Around this time of year, when you’re not busy trying to find that “must have” Christmas item, you may find yourself being reflective about all that 2016 has brought you. And while there have definitely been some great moments and things that have brought you joy, you find yourself thinking more and more about the things that have just not worked out the way you imagined and how you want 2017 to be different.
You may have reached the point where you are truly tired of feeling down and really want to be happier and more fulfilled.
Because, right now, you’re not yourself.
You’re turning into a person who’s lost some of the joy that once came so easily.
On the outside, you’re still holding it together. You’re still supermom getting a million and one things done each day.
But on the inside, it feels like a war is still going on. A war of wills.
You want to be happier, more positive, more loving toward your husband, but your mind is filled with everything that’s going wrong, how the stress keeps mounting and mounting, and how you really feel like you’re at the end of your rope.
Your marriage is veering further and further off course and the things you’ve tried so far just have not helped you turn things in a more positive direction on a consistent basis.
I understand your struggle more than you even know.
And what I want to suggest is that you take a step back and look at things from a different angle. When I’m working with women who are in this place, so often it’s clear to me what’s really happening. But for her, the woman who is so very similar to you, there is a blind spot that just won’t allow either of you to see fully what’s been happening. There’s a smudge on that mirror, such that when you take a look at yourself, you can’t see things clearly. You can’t see how in so many ways you’re standing in your own way.
I want to offer some clarity. I want to offer you some powerful truths that once you can admit them to yourself, you’ll create the opening you need toward the path to a fulfilled life. The path to a happier and more loving marriage. The path to a better version of you.
Ready for an honest dose of reality?
Then keep reading.
3 Powerful Truths to Finally Admit to Yourself…and to Getting the Marriage Breakthrough You Need
Truth #1: You Want to be Right More than You Want to be Happy
Wanting to be right is an incredible motivator. In your mind, it’s so important that your husband understand your needs, your perspective, your opinion. You want to feel understood, you want to feel supported, and underneath that, more than anything, you just really want to feel “right”. You want validation that the way you see things, the emotions you feel and the reactions you have are what anyone would see, feel and do in similar situations. If it makes sense to you, then on some level, it must at least make sense to him, even if he doesn’t totally agree.
For example, when your husband does something wrong, of course you’re going to feel upset, frustrated or annoyed. And he should acknowledge his mistake, apologize, and/or do something to make it up to you. Of course, when he doesn’t listen to you or show you the attention you desire, you’re going to feel unimportant to him, and as a result, he needs to know that so he can make the proper adjustments to show that you do matter to him.
All of these are tell-tale signs of wanting to be right more than you want to be happy.
Stay with me here. I’ll explain.
As women, we think that the happiness we’re looking for will come through our husband’s acknowledgement that in some way we are right. Point blank, he should do all the things we’ve told ourselves he should be doing in order to make us happy. This means that we will be happy when and only when, he really understands us, he responds to our needs, he sees our point of view, and he shows us the love we want in just the way we want it.
But the truth of the matter is this:
Happiness is available to you at any time you decide to choose it over being right.
You’ll find happiness the moment you decide that you’ll be ok if your husband never lives up to the expectations you’ve created in your own mind for how he should think, act, and feel towards you.
You’ll experience happiness the moment you decide that meeting your needs is your responsibility and that you must work on fixing your broken parts before looking to him to fill those voids.
You’ll create happiness the moment you decide to give up the story you’ve created in your mind for how things should be and choose instead to be present and appreciate all that’s right about what is.
Let go of being right and trade it for being happy. You’ll actually end up winning every. single. time.
Truth #2: You Don’t Want to Change and Do Things Differently
Change is hard. We get so comfortable doing things a certain way. We get addicted to familiarity. We get caught up in our habits, responding the same way day in and day out. We box ourselves in saying, “I’ve always been that way” or “I’m not going to change” or “I’m the type of person who _________” fill in the blank with any number of things you continue to tell yourself.
It’s insanity really. Thinking that you’ll see changes in your marriage without having to change much about yourself.
Yet, we do it all day, every day.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll try to be more patient, you’ll try to listen more and complain less, you’ll try to give him the benefit of the doubt from time to time.
But that’s about it.
You’re not really willing to change your entire mindset and approach to your marriage. You’re not really willing to do the hard work of challenging every negative belief that consumes your mind about your husband. You’re not really willing to love and accept him unconditionally as he is right now. You’re not really willing to face the reality of how your thoughts and actions have actually created many of the very things you don’t want.
When it really comes down to it, you don’t want to change.
You’re fine soaking up every marriage tip and piece of advice you can get your hands on, but not fully applying them to your life.
You’re content agreeing with all the strategies and techniques I promote, but never take the opportunity to get the help and motivation you need to be the real change agent in your home.
You’re ok with responding and reacting the way you always do, even when you know exactly how it contributes to the deterioration of your marriage.
You’re satisfied with all of that because somewhere along the lines you gave yourself permission to stay stuck. You mounted up every imaginable excuse that would prevent you from doing the hard work of rebuilding yourself and restoring your marriage. You gave yourself a passing grade, while continuing to fail your husband.
You don’t want to change.
And the moment you stop pretending that you do, is the moment you’re on your way to a breakthrough. It’s the very second that the windows of heaven open up to give you the strength and courage to finally do what you’ve needed to do for so long.
It takes the power of God and the will of your mind to transform yourself and your marriage to what you know deep inside it should be.
Truth #3: It’s Not a Real Priority to You
The other day my marriage coach asked me to list out my priorities in order of importance. (Yes, I do actually have my own marriage coach). Now there are lots of ways to answer this question. One could list the things that theoretically, are important. You know, those things that are really on your heart to make a priority. The things that really should be a priority, and the things you have every intention of dedicating the appropriate time to.
But for me, I looked at this question very objectively. No matter how much I want things to be a priority, and no matter how important I want to tell myself they are, there is one clear and definitive marker for what’s truly a priority to me.
How I actually spend my time.
I had to just ask myself, in a given day, what gets the most of my energy and effort? Where do I spend the most minutes and hours of the day?
And like always, I approached her question with full transparency. Here was my list in order: my children, my business, myself, my husband and my extended family.
As I listened to myself be totally honest in responding to her question, I saw immediately how my priorities were creating the results I was seeing in my life. They were completely out of order. And I was feeling it.
I’m an action taker, so literally within hours, I mapped out a plan to shift how I spend my time and where my energy is focused. I put God back on top and I moved my husband way up the list. And the shift I’ve been looking for is definitely occurring.
What about you?
How would you respond to the same question if you were being completely honest?
From the minute you wake up until the moment you go to sleep, what gets the most of your time, attention and focus?
And if it’s out of order, are you truly willing to shift those priorities? (Within reason of course! I’m not suggesting you quit your job to cater to your husband!)
I’ll be the first to tell you that putting your marriage and husband as a top priority is no easy feat.
It means saying no to a lot of things that you’d probably rather do.
Like watch TV.
Scroll through your Facebook newsfeed.
Sit on the phone with your friend trading the latest gossip.
It means saying later to a lot of things you feel like you must do.
Like respond to that email or text message right away.
Or putting in that extra hour at work.
Or any of the million and one things you’ve told yourself you must do for your children.
And it also means saying yes to things that have been hard for you to do.
Like finding a reliable baby-sitter or family member to watch the kids so you can go out alone.
Offering your full attention when you feel like you’re already behind on your to-do list.
Saying no to any non-essential obligation that would take your time away from him.
Those are the shifts I’m talking about in order to put your husband and marriage back on top.
You see, this is the thing about priorities – the more you have, the less you have. Because you can’t really dedicate the necessary time of any one of them. And no matter how much you would like to say that your marriage is a priority, if your time doesn’t reflect that, it’s not.
Setting your priorities gives you clear rules for how to make decisions. The priority gets your time, attention and effort. Period. If it’s not serving your marriage, it’s taking away from your marriage. Simple as that.
Here are three questions to help you uncover how much of a priority your marriage actually is:
How often am I thinking about, learning about or doing things that positively contribute to the relationship with my husband?
How often am I willing to completely disrupt my own schedule and put aside my own priorities to focus in on nurturing my marriage?
How often am I making decisions about how I spend my time that reflect the things that are really important and matter to me?
If you are courageous enough to admit that your marriage has not really been at the top of the list, then you will instantly see what has been getting in the way of the relationship you’d like to have with your husband.
Now, there is no condemnation here. I want you to feel empowered to DO something about it. Cut something out, today, right now. And exchange it with some activity that will enable you to better take care of and commit fully to your marriage.
So there you have it, my 3 Most Powerful Truths.
I know it’s no fun to be confronted with these realities. And maybe your natural tendency is to look at yourself and now feel really bad about what’s been happening.
But listen, my intention is not for you to walk away from reading this feeling like you’re a horrible wife. On the contrary, I want you walking away feeling empowered and motivated to do things differently.
To consciously choose happiness by directing your thoughts on the right things so you can look at your marriage with hope and an excited expectation for how it’s going to be better.
To be courageous enough to actually address the areas deep within yourself that need your care and attention so you can feel whole and proud of the way you handle any situation.
To make the time in your busy schedule to connect with your husband so you can finally feel the closeness and intimacy you’ve been missing.
You have to be intentional about all of these things, otherwise they just will not happen.
And sometimes being intentional means you get some help, support and accountability along the way.
If you’ve connected with what I’ve said here, if you read any part and thought, “man, she is so right” I’d love to continue the conversation we’ve started today. I want to invite you to join my email community of over 2,000 women who are committed to make their marriage the best it can be.
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