By Tracy Fox
Tracy Fox is an NYU Certified Executive Coach, author and keynote speaker. Tracy has coached thousands of men and women from around the world, written four bestselling books, and has spoken at many national conferences. Among her many clients, Tracy coaches the Jersey Mike’s corporate team, and has given talks locally at Lord & Taylor, Grace Farms and The Greenwich Bar Association. Tracy was raised in Manhattan and attended Chapin, Choate Rosemary Hall and Boston College. She has lived in Darien for 20 years with her husband and has raised three sons.
One of Tracy’s key coaching areas is on how to create and maintain a “Happy Marriage” with a book and e-course of the same name. Tracy has spent countless hours listening, brainstorming and consulting with both men and women about how to elicit the best from themselves and their marriages.
What Is The State Of Your Marriage?
If you are like most couples, on your wedding day you enthusiastically committed to the “sanctity” of marriage, while vowing in front of God, family and friends to deeply care for one another for the rest of your lives. Your ceremony is a public declaration of love and commitment. You repeat and truly mean words similar to the following: “To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do you part.”
However, over the years, and especially stuck in the house with your spouse 24/7 due to Coronavirus, your marriage may have gotten off track due to daily distractions, children and their needs, or outright boredom. The authentic “loving” and “cherishing” may have disappeared from your interactions altogether. Little by little, you are moving in different directions away from each other and getting lazy about maintaining a stellar union.
Circumstances, bickering, and daily survival can steal the joy of marital bliss. However, you can transform that immediately. It starts with redefining the idea of how you esteem your marriage. To esteem means “to regard highly or favorably; regard with respect or admiration.” This is a personal commitment to continually set your marriage apart from the ordinary as you strive for the two of you to become one. Everything comes back to how you identify your marriage. If you identify your marriage as the most important thing, you will treat it as something to be cherished. There is no better time to recommit to a Happy Marriage.
“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.” Fawn WeaverSay Yes to Emotional Bids
John Gottman, a leading marital expert, made a critical discovery regarding successful marriages. He invited 130 newlywed couples to spend the day at a retreat and watched them as they did what couples normally do on vacation: cook, clean, listen to music, eat, chat, and hang out. Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection.
For example, if the husband is a bird enthusiast and he notices a goldfinch fly across the yard, he might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird, he is really requesting a response from his wife, a sign of interest or support.
If the wife turned toward her husband and joined him at the window, she was saying, “yes” to the emotional bid. If the wife turned away, or responded minimally, such as “I am busy, I don’t have time to look at the bird now,” then she is saying “no” to the emotional bid.
These bidding interactions had profound effects on marital wellbeing.
•At the six year follow up after the retreat, couples who had divorced had “turn-toward bids” only 33% of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy.
•The couples who were still together after six years, had “turn-toward bids” 87% of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were
meeting their partner’s emotional needs.
The question you need to ask yourself is how are you doing with meeting your spouse’s emotional bids?
A Marital Mission Statement
One of the first solutions I give to my clients is to write a marital mission statement. This serves as a declaration of the pre-eminent interests of both spouses. It reflects the combined values, goals and purpose for why your marriage exists. Every successful business has a mission statement and every strong marriage should have one also. The truth is that a marriage is similar to a business whose purpose is the management of a shared life. The Marital Mission Statement helps you get excited about designing and maintaining the amazing marriage you hoped it would be.
A Marital Mission Statement serves marriage in the following ways:
1) A good Marital Mission Statement determines the marriage’s direction. Smart spouses use the mission statement to remind themselves why they got married and what strategies to employ for their long-term partnership to succeed.
2) A good Marital Mission Statement focuses on the marriage possibilities. It provides a template for decision-making and a road map for goals, values and agendas.
Here is a sample Marital Mission Statement:
• “To enjoy a lasting partnership where both people get their needs met and their desires fulfilled.”
• “Make our home a place where kindness rules and together we create fun, prosperity and harmony.”
• “Always be respectful and full of genuine love for each other as we continually cherish and honor this relationship”
• “Above all else, we check in and contribute daily to keep our marriage happy and in good standing.”
Maintaining Faith in Marriage
One of the most interesting statistics on marriage is that 80% of Americans get married in a religious ceremony. However, for as much as people want God in the getting married, they often forget God in the staying married.
There is fifty years of research suggesting that spouses praying together and worshiping together had a magical degree of positive power over family health. Couples were significantly happier and experienced far fewer problems with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
It is critical to examine what spiritual practices are important to you individually; and to your family as a whole.
A Great Reminder
I love this poem I have shared below because it sums up what I try to teach about creating and maintaining the marriage of your dreams.
If you want something to last forever,
you treat it differently.
You shield it and protect it.You never abuse it.
You don’t expose it to the elements,
you don’t make it common or
If it ever becomes tarnished,
you lovingly polish it until it gleams
It becomes special because you have
made it so, and it grows more
beautiful and precious as time goes
If you would like to work with Tracy to get your marriage back on track, she offers a signature 10-week Happy Marriage Coaching Package that has a proven 100% success rate. Tracy takes the most effective, proven strategies and techniques and put them together in one place to give you a portfolio of answers on how to enjoy a long lasting, successful union.
To find out more, everything is available at www.TracyFox.net