The first tip for saving your marriage is finding your inner DJ. Once you’ve established that you have control over the station that plays in your head, it’s time to replace negativity with thoughts of gratitude. Bear in mind, the fact that your marriage is out of shape has to do with both of you. Saving your marriage is not all about you. Before you can get upset with her for not holding up her end of things, you had best be sure you’re in tip top shape. To that end, the only person you can control is yourself.   It’s time to bench press some positivity.

At a loss for material? I was hoping you would say so, because I have an exercise for you. It may very well suck rocks for the first week or so, but as with any workout the payoff is on the other side of the pain. In order to bench press positivity, you’ll need some weight, something of substance to bolster your workout. You’re going to need to take what I call a gratitude inventory. Crack your knuckles, do some stretches and begin by listing 100 things you love about your wife.

Before you grimace and roll your eyes, summon your newly hired inner DJ, put on some mood music and set all judgement aside. Say for example the first thing on your list is: ‘She is the best cook ever,’ roll with that. Be mindful should the inner DJ you fired pipe up with “Or at least I think she is, she hasn’t cooked for me in a year.” Remind him he doesn’t work here anymore, show him the door and move on to the next thing you love about your wife. I don’t care how far back you have to go, don’t stop until you get to 100.

It’s possible. You know how I know? Because you love this woman. You love the woman she was when you married her, and you love the relationship you used to have with her. Before you get down on yourself or her, keep that in mind. At one point you had a hell of a lot to be grateful for and you still do. We just have to readjust your focus. One positive thing at a time until your list totals 100 items.

Now before you think you’re done and you get to go sit in the sauna, think again. This is not an executive workout pal, you’re putting in work. Next, list 100 ways your wife being in your life has made it better. Again, go back to the dawn of your relationship if you must. The reasons are there. Dust them off and bring them out of the shadows. Pour yourself an adult beverage if you must, relax and let your mind wander until you have a complete list.

Just when you thought you were done, it’s time for the cool down. You’ve had a great workout; you likely feel spent. But we’re not quite finished. In the cool down, we must retrain your muscles, let them know this is their new state. We do this through outward action. Your action. After all, the only person you can control is you. This is all part of the plan for saving your marriage. Keep that in mind as you list ten things you will do to be a better husband.

Breathe deep for this cool down. Look at yourself in the mirror and be aware of your own form. You’ve been together long enough to know what tweaks you could make in your own behavior that would have a marked improvement on your marriage. Pick up your wet towels.  Get groceries. Hold her hand. Make dinner. You know what to do, just do it.

Now, if the inner DJ you fired just stomped his foot, crossed his arms and said “How come I gotta go first!” tell him to shut it. You’re leading by example. You’re going first because leaders don’t ask anyone to do something they wouldn’t do themselves. Period. Your marriage isn’t a competition. If you scorekeep, you’ll both end up losers and that’s not what we’re after.

As you cool down, pay attention to this new feeling you’re experiencing. It’s the feeling of doing something for someone you love with no expectation of anything in return. It’s the feeling of the other person’s happiness being your payoff. That’s it. You’re going to roll around in that happiness like a dog rolls around in the grass right after a bath. That’s your payoff.

Remember, this may suck. This may take time. As with any workout, steady consistent workouts will make the difference. Two workouts aren’t going to get you results. Read your lists every day at the beginning of your day. Practice random acts of kindness every day for a month from your cool down list. You are retraining your mind to appreciate and your actions are going to reflect that. Watch your life improve, one day at time. Once you have mastered this workout, you’ll be ready to up your weights. Once you’ve mastered this workout, you’ll be ready for Step 3.

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