The 3 Secrets For Inner Peace In Your Marriage
Phase Three – Inner peace as it relates to marriage
If you’ve been following along so far in our series on inner peace, then you have already now established true peace within, and this was by reading Phase 1 on Inner Peace – The Self (and taking that trip we mentioned in there as well).
You have, in other words, found your own secret way to this paradise called inner peace.
And then from there, you hopefully went on to find the same thing at work, in your career, or in your hobby by realizing that your release can be found when you are submerged in the “flow state.” This was in our Phase 2 on Inner Peace – Work.
The next step in our series on inner peace—this one—our Phase 3 on Inner Peace: Marriage—will deliver on the promise we made to you at that start of all this. Our goal today is to help you bring those same levels of inner peace to your marriage as well. Consider this your map to the only 3 steps you’ll ever need to have everything you have ever wanted in your relationship. That’s right. There are only 3 things you will need for the perfect marriage. And you will learn them soon.
Before we begin, let me be as honest with you as I can about this step. Sometimes I still find this one to be a challenge—more so than either of the other two. Why? Because it is the only step that involves someone outside myself. The only thing we can hope to control is what goes on inside our own minds and hearts. That’s really the only area we have. Of course if we do it right, that’s enough! For that reason, this step involves not changing them, but only changing ourselves.
Why we fight
Time for more honesty. I’m completely and happily married, yet still to this day I sometimes find myself challenged. I know. It’s ridiculous, right? I have every step and every secret, and yet we still have our fights. Would you like to know why? I will tell you up front, that it isn’t her. It’s me. And I can prove it.
I have literally all the tools to make this the best relationship on the planet—and yes they have been tested and yes they do work—and yet I still choose to fight and struggle. Why? The answer is in that last sentence. I said that I choose to fight with her. Of course I do! Did you think it was out of our control? It never is. It never was. For the same reason that inner peace is a choice—and the same way that we always choose to react to situations around us—my fights and frustrations are now, and always have been, a choice as well.
So why do I choose to fight with her? The reason I do that is because I actually create drama in my life and I often stir up problems. “What sane person would create problems in their own life?” you ask. All of us—most of us, anyway—and I’ll tell you why.
We do it all the time because then, when we solve them, we can feel like we accomplished something. Want to know how to avoid this? Remember back in Phase 2 where we increased our skill level at work and then created something masterful—something beautiful? What this does is to seal out drama as long as your flow state remains. For this reason a great goal would be to maintain that flow state and that state of inner peace as long and as often as possible.
Beautiful art is transformative, both for the audience and for the artist. (Tweet this)
Why does this work? Because as long as we are challenged (yet still winning) we don’t need to fabricate problems to overcome. We are already moving forward in our lives. Tony Robbins has said that, “progress equals happiness,” and this is true enough in its own right, yet interestingly, there’s more here to uncover.
See, we have to feel like we are moving forward—progressing—or we feel like we are dying. Life is growth. If you are not growing, you are on the decline. No one wants that. Our will to live and thrive is too great. So we always want to feel like we are growing, thriving, winning . . . even solving our own problems, and this is where all self-created drama comes from: our desire to grow.
So on the flipside of this coin, the person who is already challenged (yet still in flow while at work, and enjoying their secret garden of inner peace), while still living out their great passions in life, already has something to face—healthier things. So if at the same time he or she is doing something that they feel is beautiful or world-changing, they lose the need to create problems for themselves. Give someone a goal that they believe in, and they can focus on how to reach for that goal, instead of focusing on their own personal (meaning self-created) drama.
So what does that say about those who are still embroiled in their own drama? Nothing actually. They could be—and likely are—fantastic problem solvers. They move mountains every single day. They are amazing in their power and ability to thrive. They never seem to move forward in life though, because the mountains they move are their own inner creations. They have the power to shift their problems and their mountains to the left, and then to the right, and then back to the left again. And this, they quite often do. And of course, this means they are quite good at it.
Same thing with all the fights I start in my marriage. It means that when we fight, that not only am I not moving forward with my dreams, but that I have also lost my flow state and my inner peace. This is essentially 3 problems in one. Because solving my own self-created fight with my wife pales in comparison to these bigger things, even though I gain resolution, I am always still left a bit unsatisfied. Yes, I solved my drama . . . but at the cost of not moving forward on my dreams, losing the flow state, and destroying my inner peace. It’s a terrible trade-off.
Yet, it still was a choice (albeit a bad one).
I will say this about our fights, though: those times do make me feel sad. Not only do I feel like I am failing in those moments, but during our fights those feelings conjure up other feelings that also aren’t so nice. My wife often faces the brunt of it. I feel bad because I love her.
Interestingly, the same is true for anyone we fight with—even on the freeway! We can’t see it of course, being only human, but the truth is we do love that person we fight with in traffic. It is so far removed from us though that we feel like it may as well not even exist. But it does exist, and we will see it one day.
That’s one reason my fights with my wife are so important. With her I actually do see how much I care. That can help me learn from our fights because she can eventually reach through my own set of issues. And then I can grow. And from there I never have to have that particular fight again.
So yes, my fights are a choice. But do you know what would be a better choice? Realizing this ahead of time, and solving it at that point—before the fighting even starts.
What would Sun Tzu say
Sun Tzu has said that, “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,” yet in this case, the fighting itself, is the enemy. If I know this, and I know myself as well, then I can avoid—yet win—my hundred battles that he goes on to talk about, because “to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
So how do we do that? We start by learning.
How to create the perfect marriage
As it turns out, there are only 3 steps needed to have the perfect marriage. They are not even that difficult. Also, they will always work provided that you have completed the first 2 phases of our series on inner peace which were:
- Find your inner peace, and
- Find your flow state at your chosen passion and make that your profession.
If you haven’t already, Wisdom Times can show you how to make your passion into your chosen profession. The transition isn’t even as hard as you might think. In another article series, we show you how to do just that. But first . . . let’s get that marriage fixed up.
Now, assuming you have completed these 2 preceding phases (the 2 bullet points, above), the following 3 steps will be all you need to have the perfect relationship. These will work even if you find yourself fighting with your spouse every single day. In fact step one is all about starting off with a bad relationship in the first place and learning how to move out of that. Imagine how much quicker you can get there if your relationship isn’t already terrible!
So what exactly are the steps, then?
Step #1 – Water the grass you’re on
For some of you, you are certain that your situation is the worst. The marriage is terrible—done for! He or she just doesn’t get you. You try, and they don’t. You go left, they go right. That sort of thing.
But here is the truth (as long as you are not being abused): your marriage probably isn’t the worst on the block, and chances are, you can sort out the problems quickly. Now, how is this a step and not just a tip? Fair question. Here’s why.
Commitment is the first step. You have to decide, right here and now, that you aren’t giving up on this. That you have what it takes to make this marriage the absolute most amazing the world has ever seen—regardless of the current state you find it in. If you can commit to that—to saving your own marriage—I would encourage you to read further. If not, I won’t waste your time. The earlier steps will still apply to you, but saving the marriage will only work if you say so.
Step #2 – Let go of the fundamental lie that marriage is 50/50
This lie will tear you down as sure as you are reading this. Especially so, in today’s super-busy, fast-paced, over-burdened world.
Marriage is not 50/50. It is 100/100. You have to go “all-in” or you will fail. (Tweet this)
Will you get divorced? Maybe not. But avoiding divorce isn’t the goal here, remember? You committed to making this the best the world has ever seen. Making it the best means realizing that marriage is 100/100.
What does this mean in practice? It means that the guys do the laundry, the dishes, the cooking, the baby care, etc. They also have a job. They do all of it. Hard? Yeah. It can be exhausting. But I don’t find it half as exhausting as going through a lengthy divorce, however, or watching my kids grow up broken, or even sitting through the dating scene of an LA Singles’ Bar. Those can tear you down. This is more like the kind of exhausting you get from building something you love.
Going “all-in” means you have to accept, that if that dinner dish is still in the sink, or if that toothpaste cap is still off, it is because you didn’t fix it—not them. Seem unfair? It isn’t. It’s healing to more than just your marriage because you will see that the world is what you make. Not what others have done, or not done. Allow me to repeat that, please.
Going “all-in” (100/100) is more than just a daily affirmation. It is a daily practice that shows you the world is only what you make it. No one else. If you do more, and be more . . . you will get more.
On the bright side, 100/100 will also do several other things for you. For one, you will be very well-liked. That’s always nice. In my experience it won’t even be just your spouse that likes you—although they will. It seems to me, though, that everyone who notices you doing these things will be impressed. In my case, I have been asked about doing laundry, and so-called women’s work and such. Not gonna lie, it actually kind of makes me feel good.
The next thing that will happen, once you go “all-in” with 100/100 is that you will stop taking your spouse for granted. Why? Two reasons.
- The first reason you will stop taking your spouse for granted is that you will start to see exactly how hard she actually does work all day. As they say, “a man may work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.” Note: I actually am writing this in the 21st century! I still find it to be true though and not something left over from the 50s. My wife works hard (harder than me, I figure). Once you start doing that same work, you will see that it can be challenging. This will help you to appreciate her.
- The second reason you will stop taking your spouse for granted is because if you are doing 100% of the things around the house then when she helps you, you will actually be grateful to her for stepping in and keeping you from having to do 100%, which, again, yes . . . you were planning to do anyway but it would have been exhausting. It’s great because when you have the intention to do everything around the house, then you end up with a happy surprise when you see she has done some of it already.
That’s steps one and two, then:
- Commit to making this the best marriage ever-before seen
- Realize that a marriage is not 50/50. It’s 100/100.
What that leads you to, is step 3 of the ultimate marriage.
Step #3 – The Oxytocin game
You even get to keep score. The focus of this game is to do things that give your spouse a dose of Oxytocin. First some background.
Bear with me, because I have over 5 full pages of notes just about Oxytocin and its effects on the body. This means I’m not going to cite references, (Wikipedia alone has many) nor will I provide an over-abundance of proof. Trust me when I say there is a lot of proof out there that is supported by science. Now here goes.
What is oxytocin?
Oxytocin is a hormone, first and foremost. Yes, there is a medication from 1952 that replicates the effects of the hormone (and it won a Nobel Prize and is listed as “one of the most important medications needed in a basic health system” from the World Health Organization). The hormone itself, however, is an ancestral gene that some estimate to be over 500,000,000 years old. Wow. Apparently it’s been called the most incredible molecule on the planet. Why?
Well for starters it helps us with almost everything related to being human and being part of social groups. For example, starting literally from before you are born, Oxytocin is already helping you. It helps the birth mother with contractions and speeds up delivery. Next it helps with bonding between the mother and child and can even be transmitted to the baby through breastfeeding, which, surprise!, is also helped by Oxytocin.
After the baby is born, Oxytocin also helps with (and in some cases solves) the problem of postpartum depression. From there this thing only gets better.
As we get older it helps reduce inflammation in the body (which may not sound amazing yet, but I’ve got something coming that might just impress you). It also reduces cortisol, and has the ability to heal wounds faster.
Should the time ever come for starting the cycle again (in other words making a family of your own), it then helps with relationships, bonding, monogamy, attraction, sexual arousal, orgasms, erections, and even cuddling afterwards. Once the new relationship has begun it will evoke feelings of contentment, calmness and security. It also increases trust, and controls fear when you are in the company of your mate, and yet, incredibly, when you are not in their company it then decreases your feelings of separation anxiety!
It actually also increases, if you can believe this (and you should, it’s documented) eye gazing! (of all things) as well. This sucker is everywhere we need it to be.
Next, and this is no exaggeration, it also helps control obesity and overeating. It helps us empathize with others and helps us strengthen our social groups and interactions. It even helps us to lie for someone else in our group if we think it will help them out of a jam! I’m not done, of course . . . but I think I have made my point.
Oxytocin is incredible and we need it to have a stronger, healthier relationship. Now . . . how do we get it (and what was that thing, above, that I said was impressive)? Oxytocin comes not just from some mysterious place inside us, but it is literally generated when we share close interactions with our fellow beings (including animals).
That means you can induce it from:
- petting a dog,
- exercising together,
- saying ‘I love you,’
- dancing or
- even going to see a movie together!
It is also created inside our own bodies, by the way, when we share positive emotions with someone else. In other words, when you produce it in someone else (for example with a handshake or a hug) it is also equally created in you! That’s literally crazy to me. I sometimes hesitate to say “Love cures all,” but this seems like pretty clear evidence.
Oh, and the impressive thing from above that I mentioned? All of the above means that:
A positive social interaction can literally heal the bodies of everyone involved! I stand in awe of the work God has done. (Tweet this)
So now that I have hopefully condensed those 5 pages of notes, I can now get back to Step Three of “Awesome Marriage.” I want you to play the Oxytocin game. You score one point each time you do something that causes your spouse’s body to produce Oxytocin in them, but believe me: you lose points when you don’t.
The caveat, the holdback or downside, if you will . . . is that you can never point out that you are scoring on them with your Oxytocin points game. This isn’t supposed to be a game of “I’m better than you because I stimulated your hormone production and you never stimulated mine” (as odd as that sentence is to say). This is only about creating a good feeling in them through any of the many ways I have already given you, above.
Even though you can’t tell them, however . . . don’t feel bad. As I mentioned, the mere act of giving it to them, gives it to yourself as well. So it will all even out. By the way, you get extra points if you see that this is also part of the 100/100. Because once again you are going “all-in” but in this case, yes, even though at first it looks like you will be the only one giving the good feelings, Mother Nature will give them back to you immediately. And your spouse will give them back to you later. At first the Oxytocin will come back from your own actions, and then it will come back from their actions. That’s science; that’s a guarantee.
Whew. Where does that bring us? Well . . . just from this post alone we have:
- a commitment to creating an amazing marriage,
- more appreciation and no taking for granted,
- a whole host of health benefits and
- a strengthened relationship due to the Oxytocin game.
I can’t see needing much else to make your marriage better than it has ever been. If I have missed anything, please let me know.
Final thoughts on our complete Inner Peace series
If you have been following along with this series on inner peace so far, you will have now ended up with:
- peace of mind,
- a better relationship,
- a job that you love,
- more money, and
- more happiness in life.
Let’s just end the series there.
Special bonus section (as promised!)
Super proud of all of you who finished the entire series! For those of you that did, I have a special exercise that ties together a couple of the sections and will carry your marriage beyond the limits of our physical body. In Phase 1 on Inner Peace – The Self, we showed you an experience for both of you in nature. Remember? There was an exercise created for two people and a blindfold.
During that portion I mentioned that this place would become part of you, and you would in-turn, become a part of it. If this isn’t clear, it’s because you haven’t tried the actual experience yet. Trust me, once you do, it’s self-explanatory.
Here is the cool side-effect from all this I have yet to mention. If you both are a part of the secret place, then you can both visit it spiritually any time you wish. Here’s the magic. It means you can both go there together whenever you wish. Even if you are away from one another. You simply place yourself there mentally and try to recall as many sensory perceptions as you can. They will do the same, at the same moment.
Personally . . . I think you’ll be amazed.
But here is a little something for the skeptics. Even if you don’t believe in the idea that we are more than just our physical body, feel free to view this as just a shared memory. Like that time you both went to the beach together. The benefit here, and what makes this so much more powerful, is that you both will have an enhanced recall of the place and of the shared memory.
There is literally no downside.
From here, I might even suggest you and your spouse go find other shared, enhanced memories as well.
Good luck all, and thank you for reading.