What happens if one partner is ready to change and the other isn't? What if you want to expand and deepen your relationships and your partner doesn't?
What do you do when gridlock intensifies to the point that you are faced with the dilemma of "take it or leave it?"
Answers to such troubling questions are developing self-mastery which involves holding onto yourself, self-confrontation, and self soothing.
If you venture into a growth cycle in your marriage, you have to hold onto yourself through the anxiety of your change. If your self-confrontation and self-soothing continue, eventually you grow. You develop faith in your abilities and enjoy a more exciting and productive life.
What holds true in relationships is that both a growth cycle and a comfort cycle (where growth stands still) are necessary in a marriage.
Unfortunately, couples often try to keep their relationship in a permanent comfortable cycle. Sometimes what occurs is that we demand stability in our marriage then complain of sexual boredom. Avoiding anxiety and emphasizing comfort and safety leads to low sexual desire, lack of intimacy, and withdrawal from your partner. Unresolved issues you repeatedly dodge start to fester, quietly but steadily eroding your marriage.
If you are willing to lead your marriage into the growth cycle, and you address unresolved issues within your marital gridlock, confronting who you are and the true nature of your connection you are able explore new sexual behaviors, styles and meanings.
This can profoundly deepen your level of connection when times are good, and it can stabilize your marriage and help you work on your own issues when you are in more stressful times. In this process of self validation and your tolerance of intimacy is being challenged, your level of differentiation increases. Your marriage then becomes more stable during the stressful times.
These shared growth experiences lead to renewed interest and commitment to your marriage, while building trust and positive feelings.
True interdependence becomes possible.
Passionate Marriage - David Schnarch, Ph.D.