A tenuous balance known to love affords the space that marital partners enjoy in living life together, as an intimate couple, as well as having their separate lives.
Such a balance is crucial for marital survival and, indeed, growth.
The best of marriage might be seen as a living arrangement where two people subsist together, and separately, as if they were happily alone. In other words, there is no trifling conflict, nor signs of ongoing distance that either or both find unacceptable. No marriage is without some of these, or even seasons characterised by these.
When Freedoms Are Conditional Or, Worse, Withheld
People who have grown up accustomed to their freedom, those from families-of-origin that majored on the extension of liberty and trust, expect those conditions to prevail in their marriages. Likewise, many who grew up within quite dysfunctional family structures have experience of little else, though some have decided they want this bondage no more; they are prepared to live their freedom and extend it to their partner, too.
So, what we have is people putting a price on their freedom, within the context of marriage; some will demand, in assertive ways, that bilateral freedom is to reign; others, in more aggressive ways, will insist on the retention of control, forcing submission from their partners.
When freedoms are conditional or, worse, withheld, not only will relational joy disappear, with trust abandoning ship also, but there will be the urge within the partner controlled to break free—to make inroads to freedom.
Both the perpetrator of control and the controlled partner are on a slippery slide that destines their marriage on a bumpy, uncertain voyage toward the rocks.
The only effective way of restoring balance in a relationship with an aggressive partner, one who’s passive in their aggression or otherwise, is by instituting assertiveness.
This is done by taking courage within marital communications and ensuring good rein is kept over the emotions. We need to be truthful regarding the things we communicate, by communicating as directly as we can, ensuring respect cuts both ways and their needs are elevated to the same level as we expect ours to be. This necessitates communicating with the emotions checked; where threats are minimised; where the adult mind holds sway.
The assertive approach understands and advocates the vitality of freedom within marriage. It asserts that such a freedom should prevail to each other’s mutual liking.
When we love we want freedom for the other person.
Extending freedom to our marital partners is vital to the health and life of the marriage. Equally important is ensuring control has sensible boundaries. When freedom and control coexist harmoniously, trust is enhanced and love has won the day; both partners are happy.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.