On a rainy night in February, Dino and I braved the traffic and drove to downtown Salt Lake to spend an evening with Jack Canfield. I have heard him speak before, but I was optimistic that I’d get a deeper understanding or a new perspective on something if I went.
And boy was I right.
Of course the presentation was meant for individual, personal development and business strategies, but I saw them through my marriage mentor eyes, and immediately applied them into my own relationship.
8 nuggets if wisdom for increasing my marriage:
1. Take 100% responsibility- act as if I created it all. If I am willing to accept how I created, or allowed every circumstance in my life, then I’ll also realize I have the power to change it. Instead of being a victim to my spouse’s actions or attitude, I will be able to create my own reality of the situation.
2. Event + Response= Outcome- This is a classic Success Principle out of Jack’s book. Instead of blaming the event, I need to change my response. So much of my mentoring work with couples is spent trying to apply this in their relationship. Even if your spouse does something “wrong”, the way you react largely determines what will happen next. Will this be a learning/come together moment? Or will your emotions flare and create disconnect between the two of you?
3. There are 3 steps to my successful & happy relationship:
- Stop doing things that don’t work
- keep doing the things that do work
- try on new things that I’ve never tried before
4. Have to give up the evil twins of blame & complain. These are 2 of the most toxic elements in a marriage. This echoes back to step #1 – stop projecting my negative feelings and results onto others, and taking ownership of them myself.
You can’t complain about something you can’t change. We only complain about stuff we know can be different & changeable.
A more honest definition of Complaint is, “I have something to change, but am not willing to take the time or effort to create it.”
Dino & I have a motto that “There are no obstacles, only problems to be solved.”
5. 3 responses we have control over:
- behavior- How I react, the actions I take.
- thoughts- What I allow to linger in my mind, belief systems I accept.
- imagery- Mental pictures I use to create my outer world.
We have the ability to affect matter through our mind, and I don’t think most of us, including myself, completely comprehend how much power we truly have or we’d utilize it better.
6. Replace “I can’t” with “I won’t”- This one stings sometimes when I own it, but man it’s powerful. Anytime I catch myself saying “I can’t”, I replace it with “I won’t”, which is a more accurate description of what’s really going on. Ouch! Again, it goes back to the 100% responsibility for myself, and not blaming others.
7. Eliminate guilt. Man, can you think of a more debilitating emotion than guilt? According to Jack, a good definition of guilt is: Having a belief that I, or my spouse, are supposed to be different than we are. That’s a no win proposition.
Instead, I’m choosing to:
- Change belief that I’m supposed to be is different than I am
- Live up to belief of who I really am
8. Take action daily- It’s one thing to learn great principles, and it’s another to actually put them into practice. What I’m doing, and I suggest you do as well is to take 5 steps daily towards creating the marriage I want.
Some ideas for taking action daily:
- demonstrate gratitude
- give compliments and praise liberally
- acknowledge my spouse for all the little & big things they do for me and the family
- laugh and find the humor in life
- connect emotionally, spiritually & physically every day
These are some starting tips for how to proactively strengthen your marriage, and they’ll create amazing results.
Final thought I have for you:
Keep your feet pointed forward. Usually breakdown in marriage comes when we are looking back at our evidence from our past instead of the future we want and can create. When I am confused, cranky or unhappy in my marriage, a great question I ask myself is: ” What am I not seeing because I’m focused on what is or has been, rather than my desired vision?” That usually shifts my perspective to where it needs to be-forward thinking.
I hope you find value in this relationship advice, and that you will incorporate them into your marriage.
I am curious, which nuggets resonated most with you? Please share in the comments below. I read every one of them, and I’d love to hear from you!
“Don’t ask for easier problems in marriage, ask for a greater you.” -Jim Rohn