I don’t know about you, but I LOVE a good declutter. And there’s something about the New Year that just begs us to say ‘out with the old and in with the new!’. Sometimes though, it’s not just our physical space that needs clearing out; we must also turn our attention inwards and find out how to dejunk what’s going on inside… It’s time to declutter your Marriage.
How to declutter your Marriage and ‘Spark Joy’ once more!
As a throwaway comment (no pun intended!) to my husband the other day, I said ‘I’m the Marie Kondo of Marriage. I teach people how to throw out what they no longer need in their Relationship and how to spark joy between them again!’
And sometimes it’s the things we say without even thinking that can illuminate our path like nothing else…
Let’s start with Simplicity
Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying:
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
The idea of simplifying your ideas has stuck with me over the past couple of years. Because I know that in order to make relationship success accessible to everybody, it has to be simple.
But here’s the issue – inherently it’s really not.
So, if your marriage is in a pickle, that did not happen overnight. It’s likely taken months or years for it to get to that state and it’s actually a result of the sum total of not only your life experience, but your partner’s also.
Humans are complicated and that’s why relationships tend to be too.
So, if you hang about on say, social media or search engines looking for answers as to how to fix your marriage and you find one well-written post, then take it from me, that will not be THE answer; it will not be the whole picture.
The ‘answer’ to your marriage problems is not a 1 hit wonder, it’s not a 1 size fits all. When you find relationship advice online, what you are actually getting in reality is a jigsaw piece.
It’s just one piece of a big-ass jigsaw.
The thing is, if we all knew that up front, likely none of us would begin. It would feel too big, too overwhelming. So people in my position have to simplify (and in some cases even over-simplify) to try to coax you onto the right road in the first place. You need to feel like it’s going to be simple; easy; a breeze…
Another issue with online help is that if you read just 1 article, it’s likely you may have just been given a random piece of the aforementioned jigsaw.
Of course, ideally you would be given piece number 1 to begin with.
Let’s say that’s the top left hand corner of the picture and then you need to be working out from there… but lots of people are giving you pieces in the middle of your 1000 piece jigsaw which can mislead or confuse you and often lead you down a rabbit hole with no real results.
Which then leaves you feeling defeated and hopeless and like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. And I don’t need to tell you that’s not what we want!
Many people online also give you rules.
Like barking the ‘10 commandments of Relationships’ at you. I like to believe that all my clients have got a good head on their shoulders though and the idea of you following a ‘Thou Shalt/ Thou Shalt Not’ list is insulting at best. I know you’ll want to think things out for yourself, not just follow rules blindly.
Plus, I don’t need to tell you that following rules for rules sake is NOT the answer. Sure it might look simple, but I am sure each of us could come up with no end of examples in history where behaving in that way has only ever made things much, much worse.
I am sure you value intelligent thinking, investigation and problem solving as much as I do so I wouldn’t like to insult you with rules but no reasons behind them.
“Reasons = Resolution”
In fact, as I always say in regards to Relationships: “Reasons = Resolutions”. Reasons are one of the most vital elements of relationship repair & improvement in fact.
More than this, it’s the process of working through your issues and coming to your own conclusions about what is and has been happening, that is the alchemical part of working on your Relationship. It’s the Aha! or Eureka moments that bring you the results.
Plus, even when you do have failsafe rules presented to you like ‘Eat less, Exercise more’ in the case of losing weight for example, if they are unappealing or seem to be too much hard work, we humans will look for a workaround; an easier way to avoid the rules.
So what IS the answer??
For many years now I have been wrestling with this very question.
I know I have all the pieces of the jigsaw and I know I can give you that however, it’s still your job to put that jigsaw together, because in the act of making connections between the pieces, that is where your big gains and your successes come from. I can’t label each piece with a number and a letter and give you a key. That honestly just defeats the object!
So it’s not the jigsaw itself that needs to change, but the way we approach it.
You may have seen people who do a real life jigsaw that have a ‘method’; perhaps they put together the outside of the image first before filling it in; they might group pieces according to the image on them; they might assemble those pieces outside of the main jigsaw itself.
Ultimately they have a Strategy.
And this is what You need too:
A way to organise the information and the work in a logical way so that you can work though it in sections.
Rather like the process Marie Kondo walks you through when she gets you to declutter.
Now if you’ve ever read about or followed the Konmarie method (which is the name given to Marie’s process) you will know that she, over years of trial and error has discovered the best way to declutter your home in a way that also teaches you to not let it get in that state again.
This begins with a rather confronting experience:
She tells you to get every single item of clothing that you own and put it all in one place. So you must go round your entire home (including your loft and and perhaps even into your car too if you leave the occasional jacket or jumper in there) and then literally pile up everything in one place – be that in the spare room, the living room floor or on your lawn.
For women in particular this can be alarming. Faced with the reality of your wardrobe contents you know that something must be done! (It also actually makes the process of discarding easier when you realise you have so much.)
But the next step she recommends (which is often branded as too ‘woo’ by some less open-minded souls) is to hold each and every piece of clothing in your hands and decide if it ‘sparks joy’ in you. If it actually makes you happy.
If it’s a ‘No’, it goes.
The thing about this method is that it connects you to just one emotion. Your brain can make up all sorts of reasons like ‘this cost a fortune’ or ‘my grandma gave this to me’ or ‘but it was a gift!’ that might compel you to keep an item. However, when you strip it down to ‘does this thing actually make me Happy?’ it’s suddenly crystal clear about what stays and what goes.
Personally I went through this process and I clearly remember holding a scarf that used to belong to my mum and sobbing over it for around an hour; putting it into the charity bag and taking it out again, over and over. The sentimental part of me that wanted to hold onto my mum did not want to let it go, but as I sobbed uncontrollably, I realised to my horror how unhappy that item made me. I knew I HAD to let it go! That item was not my mum and it just didn’t serve me to keep it. Letting go of it made me feel lighter; I had a tangible sense of relief; I knew it was the right thing to do.
There were items of Mum’s that did give me genuine joy to possess and those were things I did hold onto.
Nothing wrong with retaining items that Spark Joy!
More than this though, after a widespread removal of so many possessions, Marie then encourages you to only add new things into your home if they genuinely fill you with joy (or, like a cheese grater, are just extremely practical). Because honestly why would you want to have anything in your environment that doesn’t make your life better?
And it occurs to me this is perhaps the best way to approach your Relationship if you want to change it for good. You need to declutter your Marriage.
On my own journey through Relationship Repair, I discovered many mindsets, beliefs and patterns that I was not even been consciously aware of and the truth was that not all these things served me. They didn’t act in my highest good; didn’t make me happy; didn’t give me the results I wanted to see in my relationship.
So those things had to go. I had to declutter my marriage mindsets.
And in their place I have had to install new mindsets, new patterns, new beliefs to get the results I want.
“It’s a System”
Now although it could sound perhaps rather cold and clinical to say so, your relationship at it’s core is just a System.
By that I mean: What you put into it, you get out.
If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘Shit in, Shit out’ with regards to data input, you will understand this idea. A database is only as reliable as the information that has been entered into it in the 1st place. If you put shit in then you can guarantee that you will only ever get shit out.
Sadly our relationships are no different.
And the ‘data’ we input into our love lives stems from the sum total of our life experience! The task of relationship repair and ultimately improvement is one of a database clean up, a reordering: a declutter-ing of your marriage. We must delve into our internal landscapes in order to identify, weed out and in some cases replace, the bits of data that are causing the negative results. The bits that don’t generate good outcomes for us.
The ‘System’ of relationship is really just one of patterns, strategies and habits. Issues arise if any of your patterns, strategies and habits are outdated, faulty and not serving or empowering you (& not ‘sparking joy’ in fact, to refer back to Marie Kondo).
Patterns, Strategies & Habits:
So here’s the bottom line: In a Love Relationship, you largely operate out of a series of patterns of observed and learned behaviour; most of which you picked up in the first 7 years of your life. To radically improve your relationship, your job is to recognise, understand and, in some cases, replace those patterns with new behaviours that give you the results that you really want.
In order to have the kind of Relationship you want, you therefore need to:
- Smash historic internal Patterns of relating
- Develop new Strategies for achieving success in Love
- Create amazing Habits for lasting connection & safety
You need to give your internal landscape a deep clean and a makeover. You need to declutter your Marriage.
If you’d like to have a clean sweep of your Relationship, then join me in the next Round of Relationship Training where we’ll show you how to get rid of all the old stuff that is making a mess of your Marriage and introduce some brand new Patterns, Strategies and Habits that will really Spark Joy for you not just this year, but for all the years to come. Just pop your name on the Waitlist now.