By Melissa Orlov
The greatest control comes from deciding not to control.
–Joel Stein, Time Magazine
I love this quote because it represents my own biggest turning point in changing my marriage from dysfunctional to happy. I didn’
t decide to cede control to my husband because I thought it would result in his loving me more (though it did), but because I had no other option.
He had shown me clearly, with an affair, that not only was I not going to control him, but that he would be able to do just fine without my input, thank you very much.
And so, convinced that my marriage was over, I turned to myself. Who did I want to be? How did I want to act towards others? How would I take control of myself, and cede control of things out of my power? What I found shocked me. Giving up the idea that I could single handedly control the direction of my life freed me! I could expend all that energy I had been using to try to keep life events (and my husband) under control on something much more important – making myself emotionally and physically healthy again. In so doing, I was suddenly relieved of much of my anger, some of which was the result of so much lack of success at trying to control what was going on. I was empowered again. I felt better about myself…and it showed.
So much so, in fact, that my husband took notice, even with the other woman hanging around. I commend him for making the decision to trust me when I told him I had had an epiphany that changed my attitude towards myself and us forever, rather than listen to the skeptics who said it was “impossible.” He took a chance because he really did want our marriage to work, and because I had already shown him what the “new me” looked like for just long enough that he could see it was a big change.
I encourage you all to look at your role in your relationship, particularly those of you who are in parent/child relationships, and gain control by deciding not to control. Don’t wait for an affair to bring the issue front and center.
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For more articles by Melissa, click here. Her articles are angled towards couples with ADHD, but a lot of the insights apply well to any relationship.