It’s a continual process to balance how to be a soulmate without losing your soul. It takes attitude changes and pressurized reality to learn how to balance between “we” and “me.”
When we travel by plane, we’re used to hearing the flight attendant’s safety instructions. He or she usually says something like this.
“If there’s a loss of cabin pressure, the panels above your seat will open, and oxygen masks will drop down. . . Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”
If we attempt to help others before adjusting our own mask, we may end up passing out. Then we can’t help anyone. We need to take that same advice for our relationships.We need to care for our own soul-needs before attempting to care for others. Click To Tweet
It takes attitude changes to be a soulmate
Marriages are like a pressurized cabin at various times. They are not so even-keeled. We experience turbulence and high altitudes. Storms and fair weather affect our differences. Our ears pop. The ride gets rough. We’re required to stay in our seats with seatbelt securely fastened at times.
Early on in romance, our differences are exciting, novel, and energizing. After marriage, and sometimes before, our differences can become outright annoying. That’s when they can escalate into major conflicts.
Other life transitions expose the soul storms of a marriage. Raising children, career development, loss, and core differences create turbulence in life. But we can get beyond messy marriages.
Many Christian couples vow, “The two of us are one.” It doesn’t take long to realize one or both are subconsciously saying things like this.
We two are one. And yes, I’m the one.
Or, in a patriarchal or what some consider a “biblical” marriage, a bride may live her life like this.
We two are one. And, yes, he’s the one.
As years go by, both lose opportunities to develop their character. They lose their individual selves as well as the relationship. One of them becomes invisible. The other one gets caught up in self-delusions. Neither has insights into their own souls.
Neither one attempts to adjust their own oxygen mask. They’re too busy trying to improve, fix, or help the other. They become bitter, resentful, angry and resistant. Their world gets smaller. They become stuck. Or, figuratively, they pass out.Life transitions expose the soul storms of a marriage. Raising children, career development, loss, and core differences create turbulence in life. Click To Tweet
It takes pressurized reality to be a soulmate
It takes two to honor each other and respect one another’s differences. And it still takes two to do that in a relationship. Here’s points to consider.
- Conflict is necessary for personal and relationship awareness.
- Don’t avoid it or run from it.
- Don’t criticize your partner or try to win them over to your side.
- Instead, be open. Listen to understand. There are more than two ways to resolve a conflict.
- Seek counseling or outside help to resolve resolvable conflicts. And to adjust to unresolvable conflicts.
World-renown researcher, Dr. John Gottman, gives us clarity. Sixty-nine percent of happily married couples have unresolved conflict. The difference between the “masters” and the “disasters” are this. The “masters” are the ones who adjust and accept their partner’s differences. The “disasters” allow perpetual resentment and negativity to grow.
Here are ideas on how to adjust our own soul mask
- Do breathe deeply when you feel reactive, irritable, angry, or triggered by your spouse. Slow down. You’ll get clarity when you do.
- Be curious about what’s going on inside of you. Ask yourself, “What’s unfinished in my life? Why did this situation or comment make me feel this way? What is the meaning I created from that interaction?”
- To increase self-awareness, reflect on this question: “How is my spouse experiencing me?”
- See your spouse as a gift from God. When you do, you can develop an attitude of thankfulness. You’ll nurture your soul and grow your character. Be willing to accept your spouses’ issues as helping yoube more understanding.
The cabin pressure of your marriage will change. Those oxygen masks will drop. Always adjust yours first. Balance the “we” and “me” in romance and marriage. Your beautiful life is worth keeping your soul intact.
I’m writing more on the steps for balancing the “we” and “me” in romance and marriage. So, let’s stay in touch in the meantime.
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There’s a method I’ve discovered as the best way to relieve stress immediately. I’ve shared it with my clients and use it in my home every day. It’s called the seven-minute rule. What is the seven-minute rule? I’m glad you asked. Before I tell you how it works can you relate to these scenarios?
You Can Relieve Stress Immediately if. . .
- You come home from work after a stressful day expecting to relax. When you walk in the house, it’s a wreck. No one cared to pick up after themselves. They must be lazy, you think.
- Piled up bills are laying on the kitchen counter. The TV is blaring. The children don’t notice you because they’re on their iPads. They haven’t done their chores or homework. Or, they could at least be outside.
- Your spouse is stressed and gives you the crying baby. And also expects you to change the dirty diaper. In an irritated tone, you ask, “what have you done all day?”
- Your voice is firm with aggravation. The family accuses you of being mean. But it’s the only way you can get your point across.
As a result, we end up with an “I-work-so-hard-all-day-and-no-one-cares” attitude. Whatever our story, we find ways to escape the stress. Some do it by working late. Others do it by spending hours on social media. Those methods and others provide an immediate reward: dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical.
But, it doesn’t take long before our relationships become more distant. Those who matter most seem like strangers. And in some cases, enemies. Then we make up stories in our minds about their intentions to make our lives miserable. The results produce no teamwork in the family. Nor do we have partnership in the marriage.Don't let mismanaged stress make relationships distant. Otherwise, those who matter most seem like strangers. Click To Tweet
Here’s how to change that cycle.
Relieve Stress Immediately —The Seven Minute Rule
The seven-minute rule is a technique that transforms stressful situations. With consistent use, we can create relaxing and peaceful connections in family relationships. What we create in a family environment can benefit in other ways. It also gives us skills to create more productive work environments.
Here’s how it works:
- Consider seven minutes before or after any transition as sacred space. What do I mean by sacred space? It’s the place in-between a relationship that holds only gratitude and heart-to-heart connection. Nothing else. There’s no irritability, demands, criticisms or other negative interactions. That includes confrontations, stern looks, sarcasm, and cynicism.
- The seven minutes of sacred space and time is taking deep breaths. That sacred space means slowing down to be loving and respectful. It’s focusing on being compassionate and tender with our loved ones. Also, it’s being kind and gentle regardless of the environment. It’s having an attitude of curiosity rather than judgement.
- Let the children know you’re happy to be with them. You love them just as they are. You might say to your spouse with light-hearted honor, “I can’t believe I’m married to you! I am SO blessed.”
- It’s your choice to love unconditionally in that seven minutes of sacred space. You take time to connect and value your relationships.
Examples of the 7-Minute Rule to Relieve Stress
- Set the timer on your smart phone for seven minutes after pulling up in the driveway.
- Put a reminder on your dashboard with a 3” x 5” card that reads “7-minute rule”.
- Take deep breaths in and out with a mantra such as this. Breathe in thankfulness. Breath out stress. Or say, “I breathe in appreciation and I breathe out criticism.” Take about three or four deep breaths with the same mantra. Use that attitude for the following seven minutes of sacred time.
As you enter your home, leave your stress behind. Use deep breathing and then look into the eyes of your children and spouse. Be interested in their world.
It’s as if you’ll be walking onto “holy ground” in those seven minutes. Use it to connect, appreciate, and see the world through the eyes of your loved ones. Be willing to live in the present.Use the 7-minute rule to connect, appreciate, & see through the eyes of your loved ones. Make transitions sacred. Click To Tweet
Relieve Stress through these 7-minutes:
- Before bed
- When you wake up
- Right before leaving the home
- After you arrive at your destination
- While sitting down for a meal
- As you finish your meal
Any transition is seven minutes of sacred and holy space.
Try it out for a week, (7 days) and see how it works for you. I challenge you to try it for 30 days. And I’d love to hear your comments.
Here’s Your next step.
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One thing you must know about marital growth is this. There’s a difference between closeness and intimacy.
We’re all designed for relationships. We may be single, married, widowed or divorced. But when it comes to marriage, there’s one thing you must know about marital growth – the difference between closeness and intimacy.
We desire to be loved by another human being in spite of our flaws. Yet we balk at knowing and being known. It’s risky because our spouse may not accept us. As a result, we keep an emotional distance to hide our vulnerability. Or we’ve been authentic in the past and it wasn’t worth it.We desire to be loved by another human being in spite of our flaws. Click To Tweet
Marital Growth Can Heal Our Childhood Pain
It’s during our early experiences that we learn how to protect ourselves from pain. We learn ways to hide our real selves. The ways we hide keep us from being intimate in our marriages. Here’s an example.
I learned to hide my vulnerability when I was “held back” in the second grade. Our family moved in the middle of the school year. I had difficulty reading at grade level. A diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder didn’t exist then, and while I was diagnosed as an adult, it didn’t stop me as a child from believing something was wrong with me.
“You’re eight and only in the second grade?” kids would say.
“Yes,” I said trying to make light of it. “I was held back.”
“You flunked,” they laughed at me and pointed their fingers. “You flunked,” they said over and over again. I wanted to hide. And I learned to keep my past a secret. Instead, I pretended to be a year younger than I was. It was too painful to admit I “flunked.” As most children do, I chose to hide. I learned to keep my distance from people who would cause me pain.
We all need to grow beyond our childhood pain. A growing and partnered marriage is the way to do it. Otherwise, we fall into stagnation and mediocrity. But we long for energy and vibrancy.
Marital Growth Needs a Healthy Dose of “Closeness”
An example of being close is cuddling up on the couch with your loved one. As a couple, you’re watching a Netflix movie or an episode of your favorite TV show. You share a bowl of buttered popcorn. Physical touch between the two of you adds warm fuzzy feelings. It doesn’t take effort for either of you. It’s easy and comfortable.
To clarify, closeness could be:
- Enjoying time on vacation together, whether it’s a cruise or a camping trip.
- Having fun during a shared activity.
- Comfortable silence between husband and wife.
- Predictability of routines.
- Finishing the sentences of another.
- Knowing what the other wants on their pizza.
Being close because of shared experiences is a vital feature of marital growth. Yet, every marriage needs to be intimate. And I’m not talking about sex. Here’s what I mean.
Marital Growth Needs a Healthy Dose of “Intimate”
Most people think of intimacy as sex. But that’s not all it is. In some cases, sex is the opposite of intimacy. It can be a facade for real intimacy. Close physical connection through sex can be like super-glue for married couples. But it’s not enough. Authentic knowing of another comes through vulnerable conversations.
Here are examples that can apply to either spouse.
When a wife tells her husband she’s attracted to a male co-worker, she’s being vulnerable. As partners, they could be stronger by breaking the power of secret attraction. But she also bears the risk of rejection, insecurity or judgment. The husband could accuse, misunderstand or resent his wife. Even though she chooses integrity, he may reject her vulnerability.
But when her husband welcomes her internal struggles, they can strengthen their union. They can show up as partners for each other. And it takes two to do it.
Vulnerability plus acceptance equals intimacy. Trustworthiness increases. The marriage grows a stronger bond. They know each other’s weaknesses and have each other’s back. Intimacy invites partnership between the two. They both fertilize their unconditional love for each other. They grow through intimacy.
Intimacy in dating is seeing the other person as worthy of dignity and respect. It’s honoring the other’s differences. Resist the attitude of “what can my girlfriend do for me” to “how can I honor her?” Choose to nurture a friendship before a romance. Be willing to grow through relationship.
Intimacy requires two people in the relationship to choose to be real. One may pave the way for the other, but both are willing. Reciprocity is key.Intimacy requires two people in the relationship to choose to be real. Click To Tweet
Marital Intimacy Is:
- Leaning into giving and receiving love when you’d rather run away.
- The confession of a shameful past to allow the other to forgive.
- Saying a heartfelt, “I’m sorry” without the “but” or “if” words.
- Letting go of bitterness, resentment, or cynicism.
- Being willing to risk comfort and choosing to live in truth.
Remember, a growing and partnered marriage needs both comfort and intimacy. Our risk of intimacy and acceptance by our spouse helps us overcome the pain of childhood. When we reciprocate, we can grow our marriages with energy and vibrancy.
Questions to Ponder about Marital Growth
How are your relationships close?
What does the word “intimacy” mean to you?
What do you think of with the word “vulnerability?”
Your Next Step
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