Of course, the names and pertinent details of this story have been changed to protect the privacy of the actual people in this story, which as always, is shared with permission.
The very first thing Kara said to me was, “My husband is not an actual asshole, he’s just an irritating prick, and my marriage is not in crisis, I just don’t like it.”
Although her candour made me laugh out loud, I knew what she was describing was no laughing matter.
She went on to explain to me her marriage felt dead, and every little thing he did irritated her. To be fair, she had some good reasons to be irritated. Josh wasn’t being a very nice person. He was disconnected and dismissive. He was abrupt and often rude. They were growing apart and headed in different directions.
Where Kara was off base, was her belief her marriage was stale, as in old and not changing. A lot of people think their marriages have gone stagnant, and a lot of people are wrong. The idea of stale or stagnant means it’s the same over and over again. Nothing changes. The reality is nothing ever stays the same.
Everything including relationships are a product of momentum.
The momentum Kara and Josh had in their relationship wasn’t taking them anywhere either of them want to be.
Irritation is a disease in relationships, and when momentum is flowing from irritation, it’s going to take a relationship to a very dark place. Although their marriage wasn’t in crisis yet, left on that course, with that momentum, it would go there. That’s the only way things could go. Relationships are always a product of the energy that came before.
The thing about irritation is, it happens, dare I say it’s common, in relationships. Any time you share a lot of time and space with another human, irritation is going to rear it’s head. Eventually, someone is going to leave their socks on the floor or chew too loudly.
You know the Yoda quote. “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
It’s like that. Irritation leads to resentment. Resentment leads to disconnection. Disconnection leads to divorce or, at least, the end of the relationship as you knew it.
So, if irritation is a natural thing that happens when sharing space with someone, how do you keep that from growing like a tumor in your relationship?
Gratitude and appreciation are the everyday antidotes. When you’re irritated appreciation can be hard medicine to take. However, it’s still the cure.
When I explained to Kara she was going to need to start finding lots of ways to appreciate Josh, she was a little irritated she was paying me so much money to say something so stupid. Anyone paying any attention could see Josh was the one who needed to change his ways.
However, she had paid me the money, so begrudgingly decided to put my stupid theory to the test, mostly just to prove me wrong. For the next three weeks, we did weekly hour-long rampages of gratitude about her prick of a husband. The first week was like pulling teeth on a tiger without protective gear. By the end of week three, we were in a different territory altogether. Kara was starting to see things in Josh she hadn’t noticed for a long time, the kinds of things she remembered she liked about him.
Within six weeks, Kara was expressing her appreciation of Josh, to Josh, and he was showing up differently in their marriage. Six weeks seems like slow change when you’re in it. However, it’s a drop in the bucket of time compared to a breakup.
Now I’m not saying appreciation alone will save a marriage that’s in critical condition. It might, it might not. However, appreciation and gratitude will prevent a relationship from ending up on life support almost every time.
Appreciation is relationship insurance.
Where irritation drives the momentum of a relationship into the toilet, appreciation steers the momentum of a relationship in the direction of more good things, more stability, and more joy.
Irritation might feel justified. It might be warranted. It might even be righteous. However, it’s still a choice you don’t want to make if you wish to share a happy future with someone. Appreciation might feel like something that’s earned. However, it’s also a choice, and it’s the smarter of the two by far.
Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan. She is also co-founder of Good Vibe Coach Academy, specializing in LOA Coach Training.
Posted on 01/14/2016 at 12:00:00 AM