Last week, I shared my #1 tip of a healthy happy relationship and since then I have been totally obsessed with thinking about else really makes relationships amazing!
And guess what?
I decided i couldn't just leave it at one! I have to give you my "second most important" tip for creating a mind blowing marriage!
After all, to me relationships are the most important things in the world and I believe, without a doubt, that the quality of your life, is directly linked to the quality of your relationships, especially your most intimate one, so I couldn't just keep this time to myself!
So here we go with...
James and Meg's Marriage Tips continued...
Marriage Tip #2
Learn to prioritize your relationship without becoming codependent!
When I look back on the 19 years of marriage that we have had I realized just how important prioritizing our relationship has been.
In the beginning this is much easier to do.
When a relationship is new it is so easy to make it important, to put it first, but as time goes on, and the relationship becomes more and more stable, we started to take it for granted. We forget what a beautiful precious gift a relationship is!
This happens so naturally as our lives tend to get more and more busy, as we get jobs that have more responsibility, we start our families, we become more invested in our community.
Things have a tendency to take over and pull us in opposite directions.
I know this was definitely true for James and myself.
As we started our own company, had two kids, created an amazing community, added another business, and began to give our time to volunteering it seemed like our relationship kept getting pushed further and further back.
So for James and myself, taking the time to prioritize our marriage became something we needed to do in order to survive.
But what does prioritizing you relationship actually mean?
And how do yo know you are doing it?
Prioritizing your relationship means putting all aspects of your life through the filter of how things affect the space between you and your partner.
And choosing a lifestyle that makes that space as sacred as possible!
Is the space between me and my partner safe?
Is the space between me and my partner open? A place where we can say anything?
Is the space between me and my partner a place where we can explore who we are?
Where we can find acceptance and we can let down?
Where there is not an attachment to the results, decisions or behaviours but to the mental and emotional health of the other person?
Is the space between us a place where we can feel free to change? To express ourselves? To make mistakes?
When you create a space like this, you prioritize your relationship and you make the space between you and your partner a sacred space where you can be authentic, a place where the outside circumstances of your life are not the most important thing.
It no longer matters if it's a super busy time in your lives, or if things are pretty laid back, if you have lots of time together or your time together is limited, if you have kids, or it's just the two of you.
Your life circumstances can ebb and flow when the focus is on keeping the emotional space between you heathy, open and free.
Unfortunately when most of us think of prioritizing our relationships, we think it means becoming the same as our partner,
Or if we are brutally honest, having our partner become the same as us!
But this is not prioritizing, this is co-dependance!
When we are co-dependent we are frustrated when our partners don't want to be involved with the same activities as we do, don't like the same things we like, don't have the same dreams for the future as we do, or don't want to spend their time and money the same way as we do. We fall under the impression that our feelings, interests, wants and views on life should match our partners.
We risk losing ourselves and our connection to what we feel, what we are interested in, and what we want all in some misguided idea that "love" equals "same".
To cope with this we often let the other person make decisions for us or mold ourselves into what our partners want us to be, leaving no room for autonomy.
Or maybe you find yourself on the opposite end and you are the one who swallows up the personality and desires of your partner, controlling them in such a way that they lose connection with themselves.
The biggest problem with co-dependency is eventually you and your partner are going to become resentful and exhausted.
It sets up a recipe for disaster because it pollutes the space between the two of you with expectations, demands and disappointments AKA relationship killers!
So if you look at your relationship and you see a need to prioritize it in a new way here are two ways you can do that:
1. Make your relationship a judgment free zone.
No matter what the other person brings into the space between you, refuse to judge it. Whether it's wanting to work more hours, going out with friends again, not wanting to go with you to the party because "they've never liked those people anyway" refuse to let your first response be judgment.
Instead get curious!
This is an opportunity to get to know our partner. Ask questions, try to understand their reasoning and you may find you learn something about them and the way they see life that you never knew before!
2. Let go of any attachment to outcome.
You love your partner for who they are, not because of who you are making them be.
Stop trying to control them, and the ay they live their lives.
Instead open yourself up to what their life might teach you!
Remember that you love them and chose them for a reason!
This may seem counter - intuitive, and I am not saying that you shouldn't have boundaries or that you shouldn't be able to express your needs, but if you try to do that by controlling them and the way they live they will never be in the frame of mind to ever understand your needs or respect your boundaries.
I am saying that by giving them the space to be them self, without the need to change, they, in time, can turn around and do the same for you!
I wish you a boat load of hugs, kisses, long talks, slow dances, and a glimpse into the sacred space between you and those you love!