It’s our anniversary today! (I’m actually writing this on the 8th, on our way to Yellowstone, the site of our honeymoon!)
I’ve been thinking back to the early days when my husband and I first came together.
They make me smile.
I feel so warm, so delicious, when I remember the way we lit up like fireworks when we would meet up. He was my favorite thing on the planet and I hated being away from him!
I remember one day specifically when I was starting to wonder if I was starting to really love him. He was on a snowmobile trip in West Yellowstone for a photography course he was taking, and I really missed him.
He called that night, and I was overjoyed to hear his voice. Feels like we talked forever and I wanted to crawl through the phone to be with him.
I knew that night that I loved him.
Talking then was so so easy.
I was soooo interested in what he had to say. I wanted to know everything about him and what was important to him. I wanted to hear about his day and how he experienced the world.
Flash forward just a few short years and that all changed.
I felt misunderstood, unappreciated, and angry, and we stopped enjoying talking together. What in the world happened??
Well if this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
If we take a look at the brain, it actually makes sense!
When we are focused on our partner, noticing and discovering all of their wonderful qualities, we think awesome thoughts about them.
“This guy is amazing!”
“He’s so talented!
“I love his voice.”
“I love his strength.”
“He has the most beautiful eyes.”
“He has such an interesting history….”
All of those positive thoughts make us feel amazing and happy, and then guess how we show up with them?
You got it! Full of light and joy. They see us as an amazing person too as we mirror this best version ourselves, and that attraction grows.
Then we get married and life happens.
We add some kids, a mortgage, life events, illnesses, financial struggles etc. and we STOP focusing on our partner and all of their wonderful traits.
Instead, we start wishing they could solve all of our problems for us, (They totally should right? Isn’t that what the fairy tale says?) and when they don’t, we are less satisfied with our choice.
We start to wonder if we were wrong about those first impressions, “-maybe I didn’t really know him.. he’s not the person he presented himself to be..”
But here’s the thing. Our partner didn’t change, our focus did!
We start tuning in to our differences and notice the human flaws (that we ALL have), instead of the incredible traits we were so drawn to at first.
How do we show up when that is our focus? – You’re right again! We once again mirror one another, but now instead of elevating each other, our negativity diminishes us.
We view each other through jaded lenses.
We can’t understand why the things we say are taken the wrong way, why the smallest comments start a fight.
What we don’t see is that we’ve created a hostile environment where neither of us feels safe.
And why would we if we know our partner is viewing us so critically?
The problem isn’t our lack of ability to talk together, it’s not communication that’s the issue, it’s a connection problem.
This is actually great news because you have the power to change this situation. You can reverse the damage by shifting your focus once again.
This is the work we do in coaching.
This is how my clients are experiencing such amazing results.
They are learning to manage their minds and think intentionally.
They are creating connection once again by silencing their lower brains, and working from their prefrontal cortex.
This takes work, it is a skill you must develop, but 100% YOU CAN DO IT!
So here’s my tip if this is going on with you.
Choose one thought to work on today. One pesky, critical thought that you decide to ban from your brain, from this day forward.
Then, when you notice it sneaking in, just remind your lower brain, “Sorry brain, but we’re not thinking that anymore.” And then replace it with a new, improved thought, that makes you feel more positively towards your spouse.
Try it, I promise it works, but you must practice it often in order to build that new neural pathway in your brain.
You can do this my friend! Give me a shout back sometime and let me know how this works for you!
And, if you (like me) recognize that you need some outside help, I’m here for you.
Work with me.