The Choice Principle: When Life Feels Too Read

I believe that all great marriages are the result of a pivotal moment; a moment where you’re willing to throw it all away, only to realize the kind of marriage you truly have.

My husband Ryan and I have had our struggles but we were able to overcome many of them together.  After a series of obstacles, I had found myself at a point where, in order to preserve the beautiful life we once had, I felt I may have had to walk away.  In that moment, Ryan stepped up and, together, we made the decision to do things differently.  We made the choice to focus on our marriage and try to fix things.

The Bumps in the Road

This was one of the toughest challenges in my life.  It was messy and chaotic and there were definitely moments when I just wanted to give up.  Looking back, this was also probably one of the most rewarding experiences of our marriage.  This obstacle taught Ryan and me the power of perseverance and the importance of working through things as a team.

Our experience prepared us to work together when we learned that our youngest son, Griffin, had an eye condition that required him to wear an eye-patch.  We teamed up to help our middle son, Cooper, understand his compassionate, empathetic heart that can sometimes cause internal conflict with his competitive alter ego.

The struggles Ryan and I had gone through, prepared us to handle the ups and downs that life presented.  Together, we created a valuable team and a beautiful marriage.

However, as any parent knows, there are just some things that life doesn’t prepare you for.  Quite honestly, I thought our oldest son, Bryce, would sail through life.  He was naturally gifted at school and sports, he made friends easily and had a strong faith.  But in February of 2017, he came to me, while shooting hoops, with a heart rate of 250 beats per minute.

Bryce was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT).  While my husband and I were thankful that SVT was a treatable condition, I wanted nothing more than to fix this for our son.  While, intellectually, I know that facing a struggle can help a child become a more resilient and resourceful human being, I just wanted to protect my son…and I couldn’t.

The Choice Principle

Not long ago, at a soccer game, I saw Bryce bent over crying because he had another one of his episodes, causing him to nearly pass out.  Reality hit me hard because I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do.  Gone are the days of kissing a booboo to make it better.  This was an adult-sized problem delivered to a 10-year-old boy who runs like the wind and has the focus and determination to be the best at everything he does.

This was yet another obstacle but, regardless of how strong a team Ryan and I were, what were we supposed to do?

In moments like this, I think back to a concept my team and I discuss with our clients regarding cause and effect.  “Are you going to be in charge of your life or are you just going to let life happen to you?”  Coupled with this, is this idea of The Choice Principle, a concept my team and I were introduced to nearly a year ago when we attended a four-day training session.  Taken in its truest sense, it is intended to reframe situations to look at the choices we have at our disposal.

“I choose my whole life and I always have.”

This can be empowering as it helps to open our awareness to look at the possibilities of what we can do to change our circumstances.  It allows us to be accountable, to take charge of our life.  What choice did we have in this matter?  We didn’t choose for our son be diagnosed with SVT.  We didn’t have a choice of whether or not he had an episode.  What parent would want their child to be afraid?

I think that, when you’re faced with moments like this, it is difficult to apply The Choice Principle and reframe the situation.  As I reflect back on it, that experience was filled with “obligation.”  Even now, I find it hard to see Bryce’s surgery as a choice versus an obligation to assure the best possible life for my child.

For anyone struggling through a similar, emotionally draining situation — whether it is in your personal life or your work life — I think it is important to say that it’s okay for you to not feel in control.  It’s okay to break down and own your emotions because it is, at this point, that you discover the people around you who love and care for you the most.

In this regard, I can reflect and see that the struggles Ryan and I went through together did, in a way, prepare us for this moment.  That pivotal moment in my marriage, strengthened my faith and hope that Bryce will be safe.  That pivotal moment kept Ryan beside me, to be my rock.  And this pivotal moment with my son taught me the value of vulnerability — that letting go and having faith is just what you have to do sometimes.