Back in the bad old days in my marriage, I used to go to my friends for love, encouragement, and advice often. I am incredibly grateful that I have such loving, caring, and patient friends who were willing to listen to me, hold my hand through the most difficult days, and pour their love onto me when I was struggling.
Whenever I told my friends about what I was doing and going through, they would give me a hug, tell me how much they loved me and how much I deserved to be happy, and then…
..“you deserve so much better”, “why do you let him treat you that way”, or “you really need to tell him how that makes you feel”, or “you need to give him an ultimatum”, or the most painful one in my opinion, “you need to have more self-respect and leave him”.
All of these words were said with beautiful intentions and were loaded with love, however they were also discouraging. The truth was, I didn’t want to leave my husband or give him an ultimatum that I knew I wasn’t going to follow through on. I wanted to have a loving, connected marriage and none of those comments were very helpful.
I didn’t just hear it from friends. The internet told me as much too. All of the “experts” who had written the marriage advice books I read said the same type of things.
None of it was helpful, inspiring, or aligned with my values or desires.
Eventually, I stopped talking about my marriage altogether. However, by that point, there were several people who already knew everything and so not talking about it didn’t stop them from asking how things were going or giving me advice. As much as I appreciate their love and beautiful intentions, I often found myself spiraling into needless emotional turmoil and doubting myself.
I would love to share with you some of the lessons I learned that helped me stay on the path towards healing my marriage without allowing anyone’s thoughts or opinions to sway me.
Look to the Women Who Are Ahead
Whenever I began to doubt my path with the Intimacy Skills, I would remind myself that well over 15,000 women around the world have already walked this path successfully and come out with a thriving marriage. I reminded myself that these skills have been proven to work and that I wasn’t alone. I was one of thousands of courageous women doing the work to transform their marriage from the inside out- and the transformation began within me.
At the very beginning of my journey with the skills, I remember writing, “faith over fear” on a sticky note and sticking it on my mirror so I saw it every day. I even put reminders on my phone that would go off three times every day! That’s how much I needed the reminder.
Dear friend, you are not alone. You can do this!
Just like I learned that I can say, “I hear you” to my husband when he speaks, even if I don’t agree, I realized I could use this powerful phrase with my friends or anyone else that shared their opinions and advice with me. Just because they said something didn’t mean I had to dive into needless emotional turmoil. People are allowed to think for themselves and that doesn’t mean I have to correct them, start a debate, convince them, or believe them. I can simply say, “I hear you” and move on. Now that’s empowering!
When people say these types of comments, even if they can be painful and discouraging to hear, there is usually a heart message tucked inside. The heart message is almost always love, care, affection, and concern. Can you find the heart message?
Another Cheat Phrase
When I was feeling particularly vulnerable or sad about my marriage and my friends wanted to discuss how things were going, I realized I didn’t have to talk about it if I didn’t want to. I could honor my limits and emotions by saying, “I can’t talk about this right now. Thank you for caring and asking.”
We all have limits. They deserve to be honored.
You’re invited to join the private Facebook group:confident & Magnetic Wives for women to get inspiration, tips, and encouragement as you become empowered in your marriage. I’d love to have you in the community!
You may also enjoy: How to Use Your Influence to Shift Negative Patterns In Your Relationship
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