This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by Linda Armstrong
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Copyright ©2008 by Linda Armstrong For more information contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org Published by Gratitude Valley Press Cover art by George Armstrong
Gratitude Valley Press Center of the Universe
Galactic Marriage Introduction This book is not for wimps. If you are a wimp, put this book down. Now. I mean it, if you are a wimp, put this book down and never pick it up again. This book is blunt, honest and more to the core of the issue than you might get elsewhere. I don’t know you, so I can honestly say what is on my mind about marriage without you needing to take it personally. Even though you might. If you are still reading this, then you’ve passed the first wimp test. That means that you are willing to look at what I’m saying here, see how it applies to yourself, and think about ways to change what you are doing with your life. Several years ago, I was visiting a friend in her house. We had a nice visit along with her children, although her husband was not home at the time. I was stunned to see that when he did come home, neither she nor her husband said a word to each other. He went into other parts of the house, did a few things then left, again without a word to his wife, or from her to him. She then proceeded to ask me to teach a marriage relations class, since I’ve been happily married for so long. This is always a tough to respond to while looking someone in the face. Work on your marriage? There are things you first need to work on yourself! Get straight with yourself before you can think of changing your marriage! Somehow, that just doesn’t come out in most books about marriage. And I know how hard it is to say something like that to people: I had it said to me once about my ‘happily married life.’ The gentleman had seen both me and my husband for only a short time when he said, “You two aren’t happily married. In all the couples I’ve worked with, I’ve only seen two couples who were happily married. Those were the people who were happy all by themselves and the spouse was icing on the cake. If they were to be out of the picture for any reason, the other one would still be happy. “I don’t see that in you two.” Wow. What a punch to the gut. However, I looked at it. He was right. I know for my part, I was basing a lot of my happiness on my husband. I was happy when he was home, miserable when he was gone. I was only ‘half’ a person. Did I ever need to get over that!
What has transpired since then has helped immensely. I am happy on my own, I am happy with George. I am a happy person. A happy person is essential to a happy marriage. Without that, a marriage is an institution, filled with power, control and mind games. So when you find all the other books that tell you to treat the bad behavior of your spouse like you would a puppy you are training, or to find solutions that involve mind games, you’ve got a marriage that has one, most likely two unhappy people in it. Those techniques are for conflict resolution. And happy people don’t see conflict with the ‘icing’ on their cake. These are the people who can say honestly what they feel and know that the other person will do what they will with that information, whether it is to change their behavior, get offended, leave the marriage, or retaliate. It just wouldn’t matter because the happy person knows that whatever the spouse does, it has more to do with the spouse than with herself. Happy people are secure in their own selves enough to know that you don’t have to play mind games with the people you love. That you can make a situation that is not working better for both parties by talking it out, maybe making compromises, maybe changing the whole thing. Happy people are not concerned with you hurting their feelings or being taken for insensitive slobs, because they know they have mastered all the elements of happiness that don’t get offended, don’t get hurt feelings, don’t worry about people leaving. This book is intended to go beyond what those books teach you. It is intended to incorporate the happy part of yourself into a marriage that works for both people. If you find you are not a happy person, think of how much fun you are for your spouse and take action! All the happy spouse wants of his/her spouse is for that person to be happy also. (If you think otherwise, maybe you’ve got more control/power games going on than you think!) Yes, those other books will help with the practical, down to earth things like learning how to communicate, whether your spouse is verbal or visually oriented, or how to get over the bumps in the road together. This book goes more into the energy of each person, the energy of the marriage and how to get the two to mesh into a more harmonious partnership that both enjoy. There will be no long ramblings, long descriptions or examples. If you understand this book in its brevity, then you don’t need the fluff. If you don’t understand this book, go back to Venus. I challenge you to move past the wimpiness, move past the issues that hold you, and by default your spouse, down. Becoming a happier person raises the energy of the whole world.
Chapter 1 Cake or Icing? You probably wouldn’t eat an entire piece of cake that had a really bad element to it, either the icing or the cake. You would tend to either remove the bad icing, or eat the icing and leave the bad cake. If both the cake and the icing are good, they both get eaten. That is just the metaphor. It works for the examples used in this book, so know that when you are reading something in this book, you are the cake, and your spouse is always the icing. With that in mind, is your cake good by itself? Can you stand to eat it without the icing? This would be a metaphor for are you good company for yourself? The old adage is that if you are alone, you have to figure out if it is by choice, or by popular demand. Further, you can figure out if you choose to be alone, is it because you are having issues, holding on to the past or the future, or just sulking? None of these scenarios are very fun company, so if you wouldn’t want to be around someone who is demonstrating these types of behaviors, why would you want to be alone with that same person? If you are alone because of popular demand, it is close to the same thing. It is possible that you want to be with people, and maybe they are just tired of the behaviors that you exhibit. So you are at the same place, a person that is not living in this Now moment, someone who would rather eat icing by herself because the cake is bad. There are people out there who put a lot of pressure on the icing. It is difficult to constantly be the icing with a cake who would rather not change any of the ingredients in the mixture to make a better tasting cake. Putting this kind of emotional pressure on the icing (to be the happy one, the one who is pleasant to be around) is draining physically, emotionally and energetically. This type of behavior is also hard on the people in your life, as some may enjoy being with your ‘icing’ but not you. So they either have the choice of being with the bad tasting cake in order to be with the icing, or not enjoying even the presence of the icing. The repercussions are far reaching. Your issues are not just your issues. All of this leads to the question: Why are you married?
Chapter 2 The Big Question “Will you marry me?” That is a misleading question. What do you want out of a marriage? Is it control? Power? Or are you after an equal, enjoyable partnership? When someone asks the question, “Will you marry me?” usually, neither person really ever gets to the nitty-gritty of it. Why not just come right out with the truth: “Will you be at my beck and call forever and then I’ll do whatever I want and you’ll just have to grin and bear it?” How would you answer that question? “Will you let me exert power over all the decisions we make and decide where we spend vacations and Christmas without giving you any chance for feedback?” Or how about the ever popular, “Will you let me wallow in my issues and live in this energetic muck with me because it is too scary to be by myself or do anything else?” A nice and very energetically draining way to ask it is the “I want you to be my icing because my cake is a bunch of crap.” A very common one is this: “I really only want sex, but I don’t want society to look down on us, so will you marry me and I’ll still do whatever the *&%$ I want?” Because most people think of marriage as a partnership, if you have one or a combination of the above scenarios going on, please, put this book down and go and tell your spouse that you have married them on false pretenses, and what, if anything you are willing to do about it. Give the person at least that much courtesy so that he/she can decide what, if anything they want to do in light of this information. If you want to play mind games, go get the books about Mars, how to have a great marriage, etc. If you are reading this book, I take that to mean that you want to make improvements in your life and your marriage, not just achieve the lifestyle you had before you were married. Be clear about your motives. Allow your partner the same privilege. Understand what you expect out of the marriage, or partnership, and move in one direction or another. If you have been married and the reason has changed over time, take inventory of how far and how much farther you want your relationship to go. Do Something!
Chapter 3 Bee Leaves What would a person have to believe about themselves in order to hold a judgement like that in place? This is written on a card I carry in my wallet. When I become aware I’m being overly judgemental, I pull it out and contemplate the judgements I make about other people, spouse included. Thinking about what judgements say about me gets me into a mood where I can more easily get to happy. Being judgmental of others only means that you are not happy with yourself. Which means that in a marriage, when one or both are flinging names and accusations around, there is not a lot of happiness. Judgemental attitudes are like throwing the first stone at yourself. It is a choice to be unhappy. Identifying when your spouse is angry is different from saying he/she is ‘always angry.’ It is temporary, caused by factors that are unknown to you at the moment, and will pass. Drop the judgements, drop the name calling and drop the accusations. Since we all are human, there is no one who is perfect, so a judgement from any one of us is putting ourselves above other people. We all have challenges we face, we all have lessons we are learning, we all expect the fairy tale life to magically appear and be romance and adventure forever and ever. As much as fairy tales do come true, the adventure is learning to get along with people, learning to be happy. So if you must pass judgements, go for the good ones. “My husband is so good at fixing things around the house!” “My wife is a great cook!” “My wife has everything organized – I don’t ever have to hunt for anything!” My husband is so thoughtful – he brings me gifts without holidays to remind him!” Good judgements about other people say a lot about you. They say that you look only for the good in the other person. They say that you are grateful for your spouse. They say that you, yourself, are a happy person.
Chapter 4 Who’s Your Spin Daddy? Happy people are able to receive criticism, constructive or not, and see how it applies to themselves. Unhappy people are the ones who immediately upon hearing anything remotely resembling criticism, advice or contradiction to what they said will bring out their Dr. Spin. Defensiveness means that you are not comfortable with yourself. It means that you expect other people to be dangerous, and didn’t you just prove it? Did you hear what they said? They had no right to talk to me like that! Who are you at war with? If you are in a marriage where defensiveness is a necessary tool of survival, then you need to go back to the Mars books. See how to get past that scenario. When defensiveness is only a remnant of past issues that you’ve not let go of, then seriously consider letting go of those issues. Don’t live in the past with your mother, exgirlfriend, crooked ex-partner or anyone else. Allow that this is a different person, a different time and you are now strong enough that your happiness does not depend entirely or even in part on defending yourself in the face of what criticisms other people give you. When your spouse tells you, “You seem to have lost your cool at the party last night,” give it a good look. Maybe you did lose it. Is your spouse telling you that to be mean? To retaliate? Or because they know that it means that you are not happy about something and are there if you want to talk? (And does it matter if they were trying to be mean? Happy people can take that, too!) We all are trying to understand ourselves and how we react/respond to others. Some of the best info on that front comes from those people who feel comfortable enough to tell us. If we don’t ever allow them to do that, not only are we shutting out a valuable source of information, we are jeopardizing a loving relationship. “I can see that you might think that I lost my cool. I wonder why I did that? Could it be because I had that disappointing day at work?” Ask questions to see what information your spouse gives you. Being open and willing to look at the issue shows that you are willing to see things from the other’s perspective. It also shows that you want their input, rather than shutting them down and essentially telling them that they don’t know what they are talking about.
When you see your Dr. Spin coming around, send him back out the door. Be open to other’s opinions, and allow that whatever they say might help unlock something for both of you. There is a chance that you are right with the spin you would have put on the matter, although without listening to what your spouse has to say, he/she will never understand your behavior if you automatically shut them down. A marriage of equal partners doesn’t have room for the Spin Doctor.
Chapter 5 San Andreas Fault When you blame someone else for anything, you have just drawn a line in the sand and made an enemy. What does it really matter who caused the thing? It’s here now, so we have to deal with it. To have it recur over and over and over, we’ve got two unhappy people. Football teams have rivals, wrestlers have opponents, companies have competition, warring countries have enemies. There are plenty of people we but heads with every day. Is it necessary to do that in the home where you want to feel safe and loved? With the one person who you want to have a loving relationship with? And who wants an enemy in their own house? They might not go to the extent that some might to physically harm you, although in-house enemies can be hard to live with, and definitely hard to talk to. Drop the blame. Now. I mean it! Open that hand and drop it! If you blame your spouse for anything, how many things would your spouse be able to blame on you? Don’t throw stones at yourself on this issue either. When you assign blame, that judgement says that you are more interested in finding the cause, in retreating into the past rather than working on the present. The fender bender might have been avoided, although we are always doing the best we can at any given time. The children might be swearing and fighting at school, although blaming anyone would just give them another bad example to watch. Stop blaming. Even if it is mid-sentence, stop it. Stop the earthquakes before they begin, because blaming is only going to cause tremors. They are divisive and unnecessary. Work on fixing instead. Fix the fender, find new words for your children and help them to understand how to get along with others. Spend the ‘blaming’ energy doing something that is more productive.
Chapter 6 Day is Night We all are full of contradictions. We say things that are totally opposite from what we do. We say things that are opposite from what we said five minutes ago. This kind of energy is tough on the cohesiveness of the person exhibiting it, not to mention the marriage itself. The main problem with our contradictions is that we are usually totally unaware that we are doing it. It usually takes someone pointing it out to us before we can see it. And as we have stated before, many people shut down all conversation when someone does try to point it out. Our defensiveness comes to rescue the contradiction energy, and we only get mired in the energetic muck more and more. If your spouse is full of contradictions, the first place to look is at yourself. See what contradictions you exhibit, see what you can do to fix yourself, then look again at your spouse. The best way to change anyone is to change yourself. If you have fixed the majority of your own contradictions and your spouse has not, go to your spouse and lovingly request their help. “I’m trying to work on not being contradictory. Can you help me see where I am doing that?” This is a good way to get your spouse to look at what he might have taken as only something that bothered them, without analyzing or understanding it. Talking about how you can overcome contradictions helps the other person to be more cognizant of it. Your spouse might like day being night, or vice versa. Sometimes the energy we put into our habits are comforting, and trying to replace them gets into scary business. We are always afraid of the unknown until we know it. You can't direct the change another person will take, you can only do what you can from your position. If the other person has no intention of changing, it might be a good idea to try to understand that we all have quirks that make us unique and be less concerned about trying to make the other person change. Mostly, all of this comes down to the spouse being willing to look, understand what is going on, and being willing to try something different, get a different perspective and shift a mindset. Have some patience while this is going on, especially if you are the spouse doing the changes.
Chapter 7 Lucy, I'm home! Where do you live? Or I could say, When do you live? It is a very human trait to drag the past around with us everywhere we go. I know, it gets heavy and energetically draining, we just can't seem to get rid of that pesky past. You've heard the saying that the person did (whatever horrible thing) for (whatever amount of time) and you are keeping it alive, it is, in essence, still happening. It is possible to let the past go. Refuse it entrance into your thoughts. Refuse to allow it into your conversations. Refuse to give it any more of your energy than you have already given. (See appendix) I've heard also that 'He who doesn't study the past is doomed to relive the mistakes of the past.' And I SO Don't believe that. All you have to do is ask the question, “Did any of it work?” Wars are still being waged, murders still happen, crime still runs rampant. The only thing that works is love, and trying to analyze any technique other than loving the person in front of you is like taking the only solution out of the equation. Hating people who have wronged you is also a judgement, and it says that you are stuck in a never-ending loop, you can't move any higher than you are at the exact moment of the 'horrible incident.' And you are willing to drag those around you down to that level to experience it with you. Don't get me wrong, telling someone about the past is different from continually referring to it (you're living the 'horrible event as you speak! Of your own free will!) and taking those within earshot with you to experience it. Let the past go. Let it go. Let it all go. Even if you are reliving the same good memory, you close yourself off to the next Great moment by keeping the past right in front of you. Open your field of vision, the present is all encompassing, if you let it be. The future can be the same problem, with a slight twist. You are worrying about what may happen, and it keeps (usually what you don't want to happen) that script running. Living anywhen other than right now is hard on people emotionally and energetically. It tends to create what we don't want to create. Be. Right now. In this present moment.
Chapter 8 The Monster in the Bedroom I've heard many times in the past few years people who say they are afraid to tell their spouse something, ask something or suggest something. This is a type of defense mechanism, in which you project the emotional outburst that will follow what you say, whether or not your spouse would really break into emotional song or not. You are defending yourself before the actual event. Again, who is your enemy? If you can't talk to your spouse, the partner you have chosen for a lifetime of loving experiences, then who can you talk to? Maybe it is time to give up the defensive attitude and be happy. Do everything in your power to be happy before any storm can arise, if it does arise. (Weather is most unpredictable!) Defend yourself first and foremost with happiness, and let the rest take care of itself. If you are the spouse that gets angry and upset when your spouse talks to you, re-read the first seven chapters of this book. By the way, I'll just come out and say it. If you think your spouse has the problem with this, go ahead and look at yourself first anyway. Maybe there is someone, a friend, sibling or parent who feels that they are afraid of talking to you about certain things because they don't want to deal with the emotional backlash. If you recognize this pattern (or any other pattern, for that matter) in your spouse it is because you are intimately familiar with it. Otherwise, you wouldn't have a clue what it is!
Chapter 9 It's Called Living! (Isn't It?) What are you doing? If you were to take an inventory of your time, where would your spouse come in? You work, you go to school, you have church meetings, I know. Life is busy. Right behind all the things you have to do, where does your spouse come in? Is it right behind time spent in front of the tube? In front of the Wii or Nintendo? Out with friends? Talking with the neighbors? Many times people feel like they need to go to a safe place, to escape the trappings of everyday life. When your spouse knows that place isn't with him/her, you could be causing friction. If you will do anything to avoid talking/being with your spouse, you are judging your spouse, and it says that you think your spouse is detrimental to your happiness. There are many activities that are addicting, and some are more forgivable than others, even though they say the same thing. Working to the point of being a workaholic is a form of escaping from your spouse, the same as playing video games while she is in the same room. While you play, you tune everything else out, including your spouse. Are you running from some emotion so fast that you don't give yourself time to think about it? If you are, you can bet that your spouse has thought about it, and is wondering what is going on. As with any form of addiction, whether drugs, alcohol, work, video games, you name it, the problem is not in what you do as much as why you do it. When you do something once or twice, you could get along fine without doing it, that's one thing. When you do the same thing every day without regard to what effect it has on others around you and you just can't stop, you need to understand what is driving you to do this. Usually you can tell if you have a problem when the addictive substance gives you great relief. Even burying your nose in a book makes the world disappear. The problem is that it stands waiting right behind that open book. If you can't fix this or any of the other issues in this book, get help. (See appendix) There are certain things that go away because you desire the change, and there are certain things that take a bit more effort. It is possible that your spouse didn't sign on for the “Will you let me stay addicted and run as fast as I can from you even though we are married?” question.
Chapter 10 Tennis Shoes I could go on and on about the issues that come up in marriage. I would miss some. If I tell you that you improve yourself first, I don't miss anything. Now be honest with yourself. You could be saying that you don't need to change, you are fine the way you are. There are always things you can improve, and self-improvements yield the greatest return on effort expended. Be gentle when trying to change the relationship you have with your spouse. If the question in Chapter 6 (“Honey, I'm trying to work on my _______ issues, can you help me see how I am doing that?) doesn't get reciprocal response, try the next best approach. Write a note or tell your spouse something along these lines: I respectfully request that we both work on our mutual _________ issues. Love, Your Spouse. Go ahead and expect miracles. Finding someone who loves you is a miracle, and if you are gentle and loving to your spouse, they are more likely to be gentle and loving to you. Remember, this person, your spouse, is the one who, once upon a time you thought you could not live without. The one you chose to love forever. Don't toss that away because the glasses are stacked in the window, or the socks can't find their way to the laundry hamper, or the checkbook gets overdrawn from time to time. This is one show where the prize does not go to the one with the most money, the fastest or best looking. The prize is having the privilege of living every day with someone who loves themselves enough to love you unconditionally. Of living with someone who understands that the best cake complements great icing, and together they are the best tasting of all.
Appendix There are many things you can do for yourself that will help you deal with issues you have brought or that you might have acquired since getting married. I have listed some below for your convenience: Rapid Eye Technology www.rapideyetechnology.com 503 399-1181. Founded by Ranae Johnson and headquartered in Salem, Oregon. Rapid Eye Technology is an easy, quick and effective method of releasing stressful emotional, mental and physical patterns. The best part is releasing things that you didn’t know you were carrying, due to the deep and intense work that RET does. They have many resources for taking care of yourself, and a free online Skills for Life class. This class is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! Rapid Eye Technology is only part of the healing. The Skills for Life class gives valuable information about how to stop the stressful patterns from re-occuring. Let the stress go, and make sure you don't let it come back. The whole package of Rapid Eye Technology is highly recommended! Zpoint Process www.zpointprocess.com A process of emotional release discovered by Grant Connolly. This is easy and fast, and can be done anywhere. Look for more healing processes that suit your time, budget and ability. Emotional Freedom Technique by Gary Craig, Thought Field Therapy by Roger Callahan, Quantum Touch by Richard Gordon. This list is just a few of the processes you can use to help reduce/remove stress caused by the past, emotions and expectations. Live in the moment, find beauty everywhere you look. Go beyond Venus and Mars and find your marriage is filled with galactic joy.