I recently watched a video of a presentation that was made by a businessman who owns several successful companies. His companies generate more than $100 million per year in gross revenue. One of the topics that he touched upon was the difficulty that a business owner has in trying to manage and balance his or her business life with their personal life.
He talked about how business owners sometimes shut down and isolate themselves from family and friends when they become overwhelmed. He said that when that happens, a business owner feels bad because an important part of his or her support network — spouse and family — are unable to offer the support and encouragement that is needed to be happy and fulfilled.
He emphasized the importance of establishing a plan and setting aside the time and energy that is necessary to continue to focus on and nurture relationships while continuing to dedicate an appropriate amount of time and effort to operate the business. He then introduced a woman who he identified as a relationship expert and asked her to speak about the importance of people balancing their relationships with their business lives.
When the woman began speaking, she explained that she is a “Love Coach” who has had extensive experience working with couples. As she spoke, I got the impression that she is not particularly religious. She talked about how “the universe” acts in certain ways to align us with individuals who will help us to successfully get through life.
There are a lot of very good life and business coaches who talk in terms of what the universe can do for us, rather than give credit to God for what He does for us. Over the years, I’ve heard several professional coaches say, “Call it whatever you want — the universe, Buddha, Allah, or God — it doesn’t really matter, but there is a certain kind of energy that exists that is available to help you to successfully navigate through life.”
On the one hand, I can see why these coaches characterize it that way. They want to be politically correct and all-inclusive. They don’t want to offend anyone who may be willing to pay them money for their services, so they refuse to give credit to the God who created them and gave them the wisdom, knowledge, and opportunity to make a good living guiding and coaching others who are in need of their services.
I find this type of behavior offensive and cowardly. If a person truly believes there is a God who created us in His own image and likeness, the least the person can do is acknowledge that He is the One who is by our side assisting us throughout our lives.
Despite her failure to give credit to God, the woman made some very good points. I’m going to paraphrase what she said, using my own terminology and references so that I can give credit to God rather than “the universe”:
If you are married, your spouse is a sacred mirror, custom-built by God to reflect for you the most magnificent aspects of who you are. This sacred mirror also reflects the dark shadows that are created from your blind spots.
Your blind spots cause you to behave in ways that are inconsistent with your true values. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of what their blind spots are.
Because your spouse is a sacred mirror, anything your spouse says to you should be looked upon as valuable feedback that reveals to you what’s working and what is not working. If your spouse gives you a compliment, you should consider the compliment as an indication that you are behaving to the high standard that God expects of you. If your spouse offers a loving criticism, you should consider the criticism as valuable feedback that you are not performing as the best version of yourself.
The most successful marriages usually involve individuals who are opposites. In this respect, one person in the relationship is usually an “I-centric person,” and the other person is a “we-centric person.” An I-centric person is oriented around his or her own self while a we-centered person is oriented around the relationship that exists between the person and his or her spouse.
I-centric people come with a strong set of skills that are highly developed. They know what their boundaries are, how to express their needs, and what works and doesn’t work for them. Because they are more focused on themselves, it’s easy for them to say yes or no to others without experiencing any doubt or guilt.
We-centric people frequently struggle with their boundaries. They don’t know where their boundaries end and where their spouses’ boundaries begin. They are very empathetic, so they tend to focus on others before they focus on themselves. Whatever their spouses feel, they feel. Because they are primarily relationship-oriented, they are more focused on the needs of their spouses and those around them, and struggle with expressing their own individual needs.
The reason that God brings an I-centric person and a we-centric person together is so that they can cross-train each other in the skills that they have developed for themselves. At first, they are not usually fully aware of the dramatic differences that exist between them, so they can easily drive each other crazy. Their initial reaction to each other’s’ comments is that their spouse just doesn’t see where they’re coming from.
After hearing what the “Love Coach” had to say, I quickly concluded that I am an I-centric person, and my wife, Georgette, is a we-centric person. While I used to get offended and argue with her when she would attempt to nudge me toward becoming better at nurturing my relationships with her, our children, our extended families, and the other people that I interact with, I eventually came to the realization that I still have a lot to learn from her.
After I finally realized that I should listen to what Georgette has to say to me about managing and nurturing my relationships with others, I decided to accept what she told me without attempting to challenge or pick apart her suggestions. I have gotten to the point now where if she makes a suggestion as to what I should be doing with regard to my relationship with another person, I intentionally look for reasons to embrace her suggestion and follow through on her advice.
Because I am her opposite, I will periodically make suggestions to Georgette that she is overextending herself and needs to set boundaries with the people that she has relationships with. My suggestions ordinarily include guidelines as to when she should be willing to say no to other individuals who have reached out to her for assistance.
Because Georgette wants to help everyone who is in need, she feels bad when she is unable to give them the help that they need. Because she feels obligated to help everyone who is in need, she has been accustomed to me telling her, “You can’t save the world.”
I really like the phrase “sacred mirrors” because it applies to Catholic couples who are doing their best to live their lives in harmony with God’s plan for them. With God’s grace, they have the ability to reflect upon each other the standards and values that will ultimately help them grow closer together and, at the same time, grow closer to God.
Not a bad lesson to learn from a real Love Coach.