When was the last time you said to your spouse, “You sound just like your Mom, or You sound just like your Dad.” Now listen to how you just “said” that in your head. Doing this can tell you a lot about what you think regarding your In-laws relationship. If you said that with a loving sigh, “You sound just like….. (sigh)” then your in-laws, more than likely have a fairly good relationship. However if it was a critical and snarky inter-cranial comment then you may not care for how your in-laws do some parts of their marriage.
Break the Habits & Opt Out
So how do you keep from repeating the same old habits in your marriage that you see in your parents, couple friends or even the characters in the media? Those annoying or downright unhealthy ways of doing relationship can get your marriage into deep trouble. But there’s a well kept secret that can help you overcome the relationship mistakes you see in other people – OPT OUT!!!
That’s right, I said it! No, I don’t mean opt out of your marriage but you can opt out of the old way of doing marriage. Just because you see people acting a certain way and maybe you’ve experienced marriage that way in your own home for years, doesn’t mean it has to continue. There are OPTions to stop doing the same old crap you’ve been experiencing all your life.
HOW DO I OPT OUT?
1) Get really clear on what you want.
That’s right! You have to know what you don’t want (this is usually easier to determine than what you DO want) to make sure this habit is something that needs to change. Evaluate the things in your marriage that drive you or your spouse crazy and make a list. (Looks like – We do this: Go into Ice Mode whenever we’re fighting and We want to do This: Talk about why we’re upset and come up with solutions instead of letting the problem get bigger).
2) Make a List.
In #1 above you got really clear on what you don’t want. Now make a list with both of you contributing on things you’d like to not continue.
We Do This: We want to do This:
Raise our voices when we disagree Stay calm and not shout at each other
Spend too much money at the holidays Make a budget and stick to it (both of us)
Choose our friends company over our spouse Plan date nights every week event if it’s just sit in the backyard and have a beverage.
Don’t have sex often enough Put it on the calendar, yes really!
Don’t feel like we move in the same direction Make some mutual goals as a couple
Feel unsafe when my spouse is angry Make an agreement to call a time-out that both people respect (let emotions cool, then discuss)
You get the idea. Just make a list of the things you don’t like and then how you’d rather they work out.
3) Make a plan
Choose 2 things you want to change and make a plan on how to get to the new outcome. Practice these two things for several months until they become more second nature, then choose 2 more
You’ll be amazed at what a difference just a few months and some intentional plans and practice will do for your marriage. As an added bonus, since you’re working on this together, that’s one goal you’ve already agreed on as a couple.
You can also use this technique in Reverse and Opt In to behaviors you see other couples using that you admire.
Here’s what many couple don’t realize. Just because you were raised by people who have terrible communication skills, no respect for the other person or have never been close as a couple, doesn’t mean you have to do what they did. Try OPTing out of this paradigm of bad habits and choose to do better.
We believe in you and know you and your spouse can be better, do better and have a happier relationship.
Drop a comment in the box below and let us know one thing you plan to change!