After 17 years of working with women in my transformational coaching business, the question most often asked is, “Why do I have to be the one to do all the work?” This is a question not just about the child-rearing or the housekeeping or the never-ending load of tedious ‘to-dos’ that come with being a wife and especially of having a family, it is most poignantly in reference to their efforts to try to keep their relationship alive and loving. They’re exhausted, frustrated and furious and they want to know if this pattern of holding up the fort ever ends.
Women certainly do make the biggest investments statistically in the partnership. Why? Perhaps women, who are more empathic and emotionally aware, pick up on warning signs sooner than their partner. Or It may be because our culture has an unspoken rule for men to ignore their feelings, so stepping into relationship coaching is wildly threatening. (What man would intentionally choose to have to, not just face their feelings, but also openly talk about and work through them?) I think the most likely reason is that women’s brains are wired to nest. We subconsciously are programmed to want to create and nurture a family indefinitely, so maintaining the balance is more precious to us. Men, on the other hand, are programmed to procreate and depart. For each of us, this natural brain chemistry is hard to override and something to keep in mind.
Whatever the reasons, what’s the value in keeping score?
When you know that your marriage is in a downward spiral, all that matters is that one caring, smart individual takes ownership and action. The alternative isn’t promising. And the bonus to she who initiates change? She wins, even if her mate choses not to come along. She gets the benefits of healing her stuff, bringing more understanding to her stories, to her relationships. She walks away having more compassion for herself, her partner, and her world. This is called evolution and it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Do the work; be the initiator, the heavyweight, the finisher. The results might not be what you expect, in fact, they’re likely to be even better. Think bigger. Love more. Dalai Lama once said, “Western women will rescue the world,” and I believe this to be true — one home, one family at a time.
Much love and light always!
Sara Loos is a holistic healer, relationship empowerment coach and author. She works with women, online and in person, who are struggling in their marriage to help them break free of pain and doubt and to create the life they were meant to live. Learn more about the services Sara offers at www.saraloos.com.