Relationship Advice for Keeping Your Marriage Strong

Some of it in our lives is good and some of it is not so good.

And if the truth is told, we like drama as much as the next person does…

But is it good for us and our relationship and life?

For entertainment, we like to watch reality shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol” that are filled with drama as well as murder mysteries, medical dramas and action movies.

Even sports shows and the 6 o’clock news are filled with drama–and that’s one big reason we all watch them.

People just can’t seem to get enough of drama.

Don’t even get us started on the drama of “talk radio.”

We, as individuals and as a culture like drama so much that we create a lot of it in our own lives–and it’s time for all of us to stop if we want to be happier and more peaceful.

It’s time to make the shift from the separateness and tension that all the drama in our lives creates to having more love, openness, harmony, passion and connection.

It’s time for us to stop the stories and get back to the loving.

If you’re thinking that this sounds a little like we’re talking about a utopia that can never happen, you may be right…

But we don’t think so and here’s why…

We’ve seen strong evidence in our lives and in the lives of other people that when you drop the drama and the negative stories and allow love to take over, your life and relationships change.

Now, we know that it’s very seductive to stay in the drama of a situation, maybe one that happened many years ago, rather than to bring yourself completely into the present moment and be in your life right now.

We’re not saying that people haven’t had terrible childhoods, harmful relationships and horrible things happen to them in the past.

They certainly have.

What we are saying is that to carry this drama and these stories into their current relationships–reliving and recreating the past trauma, day in and day out–keeps you stuck, anxious, and unhappy with no chance of a happy, loving life.

Otto talked to a man just the other day who wasn’t sure what he was going to do because he was $180,000 in debt and his prospects for getting a job in his chosen field weren’t materializing so far.

There was of course a lot of drama around this as you might imagine and we’re certainly not minimizing his situation.

But what we’ve found is…

As long as you focus on being $180,000 in debt and no job, you won’t get a job and nothing will change with your debt.

As long as you focus on what your partner is doing wrong, he or she won’t change and won’t come closer to you.

As long as you focus on your physical challenges and what you can’t do, nothing will change.

We’re not suggesting that you put blinders on and pretend that your challenges don’t exist.

We’re saying that you start looking for a possibility or way of looking at your life that may bring you more ease and happiness.

Several years ago, Susie realized that when Otto used a particular tone in his voice that it really made her angry and she felt like he was belittling her.

It helped when she made the connection that this was how she felt sometimes when her father talked to her as she was growing up–but she didn’t make the shift she needed to make until she decided to take another step.

She chose to stop telling the “story” and keep the drama going that her father (and Otto) didn’t think she was good enough.

Because the truth was–she really didn’t know that they thought this at all. This was just her projection.

She chose instead to stop what we later called “talking on eggshells” and begin focusing on possibility and openness.

Instead of withdrawing into anger, silence and sarcasm at those times, she began choosing to bypass her stories and drama and talk about the issue in the current moment, looking for a resolution instead of putting up barriers.

(If you “talk on eggshells” and want help changing it, get our “Stop Talking on Eggshells” program.)
How can you stop the drama and negative stories that hold you back and keep you anxious and afraid?

Here are a few ideas to get you started toward looking for love and possibilities instead…

1. It’s just a habit.

Keeping your dramas and stories going is just a habit that you can break.

Just like any habit, it takes making another choice one moment at a time.

When you get the urge to go into your story that “he would rather be with that other woman” or “she doesn’t love me anymore,” remind yourself that that is a story that you don’t actually know that it’s true (unless you have evidence that it is).

Look for a way that might bring you closer instead of dwelling on what you don’t want.

While we’re certainly not suggesting that you stay in a relationship that is toxic for either of you, we are saying to recognize if you have a habit of finding fault and focusing on it–and then make an effort to change that habit.

If you are considering leaving and need help making that decision, look at our “Should You Stay or Should You Go?” program.

2. Be loving and patient with yourself.

One of the biggest problems in relationships, especially those of us from western cultures, is that there’s a lot of self-hatred and not a whole lot of self love.

After all, how can you love someone else when you can’t love yourself?

You really can’t.

Begin to love yourself by looking for times when you acted in the way that you could be proud of.

Maybe you said what was true for you when many times in the past, you haven’t.

The idea is to stop beating yourself up for what you haven’t done that was “right” and focus on what you’re doing that is bringing you closer to what you want.

3. Have an “Appreciation Fest.”

An “Appreciation Fest” is taking some time for both of you to appreciate one another. If your partner isn’t interested in doing something like that, take the initiative and simply tell him or her when you appreciate something that he or she has done.

Instead of holding back those expressions of gratitude because of all the past hurts you’ve suffered, come into the present moment and acknowledge what’s right–here and now.

Our goal is simple…

We want it to be normal and natural for couples to be in a state of love and abundance instead of disconnection and lack of love.

We believe that this is the way the world will change–one person and one couple at a time.

You can start by looking at the drama in your life, how it’s being kept going and making the choice to love instead.

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