The purpose of the midlife and menopause journey is to birth our Soul – the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment and through which we are called to contribute to the betterment of our world. In the process of birthing our Soul, we are invited to heal and sometime release any inner, as well as outer obstacles to enjoying the life of Soul. Our intimate relationships are not exempt from this invitation. It is not a coincidence that the Dark Night of the Relationship often surfaces during midlife and even becomes the catalyst through which real transformation can begin to take place. For the next few days, we will be exploring the Dark Night of the Relationship, its signs, symptoms and characteristics and where to get help during this critical stage of transition. Click HERE to learn more about Dark Night couples’ mentoring.
Dark Night of the Relationship
The Dark Night of the Relationship is a term that I created to describe the dramatic realization of relationship issues that often surfaces during midlife. The Dark Night of the Relationship can take on many qualities and characteristics, and all point to a significant turning point in a relationship, of which the end result, for many, is divorce. While there are many contributing factors to the Dark Night of the Relationship, including years of issues ignored and swept under the rug, in my experience, there is one core cause for marriages arriving at this juncture in their development.
You Complete Me!
In my opinion, the single worst and most destructive movie line in history is, “You complete me,” from Jerry MacGuire. When we enter into a relationship hoping for the other person to fill the emptiness in our soul or to provide us with something that we feel that we are missing, the relationship is immediately doomed…or at the very least, to suffer. When we believe it is the other person’s job to complete us, or visa versa, we are entering into a contract of co-dependency, and insuring disappointment, frustration and eventually failure. There is nothing and no one outside of us that can provide for us what we are missing within ourselves. If we are lacking courage, strength, creative expression, excitement, fun, peace, joy, hope, balance, fulfillment, meaning or purpose, and are expecting the other person to provide that for us, or at least to provide the opportunity for us to live vicariously through them, our relationship is doomed. Soon, we will be disappointed, angry and resentful toward the other for not giving us what we need, because ultimately, no matter what they do or how they do it, even if they possess these qualities, they cannot provide them for us. We long for the things we do not have within ourselves, because our Soul has ignited the flame of longing so that we would seek, discover and cultivate these qualities within ourselves. And the Soul knows the difference between authentic inner strength, for example, and counterfeit strength or strength we are trying to “get” from someone else. So if our relationships are founded on the hope that the other person will complete us (as most relationships of our youth are), then we can pretty much expect the Dark Night to rear its ugly head – at least by the time we are forty, if not sooner.
How have your relationships been reflective of the hope for the other to complete you?
Lauri Lumby collaborates with Ted Balser to provide Dark Night of the Relationship mentoring and support for couples. Contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.