Okay I’m going to sound a bit like your mother today . . . because I’m ranting! But here goes:
Here are the facts: the divorce rate is down, but so is the marriage rate. We’re still having babies. We are up to nearly 41% statistically, of children born to unwed mothers today. Less divorces, less marriages, lots of single parent households. Let’s face it, we are not afraid to have a family . . .we have become a nation afraid to get married!
I read article after article, news story after news story about why people get divorced (check out Ashton and Demi) and often, the overall answer (abuse excepted) . . . “Life is just too tough being together.” “This person didn’t make me happy.” “We fought all the time.” “Our values changed.” . . . or something like this.
Okay. I was guilty of this too! I said those same words, “I don’t like what this marriage is doing to me! I don’t like who I’ve become.” And so I left. The interesting thing though, was that I really wasn’t any happier after I left the marriage.
So here’s the “tough love” part – IT (marriage) didn’t do anything TO you. Yes, relationships are hard – especially living as long as we do with virtually no instruction on how to get it right. This applies to every relationship in our life! Every time we blame another person or situation, we are giving our own power away to change our own results. And then we feel even more powerless, so that is when we entertain leaving.
Here’s the great part – Once we learn how to take personal responsibility – different than blame - magical things begin to happen! Our relationships improve and we begin to really enjoy our spouse and our family, and begin to build the home life we always wanted!
So how do you do this? It’s actually quite simple - but it does take work.
1. First, you have to get real with your contributions to the difficulties you’re experiencing in your marriage and family. What have you done or not done that contributed to the challenges you’re facing today? Get real with yourself - you do not need to show this to anyone. But remember this is the magical key! So we are talking about actions and inactions. Maybe you didn’t act upon intuition. Maybe you react defensively. Whatever it is, figure it out. Also, know that it is never just one thing, so list it allJ!
2. Then, you have to get clear on how you want things to really be. Sometimes we know our problem too well and haven’t taken the time to imagine how we really want things to be because we may already be judging whether we can have better or not. I always imagine those household product ads where everyone in the family is either happily puttering about the house and it’s sunny and everything and everyone seems so relaxed and cheery or the family is outside playing in the backyard of a brightly painted house with a white picket fence! Act as if your fairy godmother asked you “What ever you wish for you will receive, no less, but more importantly, no more!” What would you wish for? If the only thing that comes to mind are things you DON”T want, then flip them around and make that your desired outcome.
Also, you have to frame things in a way in which you are in control., no one else. If your goal is something like “I just want him to understand me”, then most likely, you won’t achieve it because you are not in control, he is. However if it is framed more like “I want to communicate in a way that he understands.” You WILL achieve that because the onus is on you!
3. Finally, you have to figure out what resources you have and what you need to get these things accomplished. Do you know HOW to communicate in a way he/she understands? If not, go get help, read books, whatever you need. Go after it! Don’t wait for the help to come to you, because it won’t.
When you take responsibility instead of blaming your marriage, or your spouse, you take the first steps toward creating your “white picket fences”