Sunday, July 8, 2012
We're discussing one reader's relationship question of how to deal with insecurities in a marriage or relationship.
Last post explained that the first step in getting rid of insecurities is dealing with Yourself and your negative beliefs.
But the second step is dealing with Your Partner. This is by far the harder component of the two because it involves a person whose behavior is ultimately not in your control.
When you're in a healthy relationship, trust is something that is built and continues to grow as it is earned. You give the opportunity for trust to develop by communicating with your spouse, sharing your hearts, feelings, needs and desires. They earn trust by responding to these things and reciprocating. You share your boundaries and wishes, and they uphold them out of love and respect. You strive to meet their needs and they strive to meet yours...putting each other first. It's the way Jesus taught us to love. When there is trust in a relationship, there you will also find freedom. Not jealousy, not control, not selfishness, not manipulation...but freedom.
But what happens in a relationship when trust is shaken? Though many times our insecurities in a relationship stem from our own skewed perspectives and fears, sometimes our insecurities take root because of the actions and behaviors of our partners. Boundaries are crossed, promises are broken, and feelings are disregarded or disrespected- bringing pain and heartache along side.
It's normal for these kind of actions to cause a breech in trust...and for cracks to begin to form in the relationship- because the foundation for any relationship is trust.
I once got an email from a man who was worried about the boundaries his wife was displaying with another guy. To some, it may have seemed innocent, but to him it was crossing the line and he was worried about their marriage. He wasn't sure what to do and he felt that with each passing day of not doing anything, the gap between him and his wife was beginning to grow.
I encouraged him to share these feelings with his wife...to talk to her about what was hurting him, and to get vulnerable with her. He couldn't control her actions, but he could genuinely communicate his needs and desires, and give her a chance to respond accordingly. That sounds easy, but for some people that is tough stuff. They are afraid of sounding weak, silly, needy...or insecure, and in their desire to mask their pain they allow their silence to cause damage that may have been prevented had they shared their heart.
Change is possible...when you give it a chance.
But sometimes, no matter what you say or how you ask...things don't change. Boundaries continue to be stretched beyond the limit and promises broken. Trust cannot be maintained in this environment, and insecurities may be a symptom of a larger problem in a relationship. When this is the case maybe it's time to consider getting therapy...if both parties are willing.
And if not, maybe it's time for you to seek help on your own...to learn how to set boundaries that you can control and react to these kind of behaviors in a way that is not enabling to your partner.
You can never control your partner...but you can always control how you react. Insecurity is a poison, and it isn't something that should be tolerated.
Deal with it by setting limits with yourself...and setting limits within your relationship.
Don't forget to send your relationship questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title "Real Relationships" in the subject line to take part in these question/answer posts!
Lessons Learned by Debra Fileta at 4:34 PM