“Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation.”
These words practically leaped off the page during my morning reading of A Course in Miracles.
The night before, I had instigated an argument with my husband. I felt that he was not taking “care of my emotional needs.” I felt ignored in our relationship. What that meant, exactly, I was not sure.
I only knew the familiar sense of anxiety creeping into my belly. What if this relationship is doomed to fail? Why isn’t he my biggest cheerleader? Why did he tell me he didn’t want to come to my ski race, and why does he not realize how important that is to me?
The rigidly defined role that I had set for him to fill was left empty. He was not complying with my requirements, and I felt emotionally insecure.
Intimate relationships tend to bring out the neurosis in all humans.
Still, those who successfully establish a close, intimate partnership, live longer, happier, and more fulfilling lives.
So how can it be both ways? How can it be that by entering the most complicated situation of our life, we will find peace and fulfillment?
A Course in Miracles had the answer for me that day.
What I was lacking in my intimate relationship, I was not giving.
The atmosphere of our household had been tense for a few weeks. Walking on eggshells became a familiar term on repeat in my brain.
I was not giving intimacy, emotional companionship, or empathy. I was not creating a space for myself, or for my husband, that would allow me to show up with compassion, in my full feminine energy.
So I changed the thought in my head.
Every time the sentence “HE should be doing something” entered my mind, I changed it to “I should be doing something…."
When I thought "he should be spending more time with me" I changed the sentence to "I should be spending more time with me." Huh. Now that's an interesting idea...
A feeling of peace and control washed over me, and I took action.
He should take out the trash. I started taking out the trash.
He should sit and listen to my fears about starting my own business. I started journaling my feelings about the business.
He needs to motivate me. I started reading books that lifted, motivated and nurtured me.
He should be my biggest cheerleader. I joined a life-coaching program and showed up every day like it was my job.
The result? The universe responded.
By giving what I thought was lacking, my anxiety started to dissipate. I stopped demanding and began producing.
Our weekly hikes resumed.
We began cooking dinner together again and sharing long kisses in the evening.
When I approached our space with energy and love, he fit right in and started creating reciprocal moments.
Instead of just expecting his recognition, acknowledgment, and appreciation, I started recognizing, acknowledging and appreciating him.
Thank you for refilling my soda stream!
I love watching you play with our toddler.
Let me pack your meals for your upcoming glacier ski camp.
Where I once felt empty, I started filling his cup. And as if on cue, my actions began producing results that filled MY cup.
What I lacked in a situation, I started giving in that situation. What I wanted someone to give to me, I started giving to me.
And this is how people grow old together.
This is how I am going to grow old.
Neurosis and all.