Trouble in paradise? You’re not alone. Many couples have conflict. Most don’t like it. Makes sense. If you’re thinking conflict is a problem and resolution is unlikely, you’re probably wondering whether it’s even possible to keep your marriage alive.
Listen in this week to learn how to do a whole lot better than just staying alive. You were meant to THRIVE in your marriage and us Bees can help you see exactly how to make that happen.
Mentioned in this Episode
- Check out the Defying Gravity Revolution – a Candice-led community of Bees committed to stop wondering if they married the wrong guy so they can enJOY the marriage they imagined when they said “I do.”
- Grab your free e-copy of “Wife on Purpose” and the companion workbook HERE
- If you’re a coach who wants to up the trauma-informed factor in your sessions and your business, join the Trauma-Informed coaching interest list HERE.
‘s Up, Bees?!
Last week we shined a light on how your automatic – and most often unconscious – thoughts about fighting could be keeping you quiet on topics you wish you and your husband could discuss out loud.
We also touched on how your thoughts about fighting – or “ruptures” as the Gottman Institute calls them – could lead you to tiptoe into topics when directness might be more likely to get the job done.
You hang back or tiptoe in slowly because you’re afraid of “making things worse” – and then… you actually DO make things worse by holding your concerns in.
Without space to breathe, your concerns fester and rot.
Which makes marriage – well.. stink.
It’s not your fault.
You’re doing all of that because at least part of you believes that ruptures are a bad thing.
AND even if you’re know ruptures are inevitable, you’re probably believing that repair is unlikely at best – and impossible at worst.
If all of that were true – keeping quiet makes perfect sense.
If you are correct in your assumption that ruptures are a problem and repair is unlikely… OF COURSE you’d steer clear of all that mess.
That’s just your brain doing its best to keep your marriage alive.
Which is an excellent start.
Us Bees are in the business of doing much more than keeping our marriages alive. We band together to create thriving marriages that we love to live in.
You can do it with us.
Step 1 – expect ruptures to occur
Step 2 – when they do, remind yourself that you and hubs can totally handle it
Step 3 – get to repairing
When you REALLY believe that repair is possible and you’ve developed confidence in your ability to make repair happen – ruptures become MUCH LESS terrifying.
That’s what we do ALL DAY EVERY DAY in the Defying Gravity Revolution AND I’m gonna give you a crash course, sneak peek right here, right now.
Here’s the foundational thinking upon which the entire rupture and repair process is built:
Ruptures – AKA fights, tiffs, squabbles, disagreements – can be a sign of a mature, advanced relationship. Ruptures reveal what’s really important to both parties in the relationship. They help you clarify core values and deeply held beliefs. Making space for those values and beliefs to be seen makes the repair process simpler and more clear.
Thinking of ruptures as revelations makes the path to repair a WHOLE LOT simpler.
Because thinking of ruptures as revelations isn’t threatening. It invites you to make room for BOTH of your core values and deeply held beliefs.
Did you hear how I said “both”? That means there’s room for his AND yours.
When a rupture has broken out, it’s common to assume that if you’re gonna repair, that means one of you gets to win while the other has to lose.
If you’re already worked up – which of course you would be during a rupture, especially if you’re thinking that ruptures are a threat… which again… most people do on some level…
If you’re already worked up, it’s natural to tense up and double down on defending your side. Nothing wrong with you if that’s where you tend to go.
It’s probably a habit.
One you came by honestly AND one you don’t have to keep.
Try on the idea that repairing a rupture COULD mean that one of you gives in to the other
That’s not the only thing it could mean. You’ve got options.
Repair could also mean that the two of you spread your truths and values out on the table and shift the pieces around together – maybe for a while – until you make a picture that satisfies you both.
That, Bees… is a skill.
A skill you can learn… for sure, and a skill all the same.
I tell you this so you don’t rupture with yourself if it’s not a skill that comes naturally to you.
You don’t have to go calling yourself high maintenance or needy or stubborn or weak if you don’t naturally make room for BOTH of your perspectives to have a place on the table.
Ruptures can feel like war.
it takes concentrated effort and solid self-support to open yourself up to vulnerable discussion in what looks like it might be a war zone.
Give yourself a break if opening yourself up to possible risk isn’t your tendency.
That’s true for MOST people. Means nothing about your moral fortitude or the strength of your relationship.
Repair is a SKILL – a skill I’ve mastered with lots of personal practice AND through supporting LOTS of clients.
I’m gonna give you the basics right now, using an actual conversation I had with my husband earlier today as a case study.
We’re gonna keep this light – on purpose – because that’s more fun.
I invite you to keep things light as often as you can because it’ll feel better as you go.
Light doesn’t have to mean flippant or dismissive.
It’s totally possible to keep the conversation light and collaborative even if the topic is deeply serious.
Keeping things light and making light of them are not the same. I promise.
Here’s how it went down today.
My whole family – all 5 of us – do JiuJitsu.
We started doing online classes in our living room during the pandemic and have kept up with it ever since.
Because we are so dedicated, we’re all getting stripes on our belts and advancing our belt colors. So fun.
Also, all the ceremony and swag can get a little pricey.
We usually go out to ice cream to celebrate the wins AND husband recently decided that everyone should get a new gi when they advance a belt.
He did not discuss that decision with me.
I am not amused.
Rupture #1 – that one was between me and him. Sounded like: he’s wasting our resources. He doesn’t listen to me or my preferences about our budget. The gis they already have – which run a couple hundred bucks each – are totally fine. Ugh.
Rupture #2 came between me and me when I scolded myself for thinking all of that. Sounded like: What’s the big deal? Why won’t you just let them have fun and enjoy their progress? You’re such a stick in the mud and a penny pincher… even though you don’t need to be. You’re always killing everyone’s fun.
Fun place – my brain sometimes.
I’m sure you can relate.
Thus far in the story – we’ve got two ruptures:
· me vs him in the battle of whether or not new gis are needed
· me vs me in the battle of whether my preferences are practical or penny pinching
The first step toward repair is to LISTEN.
And it’s gotta start with me listening to my own brain explain the ruptures and objectively consider whether I like the explanations.
So I slow down and pull out my magnifying glass:
Rupture 1 – I’m mad at him for blowing our money. It might be true that he’s blowing it. But we’re gonna put a pin in that for just a minute while we consider what else could be true.
Remember – we’re making room for ALL of it without forcing me to adopt any of it just yet.
So… how do I think HE would explain the new gi purchases when the gis we have aren’t yet worn out?
Since I’ve been with him for over 20 years, I know from experience that shopping is a pretty common way for him to want to celebrate. I personally witnessed him working himself into a profitable career after growing up with very little and I know he feels a lot of pride in his purchasing power as an adult.
Also – he likes having fancy stuff, just in general.
So… it’s possible that his purchases were JUST about him and not meant as an insult to me.
I don’t know for sure, of course, but it feels a bit roomier to consider that “he’s selfish and doesn’t care about what matters to me” isn’t the ONLY explanation for why I have new gis in my house when I wouldn’t have made that purchase.
Again, all we are doing at this point is opening up space – considering all the things that COULD be true.
We then do that same process for Rupture #2.
I’m mad at me for being stingy and a kill joy. Those things COULD be true, but again – we want to pin that explanation for long enough to consider what else could be true.
Maybe I’m a kill joy, but it’s also possible that I’m just afraid.
Given how the Coronavirus pandemic impacted the global economy and our family’s finances in surprising ways over the last three years – it might make sense that my brain wants to be careful and frugal and not buy things that I don’t think we need.
Also – I know that I tend to be a minimalist – just generally speaking – and my brain offers me guilt over having a surplus when other families don’t have enough.
So… it’s possible that my irritation at myself is about me ruining my family’s fun.
It’s also possible that I’m just trying to protect our resources and not be a jerk about taking more than we need.
The truth is probably a mix of ALL that and when I remind myself of all the ANDs involved in the situation – I feel a little roomier about the whole thing
Which is probably why our most recent conversation in the foyer of a play we were attending went down like this:
Him: Hey! Gracie JiuJitsu just announced that they’re redesigning all the gear.
Me (inside my head): NOOOOOOOOO! He’s gonna want to buy all of that again. (aloud) *scoffs* Of course they are.
Him: Oh… I thought you’d be happy.
Me: (inside my head): WHY? (aloud) Why?
Him: Well… I just want you to be comfortable in your gi pants and they are making stretchy ones…
Me: (completely missing the concern behind his comment) Didn’t I already get new ones?
Him: Uh… I don’t think so… I don’t know…
Me: (still missing that he’s not trying to help me not fight me) I just don’t get it. Why do the kids need new gis? The ones they have are perfectly fine. What’s the draw? Like really?
*remembering we are out for fun family time and not wanting to ruin it*
*also remembering I don’t want to make JiuJitsu gear a sore spot between us*
(sighs) I don’t want to fight about this right now.
(laughing) But I do want to fight about it later.
Him: (laughing) Okay.
Me: I just don’t think they need it. Why do you? *rushes on without waiting for an answer* They wear the ones they have 8 times a month and they look fine. I don’t think they need it
I guess I do want to fight about this (choosing to view myself as adorable) but I guess I only want my side of the fight where I say my side and you don’t say yours. *laughing*
Him: *laughing* I’m appreciating this…
Me: (internal defensiveness flares because he often tells me I only want to tell my side and not hear his, which I don’t think is true at all)
*notices that seeing my defensiveness without judging it or reacting to it calms it a little*
*points a finger at him with a playful face* – Uh uh. We are not turning this into that. I don’t always do that thing you are trying to say I always do.
Him: You’re right. You don’t. Love you. *hugs*
We dropped the subject and I’m sure we will discuss it again. Might be tense when we do… but at least we’re in the habit of putting it all on the table now.
And I’ve got a leg up because I’ve trained myself to watch my brain as it prepares my comments.
This conversation was less tense because I’d already promised myself to make room for his preference to shop for fun. I want him to have that. I do.
I also made room for my fear without scolding me for it.
I watched my brain race around and I made an effort to lean in and understand the spin from the perspective of someone who loves me and my husband both.
That’s the foundation of effective repair.
I make sense. So does he.
Together we are powerful enough to identify what’s really important and come up with a solution that gets both of us what we want.
Maybe I’ll give on the gis and we’ll cut the budget somewhere else.
Maybe he’ll spread out the gi purchasing schedule and we’ll find a less expensive way to celebrate everyone’s advancements.
Whatever the decision, repairs are most effective when you discuss all angles honestly. When you make room for defenses to flare and hurts to crop up.
Repair calls on you to understand that things tighten up when deep values are touched on. When primal needs look as though they might be compromised.
So go slow. Check your breathing.
Open up space for the BOTH of you. Take breaks.
Remind yourself that you love each other and you’re on the same side of the table looking down at a problem together NOT on opposite benches trying to win the negotiation.
Such different feelings come up with each picture, right?
To sign off today, I’m gonna drop some handy phrases that’ll help your repair along:
· Ah, I see now I’m being grouchy.
· I’m over-reacting and it’s okay that I am. I can also stop if I want to.
· That’s not how I want to behave. I have a good reason and I’ll solve it another way.
· I want to give you more love and concern than I did just then.
· Let’s back up and try that again.
You can say ALL of those things without adding in how you’re bad and wrong and immature for behaving as you did.
Cuz that’s not true.
And if you start beating yourself up for how you acted, you create two MORE problems:
1- you miss the vital information around what got you there in the first place (which makes repairing harder)
2- you set yourself up to be working for a mean boss (you) who is unforgiving and ruthless (terrible working conditions)
Remember, you only behaved the way you don’t like because you sensed a threat to something that was important to you.
You can figure out what the threat was and restore safety again.
And when you do, you’ll find that the place of rupture comes back together even stronger than before.
Good. Job. You. Two.
You both deserve a more solid connection in every aspect of your marriage.
Learning the skill of cycling through rupture and repair effectively is the way to get the connection you crave.
I can help you make that happen if you want me to.
For the first time ever, I’m hosting a “Conversation Collaborative” – a workshop experience where we’ll dissect your specific conversations the way I just dissected mine here.
My mission in this world is to help women stop wondering if they married the wrong guy so they can spend all of their energy building a stable home that supports their dreams for themselves and for their families.
I am constantly daydreaming about ways to help women get there faster and more simply.
The “Conversation Collaborative” is what I came up with this past weekend.
My clients are ALWAYS going nuts for my conversational coaching style.
I’m laser focused in session and I’m also an excellent story teller – in my book Wife on Purpose, in my examples, in my own sharing in the DGR slack community.
Humans learn in stories and I really am great an making concepts memorable in a practical way.
The most common questions I get asked are: “How do I talk to him about X? How do I bring it up? What am I supposed to respond with?”
I ask my clients a few questions to get a sense of the situation, I tell them what I would say and then they almost universally respond with something like:
You make it sound easy.
When you said it… it sounds so much better!
Can you just come with me and sit on my shoulder?
For the first time ever, the answer is YES!
I’m creating a brand new resource for my Bees and I want YOU to help me do it.
I’m inviting 20 Bees to join with me in workshopping their specific conversations – in written format, similar to what we talked through on the podcast today – so we can study your conversation patterns and hone your choices so that you knock all future conversations out of the park from now until forever.
Before I became a coach, I was a marriage and family therapist – between the two professions, I’ve seen hundreds of couples get in their own way as they try to come together.
I am an expert in helping couples cut through the crap to consistently connect in conversation.
Here’s how I do it – I listen between the lines to everything the both of you say. I’ve got an ear for pinpointing exactly where the conversation veered off course and I’m a master at bringing it all back on track and keeping you both engaged.
I want YOU to see exactly where things went wrong and WHY they did so you can generalize those concepts to every conversation you’ll ever have with your honey.
I’d love to ride around in your pocket or feed you lines from the surveillance van like they do in spy shows.
This new experience I’m creating for YOU is the closest I can come to all of that.
You, me and the Bees will dissect your actual conversations and compile them in a hard copy book for you and other Bees to study and learn from for years to come. Such exciting work.
If you want to get in on that magic, make sure you’re on my Watch Me Wednesday mailing list.
That’s where I deliver a weekly dose of how to NOT care what humans think is impossible – every single Wednesday.
It’s also the way to get EXCLUSIVE, FIRST-DIBS access to all of the goings-on in The Hive.
Like this brand new opportunity – “Conversations Collaborative”.
Even more good news?
Not only will you be in the know when you subscribe to the Watch Me Wednesday newsletter – you’ll ALSO get my free mini course on “How to enjoy the marriage you imagined when you said “I do” – it’s four short lessons sent to your inbox on a manageable, implementable pace.
Do yourself that favor THIS week – grab the course and then keep an eye out for MORE information on the Conversations Collaborative – the nuts and bolts experience that will FOREVER change how you connect to your guy… in the best, most efficient way possible.
All you gotta do right now is head on over to www.candicetoone.com – then claim the free course by clicking the gold button on the top right. It says “Get the free course” – you can’t miss it.
Take that one easy first step of enrolling in the free course and get ready for a lifetime of feeling closer to your man and the dreams you’re creating together.
Choose courage, Bee and keep on flying!