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January 26, 2015

ScreamFree “We” or ScreamFree “Me”?

Kelvin headshot Oct2013 HDRFor the greater part of two weeks I have stared off-and-on at a computer screen, attempting to write an article entitled, “Why I Want to Have a ScreamFree Marriage.” I have found myself going through a weird process of writing a little and then deleting a lot.

Needless to say, I haven’t accomplished a great deal.

To say the experience has been frustrating would be an understatement. My task was simple and clear: to put into words why I want this type of marriage. It shouldn’t be that hard to do. I know I want a ScreamFree marriage. I believe I know why I want it. Just write it down, right?

Though I had clarity on what I wanted to do, I kept hitting a barrier in putting this simple thought into words. What was it that was stopping me? What was it that was preventing me from moving forward?

Then it hit me.

It wasn’t an it that I needed. I felt I needed a who.

I felt like I needed to have my wife’s approval if I was going to write an article about marriage.

When I write, I seek to be as authentic as I can be. I like to tell stories of my screw-ups, while revealing my idiosyncrasies. I can do that just fine when talking about myself or my kids, but, when it comes to my marriage, I just felt like I needed to have my wife along for the ride.

I felt I needed to ask her, “Can I write about us?”

This is a legitimate concern, but it was also the reason I couldn’t move forward. I thought I needed her in order to take the step. I thought we both needed to be on the same page about what I was going to write.

What’s so ironic is that this represents the very thing that keeps most couples stuck — they are waiting on one another. The marriage can’t move out of its dysfunctional state because each spouse is waiting for the other to get on the “right” page. Once we are on the same page, then we can move forward.

This belief is counter-productive for your marriage.

Instead of waiting for you and your spouse to get on the same page, why don’t you work on the page that you have already written? Then your spouse can work on the page that he or she has written. This way you can focus on the part that you’ve played in getting into whatever mess you’re in — and so can they…if they choose to.

And, if they don’t, you can still work on yours. Truthfully, before there can be a ScreamFree “We” there must be a ScreamFree “Me”. And the really good news is that you don’t need your spouse’s permission to make a change in your own life.

You just need a strong enough reason why you want to be who you want to be. You must be able to answer, on your own, why you want to be a ScreamFree spouse. The answer to that question must be exclusively yours.

Once you take back responsibility for yourself and your decisions regarding your marriage, you can see your marriage take a step forward.

If you are waiting for your spouse to get on board with the non-reactivity you seek, you may find yourself waiting a long time. Why not simply get things started by working on yourself?

The changes you make in how you behave have an amazing way of inviting your spouse to join you on the road to becoming ScreamFree.

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