More Time Loving Each Other
One of the biggest reasons we want our husbands to do a certain something, like schedule a date, text us a couple times during the day, or take charge of some of the kids activities, is so we can avoid having to experience certain emotions: like feeling lonely, worried, unappreciated, unimportant. An example from my life: I often really don’t want my husband to drink beer multiple nights a week. Because I think if he stopped, I could avoid feeling worried about the future. I could avoid feeling fear. (My brain loves to extrapolate and catastrophize into the future about how, if he drinks more than two beers a week, he’ll end up an alcoholic and die young!) So my instinct is to tell him not to drink beer or complain about how it bothers me. In other words, my instinct is to try to control his actions so I don’t have to feel fear. (To be clear, this is a confused instinct, because obviously it's my thinking that's causing my fear, not his actions.) In the past, this turned into what he’s experienced as me nagging him and micromanaging him. Which created a whole other set of issues in our marriage and more conflict and discord for both of us... ...Which left me with worry and fear AND a big dose of frustration, shame and feeling misunderstood on top! Ugh. All because I was unwilling to simply allow myself to experience the fear my brain is producing when it associates beer with my husband dying young! Now I understand that I can completely change the way I think about this (and I have). But it’s often enough to simply see the emotion we’re trying to avoid experiencing—and actually allow ourselves to open up to truly FEELing that feeling. Now the idea of making direct contact with a negative feeling like fear, shame, or insufficiency may sound terrifying if you’ve never had the experience of actually doing so
Without letting your brain spin out,
While being curious about and present with the feeling,
and holding your experience of that feeling with so much love and gentleness and support.
When you learn how to do all that, there’ll no longer be an urgency to get away from the feelings you used to try to avoid.
Because they won’t feel nearly so awful. You'll feel so much more comfortable and at ease with them, more willing to allow these inevitable feelings that we all have as humans to be there and pass on by. The best news is that when you can do that, you no longer have to try to mold your partner, to force him into things he just doesn’t want to do, to micromanage or control his actions. When I am willing to allow my fear and be there, and to love and comfort myself through it:
I can let him enjoy those beers without telling him how I think he should be different.
He can feel safe, respected, and free to be himself fully around me.
I can also, if I so choose, calmly and vulnerably share how my thoughts go to a fearful place when I see him drinking, and how I would love it if he wasn’t drinking so often because I love and cherish him and never want to lose him!
and he’ll be able to listen and understand me better because I am able to speak with a tone and sentiment he can actually HEAR and empathize with.
From there, we will actually feel closer and more connected. And whether or not he chooses to change his behavior for me is irrelevant, because right now, in THIS moment, we get to be so close ---which is the only moment we truly ever have anyway! Every moment we experience this kind of connection equals more time loving each other. Which is what I’m wanting most anyway. That's what you want with your husband, too, yes? More time really LOVING each other? If so, learn how to safely confidently feel and guide your own feelings, instead of trying to change your husband.
With Love, Hannah P.S. Learning how to allow and feel the full spectrum of human emotion in a healthy, safe, comforting way is one piece of the work my clients do when they coach with me to become agents of their own emotions.
They also learn exactly where their negative emotions come from and precisely what to do to get free of them quickly, and even stop them from arising in the first place. That's when a genuine sense of lightness, enjoyment, and connection swells inside them and their marriage. Ready for that yourself? Let’s do it. It starts with scheduling your consult call with me.