It’s that time of year when you can sometimes wonder if the spark in your relationship is burning as bright as it used to.
What do you do if you want to ignite it again after years of pandemic stress, grief and loss?
In today’s episode, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to not only find that spark, but to nourish it into an eternal flame.
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Hey, how are you doing out there? I ask something exciting to tell you. We are so close to 10,000 downloads on the smooth stones podcast. It started really small, but it’s growing like a snowball and something that really, really helps us. If you would share the podcast, if you’re in any loss groups or.
Support groups, or you have a platform where you can share, would you share a favorite episode or tell people that you’ve learned a lot of good things from this podcast? I would really, really appreciate it. I really want to get to a 10 K downloads. And when I do, maybe I’ll have to do something fun over on Instagram.
I’m at Amy moonstones coaching, but please share the podcast. It would mean so much to me as I sit here in my office and I think about you and I think about all the other loss moms who just need support and they need tools to cope with their life after loss and then to move forward and find joy again and find themselves again.
I just want everyone to be able to listen to the podcast. So please share. And if you have a minute rate and review, I would love that too. It really helps, but I’m excited. And I thank you for being here. I think every one of you, when I look at my statistics, it’s not about the numbers. It’s about what the numbers represent.
And I know that each lists. Is a person who has been through something really, really hard, but who has found a safe place here and who has found healing and growth. And I just, it means so much to me. I can’t, I’m not expressing it very well, but none of this is about the numbers for me. It’s all about you, the individual person listening to this right now, and I’m so honored that you would give me your time and your attention just for a little while each week.
Valentine’s day is coming up. And so this episode is for the romantic relationships in our lives. Um, hopefully only have one, but if you have more than one, you’ve got no judgment coming from me. And there’s this story that we’ve all heard for all of our lives, that there’s usually a spark that comes when we meet someone or we fall in love.
And that spark is the beginning of it all. Then life goes on and soon the honeymoon period is over. There are life struggles, grief, financial difficulties, parenting, , baggage from the past that comes back and just living with another human day in and day out can make it seem like the spark is gone at the beginning of the relationship.
We’re usually on our best behavior and it’s easy to feel the sparks when that changes. It can be easy to feel like everything is going wrong. So today I want to share with you three tips to help you not just keep the spark alive, but nourish and grow the fire that will warm you through the hard times.
John Gottman is a leading marriage researcher, and I highly recommend reading his books and following his work, you can even download a free app that is full of car decks to keep conversations in marriage going. It’s got some just conversation things. And then it’s got some, a little bit spicier things in there.
It’s called the Gottman card decks. Now he said friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best protection against feeling adversarial towards your spouse. And that leads me to tip number one, which is like adding some kindling to your spark assume love. When love feels hard, our brain automatically wants to find a problem.
And the easy target is our partner. I want you to notice the thoughts that come up when they don’t act, how you wish they would. For example, he is late coming home and didn’t text her. The first thought that will pop into your head is often, well, he obviously doesn’t care about me or my schedule. He knows I’ll be worried.
And I’ve told him so many times to let me know if he’ll be late. I made dinner and we have kids. We need to run around to activities. And he obviously doesn’t care about any of it. And soon you are down the rabbit hole, making all of this mean that he doesn’t love you. If he did love you, the least he could do is pull out his phone and send a text.
So I want you to pull out the circumstance here. In this example, circumstances are the facts. Let’s just say it’s six 30, 2:00 PM. I have no texts from my partner and he is not at our house. Those are the facts. The rest is all story. It’s all thoughts. And it’s all optional. You can substitute those things, your spouse does that cause you to think they don’t care about you.
So really, I mean, if your partner is super functional and always comes home on time, that might not be for you. But think of something as we work through this, right, as we talk through this, we want to think of a place where. We might not have even noticed, but that is kind of our thought is they don’t care about me.
If they cared about me, they would be doing this differently because awareness is the first step. Notice the places where this is playing out in your brain and what it’s doing to you, because in the end, our thoughts create our results. So when we tell a story that paints our partner as unloving, we end up frustrated and judgmental and unloving towards them.
That’s where assume love comes in. You have to stop the cycle right? In its tracks, you interrupt your model before it runs away from you. You still have the same circumstances at six 30, 2:00 PM. But this time you can assume. You assume he has a good reason. You assume that if he could have called, he would have going back to the quote about friendship, being the fuel to romance.
Think about if your best he was late. I bet you have a friend who is always late. If I give you a minute or even a couple of seconds, I bet you could name who’s your friend that is always late and you still love her, right? You don’t spiral. You just know this about her and you love her anyway. You can extend the same kindness to your spouse.
And here’s what happens when you assume love your result is you get to feel love, love for them and love for you. Instead of putting your emotions on their behavior, you take care of you. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother you. It doesn’t mean you don’t have a conversation about it, but it is a much different tone.
And when he comes through the door, you are in a much better, much more loving place. And remember love feels great. So choose love and assume love. Now let’s put some medium-sized logs onto our fire with tip number two, love the person in front of you. Remember that story about the spark and the beginning of your relationship.
It can be like a bucket of cold water. If you use it against your spouse. Anytime you hear yourself saying you used to do this, or you never used to do that, you are dousing the fire that you have chemistry and sparks have their place to bring us together. It’s easy to love someone when they only show you your best.
And everyone smells amazing and pheromones are flying and hormones are pumping through your veins every time you’re together. But no relationship is going to stay there. And honestly, would you want it? The happily ever after stories in the wrong comms would lead us to believe that it does, but it’s not true.
So you need to check your beliefs about what true love looks like. And a lot of people say it looks like work. I personally don’t love that description. I prefer to say that true love takes more effort at times, for sure. Especially once life throws you challenges like infertility, losing your babies and grieving.
Not to mention where they choose to clip their toenails, or if they put the milk away after they use it. John Gottman said, the point is that neuroses don’t have to ruin a marriage. If you can accommodate each other’s crazy side and handle it with caring, affection and respect, your marriage can thrive.
I was just reading an article that was talking about how we usually continue to have different versions of the same fight over and over in marriage. Do you see that in your relationship? What if that’s okay. What if there are just things you aren’t ever going to fully resolve and you love your person.
Anyway, our brain likes to notice other people’s faults and minimize our own, but the cool thing about noticing your thoughts and your results is you start to see how most of the things you complain about. Fall under that adage of when you point your finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at you.
We all want to be loved through our imperfections show. That same love to your partner and things will start burning brighter. And on a side note, you can absolutely change the dynamic in your marriage just by doing this yourself. I know a lot of people see marriage advice and think, I really wish my spouse would read this or listen to this.
They don’t need to stop trying to fix them and just love them. See the good in them just as they are. That is incredibly powerful. And now let’s just add those big, old logs that will keep this fire smoldering and burning for the long haul. Tip. Number three is to be unique. There is no one like you too.
And that’s a good thing where we run into problems is those beliefs. We aren’t paying attention to make us think that something is wrong. And a lot of relationship advice tells you things to do like date night, going on vacation, speaking each other’s love languages, and then you’ll feel all the love and have a great relationships.
But our actions don’t create our feelings. Our thoughts, create our feelings and our feelings drive what we do, which creates the results in our lives. Let me give you a quick example, so you can see what I mean, the circumstance is, are zero date nights. This month, the thought is he obviously doesn’t care about our relationship and you feel hurt in the action line.
We have. Give the silent treatment, expect them to read your mind, make passive aggressive comments, send him marriage podcasts links. Don’t notice what he is doing. Put everything on him, spin in those negative thoughts. And your result is I find evidence that the thought is true, right?
We keep finding evidence that he doesn’t care. And I hurt my relationship. I am creating this in negatives cycle that you can’t get out of because you keep proving it true. You’ve given your brain, the job of noticing how he doesn’t care and it’s going to do that job. It’s very efficient. It will do what it’s told and it will continue to see everything in that light.
And through that lens. Now, this is a really common series of events. And over time it can really wear down your relationship instead of continuing to build the fire. But what have you allowed your relationship to be unique? You took some time to write down all the chatter in your brain about how relationships should look and you burn it metaphorically, or for real,
then you start a fresh list of all the things that are working, that you love that are fun, that show you that your relationship is succeeding. My daughter was just sharing about how she drove a few hours with her boyfriend to visit his family. And I asked what they talked about and she said they usually just listen to audio books and they don’t really talk and they love that.
It’s fun for them and they enjoy it. So even though I may have a belief that you should talk on road trips, she doesn’t, and she doesn’t make it mean anything that they aren’t talking because they love what they are doing. And they like each other and their friends and friends listened to books in the car and it takes some effort to dig these beliefs out.
I never really questioned the belief that I have about talking in the car. I might even have thought that if my husband and I aren’t talking on drives that there is a. That is what my brain offers to me. And I noticed it when my daughter told me they don’t talk. So my challenge to you is to really dive into how your relationship is unique, drop all the hallmark channel fairytale stuff, and just start loving what you have.
And if you want something to be different, remember. Accountability for that and make things happen that are fun for you, make it unique to you. And don’t worry about all the other things.
At the beginning of our relationship, we have a lot of thoughts about how cool each other are and how much we like each other. And we don’t have a lot of the other thoughts, like how loud someone choose and if things are going well for you, I want you to take the time to thank yourself for that. You are creating it.
You are thinking thoughts that create. You are not thinking thoughts that bring judgment or resentment, you are tending to your fire without even noticing, but noticing the good is just as important as noticing the problems. I was recently talking to a friend and she was, was saying, well, people keep coming to me for marriage advice.
And I just don’t know what to say. Cause my husband’s just perfect. And, and you know, it’s not me, it’s him. He’s so amazing. He’s so fun to be married to. And I was asking her a question, like, what are you doing? What are you thinking? I bet there are people in the world who would not like to be married to your husband.
And it was kind of a light bulb moment for her. And she said, Yeah, actually, he’s really opinionated. And he states what he thinks. And she had this list of characteristics that she, she adores and she loves. And so she sees him as like the perfect husband and she isn’t giving herself the credit for what she is thinking and what she is not thinking.
. But when we become aware, we can just say, oh, wow. Like I, this is what I’m doing. This is what I’m not thinking. I’m not thinking thoughts that are judgmental or that are creating resentment. So give yourself a pat on the back and notice it and notice the places where your model is working and you don’t even see it.
And that was what I had pointed out to her was you have these models that are creating great results in your marriage. They’re creating great results. And it is coming from you, even if you’re married to a Saint, you are still part of that equation. And so own that and love it.
If you want that spark to turn into a long lasting flame, that creates shimmering calls that are the absolute best place to roast the perfect gold around marshmallows, which I have to tell you is one of my specialties. I don’t even like eating marshmallows, but I can. They perfect. Toasted marshmallow.
Here’s what you gotta do. Assume love, love the person in front of you and let your relationship be unique. Take responsibility for how you’re showing up, work on yourself, and you’ll be amazed. What can happen? I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s day and every day is a blessing. Even the hard ones, creating your own burning eternal flame takes effort, but it is so.
I’ll see you next time.