My client, Joe, has begged his wife, Maggie, for years to spend more time with him doing the things he likes to do. The kids are grown and off on their own now and Joe is ready to travel more, go to concerts, art exhibits, and new restaurants. He would like to feel more connected to his wife but keeps hitting what feels like a brick wall.
He asks her if she wants to plan a trip to the Caribbean and she says, “No, I can’t be away from work for that long.”
He buys tickets to a concert he thought would be fun for them and although she goes with him, she doesn’t even pretend to have much fun.
He makes dinner reservations for the two of them and she shows up 25 minutes late.
We could create at dozens of different reasons why Maggie isn’t engaging with Joe and make all of those excuses sound pretty sophisticated, but ultimately here’s the truth: She doesn’t want to.
And here’s how I know that:
As adults, we ultimately do what we want to do.
Even when it’s inconvenient….
Even when we think we can’t afford it…
Even when it’s not what others want us to do….
We do what we want to do.
It sounds harsh, but it’s true, isn’t it?
We make up lots of intellectual words and theories that attempt to describe and excuse our behavior, but the truth is that if Maggie wanted to engage and re-connect with her husband, she would.
If she wanted to make their struggling relationship a priority in her life, she would.
If she wanted to have fun at concerts or plays or the newest restaurant, she would.
At the end of the day, if it’s important to us, we figure it out. Don’t we?
And, as adults, we pay the price for the choices we make.
Joe now has one foot out the door because he’s not about to be disregarded or sit home alone watching his life pass before his eyes.
Like all of us, Joe and Maggie both get to do whatever they really want to do. And like all of us, they will get to live with the results of those choices.
Have you been hoping for change and believing either your own or her excuses for why you haven’t been able to re-connect with one another? Maybe I can help. Let’s talk.