But, it's really a milestone in developing strength in love.
Even when people have all this information about going through a critical mass state, they come out of it amazed with themselves and the process.
Critical mass is unbelievable when you go through it the first time.
Some clients refer to this experience as "Going through the looking glass."
In many ways they feel like Alice in Wonderland.
They come out more solid, quietly centered, and more respectful of themselves and their partner. There is more empathy, other validation, and generosity in their growth and also then in their comfort cycles. New solutions surface because there is less defensiveness and fewer personal issues contributing to gridlock. Kindness flows from strength rather than weakness or anxiety. When a gift is given, there is no doubt it is given freely.
"Going through the looking glass" is an apt description.
Critical mass often feels like you and your partner are stuck forever---and then there is movement!
The shift seemingly appears out of nowhere, although in retrospect it always makes remarkable sense. Just when you are congratulating yourselves on making it through, something else surfaces and you are back in the crucible again. There are usually more cycles in the chute. "Going through the looking glass" is not a one time trip, buy it is easier to get back to "Wonderland" as you are better able to hold onto yourself in the marriage.
The first time couples reach 'critical mass' in a marriage they think it is the end of the their relationship.
Critical mass is an opportunity to turn toward your partner rather than away.
But it is a time limited opportunity when you are on the brink of divorce.
As couples go through critical mass and move through their immediate crisis, they feel more intensely intimate and separate, rather than isolated and drifting apart. They are more interested in improving their connection than in raging about each others inadequacies. Fights about "what really happened" evaporate.
Partners become tolerant and more satisfied with themselves, their relationship and each other. That is when they face yet another two choice dilemma: relinquish the growing benefits of increased differentiation or give up fantasies of fusion forever.
Life presents us with the choice of getting what we want, but not the way we might want it. It is disquieting when long sought improvements occur in ways we do not anticipate.
We are challenged to give up cherished notions that keep us stuck.
Facing that dilemma is part of becoming an adult.
Passionate Marriage - David Schnarch