Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

I'm continuing a series of blog entries reflecting on the recent dissolution of my six-year-old marriage to Ma'ikwe Ludwig. (Interestingly, I got the ax July 14, which is Bastille Day, commemorating the overthrow of the monarchy and the start of the French Revolution, which bloody stretch was symbolized by the use of the guillotine... )

Today I want to explore my misplaced pride.

Going into my decision to marry Ma'ikwe in 2007 I thought I was bringing a lot of relationship awareness, skill, and dedication to the partnership. Further, my assessment was that Ma'ikwe would be an excellent match for me in this regard (by which I mean that she had all those qualities as well) and it was an explicit and major factor in my joyously agreeing to our union.

o  As a process consultant I pay a lot of attention to relationships and the patterned ways in which people misunderstand one another, trigger each other, and fumble their way ineffectively through tension and distress.

o  In addition, I get to see a lot of intimate partners interact. I get to regularly observe dozens of partners in the context of living in the tri-communities of northeast Missouri, where nearly 100 adults populate Sandhill Farm, Dancing Rabbit, and Red Earth combined. I'm also on the road half the time, where I frequently work with groups or participate in public events. While traveling, I typically stay in private homes. Taken all together, I get to see more partners interact than most, both because of my lifestyle and my profession. 

o  On top of that I've done a fair amount of personal growth work over the years to better understand who I am, how to recognize and interpret what I'm experiencing, the ways in which I'm difficult to be with, what my blind spots are, and how to work constructively with critical feedback. To be sure, I remain a work in progress (aren't we all?), yet I'm not a rank beginner.

o  Finally, I've also had available to me the accumulation of my personal history with intimacy and what I've been able to glean from my failures in the past, which include poor choices in partners, mismatches in desire, emotional immaturity… you name it. While scarred, I was also experienced, and never felt more capable of intimacy, or so well matched as I was with Ma'ikwe.

Thus, I was highly optimistic about Ma'ikwe's and my chances to make a lasting partnership when we said "I do" six years ago. Sadly, "we didn't."

Over the course of the last half dozen years, I rarely came across an intimate partnership that I envied. Almost always I would observe how other partners interacted and come away thankful that I was with Ma'ikwe. Not because Ma'ikwe and I never encountered hard times (we had plenty), but because I had supreme confidence in our ability to navigate them and get stronger. Right up until the last, I believed we'd figure it out; that our love and dedicatio to engagement would see us through.

Thus, the fall from grace has been long and hard. I am feeling deeply humbled right now, observing the surfeit of ongoing relationships all around me that I so recently disdained in my haughty sense of superiority. There's an important and embarrassing lesson about hubris that I'm still chewing on (the digestion of which is aided by my writing this blog).

While there's a part of me that understands that it's all grist for the mill—that I'll ultimately be able use this experience to enhance my personal growth and to widen the range of how I can understand and empathize with the pain and struggles of others, right now that seems a meager meal for six years of tending the garden of my marriage. Used pride doesn't really taste that good.

1 comment:

Rosemary Wyman said...

Welcome, fellow human, fellow seeker. You just knocked on another door that was not home. As you turn away, know that the only right door is within. Reflection helps us find it. Once there, all relationships are enhanced by our service to them.