the Mommy/Child challenge

Quote from "Switching Gears from Immaturity to Maturity in Marriage":

If you have ever been with children, you realize they are self-absorbed because they are in the center of their own worlds. Children place their pleasures at the center of almost every decision.This is normal for a child. It is abnormal for an adult.

After years of observing couples, we believe movement from immaturity to maturity is characterized by several difficult (and mostly manual) shifts.
A shift from dependence and independence to interdependence.
A shift from egocentricity to other-centricity.
A shift from passivity to proactivity.
A shift from pleasure-centeredness to purpose-centeredness.
A shift from the acquisition to the application of knowledge.

I believe I have shifted from childishness to maturity on steps 1-4. But I am still trying to acquire knowledge (the fifth step) like a child waiting to graduate from school before I can make my own decisions. I am stuck in still finding knowledge but not actually APPLYING the knowledge.....oh so afraid to make a big mistake!  Since I have had children and a marriage partner I have been unsure of my instincts and don't dare to risk. When it was just me, I felt I could be riskier.  I calculate and analyze things. I've been afraid and careful.  I am also seeing that the mommy/child relationship between dh and me stems from his inability/unwillingness/unawareness toward being a mature adult. He has not STEPPED UP to be a man and responsible adult in an adult relationship.  He has not done ANY of the steps from childishness to maturity mentioned above. I cannot function myself anymore while I am nothing more than here for his use and to be taken advantage a teenager does his parents.  I get to stop trying to GROW HIM UP and put my big girl pants on MYSELF and actually apply what I know, risk, listen to my heart.  Now I will be trying to find courage, love (rather than fear) and listen to my own instincts.  Yes, I realize that writing here and searching on the internet keeps me stuck on number five on that list.  Ugh. 

“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.”


Really interesting

Thank you for the excerpt. It's quite interesting to see it summarized so neatly, and starkly. I see why #5 exists, but I think you are being too hard on yourself. Maturity does not mean that we stop learning. It is important to keep our minds and hearts open to new ways of learning and seeing and new ways of applying what we learn. But yes, it's also important to keep applying what we know in the meantime. Analysis paralysis is awful. But to start applying things you do have to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. Rarely are things unfixable. Which is essentially what you said. Best wishes on your new journey. Very brave. 

I'm So Exhausted's picture

You have something you can measure


I see that you have something tangible that you can use to measure your progress.  The good news is you have only Step #5 to complete and you will arrive at your desired destination.  I do not see how continuing your search means you are stuck.  Finding the last piece of the puzzle, so we are ready to move on to the next one, is always a precarious spot.

I too am searching how to apply the knowledge I have.  My paradigm, my judgement if you will, is that I have read, and  stretched myself, and broadened my horizons - while my spouse has not.  

I am stuck in the spot of trying to convince myself my reality is not my reality.  My marriage will survive.  My spouse will finally get that breakthrough and realize how his behaviors affecting his relationships, rather than blaming years of failed friendships, family relationships, and business ventures on everyone else.


Thanks for sharing this,

Thanks for sharing this, jennalemon.  It is good to see these stages clearly summarized.  I am several years younger than my husband, and when we met, I think I mistook age for maturity.  We were probably at the same stage of maturity when we met and I've since surpassed him.  Sometimes, I think he's getting more immature as the years pass.  I like the comment about "manual" changes.  Before we had children but after we had agreed that we wanted them, I was scared about becoming a parent.  (And after 22 years, it's still often scary!)  But I made a conscious decision that I would try to be a good parent and that I owed it to my children to learn and develop and become a better person on their behalf as well as my own.  

I don't think you're stuck on number 5.  It is hard to do number 5 but it's not impossible.  I can tell that you're advancing all the time!