Superficial OR Bone-Deep Change In Your Marriage?
You know things could be better in your relationship. And you want to know HOW to make them so. I want you to be able to improve things so much that you can say, “I love being married to this person. Life is so good with him!” To help you get there, I'm always learning-- even from teachers who have a pretty different approach than me. Many of these approaches are entirely based on the actions you can do, the words you can say --and should avoid saying and doing-- to have a better relationship. They seem to offer a quick answer to the question of “HOW can I improve things?” Many ARE quite useful suggestions. Here are some of the things I’ve found effective at creating a much better dynamic:
Carve out time to be alone together.
Do fun things together.
Speak respectfully. (Use I statements instead of “you” statements.)
Stop complaining and blaming.
Ask for what you want.
Accept help gratefully.
Make repairs (Say sorry, etc).
Give affectionate touch.
I do these things in my marriage and assign my clients to, also. Do them today and they will help. But…kind of the way that ibuprofen helps a fever. Superficially, temporarily. We all know that if our immune system is not in good shape, it takes a lot longer for a sickness to heal. That’s a fact. Taking ibuprofen will help a little, but it isn’t going to be the cure!
The true cure comes from a deeper place: a healthy immune system.
So many of the actions that many relationship experts suggest are topical. If you’re not doing the deeper internal work that leads to the underlying healing of your mind and heart --your emotional immune system-- these actions won’t contribute much to improving your marriage. Because:
They simply won’t come naturally.
You will forget to do them.
You’ll forget the correct words to say.
Or they’ll come out disingenuous.
Or you won’t WANT to say or do these things.
You’ll feel too resentful, annoyed, hurt, or disappointed.
When you get rattled or upset about something--even if you are the most resolved among us-- you won’t have access to the part of your brain that allows you to do those things in a genuine way. So these well-intentioned things won’t work the way they could, the way they're glorified to work in the books you read. They won’t bear the loving fruits we were told they would. This was the case for me in my first marriage. I had lots of things I knew I should DO. Or should not do. But, changing those things proved to be too hard. Or I didn’t even want to do the things that would create more closeness and connection. Because under the surface, I was simmering in resentment and disappointment --and a whole slew of emotions I didn’t know how to move past. My “emotional immune system” was off kilter. So those prescribed actions just didn’t work. But there WAS a magic bullet! It was the internal healing work I did on ME. Once I was well inside my heart, the actions were easy and effective. Words that brought understanding and closeness between my man and I came naturally. When you do the deeper internal work of healing your “emotional immune system” at the core, the actions that create more security and connection just flow from you instinctively, with ease. In other words, the actions that make all the difference in your love life come downstream of developing a loving empowered relationship with your own mind and heart. Of course, knowing what actions are going to make the most difference for you in your unique situation is key. That’s why, when I work with clients, I always emphasize BOTH underlying healing AND the specific actions necessary to create deeper love and intimacy with their very unique partner. Finding happiness in your marriage is a process that starts with your internal work. When you coach with me, we will do that foundational work to make your emotional immune system super robust. Then you'll have an easy time taking just the right actions (which we'll tailor specifically for you) to assure ever-deepening loving connection with your partner well into the future.