Are you feeling unfulfilled in your marriage or long-term relationship and looking for ways to improve it? If so, where are you looking? Are you focusing purely on you and your partner as a couple, or are you also reflecting on your life as an individual? If you’re not doing the latter, I invite you to look within because the way you’re showing up in your life at large has a big impact on the way you’re showing up in your marriage.

You’re a complex human being with multi-faceted needs that span romance, family, friendship, community, health, and more. If you’re feeling a void in certain areas of your life, you’re carrying the weight of unfulfillment with you wherever you go, which means your partner can feel it, too, even if he or she may not recognize it as such.

How differently might you be showing up in your marriage if you were feeling happier in other areas of your life?

I recently posed this question to a woman after she shared with me how hot and cold she’d been feeling about her long-term relationship. Perhaps you can relate.

One minute, she’s all in. The next minute, she’s all out. “Sometimes I just wonder if I should leave him and start over,” she confided.

Of course, I didn’t offer up an opinion — not only because I didn’t have one but because even if I did, my opinion shouldn’t come into play. I did, however, ask her how the rest of her life was going, all (pandemic) things considered, which led us to the topic of friendship.

Good friendships enrich our lives.

They can also extend our lives. Studies have proven that forming close friendships improves our brain health and lowers health risks. They’re not simply a nice-to-have; they’re a must-have. However, this woman finds herself without and she’s feeling the void.

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Granted, now isn’t the ideal time to expand one’s friendship circle, but the opportunity to grow and nurture friendships was there long before the pandemic hit. For whatever reason, though, she hadn’t pursued it despite longing for it. And so I asked her this:

Imagine waking up in the morning knowing that you have a hiking date planned with a girlfriend. Every week, you explore a new trail together. The conversation flows, as does the laughter, and the time you spend together flies by because that’s what happens when you’re having fun.

Now imagine showing up in your relationship as a woman who is genuinely fulfilled in the area of friendship. Would you greet your partner in the morning with the same indifference you feel now, or might you greet him with more ease and confidence? How might your fulfillment in the area of friendship impact the dynamic between you and him? Do you think he’d feel less pressure to meet all of your needs?

She paused. She nodded. She thanked me. We left the conversation at that. Now, before I leave you …

How could you be showing up more fully in your life, and subsequently, your relationship?

Imagine if you had a circle of friends you genuinely enjoyed spending time with or a healthy body that fuelled you with energy and gave you the confidence to strut your stuff, or a purpose (professional or personal) that made you eager to get out of bed each morning …

Consider how fulfillment in these and/or any other areas of your life might lessen any conscious or unconscious pressure you’re placing on your partner to satisfy your every need and how, with that pressure lifted, the same partner you find yourself disappointed in now might appear to you instead as a gift that contributes to the big, beautiful life you’ve consciously created.

I know (from personal experience) that we can spend an awful lot of time thinking about what our other halves could or should be doing to bring us greater fulfillment when in reality, it’s often us that need to be doing more of the doing.

I also know (from personal experience), how being accountable for doing more of the doing leads to a life of greater fulfillment.

Remember, happiness begins with you.

If you’re unhappy with the state of your relationship, take the time to consider whether neglect in some other area of your life is impacting the way you’re showing up in your marriage. If you determine that it is, start taking steps to address that neglect. Your life will be richer for it and who knows, you may even discover that your marriage is fabulous just the way it is.

Viv for Today xo

Before you go …

I believe things happen for a reason. You landed on this page because you’re open to becoming a more authentic, fulfilled and self-aware human being.  So am I. Let’s do this together. Before you leave, take a moment to sign up for MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER so we can keep in touch.