The ability to tell a love story whenever you want to is a valuable skill and I’m in to make sure that every woman in the world has as many valuable skills at her disposal as possible. Listen in this week to practice along with us as we make messes into love stories – not because we have to, but because we give ourselves more options when we do.
Mentioned in this Episode
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- 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.”
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‘s Up, Bees?!
Ten episodes ago, we talked about how to tell a love story – when you want to and only IF you want to.
It REALLY is true that you can make ANY story a love story depending on the details you choose to focus on and depending on the outcome you want to create on purpose.
You can tell a love story for him.
You can tell a love story for you.
You can tell a love story for the relationship.
I know it might seem impossible – especially when he does something SUPER insensitive or when YOU say something you’re not so proud of later – but remember, you’re a BEE now and Bees don’t care what humans think is impossible.
Today we are gonna take some real life case studies to help you practice telling a love story on purpose.
Not because you HAVE to tell a love story always or even because you think you SHOULD tell one.
We’re only doing this because the ability to tell a love story whenever you want to is a valuable skill and I’m in to make sure that every woman in the world has as many valuable skills at her disposal as possible.
Again – I’m NOT AT ALL SAYING that you HAVE to tell a love story. Ever.
I’m only saying that I want you to be ABLE to tell a love story if you want to.
Kinda like everyone should know how to change a tire – AND – I hope that you’re able to drive smoothly, without incident, most of the time.
Now – you MIGHT want to go back and listen to Episode 33 – A love story for him and Episode 34 – A love story for you BEFORE you listen to today’s episode.
Just so you have some extra context around this concept.
But – if you’re driving or running on the treadmill right now and you don’t want to fumble with the podcast menu, you CAN absolutely listen to this episode as is with no background info.
You’re smart enough to pick up what I’m about to put down.
Plus, I’m gonna give you a brief rundown of highlights from those episodes anyway – right now, before we move on to the case studies.
In Episode 33 – a love story for him, we reviewed how telling a love story for him can be a challenge if you believe that you’re going lose something by choosing to see him in a flattering, forgiving light.
Of course that would be hard.
It sucks to lose out to someone – especially if you’re also thinking that what they’ve said or done compromises your experience in some way.
Which is so common in marriages.
Then, we discussed how your experience can only be compromised as you tell a loving story about him IF you also require yourself to abandon what matters to you when you do.
That last part is ALWAYS optional.
In Episode 34 – a love story for you, we reviewed how it’s really important to make sure you give your own experience some attention in the moment before you decide how you want to proceed.
Most of us are programmed by societal norms to rush into smoothing things over, to cast a wide net of forgiveness and to make generous assumptions even if they don’t feel right just yet.
As I mentioned in Episode 34 – a love story for you, I do agree with the goals of generosity and forgiveness.
Both are SUCH healing balms when relationships present us with a challenge.
Trouble is – we usually only apply those balms to our husbands.
We don’t often apply those balms to ourselves.
We aren’t used to making generous assumptions about our own knee jerk responses.
Most of us don’t extend forgiveness to ourselves very freely.
And it’s REALLY hard to keep a love story going when the love is only flowing one way – toward him – especially when we force the love to flow because we feel obligated to and we feel guilty if we don’t.
That’s why us Bees in the Defying Gravity Revolution start with ourselves in mind.
We train our brains to research our own experiences first.
How did all of that land for me?
What do I need here?
What did I learn? About me? About him? About us?
Once we are on solid footing within ourselves – THEN, and only then, do we decide what kind of story to tell.
As much as possible, Bees try not to settle on a story while we are still reeling from the most recent curveball.
We don’t decide what to think or how to proceed while our wounds are still fresh or our minds are still focused on survival.
Survival first because safety matters. With him. With yourself.
Safety THEN story.
That order will ALWAYS get you a happier ending.
The reason to slow it all down in that way and choose your perspective on purpose is that the perspective you choose will determine the experience you have in your life and your marriage.
Just like choosing chocolate ice cream for dessert will give you a sweet sensory experience, choosing tiramisu will give you a bitter sensory experience and choosing lemon merengue will bring you a sour sensory experience.
All dishes are available on the menu – and you order according to your taste in the moment.
Life – and marriage – are like that too.
In every moment, you order your experience according to your taste at the time.
Sometimes you’ll choose sad on purpose.
Other times you’ll choose mad or amused. Maybe you’ll pick happy. Maybe confused.
The choice you make matters much less than your awareness that you ARE choosing.
Which is good news because it puts you in charge.
I get that you don’t choose what your husband will do or say – just like you don’t choose what a restaurant puts on its menu – but you ARE in charge of which experience you’ll order given the menu placed before you.
Thinking about your options that way really will bring you so much more freedom.
Ready to practice?
First step is to think of yourself as the narrator. You observe all the goings on and describe them. No judgement, no interpretation. Just telling it as it lies before you.
Like reading the menu as printed.
All you’re doing at first is reading the scene, gathering data.
We’ll do a couple examples together – just so you get the idea.
And remember, no one interpretation is morally superior to any other.
All perspectives are valid.
Our goal with this exercise is to narrate the WHOLE truth. From his side. From your side.
We’ll lay out the whole menu and then choose your experience.
We’ll choose based on the one that feels most like love – to YOU first – and we’ll build our lives from there.
It’s a beautiful Saturday after you and your husband have both worked hard all week. You’re thinking it’s a great day for a hike or some other type of adventure. He’s thinking it’s a great day to lay in bed and scroll on his phone.
You especially want to get out of the house because just that morning the two of you had a semi-tense money conversation about your plans to pay off the last little bit of your debt. About a year ago, you’d split the balance down the middle and agreed to each pay off your portion. You paid yours off last month and he’s still inching along paying his half down. The conversation was tense, but not heated and now you’re really ready to get out of the house and clear the air.
But there he is – scrolling on his phone with the blankets pulled up to his chin.
At this point, you’ve got some options:
A love story for him might sound like – He’s probably stressed. I’ll bet he doesn’t love that I paid off my portion of our bill first while he’s still pretty far away. Maybe he’s embarrassed or worried that I’m disappointed about his progress. I kinda am disappointed about his progress, so he’s not wrong about that. I don’t like feeling like I let someone I care about down. He probably doesn’t like that either. Poor guy.
You could tell that story and stay inside for the afternoon while giving him his space.
You COULD do that.
You also don’t have to – especially if staying in doesn’t feel much like love to YOU.
A love story for you might sound something like – I worked hard to pay off my part of the bill and I don’t think I should have to feel guilty about or downplay my success. I do think he could have made different choices to pay his side down more quickly and I’m willing to be patient, but not punished. He had a lot of fun spending his money and I sacrificed to make bigger payments. I dokinda resent him for that and it’s okay that I do. I don’t have to feed in to my resentment, but I don’t have to pretend it’s not there either. I wonder what I need right now? I think I need to have some fun like he did back then and I really do want to go out today. I’m a little frustrated that he’s not just coming along with me and it’s okay that I am. I like him and I want him to come play with me. That’s a totally fine thing for me to want and feel.
You could tell that story and head out on your afternoon adventure. You could even ask him again to come with you.
You COULD do that.
You also don’t have to – especially if pushing for an outing doesn’t feel much like love for him or for the relationship.
Now remember – I’m just guessing here about how the different stories might feel to the person telling them.
None of these are scenarios from my actual life, so to be sure about which story we want to tell, I’d have to have the woman living the story weigh in with how her body is responding to each story.
Her body knows what feels like the best life to live in and we’d use that input to determine which story she ultimately tells.
Just like our tastebuds know our cravings and we use that input to determine our dessert order.
That said, what almost ALWAYS feels the best to everyone involved is what I like to call telling the WHOLE truth.
That strategy is kinda like the chocolate of the marriage interaction world.
Pretty much everyone likes chocolate.
And pretty much everyone feels better when the WHOLE TRUTH is told.
Might sound something like this:
I know you’re feeling bummed right now babe and I’m guessing some of that came from our money discussion this morning. I heard you say you’re feeling burdened by the debt and I get that. I know that I expressed some frustration around the timing of the payoff. I would guess that was hard to hear. Good news is – you and I both agree that it’d be nice to have that debt gone. We’re on the same page. I’m glad that we are able to be honest about what we want. It’s great that we share a similar goal.
I also really want to have some fun with you today because it’s beautiful out and it’s the weekend. I care about you and I enjoy spending time together. Is there anything we can do to make that happen?
There’s no telling for sure how all of that will land with husband – but I do know this, telling the full truth brings some space to the conversation. There’s no hiding or fudging or pretending, which is a relief because hiding, fudging and pretending almost always feel scary because most people can sense when something isn’t being said aloud.
Telling the truth makes problems easier to solve and connects you in a shared goal.
And if it’s a little awkward at first, that makes sense. The awkwardness won’t last forever.
Most people are used to sugar coating or prettying up what’s real – which only leads to more distance in a relationship. Doesn’t really make sense when what you’re going for is connection.
Practice makes perfect, so let’s do another one.
Husband calls to let you know he’s headed out early from work because your elderly neighbor got a flat tire and called him to come help her out. You bite your tongue thinking about how he wouldn’t leave work early yesterday when you accidentally locked yourself and your babies out of the house in the hot summer sun.
A love story for him might sound like – He’s so kind and generous. I like being married to a guy who will help an old lady out. That’s really sweet. Especially because I know this is a sacrifice for him and he’s been swamped at work.
But… telling just that part of the story probably feels like you agreeing to accept that you’re totally unsupported in the world.
So you don’t have to stop there unless you want to.
A love story for you might sound like – I do appreciate his generosity in serving our elderly neighbor. I do want a guy who’s willing to help others out. I also want to believe that he’d be willing to help me and OUR family out. It hurts that I don’t believe that’s the case now. I see my pain and I’m not going to talk myself out of it or shame myself for it. I deserve help and support and it is possible to get it without taking away from my old lady friend. There is enough love and support to go around in the world and I deserve some – especially from the man who chose to spend forever with me. It makes perfect sense if I’m hurt when I don’t get what I wanted from him.
You COULD choose to appreciate his generosity with the neighbor and leave it at that.
You COULD choose to appreciate his generosity and express your desire to be included in that generosity much much more often.
You COULD choose to be sad or angry or hurt on purpose and take care of yourself through that experience.
Chocolate ice cream. Tiramisu. Lemon merengue.
All of the options are available to you.
I don’t know which one you’ll want to pick.
But you will – especially after you give yourself time and space to tell the WHOLE TRUTH and put all of the pieces together.
When you put ALL the pieces in play, that’s when the picture of what needs to happen next because clear.
Telling the whole truth might sound something like this: It’s so awesome that you went to help Mrs. Jamison with her tire today. I really love being married to a guy who’s willing to help out. That’s such an attractive thing about you. I am also hurt because it didn’t seem like you were willing to extend that help to me when I locked myself out yesterday. I know you’re a nice guy and I get that you’re busy at work. I’m also confused about why you helped her and not me. Can you help me understand? I want to count on you and I think you want that for me too… so walk me through what was different about when she asked and when I did.
You’d then listen to his answer with genuine curiosity. Seeking to understand his perspective without abandoning yours.
It can be tricky, but you CAN do it – and your marriage will thank you for your trouble.
Let’s do one more to round us out.
He’s angry with you because you declined his invitation to manage the water stations and volunteers for a marathon he’s organizing. He’s been begging you with flattery – telling you that you’re the best person for the job and he really needs you. You still said no and he’s not impressed.
A love story for him might sound like – I get it. He’s got a big job to do and it would be easier if I took on the role he wants me to take on. His frustration makes sense because now he has to find someone else to do the job.
You might be tempted to give in at this point because you feel guilty for not being a “supportive wife” if you don’t… but before you sign up to do something you don’t want to do… let’s check in on the love story for you.
A love story for you might sound like – I really don’t want to do that. It’s a lot of work and I’ve got my own projects. Standing out in the sun for an entire Saturday isn’t at all how I want to spend my time. I feel pressured and I want to believe our marriage can survive me saying no… but I’m not sure it can, so I’m feeling scared and resentful and I don’t like that he won’t take no for an answer.
Once you’ve laid both stories out on your proverbial table, you’ll be able to clearly see your options and the experiences that’ll likely follow each choice.
You could say yes, figure out how to deal with your dread and make it fun instead.
You could say no and settle in to cheering him on with his project from afar.
You could agree to help organize some details leading up to the day even though you don’t actually attend the event.
Telling the whole truth might sound something like: I get it, babe. It really would be easier for you if I took over the water station job. But it would only be easier in the short run. Because, in the long run, I know I’d resent having to give up my Saturday to an activity I don’t really want to do – especially not now when I’ve got my book deadline looming. It’s more than I can genuinely take on without resenting you and I don’t want to resent you. I want to celebrate you and love you and cheer you on from afar. I don’t want to be in the trenches on this one, but I did make a list of names that I think would be great for the job. I’m willing to call them if you want and ask if they’ll do it, but I just can’t take it on myself because I want to focus on loving you long term and this job will make that harder for me.
We don’t have to cast him as a demanding ogre who takes your time and talents for granted.
We don’t have to cast you as a selfish shrew who isn’t willing to lend a hand.
He’s a guy with a challenge and when he’s feeling stressed, he gets snippy – like the humans do.
You’re a gal who wants a break and when you’re feeling pressured, you’re tempted to push back – like the humans do.
What if that’s all that’s going on? And what if you can tell the truth about all that because you know telling the truth will lead you to a solution you can both live with?
Do you feel the space expanding in the room when you look at things that way?
It’s nice, right?
And THAT, Bees, is why I want you to have the skill of telling a loving story whenever you want to.
Not because you HAVE to, but because you deserve the space and flexibility that comes when you know that option is available for you.
You can, of course, tell stories of selfish, thoughtless, lazy husbands or view yourself as a judgmental person who should really do better at focusing on his qualities instead of fixating on his flaws.
If that feels important to do or right for you in the moment – go ahead with it. All day.
But if you feel stuck or trapped when you tell unflattering stories about yourself or about him… try on love, just to see if there’s some wiggle room in the nightmare you thought you were trapped in.
And if you’d like some support in finding the wiggle room that brings freedom back to your marriage again, subscribe to and share this podcast.
Choose to be a woman who supports other women by spreading these messages of empowerment and freedom. Every. Single. Sunday.
All of us here in the Defying Gravity Revolution Hive thank you for helping to create a world where more women stop caring what humans think is impossible.
Choose courage, Bee and keep on flying!