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Sometimes people think that because I help people have great relationships with their partner's that my own relationship must be perfection and bliss at all times.
Let me assure you....it's not.
But here is why I think that is a good thing.
If my marriage were perfect and easy all the time, I wouldn't really need the tools I am teaching my clients, I would get rusty and probably wouldn't make the investment into my own self-coaching that I encourage my clients to make.
So today, I am going to pull back the curtain on my own relationship to share with you the main challenge I am working on actively right now and exactly what I am doing to improve this issue. This the exact step-by-step process of how I coach myself and my clients to find solutions to all their problems.
Step 1: Awareness
Start by defining the problem or challenge in one sentence. It's easy to go on and on and make up a big story, but if you can't tell yourself what you think the core of the issue is in one sentence, you aren't clear enough to start working on it.
For me it is:
I am not spending as much time with my husband as I want to.
Once you have that sentence the next question is:
Why is this a problem or challenge for me?
It is a problem because while we plan date nights, nights alone and plan trips away together, on a day-to-day basis lately I have been feeling like we barely get five minutes alone to talk and connect.
Step 2: What Do You Want Instead?
What do I want here? What am I hoping to replace the current situation with instead?
I want to spend more time together during the weeknights. I would like at least a full hour of downtime or hang time every evening with him.
Step 3: Find the Obstacles
List the main obstacles, or roadblocks that are making it difficult or preventing you from getting what you want here.
Some of mine include:
1. Our kids have been going to bed late and some nights don't fall asleep until 8:30pm
2. I am tired by 9pm and want to go to bed
3. There are always things to do around the house that take up a lot of time in the evenings (tidy up from the day, make lunches, clean kitchen, plan the next day etc.)
Step 4: Create a New Plan and Follow it
For each one of the obstacles create a realistic, creative plan for how to deal with it
Here is what I am doing about my main obstacles:
1. Kids not falling asleep early enough
- Remember that while I can't control when my children fall asleep and I can't force them to be amazing sleepers, I can do things to help make bedtime more relaxing.
- Start rolling back bedtime by 15 minutes until we establish a better rhythm.
- Continue to make their room cozier and more relaxing (we recently bought matching cozy beds for them and put a wireless speaker in their room so we can play soothing music)
Back-up plan: if they are really fired up at night do an evening trail walk. They can chill out and my husband and I get some exercise and time to chat.
2. I am often tired by 9pm and want to go to bed
- Start with being kind to myself. Remember that I haven't had consistent nights of sleep for several years and rest is not something I need to skip out on in order to create a better relationship.
- Experiment with taking short power naps during the day (schedule downtime into my work day to rest)
- Cut down on using coffee or sugar to power through during the day
- Increase the foods that nourish and energize me in my diet
- Add a short workout or meditation session into my evening routine to refresh myself
3. Nighttime to-do's and chores
- Get kids to help tidy up directly after dinner so the house is in order before they head to bed
- Take care of loose ends as the kids are getting ready for bed so that once they fall asleep, the only thing left to do is hang out with my husband
- Schedule regular days to have my house cleaned by a pro
Step 5: Test It Out and Evaluate
Once you have your plan in place it is time to test it out and see how things go.
Remember to check in with yourself every week or two and evaluate your various experiments. Keep what works and get creative about what doesn't.
And if you think you have an issue in your relationship that is more complex and want my help, sign up for a consultation here and learn if I can support you to figure this thing out.