An individual feels his life is meaningful when he can find a purpose to his existence; life is worth living. Similarly a couple feels their marriage is meaningful when they can find a purpose to the marriage and when they can meet life’s challenges successfully together, moment by moment.
We can think of finding meaning as finding satisfying answers to certain key questions about life that life is so to speak addressing us with, as follows:
Identifying emotions and their underlying values
In a given situation can I identify what emotions are coming up for me? What do my emotions tell me about what I strongly desire, value and believe? Am I able to communicate these feelings, desires, values and beliefs? What would I like to change in my communication style?
Meeting marital challenges
What is the biggest challenge for me personally in this marriage? What would I have to do in order to meet this challenge? Who would I become as a result?
Meeting life challenges as a team
What is the biggest challenge life is presenting us with as a couple? What strengths can we each bring to overcome it? What do I see as my role and unique contribution?
Negotiation and decision making
How do we make decisions together? Do we each have input or does one make the decision and the other either go along with it or not? Can I express a difference of opinion without being on the defensive?
Taking a stand
Am I able to take a stand for what I strongly believe in? Do I have a good internal sense for when to say “yes” and when to say “no” or do I tend to get dragged into things either by what other people think, by my own impulsivity or by my spouse’s requests or demands?
When asked to do something what is my response when I feel the request is unreasonable? Am I able to “sort out” and prioritize conflicting demands on my time? Am I realistic about what I can do and what is beyond my power to do?
Humor, dereflection and love
These can be seen as a package. Humor is a way to relate playfully to something serious (without being offensive) and dereflect from the irritation that one or both of us are feeling to what matters more than this – the love and caring between us.
Again I am faced with the same question. Is it enough to say: Ask yourself these questions all the time throughout the day? Is it enough to suggest you hear reality asking you questions or is there a need for steps? Can this be made into a skill-set and structured steps for developing the capacity for conscience, the defiant power, humor, self-detachment and so forth? I wouldn’t care so much except that this is what people are insisting on and seems to be the only way to reach them with logotherapy. I’m seriously asking. What do you think?