Hello, my AwakenYou listeners, as we head into the second half of this year I wanted to talk about some of the fundamental work you can do to change how you feel about your marriage without changing your partner. What I’m going to talk about today is truly one of the first places I start with my clients, which is the part you play in how your marriage feels.
We’ve all heard the saying that a relationship takes two people, two people contributing to its demise, and two people committing to its rise, and while this is 100% true, you as an individual are an influencer to either result. Naturally, when we perceive there to be problems in our marriage we will tend to look outside of ourselves for the problem. When we’re talking about relationships, of course, it seems obvious what that problem is, your spouse.
Scott Barry Kaufman's book Transcend, he talks about the “human brain is a prediction machine. We are constantly processing incoming information and assessing how it matches our expectations.” When we are constantly noticing and thinking that our marriage is awful (or something along this line) we find ourselves a bit stressed, sad, disappointed, hopeless, and acting in ways that have us contributing to our marriage feeling awful. We are seeing everything through the lenses of our marriage falling apart and seeing all of the evidence of that thought.
While it could be true that your spouse is not showing up as their best self, attempting to control and manipulate them, because you see them as the problem to be fixed, 1. isn’t fair, 2. won’t get you what you want unless it’s a robotic relationship and 3. it isn’t sustainable.
Here is where I talk about taking back your power through looking inside of yourself and discovering how you can create the change you desire, without any need to put blame on yourself for being the problem, check out Ep 71: Are Our Marital Problems All My Fault, and instead has you being the solution to how you are feeling about your marriage.
Today I want to peek at the situation most of my clients come to me with, and for sure where I was before I found life coaching which literally saved my marriage: that scenario is being completely unhappy in your marriage, looking at where that has you psychologically and how that state is creating more evidence of your belief and then sending you down the spiral of moving further and further away from what you want in your marriage. Lastly of course, I will share some tips to get you to change the direction of your spiral to moving toward the marriage relationship that feels so much better.
Before we dig into the good stuff I don’t want to forget to remind you to register for this month’s Marriage Masterclass where we are talking about boundaries. In this masterclass, I will help you better understand what a personal boundary is, how to start implementing them and why they are so important for your personal well-being. You can go to the show notes or my website to get registered, do so soon because the class is only a couple of days away!
The role you are playing in the “decline” of your marriage
I’m in a habit of listening to people talk about their marriage even outside of my coaching sessions and too often it is so clear where the person’s relationship is headed. So often we take a negative perspective of what our spouse is doing, it seems socially acceptable, it’s what people do, we look for the fault in others so that we can justify how we are feeling without doing the work of managing our own mind.
When you come home from work and all you want to do is have some peace and quiet but your spouse won’t shut up, we look at them as being the problem. We don’t have empathy for them by getting curious about what their needs are while not having empathy for ourselves as to our needs and being open to sharing them from a place of what we need instead of how our spouse isn’t providing it for us.
This is you looking at your marriage through the lens of them being the problem. We keep those lenses on the rest of the night and all we are seeing is the way our spouse is bringing disorder and chaos into our life. It’s what we are focused on and if we don’t catch it early on in our relationship we get deep into the belief that our spouse is the problem.
From this place, people will do anything they know how to get what it is they think they need. Maybe they will avoid, withdraw, maybe argue, defend themselves, criticize their spouse for how they’re offending them while pushing your spouse away and contributing to how your marriage feels, spiraling away from the result you actually want. It’s our brain’s way of taking care of what it thinks is our basic need to protect ourselves but it doesn’t help our relationship at all.
How you can change your marriage’s trajectory
The first way you create this turnaround effect is what I have just done for you; I’ve created awareness for you about how you are contributing to what you are getting in your marriage relationship. Awareness is our first step towards change if we care to listen and care to do the work of changing and of course, you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want something different. If changing your spouse was the solution, I would most certainly share that bit of advice as widely as I could but it isn’t so notice when that’s what you want to do and turn it around towards what you can do.
Secondly, it is going to require that you commit to small daily, even hourly actions of awareness. In the beginning, you will mostly become aware of how you are showing up AFTER you’ve already shown up in a way that pushes you apart but the gold here is your awareness. Even after an old pattern plays out you can review what happened on your own and in this review, you will come up with a plan for how you will change your pattern. After reviewing you may start to feel comfortable sharing with your spouse the work you are doing and being able to apologize for your contribution to the situation. Now you are working on sharing the duty of being all-in on changing the dynamic of your marriage while also becoming comfortable with maybe even inviting your spouse to do the same. Here is where you get to learn how to share when they do something that triggers you into an old reaction and what you see as maybe a better way of approaching the situation, while always remembering, you only have control over what you do and how you react.
Lastly, I want to direct you to my Abundant Love free course. In this course I have you noticing, or becoming aware, of your negative thoughts about your marriage, and through this awareness, you will send your brain on a search for new thoughts, thoughts that make you feel better and inspire you to keep working on changing the trajectory of your marriage. This course will help you change your brain’s natural tendency to see what the problem is while reminding it that your spouse is a safe place for you and that you want to change old unnecessary patterns. As you create these new thoughts the course has you collecting these new thoughts and using them as your new Love List, or marriage affirmations.
Will this solve your marital problems? Maybe. It depends upon how long you’ve been in the spiral, but in the least, it will have you change the direction of your spiral and that is the beginning of starting to feel better about your marriage and influencing your spouse to do the same.
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! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.