A client came to me for coaching. He shared with me that he was getting ready to leave his wife of 24 years. He had fallen out of love with her and didn’t look forward to coming home at night. Everything about her annoyed him except for her cooking which he believed she cooked begrudgingly for them. She was obviously also not happy in the marriage. From the sound of things, they were living as roommates and the client was lonely. In our conversation, I heard several negative thoughts that his brain rehearses over and over again. “She never wants to do anything.” “She cooks for me begrudgingly.” “I don’t want to come home at night.” “Everything she does annoys me.” Can you hear why he wants to leave his wife?
His brain is sabotaging his marriage. His thoughts created his circumstance and the only way he was going to save the marriage was to change his thoughts about his wife. I assumed since he had signed up for the next Marriage in Christ seminar that this was their last-ditch effort so I made a suggestion. I asked him to think one time a day the thought, “I love my wife.” He looked at me with a puzzled look, not exactly the advice he was looking for, and agreed to do that. He came back the next week and shared that his wife was “warming up to him.” I asked him how that made him feel and I could see he was hopeful. In a nutshell, I talked to him about a tool I use with my clients called the Marriage Model. Change your thoughts, change your marriage. I then asked him to think about his wife three times each day with the thought, “I love my wife.” He could use the times before he eats to help him to remember. Again, the following week I asked him how he was doing. He said, "I think our marriage is getting better. I’m even appreciating her cooking. We now talk at the dinner table and I find myself asking her how her day was and she is interested in mine. We even laugh and joked around this week." I congratulated him and told him that for this week's assignment I want him to think about his spouse at least three times a day or more with the thought, “I love my wife a lot.” He smiled understanding the gig now and went off to work on managing his mind.
The following week at the first session of the Marriage In Christ Seminar, I noticed them both when they walked into the room. They had a smile from cheek to cheek, holding hands and chatting with the other couples. I had never seen that from them before. They isolated themselves from the others at church and both had looked like each week they dragged each other to church but tonight was different. I waited until almost the end of the night because he never left his wife's side. Finally, he came up to me at the end to thank me. He shared with me that he and his wife made love for the first time in 6 months. He said, “I have a whole new outlook for my marriage, I love my wife.” “We made the decision to really work on loving each other.” We can’t wait to see how this Seminar helps us to grow even more.
I share this story with you because not only is forgiveness a choice but so is loving your spouse. If you learn to love your spouse you will be able to forgive them a lot easier and not let your marriage get to that point. Loving our spouse doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated, you just need the right thoughts in your brain and willing to put in the effort to manage your mind. And if you want to love your spouse more deeply, you have to have deep loving thoughts about them. It may seem awkward or rehearsed at first but once you get rid of the negative loop in your brain that you have been rehearsing for so many years you will love in a way that is very authentic and real.
Lori Giovannini is a Certified Marriage and Family Life Coach, a Couples Weight Loss Coach, and a Certified Brain Health Coach with Amen Clinics. Lori served as the Executive Director of a large Catholic Women’s Nonprofit before becoming a Coach.
Not only is Lori an experienced Relationship and Brain Health Coach, she has 20 years of experience facilitating marriage retreats, workshops and seminars with her husband Lou, a Deacon in the Catholic Church.
Her heart has always been in the prayer and healing ministry. She helps both spouses and married couples grow mentally, emotionally, intimately and spiritually through private coaching, group couples coaching, courses, bible studies and retreats.
She has proven coaching tools and couple’s techniques to help spouses at any stage or phase of their marriage. Today she helps couples successfully BLOOM in to their second half of married life with love, purpose, passion and fulfilled faith.
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