It was one in the morning and I was shaking and sobbing, sitting in my car, alone, in the parking lot of a shopping center. The parking lot lights were blurred through my tears and anger as I replayed the evening over and over.
I don't even remember what we were fighting about.
It had been an hour of screaming insults back and forth, and nothing made sense anymore. Finally, I stormed out, slammed the door behind me and left my husband and newborn to fend for themselves. I drove around aimlessly for hours and finally parked so I could safely let the storm of my emotions take over.
What had just happened? Why are we fighting all the time? Why won’t he change? This marriage just doesn't work.
Just the thoughts of going through the pain of divorce and having to halve the time I spent with my child gave me chills. My heart felt like it was being pulled out of my chest.
Once I left myself imagine the possibility of leaving my marriage, I naturally began to reminisce about the good times: the moment we met, our wedding, our honeymoon, the moment our baby girl was born. I remembered the plans my husband and I had made for our life and I realized I wasn't ready to give up on that — but something had to change.
I’ve helped many other people fix their own marriages. I’ve been studying relationships for years. I knew the masterful techniques of the top marriage experts. I knew what a good marriage and good communication looked like, in theory (and, believe me, I let my husband know when he wasn’t doing something the "right" way). Yet, I had a failing marriage myself.
Right then, I made a conscious decision to save my marriage. I decided to take full responsibility for my actions, thoughts, and behavior. I chose to stop trying to change my husband — and to start changing myself.
I stepped out of the victim role, started treating my husband as a teammate (instead of a second child), and concentrated on making myself the person I wanted to be — the version of myself that my family deserved.
I had to completely reframe my perspective on my marriage, my husband, and my choices.
Selina Borshin, mindset expert and coach, defines mindset as, "The frame of references that shape our actions and view of the world and thoughts and perception of ourselves and others." She believes that "the misalignment in expectation and reality often does a lot of damage."
As a relationship expert, I truly believed that I could "fix" my husband. I thought I could use the information in books to get the love and adoration I needed in real life. After all, I couldn't be the one ruining our marriage. I was doing everything I was supposed to do.
Changing my mindset in this case meant I stopped placing blame and responsibility for what was wrong in our marriage on my husband. Instead, I started asking, "What can I do to make sure our marriage succeeds?"
Since that rude awakening, I've learned to take responsibility for my happiness, my life, and my marriage without blaming myself, or my husband, for what wasn't working. I started to show him appreciation every day, without expectation or judgment. Since then, we've had another child and bought our dream house by the lakeshore. We have a bursting social calendar, we're individually conquering our business and career goals, and our lives are full of passion and fun.
Yes, my husband and I still argue. But now that we both feel loved, adored, and supported, it's okay. We work through our challenges and celebrate our victories as a team.
Reject a mindset where placing blame is the purpose of an argument. Embrace the belief that your common goal is to solve the problem as a team, both accepting responsibility and recognizing areas you can improve. It might make all the difference. Whether it saves your relationship or not, you'll be happier and more empowered in all areas of your life.
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