Every week, I have the privilege of working with a very talented group of Relationship Coaches.
They are on staff for one purpose: to help you learn how to save your marriage.
But I get the benefit of their talent as we all learn from each other. Since we are spread all over the map, our meetings are by phone. And this past week, on that phone call, I got a gem of an insight I wanted to share with you.
Annette told us that she asked a client, “Are you committed to your relationship, or are you committed to your complaints?”
Let that sink in for a minute.
Where is your commitment? Is it to being right, to hold your spouse’s perceived shortcomings, mistakes, missteps, and failures up for the world to see? Or is it a commitment to building a loving marriage you both can treasure?
Here is a fairly universal truth — we all secretly believe that we are right, and our beliefs are true.
Oh sure, we may have some moments of doubt, but in the heat of a moment, we lead with our secret belief — not our humility.
This is true, even if you are working hard to save the marriage. Even if you are here, looking for advice on how you can turn your marriage around, this is a question to ponder.
You see, over the years, I have heard from the spouse who is trying to save a marriage and I have heard from the spouse who wants out.
The difference between them is not a belief in their personal innocence and rightness, but that one still wants to move forward and the other does not.
I am blessed with a loving wife and a strong marriage. Yet this still applies to me. A few years back, my wife and I got into a “heated discussion.” The content, like almost every other argument, is long lost to time.
During this particular discussion, we were in the midst of daily life in our house. So, the argument would go for a few exchanges, then we had to get something done. During one of the lulls, my wife had to go downstairs to take care of something.
Standing there in the kitchen, my mind kept playing out the discussion we were having, and a commitment grew in my mind about how right I was!
As that little scriptwriter in our mind often does, it created a script that I just knew would win the debate.
In my mind, my wife would see how right I was and how wrong she was. So, against the better judgement of my neo-cortex, I followed to the basement. I was just warming up to deliver my argument.
My wife turned and said “Before you say anything, if we are going to be together for our entire life, is what you are about to say going to help?”
I gulped down my words. I thought about what she said, and apologized. The argument ended there.
When I went to the basement, my commitment to my complaint was stronger than my commitment to our relationship.
Is that ever true for you?
Do you find yourself more committed to defending your beliefs than to defending your relationship.
Do you find yourself more committed to pointing out the “needed areas of improvement” in your spouse than you are to being in a loving relationship?
Do you find yourself more committed to scoring points and keeping score than to connecting and building connection?
Let me invite you to have a stronger commitment to your relationship than your commitment to your complaints.
Lee Baucom, Ph.D. is a best-selling author, therapist, coach and speaker, and has over a quarter of a century of experience helping couples and individuals learn to thrive in their relationships and their lives. He is the creator of the internet marriage program, Save The Marriage. <== Click Here!