I know many people don’t want to talk about this, but so many of us have little marriage hiccups or we find ourselves looking at the person we said we would be with for the rest of our lives, like who the hell are you!? Or…. your spouse has said this to you!!! ????????♀️All marriages struggle… and I think so many of us get caught up in the “no one else has struggles but me”. But let me tell you, they are there, and everyone has them! There is no perfect marriage, we are not in the movies, people… Because let’s face it, marriages have hiccups, and all marriages have struggled at some point in their relationship.
This week I was able to sit down with Deanna Bryant on my podcast and it was one that we so needed to talk about and a topic we really needed to touch base on! Deanna Bryant is a midlife marriage strategist helping women cultivate new meaning and deeper intimacy with their husbands. Her coaching business, Revive Your Midlife Marriage was born as a result of the challenges she and her husband faced in midlife. After the kids were older and they had more one-on-one time together, they realized their relationship had broken down.
Like most couples raising children, dealing with chaotic schedules, running a household and building careers, they’d put the relationship on the back burner. The result was intimacy atrophy. They had to go back to the drawing board and rebuild by learning the skills for a thriving marriage- something few of us are ever taught. Today, their marriage is on the right track, and they are practicing what they’ve learned. This experience is the passion behind Deanna’s 6-month VIP program for women who want to be an impetus for change in the marriage. “It takes two to tango, but one partner has to invite the other to the dance.”
One big thing that we see, and experience is change in one person. We are humans, we are ever evolving and changing. And the same goes for us even in a relationship or marriage. So many of us believe that we are always going to be the same people we were when we got married. And that is just not the case. We are a constant series of changes. We learn as we grow, and we are always growing and becoming. We also learn from our mistakes and sometimes feel like we always have to redefine ourselves.
Here is the disconnect… When one or both of the spouses are changing, and they are not talking about it! It comes down to, “Ok, I am choosing this, I am going to do this, this is what I need to do for me.” And our expectations are what gets us into trouble …. The unspoken expectations. We have the idea that if I change, and I start doing it this way, we should be on the same page. And sometimes this can be a problem when one changes, and the other feels threatened about who they are becoming.
When we expect someone else to follow the changes we are making, we get into the I want to change you to be more like me. This is a dangerous place to be because we cannot think we are better than them because of these changes we are making. We have to accept our spouses where they are at that time in their own personal growth.
Ok, so what about the person who is just trying to speak up more and rise up a bit more to make some of the decisions in the household? This has to be done because we know as women, as we age, we get stronger. So, if you are in a relationship and they call all the shots, but you want to have a voice in things, then you have to be heard. But be sure to come at it in a way that they hear your message in a way that does not come across badly. Instead of attacking back in situations, start with “Can I give you my thoughts on this?” and you should always be able to speak up because no spouse should tell the other spouse how it is going to be and that they cannot have a say in things.
How can you open that conversation, how can you open that door to talk about these things if you are afraid of confrontation? And it all comes down to, you must let go of the outcome… You are speaking your truth and that is the only thing you are responsible for. Whether it is understood or heard… You speak your truth for you and let go of the outcome. If your husband or spouse becomes defensive or angry, that is their problem. That is their deal. So, if and when they are getting angry… Stop and ask, “What about my sharing that with you makes you angry?” At this point, you are going to get down to the root of it! Then, hopefully, they will share their feelings and get into a better dialogue with that!
We also have to stop 1 upping the other 1 in a relationship. There is no score card, and there never will be. No one is better or less than the other person, so there is no need to try and one up the other person all the time.
How does a marriage grow together?
By continuing the dialog. Sometimes you think you outgrow your spouse, but what is really happening is you don’t know how they’ve grown, and they don’t know how you’ve grown because you stop talking about it. A lot of times what a couple used to fear or dream back in the day, what used to hurt them changes over the years. And unless we are talking about those things, through asking questions as if you don’t know your spouse that well, you are just going to always assume you know your spouse.
Our marriage and relationships should be a constant dialogue of communicating hopes, fears, dreams, and what they are struggling with. This grows the intimacy, so you are not growing apart, but you are understanding each other better so you don’t grow apart and go your separate ways. It’s about sitting down and asking what is going on.
In my marriage, Rona forced us to be together all the time and before Rona, we were always coming and going, and we never had a conversation about just nothing. And now, this has increased dramatically. And this has happened in many families, engaging more, talking more. But on the other side of that, the couples that were in a big mess have been forced to face the fact that they don’t have any intimacy, they don’t have anything to talk about and the divorce rate actually went up during Rona.
We think, “Well they just don’t do it for me anymore…” Ok.. but WHY!? What is it about? Is it mental? Physical? Slurping coffee? What is it that is bothering you about them?
I do hope that on the other side of Rona, that it has also helped people to look at their relationships and say I know there are things we need to work on. I know we aren’t connecting and what can we do to help this or work on this…. And head back to the drawing board!
Couples can get into going out so much, now that things are opening up again, but it’s just business. They’re having fun and enjoying themselves, but they aren’t really connecting on that deeper level. So that intentional time together with one another is super important. Make time to connect with that person. Off the cuff time and scheduled time with that person. To just BE WITH THEM and to connect with them on another level. And if you have to have a conversation with that person about something. If you wait for the perfect moment to have conversations, then you probably won’t. Something will always come up, so you have to be intentional with taking these moments with that person.
The biggest take away from this podcast when you listen is just to LET GO OF THE OUTCOME. This is what it is like for raising children… You are doing the best you can, so you have to let go of the outcome of who they are going to become. We have to do this in our marriages as well. If we are always expecting a certain outcome, then we are setting ourselves up for it.
So after today, the biggest thing you can do is FOCUS ON COMMUNICATION! Even if the first 20 years of your marriage had crappy communication, does not mean you can’t turn the corner! There are more resources out there than ever before, from relationship coaches to different books! There is so much you can be listening to or reading that can help you with your marriage. One great place to start is with John Gottman’s work which is key for relationships. It is life changing and work looking into.
I am not saying you can save every marriage, but I think a lot of marriages end before they get the chance to learn the skills to fix it. We are not taught to have a marriage growing up. It is all trial and error. Typically… we are thinking, I will do it like my parents or go to the opposite extreme and none of them are good. You have to come to a middle way of being, not to either extreme.
Remember…. I am happy because I choose to be and I choose to work on my marriage and not expect it to be a fairytale. Because we know that NO MARRIAGE IS A FAIRYTALE!
Choose to be in a relationship…
Choose to love.
Choose to be here in this relationship.
Now I don’t say ignore problems. We don’t accept everything but accept the things you cannot change about your spouse. They have to accept things about you that are just YOU!
Listen.. We don’t want you to be that statistic. And if you are going to be that statistic, we want to make sure you say I tried to do everything I can and check the box before you say I am out.. So reach out to Deanna if you have any questions or just want to talk. She is truly amazing and CAN help you and your spouse if you are willing to try!
What makes you feel magical?
When I am in that place of peace, that is not dependent on what’s going on around me. That’s my magical place.
Because I can’t control what’s happening around me. But when I can get into that place of peace, that is my greatest desire is to be in a peaceful state. And if I can find that peace in the midst of whatever’s going on, that’s my magical place.
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Revive Your Marriage
Revive Your Marriage
3 Simple Steps to Cultivate Intimacy with your husband. Http://www.reviveyourmidlifemarriage.com