Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Marriage Reflections

Paul and I have been invited to speak on marriage recently, and this has caused us to reflect back over our 51 years of marriage and list and share important truths and concepts we've learned and tried to practice.

This last weekend we shared at Emmanuel in Enid, and the two marriage principles I talked about that had literally changed me and my relationship with Paul were these two: Growth begins where blaming ends, and Discovering your collusive marital games.

I learned about the first one while reading the book, Happiness Is an Inside Job by John Powell, and this was several years ago. This literally turned my world upside down. I reassessed my thinking after realizing I was not "owning" my own actions and emotions. I was quite the blamer. I thought because someone else did so-and-so, that made me sad or that made me angry or that made me whatever. Their actions made me feel the way I was feeling.

The little phrase, growth begins where blaming ends, stopped me in my tracks. Some of my phraseology was, "If only..." meaning if only so-and-so had not done that, or if only so-and-so didn't treat me like that. I finally began to hear myself and how I was thinking. If I wanted to grow and mature emotionally, I realized blaming others for my thoughts, feelings, and actions had to stop!!

And it did. And I began to grow emotionally and take ownership of my actions, which is easier, and my emotions, which is much harder. I now know and try to live within this fact that my feelings and emotions are caused by what's already within me; i.e., how I think, what my history is, what my baggage is, etc.

And my growth has involved knowing that what I'm feeling and what's causing my emotions are mine and I have choices and I can more clearly see these when I quit blaming others and realize choices are mine. Granted, what others do and say are stimulants and spark what's already within me, but what I say, do, and feel are mine!

That was a tough life lesson to learn and sometimes it's tough to live by, but it's getting easier. And, it's definitely very freeing. I'm not "owned" by others and I cannot and do not want to "blame" others for what's mine.

This has become and probably will always be one of my favorite life skills: Growth begins where blaming ends.

I'll write about the second one in my next post. And, hopefully that will be sooner than this one was from my last. How time flies!

Life is good!!


Yvonne Metzdorf said...

Thanks for sharing,Mary. "Growth begins where blaming ends" can certainly apply to many relationships, not just marriage.... in fact we are going through some things in our church where this is definitely applicable. Doing the "right" thing is not always easy but this little phrase certainly helps one see the bigger picture and keep in mind that, as Christians, we are answerable to Him for our actions. Thanks again for sharing.

Mary Burleson said...

Yvonne, Thanks for posting. I love this life skill. It was a real change point for me and continues to spur growth. I figured out that when I can't blame others, I have to face myself and then and only then am I open to where I need to grow. Love it!
So glad to be back in touch with you guys. MB

Yvonne Metzdorf said...

Ditto on all of that and so glad to be back talking with you guys!