What Happened to My Marriage?!

You’ve Changed and I Don’t Like It!

Help!

Ever look at your spouse and wonder how you ever loved him? He changed so much, you wonder who he is. How did it all get so negative, where did the good stuff go?

Let’s see how perception changes through awareness; click here to watch a 70 second awareness test. Then click back to finish your article.

Notice how your focus caused you to miss the surprising element in the video. The second time around it is so easy to see, so obvious.

When marriage hits tough times, our focus narrows to the bad elements. This focus is so strong that we begin to believe the other person has changed for the worse, that marriage has failed. As perceptions change the sweet wife turns sour; the caring husband insensitive and we entertain thoughts like, “He’s not the right one.”

What Triggers

This happens when we get in a fuss. We focus on the negative characteristics of our mate and miss the fun parts, the good stuff, what we once loved. Like breathing, it is an automatic response from our brain, and the only way to control it is to replace negative thoughts with a new focus.

The more anger we feel toward someone, the more distrust, the more disappointment we experience; the more we perceive the other person as someone bad. Studies have shown that we color once pleasant memories to unpleasant ones. When unhappiness sets in wonderful honeymoons get colored to terrible experiences. A few nights of missed lovemaking become, “She withholds sex!”

Solution

The next time you see the bad parts, make an effort to look for the good stuff. Change the field of play through stating forgiveness, kind words, and positive thoughts. During good times keep a running tab of your spouse’s good points and focus on them often. Then when you fuss it will be easier to call up the qualities you love.

Perception change is dangerous to a marriage. If it happens too much your marriage becomes a mirage and you believe the false image.

Remember, focus can change perception. The next time you are focused on anger, remember that what you see is not the whole picture.  CoachOurMarriage.

Why The Fuss

Three Reasons why Husbands and Wives Fuss

Reason One

They sit on the couch to watch a movie. He’s been looking forward to time together and who knows maybe afterward lovin’ will follow. The fire is glowing and popcorn is in the bowl, the movie starts up.

She reaches drags the laundry basket over and begins to fold clothes, or stitch a blouse, or look over her checkbook for that missing deposit. He looks with disbelief and his temp rises. Fifteen minutes into the movie he’s in a huff and the night tailspins. What happened?

Women are great at multitasking, men are just okay. Men like to focus, it helps them complete a task like fixing a drain. Women can spread attention out, it helps them take care of kids in the middle of working on a spreadsheet. Men hate the interruption.

This basic difference is a major cause of fussing in most marriages. In the scene above he felt his wife rude and not in the movie with him. In short he felt rejected. See if this multitasking difference affects your marriage and if so discuss how you can fix it.  Agree to parameters.

Laura will mention that she wants to fold a basket of towels then, “I’ll be with you.” She is already with me but the multitasking makes me feel she is distant. Knowing the multitasking will last a short while, I am fine and realize that this is not a rejection, just the way she is. Next reason in a few days.

Pre-Marriage Education Workshop

Engaged?  Consider a pre-marriage workshop.
July 24, 1-5 pm in Pasadena CA.

Lay a great foundation for your future.  This four-hour workshop will help you communicate better, deal with money and children, and iron out personality and character.  And you will learn how to insure better intimacy.  The cost: $199.00. July 24th afternoon 1-5. The class is fun and non threatening. You will receive a booklet, worksheets and refreshments will be served. To reserve a space please call or click contact above and send an email.  626-676-3651.  See more here.

How To Listen

Listen with Your Heart

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice,

you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me

why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do

something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen.

All I asked was that you listen. Not to talk or do – just hear me.

Advice is cheap.

Ten cents will get you both Dear Abby and Bill Graham in the same newspaper.

And I can do that for myself.

I’m not helpless.

Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,

you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.

But, when you accept as a single fact that I do feel what I feel,

no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince

you and get to the business of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.

And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice.

So, please listen and just hear me. And if you want to talk,

wait a minute for your turn; and I’ll listen to you.

CoachOurMarriage

Help Us Communicate

Talk to Me

Our communication is in shambles, we hardly talk and when we do we fight. Help us to talk and not argue. Sandra


Dear Sandra,
I hear your pain and know that all who read this feel for you.  Communication is important and affects the whole family.  Here is how we would handle a coaching situation.

1. Set Your Goal.
First, we set a goal of safe communication and a peaceful atmosphere. You should feel that you can share a concern without starting a war. Setting a goal of safe communication changes your mind set and gets you open to solutions.

2. Find the Cause.
We want to find the communication breakdown.  Often an issue like anger wrecks communication and hurts everyone.  Let’s use anger as the breakdown issue.  If anger infests you home, we will chase it out.  Here is how we can handle it.

3. Find The Real Story
The real story behind anger is called drama.  Drama happens when anger lasts too long. We will look for the story held by the angry person.  Dealing with an angry person is tricky, but  “A soft answer turns away wrath.”  We will offer language tips to help avoid the anger.

Once we find the story behind the anger we can talk about the story.   Talking about the story puts you on the recovery road.  Now we can find out how that story relates to your marriage and how to change it.

If you have a question you would like answered, send it in. It will be confidential unless you want your name on it.

Thanks for reading, we hope to hear from you! Jim & Laura Write us

The Blame Game

The Blame Game

The Blame Game

Do you and your spouse play the blame game?

Blame sparks battles and shreds relationship.  To strengthen your marriage cry, “game over.” Here’s how.

Blame shifts responsibility.  Check out this example.
Sherry called her husband.  His cell was off.  Rejection boiled and exploded to an afternoon of seething.  When he arrived home, she let him have it, “Why was your cell off, I called all day, where were you?”
“Back off, I was in a meeting and switched it off.”
“You never think when it comes to me!”
As they slung blame on each other they ignited a full-blown argument.  There is a better way.

Shawn’s not answering his cell pushed Sherry’s rejection button – she allowed insecurity to turn to fear and brew to anger.  She blamed him when she could have taken responsibility for her insecurity.
Blaming each other is easier than accepting responsibility for an issue, but blame always fails, forgiveness succeeds.

When we refuse responsibility, we blame our spouse.  They set up a defense and war follows.  So, here is the cure, when you get triggered, stop and ask two questions: “What am I feeling?” Is it anger, rejection, or neglect?  Then ask, “What is the source?”  Did your parents treat you this way?  Next, tell your spouse about the trigger and discuss the source.  Sherry should have taken responsibility for her rejection.  “Today when you did not answer your cell, I felt a flood of rejection.  My father treated me this way.” Shawn could have apologized for being insensitive to her pain.

By taking responsibility and talking you avoid an argument and find your way to healing yourself and your marriage.  Taking responsibility and talking things out; it’s a better game.  CoachOurMarriage

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Changing the Leopard

Try to Understand

Try to Understand

“My husband is left handed and I want him right.”  “My wife has brown eyes and I want them green.”

Outrageous requests, but trying to change your spouse’s temperament ranks just as high on the crazy scale. Temperament is the genetic part of your personality. Think introvert, extrovert, or HSP. Trying to change this part of your spouse launches a losing battle. Rather than change them, follow these steps.

Seek to understand his/her temperament. Ask how they feel about life and daily living. Does work overwhelm him; does she love a busy schedule?

Listen as they describe their world and do not interrupt or correct. Allow him/her to share without reservation or fear of reproach. For example, your spouse may not like surprises. A new restaurant may be exhausting, yet for you it may be thrilling.  Hold back any criticism as they talk. Next, share your world.  Sincerely seek to understand your spouse’s world views and honestly share yours.

Next, compare notes and determine how the differences affect your marriage. Find the friction points and decide how to smooth them.  Your surprise birthday dinner at a new restaurant caused a battle. Maybe next time you research a new restaurant so your spouse can feel familiar with the new eatery.

Learn to trade; how to learn from each other? I am an HSP – Highly Sensitive Person – Laura is not. So I have learned to step out a little more, and she has gleaned some of my sensitivities. Growing together opens the lock, changing each other rusts it shut. We naturally change but not through force, let change be organic as you exchange each other’s world.

Finally, share expectations. This can and should take a while. That’s the fun, sharing your expectations over a long period of time. When you know your spouse’s expectations you better understand and therefore disappoint less. He may expect friends for his birthday. She may expect a quiet dinner followed by a walk.

Trying to change each other based on a fantasy or someone you know fractures a marriage; growing together knits it. Take time to learn about and from each other and you will weave a tapestry of beauty.  CoachOurMarriage

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