No not retirement…relationships.
It does not matter who I coach and for what, eventually and usually sooner rather than later, it is all about relationships. For me it has always been about relationships, especially my spousal relationship.
My first marriage lasted twenty years and, as I approach that timeframe with my second marriage, it occurs to me that for people approaching retirement years danger looms on the horizon. Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. When my current wife and I got married the minister pointed out to us in his sermon that we had a 65% chance of divorce.
There are more studies than I can easily reference that point to the reality that people in relationships are healthier than people that are not in relationships. Yet, more and more people live alone. Why?
People of all ages now seem to crave independency, unwilling to be enmeshed in relationships where they may lose their sense of self. Compounding this factor for those in Life 3.0, more women seem to be less interested in marriage while more men seem to want it.
We are conditioned in early life to adhere to certain gender roles that have worked for the species. Men are attracted visually to pretty women while women gravitate towards men that show promise of being good providers. The social changes in the last fifty years have turned the status quo upside down as more and more women embark upon successful careers while many men are trending towards “burn out” and are no longer able to financially “outperform” women.
Six years ago I retired from a six figure salary senior executive career to pursue my dream of photography, and also to take care of our home. I made that decision consciously and intuitively. It was the right time to do it. At the same time my executive wife restarted her career in a high stress position that would leave her little time for traditional homemaking.
Over the next five years, my spouse became highly independent, while I fit myself into the role of caregiver. This was a complete role reversal, and for a time it worked well for us. However, after a while, I realized that I, like the majority of female caregivers, simply needed more. My spouse and I now find ourselves negotiating on who is going to do which “wife” chores. I had thought that we were unusual, and perhaps we are in that we have cooperatively and consciously acted. But in researching the topic of “boomer” relationships for my practice, I see that there are macro trends at play affecting us all.
We have what is being called by some an Integral Relationship. I am calling it an OnCore Relationship. The hallmarks of this type of relationship are that both parties are awake. Morpheus has extracted both partners from the Matrix. The women are working towards ascendency while the men are getting in touch with their rootedness. By understanding their own path and respecting themselves above all others, each participant in an Integral Relationship is able to give the same amount of respect to their partner. Consequently, there is no subordination, no struggling with a loss of self. Together they help each other maintain alignment, provide encouragement, raise each other’s energy, and generally enable greater success. Together the sum is greater than the parts, parts which incidentally are equal but not the same.
We, my spouse and I, are in the minority of the “lucky ones.” We are awake, aware, and able to work together towards a common goal. Many of our clients at OnCore Ventures are not in this category. They struggle with balancing their new and deeper understandings of themselves with the mindset of their spouse, who is often at a different level of awareness.
The only way out of this conundrum is, as I said earlier in the week, to “be the change you wish to see in the world”. Working to transcend your own state of being will spill over at some point to your relationships creating contagious energy that your spouse (and others you interact with) will perceive and respond to. This may be just the impetus they need to set themselves on their own path towards Life 3.0. We must consciously work to create transpersonal relationships, and in doing so helping society to evolve to a new reality.