While reading and sipping my coffee this morning, I came across a great definition of failure. “Failure [is] neglecting what we want most for what we want right now.” This can be applied to so many facets of our lives—health, career, family—but for the purpose of this blog post I’ll focus on relationships. Today more than ever, instant gratification is getting in the way of people having epic marriages.
How many times have we sacrificed what we want most (a solid relationship, feeling connected to our partner, a good marriage) for what we want right now (to be right, to get our way, to have the last say)? In other words, how many times do we fail in our relationships because of instant gratification? This failure doesn’t have to be permanent; it might just be a temporary setback. But over time it can also lead to disconnect, discontentment, and dissonance. If we only go for instant gratification than we will inevitably fail to meet our goals of establishing a strong partnership and epic marriage.
Don’t get me wrong, instant gratification feels great in the short term. I, for one, love being right. But is being right more important than investing in your relationship? If I had to choose between being right and being married, I would choose the latter. I have a sneaking suspicion that most of us would.
How to Ditch Instant Gratification for an Epic Marriage
Every day we have opportunities to choose between what we want now and what we want most. If you want to move away from instant gratification and towards an epic marriage, the first step is deciding what it is that you want most. Without that clarity you will always choose what you want now because you won’t know what else you are aiming for in those moments.
The second step is calming down. Often we are activated when we want to be right, have the last word, or get our way. We need to self-soothe. We want to be able to respond instead of react. Reactivity is eating a bag of chips because you’re feeling bored, sad, or overwhelmed. Responding is figuring out what would make you feel better, calmer, more centered in that moment (taking deep breaths, going for a walk, meditation). So in the context of relationships, reactivity is yelling, nagging, shutting down. Responding is being the bigger person, stating your needs, and using a calm voice.
The third step is stating your needs/wants/desires (responding instead of reacting). In this we use “I-Statements” – this is about YOU not your partner. “I feel hurt when you yell” is an I-Statement. “I think you’re an idiot/lazy/a jerk” is not an I-Statement. You’ll need to try again.
This is a vulnerable place. It’s a lot easier to point fingers, blame, or nag. But if you want to get what you want most, vulnerability is key. This is where we truly connect with a partner, are heard and seen for who we are, and build an epic relationship.
I love working with couples to create stronger relationships. If you are interested in doing work around this, I’d love to hear from you!