THE 7 INFINITY FACTORS OF A THRIVING MARRIAGE
After my blog post about Chris and I going to Tony Robbin’s ‘Unleash the Power Within’ event back in March, I started getting more and more questions about my marriage and how we find happiness in the crazy season of parenting young kids while working full time jobs. At first, I felt like there was no way we could speak on this topic because we aren’t marriage experts and we certainly don’t have it all figured out. I mean just last night we had a “thing”. But as we navigated through that “thing” quickly and without yelling, I puffed my chest in excitement. I realized that in 6 months since ‘UPW’, we haven’t had 1 big fight and only a few little “things”, like maybe 5. I’m embarrassed to tell you that we used to have some sort of problem every day.
I had seriously been worried at one point that our marriage wasn’t just suffering but it was dying. I didn’t want to separate but I had feared it so much that I had envisioned what that would look like for us and our kids. And if I’m being honest, that ticked me off so much because I had been on this personal growth journey and I felt like I wasn’t the problem, that Chris was. So, you can imagine how that went over when I let him know that our issues were all on him? Not my proudest moment that’s for sure. And nothing good comes out of placing blame. So I swallowed my pride, lived my life, stopped complaining (most of the time – old habits die hard) and prayed that he would see the change in me and follow my lead. Actually, we have this thing that we do with our kids when we’re in a public place to keep them safe. We have 4 kids which is tough to keep wrangled so we often will say “DUCKS” and they know that means to follow mommy in a straight line, just like ducks do. My husband came up with it and I think it’s genius. So anyway, I started thinking to myself that when I’m the mama duck, everyone follows me so maybe if I’m a duck (always acting as I want him too) just maybe he’ll follow. And the cool thing is, he actually did. That’s how after asking him for a third time to go to UPW with me, this time nicely and no strings attached, he said “yes”. He realized that I was going with or without him because I wanted to work on me and I wanted more. Whereas, the two times I asked previous, it was because I wanted to fix him. It came from a place of extreme finger pointing and wishing that he would fix us when in reality, our problems were just as much my fault as his even though it didn’t feel it. But I also think it’s important to note here that because I was growing on my own, we weren’t stuck anymore. He was stuck but I wasn’t. Because I like analogies – He saw that my train was moving and leaving the station and that he needed to get on board before I picked up speed and he’d be too late to catch it. You follow my drift? His lack of growth would eventually lead to the demise of our marriage.
Ok… So back to last night. After our “thing” that wasn’t really even a “thing” because we moved through it so quickly, I also realized that marriage is hard anyway you slice it. There’s always going to be “things” but it’s how we respond and move forward that makes the “thing” a “THING” or nothing really. Chris and I have grown so much together and individually this past year and although we may not have it all figured out, we do have simple tactics that when applied regularly with all your might, can truly improve other’s relationships. It was in that moment of clarity last night, that I knew I could write this blog post for you because after 15 years together, we are happily married even through the all the “things”. I actually had a hard time sleeping because I was excited to share this. So let’s get to it. Here are the seven infinity factors that we believe can guide you to a better marriage or relationship.
Personal growth: It’s important to understand that you can’t possibly grow together if you aren’t growing individually. Supporting each other as individuals is essential. For us that may look like working out, eating well, me-time (personal care) or time with friends.
Friendship: I used to hate when someone called their spouse their best friend. I don’t know why, I just thought – best friends don’t get married. But in reality I see a lot of people who treat their friends better than their spouse so we’ve adapted the belief that you have to be friends first, married second. Friends have fun, friends are always excited to talk or get together and friends do things together that are their deepest desires. Friends have a connection.
Core values & needs: It’s important to express to each other what you personally value in life and in your relationship and then also what you need to keep the fire lit. If you don’t know what your core values and needs are or you haven’t shared them with your partner, you can’t possibly have a flourishing marriage because your needs aren’t being tended to.
Intention: So often I would say myself or hear from Chris, “that wasn’t my intention” and we thought that made it all better when we hurt the other. Ummm… Nope, that’s crap, making excuses and projects the blame off of you onto the other. Not a good strategy. So if that wasn’t your intention what was your intention then? Your intention with your actions should always be in support of creating a thriving relationship. So for example set out to intentionally make your spouse’s day better by including a secret love note in his pocket to find later or send them a random text telling them you love them or bring them their coffee while they’re getting ready for work. Intentionally make time for one another to connect, like alone (minus kids) time to share about your days, talk about your goals or go on a weekly date night. Want to here something funny? We’re so intentional, we schedule date night (Friday’s) and Whoopee Wednesday and anything more than that is a bonus. And yes, you know what whoopee Wednesday is. (Wink-wink, hand over my eyes again).
Communication: Plain and simple, a key element to a thriving marriage is communication. Chris and I had found ourselves just getting through our days together but never really talking. And in truth, the more annoyed we were with each other, we didn’t communicate at all. No progress can be made if we aren’t sharing with each other what our hopes and dreams are, what they did that hurt us deeply, what they can do to please you. One more time – communication is key. If it’s on your mind, it should be said but remember to come from a place of desired growth from what you share not anger, pain or resentment. (This was how we breezed through our “thing” last night)
Intimacy -aka- sex: I have a hard time ever talking about this mainly because my mother is probably reading this right now (please excuse me a moment while I put my hands over my eyes and shake my head – she probably is too. Haha) But it’s important to move past your insecurities, the awkwardness and give your all to your love making. Here’s some reality for you, whether you’re completely all into sex with your partner or if you’re hung up in the uncomfortableness (I don’t think that’s a word but you know what I mean) of it all, you can’t change who you are inside or out. So accept that your partner is with you because they love and accept all of you and decide that the intimacy you share should be empowering and fun. We’ve already talked about communication and your core values and needs above so, remember to share all of that in the sex department as well. The more you do it, the easier it will get and the better sex you will have and the deeper connection/friendship you will create.
Team Work: When we were engaged, I was going through some tough times and my bad habit of falling victim to my insecurities let me lashing out at Chris. It wasn’t his fault but I was mad at the world and he took the brunt of that. One day, he said to me, “Jessie we’re team Bouton. I’m here to help you get through this, you don’t have to do this alone, stop attacking me and shutting me out.” It was the first time that I realized how blessed I was to have someone have my back no matter what. And whenever we’re at a cross roads individually or together, our initial instinct is always that it’s team Bouton against the world. We are partners. All great relationships support and empower one another.
And the last thing that we believe is crucial to the pursuit and success of having a happy marriage that is thriving is to make all these infinity factors a part of your daily life. You’ve read about it in my book (or at least I hope you have), The RUSH Revolution, Revving Up Self-Happiness Through the Power of Intentional Living. RUSH is an ancronym for Revving Up self-Happiness obviously. But you should be taking daily actions on your hopes and dreams. So make it a point to give attention to these 7 key factors of a limitless, thriving great marriage and in a short time, it will become standard and you won’t have to think about forcing it. We call it the #dailyrush
I’d love to know if you enjoyed this post and what you want me or us to share more of. We’re here to share with you the tools, motivation and a real life approach to move past your personal limits and elevate your life, whether that be in your parenting, your relationships, your health, or your career to live more fulfilled.
Thanks for reading!