Monday, October 23, 2017

Marriage Therapy: Lesson 7

When there are problems in my life, I often find myself running frantic trying to solve everything at once. Yeah...that is so not effective.
Here's what is: Focusing.
But it's so difficult to do when you feel pulled in so many directions.
So let's break it down.
Right now, if you're reading this, you want to improve your marriage. So for the next few minutes, you're going to focus on a way to improve your marriage and guess what? It's going to work because guess what you're going to do? YOU are going to improve. (Haha, I just used guess what twice in one sentence. I sound exactly like my almost 6 year old).
Since you can't change or control your spouse, YOU are going to find something to improve. What's something that you know you're not doing the best at? Maybe it's raising your voice, or using that nagging voice. Maybe it's not being considerate of your spouses time or their attempts at affection. I have no idea what is on your list but I know you can figure out something. We all have so many areas where we can improve.
Now, that you've figured out what YOU are going to do improve, you get to tell your spouse your plan. Why? A few good reasons.
One, if your spouse sees you changing all of a sudden, they might get suspicious that you're trying to get something from them. We don't want them to ever think that, but human nature tends to err on the non-trusting side (there is probably a legitimate word to use here instead of non-trusting but I'm just now sitting down at 9:30 tonight after being on my feet since 7 a.m. and my tiredness allows me to make words up).
Two, your spouse might be able to help you to achieve your goal faster. When you tell them your plan, remind them that you're human and that you're going to totally keep repeating your problem, and the best way for them to help is not to point out when you do, but to point out when you succeed. That way it's a win for both of you.
Three, your spouse may choose to change something too. They might not. That doesn't matter. What's important is that you are going to FOCUS and change for the better and your marriage will be better because of it.
This also works great with parenting. I've got an area I'm focusing on right now with my kids and I'm still making more mistakes than non-mistakes (again, brain too fuzzy to focus to use correct words here), but I'm recognizing now where I'm wrong instead of it just being background noise. Once I'm able to acknowledge each time I do it, it will become easier to fix.
Good luck out there. Marriages are worth improving for!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Marriage Therapy: Lesson 6

Today's lesson is a single question that if you ask yourself honestly, could change your whole relationship:

Are the problems in my marriage really problems or are they my perception?

So, if you're scratching your head, here's a simple example. Do the socks on the floor drive you so crazy that you think your spouse is lazy and has that warped into he/she is a jerk and doesn't love you because if he/she loved you, they would be perfect? Or is your spouse a human that isn't perfect, a person who needs love in order to progress and thrive and the socks are just a reflection of a normal human being?

Think about it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Inner Strength Printable Quotes

So I want to do an experiment, but I need test subjects. Want to be my guinea pig? I had this idea to make some personal mantras to repeat every morning while looking in the mirror. I kind of think that repeating these mantras while looking at yourself will help you internalize them.

You can print these, cut them out and do one at a time for at least a week. Hang it on your mirror to remind you. If you want, I'd love to hear how it goes. Does repeating these change anything over the course of your week? I'm really curious to see other's responses. If you're not able to print from the above JPG, you can click here to download a free pdf from my website. 

Want to try and prove me right or wrong?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Marriage Therpay: Lesson 5

Today we're talking about feelings. Whether you know it or not, you probably have some misconstrued ideas about feelings. The more I read the more I see that most people's view of feelings are slightly jaded. We think that anger and fear are bad, that joy is the only good feeling. Or, some people think that every feeling needs to be explored and felt to its fullest. I don't really buy into that when it comes to anger and fear. What I think is that somewhere in the middle is best by learning what we're feeling, why we're feeling it, and appropriate ways to express it.
I'll start with a personal example. Last week some stuff happened to my husband and I that affected me negatively. I didn't want to be angry about it, but the feeling was lurking. Since the stuff happened to my husband too, I started to get frustrated that he wasn't sharing the same emotions (or so I thought). I felt bad that I was angry and as I tried unsuccessfully to cover it up, I grew more angry and was finally able to identify (label) what I was feeling. Sometimes putting a name to what you are feeling is hard. Super hard. Once I figured out that I was angry, part of me wanted to give in and just have a full-on anger fest. Rant. Rave. You get the idea. Thankfully, I didn't explore that path too much, but I felt angry and needed some way to get rid of it. 
So I talked to my husband, opened up about how things had gone down. We have a great relationship but I still feel vulnerable whenever I share what I'm truly feeling and it's hard. As we talked, I realized he was feeling very similar emotions. I never would have guessed. After we finished talking, the original incident hadn't changed. The problem wasn't fixed, but I felt better. I was no longer as angry and every day I feel a little better. 

Looking back, I'm glad I had the anger. It helped me to see what my priorities are, what I really want. It was an important part of my learning and growth process. The important thing I learned was that I wasn't bad for feeling angry, but my choices would have been bad if I acted out in anger. There's a huge difference there. And even if someone acts out in anger, that doesn't make them bad, that's just a bad choice. Choices can be fixed. 
Your assignment this week is to identify a feeling or feelings you're having. Four main feelings are anger, fear, sadness, or joy (unless your Disney and there's disgust too).
Once you've identified an emotion, tell your spouse about it. Don't use it to blame, just explain how you feel. Tell them you're not looking for anything other then for them to listen. You don't need anything fixed or changed, you just want to express an emotion. It might help to tell your spouse about this assignment. Tell them you want to be more open and honest. Ask them to share their emotions with you when they're ready. Give them space to share in their own time whether it is minutes, hours, days, or weeks later.

Try it out and see what happens. Sometimes sharing emotions can bring up hard things. Sometimes it's painful and might make things worse for a time, but if you can get to the root of a problem, you can actually make progress instead of heaping on more layers of superficial problems.  

Good luck in your marriage this week. If you're reading this, that means you are trying and good things happen when we keep trying.