Are You Doing the Inner Work Needed to Enhance Your Marriage?

BY: - 5 Dec '12 | Marriage

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Whenever I begin coaching new couples, I make the expectations clear. First, both people must be motivated and willing to put in the necessary work. Second, we are unable to move forward if we get stuck in finger pointing mode. Last, the relationship will not improve if both individuals fail to do the inner work by focusing on their own areas of improvement. As you may have guessed, the last one is usually the biggest challenge. It’s hard for people to admit their shortcomings, especially to another person. But how can we move forward if we can’t own our faults and the affect they have on our relationship? We must be willing to take responsibility for what we bring into our marriage.

It is essential that individuals perform inner work in order to create and maintain the relationship they desire. The inner work begins by taking a deeper look within, acknowledging what isn’t working and taking immediate action. If you aren’t quite sure where to begin, let’s start by asking the following questions:

What are the current problem areas in my relationship? Every relationship has its own set of challenges. We all know that love is work, it helps when we can pinpoint the areas needing our immediate attention.

How have I contributed to those problem areas? Relationships struggle the most when the focus is on who did or didn’t do what instead of what the solution should be. Being completely honest about how your words, actions, and behaviors put your relationship in this position has a greater impact than you can imagine. It creates a space for healing and for your partner to do the same.

How honest have I been about the role I play? You are not alone if you have been holding back and not willing to call it like it actually is. But it is never too late to turn a situation around. Start today by first admitting the truth to yourself.

Have I admitted this to my spouse? If not, when will I share this with my spouse? Just picture how your spouse will feel when they no longer feel they are the only one needing to make changes. Communication and levels of trust will greatly improve.

How will my relationship improve by my owning up to this? Think with the end result in mind. What are your plans for your marriage? When you know exactly what you want, the actions that have to take place become even clearer. If the result is worth it, we must put forth that extra effort.

Don’t be afraid to do what you have to do in order to create the relationship you want. Another note I highlight in my coaching sessions is that I focus on helping people edit their lives; the slogan is “rewriting your life to reflect your dreams”. We can’t edit our lives if we aren’t willing to admit something isn’t working as well as it should.

BMWK, are you doing the inner work needed to enhance your marriage?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 635 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit and


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9 WordPress comments on “Are You Doing the Inner Work Needed to Enhance Your Marriage?

  1. Pat Johnson

    What recommendation(s) do you make for someone married to an individual that does not possess the skills to do the inner self work? I mean self introspection and evaluation really are foreign concepts to them.

  2. Lisa

    I have been seperated for almost 3 years (because of infedelity) I love him still. I think because we have been apart so long it has become second nature for him. We talk daily, we have had date night since we met. I have been in prayer and saught coucil. Do you have any advice for me?

    1. Tiya Sumter

      Lisa, what is the mutual plan to rebuild your marriage? There has to be a clear plan that both partners agree to and are working toward. Continue to pray (but do it together).

  3. Demetria

    I just discussed this with my husband yesterday. He wasn’t even aware of the issues because I wouldn’t speak up and say how I was feeling. I would say this is conformation.

  4. Pingback: "It Just Happened!" 3 Times Where You Have to Come Better Than That! | Xklusive Thoughts, LLCXklusive Thoughts, LLC

  5. Donna

    My husband wants a divorce he moved out a year ago today. I am heartbroken about it. I truly wish that I discovered your page two years ago, what a difference I believe it would have made. Now, my inner work consists of doing the healing work that I must do in order to cope and accept this situation. We were married for 21 years.

    1. Tiya

      Donna, I am so sorry to hear of your divorce. I can only imagine how difficult this must be. Please know that I will be praying for your healing during this difficult time.

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Sanctify Your Bedroom

BY: - 5 Dec '12 | Home

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by G. Corey Carlisle

You know that feeling of walking into a cathedral, standing at a monument, or entering some sacred area and sensing the atmosphere shift? Without a word being spoken, you knew you were no longer in a common area, but rather in a place that was somehow special, set apart, and sanctified.

What if your bedroom was like that? What if when you walked into your bedroom you felt a positive shift in the atmosphere?

Sanctifying our bedrooms is one way we can enhance the lovemaking atmosphere of our marriage. It helps to create an environment that is conducive to lovemaking.

To sanctify something is to consecrate it, make it holy, or set apart it as sacred and regard it with reverence.

Is your bedroom a sanctuary for your marriage or just another common area where you happen to also sleep?

Consider the following ways to sanctify your bedroom.

Set apart your bedroom for three main activities:

  • Rest – sleep & space to relax and just be
  • Restoration – showering, dressing, grooming, etc.
  • Recreation (play)– sexual intimacy

We are certainly not limited to these activities, but the bedroom would be set apart for these activities. For example, it means that our bedroom is a place for us to hang out and play as a couple, not a place for our children to hang out and play. Likewise, in order to protect the sanctity of our bedroom, discussing finances or major conflicts might be better in the kitchen or home office.

When our bedroom becomes the dumping ground for our junk, stuff, and things, it is less likely to be a space that promotes lovemaking. Replace the workout equipment, stacks of papers and bills, dirty clothes, and the pictures of your Aunt Frieda with a décor that sets an intimate atmosphere for the two of you. Choose sights, sounds, and aromas that symbolize your oneness, and something your beloved can reflect on even when you are away. Give attention also to your tactile senses; make your room comfortable to be in and easy to turn toward each other.

Like a gardener, be intentional about cultivating your lovemaking atmosphere by setting boundaries for your bedroom and removing any “weeds” (e.g. take-home work, television, computer, pets, etc.) that are invasive and interfere with producing the fruit of intimacy. Bring only those things in your bedroom that will fertilize your intimacy and work to remove those things that, left unchecked, would choke out your intimacy.

Everyone’s situation is different, and what is ideal may not be possible for every living arrangement. Don’t get caught up in the details that you miss the spirit of this; sanctifying your bedroom even if just in spirit is a great way to enhance your lovemaking atmosphere.

May your bedroom be a haven for rest, restoration, and play with your spouse!

BMWK – is your bedroom your sanctuary? If not, what changes do you need to make to make your bedroom a haven for rest, restoration, and play with your spouse?

G. Corey Carlisle is a therapist at Building Intimate Marriages specializing in martial and sexual issues, and a recruiter for the research study. He holds the Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Therapy from Amridge University and has received specialized training in Christian Sex Therapy from the Institute for Sexual Wholeness.

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 528 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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