Do you long for a stronger, more intimate marriage? Do you feel pulled apart by the demands of life, kids, and work? If so, stay tuned, because this episode is for you!
When I recently surveyed my audience to ask what type of content you wanted to hear, so many of you requested that I have my husband, Justin, back on to talk about marriage.
And since I really like him a lot, I took that request to heart, and this episode was born.
But first, I have a question for you: do you feel stuck when it comes to your mindset around nutrition, health, and your body? If so, I have something to help you.
If you head over to my website and take 3 minutes of your time to answer a few short questions, we can get to the bottom of why you aren’t making the progress you want to make.
Why Is Marriage So Hard?
That’s a million-dollar question, right? Why is marriage so damn hard? Because it is, am I right?
Justin and I have been married for 14+ years and we are by no means marriage experts. But we are simply two people who have failed each other miserably and learned from our mistakes. And we have put in the time to figure out how to be better for each other.
One of the things I see over and over again in my coaching practice is women telling me how much difficulty they’re having in their marriages. And I see something that is often a factor in their struggles.
Most of these women have empty cups.
When your cup is empty, it impacts how you show up in marriage. When your cup is full, it provides you an opportunity to be more present and connected to your partner.
When we as women aren’t taking care of ourselves, our marriages suffer as a result.
One of the ways I have seen this in my own marriage is through scorekeeping.
In a 3-month period, 11 years ago, we had our first child, we moved to a new house, and Justin left patrol and joined the S.W.A.T. team in our city.
And instead of taking care of myself and asking for what I needed, I became a scorekeeper.
I was trying to figure out how to be a mom and just basically going through the motions in the rest of life.
The Importance of Self-Confidence for Your Marriage
I talk a lot about self-confidence in this podcast because it is so crucial to everything we do in life. Without it, we can’t reach our goals or create change in our lives.
What happened to us was that while Justin was chasing his dreams at work, I was home with a new baby, in a post-childbirth body, not taking care of myself. I was just letting all these emotions build up inside of me instead of letting Justin know what I needed.
And eventually, they would come spilling out. It was definitely beginning to affect our closeness as a couple and we could both see it.
The thing is, if you don’t take any time to invest in yourself, even if right now that means you go sit in a hot bath for 30 minutes or read a book, you don’t have anything to invest in your partner either.
And as your self-confidence lessens, so does the energy you have to put toward your marriage.
What’s Driving You?
It has taken several years of working on myself and learning about myself to figure out what I need to do to build my own self-confidence and for us to work together toward a strong marriage.
One of the things I discovered was that while I do want to be the mom who is here for my kids, and while I am glad we decided that I would leave my job and stay at home with our kids, I definitely needed more.
When I decided to follow this passion project of helping women pursue better health, I knew I had found something that would increase my self-confidence and would also allow me to pour into my marriage.
If your life is a series of days that all look the same, if you are never challenged to grow and create, if you do the same mundane tasks all day every day, please know, life was not meant to be that way!
You have to have something that drives you, something that you’re passionate about.
Why Keeping Score Is So Dangerous
I mentioned earlier that I had become a scorekeeper in my marriage but the truth is, we all do it from time to time. Even the best and strongest marriages struggle with this.
You know what this looks like: Husband comes home from a long day at work and wife is exhausted from dealing with little people all day. She wants a break but her husband also wants a break from his long day.
Now, let’s say the husband walks into the kitchen, and the sink is full of dirty dishes. He may feel resentful of how hard he works and think that his wife is not doing her part. What just happened is scorekeeping.
Here’s the danger in keeping score in a marriage-
You are both on the same team.
This is not a situation where you are in competition against each other; you are supposed to be working together as partners. Scorekeeping does nothing but causes resentment to build between you.
The real issue isn’t even the dishes in the sink.
The real issue is 2 people who aren’t expressing their real needs and who need some goals and passions to work toward so that their self-confidence increases and they have the bandwidth to work toward a stronger marriage.
Are you ready for a stronger marriage?
Awesome, because Justin and I wanted to share 5 simple tips with you to help you begin to create some space to take care of yourself so that you can begin to work toward a stronger marriage.
Tip #1 – Have the Conversation
The very first step toward taking care of yourself in order to build a stronger marriage is to have the conversation.
You both have to genuinely show up in this conversation and express what your needs are. If you feel unfulfilled, you have to say so.
Be ready to be specific about what those needs are. If you want 30 minutes every day to read or nap or follow a passion, tell each other that.
This won’t work if one partner takes all the time they want for themselves while neglecting to provide time for their partner for self-care and growth.
I’m picturing the man who plays golf 7 days a week rather than actually talking to his wife to discover her needs and making sure she gets some time to pursue them.
Tip #2- Ask for What You Need
Ladies, your husband cannot read your mind. He just can’t. And you can’t read his.
We assume our husbands will know what we need, or we wish he would walk in one day and tell us to take the next 3 hours for ourselves because surely he understands how tired and desperate we are for some time alone.
But it doesn’t work that way.
If you find yourself feeling resentful over your spouse not giving you what you need, ask yourself if you’ve actually told them what you need. And if you haven’t, that’s not their issue.
Tip #3- Good Intentions
Before you react to your partner’s words, ask yourself, “Does this reflect the common good? Does this reflect our common mission? Is this well-intentioned?”
If you have a tendency to react with harsh words or a negative attitude when some of these difficult times arise, you need to stop and take a look at why you’re reacting that way. Try to see the struggle as part of the common mission of your family; remember that you’re on the same team.
Ask yourself what your partner’s intentions are in bringing up the conversation.
And before you respond with a cutting remark or a sarcastic response, ask yourself if saying that will help you get where you want to be in your marriage 5 years from now.
Make it a habit to assign your partner good intentions. This will head off so many conversations you will wish you could take back.
Tip #4- You Are Responsible for Your Own Happiness
This applies to so much more than marriage but for the sake of our topic today, I have to add it in.
Listen ladies, you are the one responsible for making sure you do something every day that makes you happy. This is not your husband’s responsibility. It is yours.
If you look solely to your partner for your validation and your happiness, you will always be left unfulfilled. No human can be all that for you.
Stop waiting for your husband to get home from work to make you happy.
If you feel a lack of self-confidence and fulfillment, you need to dig deep and figure out what would make you feel happy and then pursue it.
Tip #5- Dream Together
You might be wondering how this has anything whatsoever to do with taking care of yourself to grow a stronger marriage. Hang with me for a second, because this not only works for your marriage, but it is also important for your family as a whole.
If you can come to the point that you have a common dream for your family, whether that’s a special vacation, or a business you want to grow, or you plan to build your dream house; whatever that big dream is, it is a big part of what holds us together and pushes us toward each other.
This big picture thinking helps us to see that if we take care of ourselves each and every day, we can strive together toward this common goal.
The more we pursue our passions, our careers, what fulfills us, the more capacity we have to reach for our dreams; the more we are drawn together and the more we build stronger marriages and stronger families.
When you stood at the altar with your beloved, you had dreams. Dream of the future, of what your family would look like, what your old age together would look like, what your vacations would look like.
And sometimes, you just have to take yourself back to those two people who stood there and remember those dreams.
So ladies, what are your dreams? What makes you happy? What gets you all fired up? And how can you harness those things to increase your self-confidence, which will allow you to pour energy into your husband and build a stronger marriage?
There may be many layers of this onion that you have to peel back before you get to all the root causes. If you don’t know where to start, I am here to help.
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