In my practice I’ve noticed that as we age, we can get stuck in our ways. The average age of marriage is now about 30 for both men and women in Canada. When those of us in our thirties enter commitments and get married, we can be less flexible and less willing to compromise.
Flexibility and compromise create a strong, durable foundation for marriage. Most of us in our thirties know ourselves quite well compared to what we knew about ourselves in our twenties. But on the flipside, knowing our preferences can mean we are less likely to compromise.
Being rigid in your relationship can manifest in a number of ways. It might be that you nag when your partner does something different than how you would do it, such as leaving dishes in the sink or leaving the bed unmade.
Rigidity comes from fear. But letting go and being more in the flow of life is where happiness and satisfaction are. If you let go, nothing bad will happen. You will just be more at ease, and more easygoing to your partner. Life happens. Let it happen. Let your partner be himself or herself. Nagging usually doesn’t work anyway, so why not try something different?
What if you were to experiment with non-nagging? Let go and see what happens. Sometimes when we stop doing all the work and pointing out the things we want to see change, we leave space for the other person to step in and take responsibility. What if you were to let it be? Breathe deep and just trust. Let go of the stifling control.
For at least one week (preferably longer if you can) I’d like you to try a behaviour detox! You might detox from nagging, checking up or raising your voice. You want to detox from whatever behaviour you have that reinforces a negative belief about the relationship – one that causes you and your partner stress.
Affirm to yourself that for one week, or whatever time frame you choose, you’re going to experiment with letting go of your current behaviour. Let it go, and observe. Notice how different you feel.
The only way you can change your beliefs is to suspend your current behaviour and observe what happens. The behaviour detox will help you to see things as they are so that you can change your behaviour, rather than continue to feed into the belief that things won’t be okay without your control.
Try this for one week or even a month. Be patient. Give yourself time and trust the process. Often, exactly what you need will happen.