In my professional experience working with a vast variety of couples, a common theme that I hear is that one or both partners feel ‘trapped’ in the marriage. As I probe a little more, it appears that ‘trapped’ means feeling stuck. Or as one individual stated, it feels like being a “bird trapped in a cage”. Why does that happen? As I explored further, it appears that many individuals lose their sense of self-identity after getting married. It is likely that partners would benefit if they would focus on what does a partnership looks like after their wedding date. There continues to be a negative stigma characterized after the wedding day hearing phrases such as “ball and chain” or “on lockdown”. The good news is that it does not have to feel like this. Marriage is hard and requires both partners to work towards a healthy relationship. However, it is also one of the most emotionally, mentally, and physically liberating experiences. I have outlined three liberating behaviors that promote marital success.
One of the most difficult and challenging things for partners to do in their relationship is to let your guard down and become vulnerable. Opening up means peeling back the layers that individuals are unwilling or unable to do. Vulnerability often releases tears such as when you are peeling an onion. Please note that crying is the essence of healing and letting others in on your thoughts can offer you cleansing to function well in your relationship. Treat your spouse as your best friend and they will embrace your hurt without judgment and will pray for your healing. Once you are able and willing to let it all out, you will feel liberated and will have strengthened the bond in your marriage.
Honesty has its perks just as being vulnerable. When you are honest with your partner, it frees your heart from resentment that might otherwise build up. If you are looking to have a successful marriage, honesty must happen. Be careful when using honesty because it can cause damage in your relationship if you are intentionally trying to hurt your partner. It is important to remember to use wisdom, discernment, and kind words to avoid causing pain. Avoid hiding the truth since it can suffocate the heart.
We have identified that vulnerability frees the mind and honesty frees the heart. Spending time in meditation, prayer, alone time, or whatever you call it is exhilarating as a free spirit. Take time to connect and strengthen your relationship with God, nature, or even your inner self. Allow your spirit to soar and pay attention to how it improves your relationship with your spouse on a whole new level. Recharge your spiritual life and give your marriage a chance to grow.
For those who are afraid of losing your freedom in marriage, remember that there are ways to not lose your self-identity and connect with your spouse on a higher level. You will experience ultimate freedom when you surrender yourself to those liberating behaviors that you can set yourself free from the ‘bird cage’.