So, have you been thinking about what your definition of a vibrant marriage is? Have you considered what negative and unrealistic definitions you want to dump from your story? (If you haven’t read the first part of this Blog or you need a refresher, take a minute to read through it now, before you move into the second half.)

One of the hardest parts of making a change in your relationship is taking action. We can have great ideas and intentions and even know what needs to be done but if we don’t put it in action change doesn’t happen. So, how do you go about building your new, positive definition of marriage?

You are going to use the model of Your Story + Your Mindset = Your Reality:

First, You must Rewrite Your Story:

Let’s review your current story:

What are you telling yourself about what marriage is? Let’s acknowledge the negative and unrealistic maps that are out there and erase their influence. You don’t want “common” so don’t let common ideas and language remain in your story.

Get rid of the following beliefs or experiences in your relationship: unrealistic expectations, high criticism, complaining about your partner to others, a flat lined sex life, staying busy and distracted, thinking negatively about your relationship, feeling disappointed and then blaming your problems on your partner until you are perpetually unhappy. They do not need to be a part of your story any longer. They don’t serve any relationship well.

Now, what would you like your marriage to be? Maybe you already have a clear answer to this question. If so, great!

If you need a little help let’s just invert a “common” marriage and see what a vibrant marriage might look like: realistic expectations, low criticism, talking through problems with my partner, vibrant sex life, giving time and attention to my relationship, thinking positively about my relationship, working together with my partner and feeling content and happy.

How’s that for a better story? Interested in defining your marriage this way?

Next, You have to Readjust Your Mindset:

You must shift your mindset to match your new story. Your mindset is how you think about things. For example, if you believe your life is great, you think good things about your life, generating happy feelings and positive experiences. However, if you believe your life is awful, you think bad things about your life, producing unhappy feelings and negative experiences.

If you want your new story to stick, you need to shift how you think.

Our positive relationship story can give us clues as to how to shift your thinking. Here are mindsets that accompany a vibrant marriage:

  • Expect great things from your partner and relationship.
  • Think and express encouraging words to your partner.
  • Be a problem solver, not a problem creator.
  • Focus on desiring your partner, creating a romantic and connected space for sex in your mind.
  • Make your relationship a priority in how you think about and plan your day.
  • Consider your partner as an ally in processing your thoughts and ideas.
  • Acknowledge how peaceful and content your emotions are when you put this kind of positive attention toward your relationship.

Finally, You will Reset Your Reality:

You must put your changes into action.

Ask your self these questions: What is the desired outcome of your vibrant relationship story? What does your new mindset look like in action?

It can be helpful to pull from your positive examples of couples that have modeled for you the traits, characteristics, and behaviors that lead to the reality you are seeking. What have you seen people do in great relationships that you can put into action?

Then, once again, let’s use the vibrant relationship story and shifted mindset to see what a new definition might look like in action:

  • Adjust your expectations by being flexible and realistic.
  • Talk to your partner in encouraging and positive ways.
  • Work on being a great problem solver, not a problem creator.
  • Create a romantic and connected space for sex with your partner.
  • Take daily actions that show your partner they are a priority.
  • Take time to process your thoughts and ideas with your partner.
  • Acknowledge to your partner how peaceful and content you feel about your relationship, how happy you are with them and how much you love them.

By building your new definition, crafting your positive story, and drawing your map to achieving a vibrant relationship you will create a new experience.

As you pursue your story and solidify your mindset with day-to-day action, you will find that the definition of marriage in your world has changed. Then, as the outside definitions of the world press in on you and your partner, they will be met by the strong wall of your internal definition that is now a fortress around your love as a couple.

Remember, this is your love story —your lifetime together. No one can define it or write it on your behalf. You own the pen, the paper, the characters, the setting, and the creativity to overcome any plot. When you do this, you become a Relationship Rebel. You have joined the Love Revolution.

Want more insight and exercises like this for your relationship? You can find so much more in my new book Relationship Reset!

Until we meet again—Love each other well,

Jen Elmquist