Advice from the Skillful Doctor

Question: My partner asked me to move in with him a few months ago. I happily obliged and all is going well. I am serious about spending the rest of my life with him, and he has told me on many occasions that I am the woman he sees himself being with forever, but any time I want to talk about taking the next step and securing our future as husband and wife, he tells me he thinks the conversation is premature. If we’ve already discussed an eternal partnership, I am not sure what he is waiting for. How can I get him to solidify his commitment?

Answer: First off, allow me to commend you for your admirable ability to commit to such a change. Co-habiting with a partner requires a laundry list of hefty compromise—perhaps even more than marriage does—and your devotion to upholding this commitment is commendable. Clearly, you are confident that the benefits of sharing your living quarters with someone you care about so deeply leads to benefits that far outweigh that compromise.

That being said, I am wondering why you are rushing to secure your next milestone, when you should still be reaping the benefits of your most recent one. You seem to love and trust your partner, and yet there is something not quite within your grasp that you are focusing on which is preventing you from enjoying the way things are now.

Do you have a favorite movie? If so, I would imagine you’d be satisfied with the way it ends. However, when you watch it, do you skip ahead to the final scene, or do you get as much enjoyment out of the story that unfolds as you arrive there than the ending itself?

I want you to try to treat your relationship this way as well. It seems as though marriage is where you and your partner are eventually headed, so why do you feel the need to skip ahead? While decisiveness is a sound trait, transition is not designed to be rushed. Even when things are moving, there is still a pace and rhythm that must be respected in order for your transition to occur skillfully. Forward is a wonderful place to go, but moving too fast or doing so recklessly will sabotage the enjoyment of where you are now. Instead of trying to evade your current set of boundaries, value them, and view them as a protective layer against letting the beauty of your current moment pass you by.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Hello there... said,

    I never blog but I was quite taken back by what I am reading here and feel a strongly to respond. Quite shock by part of the answer but agree 100% with parts of it…forgive for saying this, I do not know who gave the answer to this question but it sounds like from a male who have read too many zen and mindfulness books. I understand completely about being aware and not try to dig up the dirt daily once you planted a seed, fast forward favorite movie, rhythm etc.

    However, living together in general is probably the worst thing for a woman with few exceptions especially if you are at a age where you may get pregnant (quite unfair to the possible upcoming child too.)

    There is almost no incentive for him to commit if he already have all the benefits. I do agree with the previous response above that co-habiting is a more hefty compromise than a marriage. I may be wrong but I think we are both trying to tell you in a nice way (despite that many people do live together especially in this country) that it is a loaded situation with potential pitfalls.

    I think you are absolutely right and wise to see that his words does not match his actions. This is a good wake up call for you. For the zen and mindfullness crowd, every single words is important otherwise, don’t say it or you are not being mindful Every words spoken or not spoken have energy and karmic effects. Therefore it is quite outrageous that he told you that you are the one he wants to be forever on many occasions and not open to marriage. That kind of talk sounds cheesy or cheap to me. In the back of my mind, I would be wondering how many woman he has said that too in the past. Or perhaps he is a fast lover and easy come and easy go. Or maybe he is very serious and you are the love of his life. I do not know him at all and would not like to judge him but what you are telling me so far give grounds for doubts.

    On the other hand, marriage should not be push, beg into because over time most marriage are hard enough to maintain on a quality lievel and starting off with that may lead too further complications.

    I strong suggest that you meditate on this situation and see where the divine guidance tells you. Unfortuantely most westerners in this country teach meditations just to relax, try to find one that help you to relax and also connect directly with the divine to receive guidance/wisdoms, love healing etc. Instead of living from your heart or the intellect alone in this situation. Try to learn or do it if you already know how –to meditate to connect with higher power to tap into the truth of this matter. Because our heart and mind and sometimes be fool by our desires etc. But pure connection with the divine will shows us the best path that is for the highest good of all…instead of listiening to subjective responses from this blog including mine.

    By the way, I do not know what is your situation or destiny is but I was in simiilar boat like you years ago. My husband try the same thing on me 25 years ago and I said no thank you, and we got marry within 6 months. I did not push him into marrying me because I do not believe in pushing. I did tell him the truth that I know that part of my soul destiny is to have children in this lifetime. I care a lot about him/love him and thinks that he is a wonderful person but if he is not ready, that is OK too. I was ready to part with him because the most important thing to me is to fulfill my soul destiny for the higherst good of all and not to fullfill my fantasy, desires or whims at that time in my life. But than I need to move on since I was 30 years old at that time and my biological clock was ticklng away. We have been happily married with 3 children most of the time with minor bumps for 25 years now.

    These are all my humble opinions and I truly do not have time to blog much since I have recently adopted a special need toddler that needs surgery. But I just want to jump in and share my 2 cents and that is probably all that is worth with you from the bottom of my heart and to wish you everlasting truth, love peace and joy instead of the superficial(westerm terminology)/delusional (Buddhist terminology here) one that you may or may not expereincing. Once again, please forgive me if I offended anyone, I meant to help and not to offend and disregard anything I said if it does not fit into your evolution process for now. Peace…


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