We were about a year and a half into our marriage. He’s playing video games and I’m winning an academy award for best actress in a drama series entitled “I Never Get Any Help Around Here”. At one point he told me to shut the f*#k up and like a fighting bull, I just saw red. I had a Sprite can in my left hand. It’s important to note here that I am not an athlete and I am not left handed. I’d maybe taken 2 sips out of that can when he said those magic words and I threw it. Non-dominant hand, non-athlete, perfect precision. It hit him in the side of the head, sticky sprite went everywhere and in a half a milli-second, I realized what I’d done.
Fast forward to when Moe and I married 9 years after the Sprite can incident, I was proud of myself for having done a lot of inner work in my singlehood. However, I still had a lot more to do. We still had a lot of work to do as a couple as well. But in traditional Arab culture, men going to therapy, getting mental health in general or talking about feelings? You have a better chance of being struck by lightning. However, I could see that even though things weren’t as bad as my first marriage, they weren’t fantastic either.
Keep in mind this is wayyyyyyy before I became a coach but I point it out because I always keep it real and raw with you all and because these are things you can do to fix your own marriage without being/having a coach or having the participation of your spouse.
You have to be all in. I’m talking betting a million on black and not waivering for a second. You may be doing the hard work and wading through piles of elephant dung for months before you see results so if you’re thinking you’re going to see results in a couple weeks and everything is going to be hunky dory, sorry friend. I’m about to burst your bubble. How long it takes varies with every couple. Commit to why you’re starting this journey. Write it down in multiple places and look at it multiple times a day. It’s the only thing that’s going to keep you going when things get hard, and they will!
I will also note that this can’t be a “well they’re not working on the marriage so I shouldn’t have to either.” That’s not going to work. It’s selfish and immature. You’re right, it’s not fair. But I’m pretty sure that nowhere in the Bible or any marriage book ever written does it say marriage is always fair. It’s not. Marriage is a commitment, not a convenience.
You can’t control your spouse. You can’t make them love you more, help you more, listen more or communicate better. You can’t control how or if they respond in an argument or conversation. You can only control you. Is it hard to control your anger when your spouse is yelling and you want to lash out too? A billion times YES! But it can and must be done. In order for things to change, things have to change. Control YOU. Control your tone, body language, communication, responses, texts, all of it. Control what goes into your brain. If you’re hanging out with people who subscribe to the spouse bashing culture, watching shows about cheating and disrespect, etc. That’s what you’re going to exhibit. Read books on marriage. Change your social media followings to be more marriage focused and less negative.
3. College Study Habits
You have to become a student of your spouse and of yourself. Study like your entire degree depends on the test coming up. What are your and your spouse’s love languages, apology languages? How did they grow up? What’s the dynamic they learned? What are some of the mindsets they learned and why do they think, act, talk, walk and work the way they do? Are they sensitive? Are they cold hearted? What are their triggers? How can you answer all of these questions about yourself? When you know this, apply it! This is the step that everyone seems to miss. They have the answers but application seems to get lost in translation.
I leave this one last because in all honesty, it’s probably the hardest and the most important. For your marriage to move forward, you have to forgive yourself and your spouse. That doesn’t mean you forget the trauma, the fighting, the triggers but you do forgive them for they know not what they do. Sincerely, marriage doesn’t come with a user’s manual. Everything we know comes from what we’ve learned in past relationships and relationships we’ve seen by those we grew up around. Hurt people hurt people. If you know in your heart of hearts that your spouse loves you deeply, they probably don’t want to hurt you intentionally. But, they’re hurt and wanting to defend that hurt. Forgive them and yourself for the same reasons. That means you cannot bring up past hurts. You must let it go. If you need to talk it through first, do so but after that and forgiveness has been offered, that’s it. It’s in a vault and cannot be brought up again. If you are triggered in the future, address the pattern and the current behavior. Do not say things like “You always do this.” True forgiveness is going to be the key to having peace and less resentment.
If you resonated with this and want more, consider joining Better Me, Better Us. We cover all of this as well as codependency, steps to getting rid of insecurities, becoming your highest self, and you have full voxer access to me every week day. Think of it as constant coaching for 6 weeks and 6 live coaching sessions. 6 month payment plans are available if needed as well. The group is open now for 10 phenomenal people. Doors close Sept 3. We start Sept 6.
Cheers to your marriage!