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October 12, 2015

Married, but Equal

Couple at SunsetIf you would marry suitably, marry your equal.

(Ovid, 43 BC – 17 AD)

It happens so subtly, we barely notice it: the drifting away from our spouse. It’s all in our minds, of course, because it happens even as our bodies spend time living underneath the same roof; we just don’t think we’re connected like we used to be.

Couples sometimes call this “growing apart,” as two trees spread away horizontally from each other over time. This is not what’s happening. The drift is not horizontal, it’s vertical: somehow we have drifted from a partnership to a hierarchy.

You no longer feel like equals. Perhaps you feel beneath her in terms of authority to make family decisions, and thus you really feel above her as a person (“If she would just listen to me, we wouldn’t be in this mess…!”) Perhaps you feel beneath him because you’re always screwing up, according to him, and thus you really feel above him as a person (“I’m never as judgmental as he is”).

As Dr. David Schnarch always says, intimacy cannot happen between non-equals. So, ask yourself: Do you see yourself as a better spouse than your spouse? A better parent? A better person?

If so, what’s your plan to restore equality?


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