Arguments over finances and problem solving the dilemmas become commonplace and eventually wear thin on everyone. Some studies suggest that people in troubled marriages are not getting divorced because of the expense - so Divorce rates are down; however, the economic distress contributes greatly to the breakdown in the marriage. According to a story on All Things Considered on NPR in December last year, the higher the unemployment rate, and the lower the divorce rate.
Let me break this down for you:
When our relationships are going sour, there are usually two basic types of issues that get in the way of healing the relationship:
1. Ones that are in our head, meaning attitudes, beliefs and misinterpretations, and
2. Ones that are outside of ourselves, such as attitudes, beliefs and lack of cooperation from the other person, job losses....the economy.
But to quote what I heard Joyce Meyer say recently (which I won't get exact but goes something like this...), "Did you ever think that your problem isn't your problem? That your problem is your ATTITUDE towards your problem?" I (and the audience) laughed at this because we all know deep down that there is so much truth in that statement! So even if there are outside forces seemingly working against us, our attitudes, beliefs and misinterpretations all impact our ability to overcome adversity.
If you find you are in this type of situation, and your relationship(s) have gone on the back burner, or you are contemplating divorce due to the stress (that maybe has been going on for years!), I am going to challenge you this year - no - DARE YOU to make this New Year Resolution: Put ending the relationship on the back burner divorce and make IMPROVING your relationship a TOP PRIORITY this year - you can turn it around - THIS YEAR!
Now I know you might be thinking that you've been there - wanting things to improve, being hopeful - and things haven't gotten better. That is because you just don't know the formula for improvement. I am going to baby-step you throughout the year and help you improve the quality of your relationships, with your spouse, your kids, and even your exes (if you have any:-)).
I can't fix the economy, nor can I make you do any of the homework assignments I suggest each week, but I can give you the information to help you have insight and understanding (which that information alone can turn around ANY relationship!) and provide for you tons of opportunities to learn HOW to make things better and begin to create the re and family you dreamed of.
We tend to generalize events and situations so we can detect patterns and solve them. However, when life gets more complicated, the volume of problems we deal with get lumped into categories and in our mind, we push back the memories and emotions and lump them in to one big ball of discontent. When a new client comes in for the first time, they usually do what I call the "Show Up and Throw Up" - they think they are going to be in for one or two major things they want to resolve, but as soon as they get started, it as if a dam breaks and YEARS of issues, complaints and emotions start to flood out of them!
What they don't know yet, is that this is the first step to healing. Now I don't mean in the "just let it out" kind of way. We do all need to release pent up emotions, but I'm also talking about the tangible aspects of our issues. We need a method for getting it out of our system and in to words so we can actually begin to resolve the problem. Another way of describing it is to move it from a vague idea or feeling, and turn it in to something concrete, real and tangible. We first need to name it and to define it in order to resolve it.
Your Well Blended Family assignment (if you've decided to take me up on my challenge!):
- Grab an unused notebook and make it your 2012 Well Blended Family Resolution Journal. Do not write anything else in here - you and your family are worth the paper!
- Write out ALL of the issues you are currently dealing with in your relationship and your family. At this point, write everything you can think of and consider the two categories I mentioned above: Personal issues, beliefs, attitudes, and issues that seem "beyond your control".
- Write down MORE - keep the journal handy so that as you start to remember more, you can jot down some notes about it. This WILL happen. By starting the journal, you are giving your unconscious mind permission to release all of the information it has stored for you for later reference - so it complies!
- Go back and read. Do not read them to get mad again, instead, I want you to notice something you didn't before. What ah-ha's or insights are you having? What are you noticing about your past behaviors? Then become an analyst. If this were the writings of a trusted friend, what would you notice about their situations and problems? What advice would you give? Notice what the other family members contribute to these problems and any struggles they are having in dealing with these situations.
- Write your thoughts and any discoveries.
This process can be very cathartic in and of itself. You will begin to notice patterns in your communication and in your family life. You might even begin to solve a problem or two just by doing this assignment!