Did that title make you wince? LOL Good!
At some point, I realized that much of what amounts to drama and contention in many romantic relationships is because no one knows what their place is.
With the advent of egalitarian relationship dynamics – everyone has begun to attempt to occupy everywhere in a relationship. This doesn’t work in any other group dynamic of people- it leads to chaos.
In businesses- you know what your job description is.
In the military – there’s the understanding of rank and position
In spiritual traditions – we have order by virtue of what position one occupies.
But in romantic relationships – everyone wants to occupy everywhere.
A year or 2 ago I was watching a survivalist show where they dropped two men in the middle of nowhere. One man was very hippie-esque. Very much a tree hugger and gentle spirit. The other guy was a former marine. Very “kill or be killed” in his world view. What my Beloved and I noticed almost immediately was that the tree hugger dude knew more than the marine about how to find food, how to make sure water is clean and drinkable, the marine dude knew more about how to kill, how to survive when threatened. They had a difficult time working together because both people wanted to be in charge of EVERYTHING.
How often does this happen in relationships? Honestly, I see this occurring more in women than men of late. This idea that the state of the relationship would do wonderfully if he just DID IT HER WAY.
I was listening to a lecture by this amazing African Sister a few weeks ago. She was describing how some things such as food and how we eat – are so important in her culture because it provides a sense of place. When a person doesn’t know their place in their family, doesn’t know they have a place, and that they are impactful in their family – frequently that’s when you find more delinquency and abhorrent behavior.
I was contemplating this while thinking on our modern 1st world perspective. We are full of sayings and affirmations that tell those that we are in relationship with “You don’t really matter to me” or “You only matter as long as you’re doing what I want”.
What does this have to do with place? As we as women have become more independent, more self-assured, as we have found ourselves feeling less and less connected to our need for relationships we’ve begun to say more and more…
“I don’t need a man!”
Now – sit with this for a moment. Feel into this saying.
Does it truly feel like Love?
Does it truly feel like a state of empowerment?
Or does it feel like armor? Like pain cloaked in indifference?
Does it feel like anger?
Maybe – it feels like fear?
If we displace our menfolk – our loves, our Beloveds by telling them consistently that we don’t need them, by behaving in ways that say “there is no place for you here, because I’m occupying EVERYTHING” – is it any wonder why he’s not showing up powerfully and presence-fully in the relationship?
Do you know what we call a man who forces himself into situations where he isn’t wanted and openly and actively received?
Our society calls such a man a rapist.
Contrary to the media narrative- the VAST majority of men DO NOT identify as that nor do they have those inclinations.
So if you question his parenting ability – and treat him as if he doesn’t care about his children, or is unneeded in the lives of his children – he’ll often walk away.
If you tell him often enough that he doesn’t love you and doesn’t care about you – he’ll detach from you emotionally.
If you push him out of all decisions as pertains to the household, the family, your life- he’ll assume a position of passivity on the sofa or in a corner of his “man cave” – because that’s all you’ve given him.
If you want him to occupy the relationship…if you want him to be present with you- you have to realize that his masculine way of doing things will differ HUGELY from your way of doing things. That his mind is wired differently and that this is equally valid and needful in the relationship.
When we talk about understanding “place” in relationships – there can be an automatic bristling. Our western mind understands “place” as being always automatically “under” and “less than”. The last time here in the US someone tried to make a “separate but equal” designation it did not turn out well and the energy of that national memory is still held in many people’s emotional cellular memory.
That said – knowing your place can be incredibly freeing. Defining within a relationship who will handle what- means that both people know what will work for the whole. Both people (or all people) are being valued, acknowledged and are known to be needful for the function and flourishing of the whole. Sitting and figuring this out can also be a huge “tell” for what’s going on. Sometimes as women we feel like EVERYTHING is on us- but that’s because we’ve assumed the responsibility for everything without ever even asking our partner.
In my relationship, it’s kind of like Cyrus said on Scandal “I serve at the pleasure of the President.”
Meaning that while I give him my insights, observations, and opinions, at the end of the day, he’s the Leader. He makes the call, and I willingly go in the direction he chooses.
Yes, ladies, I’m an empowered, fulfilled, strong and surrendered wife.
That makes my heart sing and he loves it. It works for us.
For you- the areas or place may need more specific definition. That’s equally valid. What’s most important is that your partner knows that he has a place. Your Beloved needs to know that he’s needed, valued and wanted in the relationship.
Live. Love. Lush and Fearless,
P.S – If you’d like a sacred container to hold you, love you, accept you as you Transform – I invite you to join:http://tinyurl.com/GetSOFT