Experience, Normalize

There's More to Marriage Than What You See

05.06.2020

When we get access to our spouse's experience of life and the marriage, we will stop normalizing our personal experience while invalidating our mate's.


A routine thing we do in marriage is to normalize our experience of the world while simultaneously downplaying our spouse's experience.

Here's a basic, yet familiar example: You feel like it's freezing in the house, so you want the heat turned up. Or maybe the inverse is true: you're hot, so you want the air as cold as you can get it.

What you've done is made your experience the norm. Not only for you, but also for your mate (and everyone else in the house). You've made them live in your experience of the world.

Here's another example: let's say you grew up in a home where there was lots of physical and verbal affection. Your parent(s) commonly hugged you, showered praise and love on you, and reinforced their fondness of you as much as they could. Your spouse, however, may have grown up in a home where there was little to no touching, verbal praise and affection were scant, and the only thing reinforced was, "I see you and will take care of you, but we're not going to get carried away with the touchy-feely stuff." 

Can you see how your experience of "normal" home life could be radically different from your mate's? It's not that you're wrong or right, it's just your experience. On the same token, it's not that your mate is wrong nor right. It's just his/her experience.

However, it's too easy for us to feel your way is right, and that can lead you to invalidate what your mate is experiencing.

The only way for you to not think your experience is normal is to have access to other people's experience. When we lack access to other people's experiences, we normalize our own, and come to a place where we hold the experiences of others as invalid.

This is a call for you (and me) to be more curious of our spouse and what he/she has gone through. This is a call for us to be more inquisitive about what our spouse is learning and experiencing on a daily basis. 

When we get access to our spouse's experience of life and the marriage, we will stop normalizing our personal experience while invalidating our mate's.

Let's be curious. Let's ask questions. Let's remember that our mate is experiencing the same world in a different way.

"Normal" is relative and has multiple angles. Let's explore.

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