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?
Pat Johnson says
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.
Tiya Cunningham-Sumter says
Great question. You could inspire them by sharing the inner work that you are currently doing on yourself. You just may have to take the lead and more often than not, the other spouse will follow.
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?
Tiya Sumter says
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).
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.
Tiya Sumter says
Glad to hear that Demetria.
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.
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.