By Avital Schreiber Levy
Cara, an athletic brunette with classic girl-next-door charm, grew up in a quiet suburb 20 minutes from Manhattan. When she was 14 she represented her state in swim (breaststroke) and at 23, she started working in the nonprofit world. 8 years ago, at 27, she packed away her ski gear and packed up her Lululemon's, her dog-eared copy of "Eat, Love, Pray
" and moved to Sydney, Australia to start a family with her (sexy accountant-meets-surfer) Aussie husband.
A few extra pounds, a mortgage and 2 (gorgeous!) kids later - their romance isn't what it used to be. Now it was her copy of "Peaceful Parent, Happy Child
" that was dog-eared and she had exchanged breaststroke for breastfeeding.
Her husband (Matt) was still every bit the accountant, and the surfer, but she not so much the "sexy
" anymore. In fact, just a few months back, Cara confided in me that she felt her marriage had hit rock bottom. She had imagined losing herself in her husband's arms, instead she was losing herself scrolling endlessly on Facebook.
When her husband yelled at the kids for getting play-dough on the carpets, or "forgot
" yet another nap time - she wondered if her dorky high school sweetheart would have made a better father. (She's not the only one who's wondered this, right?)
Cara was a passionate mother, but not a passionate wife. She had enthusiasm and patience for her children, but not her husband. Even though divorce actually wasn't on the table, because things weren't quite bad enough - she still felt like their marriage was failing.
But Cara had that little voice in her head and knew that she deserved a meaningful and satisfying relationship. She wasn't ready to give up. Her sister-in-law recommended a therapist, and she was so excited to finally end the bickering and get things back on track. But her husband didn't like the "look
" the therapist had given him. And he definitely didn't like the bill at the end of the session. "6 months of this?
" He whined. "I'm not doing it.
Cara felt desperate... that's when she discovered the core principles of the Peaceful Partnering philosophy, a radically
different approach to anything she'd ever heard of before. This approach is so different - because it empowers us to make transformations in our relationships by controlling the only thing we can - ourselves. Rather than waiting idly for our partner to one day change (wishful thinking) we create the change that we want to see.
How did she do this? Three core steps to becoming a passionate woman who could show up in her relationship better than ever before:
- Radical responsibility: Rather than focusing her attention on what she couldn't change (Matt) Cara learned to focus her attention on herself. Her own inner talk, her own behaviors, thoughts - and therefore feelings. She learned that she was actively creating the very conflicts she so disdained - even as she was blaming Matt for it. This was incredibly empowering as it put her back in the driver's seat to take the relationship (and more importantly - her experience of it) what she most wanted it to be.
- Drama Proofing: Cara learned that she could stop escalation's quickly and effectively - and instead get to the root cause of the issue - without the hours of painful disconnect (gas-lighting, name-calling, cold shoulders) that she used to think of as "inevitable". She learned she could use positive psychological primers, triggers and subconscious messaging to convey peace, love and harmony, and disarm Matt - and, more surprisingly, herself.
- Unconditional Love: Ultimately, Cara found, both her and Matt wanted the same thing. They wanted to be thought of well, they wanted to be given the benefit of the doubt, and they wanted to feel completely safe to surrender into each other, without fear of reprimand or rejection. Unfortunately, unconditional love is something so few of us have experienced - but that all of us want and need - but something you don't have is a darn hard thing to offer. Cara and Matt had a lot of healing to do, but once they did, their relationship became the safe haven they were both looking for.
Cara said, "My husband is trying so much more, standing up for me, and trying to understand and get on board with my parenting style. Yes, we still argue sometimes, but now I'm confident that we'll bounce back. And I know HOW to make that happen! I'm more in love with Matt than I've been in years. We're a team again. It's changed my life forever, thank you.
Cara could have continued to play the victim. She could have played the blame game till death did them part. Or she could have called it quits, and given up on what was essentially a healthy, but misguided relationship. She could have given up because she had bought into an old, broken narrative. Instead, she made a radical change and transformed her life as a result. Avital Schreiber Levy
is the Founder of TheParentingJunkie.com, Avital's mission is to help parents and caregivers who struggle with chaos, clutter and conflict to transform their experience with young children into one of presence, play and peace. Parents are invited to start decluttering and simplifying their play space with Avital's guide: 10 East Steps to Transform Your Home into a Play Inducing Haven
. Trained in the Simplicity Parenting and Hand-in-Hand parenting disciplines, her work has been published in Huff Post, Motherly and is endorsed by the leaders in the Parenting space, Dr. Shefali Tsabary and Dr. Laura Markham. Avital has a global and thriving community of tens of thousands of individuals through her courses, coaching and blog. Follow Avital at: www.theparentingjunkie.com
Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.