December 8, 2021

Ever Ask Yourself Why Your Partner Isn’t Enough? Let’s Look Deeper.

 

Are you married and yet still struggle with loneliness? Do you feel isolated and find it challenging to overcome fatigue, fear, frustration, and failure even with a loving partner?  What is most likely missing in your life is “community” – doing life with a network of supportive and encouraging friends and family.  This is just the opposite of American culture. We are taught to be independent and self-sufficient and never to let anybody get too close.  Could this be one of the reasons for the continual rise of the suicide rate? Humans are hardwired to share life in community.  And though your partner or spouse can be great at loving you and meeting many of your needs, they can’t meet all of them.  It’s not possible to be a “community of two.”

 

Your goals and dreams cannot be accomplished devoid of other human beings. Your purpose is defined and lived out with others, not in a vacuum. You cannot learn the greatest life lesson – how to love- with only your life- partner. Others can serve as role models, mentors, co-workers, and friends. Marriage does not solve the problem of loneliness.  Community does!

 

Why I Need Others to Walk with Me

 

  • It’s safer. Walking through life with other people in your life is safer.  It’s less risky.  Have you ever had to walk through a dark alley in the inner city by yourself at night?  It’s a little scary.  Maybe you have walked down a long road in the countryside by yourself.  It can be scary.  It’s safer to walk through life with others.

 

  • It’s supportive. When you’re walking with other people, you get the energy to keep going that you wouldn’t have. Have you ever been in a marathon and experienced a stitch in your side accompanied by other aches and pains? You start getting a stitch in your side, a little pain there, and you want to give up. Most often, that happens about mile twenty.  But if you have other people cheering you on, you don’t quit. You keep going.

 

When you run alone, you run fast.

But when you run together, you run far.  

 Zambian Proverb

 

Good words.  Life is not a 50-yard dash.  It is a marathon.  You want to make it to the end of life.  The only way you’re going to make it to the end of life is by having other people involved in your life.

 

  • It’s smarter.  It’s just smarter to go through life with a few really close friends.  You learn more by walking with others than you do by yourself.  If I’m the only one who thinks something, and no one else agrees with me, guess what?  I’m probably wrong.  You may be walking in the wrong direction and unable to see it for yourself. The honest and caring feedback from a friend is what you need.  No one grows without feedback. No one. And one of the most essential life lessons that you learn when you walk with others is how to get along with others!

 

Why I Need Others to Work with Me

 

Life is a team sport. While your spouse may be your biggest fan and cheerleader, you need some teammates to help you win.  A movie from a few years ago entitled “Witness” features Amish characters joining together and raising a barn in just one day.  Amazing!  As the saying goes, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”  If you are exhausted and ready to give up, more than likely, you are trying to do it all yourself.  Build a team around you, and you will experience all kinds of benefits, including increased energy and fun.

 

Why I Need Others to Watch Out for Me

 

My neighborhood has its own social media page.  Through this page, we watch out for each other, our kids, our pets, and our property.  Anything suspicious activities are reported. Lost pets are returned to their owners. Recommendations of reliable workmen are made for all kinds of home projects and repairs. All of that is really great and makes our neighborhood a better place. You may have the same experience with great neighbors.  But the real question is not, “Do I have anyone to watch after my home, kids, and pets?” but “Do I have anyone to look out for me?” We all have blind spots – things we can’t see on our own. For example, if a rear tail light is out on your car, you will never know it unless someone tells you.  In the same way, we are often unaware of our character flaws or “stupid” behavior unless someone cares enough to lovingly point them out to us.

 

Do you remember the name, Aaron Ralston?  A few years ago, he went hiking through a canyon in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. Unfortunately, he did not inform anyone of his hiking plans, so when a boulder became dislodged and crushed his right hand against the canyon wall, he was trapped with no one to rescue him. Sure that he would die, he spent five days sipping water and eating small bites of 2 burritos while trying to free his arm.  He videotaped messages to his family and carved his name, date of birth, and presumed date of death on the canyon wall. Then he realized that by using the torque of his body, he could break both bones in his trapped arm.  This would make it possible to amputate part of his arm, which he did, using the dull knife of his multi-tool. The amputation took about an hour.  When hiking out of the canyon, he encountered a family from the Netherlands who gave him Oreos and water and alerted the authorities.  He was rescued six hours after amputating his arm. If he had only invited someone else on the hike or at least shared his plans, he would have been spared the horrendous ordeal.

 

 Why I Need Others in My Tough Times

 

No couple should have to wait alone for the lab reports on a problem pregnancy.  No one should have to wait alone for news from the battlefield.  No one should have to stand alone beside the grave of a loved one. No one should have to be alone after their spouse walks out on them. No one should have to face any of the “waiting or weeping” moments of life alone.  If you have your supportive spouse beside you, that is tremendous support.  However, it could be that they are experiencing the same anxiety, fear, or brokenness that you are feeling.  This is when you both need the support of others, even if they are doing that by just being present with you. Everyone will face tough times in their life. And here’s a strong probability: If you are there for others, they will be there for you.  It takes no particular skill, just simple caring, and kindness.

 

If you need community, I strongly recommend checking out churches or organizations with ongoing small groups as part of their program. It may be a process of trial and error, so keep looking until you find the group that feels like “your people.”

 

Many couples and individuals have met new friends and found community through the Life Recon seminars and Love Recon marriage retreats.   Check them out!

About the author 

Cliff Poe

Cliff Poe is Founder and Lead Coach for Recon Coaching. He and his wife, Jeani, are Master Coaches and their passion is to help individuals and couples form healthy, lasting and satisfying relationships. Cliff has a M.Div. in pastoral counseling and ministry. He enjoys writing and coaching as well as his family which includes 2 adult kids and their spouses, 6 grandchildren and a fur family composed of a Golden Retriever and a Mackerel Tabby.


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