“Unicorn,” is defined as “a creature of the imagination; a person that exists only in legends or myths or fiction.”
As a therapist, mediator and attorney, I see many unhappy individuals and couples longing for the “happily ever after” they had planned. The ones in the most pain are not sure if they want to stay or go.
To many of my clients, the possibility of experiencing a truly happy marriage seems as remote and impossible as sighting that “imaginary creature represented as a white horse with a long horn growing from its forehead.”
A happy marriage is not a mythical or magical experience. It’s the end result of many acts of two people who truly CARE about each other.
You can appreciate that despite your best efforts, from time-to-time you’re going to trigger each other. Or hurt each other. Or scare, sadden or disappoint the other.
The difference between reality and mythology is that the happy marriage doesn’t miraculously appear. In the real world, you can create a happy marriage by learning a few Compassionate Communication skills — including empathy and forgiveness — and applying them liberally and often to your relationship.
What I have learned over the years is that the difference between a happy and an unhappy marriage is that in the HAPPY one, each partner truly CARES.
- C – Compassion for themselves and their partner. Compassion is not codependency. It’s a healthy perspective on your own needs as well as your partner’s. It’s knowing the 5 steps to receive what you truly want and need and practicing the miracle of empathy.
- A – Acceptance of all the idiosyncrasies that make your partner unique. Acceptance is the ability to love someone for who they are, and not who you need them to be. It is also accepting the humanity and divinity of both of you, knowing we are spiritual beings having a human experience. And marriage can trigger all our human parts.
- R – Respect for each other’s individuality. Respect is the ability to see the good traits of your partner and honor those. No one is perfect. As Sam Keen said, ” We come to love not by finding a perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”
- E – Empathy for your feelings, desires and needs. Empathy means you listen, understand, and truly care what your partner feels, and they learn to do the same for you. You drop the walls you've built to protect yourself and the filters through which you have judged each other and truly relate from your heart.
- S – Self love that allows each of you to practice healthy self-care. True self-love is the ability to take exquisite care of yourself, no matter the circumstances. You give yourself the attention, affection, appreciation and acceptance you need. Then you share all that love with your partner.
If you're unclear where your relationship is breaking down in this CARES model, I can help.
Take my free Relationship Assessment – and find out how to heal and transform your relationship.
Bottom line: Unicorns don’t exist, but happy marriages do. You can have one — if you try.
And if you do your best, and CARE as much as possible and it's still not meeting your needs, you can have a Compassionate Divorce®, which isn't a Unicorn either.
Linda Kroll is a therapist, mediator, attorney, Chopra Certified Master Teacher, and author of the bestselling Compassionate Mediation® for Relationships at a Crossroad: How to Add Passion to Your Marriage or Compassion to Your Divorce.
You can get a free chapter of the book at LindaKrollBook.com, or order the book on Amazon. El
There are more free gifts and resources for Compassionate Communication and Compassionate Mediation® at LindaKroll.com.
Linda's online course on Compassionate Mediation® is available now. To learn more go HERE.