“We only control what we don’t trust…Love is the opposite of control. Love demands trust.” Glennon Doyle
One of my most favorite things as a coach is going back to review the words that were shared with me on the first day I began working with a client and the words they’re using now at the end of my program.
The first time I spoke with M., she told me she felt hopeless, lost and desperate about her marriage.
He ran a business, but she ran a household.
Her home was organized, her four kids were thriving in school and each in multiple activities, she planned every element of every family function, she cooked healthy meals and she even helped her husband inside his business.
There’s nothing this smart, high-functioning woman could not do, but she was struggling inside her marriage and she knew it.
In our very first call together, she shared some ideas about how her husband should be:
He should never sit down / fall asleep on the couch while someone is still working and the family is still interacting.
I feel resentful that he takes time for himself over us to work and exercise.
My way usually works best and is most efficient, but he doesn’t respect that.
He can’t remember previous conversations. This tells me they are not important to him.
He repeatedly does things differently than I have asked and described multiple times, such as overpacking lunch boxes for the kids or packing the dishwasher incorrectly.
Those thoughts led to some feelings that had become toxic to the relationship:
He’s just another child I have to parent.
He won’t man up / step up. I do it all.
She was willing to take responsibility for being angry, cranky and short all the time, but she for sure thought that her husband needed to change if their marriage was ever going to improve.
Now, only ten weeks later here’s what she’s saying about her marriage:
I feel more grounded and centered, even in some difficult conversations.
I no longer feel the need to lash out or control.
What’s shocking to me is that now at the end of the day when the kids are in bed, I actually look forward to sitting down to chat with my husband over a cup of tea.
M. felt the need to control because she didn’t trust that her husband would be there or that he could do it as well as she could. Now, she sees how there’s beauty in the imperfection and there is no one right way to do anything. She’s able to receive the love that is being offered to her by her husband and they’re both happier as a result.
Anytime we’re trying to control, it’s because we’re in fear. And we cannot be in love and fear simultaneously.
Once we get out of the fear, there’s new possibilities for trust and love to find its way through the cracks.