As much as we’d like to find a blame outside of ourselves for the things that are not going amazingly in our lives…
…We would do well to reject the excuse that the disunity & lack of love in our relationships is caused by our differences of belief.
Recently a TAL Family member shared with me her struggle with finding unity in her marriage.
She expressed that she felt she had come to the end of her rope.
She is a believer in God and her husband is not, and she said it’s difficult for her not being able to pray together and share the same beliefs.
As a result, she feels very distant from her husband.
She feels hopeless and doesn’t know if she can carry on.
She asked: “How do I stay positive without the support and encouragement from my husband?”
As I thought about it for a moment, I suddenly remembered a bunch of my own excuses for the disunity I felt with my wife in the past.
“We don’t like the same food. We aren’t passionate about all the same things. She sees the world so differently from me. We are so different!”
In 2014, because of the disunity I felt in my relationship with Nan, I set my intention and my vision for the year around one word: UNITY.
I made it my mission to reclaim the unity and loving relationship I had once had with my beautiful bride.
We weren’t at all hostile toward each other, I just felt distant. Our relationship was perfectly friendly and cordial…but inside I felt alone.
I didn’t feel like I could really talk to her about many things on my heart.
I felt like she didn’t understand me.
And yet, we share the same core beliefs about God and faith and many other things.
And over the past 18 months of focus on UNITY I learned some important things. One of the most important is this:
Unity does not mean sharing the same exact beliefs and passions.
So here’s a crucial warning for you…if you want unity in your relationships…
Be careful not to blame your differences for your lack of unity.
The first step toward unity and love in a relationship is to stop blaming your differences for your disunity.
As I look back, that was the primary thing holding me apart from unity.
I was allowing myself to be a victim of our differences.
Even though we see many things similarly, Nan and I don’t see eye to eye on many things. Yet today we love each other deeply, and we keep learning to overcome our differences and feel very unified.
The key for me has been a relentless commitment to focus on the positive.
By letting go of any need to change the other person, and instead focus on what I could do and say in love, I was empowered to make a change in myself…
…Instead of feeling hopeless to change someone else.
Trying to change others is not the goal. Never has been. Never will be.
It’s a futile task.
And an arrogant one…because it assumes that the other person needs changing in the first place.
Are you sure?
How can you be so sure?
And even if they do, did someone appoint you as the one in charge of changing them?
When we’re honest, we realize every human is in charge of changing their own self.
What we’ll also see quickly when we change ourself — is wonderful things start to happen almost immediately around us.
So here’s one thing you can actually do to change you…which will change your circumstances:
Rather than focus on what you don’t have in your relationships, how about making it your only goal each day to tell someone what you love about them?
I believe that one simple shift will change your mindset profoundly, as it continues to for me.
As you cultivate the habit of complimenting and praising you become like the expert paleontologist — excavating the good and the beautiful from the people and things that have shown up in your life.
The paleontologist could choose to focus on the millions of tons of dirt and rocks he has to dig through to find that one precious fossil…
…Or he can focus on being one rock closer to that precious fossil.
It really doesn’t matter what our differences and weak points are…the question to focus on is this:
What is good and beautiful in this person, place, or thing?
As we go on a treasure hunt for all things good and beautiful we inevitably find them showing up in abundance at some point.
But don’t wait for the huge treasure trove before you celebrate. Find the smallest good thing you can.
Express it. Write it. And be grateful.
Keep doing that every day. I guarantee if you discipline your focus in this way it will change your life.
Everything is conspiring for your benefit. Even this feeling like you’re at the end of your rope oddly enough. Even the fact that your partner doesn’t share your exact beliefs. You can always choose to look for the good in the situation.
Make today amazing!
(Which is as simple as deciding to open focus your attention on what good you can uncover in the world.)
Chief Life Lover