Examining 4 Marriage Myths - From Russ Harris's Book "ACT With Love"

Posted by tonyoverbay

Tony talks about his "aha" moment when attending a wedding over the past weekend of why marriages begin with a lot of pressure and unrealized expectations that originate from each person's family history. Then he shares Russ Harris's 4 Myths of Marriage from the book "ACT With Love" https://www.amazon.com/ACT-Love-Struggling-Differences-Relationship/dp/1572246227/ref=sr_1_1?crid=230A2KCMWA6LX&keywords=act+with+love+by+russ+harris&qid=1659530505&sprefix=act+with+love%2Caps%2C125&sr=8-1

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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript, click here https://descript.com?lmref=bSWcEQ


[00:00:15] Come on in and take a seat.

[00:00:22] Everybody, welcome to episode 332 of the Virtual Couch. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified, mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four and creator of The Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program that is changing lives. If you want to know more about that, head over to Tony. Over eBay.com, you can click on a link called Courses and you can find access to a PDF copy of five myths that people fall prey to when trying to put pornography in their rearview mirror once and for all. Not that exact title, but I think you get the gist. So story time. Over the past weekend, my wife and I attended a wedding. I love weddings, especially [00:01:00] weddings of people that I truly are close to or I care about and I care about. This new couple is one of the participants in the marriage is a relative of mine. And the ceremony was beautiful and it was wonderful to see friends and family that I haven't seen in a long time. We traveled to a place near and dear to me that I grew up and I got to go to restaurants I haven't been to in a long time. My wife and I ran on running trails that we haven't ran on in a long time, and I got to see a couple of my adult children that live away from me. And so everything about this weekend was just amazing.

[00:01:31] But I really do feel like it is so interesting to see people age. And this is one of the first times that I truly thought about the fact that I too am one of those people who is aging. Now, this is a side note, but I've been listening to an audio book called Homo Deus, and it's the follow up to a book called Sapiens that was getting a lot of buzz maybe two or three years ago. Both of these books are by an author named Yuval Noah Harari and where Sapiens, according to the Good Reads Summary, talks about how the breakthroughs [00:02:00] of the cognitive and agricultural and scientific revolutions, how those have shaped our human society and even our personalities, which is what I really found most fascinating. So this follow up book called Homo Deus talks about where we are going next from curing disease to eventually finding a cure for aging. And so I couldn't help but think about a couple of passages in that book that say that it will most likely be the next generation or two that will not just age more gracefully, but maybe not even age at all. And that someone in my age group or my generation may in fact be one of the last generations to truly look old, which perhaps wasn't something that I was entirely excited to sit and ponder. But the reason that I'm bringing this up today is because I was also just fascinated that through the lens that I was viewing, a very funny exchange that both families had during the post wedding luncheon, and both had a really fun game that was about in essence, getting to know the bride and groom, what they [00:03:00] were getting into with regard to joining these other families.

[00:03:03] So there was a lot of things like, well, you better like this sport or show or candy or vacation spot because this is what we do. This is what our family does. And there was a lot of laughter and it was absolutely fun. And I know this is the part where maybe not the funnest thing to bring a therapist along because yeah, just like a dentist is looking at everybody's teeth, I couldn't help but think of the interaction that was going on in the minds, the brains of the couple that was getting married of was it a och this sounds great or what if I don't like that candy? What if I don't like this sport and maybe I'm not a big fan of that vacation spot? Now, both of them happen to like the vacation spot that they were talking about. But I just was looking at this through this really fascinating lens. So that whole experience reminded me of a chapter from another book, a Russ Harris book, and he's one of my favorite authors. He writes a lot about acceptance and commitment therapy or ACT, and he has a book that I don't talk often about.

[00:03:56] It's about act for couples. It's not that it goes against my [00:04:00] four pillars of a connected conversation. As a matter of fact, I think it sets up my four pillars quite wonderfully. But in Russ Harris's book Act With Love, he lays out the challenges that we face heading into a relationship. In fact, what he talks about this is in chapter one, he calls it, is it mission impossible? He says falling in love is easy. Anybody can do it. It's like eating your favorite food or watching a great movie. There's a lot of pleasure, no effort involved. But he says staying in love, there's where the challenge kicks in. A challenge that's all the greater because of all the what he calls stuff in nonsense that's been pumped into our head over the years. From our very first fairy tales in which the Prince and the princess live happily ever after, to the Hollywood endings of most popular movies, books and TV shows where we hear and see the same old myths again and again. I want to go over the four myths that Russ Harris talks about from his book Act With Love. And then I want to get a little bit into why relationships can be such a challenge. And as I was sitting in this wedding, why it doesn't have to be that way. And I think that [00:05:00] what Russ talks about in this book, Act With Love, there are a couple of key components that I think will lead right into where my four pillars of a connected conversation will come into play.

[00:05:09] And then we'll touch on my favorites of all time. Going back into that, what is the. Differentiation look like? What does it mean to be two completely different human beings showing up in a relationship? And why does that seem to be so difficult when as I'm laying it out right now? Sounds pretty simple. So Russ says, myth number one, that there's a perfect partner who said, Did you know that somewhere out there in the big, wide world there is a perfect match for you? He said, Yes, it's true. There's the the man or woman of your dreams is out there hopelessly lost. They're just killing time. They're waiting for you to find him or her. So seek and ye shall find a partner who will fulfill all of your fantasies, meet all of your needs, and live with you in everlasting bliss. And he says, Yeah, right. And Santa Claus is real, too. So he says, The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect partner, just as there is no such thing as the perfect couple. And he says, as the old joke goes, there are only two types of couples, those who have a wonderful relationship [00:06:00] and those who you know really well. And I really believe that this is true. I hear on a regular basis not being dramatic, not using narcissistic math, but on a daily basis, people say, I know couples around me and it does seem a lot easier for them.

[00:06:14] And I maybe call me cynical, but I believe that that just means that you truly don't see inside of their relationship and they may be pretending to not know what they don't know. Meaning that at some point I feel like if a couple hasn't really gone through things and then went and found the tools to work on the things they're going through, or if someone in the relationship feels like they have no choice but to just acquiesce and go along, then they do settle into a pattern that can appear on the outside like things are okay. But I would challenge that. Do they communicate effectively? Do they both feel like they are two unique individuals showing up in the relationship? Or does one of the people in the relationship feel like, What's the point? I can't even really express myself or I know where this is going to go anyway. So over time it just is better for me just to [00:07:00] give in. Now, if you are listening to this podcast right now and that is you in the relationship, then I do want to tell you, I want to normalize that and I want to tell you that is unfortunately, that is the norm that I feel like most relationships fall into these patterns where one person feels like things are going pretty well and another person feels like, well, this is probably as good as it's going to get.

[00:07:19] And if you are that person on either one, if you're the person that says No, I think things are pretty good. I would love for you to go to your partner and ask and then do your best to read some body language. If your partner says, Yeah, things are things aren't bad, they're good, I think they're good. What is that body language saying? Is it saying that they are saying I mean, does it matter if I express that I would love to chase some of my dreams as well, and that me expressing myself doesn't mean that I'm criticizing you or trying to knock down your dreams. But if you're the partner primarily, that's probably hearing this thinking, Yeah, I really have given up a lot of my hopes and my dreams. I've maybe lost a little bit of my sense of myself. I really feel like maybe I'm only as good as the things I do for others. Then [00:08:00] stay tuned and I really feel like that would be something that you can take a look at. And with the right tools you can really improve your relationship. So back to Russ's four myths, again, back to this myth of the perfect partner. So he said, How hard is it to truly let go of this idea of that there is this perfect partner or that there are these perfect relationships around you? He said, How hard is it to stop comparing your partner to others, to stop fantasizing about the partner you could have had or would have had or should have had? He says.

[00:08:30] Or how about the partner that you really did have? But for one reason or another, it didn't last. And I find often that we do this thing where we idealize or mythologize the partner that got away. That person is probably perfect. And I actually have someone that I worked with not too long ago that had been in a relationship decades earlier. And then they move and they find themselves in the same area as the one that got away, and it was the one that got away on both angles. And so they both found themselves in these situations where they were all of a sudden [00:09:00] thinking, Oh man, you were the one that got away. And it looks like you're looks like you have the normal amounts of no's, hair and ear hair, put on a little bit of weight and maybe aren't the person that I idealized you to be, because we often want to say, Well, man, my life would have been so different had I been with this other person. Now there's a great chance that it would have been different. But would it be significantly different, or would you have eventually found yourself in the position that you're in now because you maybe didn't know what really mattered to you or you didn't feel like you could express yourself or speak up or never saw that model in your own relationship with your parents or what you saw there.

[00:09:39] So he said, How hard is it to stop dwelling on your partner's faults and flaws and shortcomings and thinking about how life would be so much better if only your partner would change now? My buddy Preston, Pug Meyer, who helped me create the magnetic marriage course, he is one who taught me the concept of listening with your elbow, and I think that's what this is talking about. How often have you thought [00:10:00] about how life would be? So much better if only your partner would change? Listening with your elbow, hitting with your elbow, saying, Are you hearing that? Are you hearing what? What are you saying? Or do you feel like you're the one that's doing the four pillars? Because I certainly I know I am. So Russ says the answer. It's very hard indeed, because for most normal human beings, it doesn't have to remain that way. Change is possible if you want it. He said. Let's just take a moment to look at what it is costing you to get caught up in these patterns of thinking. How much frustration and anger and disappointment does it create for you? And he says, Of course, I'm not advocating that you let your partner do as they please, whenever they want, without any consideration for you.

[00:10:34] Because he said that would not give rise to a healthy, vital relationship. But he says what he is advocating is that you take an honest look at your own internalized beliefs about how your partner should behave and what your relationship should be like. Now note he is shooting all over people in places, and I think that you can see that what he's saying is, are we taking a look at what our role is and how we expect our relationship to what we expect it to look like. So he says, notice [00:11:00] all the negative judgments you make about your partner and your relationship and notice how those thoughts affect you. When you get caught up in them, are they helping your relationship or are they harming it? And I'll go on to his other three myths, but I really feel like from that first myth that he's talking about, that there is we have this myth that there is a perfect partner. Is that what I believe? What Russ is really starting to tap into is what is our role in the relationship? Because if we view this person that we first fell in love with or met was supposed to be the perfect partner, but now the relationship is not perfect. Then it must be them. I'm sure that I didn't play any role in that. Now I always want to put an asterisks, and when we're talking about personality disorders and we're talking about emotional, physical, spiritual, financial abuse, any of those type of things, I want you to know that's a different ballgame.

[00:11:45] That really is. And I want you to know I'm not saying, hey, you could have stood up for yourself much earlier, because in some of those situations, the more that you find yourself, find your voice or stand up for yourself, the worse it will make things for a short amount of time, or [00:12:00] the more difficult the relationship will be. Because that person, if you have somebody that is incredibly emotionally immature, then they want you or need you to be in that one down position. They need to find themselves in that one up position. So I know there's a big part of the population that listens to my podcast that may find themselves in severely emotionally immature, narcissistic relationships. So I want you to know that I'm not saying you could have done something significant about this a long time ago, because I'm absolutely not. The relationship has evolved the way it's evolved because that's how it's evolved, because you're two individuals that don't know what you don't know showing up in the relationship. But the more that you are turning to my podcast or self-help books or listening to podcasts or understanding more about Wait a minute, it is okay for me to have wants and desires and needs and not saying that I need that person to do this, but I deserve to feel like I have a sense of self and a sense of purpose.

[00:12:54] And that is absolutely okay for me to have my own thoughts and opinions and I should have this opportunity or ability to [00:13:00] show up in a relationship and be able to express those and have my partner meet me with curiosity, not with criticism. So that is perfectly normal. And before I even go any further, you may have heard it on the last couple of podcasts that I put out, but I am taking requests or I am taking applications. Reach out and invite Tony over. Ebay.com If you and your spouse are interested in being coached anonymously on my upcoming Magnetic Marriage podcast, if you have ever just wondered what what real therapy looks like coaching looks like, or if you ever just wanted to improve your relationship and you weren't sure where to start, one of the ways is going to be to listen to the Magnetic Marriage Podcast. So go to Tony over eBay.com, sign up there to join my newsletter and you'll be one of the first to find out when that becomes available. But more so, if you would like to anonymously jump on the podcast, be coached through any kind of a situation, an issue, whether it's [00:14:00] a communication, whether it's navigating a faith journey, whether it is parenting, whatever that thing looks like intimacy, finances, politics, rock and roll, you name it, then I would love for you to reach out to info at Tony or Wacom.

[00:14:12] Just let me know that you're interested in being on the Magnetic Marriage Podcast again. It will be fully anonymous and free to be a guest on there. It is going to be a paid podcast and I will get you more information on that soon. But if that sounds of interest at all, I would love to hear from you. Just reach out to info at Tony Overbay dot com. So let's move on to Russ Harris's second myth, which is you complete me. So he says, when it comes to movies, I'm a big sucker for romantic comedies. Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones Diary. When Harry Met Sally, he said, I just love them. But one of my favorites was Jerry Maguire, which gave us that great phrase, You Complete Me. This is the phrase that Jerry Maguire says to his girlfriend at the very end of the movie to prove how much he loves her. And he said at that point he choked on his popcorn because this is such an unhelpful idea to buy into. Dr. Harris says that if you go along with this myth and act as if you are incomplete [00:15:00] without your partner, then you set yourself up for all sorts of problems. You will be needy and dependent and fearful of being alone, which is not conducive to a healthy, vital relationship. Fortunately, he said, You'll discover. Of course, he says your mind will not readily agree to this, at least that it's not like the minds of most other people on the planet.

[00:15:21] He said, Of course your mind will not readily agree to this, at least not if it is like the minds of most other people on the planet. Our minds are naturally self critical and they seem to revel in telling us how incomplete we all are. But despite what your mind may protest, you will experience a sense of wholeness and completeness within yourself that is independent of anyone else. If you are able to truly discover who you are. And the goal in relationships is to become a autonomous, differentiated, unique, individual person who now brings their experiences into a relationship. Where you look at that with curiosity, where one plus one in the relationship actually equals [00:16:00] three. Sounds clich├ęd, but it is so true, and we do often come in enmeshed and codependent and we think that that is what we are supposed to be. And so that's part of what I like to just say is often as I get a chance that we just don't know what, we don't know about relationships, and it is absolutely normal to come into a relationship feeling like I need someone to complete me and that I need someone to then make my half a hole when in reality we need to find out who we are as a whole individual so that we can be our best self in the relationship. And if you feel like, well, what's the point of a relationship, then that's where I want to say, I hear you and you most likely did not see that type of a relationship model, and this is the process of becoming more emotionally mature.

[00:16:44] So just think of it that way that you have all and I go back to this wedding, if I go back to this wedding over this past weekend, I was looking at almost each family as each family is their own person. And each family likes the sports they do. They like the candies they do, they wear [00:17:00] the clothes they do and they have the sayings that they do and all of the things that they do as a family, that that is what has made them. That's part of their identity. So now you get somebody that marries into that family and now there's almost this expectation that now you will now take upon all of these same characteristics. You will like these sports, you will drink these drinks, you will eat these candies, and you will go on these same vacations and you will you will just meld right into who we are. And then that will make everything right. But think about that to different people coming from two different families that have all of these different experiences. And then you are an individual within that family with your own experiences, and now you're uniting in a relationship. Of course you are bringing two completely different experiences into that relationship and that.

[00:17:45] And unfortunately, we come from this place of emotional immaturity where we just feel like I have to play this right, I have to agree with this person, or I have to say, man, I think all of those things too, because then we have this deep fear that that other person, if they find out that [00:18:00] we like different things, they might abandon us. And so we even tell ourselves our stories in our mind that even if they say We'll do like Jane Austen movies, we may say, I'm not familiar with them, but I'm sure I would like them if this person likes them. And I'm definitely going to say that I like them in front of this person because I want this person to like me. So then I probably say, Yeah, no, I do, or I haven't seen enough of them, but man, I really like what I've seen so far. And heaven forbid that person says, Oh, what's your favorite one is? Now, what's our answer? Boy, if it would have been me back in the day, all of a sudden I can't even choose. I mean, there are so many, I just like them all. And so we just have this desperate need to be loved and liked and wanted. And we feel like we're supposed to then have similar all of our experiences or similar and all of our beliefs are similar. But that might be the way we get into a relationship because we're coming into a relationship from a more emotionally immature place.

[00:18:52] But then as we get in that relationship, the whole goal, I feel, needs to be now discovering who we are. So now [00:19:00] we go through life, we have these experiences, we may be graduate school, we get jobs, we suffer financial setbacks, maybe there's deaths in the family, maybe there are. We express these dreams and they may not be able to happen. And all of a sudden now we have some really strong thoughts and opinions because we've never been in this situation before. And if our spouse all of a sudden has a different opinion, we may feel like, oh my gosh, we're supposed to be the same. We're supposed to be enmeshed and codependent. And what if I express that I have a completely different view? Are they still going to love me? Are they going to want to leave me? So then we find ourselves continually falling back into that same unhealthy pattern of just agreeing or maybe acquiescing or giving in. Or maybe I'll just forget my needs for now. They'll be met down the road and I don't need to communicate them. I don't need to communicate them. The other person probably knows I'd given some clues, and if they don't know, then they must not care about me. All of that is emotional immaturity in the relationship, but we don't have those tools to be [00:20:00] able to show up as a completely authentic person with my own experiences and now saying, Oh, here's how I feel.

[00:20:05] Even if that person that we're trying desperately to get to like us, to get to love us, has a different experience. So that leads a little bit into myth number three that Russ Harris talks about, where he says, number three, that love should be easy. He said, love should be easy. Okay, let's look. That proposition more closely, he said. When you live intimately for a long period of time with another human being who has a different thoughts and feelings, b different interests see different expectations about housework, sex, money, religion, parenting, holidays, work life balance and quality time. D They have different styles for communicating, negotiating and expressing their selves. E They have different reactions to the things that you enjoy or fear or detest. F They have different drives for food, sex, sport, play, work. G They have different standards of cleanliness and tidiness. H They have friends and relatives that you don't get on too well with. And then I lifelong, [00:21:00] deeply entrenched habits and quirks that annoy you. Boy, that should be easy, right? He said, Doesn't that sound convincing to you? I love the way he lays that out because all of those things are present in a relationship. All of those differences, there's a lot of them. So should love be easy? Not necessarily, actually, no. But it doesn't mean that it has to feel like it's impossible, that it doesn't need to feel like What am I supposed to do? I can't express myself.

[00:21:25] So he says that, of course, our minds are quick to point out that if our partners were more compatible, if they didn't have so many differences from us, then our relationships would be much easier. He said, That's a fair point, but we're right back to myth number one that there is apparently this perfect partner. So he said the fact is that there will always be significant differences between you and your partner in some or all the areas that he's mentioned and also in a lot of other areas that we didn't even think of. And so they will require communication, negotiation, compromise and a lot of acceptance of differences. It also required you to stand up for yourself, and I call that in your calm, confident energy. They also [00:22:00] require you to be honest about your desires and your feelings. And in some situations where something vitally important to you might be your health and well-being that might be at stake. And you have to stand up for yourself. You have to advocate for yourself. But he said, as long as you expect your partner to think and feel and act like you, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration. He goes on to say that there's no denying some couples have more in common than others. That's absolutely the case, and some couples are naturally optimistic or calm or easygoing.

[00:22:26] Some couples have excellent communication skills. Maybe they were modeled that from the factory, or they've learned that throughout the years in their job. I know I would not be the communicator I am had I not taken the path of becoming a therapist in my early thirties that I wouldn't have any of these skills, I believe, because again, these aren't skills that necessarily come from the factory. And he says, Let's face it, you're both passionately mad about rock climbing. If you are, then it's a lot easier to agree on your vacation plans. And if one of you loves sunbathing on the beach and the other absolutely hates it, but no matter how much you have in common, there will always be differences that challenge you. And fortunately, acceptance and [00:23:00] commitment therapy, which he talks about, which is my favorite thing in the world, as its name suggests, focuses a lot on the acceptance. And as you truly learn to accept your partner's differences and here's where I will jump in and say and not view those differences as a personal attack or slight on you, that you are absolutely allowed to have your own differences as well in the relationship, that as you start to accept or understand or view those differences with absolute curiosity and not criticism, that then that's where you will start to find your frustration or resentment or anger starting to dissolve so that then you can enjoy the relationship and you can start to look at the relationship as something that is absolutely different.

[00:23:40] Part of what I like to share is that, yes, we get together, we couple because we feel this physical attraction and that is whether you look at that from a religious perspective or just a an evolution perspective of that, the brains want to continue to evolve more brains. That sounds some somewhat zombie like, [00:24:00] but it's in order to carry on the species we must procreate replenish the earth. I believe also the reason that we partner a couple that we become involved with another person is that, as Sue Johnson, the founder of emotionally focused therapy, says that we're designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human. So if I'm only showing up with my experiences in a relationship, then how on earth would I grow from those if I'm basically living in some sort of echo chamber? So let's move on to myth number four. Russ here says, is everlasting love? Does everlasting love really exist? He said, This is a tricky question. Usually when people talk about love, they're talking about an emotional state that it's this wonderful mix of thoughts and feelings and sensations. And he said that the problem with defining love this way is that feelings don't last very long, that just as the clouds above are continually changing and shrinking and growing and dispersing and reappearing, so do our emotions. So as long as we define love as a feeling, then it would not be everlasting.

[00:24:59] So he says, of course, [00:25:00] in the early days of a relationship, those feelings of love are more intense and they can last longer and they might come back more quickly than they do later on. He said This is what we commonly call the honeymoon phase of a relationship when we are just totally intoxicated by all of those Romeo and Juliet head over heels and love feelings. But he says that that doesn't last long. It's an average of 6 to 18 months for most relationships. And. Rarely, if ever, more than three years. And when that honeymoon phase is over, we generally will start to experience the sense of loss, because after all, that honeymoon phase does feel good. So good, in fact, that when the honeymoon phase ends, many people break up with their partners. They start to think, okay, that's it. I don't feel like I'm in love anymore. So clearly this must not be the right partner for me. I must have messed up on number one that there is this perfect partner, so I'm out of here. And he says, this is a great pity, because what few people realize is an authentic, loving, meaningful relationship typically only develops once the honeymoon phase is over, he says. That's another fact that songwriters, poets and pop stars seem oblivious to. And [00:26:00] I will second this, third this and fourth this is that when you are on this drug of just this feeling of love, that then if that is the only thing that we are seeking in our relationship, then we may absolutely want to avoid any of the conversations that may not bring in that euphoric feeling, the feeling of love.

[00:26:21] But when that honeymoon phase is over, hopefully we've now got enough ground under our feet or runway to now start to really explore what it's like to be me in a relationship with another person. And we can look at the other person with curiosity and we can start to realize that, okay, we do like each other. We've got this foundational principle or foundational relationship that we can build from. And now let's find those tools to be able to communicate more effectively and let's learn. And this is where I feel like we're designed again to deal with emotion in concert with another human. Let me start to realize, why do I feel criticized when my spouse has a [00:27:00] different opinion? Because the only way to really move through that or work through that is to have these experiences where my spouse, where she may express a different opinion. And then I can say, check that out. I'm noticing that I feel criticized. I'm noticing that I am starting to move toward shame that when you say I wouldn't do that, look at where my brain immediately goes. It goes to this place of, Oh, you must think that's because I'm a bad husband or father, when in reality all you said was, Oh, I wouldn't have done that.

[00:27:25] So that's why I feel like being in a relationship is absolutely a way to grow, but it's a way of self discovery. You can't force your spouse, your partner to then also you must discover yourself as well. Now, I hope that that will happen. But ultimately, this is your your life, it's your experiences. And this is a way for you to take ownership or control of the way that you show up in a relationship. Are you showing up is overly controlling? Do you have a hard time believing that someone else's opinion [00:28:00] is valid or that do you feel like, Oh, I haven't thought of that or I obviously don't know what I don't know because that's emotional maturity. I was talking with someone over the weekend as well who they said that there is someone that likes to talk at them and then says, What is your opinion? And they said, I don't even want to offer my opinion because I basically or I do. I know I understand that after they have told me their opinion that they have basically told them that, in my opinion, is right now, let me hear what you have to say. And now they will just knock down whatever that person is saying. So that is not a way to have a relationship. So do you want love or do you want control because you can't have both in an adult relationship? Are you able to step outside of your own ego and understand that you are viewing everything in life through your lens, through your filter, because you only know what it's like to be you.

[00:28:54] So one of the most emotionally mature things you can do is to learn the skill of stepping outside of your ego [00:29:00] and saying, Man, I want to understand what it's like to be you. And that doesn't threaten who I am as a person. As a matter of fact, that is an opportunity for growth. So when we talk about differentiation, if you're watching this on the YouTube video, I'm going to do the thing I love doing with my hands. We get into relationships and we become enmeshed in Codependent again because of all of our abandonment and our attachment to things that we bring into a relationship because we feel like we must show up in a way that we can be loved by someone. That's emotional immaturity, but it's the kind that, bless our hearts, we don't know any better. And then once we're in that relationship, then if somebody doesn't know what we need or they don't respond to our needs, then we go into this place of, Oh, it must be because they don't love me. It must be because I'm unlovable and I am broken. In reality, it's just they are having their own experience and we don't have the tools yet to express what I need in a relationship or how I'm feeling or what your experience is and how that impacts the relationship that we have together.

[00:30:00] When [00:30:00] we're enmeshed in Codependent, then we go through life and we start to have our own experiences. And here comes differentiation, which with the hands differentiation is now we become interdependent and differentiated. Differentiated is where one person ends and the other begins. So it only makes sense that if we get into a relationship when more of that enmeshment or interdependence. But then the goal is to become differentiated and now to understand that I can have my own opinion and that's absolutely perfect and my spouse will have their own opinion as well. And that doesn't mean that they need to break down my reality or my opinion, because if that is all that they're doing, if they say, tell me what you think, so that I can then tell you you're wrong. That's emotional immaturity. That's this position where I have to. The only way I can feel good about my opinion is if I now knock down everybody else's opinions around me, when in reality I can have my opinion as can you, as can my spouse. And now, when we can look at those things with curiosity, we may actually learn more. We may actually be [00:31:00] able to add some things to our opinion, and we might even remove a few things from our opinion because that is emotional maturity.

[00:31:06] There's I was going to say nothing that surprises me more. That's so dramatically overstated. But when someone then just tells you what you know that they don't know, I was giving an example to somebody the other day, and it's when I talked to a dentist client of mine who I said, when somebody comes in and you say, Have you been flossing? And they say all the time, but you know, they haven't been. And he said, absolutely not. I can tell you, if they've been flossing the last two days leading up, I can tell you if they just walked that morning and you got those nice puffy bleeding gums, but that person feels like they just pulled it off. Oh, yeah. I'll just tell them that I've been flossing. They know back off. But in reality, we just don't know what we don't know. So emotional maturity is being able to say, Yeah, I haven't been flossing. And then knowing that if the dentist says, you know, it would be a good idea, then absolutely, yes. But if I go to this place of emotional immaturity and I feel like they are now criticizing [00:32:00] me and tell me I'm a bad human being, then I'm going to maybe don't even want to go to the dentist at all because I don't want him telling me that I'm doing everything wrong versus the Oh, I am in charge of my own experience. So I'll go in and say, Yeah, I've been meaning to.

[00:32:15] I just don't think about it. And now if the dentist lets me know all the reasons why I should be. Absolutely. You are right. And I need to do I would love to do a better job of that, but that is emotional maturity. Being able to start to state your own opinion from a differentiated standpoint, I don't have to tell him, look, you need to back off with all this floss stuff. I don't care who you are and I actually don't even need to defend myself. I can even say, Yeah, I haven't done it, but I appreciate what you're sharing. I feel like from a differentiated standpoint, I can absolutely get behind that. I probably need to do that and I probably I should I should be doing that. I feel like I need to make a dentist joke there. I don't even have one handy. But back to this concept of attending this wedding, of going over these four myths from Russ Harris, is that I really [00:33:00] do feel like I want to speak more and more to this concept of it is okay to admit if you don't know how to communicate with your spouse, it is okay to go and ask for help. If you are the spouse that feels like you, you would love to communicate more and you don't feel like you are able to express yourself. Then I would love for you to send this episode to your spouse spouse.

[00:33:22] If you are hearing this episode, then I am so grateful that you have made it this far and that this is absolutely not coming from a place of criticism. This is coming from a place of man. Thank your spouse for sending this to you because what a gift to be able to learn some new tools on how to communicate because you don't know what you don't know. And meanwhile, there is a way to communicate through my four pillars of a connected conversation that will help you feel more heard and understood. And it will also, I promise you, it will lead to a more connected relationship if you will embrace your own possible emotional [00:34:00] immaturity, and then taking ownership and accountability for the things that you maybe have been doing or the way you've been showing up in the relationship in the past and then resolving that. I am going to do all that I can to provide a safe place to help my spouse operate from a place of courage and be able to express themselves the things that they don't know, that they don't know. And we start to look at these things with curiosity. We won't get it right every time. It will be a little bit bumpy, but just know that there are a lot of tools. Whether you're going to look at my magnetic marriage course or any of my podcasts or read emotionally focused therapy books or whatever that looks like, but just start down that whole road of trying to understand or learn new tools so that you can make your relationship more connected and more emotionally mature, and especially if you have kids.

[00:34:46] Because, boy, here's a quick little tangent and I'll wrap things up. The more we learn about the way that a kid develops their sense of self is that concept of external validation that a little kid is they don't they absolutely don't know what they don't know. And so they are picking [00:35:00] up on the energy, the vibes, the just they're reading the room, they're picking up on the things around them. And so if the mood in the home is not a good mood, then it is almost impossible for a kid not to feel like, All right, I'm responsible for this somehow. If I was a better kid, if I could do things more, if I can be more of a peacemaker or a caregiver, if I could learn to juggle. If I. Be a better student, then maybe mom and dad would be happier. So that's unfortunately that part where they will internalize that and that becomes their sense of self, the anxious attachment, or they become the caregiver. But if you can model a healthy way to communicate and show your kids that, yeah, we take ownership for things, we admit that when we when we maybe overreacted and we show up and we keep trying, we try over and over again, then all of a sudden you're going to you're going to give this validation, this concept, to your kids, where it is okay to want to know more, to want to continue to show up, to take ownership and accountability of things that are theirs and not trying to take ownership or accountability [00:36:00] of things that are not of their control.

[00:36:02] And that helps develop a sense of self for your kids that then will just pay off dividends and then their relationships and then with their kids. And all of a sudden, look what you've done. You listen to a podcast, 45 minutes later, you're starting to change generational cycles. It's not bad. Thanks for spending the time with me today. We're going to go out as per usual with the performance of the song. It's wonderful because things absolutely can be wonderful. We just might need to go find the tools. And as I mentioned earlier, if you're interested in potentially coming on the Magnetic Marriage Podcast and fully anonymous and receive some coaching, then reach out to me at info at Tony eBay.com. And I always welcome your questions, your comments. I'm getting more people that are reaching out to seeing what speaking availability is, that sort of thing. So just look forward to doing all I can to just help change these relationship dynamics and really help you just have this relationship that you never even knew you could have. All right, everybody, have an amazing week. I will see you next time on the show Catch.

[00:37:00] Compressed [00:37:00] emotions flying past our heads and out the other end. The pressures of the daily grind. It's wonderful. And that's the question, Rob. A ghost are floating past the midnight hour. They push aside the things that matter.

[00:37:20] Most to the world. If drugs.

[00:38:00] Citing [00:38:00] news of discount price a million opportunities. The chance is yours to take or lose. It's worth. Phones are always on the back burner until the inopportune time. You're always pushed to go fight or shut up.

[00:38:30] My fault. And I'll take. That seems to be.

[00:39:00] Develop [00:39:00] distance don't explode allow the understanding through to heal the legs and hearts. You broke the pain. She just might. My mental strength. And Paul's. I'm trying hard to shut them out.

[00:39:20] It's one. Is dropped. Comedy.

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