A few months back I wrote a blog that was shared far and wide, called “How I Stopped Hating my Husband.” I highly recommend you read that blog before this one.
This is that story’s sequel.
In America your chances of divorce are about 50/50. No doubt that we live in a time where we throw away all that is broken because we have never been taught how to fix it. In actuality, the problem is that we have never been taught how to fix ourselves.
And then there are the people who don’t divorce, but don’t have the guts to step up and make their marriages better. Again, because they are unwilling to fix themselves.
This advice is for those of you who:
- don’t want to get divorced
- want a strong intimate relationship, and
- are married to a decent human being.
I realize that some of you may be so blinded with your own unhappiness, that you do not even know that you are married to a decent person, so when in doubt, ask your friends and family. They have the answers.
By no means am I trying to convince people to stay in marriages with people that are toxic and destructive. In fact, if everyone that loves you tells you to leave your spouse, please stop reading this blog now. I do not want to give you an excuse to stay.
This is for the millions of couples, with children, who find themselves feeling lost, trapped, unhappy, and lonely.
This if for the angry. The resentful. For those of you who don’t think you can forgive. For those of you living in the pain of the past.
This if for those of you going through a mid-life crisis…
But mostly, it is for those of you who WANT to have a great marriage.
I am here to tell you that you can love your spouse again, even if you feel like divorce is imminent.
This is for those of you who know you need to make your marriage work, but you don’t know how.
This is how….
8 things you must do in order to fall back in love with your spouse
Have the courage to step up and make the choice. Stop living in limbo land, stop blaming your spouse, stop being a coward. Love is a verb, it is a choice. Love is not all those hormones and feelings you have when you first meet someone. I promise you that there is no greater act of love than crying, kicking and screaming your way back to someone. Very few people are capable of that type of love. And if you commit to becoming this person who fights for love when all seems lost, you will discover the meaning of life.
“To love someone isn’t just a strong feeling. It is a commitment, a judgement, and a promise.”
Love yourself. People don’t realize that it is impossible to love another human being if you do not love yourself. When someone loves themselves, another rarity, it is obvious. The way we treat other human beings, the assumptions we make, the way we talk about people is a direct reflection of how we view ourselves. I find it so sad when I hear people make assumptions about others. Truth be told you are not a mind reader, nor do you know other’s intentions.
YOU only know what your intentions are, and what goes on in YOUR mind.
So remember that next time you make assumptions, you are projecting and telling the world what you think and intend.
When you are loving, compassionate and forgiving towards yourself, you will be this way towards others. When you have good intentions, you assume other’s have good intentions too.
When you try to live up to the world’s impossible expectations, you will hold other’s to that standard as well. Be imperfect, be vulnerable, be yourself and you will find that you can easily empathize and forgive others.
“A man who loves himself takes the first step towards real love.” Osho
Stop making it all about you. If you are suffering, you are focused solely on yourself. So stop being a selfish twit. It is not attractive. It’s obnoxious. It is time to step outside your self consumed world, and realize that you are not a victim of it. You, and only you, are responsible for how you think, feel and behave. Your power to make change will come as soon as you take responsibility for this fact.
Fake it until you make it. When we hit our lowest point as a couple, I told my husband I was empty and void of feelings for him. I had become indifferent. Deep down he knew this. Nonetheless, it hurt his heart. So he said “I do not want you to tell me you love me until you do.”
Then the next day he woke up and said “I changed my mind, you have to tell me you love me every single day.” Smart man. Affirmations work.
For those of you who don’t believe they work. I bet you affirm your dislike for your spouse every single day….and you have gotten exactly what you affirm…
Rewrite your story. You can change your past by thinking differently about it. In fact, it is the only way to change anything in life. Learn from your suffering. Learn from your challenges and take responsibility for your life. It is never one person’s fault when a marriage fails. So stop thinking you did it everything right, and stop playing the helpless victim.
This means asking yourself things like “how did I contribute to this problem? What could I have done differently? Did I make assumptions that were wrong? Did I give my spouse the benefit of the doubt? Did I consider what challenges my spouse was going through? Was I treating my spouse how I wanted to be treated?”
As soon as I took responsibility for my role in my past, my story was rewritten. And I was able to powerfully respond to my life, and change everything.
“We spend our life seduced by the outside world, convinced that happiness and suffering come from ‘out there.’ Yet happiness and suffering come from the way we perceive and interpret things, not the things themselves.” Robina Cortin
Change your thinking. Chances are if you have an unhappy marriage you spend a lot of time thinking about all the things you don’t like about your spouse. This too is a choice. When I realized I was doing this, I made a point to think back on what made me fall in love with my husband in the first place. And when I did that, I realized he still had all those qualities that I loved way back when. So I made a point to focus on the things I loved about him because there were many.
And the more I focused on his wonderful traits, the more I found. It is true, what you focus on grows.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
Decide who you want to be as a couple. My husband and I went to counseling for months. Each time we went, I would cry about something in the past. At the same time, I was studying to be a coach, and I realized that the only way to move forward, was to move forward. We knew what our issues were, we had already discussed them countless times. We knew what choices got us into the situation we were in. So I told my husband I wanted to stop going to counseling. We made a commitment to let go of the past. We instead sat down and decided to talk about what we both wanted as a couple.
This set the stage for living in the present, and building a different future.
Prioritize the relationship. Go on dates. Flirt with each other. Laugh. Hold hands.
Take care of yourself so you feel good about yourself. Have separate interests so that you remain interesting to one another. Travel.
Spend time as a family. And have sex. Lots of sex.
This last part is for those of you so caught up in yourself that you think you don’t want to make it work.
You are flirting with disaster, and you need a reality check. Trust me, I was there. You need to hear this.
Your kids will suffer tremendously, and life is hard enough.
Holidays, birthdays, graduations will never be the same again.
Think about what your kid’s weddings will be like. You on one side with your new spouse, and your ex on the other with his.
Think about your future grandchildren. Think about having to deal with your new spouse’s offspring, and his/her future grandchildren.
Think about your kids living in a house with another man, or another woman.
Make sure you are in a good place, because you will attract people just like you. Is that a good thing? Only you know that.
Also remember that whatever issues you have in this current relationship, you will carry to another. Life will bring you the same circumstances until you learn your lesson. You can walk away from a marriage, but you can’t walk away from yourself. This may be why the second marriage divorce rate is 67% and third marriage divorce rate is 73%.
Ask yourself this “if I cannot make it work with someone I share so much with (history, children, extended family and friends), what makes me think that I can make it work with someone else?”
The irony is that so many people get divorced because they are “not happy, or not in love.” Yet, truth be told, happiness, love and great marriages are not accidental or random. They are intentional choices that we all make. The first step towards creating the marriage of your dreams, is accepting this fact.