Do what rich people do…
A long time ago, hubby and I watch a series of videos on You Tube. I can’t remember the speaker, or the bulk of what he said, but I do remember that he had some sound advice on finances, but the foundation of what he was saying is basically this: Rich people have a way of acting and being that is found amongst most rich people. For example, the majority of rich people do not buy lotto tickets, nor do they watch reality TV (in fact, I can remember this guy saying that rich people very seldom watch TV at all), and they don’t wait in line for cheap or discounted items, and the vast majority of rich people exercise daily, eat healthy and they work. They work for what they have and they are focused. Now, I’m not saying that by doing any of the above you will automatically become rich, but you sure as hell aren’t going to get rich by sitting staring at a TV screen all day either. Anyway, his message was this: Do What Rich People Do. Find rich people, see what it is that they do, and then do it – and you will stand a much great chance of getting rich yourself. At the very least, you will change how you view your own finances to start making wiser decisions about how you spend your money.
And I really liked that – although I have forgotten half of what the videos said – it was a really long time ago, the message of emulating what rich people do has stuck with me.
And isn’t that what Paul has said in the bible –
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
But, it can be difficult to imitate anyone, good or bad, if you can’t quantify what it is that needs to be imitated which is why I really like the April read for the Ultimate Marriage Challenge. Shaunti Feldhahn has studies thousands of married couples – happy, unhappy, and downright miserable and all sorts in between and has found that there are certain common interactions in the happily married couples that aid in their happiness. And here’s the thing – it’s not rocket science, nor are they interactions which are difficult to do or implement in your own marriage. Sure, there may be big emotional hurdles to overcome when there has been past hurt or distrust has grown, but even those hurdles can be overcome. Your marriage is worth fighting for.
The other thing I really liked about this book, is that the book doesn’t prescribe a hundred different things that we need to do to have fulfilling and happy marriages – all this book is stating, quite simply, that there are common indicators in happy marriages. And you can choose to implement some of these very simple ideas. Or not.
“Even if just one spouse commits to applying these simple, but powerful habits, most marriages end up being transformed,” The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: Little Things That Make a Big Difference by Shaunti Feldhahn.
And basically it comes down to perception – you can see what your spouse does for you as kind and caring and express your gratitude to your spouse. Or you can see what your spouse does for you as not being enough and become more demanding and unhappy. Can you see? Nothing has changed – no action has changed. It’s a mind-set. Now obviously, there are cases where people deliberately hurt their spouses, and there are situations that require intensive counselling (such as addictions and abuse), but Shaunti is not addressing these situations in her book. She is addressing the everyday run-of-the-mill type of marriage. The ordinary “I’m really unhappy and need help” kind of marriage.
And where is the best place to start? By assuming the best – of your spouse. Patty Newbold of Assume Love always speaks about a third alternative…
Assume Love When someone vows to love you, there is a good chance your distress comes from a misunderstanding. Check it out before you retaliate or pout.
Expect Love If you’re expecting something else, you will overlook it when it’s offered or convince your life partner not to offer so much.
Find Third Alternatives Don’t get stuck on the first two that come to mind if you disagree about them. Marriage is not a contest. The only way to win is by making sure your spouse wins. (Reference: http://www.assumelove.com/how_to_assume_love/)
Assume that your spouse cares for you and is acting with your best interest at heart – you’ll react very differently to your spouse on this assumption as opposed to believing your spouse has intentionally set out to hurt you.
And this one I really like – I can’t argue when I am tired. I need sleep. Shaunti has discovered that many highly happy spouses go to bed having not resolved an issue – but with the clear understanding that it will be resolved in the morning. Sleep on it. Very often you will find that the issue isn’t that big as you thought it was.
Shaunti also advised that you keep score – in a good way. Realizing just how much your spouse is giving to you, and using that as a motivation to give back – and extending gratitude for all that your spouse does, changes the dynamic of the relationship. For example, my hubby routinely makes the most delicious food every night and washes the dishes. And every morning he pulls the cars out of the garage before work so it saves a little time. And last night Baby Girl had swimming lessons, and when I got home, he had made her lunch. He does a lot – he really does. And that motivates me to give back to him – like when he wants to go cycle on a Saturday morning, its okay with me. Or if I make lunch, to always make sure he has a packed lunch for work the next day.
And this is one that I think is important for all people in all aspects of life – boss your feeling around. Feelings come from your thoughts – as MoodGym says: WYTIWYF (What You Think Is What You Feel). So control your thoughts – thinking ugly, negative thoughts about your husband or wife is not going to build feelings of love and warmth and companionship.
And this next aspect completely took me by surprise – because often after hubby and I have had an argument, there will be this touch. Just a tough – either him putting his hand on my leg, or I’ll give him a hug, or if we’re in bed already, our feet will touch, but there is some sort of touch that lets us know we are okay. And apparently many highly happy couples have this – some sort of signal that after an argument or a row, your spouse knows that you – as a couple – are okay. Up to 70% of highly happy couples have this – this little signal that says, “We’re okay”. I love it! I never knew that hubby and I were doing this, but when I read the book, I was like, Oh yeah!!!
And the last thing that really stood out to me in this book – is spending time together. When I think back to the years after Baby Girl’s birth and how difficult everything was, hubby and I hardly spent any time together. And Shaunti isn’t talking about date nights exclusively; she’s talking about living life together. One example given was of a wife and mother who spent a mere 15 minutes a day with her husband, but hours with her children – and when she realized what was happening, she made a switch to start spending more time with her husband. It’s no surprise then that whatever negative feelings she had towards her husband dissipated and she started experiencing more positive feelings towards her husband.
Read the book. Shaunti delves into many more aspects of happily married couples, and just as the speaker in that video series kept saying, “do what rich people do”. Well, in this case, do what happily married couples do.
Lastly, you can’t implement everything in one go – start off small. Take one aspect and work on it until it becomes a habit – then implement something else. For example, you can start of by thanking your husband for something every day. Then, you can start implementing more time together. Then you can perhaps start expecting and believing the best…
But remember, the most important thing is God and prayer – this is also an aspect of highly happily married couples. They relied on God and prayer to work in their hearts and to guide them, and they relied on God to fulfill them – not their fallible spouses. God always needs to be God of our lives.
It was really such a wonderful read. You can log onto Shaunti’s website for more information on the book.