How to be Self Rescuing

The calvary isn’t coming.

 This may seem obvious, but first you have to realize no one else is going to rescue you. There’s not a person on the planet who could, no matter how much they wanted to. Our culture is saturated with entertainment depicting women seeking the perfect man who will worship her, do at least his share of the housework and maybe hers if she’d rather take a bubble bath, follow her around at the mall with wallet at the ready and be sensitive to her every mood while never failing to take genuine interest all facets of her work and play…..Oh, and be a perfect attentive parent/provider.  It’s not going to happen ladies, not every day anyway. Even the man who is perfect for you is still just a man with the same pressures you face. It’s not fair. Lump that together with the vastly different communication styles of the sexes, and it’s a wonder we can get along at all (more on that in a minute). Sure, there are some guys out there with unreasonable expectations of women, but in my observation, they aren’t burdened with the same kind of wildly romantic notions of someone in shining armor swooping in to save them. It’s Probably because they don’t grow up being the target demographic of Disney princesses and romantic comedies.

I don’t know what to call this one, but it might help repair your relationship.

There were these popular storybooks when I was a kid.  They had pages of stickers in the back, and each page had indicated spots where you could put the sticker that completed the illustration and added too the story. I didn’t like them.  Stickers stressed me out because if you put them in the wrong place or changed your mind, it was too late. You could remove them, but the stickers would curl and never really stick again. The paper would tear and lose its smooth, fresh surface to a permanent scar.

In the grown-up world, our relationships are like those storybooks. We start with the cookie-cutter format society supplies, and then press the messages we absorb from our family, community, religion, culture and experiences to our lives like stickers.
We affix our dreams, needs and expectations to another human being who is just as fragile as we are. As time passes, things change. We are changed.
One funny thing about people is how we put all kinds of emphasis on teaching our kids how to get along in school and in business, but instruction on how to get along with other people tends to start dissipating after kindergarten. We don’t learn to talk about things in an authentic, open way.
Overwhelmed, we start pulling off our stickers, not understanding where it all went so wrong.  Hurt, bitterness, disappointment, anger multiply and wound. Friends, the remedy and prevention for this is trust. Trust is rebuild by communication.
It’s fun when you enjoy all the same things and laugh at the same jokes. It feels good when all our needs are being meet, but real life is a lot messier than that because we are all needy and flawed. A relationship is fulfilling and solidified when both sides are giving. When each spouse knows the other is equally invested, they’re both willing to give more.  Over time, the love will start piling up. The sun shines brighter, food tastes better and life’s blows are a little softer.
If you are in a struggling relationship, I encourage BOTH of you to try this: For six weeks, live every moment for your partner. Be courteous and kind. Try to anticipate their needs. Save the last snack for them. Learn their favorite song, and ASK why it’s their favorite. Start saying things like “Wait, I’m confused, can you say that again?” or “Maybe I misunderstood you”. “That sounded kind of mean. Is that really what your meant?” is really useful. If you get frustrated say so, BEFORE it escalates. LISTEN without being defensive. Ask questions and be EMPATHETIC. Seek understanding instead of validation or gratification.
During this process, at least one of you will screw up at least once. When it happens, be kind and forgiving. Someone should apologize without deflecting blame, and the other should forgive and LET GO! Don’t keep a record of every fault. Remember your spouse can’t read your mind. We’re all trying to figure it out as we go. Be gracious, merciful and humble. It will only work if both of you participate. Also, don’t make any major decisions about your life before you read The Velveteen Principles.