Just like you’d want to review your job performance or a student’s progress, you need to review your marriage. Think of it as a check-up. Otherwise, how do you know what’s working and what’s not, if you don’t review it?
In this episode, I share a three-step process to help you take a non-judgmental, honest look at your marriage. This is the beginning of training your brain to see the good things in your relationship and not just the bad. It also helps you start separating out what’s in your control and what isn’t. And, trust me, that matters.
As I always say, your relationship with yourself is the foundation for all your other relationships. If you struggle with loving yourself, I have a free resource for you at: https://sheilamorgancoaching.com/freebie
Hey everybody. I’m so glad that you’re here. I really enjoyed creating the first podcast, even though I talked a little bit more about personal stuff than I planned, but what the hell let’s just get into it and be authentic and be vulnerable right from the get-go. Today’s episode. Let’s start at the beginning, right?
This is the place where, um, you know, the shows that they do make overs. I don’t know if you guys remember what not to wear, uh, with Stacey and, uh, like extreme makeover or, um, like one of my favorite shows nowadays is watching queer eye with the fab five. And the first thing that they do is they. Go to the place where they’re going to be doing the makeover and they show you how things are right now.
They say, this is how this person is dressing, and this is how they’re living their life. Or these are some problems they’re having , this is how this isn’t working for them. This is what is working, you know, this, the things that they like and. Then that’s how they start their show out. They want to give you like a base, a framework, something to compare to so that at the end of the show, when everything’s beautiful and everybody’s happy and smiling and laughing and there’s tears, all that stuff, then you can compare it to where they started and really see the changes and see the progress that was made.
So that’s what we’re going to do with your marriage. Okay. We’re going to take a look at where you are right now. And I know that a lot of times when. Like I know for me when I was first starting out as a coach, one of the things that they taught me was, take a look at how you’re coaching, take a look at what’s working in your coaching business.
What’s not working. And my first thought was nothing’s working. Like everything is broken, nothing’s working. I don’t know what to do. And that’s what our brain is going to do. It’s going to first see the broken bits, uh, the parts that are, uh, not working, right. Not aligned. It’s okay. It’s totally normal that your brain wants to find the negative things first.
That’s actually how your brain is. Your brain is meant to keep you alive. So what it’s always doing all the time is looking for danger and danger could show up in many different ways. There’s a struggle. There is a problem. There’s pain, there’s hurt. There’s tears, there’s arguing. There’s all of those things.
That’s where your brain is going to go first. So we’re not going to go there first. We are going to start with what’s working. And what is working sometimes can be subtle and sometimes can be hard to find. So if you’re really struggling and really having a lot of problems, you might have to just find something that’s neutral or above like, uh, well, we’re both alive.
Um, we’re both still married. We’re still living in the same house. Maybe it’s his parents are living in another state. All right. It could be any of those things. It doesn’t have to be sunshine, rainbows and roses all the time, but find something that’s above the neutral line. Okay? Now don’t put things down in this category of what’s working because you think they should be good things. Like, if I’m having trouble coming up with an example here. Oh, here we go. Here’s an example. Okay. Maybe it’s that. Let’s say your mother-in-law’s always offering you help and your brain tells you “oh, I should be grateful for that. I should think that’s really positive and really nice thing that she’s always offering me help.”
If you don’t actually think that’s a good, positive thing, don’t write it down. Be honest with yourself. If it’s working that she’s offering you help and you like it. Great. But if not, don’t write it down. Don’t guilt or shame yourself into seeing something as positive that’s not. The point of doing this, uh, exercise of finding the things that are working does more than just give you a baseline or a place to start.
It’s more than just avoiding looking at the negative things. It actually begins to train your brain to find more good, positive things about your relationship. And trust me, you want that? You want to have as many good thoughts about your marriage, as you can find. Not from a place of being in denial about the reality of your marriage, but in beginning to see what really does work.
And that is the whole point of this entire exercise I’m walking you through is to get really clear about what’s working. What’s not about your relationship. Okay. So speaking of what’s not working that’s step two, our question number two, it’s this one’s going to be a lot easier because like I said, your brain is going to default to this.
It’s so easy to find the things that aren’t working. It’s like, oh, give me a fresh pen and a fresh piece of paper. Cause I could write all day. Well, don’t do that. We’re going to limit this to the top three things that aren’t working because yeah, you could nitpick the fuck out of this and I don’t want that.
And you don’t want that either. And you’re probably already spending a lot of time tearing apart your marriage, if things aren’t going well. Let’s just pick the top three things. And try to keep it really related to your marriage, right? Like don’t, um, talk about, um, my boss always wants me to work late.
Like that’s a problem with your job. That’s not our problem with your marriage. Your partner complains to you about you working late. That’s a problem in your marriage. You see the difference there? So make sure it’s actually about your marriage. Okay. So now that you have three only three, the top three problems or issues that you’re dealing with in your marriage, the things that are like most important, most critical for you to address the third question in our marriage review is which of these do I have control over?
Like let’s, let’s get real here. Like, can you force your partner to be different? Can you make them change? Like if they’re not helping out with chores or helping out with the kids or they’re doing things that you don’t like, can you force them to change? No. And the reverse is also true. If you’re thinking that they make you go to their parents or they’re making you do things.
They are not able to force you to do anything either. And if they are physically forcing you to do things, then that’s a whole different, that’s a whole different thing than what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about two consensual adults, in a relationship in a marriage, and you want it to work.
You love this person. You want the marriage to work. If you’re in a situation where someone is absolutely controlling everything that you do, you’re not in a marriage, you’re in prison. So I just finished reading the book Man’s Quest for Meaning. Um, no, it’s, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. And it is it it’s his account or the first part of it is his account of being in a concentration camp.
And in that camp, they did control every single thing that they did. They controlled what they wore, what they ate, when they slept, the work that they did, all of that. And you know, the one thing that they couldn’t control and Victor talks about this, the one thing that they couldn’t control is how they thought. Nobody else can control your thinking.
That is entirely yours. And your thoughts direct your feelings. How you think immediately impacts how you feel. So if the things that are on your list, if they fall into the category of things that you think, things that you feel or things that you do, then you are the one that has control over them, not your partner.
That concept right there is definitely its own episode. And we will come back to that many, many times because it’s critical to understand this idea of how your thoughts, your feelings, they are your own. When we’re in relationships, the things that we’re learning to manage… our feelings, our thoughts… they are brought to our attention more readily than when we’re just by ourselves.
The thing to remember is even though these emotions and thoughts come up for us, it is our responsibility, not our partners to work our stuff out. I love the Brené Brown quote, “stop working your shit out on other people”. Like it is not up to other people to help us manage these things. And one of the things that I see happening over and over and over is we’re requiring other people to behave differently so that we feel better.
And if our thoughts and feelings and actions are in our control, then it’s just ridiculous to expect other people to change so we can feel good. It is our responsibility to figure that stuff out, to change our thoughts and our feelings and our actions.
Okay. Let’s review. Phew, where are we now? Okay, so question number one is how is our relationship working?
How is my marriage working? And I hope you found some things there… listed some good things out that you really feel positive that you really feel, “yes, these are working”. And then step two was to pick the top three things that aren’t working and really constrain it to the top three. Don’t pick 47. Okay. The third step is to sort out the things you can control from the things you can’t control.
And remember what are the things you can control? You can control how you think, how you feel and how you act, but you can’t control how the other person thinks, feels or acts. Super important to remember that. Now you’re probably wondering, well, what about the parts I don’t have control over? What can I do about those? Hah!
Well, that is also its own episode. So I’m going to end this one here and I will talk about that in our next episode. So take a look at your marriage, put on the lab coat, be the scientist. Don’t be the judge. Don’t beat yourself up for whatever you discover. This is an opportunity to be curious and to learn about yourself and learn about your marriage.
Thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate you. Y’all have a good day. Okay, bye.