One of the best things I was ever taught at uni was by my professor Dr Jodie Bradnam, who taught the 'Love, Sex and Relationships' class.
Jodie taught me her secret for marriage and it really stuck with me. So much so, that I use it with my couples counselling clients.
Anyhow, the 'Marriage Jar' is a simple concept that the mind can easily 'get.' It is amazing how this simple idea can adjust one's behaviour every day. Basically, it works like this: When you are first together, the jar is full. As time goes by, the jar empties. For every kind gesture, kiss, supportive comment, intimate moment, lunch pack made, etcetera, a marble goes in. For every sarcastic remark, episode of not listening or avoidance of connection, five marbles come out.
The “Marriage Jar” can even be a real jar. Some people put post-it notes of gratitude in for the other person. So that the partner knows they are appreciated and the little things do not go unnoticed. Notes that say, 'I love it when you bathe the kids without me asking.' 'You looked so hot the other night when we went out. ' I was impressed at your skills changing my car battery.' 'Thanks for paying that parking fine.' These little notes can mean so much to a couple that are under financial strain, have little time for date nights, or have a multitude of pressures.
When a jar is running on empty for long periods, it cannot be sustained. One person will inevitably ditch, or release the pressure of conflict with a third party (cheating). These simple concepts are preventative measures. The marriage jar needs to be replenished regularly. It should be cherished and fed daily.
What else fills the marriage jar?
Kindness, thoughtfulness, appreciation, nurturing and encouragement are just a few things that can fill a marriage jar.
Say, "Thank you." Say, "I fancy you." Say, "I think you are beautiful."
Instead of noticing what your partner does not do, focus on the positives. We can't control another person, but we can reinforce behaviour that we like.
Sometimes in life, we are forced to change. Something happens that makes us peel back the layers we have built around ourselves. We are forced to confront our true essence. During this time, we are given the opportunity to feel deeply, the good and the bad; to examine who we really are, and what want to achieve with the remainder of our life.
With this profound and honest awareness, we will start clearing, releasing, and letting go of things that blocking us from finding and fully feeling our truth. We have no avenues left to avoid this. It has to come out and be dealt with.
This compulsion requires us to surrender and accept. We feel it in our lower chakras, and it hurts. Yet, it is only through surrendering and accepting this honest discomfort, that we can accept and move on. In order to let go, we have to fully accept all the shameful faults and the ego tricks. When we have learned to sit with the parts of ourselves that are really uncomfortable, we are not only brave, but we are survivors of major scary events from childhood.
This black emotional goo, bubbles up, to be exposed and to breathe. Ninety percent of consciousness is beneath our awareness, and as we sit in this discomfort and accept it in all it’s horror, it suddenly has no power. Yes, you are healed.
Additionally, this work allows you to be ready for deeper stuff. The beauty of life, is that it never throws anything at you that you can’t handle. Yes, you might think it is too much at the time, but then there are counsellors and psychologists to help you through it. No one said you have to do it all alone. The maze has a light if you reach for it.
The beauty of this transformation, is that as you release the old hurts, residual guilt and old shame. It simply releases from the physical body, and mind, and so that you look healthier, calmer, more centred and relaxed. Not only will you accept yourself more, but you will be more empathetic of others going through something similar. By accepting that within you, that you never wanted to face, you will lead the way for others to be brave, making the world a kinder, more humanistic place.