By Théun Mares, February 1, 1997

I had been in a relationship for several years before coming to do the ISM courses.

We were not married, and I hadn't seen that as being a particular "problem" as such.

I had seen friends married and then divorced. Similarly, I had seen friends who chose to live together and not marry, and be seemingly happy in their lives.

For years, I had argued against marriage. But being on this path means that you have to look honestly at the issue of respect and responsibility for yourself and others, and at the nature of the relationship between yourself and your partner.

There were so many different aspects to this. To name but a few, there was my responsibility to my partner. What sort of commitment was I offering her, if I wasn't prepared to commit to our relationship for life? What responsibility was I accepting for this relationship? How much true respect existed in a relationship when I was sleeping with someone to whom I had no intention of committing , yet with whom I expected to share my life?

When I started to ask these questions honestly and to listen to what my heart was saying on the matter, I had to face some very uncomfortable truths.

Namely, that I had not grown up and was still expecting my "mother" to look after me.

The lack of commitment to my partner reflected a lack of commitment to myself.

I was evading responsibility left, right and centre.

My partner is a strong woman and I feared what commitment would bring. Would I be able to cope? What, if having made a decision, I regretted it - what then? Could I handle the responsibility of divorce when I had just scraped together the responsibility to marry?

So many questions were buzzing through my mind and the only thing I knew for certain, was that our relationship couldn't stay the same. Something had to change.

After a while I realised that I simply needed to continue the process I had set out on. The process of being more aware of where I was at and challenging that - I was faced with the prospect of taking on a challenge which I had spent my life thus far avoiding.


Théun, although you have already given my wife and I excellent guidance on our marriage, my wife and are still struggling with our relationship. It is not that we do not try, but rather that whenever we DO try to meet one another we only end up fighting and blaming one another.

Our sexual life is also not good, for often when I want sex my wife doesn't, which makes me extremely upset to the point of having thoughts of violence. This then makes me dislike myself and I end up feeling like my wife's doormat! Can you please give us some more guidance to work with?


I once before pointed out to you the LACK of any REAL warmth between the two of you! I point it out again, not so as to make you feel BAD, but simply because this IS the underlying problem in your marriage. Neither of you feel any REAL warmth towards one another! All you have is sex. So, yes, when the going is good between the two of you, and you feel sexually drawn towards one another you both ASSUME this means warmth! But, my friend, this is NOT true warmth, but rather what I term LURVE.

The problem with all this is that whenever true warmth IS lacking the female becomes quite UNRESPONSIVE sexually, whilst the male, on the other hand, becomes DEMANDING, because of feeling that he is being denied his conjugal rights, and hence the anger tending towards the desire for violence! And, yes, of course, with this state of affairs you WILL end up feeling like a doormat or a dildo, for what it boils down to is only having sex when the female wants it!

My friend, there IS only ONE way forward in all of this! Clearly your PRESENT relationship is for NEITHER of you a Path with a Heart and is therefore NOT life-supportive! There is therefore ZERO to be gained by you and your wife DISTRACTING yourselves from the MAIN ISSUE in all the little ways in which you do this! I don't live with you, so I cannot tell you HOW you distract yourselves. Are you BOTH past masters at NOT embracing your challenges FULLY?

Are you all TOO QUICK to believe that everything is done, wrapped up and past, and is your wife all TOO QUICK to dive into control mode and then wanting to blame, punish and exact compensation, rather than the TWO of you FACING your challenges SQUARELY and TOGETHER!

You CANNOT possibly build true warmth for one another when you are NEVER together in FIGHTING your battles! If you are always so BUSY sorting each other out, that you turn each other into the enemy instead of seeing your challenges as something you have BOTH called forth so that you may LEARN HOW to BECOME friends, and IN-DEED, husband and wife!

So instead of fighting your battles TOGETHER, SIDE by SIDE, you end up fighting EACH OTHER!
Come now, even YOU must admit that this is truly funny, no? Just look at the two of you objectively, and you will see what I mean! Here comes a challenge! But what do the two of you do? You don't throw your shoulders TOGETHER in FACING the challenge and in fighting side by side! But instead you turn ON each other and start fighting one another! "It is all YOUR fault!" "No, it isn't! It is all YOUR fault!"

Which of you is more UNREAL than the other! :) Being REAL, my friend, is WHAT any relationship is ALL about! And where there is REAL-NESS warmth is a NATURAL consequence of fighting our battles side by side! Being REAL means NOT playing the blame game and ACKNOWLEDGING that it takes TWO to tango!

But how people just love to use this as an EXCUSE never to BE real! By this I mean that people only EVER want to tango when the going is good!

Yet the moment they are CHALLENGED on BUILDING their relationships, it is NO LONGER about TWO people having called forth a MUTUAL challenge, but rather it is all YOUR fault that OUR relationship is NOT working!

But what is real about playing the blame game? To tango does NOT mean to only have FUN together! To tango, in the truest possible sense of the word, means KNOWING with EVERY FIBRE of your being that it takes TWO people CO-OPERATING INTELLIGENTLY with one another for there to BE a dance!

So what is intelligent about playing the blame game? "

There is no realness in this! Intelligence? Hardly, just a HUGE amount of blaming one another for the fact that NEITHER of you have as of yet MASTERED the ART of the tango!

Relevant Courses:

Relationships I - Relationships in General - or - This Darned Elusive Happiness

Relationships III - Investing Responsibly in a Permanent Relationship

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