So much of our society has a throw-away attitude. If it doesn’t work, throw it away.  It’s cheaper to replace rather than repair the TV we bought two years ago, so throw it away.  Why darn socks when new ones are so plentiful?

And why keep a relationship that isn’t “happy”? There seems to be a fairly wide-spread belief that if not “happy”, chuck it and move on.

And even after ten years of marriage that I would grade E for Extraordinary, commitment does not guarantee “happy”. We still have unhappy times where issues raise their ugly heads.

Yesterday on our walk, my Dear Husband (DH) got so angry he stormed off in a huff and we barely spoke for the rest of the day. We were both furiously right!

Over the years we’ve created tools to  “clean the pipe” between us.  Visualize a drain pipe. Each conflict or problem that comes up has the potential of gunking up the pipe. When we resolve the conflict (“make up”) and heal the pain (usually some old wound), the pipe is again clean. We know the problem is healed when the gunk is gone. We are clear.

Yesterday the pain uncovered one more area of our relationship that needed healing. Today we are each stronger as individuals and the trust between us feels stronger. Today we’re back to the mushy, gushy feelings that our friends envy.

We also know that if you don’t clean up the gunk as it happen, it will grow and expand, and pretty soon communication is almost impossible.

Bottom line, marriage isn’t always just about roses. It’s about thorns and pruning and piling on fertilizer. And it can help you thrive in the toughest times. Each time you get to the other side of a struggle, you get stronger as individuals and as partners.

How do you grow in your relationship?

Jane Wolfe is an artist and an improviser guiding individuals and groups to find their own unique gifts and express their unique talents and wisdom. Life is not scripted. We live with the unplanned and unexpected. Jane discovered the art of improvisation as a metaphor for life. It teaches individuals how to react and respond to life’s opportunities and challenges in a way that invokes the best of their creativity, innovation, communication, teamwork and leadership.