3 Life Lessons I Learned When My Marriage Was In The Spotlight
I spent my third wedding anniversary dinner crying over my sushi. I was pretty sure we had failed and were doomed to be miserable for the rest of our short time together. By our fifth anniversary, we had some answers and we were working really hard to turn our marriage around. And by my ninth anniversary, every detail of our marriage, how it crumbled, how we fought, how we made up, the good, the bad and the super duper ugly became a New York Times bestselling book that my husband wrote.
Tens of thousands of people now know my husband and I rather intimately. It has been a crazy life experience (to say the least) and the lessons I have come away with have not only improved my relationship with my husband, but my relationship with myself, and every person I come into contact with: my clients, my friends, my cashiers ... everyone. So, here are the gems that have saved me over and over:
1. You are not alone.
Whatever is happening to you right now, you aren’t the only one. You aren’t the first and you aren’t the last. I thought my marriage was pretty unique ... I mean, there’s an entire book about it. But as it turns out, we’re not that special. The incredible amount of people that came forward who related to our story was shocking.
I thought we were the only couple who fights primarily via text message. We’re not. I thought I was the only woman in the world who didn’t feel fulfilled being a stay-at-home mom. I’m not. I don’t care how crazy you think it is, I can pretty much bet, you’re not the only one. Somewhere out there is someone who knows exactly how you feel. Someone who has been through what you have. Imagine that other person right now and send some love. Imagine that person sending you love right back. Like magic ... you are not alone.
2. Focus on your people.
Something I’ve learned in the spotlight: I can separate people into three categories: lovers, neutrals, or haters. The people who love me tell me I inspire them, how I’ve given them hope, and how they want to learn from me. The people who hate me say that I’m a bitch and that men should “stay away from the Kristen Finches of the world.” True story. My first instinct? Prove! Them! Wrong!!
I figured I could find them on the message boards where they hang out and send them private messages convincing them to switch to Team Finch. But here’s the thing ... focusing on my haters made me feel all wonky. It disrupted my flow. Instead of concentrating on the people who loved me with the intent of service and gratitude, my energy was desperate, trying to change someone’s mind about me.
So I broke up with my haters. They can’t be my people anyway, because my message is the opposite of hate. When I put my own authentic message out there, the people who are meant to hear that message are going to hear it loud and clear. And the craziest thing happened. As soon as I switched my focus on the people who loved and supported me ... lots more showed up. You have these people in your life too, whether you’re in the spotlight or not. Find the people who inspire you, who love you as you are and put your focus on them. Love attracts love. Always.
3. Life happens.
Our life changed dramatically practically overnight. We were being interviewed by icons, meeting Hollywood producers, traveling all over the country. It took a minute, but we settled in and started to enjoy the ride when wouldn’t ya know ... life happened. I got a phone call that my dad was very sick and as the only child, I was in charge.
Suddenly, my exciting ride became bumpy and scary. I felt like I was being tossed around, completely powerless. Luckily, it’s not my first taste of unexpected, so I knew what to do: find something to hold onto and ride. If there’s one thing I can depend on, it’s that life is constantly changing.
Whatever is happening to you right now? It’s going to change. Now, when things are crumbling all around me, I take great comfort in knowing that it will not always feel this way. Plus, I learn some pretty amazing life lessons when I’m in the fetal position (mostly how to love myself and others better).
The best part is that I really can be present and joyful when things are going well instead of being fearful of what “could” happen. I’m totally not afraid of what may be around the corner. I’ve been there done that. I was ok. You will be too.