourself to the one you love. For some this is more difficult than others and frequently this is the reason for conflict because it is both aggressive and passive. Love grows cold because there isn’t enough emotional safety or emotional vulnerability and openness. This often exists because there are family of origin issues alongside traumatic events that have walled you off and incapacitated you. Having your wall of emotional defence up will end up causing you more pain not less pain as most people would think. Think about it this way, a wall is meant to keep unwanted people and things out. A wall is not meant to be in a marriage, it will only destroy it in time. This issue needs to be dealt with as soon as possible, matters of this nature require seeing a quality therapist to help you to heal and to allow your spouse in your heart so that you can have a happy and healthy marriage. Book your appointment today.