In celebration of my first anniversary, I have a special request and gift for those of you who have been listening; the request I have is that if you have been learning and enjoying the episodes, you write a short positive review on whatever platform you listen to these episodes. After you submit your review, take a screenshot of it and send that screenshot to me in an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send it to me in a DM on my Instagram or Facebook page. I will add everyone who submits a review over the next four weeks into a lottery where I will draw one name a week to win a $50 Amazon gift card; anyone who does not get drawn as a winner will stay in the lottery, so please write a short review and share it with me so I can add you!
Next, I also want to remind you of my free coaching session challenge. This month I am challenging myself to help 25 people by sharing 25 free mini-coaching sessions. Right now, I think many of us are wondering what is happening in our world and what our near future holds, I know for me, I feel torn wondering how I can contribute, and this is what I came up with. Sharing my time helping people like you find some clarity around what is happening in our own life. Sometimes I find myself feeling guilty for getting coaching on things that could seem unimportant in the worldwide scheme of things, yet what I know is that the more clear I get with my personal life struggles, the more I can free up my energy to help others in need.
The past three months I have been taking some deep dives into the concept of becoming more aligned with our truth, who we are at our core, and being true to that instead of hiding our truth under the veils of people-pleasing, hyper-achieving, hyper-rationalizing, hyper-vigilance, perfectionism, control and falling victim to our circumstances. During this time I have been reading and absorbing concepts, meditating on them, applying them to my own life, and watching what unfolds. It’s been a fascinating three months and the foundation of the journey I take my clients through in my AwakenYou coaching program. Much of my work has been around opening up to my truth and recognizing when I am taking actions that go against that truth, and that is what has helped me tear down all of my dysfunctional relationship ideas and begin the process of rebuilding my life and my marriage into something that feels beautiful and real. As I am preparing for my April AwakenYou Masterclass where I will help you Create More Connection, I am applying many of the things I have been taking with me from what I have been learning. In my archives, you will find several different articles and episodes that talk about connection, so if you search the archives, eleven pages will pop up with your search but there are two that talk directly to the topic of creating connection. There is the article: How To Create Great Connection In Your Marriage and Ep 19: Three Ways To Create Connection In Your Marriage; now, this week, I am digging deeper into the exploration of what YOU want connection to look like in your marriage and what feels good to YOU. The reason I am digging into this is that sometimes we hear or believe a story about what connection should look like based on who knows what, our early childhood, sitcoms, romance novels, or that couple you see at the mall walking hand in hand so today let’s dig into what creating connection that feels good to you is.
Both of the previous articles and episodes have so much great information in them, and this episode will definitely have some overlap. Still, I want to encourage you also to read and listen to deepen your understanding. Creating connection that feels good to us is a journey, like all of the work we do here because most of us aren’t 100% sure what we want connection to look like. Some may think having more sex is the connection they need; others might want more gifts, time together, their spouse to help out more around the house, or more cuddle time on the couch without the distraction of a screen and the comfort of knowing they have a choice as to whether sex follows that couch time or not. Today I want to focus on discovering what connection means to you and then going there to start exploring, so let’s figure out what connection means to you, what a connected marriage looks like in your mind’s eye, and what it might look like for your spouse and we’ll develop some actionable steps for you to start the journey.
I would also like to include a caveat to everything that I am sharing in this episode and honestly, in all of my episodes where I am talking about actions to take in your marriage to help increase intimacy and understanding of your partner. I understand that many of you listening may not be in an emotional place to start taking these actions, a real story I want to share is when Jeff and I were working with one therapist who suggested we each come up with “date” ideas, do all of the planning and invite the other to join. It didn’t work, and the reason it didn’t work is that we had so many other things to work through before getting to this place. BUT, I want to share is that this COULD have worked had she then helped us work through what worked well and why, what didn’t work well and why, and then what would we do differently. She didn’t help us work through the resistance we were having to pull off these dates, she didn’t work through what was going on inside of each of us that was blocking us from feeling awful and inauthentic about these dates. I share that to help you better understand that yes, taking this advice and moving forward with it may not be where you are at today but what you can do is start working through what is in the way of you following through and as you resolve and dissolve these obstacles inside of you, you can move closer to taking the actions I talk about today. So bare with me and give yourself some grace and compassion if you still feel hopeless about carrying out what I talk about.
What does connetion mean to you?
Here is where we start. I want you to take this question to your morning writing practice and take 10 minutes to contemplate your answer. Even better, I’d like you to write that question down on a piece of paper, then set it down and meditate for 10 minutes without trying to answer the question, and then after that ten minutes is over, grab your pencil and write all of the things that come up for you and don’t be shy. Write it all down; this is only a thought download, not an “I have to do” list, don’t overthink it, just write.
I have explained connection in the past by our thoughts about someone. While I think that definition does work well with many people in our lives, I have found that there is another layer to that when it comes to our marriage and our intimate relationship. We definitely want to have positive connection thoughts about them. Still, we want to create quality time together, activities that build our inner knowing of each other; listen to episode 37: Love Maps: Getting To Know Your Spouse, activities that we enjoy and help us feel bonded to our spouses.
I also want to recognize that some couples can feel bonded and connected without doing many activities together, which often means that they have done the heavy lifting of getting to know each other intimately in the early stages of their relationship, thus building a sturdy relationship foundation. They have less “work” to do to keep it strong. If you’re here, it suggests to me that it’s possible that you didn’t build a solid relationship foundation, and by the way, many of us didn’t and that’s why we’re unhappy living in a marriage that feels like living with a roommate. This is where our work begins, building that solid foundation through getting to know our partner through connection activities.
So now that you’ve done a download of what connection means to you, you may or may not have some actual actions in that list. If you have activities listed, separate them and take some time to write why each one of these activities would make you feel connected to your partner. If you didn’t write down actual actions, then now is the time to do so; what are the things you might want to do with your spouse and why? This step is important because it helps you see what the purpose is, what your end goal is, and why it’s important to you to see why you want to be the creator/planner of this activity.
Looking at your past
For a short moment, I want you to re-visit the past in your marriage where you may have tried to create connection through any of the above activities or any activity. I want you to go back and pay attention to what happened, write it down from beginning to end; then write about what went well during that past scenario, what didn’t go so well, and what you made all of that mean. If you “gave up” on that activity why did you give up? It’s so good to go back and re-visit so that you can learn from the experience but often what we do is make that situation mean that they don’t love us, that they don’t want to participate with us, that they aren’t contributing. But when we can look at it more objectively, we can learn and understand why we’re thinking these unempowering thoughts about what happened. Also remember from Episode 57: Do You Have Bad Marital Relationship Memories that when we are unhappy in our marriage it will be hard for us to remember the things that went well in those past experiences but ask anyway. It may take you awhile to remember, write the question down and come back to it because for sure, something did go well.
Time to get your spouse involved
Before I dig into this, I want to recognize that many of us are not in the place right now to start this next step, and if you’re not, I want you to know that you can keep working on this connection piece on your own. With what you have already done, you can skip this step and start doing the work of implementing the things you want to do in your marriage, and it’s through this process you will start digging into what comes up for you. If your partner isn’t into this self-help stuff (little do they know that they are if you are and little do they know that it will get them more of what they want in this marriage too, but let them discover that on their own while you go about the business of creating the life you want), then you actually will get accelerated work on your growth journey because it’s always more difficult when our spouse isn’t playing along the way we think they should.
If you’re up for having a conversation with your spouse about everything you’re learning today, then the first place you could start is by listening to this together, having a conversation about how you want to prioritize spending time together, and getting to know each other. You can share that you’ve done this exercise of writing down things you’d like to do and why and that you’d love to share it with them to find out what, if any, of the items listed they might be interested in doing together. Also, share that you’d love it if they came up with a list of things they’d like to do together; bonus if they come up with their why so that you can start actualizing these activities together.
Remember that you are the influencer here, the initiator. You will first want to ask if your spouse is interested in creating more connection and intimacy in your relationship. If their answer is yes, then understand that they most likely won’t know how to create it and that is where you step in. Also, note that each of you might have different opinions about what connection looks like for you, this is called differentiation and it is a healthy part of the marital relationship. There may be some things on each of your activity lists that are no’s for either of you and this doesn’t need to be a problem unless there aren’t any yes’s. There is also an opportunity to create conversation about the no’s and explore what is a no for you or them; sometimes, our no is an auto-response instead of a thought-out response. Having discussions around what you like or don’t like helps you get to know your spouse better and helps you get to know yourself better. You could ask if they are willing to explore this with you or that you are inviting them to join you on this journey while together, you will see what happens.
The planning process begins!
Now it’s time to start planning which includes writing a list of all things that need to be done to make the event happen. I would say the majority of the work will be mind management work because so much will start coming up for you as you begin this new thing! Aside from that, and of course that is where I come in hint: free coaching session, there will be things you want to do before making this happen, like very first: setting a date and time! If it’s cuddle time on the couch, then planning what else you might be doing, will you be having drinks or dessert or playing a game? If it’s having your first Relationship Huddle, you will want to have the questions ready, share them with your partner so they can prepare if they choose to, and think about what you want to discuss/share.
If the activity is a bit “bigger” than those, let’s say a date night out. You’ll need to decide who does what, are they willing to be a part of the planning process, do you need a sitter, where you go, what you will do, and what time you need to leave. Better yet, since spring is coming, and that means picnics in the woods: who’s going to pick the place, who’s going to plan the food and pack it, who’s going to figure out the drinks, pack the blankets. Part of this process is to speak your truth, so if you have been the one in the past who does ALL of the planning while holding a bit of resentment inside then, it’s time to speak up about what you want help with and what better way than to share the to-do’s and let them decide what they’ll be responsible for. Don’t forget to include everything you do to prepare the house before you leave: shutting windows, turning heat up or down, taking the dogs out and kenneling them, getting kiddos to the sitters.
Remember that these don’t have to be couples-only activities; they could be family activities where you commit to paying attention to each other and speaking honestly about your needs, or they could be activities with friends or even strangers!
That’s what I have for you this week, my friends, exploring the type of connection you want in your marriage and starting the process of making it your reality. Remember, the premise of everything I talked about today was speaking your truth and creating what you want. Though you may not necessarily know what you want connection to look like in your marriage, the only way to know is to start doing things. Conversations, trips, meals, dates, adventures, events, parties – what’s up on your try it list? I’d love to hear what you want more of in your marriage and what you are doing to get it!
I am a life coach who works with women and couples struggling with how their lives and marriage feel through awakening their true selves. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your life and marriage, which will have you see your partner changing as well. If you’re ready to take yourself to a place where you can fall back in love with your life and your spouse, then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s talk about your next steps to a life you are crazy in love with!