Your power to change any situation lies in the questions you ask yourself. They drive your behavior. They can alter your perspective at the drop of a hat. And, they can be either dis-empowering or empowering.
You’re already operating on questions you’ve asked and answered. But, you’re likely not aware of the question because it’s subconscious. For example, you see your husband’s dirty plate on the counter (for the hundred-zillionth time), and you immediately feel aggravated. What do you do?
Did you come up with something? Great! How long did it take you? Was it instantaneous, or did you have to pause for a bit?
If your response was to approach him about it, regardless of whether you’ll ask nicely or yell or nag at him, you’re probably operating on the question, ‘How can I get him to rinse his dishes and put them in the dishwasher?’
If your response was to do it yourself, you’re probably operating on the question, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ To which you’ve probably come up with the answers ‘lazy’, ‘stupid’, or ‘being male’. Those don’t expect him to change, so you do it yourself.
You may have had a different response, but the above 2 are the most common reactions. Your exact reaction isn’t as pertinent as recognizing how your mind works. Your responses to situations are so automatic that you don’t even realize how many (subconscious) choices you’re making.
Once you recognize this, it’s a short step to understanding how important questions can play in your daily life. At any given time, stop and ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you’re trying to achieve.
If you really want to transform your stepfamily from stressed to blessed, from tense to unified, from awkward to comfortable, then you must start with the right questions.
The 3 must-ask questions both you and your spouse need to answer is:
- What exactly needs to change? (Make a list and be as specific as possible.)
- Who needs to change? (hint: If you’ve only listed your partner, think a little longer.)
- How does it/he/she need to change?
Each of you should do this separately. I recommend you write it in your designated stepfamily journal. Be as specific as possible.
The reason these are vital is because it brings you clarity – a focal point for discussion. Thus, asking for what you need becomes easier. And, you’ll quickly and easily feel gratitude when you get what you want. Of course, gratitude is always great because it’s a palpable energy that flows to other people you interact with.
If your partner is not willing to talk to you about making changes or improvements, and he’s simply not aware of the psychology of stepfamily dynamics, please do this exercise anyway. I know you know that the road to creating harmony can be quicker and easier if both of you are working together. However, you still need what you need. This exercise is about you first and foremost. ALWAYS HONOR YOURSELF FIRST.
Remember, when you show up differently, people will react differently to you. You can’t change another person, but you can influence him.
In harmony and balance,