Happy Tuesday, fellow AwakenYou listeners; it’s great to be here with you today. I hope that today’s message inspires you to feel a little, if not a lot, different about what is possible for you in your marriage and in your life. I know that many of you are in different places when it comes to how you feel about your marriage, some of you feel pretty happy about your relationship with your spouse but want to tweak a few things, and then others are miserable. Some of you who feel unhappy wonder if you married the wrong person and if you should leave. In contrast, others of you are committed to staying in the relationship while really hoping that you can change this listless relationship dynamic into something more fun, exciting, and passionate. No matter where you are in the marital feels spectrum, I want you to know that it is completely possible to change your marriage without changing your spouse and today, I will share a few of the hows.
There are so many ways that I help you change how you feel about your marriage that has nothing to do with leaving your spouse or changing them. Actually, every single episode here in AwakenYou addresses ways that you can create that change. Still, there is often more to it than listening to episodes and taking stabs at creating the change on our own. Don’t get me wrong, it is entirely possible to listen to episodes like this, read some books, and create a new marital dynamic all on your own, just like it’s possible to change a lifelong disordered eating pattern all on your own, but enlisting the help of a professional will speed up the process and help you see things that only an outsider can see. So what holds most people back from seeking one on one help? Typically what I see is all sorts of fear. Fear that it won’t work, fear that there might be something wrong with them, fear of admitting they have a problem, fear of opening up the “pandora’s box” of their life only to find out that there is no hope for them, fear of stepping into something more amazing than where they are right now, fear it won’t last. Oh, and then there is all of the shame that they are feeling under that fear, the shame that is telling them that they are getting what they deserve in the love and passion department and that they should be happy with what they’ve got.
Okay, so back to where I started, today I want to share three different ways I help people change their marriage without changing their spouse, and I will most likely continue this episode in the future, but let’s see where we get with it today’s chat.
To begin, I want to share a bit of my own story when it comes to the work of changing how I felt about my marriage because I vividly remember when I refused to “succumb” to the idea that I needed to do things to change my relationship. These things include, but certainly were not limited to, wrapping my naked body up in saran wrap and greeting him at the door when he came home from work (no lie, thank you, Joy 😉), dressing up to make special meals served in candlelight, and folding all of his clothes “neatly” whatever that is and putting them away. I had a whole list of actions that I “should” take to make my spouse and me happy, but the problem was, at the time, taking these actions from a place of joy, passion, excitement was not at all accessible to me, and I wasn’t interested in faking it, it felt awful and cheap. Now, I am not saying any of these actions are good or bad; I’m saying that from the place of where I was ten years ago, these actions didn’t align with how I felt about my marriage at the time and my journey was about looking at how I felt about my marriage and why. My journey was about looking at what was going on inside myself instead of the helpless, powerless position of waiting for Jeff to show up differently so I could feel better. This is where we start.
Taking your power back
We are completely powerless when we require others to be different than they are for us to be happy. This is true in our relationship with ourselves, our spouses, children, family, friends, and co-workers. In AwakenYou we take a look at all of our different power leaks and one by one we seal each leak. We start by looking for some of the smaller leaks and with each power leak we seal, we gain a little more power or strength to search for the next leak and start sealing it.
This starts by checking in with ourselves, how are we feeling when our spouses are on the phone during dinner? Zap…power leak. We check in with ourselves again and notice how we are feeling when we go to bed and our partners don’t join us…zap, zap, zap…power leak. Then we check in again and notice how we feel when our spouses don’t initiate conversation but when their phone rings they seem to be in their element chatting away with the person on the other end of the phone…ZAP, ZAP, ZAP!!!
When we check in with how we feel we discover something about ourselves, we discover how we are thinking about what is going on in front of us and how it makes us feel. Once we have this information we start to understand why we’re acting the way we are and why we are getting the results we’re currently getting in our marriage. From here we get to work on learning how to accept where we’re at and deciding what we want to do about it. Do we want to change our actions and lead with a different emotion? Do we want to speak out loud to our spouses and share how we are feeling about the version of the story we see?
We begin to see where we are feeling powerless and then we have an opportunity to decide how we want to change the dynamic which seals the leak and supplies us with the power to do what makes us feel better.
Learning how to set boundaries
This goes hand in hand with taking your power back. You take the time to look at what you are doing in your marriage and why. Are you packing their lunch because you think it’s your job or because you love to make sure they have something healthy to take with them for the day? Are you having sex with them because you don’t want them to go looking for it outside of the marriage or because you want to learn how to explore your own emotions so you can open up to enjoy the experience fully? Are you going to another one of their boring work events because you feel obligated, or can you say, “Not this time, dear; I think I’m going to relax and take a long hot bath, but thank you so much for inviting me!”
Becoming familiar with setting personal boundaries will help you be more honest in your marriage and accept your decision so that you can have fun. Maybe you chose to say yes to that boring dinner, then accept your decision, stop looking at all of the ways this is going to be the worst evening ever, and start searching for all of the ways it is going to be amazing; you’ll be surprised at what a great time you can have!
Learning the tools to resolve conflict in a healthy way
Conflict is all around us, and it will always be a part of a healthy marital relationship. You did not marry your clone; yikes, that might be an interesting dynamic huh?!? The fun thing is that when you start to learn how to address conflict, it becomes an interesting way to start getting to know more about your spouse! When we close down or fight against conflict, we never get to see our partner’s perspective, which makes us very narrow-minded. Many of us crave more intimacy in our marriages, and having the tools to work through conflict helps us get to know our partners better and ourselves. It makes us think more about our perspective and why we see things the way we do because we will actually be presenting it in a way that helps our spouses better understand us, and the opposite is true for them. They get to voice their opinion because we are actually asking them about it because we are genuinely interested. From there, we get to decide what we want to believe, and it’s ok if we each believe something different. Go back a couple of episodes to Ep 60: Differentiation: Could Your Differences Be Your Marriage’s Assets? and discover how you can actually grow closer by learning more about your differences.
When we learn how to work through conflict, we start to become more in touch with our emotions; we better know what is starting to come up for us, which allows us to make better choices. When we feel some resistance coming up, we can note it, and then come back to explore that resistance during our quiet time. Then, as with all things that you are learning, with practice, it will take less and less time to understand what is happening to you. You will start to notice patterns, and with those patterns, you will learn how to deal with them more effectively with time.
These are three ways in AwakenYou that we work on changing your marriage without changing your spouse. We start with you learning how to go from powerless and hopeless to powerful and full of hope by looking at your relationship dynamics, how you are showing up in your marriage, and becoming clear on what that is creating for you in your life. We then get to the work of deciding what you want to do moving forward; we create a plan and start moving towards that vision. It is the most exciting journey you will ever go on, so buckle up and let’s go for a ride!
I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! If you’re ready to take yourself to a place where you can finally fall in love with your life and your spouse, then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s talk about the next steps to making your dream life your reality.