This month marks 13 years of marriage for my husband and me. Oh, and I think it’s important to point out we’re not soul mates.

My mom told me once “the one” was not out there somewhere. “There are lots of people we’re compatible with, and we get to decide which one we want to spend the rest of our life with,” she said.

Her short quip grounded me that searching for someone outside myself to share a you-complete-me-Jerry-McGuire-moment would just keep me looking for my other half.

And I want to be whole.

I had a friend ask me a few years ago if I believed in soul mates. My answer was something like, “No, I don’t. Do I wish there was such a thing though? Yes! With all my heart!”

I mean, come on, am I the only one that gets sucked in by a good love story? A friend recently suggested The Light We Lost that left me babbling and crying for a couple of made-up lovers. I love love. It feels good! I love the thought of destiny and soul mates and star-crossed lovers.

And I also know the reality of daily life. Non-fiction.

So why a “leadership” blog on marriage?

Well, how we do one thing is how we do all things. So if you’re a married person (or used to be one, or plan to be one someday), that one relationship can be a window into yourself and how you navigate other relationships.

Some observations about relationships:

  1. If you’re in a relationship because you need something, get ready for a contract of doom to surface more than a love story.

Needing others will make you come across as insecure and will actually push them away. See what value you bring to someone else rather than what they can do for you, and give it!

  1. When you wake up not feeling “in love,” hang on.

Life, nature, and relationships are ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Naturally in marriage there’s times you either love it, tolerate it, or see it as a contract. Odds are you’ve experienced all three at some point in the course of a relationship. Ride that wave without having to change it for you to be happy. (And then contemplate these points again.)

  1. Heed the wisdom of Byron Katie: “If you want to meet the love of your life, take a look in the mirror.”

Listen, if you can’t love and totally accept yourself, nobody else will either. It’s not someone’s job to do that for you. Dig deep: when you know you’re not being judged and are unguarded, what do you reveal about your true self that you really love? You are full of goodness. Find it and remember it.

  1. A secret to great relationships is enjoying them for what they are and refocusing on oneself when bashing a relationship for what it’s not.

What you say about someone else is actually more about you. Apply that next time you hear yourself begin a rant about your spouse (or colleague, friend or family member). Ask what about YOU makes you unhappy in a relationship?

  1.  “When you want nothing from anyone else, you’re free for anyone to be with.” (Byron Katie)

Sit with that. It applies to every relational encounter.

So if you’re not married to your soul mate, no worries. Even without destiny and the universe collaborating, you can still maintain a healthy relationship, learn about yourself along the way, and apply that to create healthy work, family, and social relationships.

A good place to start is inward and then work outward.

Reflect:

How are all my professional and private relationships?

Which ones seem strained most, and what is my part in that?

Which relationships make me feel most alive and why?

INspired Leadership Team

Websitewww.inspiredleadershipwithin.com

Email: inspiredleadership@essdack.org

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Twitter: @TamaraKonrade @MikeSanders19 @RachelThalmann @tjfellers

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