I am a wife and mom who has totally lost my “spark” and it’s has been long lost in my marriage. I have been with my husband since my teen years and my journey into my womanhood has been rocky to say the least. I had recently met someone who was very masculine and tried to pursue me (until I assured him I was married and I wouldn’t participate) but it felt amazing and I felt like I haven’t in 12 years. I guess my question is how do I get my spark back without out hurting my marriage or myself? I want to include him but I don’t know how as well.
–Sparkless ( ♀ BC)
Thank you for your question! Yours is a huge issue in a lot of long term relationships and I imagine there are many men and women looking for the same answers. Before we dig in though, I want to ask if your man has similar feelings about the relationship? If he does, I recommend that you work on this together. If he seems oblivious, or denies the issues altogether, it is still entirely possible to breathe life back into yourself, and likely the relationship, but depending on his resistance to change and his own commitment to the relationship, there may be some unexpected outcomes. Now you see why I mention this first 😉
As you are probably aware, I see three elements to a healthy intimate relationship – self awareness, connection and polarity. Self awareness is probably the least talked about, and we’ll get into that in a sec. Connection and polarity, on the other hand, are more familiar, though not many people make a distinction between the two. David Deida considers connection the sameness that exists between the couple – shared interests, shared values, the lifestyle you live in common. Polarity is, then, the difference between the couple – which I usually describe in terms of the masculine / feminine essence but it could be the interests and values you don’t have in common. All three elements must be present for the spark to be there, and in a long term relationship will require some degree of cultivation depending on your respective patterns and habits.
Because you’ve been together for all of your adult life, my guess is that the connection you share has gotten out of balance with your polarity in a couple of ways: first, you have probably gotten so close over the years that you are nearly the same person. Second, I’m imagining that you have probably taken on more of a directive (masculine) role in the relationship (organizing, scheduling, budgeting, decision making), and he’s taken on the receptive (feminine) role (following orders, waiting to be directed, eat’s what’s put in front of him). In all cases, the solution is to balance out how connected you are with a little bit more polarity. Here’s a few things to get you started:
- Choose your role: There are many reasons we have relationships – for love, for friendship, for business, to get needs met and so on. In your primary relationship (as with all relationships) it is important to pick one reason to be together and limit the amount of time you spend focused on the other reasons. I’m going to recommend love. In other words, I recommend that you limit the amount of time you spend talking about work (that’s what mentors are for), about yours or his childhood issues (therapist territory), gossiping (time to organize a night out with the girls) and teaching (this automatically puts you in the masculine, which throws the polarity out of wack). Instead, create together – the most polarized conversations you are going to have will be about your joys, hopes and dreams.
- Put down the dish rag: I like to say that if you pick it up you can expect to carry it until you put it down. By this I mean that if you are always the one taking initiative around the house, with the kids and with your relationship, he’s not going to suddenly jump in and wrestle you for it. As the feminine in a predominantly masculine world, your first task is to let go. Let go of control and see what happens.
- Find yourself: He was attracted to you because you were you. Unfortunately, the deeper into connection you get, the less ‘you’ you are and the easier it is to just merge with each other and sit on the couch watching tv! Polarity requires that you cultivate a little mystery. Start with spending fifteen minutes to a half an hour alone in your bedroom per day – make a mixtape of music and dance, read a fiction book, write a letter to your best friend, draw or paint pictures, melt chocolate in your mouth until it’s gone. Then, get out of the house one evening per week for something fun – make plans with friends, go swimming, take a dance class. Then, resist the temptation to give him a play by play.
The key to remember while working with my suggestions is that the pain you are feeling in your relationship right now is about you (remember that the first element of a healthy intimate relationship was self awareness?). When we are unhappy with ourselves, we look for how it is about something or someone else. Right now it looks like it’s about your husband, because this other guy swooped in and took some initiative, but it’s not. In fact I can guarantee with 98% certainty that if you left your husband and got into it with this or any other guy without dealing with what’s inside, you would find yourself in the same pain in the near future. It is hard work to look within and deal with what you’ve been ignoring, whether it’s a lost identity, a lack of direction, or giving away more than you intended to. But, I would be lying if I said the answer is anywhere else.
Start with this and write me again if you hit a hiccup,