I was working with a client today. For some reason the majority of my clients are men. The wonderful thing about this fact is how I have been honored to look into the hearts of men. They are overwhelmingly good. Yet, like the hearts of women they are all too often clouded with fear.
To give some background (while protecting my client’s identity), he had been cheating on his wife with a series of long term affairs for over six years. My work was to help him understand why through 1/4 of his marriage he had been cheating on the wife he supposedly loved!
Yet, from my perspective, he and his wife are not “in love.” They are “in fear.” His marriage has been steeped in fear. He claims his wife often says to him, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” So she happily turns away ignoring the volumes of evidence he has left that something is drastically wrong with their relationship. In response to sharing this with me he tells me this is “proof” that she loves him.
I couldn’t disagree more. Because I firmly believe love is not blind. Love gives us 20/20 vision. Love is consciousness. BECAUSE of love we feel free to wake up. BECAUSE of love we may not like the truth we discover, but we are not afraid of it. Moreso, BECAUSE of love when we discover the truth, our hearts can love enough to deal with it, especially in love.
So, what is really going on with my client and his wife? (And, no he is a not a bad man. I seek to understand people, not judge them). What is going on is the fact that this couple has brought into the notion that it is easier to ignore what is really true about each other, than to face it. Why? Because facing it might be too painful.
Yet, by not facing it, their marriage has become cancerous. His story? He constantly lives in fear of of his wife discovering how for over a decade he has felt an inner despair about some deeper issues the two of them face. Having tried before to get her to go to counseling and deal with their problems (she always refused), his “compromise” was to start a series of long term affairs. Naturally, each one blew up as the women he was with refused to participate in this charade. (Good for them).
The end result for him? A growing inner self-loathing (which is why he came to me for counseling). This loathing mainly came from the constant pressure and disgust he felt with himself about lying to his wife and mistresses. These constant lies were also causing a deterioration of his higher nature. The constant frustration of not knowing how to resolve things with his wife, was even leading to a series of ulcers. Yes. It is easy to point fingers at him and tell him, “It’s all your fault.” But is it?
My opinion is it is not entirely his fault. Though I have never spoken to his wife, I have counseled a few women in her shoes. The most startling case was the woman I helped who actually let her husband’s female “friends” visit their home, come to parties with them, and take numerous trips alone with her husband. Somehow she suspected something was wrong with this arrangement and that something more was going on. But, she overlooked it all “out of love.”
My opinion was quite the opposite. When you truly love someone you EXPAND their capacity to love! And, when you truly love, what is there to hide? What is there to fear? Remember love awakens in people their capacity to love themselves, others, and all of life around them. It is like going through a psychic cleanse. Love frees people of all the lies, hypocrisy, cruelty, and excuses they have that keep them in blindness, fear, and sadly completely devoid of love.
You want to know how much love really exists between two people? Look for how honest, compassionate, and understanding they are. Remember without trust and truth, there is no love — only fear.
Maybe that is why I like the ending of the film Moulin Rouge. The main character is encouraged to lie as a means of “helping” the man she loves because his life is being threatened. Instead of helping him it breaks his heart to such a degree it almost kills him — as all lies do. Thankfully, he pleads with her to know the truth, and she has the courage (a word that means “take heart”) to tell him. She has the courage to love!
And, what of my client? Naturally, he is petrified to admit to his wife how many years he has betrayed her. He is in deep pain when he thinks about how the inability of the two of them to resolve their marriage difficulties has diminished love all around (though at first he thought it would have the opposite effect). Sadly, he doesn’t love himself or her enough to be honest and either end the relationship, or deal with it in a more honest and loving way.
As for his wife? If she is like the female client I had, I would encourage her to also question her lack of love for herself. Why would she willingly stay in denial for so long? (Yes, he has left plenty of “clues” of his misbehavior. He even looks back and wonders if he didn’t leave some of them in hopes she might finally confront him). Then, I would ask her to look at her fear. What is that fear about? No doubt her fears are similar to his. The include fear of loss. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being alone. Fear of facing the truth. Fear of having to confront and work through their many issues. Fear of having to admit just how broken their marriage is.
It is my hope that their relationship can be saved. But, it can ONLY be saved if they can both get back to the truth and love each other enough to handle that truth in a loving manner. Otherwise, their continued practice of fear will eventually destroy them both.
So, let’s remember another saying I love from Moulin Rouge. “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” In that spirit may we all overcome fear, and love!
Dr. Lisa Love
Copyright © 2009 by Lisa Love. All Rights Reserved.
About Dr. Lisa Love
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