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7 Spiritual Lessons From 25 Years Of Marriage – Part 3

Written by: Christina Marlett, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Christina Marlett

Marriage is one of the most epic journeys you can take. It has the potential to teach you so much about yourself as a spiritual being having a spiritual experience inside a human body. This series explores a variety of lessons learned from a long-lasting, happy marriage.

A photo of putting a ring to a hand.

Welcome back! In this series, I’m sharing the seven most powerful spiritual lessons learned over 25 years of marriage. Last week we looked at having a growth mindset. This week, we’ll explore another key component for creating and maintaining a loving and fulfilling relationship.


The third spiritual lesson


Cultivating and embodying your personal power

Power is an interesting thing. It plays a role in every relationship, often subconsciously. Without knowing it, people are often trying to feel more powerful than each other. When the head and the heart aren’t fully connected, a misguided way of feeling more powerful results and it shows up as trying to have power over others. It can look like comparison, guilt trips, accumulating things, namecalling, berating or taking emotions out on others to name a few. Here’s a big secret (which isn’t necessarily brand new information but it’s certainly not common practice): the most powerful force in the Universe, and thereby in relationships, is love. Love is always the solution and every challenge is always an opportunity to pour in more love. If you want to feel truly powerful, love is the answer. Real power is personal power that comes from love. That’s it. It couldn’t be more simple. And yet, it doesn’t necessarily always seem that straightforward. For much of the beginning part of our marriage, I had no awareness about power whatsoever. Looking back, I can see that the desire for personal power was always underneath the surface but that’s where it stayed for many years. At some point, I learned about power but I railed against the word. I didn’t like it because I didn’t equate love with power or power with love. I searched for months for a different word but came up empty-handed and so power remained in my vocabulary, albeit begrudgingly for a while. It wasn’t until I started to learn about embodying personal power that things really started to improve. If something that you want isn’t showing up in your life, it’s because it’s not embodied yet. Power that emanates from love is a very high vibration and if your body-temple isn’t a vibrational match, that energy won’t have a physical place to reside.


At this point, you might be wondering, “How the heck do I embody power?”Luckily, I have some answers for you – you don’t have to figure it out yourself – yay! Without further ado, here are a variety of ways to cultivate and embody your personal power(so that you don’t have to go about feeling powerful in misguided ways that leave you feeling guilty, empty and unfulfilled and don’t really make you feel powerful at all).


Teach each other how you want to be treated

Oh, this idea is so straightforward in writing. In real life, however, it has a lot of dynamics to navigate. Essentially, you’re always teaching people how to treat you. If you allow other people to treat you in a way that makes you feel powerless, that’s something to notice. Here’s a hard truth. You’ll allow others to treat you two levels better than how you treat yourself. That means if there are people in your life who are really awful to you, it’s more than likely that you’re being even harder on yourself or more unkind on the inside than those in your outer world. To clean up your inner world and access the power of inner unconditional love, practice speaking nicely to yourself on the inside. Notice what you say to yourself and if it’s unkind, change it. Yes, it feels silly at first, but the practice is to speak to yourself as you would speak to a beloved child or pet. Rather than saying something like, “You’re such a loser. Why did you say that?”, switch to something like, “It’sokay sweetheart, we all make mistakes. What a great learning opportunity.” Just making that new choice means you’re amping up your personal power with love. Another way to teach other show to treat you is to observe what you settle for in terms of behaviour coming your way. Here’s an example to illustrate what that means. At the very beginning of our marriage, Paul came home later than expected one day (and this was before cell phones so I was worried). When I asked him where he had been, he said that he had witnessed a car accident and had to give a statement. I felt terrible for him and asked him all sorts of questions to make sure he was okay – mentally and emotionally. I imagined how traumatizing it would feel to see an accident and I was pretty upset about the whole thing. Paul wasn’t expecting me to react like that; he thought it would be no big deal from my perspective. Eventually, he revealed that he actually hadn’t seen an accident. He made up the lie to explain his lateness because he didn’t feel like he had a good reason. When I learned he had lied, I got even more upset. I was devastated that he felt like he had to be dishonest with me. I cried many tears and told him that honesty and open communication


were extremely important to me. Paul got the message and that’s one of the ways we’ve maintained a strong connection ever since. In retrospect, I’m really glad that experience happened because it showed me that I was not willing to settle for dishonesty. I was able to convey the need for sincerity in our marriage and show Paul that there were certain things I could not tolerate. If you let people walk all over you, you’re teaching them that it’s okay to do so. If you let people speak to you in a way that’s less than loving, you’re giving them the green light to carry on. If people speak unkindly to you, I learned from Dr. Margaret Paul that the most empowering thing you can do is simply walk away. If someone is yelling at you or letting their emotions out on you, you can say, “I will talk to you when you’re willing to have a calm and constructive conversation,” and then you leave. That way it’s not about having power over each other; it’s showing that you will only settle for calm, loving and kind communication. Be on the lookout for how people are treating you. If there’s an opportunity to uplevel, use one of the strategies from this section and remember that growing your personal power is both an inner and outer game.


The golden rule

Paul and I have often talked about how if we were writing a book about the secret to a happy life, it would be one page and it would say, “Live the Golden Rule. Treat others how you want to be treated.” If people could actually follow the golden rule in all of our interactions, wouldn’t life be amazing? Again, it’s so simple on paper and so not simple when humans get involved, what with all our emotions, stories and habits. It’s a great reminder, though, and an ideal that I keep top of mind, as much as possible. If I would like Paul to treat me in a certain way, then I check in and make sure I’m treating him that way. I wouldn’t want him to complain about me so I don’t complain about him. I like it when he says he loves me so I tell him that I love him daily. I also notice the wonderful ways he treats me and make sure I’m doing the same for him. He’s been very supportive of my big dreams and now I have the opportunity to pour good energy into his exciting projects. A smaller but just as significant example is that he often clears my dishes from the table so when the opportunity presents itself, I take his dishes along with mine on the way to the kitchen. The Golden Rule is such a great teacher and when you pay attention to following its simple guidelines, you’ll most certainly amplify your personal power.


Ask for help and receive help when it’s offered

Hoo boy, this is a big one! First off, let’s set the record straight. It’s not weak to need help, to ask for help or to receive it. It actually takes much greater inner strength to ask for help than to do everything yourself. As someone who has a tendency to be quite independent and self-sufficient, this concept tends to be a growth edge for me. I often tell myself, “Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should do it.” How do you know when it’s time to ask for help? Here’s my cue. If I’m grumbling on the inside and feeling resentful, then it’s a good time to stretch my comfort zone and ask. I learned something helpful from John Gray on this topic. He said that a superpower women don’t tend to know we have is getting people to do stuff for us. That was news to me. I decided to experiment, and sure enough, once I started asking for help, I did indeed feel quite powerful (not to mention more energetic and less stressed). Now, this is not manipulation or feeling powerful over others by coercing or berating them. Rather, for me at least, it’s being courageous enough to admit that I don’t have to settle for overwhelm or exhaustion. I can take off that Superwoman cape and invite other people in. Here’s another tip from John Gray. Men, at their core, love to help women. It’s built-in. He also said that when women ask men to do something, they might grumble and that’s okay. After the grumbling, they will feel very happy to be able to help. So ignore the grumbling if that’s happening and keep on asking. Another reason to ask for help is that men need to feel relevant (in every kind of relationship, not just marriage). If women just go and do everything themselves, men don’t know where they stand. And by the way, if you’re in a same-sex marriage or relationship, one partner often tends to have more masculine energy and the other has more feminine energy – not always – but these guidelines can be helpful regardless of what kind of marriage/relationship it is. The bottom line is that people thrive on helping each other and when one person does everything, it leaves the other person out and they end up feeling… you guessed it – powerless. Helping people makes us feel connected to our personal power, so make sure you’re asking for help often. It’s such a gift for people to be able to help as both the givers and receivers. Receiving help when it’s offered can also be a growth edge. How do you respond when people offer to help you? If you’re anything like me, you might have an accidental recording going on that sounds something like, “That’s ok. I’m good but thanks for offering.”


I declined Paul’s help for years. It took a lot of growth for me to learn to receive help both big and small; everything from letting him hold doors open for me to taking him up on gigantic offers of support. What I’ve come to understand is when I accept his help, it breaks down invisible barriers of tension between us. It’s like something melts inside me and our connection deepens. Thank goodness he’s been so persistent in helping me receive his assistance. Our marriage has greatly benefitted from my (eventual) willingness to embrace the personal power that comes from receiving support.


Rise above the situation

I used to take things very personally. So many comments and actions felt like they were directed toward me and I experienced a lot of pain as a result. It wasn’t until I learned to rise above the situation that my suffering dramatically decreased. Here’s what I mean. Whenever anything happens in life that doesn’t feel good, it only means one thing; that there is unresolved emotion being revealed to be healed. Now, life can be very convincing and outer world events can seem like a big deal but 100% of the time, it’s only about emotions that are stuck in your energy field. For example, when our kids were little, Paul and I had a difference of opinion when it came to bedtime. My approach was militant – bedtime is bedtime and that’s that. Paul was more easygoing and bedtime happened when it happened. I would get angry whenever the kids were still up when I thought they should be in bed and I didn’t have an awareness of what to do with the intense emotion. If I were to go back and teach myself about rising above the situation, here’s what I would tell young and angryChristina: It might seem like the issue is about bedtime but if you float above the challenge and take a bird’s eye view, what emotion is the most prevalent when you think about this situation? YAC (Young Angry Christina) – Definitely anger. Then I would tell her: What’s happening is that there’s an old pattern of anger that has been triggered. It’s stuck energy that’s getting revealed to be healed because, on some level, you’re aware that it’s time to get that energy moving and to release it. YAC – Makes sense. Me now: So it’s not about bedtime at all. It’s just an opportunity to move the anger through and the best way to do that is to notice where the anger is in your body and to love that part of you. Love and accept the part that’s angry; it just wants your attention. Notice the sensations in that area of your body and breathe into it with the intention of getting the energy moving. If there’s


lots of anger, breathe with intensity. Pay full attention to the anger and the corresponding sensations in the body, not with the purpose of making them go away but with the intention of love and acceptance. YAC – Thank you. I’ll do that. Let me tell you, as Older and Way Less Angry Christina, it works wonders to rise above the situation. Even if it’s a really big and intense circumstance, the process is the same every time (I’ve tested it out). When you do the work on the inside, the outer world shifts in surprising and amazing ways.


Body awake yoga™

I saved the most effective way to embody your personal power for last. To put it simply, Body Awake Yoga™ is miraculous. All yoga is good yoga and I’ve never found a more effective way to connect with my personal power than with this particular yoga style. What I love about Body Awake Yoga™(created by Dr Sue Morter), is that every time you take a journey on the mat, it helps you let go of old patterns and habits to make space for more of what you actually want. The solar plexus is the energy center of the body connected with your personal power. In fact, the solar plexus chakra is said to have the power of 1000 suns. That’s a lot of power available to us! There are many asanas (postures) in yoga that are designed to enhance your connection to that power and when the breath flows intentionally up and down the core of the body, that power gets steeped in wisdom and love from the neighbouring energy centers. Once I started doing Body Awake Yoga™(after trying at least a dozen other styles), I noticed big changes in myself like being more confident, having more courage, not taking things personally and making decisions more effectively, all from getting on the mat and adding specific breathing patterns to the asanas. I like to use my time effectively and I haven’t found any activity with a better return on time and effort invested than Body Awake Yoga™. I love it so much that I ended up getting certified to teach it and now host online classes several times a month. If you want to embody your personal power, getting on the yoga mat is the most potent and efficient path I’ve found. Cultivating and embodying your personal power is such a key component for a successful marriage. If you’re not mindfully activating your personal power, it’s likely there are subconscious patterns running the show that are more about having power over others. If you want to claim your personal power and reap the benefits, the best way to do that is to take regular action in these areas of life:

  • Teach others how you want to be treated

  • The golden rule

  • Ask for and receive help

  • Rise above the situation

  • Body Awake Yoga™

Choose one area from the list above and play with one or two of the suggestions given. When you feel like you’ve made some progress, come back and choose another category. You’ll be feeling more authentic power in no time and you’ll notice satisfying shifts in both your inner and outer worlds.


May you claim your brilliance and magnificence by accessing the power of 1000 suns!


Visit my website for more info!

Christina Marlett Brainz Magazine
 

Christina Marlett, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine As the creator of Courageous Self-Care, Christina is passionate about helping stressed out high achievers learn to lead their communities, families and themselves from a place of wholeness, overflowing energy and deep self-respect. She excels at helping overwhelmed leaders revitalize their energy from the inside out so that they can be productive and peaceful at the same time. Christina is a certified Embodiment Coach, Body Awake Yoga teacher, Happy for No Reason Trainer, Energy Codes Facilitator and BEST Practitioner who helps you take inspired action so that you have epic relationships, vibrant health and so much energy that people will ask you what you’ve been doing differently.

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