Jung wrote that a conscious marriage is the hardest thing on earth for humans to achieve. David Schnarch writes that often, we are not separate enough in our marriages. Each partner relies too much on the other partner to live. They are tied together in dependency. It is like being Siamese Twins emotionally. Eventually, one partner feels emotionally smothered by the other. I may not even realize that I feel smothered, but I may pick a verbal fight – an argument. Soon, I may be in a conflict with my Beloved. We react emotionally to each other.
One person wants the window open, and the other wants it closed. Each may have very good reasons for their demands. Each partner desires something different. At some point, our relationship will challenge us to our very limits. One partner, in tears, shouts, “I cannot take it anymore.”
In order to overcome our limits as an individual, we must grow personally. A healthy intimate relationship allows you to be you and me to be me. I need to see how I am different than you. My needs are different than yours at times. I need to meet my needs honestly and directly; you need to meet your needs with honesty and directness as well. It is natural to experience emotions such as fear and anger as a result of our conflicting needs and wants.
Yet we are also joined in an intimate bond. You and I need to stay aware that we are connected to each other. We are also connected to our families, friends, co-workers, and the world as a whole. You and I need to balance independence as well as connection on all these levels. Life will have its challenges: sickness, failing a test, job loss, and death. Yet as human beings we a born with tremendous strength and resilience. As we develop as individuals, our emotions, minds, and relationships support our process of growth. I can either cooperate with my process of growth or ignore it.
In the movie, Jerry Maguire, Jerry had trouble sleeping. His conscience led him to write a 25 page mission statement for his organization, titled “The Things We Think and Do Not Say.”
It is difficult to navigate the modern corporation as well as modern relationships and families. Later in the film, Jerry Maguire, says to his wife: “Our little company had a very big night. . . But it wasn’t complete, wasn’t nearly complete, because I couldn’t share it with you. I couldn’t hear your voice or laugh. I miss you – I miss my wife. . . . We live in a cynical world, a cynical world, and we work in a business of tough competitors.”
David Goff notes that the rates of divorce and domestic violence in modern American life dramatically express the tensions that are a result of the way we relate to each other. We are strangers to each other, hiding ourselves from our co-workers and neighbors. We go to church to worship God and pretend that all is well to everyone we talk to there. If we are honest with ourselves, we see how distant we are from our family and, at times, our spouse. Around the world we see dramatic examples of racial bigotry, religious intolerance, and terrorism. Yet we find all the same qualities with the American corporation.
David Goff writes: “Despite the best of intentions of pilgrims who pledged at Plymouth Rock to live as ‘members of the same body,’ the American way of life emphasizes the rights and privileges of the individual. This great nation was born by freeing individuals to pursue their own forms of happiness and self-expression. Now, it is threatened by its own success. By sacrificing a sense of the common good in society, American Business provides fertile ground for narcissism, isolationism, and fear of anyone significantly different. . . .This continuing emphasis upon individualism conflicts with our critical need for connection and commitment to one another. Our inability to get along leads to cultural and political gridlock and organizational ineffectiveness.”
It is very confusing to live in our fragmented North American culture. Our marriages and families suffer due to our rugged individualism. Our organizations are less effective as a result of how we relate to each other at work. Please considering watching this video, Dr. Tim Locke talks about the “We Psychology” of Fritz Kunkel and how it relates to marriage and intimacy and life.