I love the show This is Us. It's such an experience for me. I get into my comfy clothes, snuggle up on the couch with my husband, and (pending technology's cooperation) we watch and laugh and mostly cry. In one of the last episodes of this past season, there was a moment when I thought, "The writers of this show HAVE to be therapists."
It was Randall and Beth's fight about the Head and the Heart that made me think this. For those of you who don't watch the show, here's the gist.
Randall and Beth are a couple with two young girls of their own. They decided to become a foster family. They hosted a teen named Deja for awhile in their home. Deja has returned to her mother's home and has reached out to them once for financial assistance because her mom couldn't pay for their heat. They haven't heard from Deja in awhile and then Randall gets a cryptic phone call from her. She says everything is fine but she doesn't sound okay.
Here's where the pattern picks up:
Randall is panicking. He misses their foster child and is really worried about her. He can't enjoy his weekend away because he is so concerned about Deja.
He goes to Beth with all these fears and she reassures him that Linda (the caseworker) will make sure she's taken care of. He: panics, drops everything he's doing and goes to his wife to get soothing and permission to act out of his anxiety.
Beth is enjoying her weekend away and has compartmentalized what's happening at home. She has shut off her concerns for Deja because Randall has more than enough anxiety for both of them. She scolds Randall for taking on concerns that aren't appropriate.
This blows up and they have a big fight about it. Then Randall decides to do something different. He tells Beth that it isn't fair that she always has to be the "Head" because it's the only role leftover when he takes the "Heart" role. He tells her that he's going to be the Head for a while. Then, an amazing thing happens! It frees Beth up to be the Heart. She takes initiative to look into Deja's well being and they reconnect.
Why I'm telling you this story:
We get into patterns with our partners. We get comfortable doing our bit. Then we get stuck in our bit. It could be the Saver and Spender, the Head and the Heart, the Fun and the Responsible. Whatever the pattern is, don't stay stuck. It limits your relationship and causes pain. We are whole beings. We need to be able to express all the parts of ourselves in order to truly reflect our Creator and bring about our purpose. If we get stuck in our pattern it limits our capabilities. Patterns can be helpful sometimes, but we can't stay there forever because someone is picking up the slack. Randall did a great job realizing the pattern and then doing something different about it.
Now it's your turn.
Ask yourself what your favorite roles are. Are you the Head or the Heart?
Thank your partner for the role that they've played. Let them know that you can be different. No one has to be stuck in their roles in the relationship.
Then be the change. Do something different. Surprise your spouse. Surprise yourself. Flex those other muscles.
Take Care! (I hope you know what I mean when I say that!)
P.S. If there's any way that I can help you on this journey to better yourself and your relationship, I would love to do that. I have open availability for clients right now. My cell is 480-771-0942 and you can text me to set up an appointment.