During the last couple of months, I’ve noticed so many people pissed off at their spouses. Those who weren’t pissed were getting divorced. Really. Apparently, the divorce rate skyrockets around the holidays.
Now, if you haven’t already thrown your spouse overboard (and I hope you haven’t), here’s a sure-fire technique for getting your marriage back on track. (And it doesn’t even involve any of those stupid-ass New Year’s resolutions.) Ready?
Find something in your life that you’re crazy-excited about.
Really. This is SO friggin important I can’t even tell you. Know why?
Because when we don’t have excitement in our lives, we self-sabotage in order to create that excitement.
Meaning we start fights with our spouse, create drama at work or chow down on crappy food that only makes us feel worse.
And where do you think this dynamic often plays itself out? That’s right. In ourselves, as well as in our closest relationships. So when we find ourselves struggling in our marriages, it’s worthwhile to look at this handy-dandy little equation and ask if there’s any chance we’ve got some self-sabotaging going on. Any chance you’re blaming your spouse for your own unhappiness?
Here’s an example:
After 3 kids and 8 years of marriage, Janice feels like her life is ridiculously predictable and boring. Plenty of days, it’s an outright grind. She blames her hubby for this. Instead of romancing her or telling her how awesome she is, Janice’s hubby gets on her nerves like you wouldn’t believe. Sheesh, she thinks, why can’t he be like ______ (fill in the name of cute, single friend/bartender/celebrity). Man, is her husband boring. Man, is her marriage boring.
Now here’s the real problem: Janice is expecting her husband to make her happy when she’s the one who needs to do that. She’s the one who needs to create something cool in her life. Something fun, something exciting.
But that’s kinda scary. Cause it’s been so long and all. And who the hell knows where to start? Her job sucks, her friends are busy and the kids take up all her extra free time. She wouldn’t even know where to start.
So she waits for someone else to do it, someone else to show her the way. In the meantime, she daydreams and fantasizes. Things’d be way better if her hubby only got off his ass more, she thinks. Things’d be way better if he bought her flowers, she thinks. Things’d be way better if he was younger, thinner, cuter, better.
Here’s another scenario:
Samantha thinks life would be better if her husband wasn’t so shut down emotionally. If he had a job he gave a shit about. If he didn’t complain all day, and couch surf all night.
All right, Samantha, I hear you. It would be better. In an ideal world, your man would be hot, hilarious, rich and awesome in bed. He’d bring home the bacon, fry it up, clean the hell out of your home, single-handedly wrangle the kids while doing it AND take you out to a fabulous dinner.
But until that happens, I’m gonna ask you to take a hard look at your own life. What kind of cool stuff do you see? Give me one super-awesome thing you’re excited about this week. How ‘bout one thing you’re excited about this month? This year?
Yeah, I thought so. Not such an easy question to answer, is it? Especially not for us moms. We’ve been at the bottom of the barrel for years, coming after everything else—work, the kids, meals, laundry, whatever. No wonder we’re pissed off and grumpy! No wonder we want to escape!
So we go partying with friends, pretend we’re young and single again. (Heck, didn’t I just see you on the dance floor last week?!)
Because here’s the thing: there was so much possibility back when we were young. We could have any job we wanted, do any thing we wanted, marry anyone we wanted, become anyone we wanted.
Now we’re just stuck in the grind. And there’s not a lot of possibility in your life when you’re trying to finish that last-minute work project, figure out what the hell you’re going to feed your kids, etc. etc. etc. The logistics that come with raising children these days are just exhausting. Day in, and day out. It never ends.
And yes, we love our kids. Don’t get me wrong. But if you’re not super-excited about something in your life, no one else is going to be. No one. Not your spouse, not your best friend, not your mother. Truth is, they got their own problems.
So it’s up to you to get this show on the road.
And in case you hubbies think I’m trying to blame this all on the wives, well, not so fast, buddy. I hear lots of complaints from you men folk, too.
But your complaints are a little different. They seem to carry a kind of quiet desperation. I hear how trapped you guys feel by working the same old crappy job, day in and day out, to provide for your family. Nothing fun except watching that football game or grabbing that twice-yearly beer with your buddies.
But here’s the thing, fellas: you can only shut down your life for so long before something gives. And here’s what I’m seeing a lot of lately: men who keep themselves bottled up for years, until they eventually explode.
Know what that looks like? It looks like Bruce leaving his family to have an affair with some young hottie who’s going to throw him overboard once the dust settles. But Bruce isn’t thinking clearly, remember: he’s just trying to pull some excitement back into his life. To have something to look forward to. Something that makes him feel alive.
Remember, when we don’t have excitement in our lives, we self-sabotage in order to create that excitement. We do stupid shit like have affairs or daydream about that swim instructor or cute bartender down the street or hell, People’s Sexiest Man of the Year.
Cause—damn!—who doesn’t feel their heart beat a little faster when they’re fantasizing about some hottie who’s not a day over 25? We feel alive again. We feel that possibility.
We also get the same hit of excitement (a.k.a. adrenaline) by starting fights and creating drama with our spouse, our friends or our family. Or we go out partying with friends. Complain how our spouse is making us crazy.
I get it, friend. Who do you think that was beside you on the dance floor last month, shaking her booty?
Um, yeah. That was me shaking her ass next to you. I was going a little cray-cray there for a while, trying to get my mojo back.
Until I realized I was putting my energy in the wrong place. That I was finally ready to finish the book I’d been chipping away at for the past couple of years. And not just ready, but excited, dammit! (Which is saying a lot, cause I’ve been working on a grief memoir. Yeah, grief. It’s a wonder I didn’t jump in the car some days and keep going.)
Anyway, just for the record, there’s nothing wrong with shaking your booty. In fact, when faced with any kind of life crisis, I almost always recommend dancing your way through it. Singing also helps.
Why? Because it helps you feel alive. Ever notice that you’re back in your body when you’re singing, dancing or doing anything that really and truly floats your boat? Meaning you’re not worrying about all the zillion things you need to take care of before tomorrow. Instead, you’re present. You’re living in the moment. You’re probably even laughing, and, gasp, having fun.
That’s what it feels like to be excited about something in your life. Deeply and truly excited. Remember that feeling when you used to wake up with something to look forward to in your day?
That’s what we’re gunning for, friends.
So let’s do it! Let’s get this started already.
But how, you wail?
Simple. Figure out what sparks you, my dear, what excites you. What brings you joy.
Maybe it’s a deep conversation with a friend. Maybe it’s going skateboarding, cooking a kick-ass meal, learning how to code, painting, creating music, exploring architecture, learning that language you always wanted to learn, you name it.
The only thing that matters is that it’s for you. It’s something you can look forward to, something that carries some kind of possibility.
As for your hubby, hell, don’t worry about him. Chances are, once he sees how happy you are, he’ll start getting a little inspired himself. Because, really, isn’t that how it works?
Ever notice how inspired you feel after seeing someone who’s tapped into her truth, her power, her lifeblood?
You want that same magic. That same kind of excitement and joy. I mean, hell, just look at that woman.
That’s what’ll happen once you start getting your mojo back. Your hubby is going to feel that magic, too. And chances are, it’ll inspire him to get his own ass back on track.
And if he doesn’t?
Well, you can cross that road when you come to it. Either way, my dear, your life is going to be a helluva lot better.
Your life is gonna rock.
Ready? Leave a comment below and tell me one thing you’re going to do this week to bring a little excitement back into your life.