Friday, March 02, 2007

What Motivates People

Another marshkn article (i.e. not from StuntMom herself)...

Today, I’m thinking about what motivates people to take action. Even more than that, what motivates people to take action that feels good down to their core. Is it ever guilt? No, I don’t think so. Is it that the action feels good on some level? Yes, I think that’s it. So, why have I been trying to save my marriage with methods that on varying levels invoke guilt in my husband? The reason he wants to leave is that the marriage no longer feels good to him. The time apart from me has felt better. Hence, he has every reason needed to take action and at the most basic level of self preservation to feel good about it. We humans can overcome a lot of guilt, and indeed often should, in the name of self preservation.

In my “efforts” to save my marriage, I’ve done some arguing. I’ve been taking the same damn approach that I did to the contentious issues that arose in our marriage. Does that make my husband feel good? Of course not.

Today, I canceled the appointment we had scheduled with the lawyer on Monday. My husband was understanding but unyielding in expressing that his mind is made up. It might very well stay that way. Time will tell. In the meantime, I am finished with arguing. I really do want to be my husband’s greatest advocate and not one who plants any seeds of doubt about himself and his choices. I want to do that whether we stay married or part ways. He’s doing his best and doing so many things well. He’s fully shouldered his 50% of the childcare responsibilities (which I have found is the opposite of the pre-formed assumption that people carry in their minds about how childcare is shared in divorce). He has continued to be kind and caring toward me. He has shouldered great responsibilities in his work with conviction and care. He has worked to maintain a healthy, clean, well-functioning home environment. He is a fun and loving dad and our kids adore him.

I’m finished with the guilt, but I’m clearly not finished with the heartache. I’m kind of like one of those drunk drivers who kills someone and then goes around to school auditoriums warning kids of the dangers of drunk driving. My message is different, but the place from which it comes is similar: If you are in a marriage – good, bad or indifferent – I want your primary purpose to be to make your partner feel good, and save yourself from the road I am traveling.

In this process, I think that I have to let myself feel that my marriage is over and work from that point. Since my husband is already there, maybe I’ll find him if I do that. I know I love him. I know that I have felt and seen his soul. And I know that there are many layers now blocking a meeting of our two souls. I have to let my layers fall away and see what happens before I can sign the closing papers on a dissolution. And I have to remember that at this point, I am defining a task for myself and the work is mine alone.

1 comment:

StuntMom said...

Karen, I'm glad to hear you are taking your time trying to accept the new situation. Not rushing into a dissolution seems to make a lot of sense. Good luck, you are such a strong and grounded person, a role model for us all.