Hey guys, welcome back to the show! So today I want to talk to you about the most important mindset shift you will ever make when it comes to your relationship. But first, let’s talk about what is mindset? It’s this term that I use often and that more and more people are using but what does it really mean?

Mindset is the way you are thinking about things. It is your perspective, beliefs, and attitude about a situation. And it is EVERYTHING.

For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic, your response will depend on your mindset. If your mindset is “omg I hate traffic, this is horrible, why didn’t I go another way….” Then when you get cut off, you’re going to get even more irritated and maybe honk or curse. But if your mindset about the traffic is “ok well there’s nothing I can do about this so I may as well enjoy some music or call a friend or listen to a podcast…” then when you get cut off in traffic, you’re not going to make a big deal out of it anyway.

Now, pertaining to relationships I’ll give you an example my client had this week. She was on vacation with her husband and small children. Her toddler somehow ended up with only one water shoe on and her husband made a comment to the effect of “how do you always lose one of the kid’s shoes.”

Her default mindset that she came into my program with is “Oh he thinks Im a bad parent and I’m not doing it right.” She felt herself get defensive. But we’ve been working on her thoughts and her mindset for a few months now so she was able to switch her mindset in the moment to “he’s just stating a fact, he’s not coming at me.” She dropped her defenses, and they went on with their vacation without any unnecessary drama.

So, mindset is crucial. It will dictate your day. The sentences in your brain ARE your experience within your life and within your relationship. So, what is the most important mindset shift you need to make in your marriage?

It’s the shift from “it’s me vs. him” to “it’s us against the problem.”

So how do we do that? Well, the first thing is we need to identify, what is the problem? Well for a lot of you you’re in that phase of life where you have small children and so the problem is division of labor and being super busy, not having enough time for each other. In that case, you need to switch from “it’s what I do vs. what he does” to “it’s us vs. this time in our life and our to-do list. We need to figure that out together. We are on the same team.”

So, if you think about an actual team, like a sports team. Players have different positions on the team. A pitcher has a very different role than a second basemen. The pitcher doesn’t think, “that second basemen never pitches for me.” The pitcher understands what his role is and he doesn’t create drama around the fact that his teammates don’t share the same role.

This idea that everything in marriage is 50/50 and fair is a myth. I don’t know where we got this. My grandmother used to say, who told you life was fair?

It is ok that the two of you have very different roles. So you can be mad about it and lose connection with your partner as you nurture a low key resentment… or you can decide that you are teammates. You each do what you are best at doing. And that doesn’t mean that if you are best at doing something, you need to do it all the time forever. You can of course take breaks and build in self-care.. and you should!

It just means that you’re the main person who does it. Because why not you? You’re the best one for that role? This expectation that everything should be split down the middle – that’s the problem! That is an unrealistic expectation and I’ve never worked with a couple who did that successfully.

Ok so you identify the problem. For some couples it’s “we suck at communication” or “one of us has a toxic family who likes to be around us a lot.” Whatever it is, I want you to imagine you and your partner sitting on the same couch, looking at the problem together. Visualize laying the problem out on the coffee table while the two of you study it.

When you switch your mindset to “it’s us against the problem,” you are now able to collaborate. It takes out the mindset that you are being attacked or that things aren’t fair to you or some other flavor of taking things personally. You just see the issue as a problem that needs to be solved.

Now, if you are really trying to make this mindset shift and visualize you and your partner being on the same team, and you keep coming up against the same obstacle over and over again in your mind, that’s the thing you need to work through. That’s what you need to get coached on.

But you have to make a decision. It’s a decision. I am going to start shifting my mindset to us being on the same team as opposed to him vs. me. Once you make that decision, like really make that decision in your gut and your body.. now your mind will start getting to work in figuring how to do that.

Your brain is an amazing machine. And once you make a decision, your brain will naturally and automatically will start looking for a way to fulfill that decision, it will look for a solution to the problem. The thing is you’ve identified the wrong problem.

You think that the problem is that your partner should be different or that your partner did something to you. So of course, your brain is going to look for a solution to that problem (how can I get them to change, how can I defend myself and attack back) and as long as you view your partner as some kind of enemy or on a different team, your brain is going to look for evidence of this.

As soon as you decide to switch over ..that you’re going to find a way to be on the same team, your brain will start looking for evidence of that. So, you are in charge of your own brain. Of course, there will be default thoughts that come into your head. That’s ok, you don’t have to attach yourself to them.

You can say, “of course that’s coming up for me. I’ve been thinking that thought for five years, it makes perfect sense it’s going to come up automatically for me. But since I’ve decided that I no longer want to think it – because it’s not serving me or my relationship goals- I’m going to switch my attention to a thought that I would like to think.”

So maybe instead of “I’m in the kitchen making dinner for the kids and he’s sitting on the couch watching t.v. he clearly does not care or notice or appreciate me.” I mean, you could think that – that doesn’t feel good though and doesn’t’ create connection in your marriage.

Or you could notice that thought came up for you and then say “what would I think if I considered us to be on the same team” and nurture whatever comes up there. So maybe it’s ok well if we are on the same team, I’m going to kindly ask him for help. Or maybe I’ll tap into some compassion for the fact that he worked a lot today and needs a few mins of down time.

There are a million ways to think about any scenario. And us limited, finite humans think that the way we think about something is fact. And it’s not. It’s just mindset. And we are most in our power when we realize that we don’t know.

When you realize that, you’ll be able to tap into curiosity, compassion, and love. As opposed to having your guard up all the time thinking that you need to protect yourself at all times because this person who you built a family with is actually not on your team.

Ok I want to end with this. For those of you who have REALLY difficult partners and some of you are already in my program so I know it can get better because I’m seeing it. But for those of you who have partners who are not interested in getting on the same team, I want to offer you a different mindset shift that really helped me. Shift from seeing your partner as bad to seeing them as unwell.

Think about the level of negativity that must be going on inside of them for them to not want to be on the same team as their partner. A lot of times its learned behavior from how they were raised or a response to past traumas or having no idea how to communicate what’s going on inside of them so they just act out or shut down. Bad behavior comes from pain.

I’m not excusing this type of behavior; I fully recognize that it sucks to live with someone like that. But I also know that when you stop taking it personally and stop seeing them as bad or the enemy, it gets much easier. When you view someone as sick or unwell or struggling, it takes the concept of attack out of it. It’s no longer them attacking you or not caring about you – it’s them trying to cope with the torture they feel internally.

Ok I know this stuff is not easy. Resentment comes into play, that thing they said last Sunday comes into play. I get it. If you need help, I’m here for you. This is my zone of genius; I really get relationships. So, if you’re sick of trying to figure it all out alone and you’re ready to really feel some peace flow in, scroll down to the show notes and schedule a free call with me.