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The soul would have no rainbow. If the eyes had no tears. Native American proverb
Agreeableness which is cooperative, flexible and tolerant is the second most prized personality trait by companies the first being conscientiousness which involves being dependable, persevering, and orderly.
These might be two of the most prized personality traits we should look for in our spouse as well. The problem may be according to a study by the University of Georgia is that over time husbands become less extroverted which is high energy, sociable, and good communicators. Wives become less open which is imaginative, insightful and have multiple interests. Both husbands and wives become less agreeable which is kind, trusting, and altruistic.
Marriage is a growth experience. Do people with successful, happy, long marriages continue to grow together? Do some have different paths; can our paths diverge and come back together? Can we stay together while we find ourselves?
One of the problems some of us may face is feeling this is our time. The kids are grown, the hard work of raising children is over and now it is our time. Developing our own interests may come with hidden challenges if we become self-centered and less couple centered.
Relationships are fragile, many of us know this, some do not. We feel we are invincible; two of us against the world can handle whatever comes. We love, trust, and appreciate each other, we have the luxury of knowing we have someone on our side. We are stronger together but every relationship has weaknesses we may not be cognizant of. Life together was so easy, we were so in sync, and we were so good together we didn’t think it could be any other way.
Then it happens to “us.” It might be a big or small thing, it is usually something we never saw coming. It might be something small, seemingly insignificant to one of us. Something we couldn’t imagine could create the kind of breach it does. We are now like the people we have judged.
We will heal, will we heal with an invisible scar like a broken arm, or with a visible scar like a missing body part. Will the lesson we learn be worth the pain? Will we be kinder, more understanding, compassionate, warm, will we hold on too tight, will we be fearful, or stronger in the broken places?
There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. Louis L’ Amour
Thinking that life doesn’t have challenges for all of us is hubris of the highest order. Maybe the only way we can grow is to face challenges that bring us to our knees. Oprah said when the spirit calls first it is with a whisper, if we don’t acknowledge the call, it gets louder until we can’t ignore it. Is our crisis really a spiritual call?
The first calling is what is referred to as “the quarter-life crisis.” We need to find our self after high school, university, our first jobs, leaving home.
The second great calling is at midlife. This is when we start to ask our self “is this all there is?” Work, home, raising children, and paying a mortgage takes all the time and energy we have but may not be feeding our soul. We may feel we have something we need to do we aren’t doing yet.
The third and final calling often comes as a deathbed crisis, if we didn’t answer either of the other callings. Listening to our calling and accepting our spiritual awakening comes like a great hurricane. Everything we’ve known is ripped away, the more we fight and struggle the more we get thrown mercilessly around. When we surrender we stand in the eye of the hurricane and allow everything that doesn’t serve us to be swept away.
Surrendering allows us to let go of our former self, who we thought we were supposed to be, to become who we are to become. Can we accept the call to our spiritual journey without getting divorced, quitting our job, and selling our house? Do we get divorced, quit our job and sell our house because it feels like doing something instead of facing our spiritual crisis? Can we become in-tune with our soul awakening?
Mythologist Joseph Campbell notes the four qualities accompanying a spiritual awakening.
We will feel a difficult and overwhelming journey lies ahead of us.
It feels like déjà vu.
Our current path may feel like a dead end.
Our calling wasn’t something we were looking for. The fork in the road demands our decision. Continuing on how we were is not an option.
Are we having our “take up your cross and follow me” moment? We may not know what our cross is, yet. We may need to pay attention to what feels intuitively right. What do we fear? What is calling to us? Are we having a spiritual awakening, are we lost, is it just a bump in the road? Can we work on our agreeableness while we face the challenges before us?
Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something to emerge. Eckhart Tolle