I hit the jackpot!
We were married on 11/11/11 at 11:11 am on a sunny fall morning in the living room of our home in the company of our parents and all 5 of our children.
The quality of love, intelligence, kindness, thoughtfulness, warmth and devotion that we bring to our marriage makes my heart sing.
We know how to celebrate joys both big and small with great enthusiasm and delight. And how to comfort each other when disappointments and sorrows cast their long shadows.
We take palpable pleasure in being the wind beneath each other’s wings.
The realities of integrating our families of origin, the families we created in our former marriages and the new family members that enter via marriage and birth both challenge and invigorate us. We are all in for all the excitement.
No matter what comes, we are there for each other with a strength of commitment and abiding love that nourish our souls. We never grow tired of marveling at our good fortune.
Not only do we share and invent dreams together, we strive to live each day as if it were the first, the last and only day we have on earth. This adds a deep poignancy to everything.
I was determined not to repeat the mistakes of my first marriage.
My first marriage was a minefield of disappointments and resentments. I didn’t know the first thing about creating a strong, loving relationship. And neither did he.
We floundered in an unhappy miasma from the beginning. Each blaming the other for our unhappiness and hoping against hope that the other would change.
Neither of us had any useful relationship skills to help pull us out of our misery. Years of traditional therapy for me yielded a big fat zero in the relationship skills department. How could that be?
How did other couples make it work? Just lucky? There had to be more to it than that.
In the pre-internet days, I scrounged for help wherever I could find it.
I listened to radio and TV self-help gurus. I read countless relationship books throughout the 1980s and and 90s.
When I discovered the concept that one of us can bring the two of us together, I was outraged. I scoffed at such ridiculousness.
I was already doing all the heavy lifting and now I was asked to do even more? No way! Why was it always the woman who had to change? Where was his responsibility to be a better husband?
After 20 years of a disintegrating marriage causing depression and despair, divorce was my way up and out to a more peaceful life. Over the years I had learned that there was no worse loneliness than the loneliness of an unhappy marriage.
I vowed I’d rather be alone for the rest of my life than chance another unhappy marriage.
Even still, I yearned for a marriage of equals. A marriage of love and romance, caring and appreciation. I was not giving up on marriage at all.
I still had half my life ahead of me and I was determined to uncover the secrets to abiding love.
After my divorce, I decided to become a relationship ninja.
I continued to devour all the self-help marriage and relationship books, studies, research, and pop-psychology advice I could find. Men Are From Mars, Women Are Venus anyone?
When I finally met Mark in 2007, I was ready to put into practice all the theories I had amassed over the years. I even revisited the one about how one of us could bring the two of us together. And just so you know, now I understanding what it really means. It’s a principle I teach in my coaching practice. and it’s so good.
The fundamental difference this time around was that I was ready, willing and able to take responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and actions in every aspect of my life. I would not expect my partner to solve my problems, “make me happy” or to “make me feel whole or complete.” All those things were my responsibility.
So, in honor of our 10th wedding anniversary, I’m delighted to share some easy, science-backed relationship hacks. They have the power to improve the quality of your relationship. And, tada, you can start today.
We all deserve to love our love life.
Let’s toast to that!
Touch your partner warmly.
The simple act of holding hands can make a difference. Even when its not spontaneous.
In an experiment with couples who watched a video together, some partners were instructed not to touch each other during the video. Others were told to touch each other in a “warm, comfortable and positive way.”
Afterward, the people who had been touched reported being more confident of being loved by their partner. This effect occurred even when the people knew that their partners’ actions were being directed by the researchers.
Their rational selves knew that the hand-holding wasn’t a spontaneous gesture of affection, but it made them feel better anyway.
Give your partner the benefit of the doubt.
Replace criticism and judgement with curiosity.
If your partner does something you don’t like, refrain from creating a negative story around it. Researchers found that one of the biggest differences between happy and unhappy couples is their “attributional style” in explaining a partner’s behavior.
Unhappy couples tend to automatically attribute a permanent inner flaw in the partner as the reason for the problem.
When something goes wrong, before drawing any conclusions about your partner, consider that an alternative explanation may be at play.
Become the watcher of your disagreements.
An experiment over two years with 120 married couples in Chicago periodically asked them questions about their marriages. During the first year, their satisfaction with their marriages declined. Which is pretty common.
At the start of the second year, some of the couples were instructed to try a particular strategy. When they found themselves in an argument they were told to think about this disagreement from the perspective of a neutral third party. From the point of view of someone who wants the best for both of them. From a person who can see things from a neutral point of view.
How might this person think about the disagreement? How might he or she see the good that could come from it?
Turns out that this little exercise made a big difference.
Over the next year, marital satisfaction remained stable in those couples who received the watcher advice. On the other hand, marital satisfaction continued to decline in the control group that hadn’t been instructed to take the third person watcher perspective.
Appreciate the things your partner does to “invest” in the relationship.
Once a week, write down a few things your partner has done to “invest in the relationship.”
The participants in one experiment were instructed to do just this. Other participants, however, were instructed to list things they had done themselves to invest in the relationship.
The ones who were proud of themselves for their investment felt a little more committed to the relationship. But, the ones who wrote about their partner’s contributions felt significantly more committed . And also, not surprisingly, felt a lot more gratitude toward their partners.
Graciously accept compliments from your partner.
One of the most common factors in failed marriages is the “rejection sensitivity” of one partner.
People with low self-esteem have a hard time believing their partner really loves them. Therefore, they often preemptively discount their partner’s affection to avoid being hurt by the expected rejection.
Eventually, even when they start off with a loving partner, their worst fears come true. Their defensive behavior ends up driving the other person away.
In testing ways to counteract this anxiety, researchers asked insecure people to recall a specific compliment from their partner. Giving a detailed account of the situation and the compliment didn’t have any effect. Apparently, these insecure people could dismiss it as a lucky aberration: “For once I did something right.”
But there was a notable effect when people were asked to think about the compliment abstractly: “Explain why your partner admired you. Describe what it meant to you and its significance for your relationship.”
That quick exercise helped them see why their partner could really care for them.
Celebrate the little things.
Big victories in life are few and far between. Small victories can be every day occurrences and give us the perfect opportunity to celebrate something positive.
When your partner tells you about something that went right in his or her day, get excited about it. Ask questions so your partner can tell you more about the event and relive it.
Put some enthusiasm into your voice and your reactions. Researchers call this a “capitalization attempt.”
When researchers studied couples who were trained to use these techniques in their evening discussions, each partner took more pleasure from their own victories. And the cherry on top was that both partners ended up feeling closer to each other.
By sharing the joy, everyone came out ahead — and in true love-hack fashion, it didn’t take much time at all.
A loving, supportive partnership even makes weight loss easier.
In my It’s Never Too Late Weight Loss Coaching program, we do a 360 degree review of your satisfaction in all area of your life, including your love life. That’s how we can determine if there are any emotional energy drains that you wish were different or better that could be negatively affecting your weight loss progress.
Once we better understand any of those issues, we can address them by creating a customized weight loss program that fits your unique needs. That is the beauty and flexibility of 1:1 coaching.
Since one of my passions is coaching on relationship health, if that’s an area of your life that you want to improve, let’s integrate that into your weight loss coaching program.
Isn’t it time to take me up on my offer for a FREE Strategy Call so we can get started?
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon.
It’s Never Too Late to make your weight loss journey easier. A year from now, you will thank yourself you started today.
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