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Is There Imagery to Help Decide Whether to Leave a Marriage or Stay?

03 Dec

Belleruth,

Can you suggest a meditation or imagery for trying to decide on whether to stay in a long term marriage? I just don't know what to do at this point. Sometimes things are good, other times not.  I'm on a roller coaster. Thanks. I'm enjoying reading your books, and the imagery has certainly helped me to calm down, which is a lifesaver right now....

Corinne

Dear Corinne,

Sure I can and I’m happy to do so.  But first, let me address the cognitive side of this.  I understand that I don’t know the specifics of your situation.  I’m well aware that you could be understating a terrible, abusive situation that you should get out of immediately; or you could be having an internal crisis that has little to do with your partner or your marriage.

That said, and assuming that your situation is probably something in the middle, I would suggest that sometimes it’s good to just let yourself sit with the ambiguity and confusion for a while.  A hasty decision to leave could have more messy and regrettable consequences than staying a little too long, all things being equal.  

Do you have a good friend or trustworthy coach or counselor to consult with?  This is a time where having a really good listener – who asks smart questions and has no axe to grind - could really come in handy.

And one of those questions should be, “Why now?”  After so many years, what makes you think about leaving now?  Have you changed? Has he? Did one of you recently quit drinking or lose a job?  Did the last kid leave the nest? Are other circumstances different? Have your goals shifted? Is there another guy in the picture? The answer to these questions could help you figure out your answer.

Another question should be about when and where you’re happiest and most contented with yourself.  Does your opinion of yourself change when you’re with your husband?  How about your mood?  Self-esteem?  Energy level?

I’d also want to know if you still respect your husband and the values that he stands for.  Are you compatible in that way?  Do you think he’s a good man, even when you don’t particularly like him?

Okay, enough of that. To get back to your original question: I think the imagery that might be best for this is Unlocking Intuition.  All the exercises on it can be good warm-ups for you, but the one that would really suit your purposes best is Track 3: Imagery for Receiving an Answer as a Gift.   Just listen to it several times and just let it take you wherever it takes you.  Don’t rush it or try to force an answer.  Just see how it evolves and try to tolerate the ambiguity of the process – it’s often confusing at first.  Sooner or later, your answer will emerge.

And if you like working with imagery for problem solving and decision making, there are two other exercises in my book, Your Sixth Sense, that are really good for this. One is on page 146, and it’s called Imagery for Asking the Body Yes or No; and the other is called , Imagery to Solve a Problem Metaphorically, on page 150.  

I haven’t recorded these but you can use them by just reading them over and then closing your eyes and doing the exercise in your mind; or you could record them yourself and then listen to your own voice guiding you.  (I’m actually sorry I didn’t record these with the other tracks – perhaps I will one day!)  

In any case, I hope this helps.  Good luck with your decision!
All best,
Belleruth

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award