If you’ve never heard of the ‘mirror effect’ –
You’re not alone.
I may have made it up.
But it’s an actual phenomenon I’ve seen play out time and time again in my own marriage as well as my clients’ marriages.
So let me show you how it works through a story –
One of my clients is married to the classic ‘disneyland dad’ – (you know the type – he says yes to everything his kids want)
And, the other day, she came to me with some really exciting news –
She had been making a lot of progress in compromising with her spouse when it comes to parenting.
She was practicing being calm, articulating the facts, and sharing her viewpoint in a non-confrontational way on his parenting style (because hey – that’s where most of their fights were coming from).
She was practicing asking for his opinion in the exact way I taught her, which opened up their dialogues, and created the space to compromise.
(And don’t worry…I will teach this to you all too at some point – it’s brilliant!)
And they were actually compromising.
But that’s not even the best part.
One day, out of the blue…
Her husband, before automatically saying yes to his kids (as he had done hundreds of times before)… actually asked my client for her opinion FIRST.
And then they agreed on a solution they both felt good about.
Note: Her husband’s behavior – IS the secret mirror effect: he was imitating his wife.
And, SHE completely shifted the dynamic – and not through force.
She modeled patience, love, compassion, and calmness in her conversations with him – she started genuinely caring about his opinions, before assuming bad intentions, or demanding he change.
And, she implemented a few dynamite convo hacks I taught her.
But it’s amazing to think how powerful we can be in our own marriages – by changing ourselves, we change how we feel at home, and quite possibly, our spouses will follow suit.
Now, the mirror effect doesn’t always work – some of us are married to total jerks with no desire to change.
But it’s so hard to really know that for sure, unless we’ve changed ourselves first.
And if we can shift our marriage dynamics so drastically and positively, it’s possible you can too.