Why your marriage is a mess… and what to do about it #1
There’s probably a bazillion reasons why your marriage is a mess, but we’re going to start this week with a LONG and small segmented series on respect – one that will deepen our relationship with God, ourselves, and others to help you straighten things out.
And even if your marriage is NOT a mess – there’s stuff you need to know so you can help others. 🙂
It’s what I call Minutia Momentum – and it’s based off a couple of proven (and Biblical) ideas. And it’s not going to make you a doormat.
First, understand what a “Minutia Moment” is by reading this.
Then, get the skinny on Transforming Your Habits by subscribing to James Clear. He doesn’t know me, and I don’t know him, btw. He’s just a stinkin’ smart guy who understands how vitally important the tiny decisions we make every single day are.
We get freaked out when we think about the mess our marriage is in – and that freak out leads to behavior that actually makes things worse. My marriage isn’t now nor has ever been PERFECT. It’s had plenty of messy moments, some that last a while. A LONG while. I admire my husband’s approach – it’s actually a bit better than most, and totally goes against our natural tendencies. He just focuses on one small thing at a time – and over time, those small things add up to lives CHANGED.
NOT focusing on the small daily positives (positive minutia moments) often creates more problems than are fixable. Check this for the top ten ways to destroy your marriage if you want to understand some of the Gottman Institute research behind that.
Too often when a man or woman starts making changes in their marriage after things have been bad for a long time – TLTL syndrome sets in… “It’s too little, too late.” Both people need to understand that the minutia moments are the most important – if there aren’t many good ones, or if most is negative and not much effort is put into things, it’s unlikely the marriage will make it.
So we need to both give the small – and receive the small.
Because people are usually lousy skill-wise at something new – so we need to give ourselves and others TIME (and grace) for things to get easier and become more natural.
Ramping up the little positive things is often the best thing people can do. If your marriage is in a state where Gottman’s four horsemen of the apocalypse are present, however, you need immediate triage. That starts with apology. And probably a Gottman counselor (85+% success rate with couples as compared to 20% traditional counseling. Spend the money. GO.)
We’re going to assume you don’t need triage, however. (If you do, leave a question in the sidebar and we’ll get to it in September).
And stick with me to the end here, so you can chime in on how often you want the experience of what we’re about to start (although if you’ve been doing the dare journey with us, you’ve already started!)
So here’s what we’re going to do. James Clear talked about how adding just a little weight each day to his workout made it easy to have an end result weeks later that was actually a lot more weight – this works in relationships, too, and it’s part of the reason Daughters of Sarah and The Respect Dare book work.
We’re going to stop listening to our nature:
And after that, we’re going to take small, consistent baby steps toward respecting God, ourselves, and others, and we’ll see our relationships start to change.
Small, doable steps, done daily, over time – minutia moments + time = momentum.
So I’m going to toss out SMALL Minutia Moment sized dares for you – ones that will change your relationships if done consistently over time. They’re Biblically based. 🙂 Research supported. Legit.
I’m going to get started Wednesday morning this week – you can join me, and I’d encourage you to bring a friend or two as we have learned that peer pressure can be a good thing if it’s encouragement toward the right behavior.
We are wired this way for a reason and we can use this social influence to our benefit if we will but seek out the influences that encourage us in the direction we want to go. We have seen the famous Asch Experiment repeated in multiple demographics and it always turns out the same – people will knowingly go with a crowd, even if the crowd is obviously wrong.
Wise women surround themselves with people who have the same goals as they do.
In other words, if you want to turn your marriage around, stop hanging out with the women who are busy husband-bashing. Stop spending so much time with people who are divorced or having marriage issues and thinking about divorcing.
Surround yourself with STRONG WOMEN. Seriously – and I mean strong as in, “I’m not giving up on this, God means all this for good, and I’m going to do my best to bring glory to God no matter how long it takes or how hard it is.”
Why? It literally can be as simple as: if you want to get divorced, hang out with divorced people. If you want to get fat, hang out with fat people. It’s called conformity.
We’re wired this way. Purposefully.
And we can use it to our benefit.
Frankly, my ego is a little damaged by how simple this is, but God knew what He was doing – we just need to listen and use it to our best interest. (His best interest for us!!) That’s why the Bible tells us to avoid angry people or we’ll become just like them.
Other people are CONTAGIOUS.
Their thoughts, their habits, their lifestyles, even the way they look… So be wise in who you pick for “besties.”
(And I’m not saying dump your friends when they hit a rough patch – everyone has them. I’m saying have 3 solid friends who will love you enough to tell you the truth regardless of what it is.)
If you are currently doing the new dare journey with us, you’ll see this fits right in and is intended to carry us through to the next thing. I know some of you are doing groups with that, and this should fit into your groups with just a little tweaking. Please forgive me for being inconsistent with it – long story short, there were things I didn’t know I didn’t know. But we’re moving forward now. 🙂
So what do you think? How have you seen small things impact your relationships? Are there small things that are done or not done that over time have caused issues? What do you think about turning this direction as we keep working through the dare process?
And here’s one more big question – how often do you want to talk about this? Is 2-3 times a week too much?
Can’t wait to talk about these things with you this week! 🙂 Give me a little grace on the timing of my responses – have a deadline with my publisher… 🙂 (Can’t wait to tell you about it, too! 🙂 )
Love to you,
If you are just joining us, these might be of interest, too:
If you got this as an email forward from a friend who cares about you and your family, know we’d love YOU to join us on this journey. You can join the journey, get marriage TIPS! articles, a free copy of my latest eBook to help with your marriage, and other marriage info here. We promise not to share your email with anyone, ever. You’ll get just one or two TIPS! articles a week, plus a blog post as they come, usually 1-2 a week.