I will create a world of authenticity and integrity by speaking from my heart and being present in my relationships
The above quote (shared with permission) is the Mission Statement my husband wrote while at the Mankind Project. He recites his Mission Statement to himself every day and more importantly, he now lives by it.
THE mankind Project WAS THE 911 HELP TO HUSBAND’S PERSONAL, AND OUR MARRIAGE EMERGENCY.
Husband left for Mankind Project (MKP) on November 13, 2015, my birthday. I didn’t know it yet, but it was the best gift he’d given me in years. Before he left we were back to the old living situation of him at the beach, me in Portland, then switching on some weekends until he found an apartment to rent. Reading my journal and remembering back, I was devastated from his latest lies. After he admitted he and the other woman had spent the night together, he admitted to other things he hadn’t been truthful about, which I suspected. We were both exhausted from all the drama. I was sure this was the end of us and to my great dismay, the grieving process was starting all over again. Yet…there was still a glimmer of hope. Deep inside I knew he was sincere in his desire to make serious changes to his life, he just didn’t know how. The counseling helped but there was a big piece missing.
After Husband came back from his weekend at MKP, I became frustrated when I didn’t see immediate results. In fact, I felt he was distant and I wasn’t encouraged by what I saw. I was having doubts it would ever be possible to reconcile our marriage and I was inpatient to move on with my life, one way, or another. But it was unrealistic of me to expect a “quick” fix. It just took him a while to work through and meld what he learned at MKP with the deep changes he wanted in his life.
After the holidays Husband moved into a rented apartment. We would get together sometimes to have dinner or see a movie. Little by little the ice between us began to melt as I started seeing more of the man I thought I married. By February 2016 it really began to come together for him as he embraced all he learned. I told Husband if there was any chance for us I needed the entire 100% truth of his last affair, once and for all, beginning to end. Don’t ask me why, but I didn’t feel the same need to know everything from the first affair 20 years ago, maybe one was all I could handle. We hadn’t seen each other for two weeks when we met in Dale’s office and Husband laid it all out there. FINALLY! I knew (& I felt) he was telling the truth and I could begin to heal. I could say “if only” he would have been completely honest up front we could have saved a lot of time and endured less heartache. But he didn’t. Looking for the positive, we have both grown immeasurably. I didn’t understand the depth of my inner strength and he didn’t know he could be an honest, authentic man. The man he was meant to be.
I wanted to try to explain how MKP affected my husband from his perspective. I didn’t want to speak for him so I asked if I could interview him for this post and he graciously agreed. Below are my questions and his answers about what the MKP experience meant to him.
- What was the tipping point for you personally to decide to attend MKP?When Dale (couples counselor) said I had a difficult relationship with the truth.
- Wouldn’t it have been easier to say heck with it, it’s too hard to stay in this marriage and start over?More expeditious? Yes. Did I think about it? No. I never wanted to be apart from you, which sounds counter-intuitive but it’s the truth.
- What was it like when you first walked into MKP?Very intimidating and disorienting. They try to disorient you so you drop the pretenses and defense mechanisms you walk in with. You realize quickly you’re not in control.
- Was there a defining or AHA moment when it became clear what you needed to do to change? There were a series of moments and insights of what I needed to do. Writing my Mission Statement was the culmination of all the other mini-steps I took in the process.
- How could you change so deeply after only 48 hours of MKP when you’d already been to a year of personal and couples counseling? I didn’t change immediately, it took 3-6 months to assimilate what I learned at MKP to fit into my life. Counseling laid the groundwork to get me to where I needed to get to.
- What was it about MKP that helped your transformation that individual and couples counseling couldn’t? Like I said, it was cumulative and added to the other counseling. Couples counseling wasn’t about me, it was about us. MKP was about me and individual counseling was preparatory.
- How did you develop your Mission Statement? The beauty of the process is the Mission Statement is a natural result of the enlightenment that you uncover. By the time you are asked to write it, you’re ready for it. One thing I should point out: Because it is a group for men only, MKP is not anti-women; the creed is to honor women and our relationships with them. It doesn’t put women on a pedestal, it puts them on equal footing with men. It teaches us to understand ourselves better, and not run away from our feelings.
- Is there a man MKP wouldn’t work for? Maybe someone who is unwilling to accept their own flaws. However, I would recommend any man attend MKP, period.
- Why is it important to attend the support I-Groups (I stands for Integrative)? It’s all about being accountable. Each meeting is a safe container to express and be yourself, and to hold yourself accountable.
- Any other thoughts about MPK and how it impacted your life?MPK saved my life and saved the life I wanted to have with you. I didn’t understand how much I disliked myself and it helped me find a “me” that I could like and be proud of. As important as my change was for us, I had to change for me, to change us. The strength of what I learned hasn’t changed or diminished a bit since I went to MKP a little over 2 years ago. I-Group helps to keep me on track.
Till next time…
Peace & Love,