By Tabasom Eblaghie, Registered Clinical Counsellor
Flexibility is defined in the dictionary as being “capable of bending easily without breaking”, and “ready and able to change as to adapt to different circumstances”.
In a marriage, when we practice flexibility, we have a go-with-the-flow mentality, able to see the opportunity and choices in the various challenges that face us as a couple. We don’t insist on our own opinions, and on always being right. Rather, we are open to hearing the opinions of our spouse, and seeing things from another perspective than just our own. We are willing to make changes to habits that negatively influence our lives, and recognizing when growth is needed. We welcome change, and have the ability to let go when things are beyond our control.
When rigidity exists, we may see one spouse over-exerting their control and influence over the other. One spouse feels marginalized by the other, and friendship is difficult to maintain if we’re always in the ‘inferior’ position.
When I was about to get married, my wonderful mother-in-law told my husband-to-be and I that our marriage is a like a rubber band. When one pulls, the other must let go – we must take turns leading, because if we were to both insist on our own ideas ALL the time, the rubber band would eventually weaken and break.
That analogy stayed with us.
Deferring to the other person does NOT mean ‘losing’. It does not mean that you are weaker, and the other is stronger. It simply means that there is respect, love, kindness, equity and flexibility in the marriage. We can decide as a couple which one of us knows more about various subjects, and allow that person to be the decision maker. We must take turns deferring to each other, and letting go as needed.
If our marriage could be likened to a bird, then each wing represents each spouse. If one wing is always stronger, the bird would simply go around in circles and the marriage would not take off. However, if both wings were equally and fully developed, then the bird could easily fly to wonderful heights.