Our relationship we have with others is just the accumulation of thoughts we have about them. Our thoughts about what they say, how they act, what they look like. Out thoughts about their choices, their accomplishments, their haircut. Our thoughts about what they eat, what they wear, and how they spend their time. Our thoughts about their mission (or lack of it), their scripture reading, their church attendance, etc.
Many times my clients tell me that they don’t want to ignore reality and what is really happening in their marriage. I always wonder what that even means. We are interpreting reality through our thoughts all day, every day. WE tell ourselves what is happening in our relationship. Others have their own version and we have no control over that version. We have ALL the control over our own version.
I have had this experience with my husband at the end of a week:
Me: What a great week, we really connected and I loved it.
Him: I don’t know what you are taking about, we fought all week.
(This conversation is also just as likely the other way around.)
We both experienced the same conversations, the same hugs, the same dinners AND we both had opposite experiences. This is because we had very different thoughts about what we experienced. We thought our own thoughts about the relationship and came to different conclusions.
Sometimes my clients will say, if my partner is not happy I need to know that so I can do something about it (which usually means so I can feel bad too). I wonder if feeling bad that our spouse is feeling bad helps anything? Look at the example I provided. Feeling bad along with my husband does not help him feel better. Said another way (you cannot get sick to help a sick person feel well or get poor to help a poor person get rich).
I often ask my clients, what do you want in this relationship? Is what you are currently thinking, feeling and doing going to get you that result? You really have the choice to think and feel something else. This is not delusional, at least not any more delusional that the story you are currently telling yourself that is getting you your current results.
Write out the current “story” of your marriage. What are all the thoughts you are having? What is the theme? Do you like it? Do you like how you are showing up right now? Do you like the results in your marriage? If you do not and want to change, I recommend starting with the story which is a list of thoughts you are having. What else could be true here? What else could you tell yourself instead?
Are you ready to create a new relationship? If its time, let’s talk. It only takes one willing person to make big changes.