Think about football for a minute...two teams engaging in a rough battle to win.
Think about when one team member engages in foul play and the referee throws the flag. The ref's job is to regulate the game, highlight infractions, and ensure all players are in compliance with safety regulations. The ref calls players out for violating agreements of the game....the ref's job is to ensure that the play is fair and that the rules of the game are being followed.
Why don't we get referees in marriage?! Certainly, there are times when we need them!
Yet, when we are in the context of our own relationships, who is there acting as our referee? Who will keep me in line and my partner in line when we feel like opposing teams?
The answer is, you!
‘How in the world am I supposed to act as a ref?!’ you might ask.
3 quick and effective tips for reffing your marriage
- Find a tangible way to remind yourself how to be a referee in the moment. We are talking the most basic fundamentals of visual reminders. Maybe it’s a yellow flag, maybe its a tie …Whatever it is, make sure that said-reminder is an item both you and your partner are aware of!
- Always implement a time-out when the “flag” is thrown. I know. You’re thinking, time-outs are for children. However, adults need them too, and often, just as much as children need them. Time-outs allow for the basic fundamentals to be met: some time to catch your breath, ability to stretch your muscles, and time to regain focus and understanding of what is at hand.
- Establish rules for you and your partner around your time-out. Rules are created to help provide clarity and guidance, especially in more difficult of moments. Some things for you and your partner to consider are, how long should the time-out be? Where will each person take their time-out? How will you know the time-out is over?
Relationships are tough. Especially when there may be very passionate people in that relationship. And when you venture into sensitive topic areas (in-laws, money, sex, disciplining children, etc) it can feel like you and them..
One of the hardest parts about being in a relationship is advocating for your needs and wants, and yet still holding yourself and your behaviors accountable when engaging with your partner.
In order for growth to occur and depth to take place, within your relationship and within yourself, there needs to be accountability; someone to highlight the infractions, the foul play, even when it’s your own, and your the one doing the accountability-holding.
The idea here is to create an avenue for you and your partner to realistically communicate when things are chaotic. Acting as your own referee, forces you to be mindful, present, and makes you show up fully in the conversation. Creating a space within the thick of your discussion, not only allows for you to be accountable, but it also forces you to work as a united team, rather than opposing rivals.
Not sure how to be your own ref? Give us a call 720.457.3342
and let one of our licensed relationship therapists help you today to get your life back on track.
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