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Mike had it all. Several homes, a boat, a healthy family. What we perceive as success. But in his marriage, that was not the case. He had been with his wife for 17 years. He struggled to talk to her. Nothing was ever enough. He could never get it right. And he took it to heart.

“How is it I’m so successful at work, I’m so in my zone, at my best? But then at home, I feel like a fumbling idiot?”

Sandra had a similar problem. Except she was on the opposite side of the work-home spectrum. A stay at home mom, she loved her home life. She was raising two kids she felt deeply connected to. Had great friends. And then there was her marriage.

“I think I’m invisible to him.”

Jason. A stay at home dad. His biggest flaw in his wife’s eyes, she told him, was that he was closer to their kids than to her. While he appreciated how hard she worked, and how she supported their family, he felt like he could nothing right with her.

“At work, she’s a powerhouse. At home, she’s got nothing left in the tank. She even gets irritated when I ask her out on a date. So I stopped. We haven’t had sex in two years.”

A long period of unfreedom has to proceed a period of freedom.

Nietzsche

Wow. Isn’t it true?

Unfreedom. Think about it. It’s a powerful word. And it describes the condition many couples find themselves in.

Why’s it so damn common?
How do we lose one another in the day to day?
How do we lose ourselves?

It breaks my heart.
I lived it for years.
I know it.

My mission in life is to change it. And yet, the unfreedom is a gift. A gift to the emerging period of freedom. A gift for the depth of hunger it creates for freedom. The freedom to love freely, to connect freely, to witness one another freely.

There’s a way to get there. It’s inside of a question that I asked Mike, Sandra, and Jason. It’s a question struggling couples don’t ask themselves. And it provides a road map to the relational freedom, connection, and love all couples seek. And it’s simply this…

How do you withhold from your partner?

Consider it for a moment, in your current relationship, or from a prior one. Pause for a moment and ask yourself…

How do (or did) I not show up?
What truth do I not speak?
Where do I accept the status quo?
Where do I not ask for what I want, and instead merely complain?

This is the beginning. This is the start. From here, you have the keys to the kingdom – to cultivate an energized and fulfilling relationship. Now you must ask yourself…

Do you want to step in further?
Or just hold the keys
?
What’s the cost to not stepping in?

Pause. Answer these questions. Make it real.

At the end of the day, when it’s our turn to die, we ask ourselves…

Did I give my best to the ones I loved?

At death, we magically approach our fears. We have nothing to lose. We go to scariest place within — the self, between me and me.

Summon that courage now while you’re alive. Own that space between you and you. From my experience, that makes all the difference.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver

Tell me. Where do you withhold from your partner?

Previously Published on stuartmotola.com

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The post One Question Struggling Couples Never Ask Themselves appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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