How many marriages end up in a state of denial, fear and isolation, purely because of lack of communication between each other. One wonders if the trauma of divorce could be avoided if the two parties involved had been up to communicating their feelings. Relationships, like anything that needs to grow, need energy and nurturing, but avoidance and finger pointing often results. Take a couple who go into marriage with the promise “til death do us part”, great visions of spending the rest of their lives together, but as soon as the going gets tough, instead of communicating and working through the tough times, throw in the towel and attempt to try the “til death do us part” with someone else, who often is very similar to the first partner of choice. No relationship is a bed of roses, work is necessary, people change, children come into the picture, but with open non-confrontational communication, many of these challenges can be overcome. If you happened to see the movie with Tommy-Lee Jones and Meryl Streep – Hope Springs, you will see how difficult it was for the two in their later years to admit their feelings as there was so much hurt and water under the bridge that it was easier to shut down and live the life of strangers. I remember someone saying once, that a marriage is like a fire, when it dies down, why start another one when you can stoke up the one you have, without the added complications of ex’s, maintenance, step children etc. Granted, there are the marriages which are based on abuse, control and pain, but have we not sub-consciously attracted that aspect into our lives in order to work with issues we need to overcome. What lessons are we giving ourselves? We need to focus inward when the problems arise. Bullies and over-controlling people are often very scared and vulnerable people who protect themselves by bullying others so that they do not need to deal with their own inadequacies. There are always two sides to every story which enter into the mix of a marriage. The two souls are a catalyst for ultimate growth, and if one or both of the parties do not acknowledge the problems encountered and that they are as much a part of the issue, then denial brings about pain and incomplete issues. This is where one finds oneself continually drawing in the same type of person in order to complete the process. It is not so much about the other but more about what you need to learn in this particular lifetime. I have so often come across couples where the women or man strives and voices what they need in a relationship, yet, the other partner , through possible learnt behaviour tries to control the situation and will not allow the relationship to be a balanced one. By giving into the fear of not being enough, they bully and deny that there is a problem and yet long for that connection. Being too afraid to voice the need for that connection, the relationship eventually ends up being empty, painful and resentful. Often the one who is open to communication gets to the point of no return, which leaves the partner shocked and unbelieving of the situation they have been left in. The other day I was sitting in on a conversation with a gentlemen who was complaining about one issue being that his wife hides shopping that she has bought. Why has she felt the need to do so? I could see his pain of not being able to make a connection with her, but when it was suggested that they communicate about it, I could immediately sense that he was far happier living in the situation which had become a habit than digging into painful and unsaid hurts which had built up over the years. Relationships are about balance, if there is imbalance, they cannot function. We come into a relationship sometimes battered and bruised from past experiences with the hope that this person will fix it for us. We can only fix it ourselves. Consider this…….. are you being completely honest with yourself? Are you placing blame and past hurts onto your partner? Remember this goes for both parties………………….. Isn’t it time to open the doors of communication? What have you got to lose? You may just find that by spending some time on yourself and polishing your own gem, the gem in your partner may start shining as well. Ultimately, we are all vulnerable souls, we just put on different coats (anger, control, over zealousness etc) to cover up. Look into your partner and see if you can find that vulnerable soul. Some may cover up more than others and may not ever be open to dropping that coat, but understanding and open communication of your own feelings may slowly bring it down without that person even being aware of it. Worth a try isn’t it? I always feel so sad that so many children and people do not experience the wonders of a family, me included. Children need both parents and we all need partners in order to grow. I see so many women, being left on their own to bring up children under tough circumstances. I am not being biased here, but just realistic, there are many more women battling out there on their own than men, trying to be mother and father. The fallout on the children is so huge, and their experience of the broken marriage gives them their own very warped challenges of what relationships and families really are. Is it just a time we are living in where we are faced with our greatest challenge of communication in relationships. People are covering the pain with drugs, alcohol, overwork, sex and greed when it could just be as simple as letting down our defences and actually voicing our pain and dissatisfaction by communicating with each other. We are in an age where technology has allowed us to communicate with others all the time, yet are not communicating with the one’s closest to us.