There’s a question that pretty much all of my clients have asked – sometimes more than once – during our work together.
When the work gets hard, which it does, my clients always say something like, “So… I just have to do all of this myself? I change everything and my husband doesn’t have to do any of it?”
I totally get where they are coming from. It’s not always fun to shine a light on the messy thoughts. To lay bare the hurts and insecurities and desperation. To feel like you’re doing it all alone while he’s off the hook.
This work can be challenging.
We’re reprogramming brains over here after all.
But this work is also rewarding.
And 100% worth it.
In the middle, the river of misery we like to call it, it’s so easy to start asking questions like,
“Why did this happen to me?”
“What’s his role in all of this?”
“What about what he’s doing/did/doesn’t do?”
“When will it be my turn for a break?”
The brain thinks it’s protective to wonder these things. To scan our surroundings for what’s broken, what hurts and what’s not happening the way it was supposed to.
Trouble is, whatever you focus on… grows.
Staying stuck on questions like those leads to more broken, more hurt and more not supposed to.
Your quality of life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask your brain.
Think about that.
Your brain is an amazing tool to solve problems. Ask it something, it’ll find an answer. Every time.
Even if it’s a painful one.
When my clients are willing to ask different questions about their marriage, they find so much more leverage and relief.
“What can I learn here?”
rather than “Why did this happen to me?”
“Given what’s happened… who do I want to be now?”
rather than “What’s his role in all of this?”
“What do I want to do next?”
rather than “What about what he’s doing/did/doesn’t do?”
“How can I care for myself here?”
rather than “When will it be my turn for a break?”
Brains solve problems. Find answers.
Are you giving yours a useful problem to solve?
“Why doesn’t he love me anymore?” often leads to hurtful answers like “because I’m fat, ugly, old, boring…”
“When is he going to take out the trash?” comes back with the discouraging “probably never… you’re on your own.”
“How can I bring the love today?” might lead you to figure out how to take care of yourself in a way that didn’t seem possible before.
“What’s amazing about us together?” could remind you of the way you both love finding greasy spoon diners on road trips and how you love that both of you lose your minds in laughter over that one ridiculous show that your kids have been playing on repeat.
Start your morning by orienting your brain to be on the lookout for something useful. Every day.
What part of my marriage am I happy about right now?
In what way am I proud of my husband today?
What’s amazing about me in this moment?
What am I grateful for about the life we’ve built together?
What am I committing to as I start my day?
The questions rattling around in your brain program your thinking for better or worse.
There will still be days when life seems unfair and you wonder about the future of your relationship. You’re a human. With a brain that’s used to spending time thinking those things.
Nothing’s gone wrong.
But it can go better.
Do you want it to?
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash