Inspiration is worthless.
If you are waiting to feel inspired so you can move forward in your marriage, you are doomed to fail.
Angel and Miriam
Angel and Miriam have been together since they were in high school. They dated their junior and senior year. Outside of a short breakup during college, they have been a couple for over 20 years.
They recently admitted their marriage is stale. They’ve remained faithful, but the road to success for them has been challenging.
They both want their marriage to be better, but they don’t know what to do.
I know I need to be a better wife, but I just don’t can’t seem to get inspired to work on it
There it is.
It makes you feel good when it shows up, but it is a horrible guide to lead you to a better life.
Why Inspiration Fails
We love the idea of being inspired.
Every new year we get inspired to eat better, work out more, spend more time with family, start that online business we’ve dreamed about. The list is endless of the things we want to do.
The problem is not a lack of desire. The problem is waiting for inspiration to hit so we can take action.
Think about it.
A new year rolls around and you join that gym. You feel good about yourself for a few weeks, but one morning you wake up and don’t feel like working out.
It’s a challenge to roll out of bed. After a few days of dealing with the lack of inspiration, you eventually (gradually) lose interest.
You still have the goal. But when inspiration leaves, you drop your commitment.
This happens in marriage as well.
When you are dating (and early in the marriage) you are inspired. You want to be a great spouse. You read books, watch videos, and dream about a happy relationship.
You are fired up. Inspired.
Over time inspiration cools off. You still want to be a great spouse and have a good marriage. You just aren’t as inspired as you once were.
So you stop taking action. You slowly stop doing the things you once were inspired to do.
You spend your time trying to feel excited about your marriage, but it fails.
5 Reasons Inspiration Fails to Produce The Results You Want
There are reasons inspiration fails to get the results you desire.
#1 Inspiration is Not Consistent
It feels great to feel inspired to accomplish that project you’ve been waiting to tackle.
But what happens when you lose the inspiration?
Do you just set it aside until you feel like working on it?
It’s okay to handle some projects like that.
I have a few book ideas that I work on when the inspiration hits. That’s fine. I’m not under contract to get them finished. They are leisure projects I can tackle any time. So I can wait until ‘I’m feeling it’ to write.
But there are some projects that you simply can’t afford to wait for inspiration to hit.
Your marriage is one of those.
At some point, inspiration fails because it is not consistent. Inspiration shows up when it wants to. (I do believe there are things you can do to get your inspiration up and running. This puts you in charge instead of letting inspiration take control.)
If you only work on your marriage when you feel like it, your relationship will suffer.
It is no different than eating healthy when you feel like it. Eventually, your lack of inspiration will put pounds on your body and you will feel the affects of it.
Which leads me to the next point:
#2 Inspiration Makes You Wait For a Feeling
Feelings are unreliable.
To be healthy and fit you can’t just workout and eat right when the feeling hits.
A farmer can’t simply wait to feel inspired to plant his seed. If he did he would never yield a crop.
I recently wrote an email to our subscribers about the importance of striking when the iron is cold.
You’ve heard the adage, ‘Strike when the iron is hot!’
It comes from the days when blacksmiths would heat the metal to bend it and shape it into tools or weapons. The iron was easier to work with when heated.
Strike while the iron is hot!
So why I have changed the adage?
One of the problems I see when working with couples is they wait for the perfect opportunity or circumstance before they take action.Couples often wait for the perfect opportunity or circumstance before they take action. Inspiration will fail you. Commitment will not! Click To Tweet
Truthfully, this is seldom the best way to go.
That leads to…
#3 Inspiration Gives Limited Results
You rarely get the resuls you want if you wait to feel inspired.
Quick Example: Bob and Sally
Bob and Sally have been struggling in their marriage for years.
But it wasn’t until Bob decided to move out that Sally took action to discover what was behind Bob’s withdrawal from her.
She ONLY struck when the iron was hot. When she felt desperate she acted.
If she would have acted earlier, she could have avoided the pain of rejection she felt.
In essence, by waiting until the iron was hot (Bob moving out) she did damage to the relationship.
Another Example: Ted and Sarah
Ted forgot their anniversary.
No flowers. No chocolate. No romantic dinner out.
Sarah was crushed. And a little peeved.
Ted ran down to Dollar General and bought a 50 cent card. Filled it out real quick. Bought a cheap box of candy and brought it back to Sarah.
It made up for his UN-thoughtfulness, right? Wrong.
You can’t make up through last-minute preparations what you fail to plan for.In your marriage, You can’t make up through last-minute preparations what you fail to plan for. Click To Tweet
Ted was ‘striking while the iron was hot’ but it backfired. He squeezed across the finish line before the day was completely over, but his gesture was anything but thoughtful.
Don’t wait for a special occasion to honor, respect, and love your spouse. That’s living by inspiration.
Do it when it is unexpected.
Work on your relationship BEFORE there is a problem. That’s being proactive, not responsive.
Then, when problems come up, you have a history of good things to fall back on. You don’t have to scramble to create something out of nothing. Something is already there.
#4 Inspiration is Not Measurable
You can’t measure inspiration.
Ever heard the adage, ‘What gets measured, gets improved?’
During the Presidential debates in 2012, Mitt Romney made a comment about his routine to stay healthy. He mentioned the fact that he weighed himself every day. By doing so he could control his weight better because he never let himself gain more than 3-4 pounds before he took action.
What gets measured gets improved. Or gets managed.
Same with marriage.
If you can measure your activity (what you do on a daily basis) you will improve your relationship.
If you wait for inspiration, you can’t make improvements. Only that which is measured gets improved.If you wait for inspiration, you can't make improvements. Only that which is measured gets improved. If you can measure your activity you can improve your relationship. Click To Tweet
How can you improve your communication if you only talk when you feel like it?
How can manage your trust if you only act trustworthy when inspiration hits?
You simply can’t measure inspiration because it is not predictable.
#5 Inspiration is Not Predictable
Not only can you not measure inspiration (or the outcome of inspiration), you can’t predict when it will hit.
Because of that, you do not know what to do on a regular basis.
Running a Business is Similar to Marriage
My wife and I have run several businesses. We’ve learned the value of having a business plan so we don’t waste time ‘not knowing what to do next.’
If we waited on inspiration to do something, there may be weeks without any movement or action in our business.
Inspiration is unpredictable.
A business plan (game plan) helps us know what to do next. Even when we don’t feel like doing anything.
Too often couples get frozen in their relationship because they have no plan for what it should look like, how it should operate or what they want from it.
This leaves them with an aimless marriage. They don’t know what to do on a regular basis to keep their relationship stays fresh and lively.
So if inspiration fails, what should you do instead?
What To Do Instead of Getting Inspired
Instead of trying to find ways to get inspired and ‘feel’ like making your marriage better, develop a game plan of things you will do on a regular basis to make sure your marriage is going in the right direction.
In this article I’m not going to give you a plan on what to do. Rather I want to give you a framework so you can create a plan that works for you.
If you want to know a few basics of what to put in your game plan, check out ‘8 Things To Do Every Day For Your Marriage.’
3 Things You Can Do Instead of Waiting For Inspiration To Hit
#1 Know What You Want
I can’t over state this.
If you don’t know what you want from your marriage, you will not take the right steps to get there. Because you don’t know where ‘there’ is.
Knowing what you want is vital for a healthy marriage.
The couples we know who have the strongest marriages are the ones who live with a sense of purpose. They know they are together for a reason.
When tough times come, they possess a strength others don’t because they what a big ‘Why’ that answers why they are together.
Do you know why you are together as a couple?
Do you know – have a clear picture – what you want your marriage to look like?
If not, spend time together as a couple and answer those two questions.
It will do several things for you:
- You will get closer because you talk about things that truly matter.
- You will get a better picture of what you both want from the marriage.
- You will know more about what to do to get where you want to be.
It’s hard to go somewhere when you don’t know where your going. Once you define your target, all you need to do is get directions.
#2 Create Habits
Think again about the businesses my wife and I run.
Our daily habits help us create a stress free environment.
When we fail to do the things we know to do…
Or we get side-tracked waiting for inspiration to come…
Or we don’t know what to do next…
We get frustrated.
It makes us feel like we are not in control. That’s not good for business or relationships.
When we operate based on the habits that help carry out our game plan, we have greater peace and better success.
In other words, we have a pre-defined game plan of what we want to accomplish. From that goal, we devise a plan of action – steps we need to take to accomplish our goal. Then we measure our progress every day.
This keeps us in peace. And it produces better success than simply waiting on something great to happen.
I love it when great things just show up.
But that’s unpredictable.
It’s better to know you have a plan of action that will consistently give you the results you desire.
#3 Be Consistent
Doing something every once in a while will not get the results you desire.
Going on a walk every once in while is nice. Fresh air. Sun on your face. It feels good.
Going on a walk every day will get you better shape.
Both are nice. But they have different results.
If you want to FEEL better, do something occasionally.
If you want to BE better, do something consistently.
Why Discipline Works
Why is this a better plan of action than getting inspired?
I hope you already know the answer to that question, but here are three big benefits of not waiting for inspiration to strike.If you want to FEEL better, do something occasionally. If you want to BE better, do something consistently. Click To Tweet
The consistency pays bigger dividends in the long run.
Remember, what you do on regular basis has a bigger impact than what you do occasionally.
If you can measure it, you can improve it.
That’s why having a daily action plan of the things you will do to make your marriage better is so powerful.
You can see if your actions are paying off. If that action isn’t getting the results you want, try a different action.
It’s like losing weight. If the Paleo Diet doesn’t work for you, try Keto.
The important thing is measure your progess.
You will always know what to do next.
Knowing a few basic things you can do every day to keep your marriage fresh gives you freedom and security.Knowing a few basic things you can do every day to keep your marriage fresh gives you freedom and security. Click To Tweet
I can spend one hour with a couple, ask them a handful of questions and tell you the future of their marriage.
How? Habits always determine your future.
In life, business, and marriage.
What you do on a daily basis has more power than what you do from inspiration.What you do on a daily basis has more power than what you do from inspiration. Click To Tweet
I tell couples regularly: Big, extravagant gesture will always lose out to daily consisent habits.
A trip to Europe will not fix a broken relationship. In fact, it could do more harm than good.
A grand gesture of re-doing your vows in public can’t repair broken trust.
But daily actions of keeping your word, honoring your spouse, and telling the truth can.
Those actions come with predicable outcomes.
Wrapping It Up
Inspiration is a terrible way to live your life. Especially when it comes to your marriage.
If you wait for inspiration to hit before you do something to make your marriage better, you are putting your relationship in the hands of fate.If you wait for inspiration to hit before you do something to make your marriage better, you are putting your relationship in the hands of fate. Click To Tweet
In this article we discussed why inspiration fails, what to do instead and why that is a better course of action.
It’s far better to know what you want, create a plan of action to get there, and measure your results on a regular basis.
Here is a brief overview of what we covered:
- 5 Reasons Inspiration Fails to Produce The Results You Want
- What To Do Instead of Getting Inspired
- Why Discipline Works
Resources for this Article
For more help, ideas and tools on this topic. Check out these resources:
If you are having serious marriage struggles, we recommend starting with ‘Save the Marriage System‘ by Lee Baucom.