Loving somebody is not about how it makes YOU feel...it 's about how you make the OTHER person feel. Notice how much of your awareness is on one instead of the other... a really good relationship has kindness, generosity, and genuine caring about other person.
Practice Genius Thinking; start your interactions with your spouse, children, family, co-workers, etc., with the end in mind... what you will see, feel or hear if you achieve a positive and useful outcome... in the discussion, the evening, the date, the situation, even the disagreement. Vividly imagine how it would look if you took steps based the way you want it to turn out, not your feelings of the moment. Put your focus on the future with the idea that anything is possible. Learn to shift from "How does this make me feel? to "How do I want this to go?". Adults make decisions based on the goals they choose. Children make decisions based on how they feel.
Time to stop proving how "independent" you are in your marriage – (the second stage of relationship maturity). Value becoming ‘intra-dependent’ which is the 3rd stage of maturity. That means getting very good at being part of a TEAM (which uses a different skill set). Putting the needs and success of the relationship first is the most important new skill you want... as it is in any successful partnership. Your're not supposed to be proving how good you are at being on your own or self-determining without anyone else to consider. That was before you became part of a serious relationship. Now, you need to shift into learning and practicing the more advanced competency and understanding of the abilities that a committed relationship needs.
Demonstrate the kind of respectful, loving relationship you want your children to have – they’re watching! You are the role models they will copy. Ask if you’d like their future spouse to treat them like you treat yours. Have good parent - child boundaries and be serious about well balanced and effective rewards and punishments. Kids shouldn’t have 100% access to parents space, possessions or attention. Children are not supposed to be equal to adults in rank, authority, power or control. Maturity is the most important thing they can leave your house with, and a clear understanding that they are responsible for their own success in life, so teach them well.
Make sure you have ‘cleaved from your family of origin’. Your extended family is secondary now. If you're trying to be a good daughter and a good wife, you will be doing one of them badly. Your family of origin cannot have as much emotional leverage on you as your spouse. You should not still be seeking the approval of your parents.
Don't go to friends or your family for advice in your marriage – they need to support your marriage... not just support YOU. “The No. 1 reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family, and neighbors.” Napoleon Hill
Don't stop dating each other. It causes distance to grow. Make ‘couple time’ a priority to keep the romantic connection thriving. By the way, dates don’t include negative talk about money, kids or work problems…remember?
Accept that real maturity is the ability to manage frustration or not getting your way, without acting out. Acting out comes in many forms and always has a negative price to pay. Success comes when you stop acting out like a child and control yourself like an adult. You aren't "special", you're ordinary, like everybody else. Life isn't fair, you have to learn to do what you're told, and this isn't Burger King... you don't get everything your way.
Understand that the real meaning of your communication is NOT what you "thought" you said, or "meant" to say, or "intended"to say... it is in the feedback or response you get back. Be responsible for accurately expressing your message based what your listener hears and how they actually respond to what you said or did, not what you thought you communicated or thought they should hear.
Make forgiveness and letting go a big part of your relationship. You never want to be "right" because it requires that somebody else is "wrong" (nobody likes that) and sets you up for arguments. Worse, it takes your focus off your goals when you're childishly trying to be smarter or right about an issue. Take responsibility to get rid of the the anger, criticisms and judgmental attitudes you use to prove you're "right" because they will keep you stuck and be exhausting and toxic in your relationship.
“Our family is so much stronger now… you saved our marriage and our family. I wanted to give you a picture of our beautiful children… I know they are so grateful to you as well because you helped keep their parents together and happy. Our marriage has never been better. We’ll be celebrating out 11th anniversary soon and it’s all thanks to what you taught us.” - Susan M. Alvin, TX
The single best thing you can do for your children is provide them a stable, loving, respectful two-parent family in which to grow up.
If children are part of your relationship in any way (yours, mine and/or ours) it is extremely important that both adults be like-minded and in agreement about the most important part of parenting: creating maturity and respect. These character traits come only through a structure of rewards and discipline, and with a consistent correction of the unwanted behaviors without bias.
To execute this strategy, it is more important that you see yourself as “the parent” rather than “his parent” or “her parent”. The “ownership” of whose kid it is is a big part of what creates bias.
Some couples need help creating that special environment where they can co-parent successfully. You want your children to grow up with the character skills you most value, the ones that will assist the to truly thrive, and you can be rid of the defiance, bad attitudes, immaturity and disrespect. When your kids have maturity and the right skills, they are much more likely to be successful adults.
“Maturity is the ability to manage frustration, or not getting your way, alone, and without acting out.” - Scott McFall
At it’s core, great parenting insists on never-ending acts of surrender; your children must be taught to surrender their control dramas, bad attitudes, unwanted perspectives, and defiance; and instead, give you the respect and behavior that you require.
As parents, your number one most important job is to teach your children the lessons they need to learn, in the moment they need to learn them, and without any regard for your personal feelings about it. Whether you are tired, frazzled, busy, distracted, in pain, overwhelmed, when you signed up to have kids, you signed up to be a parent. And that means that you have to be constantly observant and watching for the opportunities to teach them what they need to learn.
”I had a complete quality of life improvement by improving my parenting skills – coming up with strategies to handle situations with my 2 children that worked from the very first session. Traditional therapy methods haven’t worked for me at all. My ability to be calm and focused has helped my work performance by 50%. I am happy!” - JT
There are teaching moments available to you every single day, multiple times per day. How much you take advantage of those teaching moments helps determine whether your children will be successful, responsible, functional adults. And please remember the job before you is to raise adults, not large children. We have lots of large children walking around the world in their 20s, 30s, 40s etc., who are functionally incompetent in their jobs and their relationships, and even with their own children because they were never taught how to be successful.
Do not be fooled by how many single-parent families there are in our current culture. Do not be manipulated by the media and current “conventional wisdom” which would have you believe that a single parent raising children is just as good as having both parents available full time. That is simply not the case and there are huge piles of research to support that. Creating a loving, calm, respectful and well-structured home is a huge advantage for your children, and nothing beats it.
The three most common parenting issues are:
The parents do not agree on either the rules of the house or what the punishment should be when those rules are violated.
The consequences for bad behavior, bad grades, bad attitudes, bad judgments, bad decisions are not enough to stop the unwanted behavior. In other words, the punishments aren't deterring the crimes.
The rules are not consistently enforced and the punishments are not consistently given.
Before you start to implement any modifications in how you deal with your children, please make sure that these first three things are no longer an issue. If they are, any changes you make will probably not result in much improvement. The result is well worth your time to do right.