"Love may be blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener!"
OK, let's fix that partner of yours so your marriage will be better. It's a two-part plan. Ready? OK: 1. Fix yourself; 2. Everything else fixes itself.
I bring you good news. Whether your marriage is awesome or on the rocks, I think you'll love what I have for you here. I'll have a best-seller book and a life-changing online course coming up that will give your relationship a shot in the arm. So stay tuned!
For now, here are a few ways you can FLIP your marriage:
- What puts the fizz in your partner's coke?
- What's your role in this play?
- Your opinion is like your bellybutton.
WHAT PUTS THE FIZZ IN YOUR PARTNER'S COKE?
In other words, what makes your partner feel loved. Now don't be so sure you know the answer. Unless you've come out and asked your partner. You see, we each feel loved in different ways. And the master-key to any successful marriage is found in your partner feeling loved and cherished.
So, what is your partner's love language?
If you're not sure, then that's a great place to start.
At the root of every bad to mediocre marriage is a partner who doesn't feel loved and appreciated. This also applies to every other relationship in your world. What do your kids need most? To feel loved and to feel like they matter. Your employees? More than a big paycheck, they need to feel appreciated for what they do and for who they are. We each have a deep need to feel valued.
If you don't know your partner's love language, then put on your to-do list to pick up Gary Chapman's "Five Love Languages". Become a student of your partner.
"But I'm the one who doesn't feel loved!"
I hear you. When I was in the landscaping business, we had to fight with Southern Crabgrass. That's basically a big clump of stubborn weeds. We killed it by feeding the grass turf around it. That's right. We put our efforts toward strengthening the good and in doing so that healthy turf smothered out the weeds (the bad).
Likewise, let's make your marriage better, not by pontificating and harping on the bad, but rather let's learn how to healthy-love. You're going to find that the answers to almost all of your relationship issues will emerge when you get back to the basics and "remember" how to love. Trust me on this one.
WHAT'S YOUR ROLE IN THIS PLAY?
Are you the self-appointed fixer? The rescuer? The supporter? The accommodator?
As with everything, the healthy answer is a very simple and basic one. You are here to love your partner, to grow yourself and to be the helpmate your partner needs to for their own advancement in life.
Remember, you are not here to make your partner better. You are here to make yourself into a better partner. And that will call for less ego and more humility. Less talking to make your point and more listening to understand. These are just starters. But a consistent diet of these will begin to ignite the love you have.
YOUR OPINION IS LIKE YOUR BELLYBUTTON...
Everybody has one, they're all different and they don't do a darn thing.
We can all agree that good communication is king. And one of the most critical keys to healthy communication is learning the difference between your Opinion and your Truth. This is huge, yet very overlooked.
Rewind back to over 20 years ago. My wife burst into my study at midnight. She was obviously irritated with my late schedule, and understandably so.
And so she flung open the door and yelled, "You work too much!"
I turned around and, with an irritated tone spurted right back at her, "Why don't you turn around, go back out and try that again? Only this time tell me the truth." Now guys, let me inject something here. Don't do what I did. Never fight back at a woman scorned!
Nonetheless, I fired back at her. "Why don't you come back in and tell me that you miss me rather than telling me what I'm doing wrong?"
Good point. Bad delivery.
At that point in our marriage, the word "graceful" was rarely present. Can you relate? But that very moment opened my eyes to this astounding lesson of truth vs. opinion. And it has since made an essential difference in all my relationships.
Her opinion was that I work too much. Her truth was that she misses me. Same issue, different perspective.
Now you and I can debate till the cows come home what's right and what's wrong, what's justified and what's not. But the bottom line is, your spoken truth brings healing, your spoken opinion often brings contention, hurt and eventual isolation.
Here are the key differences between your opinion and your truth:
- Your opinion is from ego, your truth is from humility.
- Your opinion wants to win, your truth wants to resolve and restore.
- Your opinion is typically about "them", your truth is about yourself.
- Your opinion contests their actions, your opinion shares your experience.
- Your opinion can lead to discourse and division while your truth leads to reconciliation.
- Your opinion is self-serving, your truth seeks connection and to serve.
- Your opinion evokes a reaction (debate) while your truth invites a response (understanding).
This is something they forgot to teach us in school, and yet it's at the core of so many of our relationship issues. Whenever I couple-counsel, 90% of what I do is to simply ensure that the dialogue stays on truth and off of opinion. Learn to FLIP your opinion-statements into truth-statements. The truth will indeed set you free.