“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches you what you need to know.”
A new year is approaching.
It will bring new opportunities.
New goals and accomplishments.
Exciting, isn’t it?
There’s a sense of optimism and positivity that naturally comes along with a fresh start.
I’m sure you’re thinking of the things you want to be different, the changes you want to see take place in your life, how you’ll be better as a wife and mother.
And at the same time, if 2016 has been any indication, you also know a new year will bring some new lessons that can only be learned through mistakes, disappointments and challenges.
You know that as this year comes to a close there are some things that feel unfinished, some doors that have not been closed and some issues that have not been resolved.
If you’re not closing out the year in an ideal place in your marriage I encourage you to look for the lessons you needed to learn but somehow have not yet mastered.
Now is the time to reflect and pay attention to the patterns of thoughts, the ways of being, habits of responding and the cycles of interaction that have gotten you to the place you are right now. And if it’s not where you want to be, you’ve got to be intentional, deliberate and committed to doing things differently.
And here are 5 lessons you must learn and apply on a consistent level to finally turn things around for good.
Lesson #1. Your husband is not responsible for how you feel.
That’s your job. He’s only responsible for the actions he takes and the interpretations he makes. You may have been thinking that he makes you feel a certain way, but you choose how you respond to him. You decide how you feel based on how you think.
You can choose to interpret a situation anyway you like. If you want to feel and experience more joy and love, then make up your mind to do so. Search for the opportunities to bring more of that into your life. Tap into the power of God that’s already within you to create the emotions that lift you up instead of bringing you down. How you feel is YOUR responsibility. All day, every day.
Lesson #2. Your husband cannot read your mind.
As much as you want him to anticipate your needs, he’s just not able to do that to the degree that you expect. It helps no one for you to continue to be frustrated over having to ask him to do something. If you really want it to happen, get in the habit of asking. Be specific and to the point. You have to get over the belief that you shouldn’t have to ask him to do certain things. He’s shown you time and time again that you DO.
What you need to see is that you’re letting your frustration get in the way to the point where your attitude is not the best and your tone has an edge to it that makes him want to tune you out and disregard what you’re asking him to do. You must stay focused on the results you want and 9 times out of 10 that means getting your expectations and requests out of your own head and in to his.
Lesson #3. The way you’ve been going about things is not working.
By nature we are creatures of habit. We are also a little bit insane, meaning we respond the same way to certain things all the time but expect different results. You criticize and complain hoping he’ll change, but it just shuts him down. You focus on everything that’s going wrong, yet somehow you expect them to get better.
You must be intentional about doing different things to get different results. Say it a different way, respond a different way, choose a different way to think about it. THESE are the actions that will bring you something different in your marriage. Commit yourself to breaking your bad habits and to learning new ones that serve you and your marriage instead of serving your ego and need to be right.
Lesson #4. The biggest problem in your marriage is NOT communication.
Are there different ways you can speak to each other? Yes. Are there skills you both can learn to get your point across better? Of course. Can you both improve your ability to actively listen to each other? Without a doubt. But as a relationship expert, I know that communication problems are a symptom and signal that there are perception and connection issues more damaging to the relationship. What you say and how you say it is a function of how you are thinking, the beliefs you hold, the assumptions you make and the way you feel about the person you’re communicating with.
It’s highly likely that you and your husband have had the same communication tendencies since the day you met. It’s not until you feel your deeper needs are not being met, you feel disconnected or you see him as a total disappointment that the intent behind your comments change. You communicate in ways that MAKE him listen, that MAKE him understand your perspective that MAKE him change. And at the end of the day all you’ve done is MAKE him shut down and MAKE yourself more annoyed and frustrated.
Lesson #5. There is always a different way to see things.
A variety of ways to interpret the same situation. Lots of times our mind has been conditioned to look for the worst. To look for the ways our husbands will leave us disappointed. To keep score of all he’s doing wrong. To play out scenes over and over again that just make us feel bad. We think of past disappointments and constantly bring them to the present moment.
But at any moment there is always another choice to be made. An opportunity to think positively. To choose gratitude over a complaint. To expect the best and offer understanding if he falls short.
What we experience is a function of our perception. Once you learn this lesson and see that things are not as black and white as you’ve chosen to view them, a whole new world is available to you.
Now for sure I could go on and on with other lessons that your marriage is trying to teach you. But these 5 are some of the most critical.
If you found yourself reading this and KNOW that you really have not fully applied these realities to your own marriage, I encourage you to join my email list to receive additional tips and strategies for how to do so.
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