“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong . . .

Photo by Matthew_Hull on morguefile

. . . is to think you control it.”

-John Steinbeck

Steinbeck makes a great point; we control almost nothing, whether on a journey or in marriage. We have control over our behavior, words, and our acts of service.

If you don’t have competence in those areas, do something about it. Read, learn, practice, go to therapy, etc.

Maybe you think that if you tell your partner something often enough that s/he will comply and you will feel in control. Maybe you have underlying anxiety (that you may or may not be aware of); acting in control is a great means to cover up anxiety. Maybe you think your way is more efficient (and it might be); but relationships are not about efficiency. Maybe you controlled yourself enough to be successful in your career; does that include your interpersonal skills? Gaining interpersonal skills will help you be successful in your marriage–and at work, with your family, friends, and the community at large.

It’s not easy to accept that we’re not in control. Yet if you look closely at your life, you will have experienced many situations and relationships that are clearly not in your control. It can actually be freeing to relinquish control. It’s not the same as giving up on your dreams and goals. It’s a more authentic way to be yourself in this world full of challenges, joy, sadness, loss, grief, surprises and delight as you move toward those dreams and goals. It’s also likely others will trust you more and want to be around you as you give and take what life offers.

Here’s an example of what you do and don’t have control over: The latest worldwide COVID-19 deaths reported by Reuters as of 10-1-21, now surpass 5 million. No one is in control of Covid overall. You can have control over your own behavior in relation to Covid: get vaccinated, wear your mask, don’t take risks, pay attention to CDC guidelines.

Despite the first world belief that if we have and hold an intention, we can manifest what we want in life (success, money, happy relationships, etc.), I’m going to burst that bubble. No one wants to be poor, hungry, alone, have their child die, etc. If it were true that intention could manifest what’s wanted, we wouldn’t have any problems in the world.

Focus on yourself and what is within your control. Be kind (to yourself and others). Be loving. Be dependable. Be loyal. Forgive easily and be long to anger and upset. In other words, behave like a dog. Then maybe being in the proverbial “doghouse” would be a welcome place to call home with your beloved.