Ep 22:Challenging Relationships

When two people decide to live together as a unit, there are often times when the relationship gets challenging. Maybe it’s been challenging since the beginning or maybe a difficult circumstance in your life sent you into a downward spiral of fighting, arguing or avoiding each other. 

Either way, there are things you can do to care for yourself and your relationship while rebuilding trust and connection again.

Listen to today’s episode to find out what to stop doing and what to start doing to end the challenge in your love life.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • How to own your part and pay attention to the thoughts creating your pain.
  • Three problem issues to watch out for in challenging relationships.
  • Three steps to begin healing, hearing, and seeing your partner.
  • When and how to communicate with your partner about things you want.

Mentioned On The Show:

  • Sign up for the Free Facebook Membership HERE.
  • Listen to the Episode on Boundaries HERE.

Hey welcome to the podcast today. We're going to be talking about challenging relationships  and what to do about them. But first of all I want you to know about something new I've started that is free to you and I know will be inspirational to many of you as you navigate these lovely times of trying to heal and grow and nurture your own relationships and marriages. It's the free Facebook group. Some of you know that I started that over a year ago and I put it on pause as I started this podcast and was doing all the other things!  But it is now open again. And I love the feel of Facebook groups because you can go in there and you can comment on things that I'm teaching and get some questions answered that you have rolling around in your mind. And we're also going to do some meditations in there and some free group coaching calls.

And this week well be diving into purposefully creating the life you want starting with the stories that you tell yourself. That first coach call will be on Thursday the 21st at 3 p.m. central Time. So you want to make sure that you go over there and join the private group. The link to that will be in the show notes. But you can also go to Facebook And type in joyful love a better marriage Circle and click join now to get there!

Okay so back to today, we are going to talk about challenging relationships. You know I have all kinds of students and clients who come to me. One of my clients this summer hired me because she had an incredible relationship with her husband in every area except the sex!  She knows he's the one she wants to spend the rest of her life with and she just wanted to uplevel her fun and passion with him, she wanted to drop some annoyances she had with him and just really start to build their intimate life again. And she’s doing just that and more and i”m insanely proud of her.

Other clients come to me really on the edge of divorce and are simply trying to figure out if they want to be married or not. So we dive in deep and help them to make that decision from a very clean space that includes love and compassion for all involved even during those difficult times.

And then other clients come to me who are very in the middle. They love their partners and they want very badly to make it work, but their relationship is really challenging. It seems like their partners are on completely different planes than they are. And their compatibility seems Rocky at best.

So I want to address this big elephant in the room that some of you are just really, really struggling in your relationship. And it seems like nothing you do helps. When asked to describe your relationship you describe it as very challenging….

I'm going to give you my take on it today.  I'm going to show you some things that you can focus on that are in your control so that you can really start to show up as your highest and best self in the relationship and make your future decisions about your relationship from a place of peace and love instead of frustration and bitterness.

Okay so I want you to think about your relationship right now. This is a marriage podcast so of course those of you who are in challenging marriages, I want you to think about your relationship with your partner. But for those of you who are like well my relationship isn't extremely challenging except for an occasional you know communication blunder – you can Think about another relationship that’s challenging as I go through these points in today's episode.

But I'm going to be talking to those of you who specifically are in challenging marriages.

So if you've been following me you know that I fully believed that we have so much power over how we feel in life based on the thoughts that we think. Different people in the exact same circumstances can feel completely different from each other.

For example, one person who is married to an entrepreneur might be totally thrilled with the excitement of that life. Maybe life is really hard at times because they haven’t learned how to have consistent income yet, but the other aspects of the Entrepreneur lifestyle are worth it to them. Other partners May hate the entrepreneur lifestyle and find the inconsistency really challenging so much to the point that they’d want to end a relationship with someone who is an entrepreneur!

These couples may have the exact same income and very similar Lifestyles. But one loves it and the other hates it. What is different? The thoughts that they're having about their circumstances are different.

And I want to be clear here that neither one is wrong. But it's important to understand that the circumstances are not causing the challenges, their thoughts are. The stories they're telling themselves about their life is causing the challenges.

Before we go on, I want to remind you that you get to choose what you want to think and believe. You get to step back and say what do I want[a] Deep in my core.

And then once you choose that – now you can decide on purpose how to feel about it From a clean loving and compassionate place, love and compassion for yourself, and love and compassion for your partner.

But separating the facts of your life versus your thoughts about your life is so important in being able to do this.

Because when we're in challenging relationships our tendency is to state things like they are fact. Especially when we're having a really bad day and were angry and frustrated, the human tendency is to seek blame outside of us. when we do this end up making our opinions and frustrations sound like facts.

But remember a fact means every single person would agree. If your partner doesn't agree it's not a fact. And simply remembering that,  “okay this is something that I am thinking, but it doesn't mean it's necessarily true.” Just that one small shift can help you know how to move forward on these difficult days.

So just start to notice how you are thinking. If you're noticing a lot of negative thoughts, your relationship is going to be pretty challenging. If you're noticing a lot of positive thoughts, your relationship is probably going to be pretty good even if you have difficult circumstances.

And if you're anything like me, for much of my marriage it would shift back and forth. Depending on other circumstances, whether our kids were having a challenging year or whether our finances were in a challenging spot, or Or if I felt like there was time enough in the day to take care of myself, all of these things could lead me to thinking really negative thoughts about our relationship about my husband. And when I would really focus on those negative thoughts and believe them, it hindered me from being able to communicate with him on purpose and in a way that moved us to words more connection.

But when I really learned to focus on all the good in us, even if our circumstances around us were challenging, I was able to nurture our relationship so much better because I believed in US. To get through all the difficult times. So no matter what our circumstances were and regardless of our different personalities, the way I thought about us is what created a negative relationship or a positive relationship.

So that is the first thing that you need to notice is what are your thoughts about this relationship. What are your thoughts about your partner? And then ask yourself this question, why am I choosing to think these thoughts about my partner?

Now your first reaction here is probably going to be to say I'm not choosing to think these thoughts.  My thoughts are challenging because my partner is challenging!

But I want you to know that your thoughts do not have to be on default. You get to number one notice and be aware of your thoughts. And number two you get to choose whether to keep them or not. This is not a super easy shift at first.

Because we are in the habit of believing that the reason we are frustrated, the reason we are angry, the reason we are sad, is because this other person caused me to feel this way. But I want you to truly start to understand that the other person cannot control what you feel. They cannot control your emotions. They do not have that power. Only you have that power with the thoughts that you choose to hold on to.

Now of course someone else's actions can influence your thoughts. Depending on your personality and the way you see life differently you could have a relationship that's very easy, or one that's more difficult.

 But be careful not to think that just because their actions can influence how are you think …that does not mean that they can control how you think and feel. Your thoughts and feelings are 100% in your power. They are in your control. And this is so important to understand, no matter if you are in a relationship that feels easy or that feels difficult.

If you believe that someone else controls the way you think and feel, you are at risk for being in a codependent relationship and for always looking to the other person to make you happy in life.

The most empowering thing that you can do for yourself in a difficult relationship is to realize that you get to think and feel  however you want 2 in any given moment.

So take responsibility for the thoughts that you are thinking. Take responsibility for your own emotions first and foremost.

So think about your partner. And then pay attention to the thoughts that you're thinking about them. Understand that you have a choice in what to think. And own that those thoughts are what is creating your emotions.

And then ask yourself why am I choosing to think this way about my partner? Especially if it makes you feel horrible.

Okay so that's the basic Rule of moving forward and understanding what to do in a difficult relationship. Taking your power back over your own thoughts.

Just this practice alone can open your eyes and bring awareness to how much power you have in your relationship.

Okay so now that we have the basics out of the way I want to talk about three different types of people that I see that are problematic in challenging relationships.

The first Is a people pleaser. This is the person who is constantly trying to Keep peace in the relationship by avoiding any confrontation, by avoiding putting the other person out at all, And by denying herself of what she truly wants in life. She's constantly seeking approval from her partner in the form of overdoing. One of her top complaints is that she doesn't have time for herself, and she often feels like she's walking on eggshells around everyone to keep them happy and to make sure they don’t suffer at all in life!

 She's exhausted.

People Pleasers often go through the motions and pretend they're happy and put on a happy face. they might be the ones who on the outside seem so positive but on the inside they're full of frustration and sadness. As a people pleaser, You're not acknowledging the issues going on, and many times their partners aren't even aware of how they really feel inside. They're trying not to rock the boat or make anything worse than what it already is.

Their partner might not even realize that there's any major issues. Your partner may think everything is fine. But what happens is when people Pleasers just go through the motions, it blocks any real connection. And it blocks intimacy. It blocks true enjoyment of each other. And it blocks growth as a couple together. Because if you're afraid to have those difficult conversations, you're not growing in life. You're not growing in your relationship. You’re halted.

People pleasing can also lead to just pretending end really escaping the relationship by not caring anymore. They're literally faking the entire relationship because it's easier for them to fake it than to deal with it.

Now the last thing I want you to do is to beat yourself up for being a people-pleaser if this resonates with you. I want you to just start agknowledging it. The first step to end people-pleasing is to begin to notice where you are doing things just to make other people happy, or just so that you don't have to deal with confrontation. Just start to notice it. You don't even have to change it at first. Just notice what you're doing and bring awareness to it.

So the next issue that I see in clients that first come to me is when someone is completely exhausted and fet up by being the people pleaser. Now they've become the person who says I'm done, I'm going to stick up for myself. But it's not coming from a place of compassion and love for themselves, it's coming from a place of anger and blame.

Now it’s one thing to recognize that you're a people pleaser and then decide on purpose that you are going to start honoring and caring for yourself and setting healthy boundaries for yourself ….   And it’s a whole other thing to begin demanding respect out of frustration and anger.

Look we people-pleasers have all been on both ends of this. when we don't know how to watch our minds and create responses and results on purpose in our lives, our emotions control us.

So the way you know that your emotions are controlling you is when your quote-unquote sticking up for yourself by yelling, lashing out, demanding and trying to control other people.

This can also turn to shaming. And criticizing. And can lead you to say really hurtful things.

This happens when we forget that we have control over our own mind and our own emotions. And we expect other people to create feelings of happiness and peace inside of us. So since we think someone else is in control of our happiness, we feel out of control unless that other person changes. So we start to demand them to change In a very aggressive way. Which NEVER and I do mean NEVER changes anything long-term.

So the first kind of relationship I see is a lot of people pleasing and pretending. And the second kind of relationship I see is when someone is totally Fed Up and begins demanding change from the other person.

And then the Third kind of issue that can come up with challenging relationships is that one or both partners have decided just to go through the motions of staying together but they're not really together. There's a lot of lying and cheating and going behind each other's backs. This could mean anything from having full-blown Affairs to lying about how long they're at work and instead going out with friends to a bar for a couple hours at night. Or even just spending extra time alone before they come home… but they feel the need to lie about it.

Their relationship is so disconnected that they're afraid to say what they really want so they just continue to lie about it.

So when they're face-to-face with their partner they're smiling andpretending everything is fine, but they're happy, they're just nodding in agreement, Yet on the inside they're saying I can't wait till the kids grow up so I can get out of this relationship.

Or if I had more money of my own, I'd leave this relationship. So there's a lot of dishonesty.

Or they may not be totally checked out of the relationship but they're just not dealing with the problems head on because they're afraid the relationship would end.

And what would that mean for their future. Maybe they're not sure yet. So, maybe they're lying about enjoying intimacy. Maybe they're lying about how much money they spend on coffee! Maybe they're lying about issues with the kids because they Don't want to Have a difficult conversation with their partner to add to the frustration of parenting.

So if you notice all of these issues from people-pleasing to lashing out in anger in the name of sticking up for yourself, to checking out of the relationship and lying, just notice that every one of these issues is from one person in the relationship.

Which one are you? And if we're all honest here – most of us in long-term relationships can see different points where each of us have been a little bit of all three of these.

So where are you now? Are you doing more of the people-pleasing where you're trying to just not rock the boat and do everything for all people except yourself? Are you not asking for help where you want to? Are you doing so much that you're exhausted? Are you saying yes when you want to say no?

 Or are you to the point where you're lashing out and saying I'm going to stick up for myself too but you're doing so out of total frustration and anger so you end up trying to control and shame the other person?  I want to point out that this one can actually be done subtly as well. Sometimes our lashing out and sticking up for ourselves and trying to control and change other people might not come in the form of yelling and aggressive behavior, but it might come in subtle ways of trying to manipulate the other person to change. It might look like care and concern but underneath the surface it feels like if they don't change then you can't be happy. And it feels like you are criticizing and shaming more than being curious of how they work and and loving them in their growth in life. You will know the difference if you if spend some time really looking at what your motives are for this. And most of the time that subtle criticism and shaming and the more Gentle Way of manipulating someone to change leads to that frustration and anger where you're actively yelling and lashing out.

 Or are you the third type of person where you're just checking out and just to the point where you're completely lying in your relationship so that you don't have to communicate and be honest about how you're feeling? If this is you you might also be spending a whole lot of time talking negatively about your partner behind their back Instead of confronting the issues with your partner themselves.

So man times … when you start to really step back and take an honest look at where you are, and which type of person you are in the relationship the Temptation is to throw it back to your partner. And say but this is what they're doing, this is what they're not doing, this is what they're doing wrong. And that is the last thing that you need to focus on. I promise.

Look I want you to get very clear on what you want out of life. Including the type of partner that you want to spend the rest of your life with. But you're not going to get there by trying to change the person you’re with right now. You're not going to get there by criticism and shame.

So you're number one step is to figure out which type of person you are showing up as right now and ask yourself is this how I want to show up? Do I want to show up as a people pleaser. Do I want to show up as Someone who is frustrated and demanding? Do I want to show up as someone who is not honest with my partner?

Other people's choices, and other people's personalities and decisions in life are never in your control. The only thing that is in your control is how you show up.

Now you can keep trying to create a relationship where you try to change your partner. But that is never in your control. Their change, their personality, their growth and their choices are determined by their thoughts and feelings, not yours.

So if you are in a difficult relationship – know that you really can’t control another person…. So what I want to know is what's going on in your head? How are you feeling? How are you showing up in the relationship?

So now that you're starting to get clear on the 3 things that don't work, let's actually going to some steps that do work to manage challenging relationships…

Step 1 Is to do your own work. Notice how much you want your partner to change, notice how frustrating that is, and then be aware of How little control you have over this.

Doing your own work means that you take responsibility on how you think and how you feel in every single relationship issue. Look at the word responsibility. It means that you are able to respond. So you are able to respond however you want to. Own that responsibility.

So if you feel irritated, you need to own that you are the one choosing to feel irritated. If you feel frustrated, own that you are the one choosing to feel that frustration.

Yes others can influence you, but take responsibility for the choice you have. You have a choice of how to think and feel. What are you thinking that is causing your emotion? And so many times we have such a hard time really believing that we have control over our emotions.

We're not taught that. We're taught the complete opposite, that other people are in control of our emotions.

So if we have a husband that forgets all of the little things that would make it so much easier on us if they would just remember. If they forget to stop by the store when you ask, if they forget to pack the kids lunch when you asked – if they forget to get their oil changed or their registration done, we think that they are the cause of our frustration. And I want to tell you that those thoughts you’re thinking, that they just don't care enough. Or the thoughts that we here so many women say over and over that men are useless, or that thought that “I have to do everything around here”  These thoughts are not facts … they are not serving you in any way … and they are holding you back from seeking a solution to your problem.

As long as you have someone else to blame, your brain is not going to figure out a solution that works for your family. So take responsibility for your own emotions. Can you Feel love and compassion and even a sense of teamwork and camaraderie even though your partner forgets everything? Or doesn't see the importance in all the things that you do?

100% yes.

I get it. You want to tell me all the things that your partner is doing wrong. You want to tell me all the things that would make your life so much easier if they’d do better.

 But it's not serving you friend, how long have you been trying to change this? You cannot change other people. And when you realize that it's not your job to change them, then it’s going to free your mind up so much to lean into what does work.

So I want to be clear here that I don't want you to just skip to a positive thought. That's not going to help anything either. That’s people pleasing and ignoring. Ad my guess is you're not going to believe that positive thought it immediately.

You have to first just be aware that the thought that you're having towards your partner is causing your feelings.

If you think my partner is just like a child, how do you feel? You're going to feel frustrated and completely powerless. And I use this thought as an example because I have so many clients who have said it to me!

I know you could give me all the evidence right now of why you think that this is true. But when you think that how do you feel? And then what do you do? How do you act? Are you acting like a child who doesn't have the ability to respond as their highest self? Are you lacking empathy? Are you reacting out of frustration and anger like a child?

 Taking responsibility for how you think on purpose and understanding that your thoughts create your emotions is the first thing that you have to learn To even become clear on what you want to do about your relationship.

This is also so important for you who Have partners who are struggling with any type of unique circumstance right now. For so many of you, covid  has shifted the way we show up in our relationships. Because our circumstances have shifted so swiftly. Whether that means the way we work, whether it's from home or maybe working less or more – or maybe you have two different opinions about how we should handle our world today, it's important to give space to get through these times without adding criticism, shame, blame and other negative thinking on top of it. How do you want to show up in these times? How do you want to show up in these unique circumstances? Take responsibility for that first.

As soon as you take that responsibility, you are no longer a victim in your own life. You get to stand up proud and strong and say how do I want to show up right now? What would my best and highest self do in this situation?

So get clear on who you want to be. Not just in this relationship but in every relationship you have. How do you want to show up in life? What kind of choices do you want to make? How do you want to love? How do you want to communicate when you disagree with something? How do you want to decide on purpose to manage your life?

How do you want to take care of yourself instead of people pleasing? How do you want to show up with complete and total honesty in a place that comes from love and compassion? How do you want to get super curious about what makes your partner tick instead of judging them for doing things differently than you?

This is where your power is. When you decide on purpose that you are going to show up how you want to in life no matter what somebody else does – that is the most powerful thing in the world you can do. When you do this, you're no longer helpless in your relationship.

Step 2 is to understand That other adults get to be and do what they want and choose. So many times We expect our partners to think and do exactly as we do. And if they don't we think something has gone wrong. We think they are wrong. We expect them to care about the exact same things that we care about and show that care in the exact same ways that we do.

But this is where our ego takes over and our belief that we are right and they are wrong gets in the way of having a really great connected relationship.

The truth is we all have very different experiences, very different brains, very different personalities and we are not supposed to be the same. We are supposed to be different. In what areas of life are you expecting your partner to be like you? In what areas of life are you shoulding on them?  You know, saying you should be doing this you – or you should not be doing that? Take a step back. focus on you again. Let your partner be exactly who they are meant to be. Stop Trying so hard to get them to change.

That is not your job. If there is something they need to change, that is on them. That is on them to decide, that is on them to work out in their own time. Give them back that responsibility. It was never yours to begin with.

Of course you can have conversations with them, and ask them for what you want. That's not what I'm saying here. But drop the expectation for them to become someone they're not. There's a big difference between having conversations of how to work better as a team until you figure something out together and trying to get them to think and act just like you do.

Notice Where You Are expecting them to think and act and care about things exactly how you do. And drop that expectation. How is their unique way of seeing the world exactly perfect for them? How is there a way of learning and growing better for them than it would be for you? How can you incorporate that into your teamwork together?

It's exhausting trying to control other people no matter who it is. And it's frustrating taking responsibility for their change. Let go of that responsibility. It's not your responsibility to fix or change anyone. Feel the freedom and Let It Go!

Remember the flip side is true 2 they do not have any power over you!  You get to think differently and feel differently than them.  you get to show up differently than they do, and that's okay too! It is not their job to change you, it is that not their job to fix you.  

When you can lean into accepting each other for exactly who you are. The doors will open to better communication and better teamwork.

So take responsibility for your thinking and the way you feel and the way you show up in life. And give them responsibility for their thinking, their emotions and the way they show up in life.

So here's a simple example, I don't like football at all. I've tried sitting down and watching it with my husband but I just end up falling asleep. I always feel like I could do something better with my time. And If I'm not careful when my husband tells me he's going to watch the football game I could allow some judgment to come in. I could think, “Well it would be better if we went out for a family walk.”  Or it would be better if you would help me clean the house, or it would be better if you had another Hobby that I cared about more.”

 And when I start to notice that I'm thinking these things, I have to call bulshit on my brain. No it's not better if we go out for a family walk. No it's not better if he would help me clean the house. No it's not better if he has another hobby that I cared about more. What's better is that he has a hobby and he honors himself enough and takes care of himself enough to sit down and rest once a week and do what he loves to do which is watch football.

He doesn't have to change something for me.

He gets to be exactly who he wants to be.

And I get to love him for exactly who he is even though we don't see eye-to-eye on everything from football to How clean the house should be!

So in what ways do you think your partner should change that you just simply need to release and allow them to be exactly who they are?

Feel the freedom in that. Feel the peace in saying you get to be exactly who you want to be. And I get to spend my energy being exactly who I want to be. That can actually be a really really beautiful relationship right there. When you're not trying to manipulate and change each other. But you just show up how you want to be in life. And you're loving your partner for all of who they are.

 Let's take a more stressful situation though. Let's assume that your partner comes in the door super stressed out about something and They start verbally vomiting all of their stress on you. You have a choice here, you have a choice to show up exactly how you want to in Life, or you have a choice to react without intention.

So many times when a partner is going through a stress cycle the other partner doesn't know how to hold space and let go of the need to fix the problem.

And then they start to feel their stress and they start to verbally vomit as well. And then it becomes a strange argument where they don't even know what they're arguing about.

Some couples do this every single day. They argue and argue over big and little things and most of the time they don't even know what they're arguing about.

But let's look at this kind of situation differently for a minute and see what would actually help. Let's assume your partner comes in super stressed. And your initial thought is I wish they didn't come home like this all the time. And you start to judge them. You think, “Well if they would stop showing up late to work they wouldn't have this problem”. Or “If they would take care of themselves more they wouldn't have this problem”. So your inner critic starts to go a mile a minute. And eventually that critic is going to come out and you are going to end up in an argument.

 But what happens if you pause for a moment and say I'm just here to hold space and to listen. That's what they need right now. I love them tremendously. I want to hear about their day, the good and the bad. And I don't need to fix anything. I don't need to help them figure anything out. I just want to be here in love and listen.

This helps to complete that stress cycle that they're going through. Holding spacing and actively listening Is one of the most loving things you can do in a relationship. So ask yourself where can you do this more. Where can you be an example of this more.

And while you are holding spacing actively listening, remind yourself I don't need to change anything about them. I don't need to fix anything. Release that responsibility. It is not your responsibility to change your partner. It's not your responsibility to force growth.

And remember – you ALWAYS have the choice to say, “Babe, I’ve had a really hard day too and I don’t feel like I have the space right now to listen to you like you need me to right now.”  Can we get through dinner and then come back together a bit later when I’m not super stressed out myself?  I love you and care … and I want to hear – but I’m having a hard time right now too.”

That’s WAY better than sucking it up and stuffing your emotions.  And it’s way better than lashing out at them.

The question is not – what is the right way to deal with this … but the right question to ask in those heated moments is, “How does my most loving self wnat to handle this right now … with love for myself and love for my partner.”

And So what if your partner is lashing out about you. What if they are complaining and telling you that you have done something wrong?

 The same rules apply Friends. Number one you don't have to make it mean anything negative about you. You can own that you are a worthy and lovable person exactly as you are in all of your mistakes as well. You can listen. You can hold space for their feelings. You can hear their opinion. And then you can simply ask yourself is there any truth in what they're saying? Is this something that I would like to change about the way I show up in life too?  

is there a way that we can have this conversation and I can hear someone else's opinion about me without making it mean anything negative about me or them? Can I learn through this? Can I open my own awareness about me?

 That's emotional adulthood,  friends!  And so many of us want our partners to have this emotional maturity, but we don't have it ourselves yet. So when your partner has something to say about how they want something in your relationship to change, ask yourself, where do you agree with them? Instead of looking for the areas where you disagree with them first, first let's find the areas where you do agree with them. Use that as fuel to connect and grow deeper in your relationship.

How would your next conversation go if you paused and said, “You know, youre not wrong there! I’d like to change that too!”

Now, at this point you're probably asking what about my partner, when Do I involve them in helping to heal our relationship?

 That comes after you get really good at owning your part in this. Look at the three issues above are you people pleasing, are you lashing ou, t are you lying and hiding things about your relationship? Stop doing those things.

Own that your thoughts and feelings are 100% in your control, stop trying to change and manipulate your partner into growth or shifts that they are not ready for or that they are not meant for.

 Own your responsibility for how you show up in life.

 Then and only then do you involve the other person.

Because if you try to talk to your partner from a place of negative emotion and frustration and lying and people-pleasing and anger and bitterness it's not going to help anything. You're just going to spin and blame and go around in circles making the same mistakes and Climbing the same  mountains over and over.

If you are owning your responsibility for how you show up in life, and you're able to listen and respond with love and compassion. And you show up with Clarity and peace, Your conversations are going to flow so much better.

So once you are ready to have a conversation with someone, after you're in a clean space, And have positive emotion and really trusting yourself, Now you can make requests.  There can be boundaries set if needed to be, and you can have a back and forth conversation where you maintain control of how you show up … even if the other person gets defensive or frustrated.

I have a whole podcast on boundaries if you want to go back and listen to that. It will tell you how to set boundaries in a way that you are in control of instead of waiting for other people to change.  You'll learn how to honor your own boundaries regardless of if other people do or not.

Remember making requests from a place of love and peace and curiosity of how you can grow deeper and more connected is so much different than making a demand of your partner to change.

And if that request doesn't end in you getting what you want, you are so good at creating your own happiness and your own Joy inside that it's not the end of the world. And It's not the end of your connection with your partner.

If your partner doesn't comply with your request immediately – you don't have to make it mean a bunch of horrible things about them. You don't have to make it mean that they don't care. And you especially don't have to make it mean that you can't feel what you want to feel. You maintain control of your emotions regardless of whether that request is met or not.

Now there are going to be times in every single relationship where you sit down and you say hey I want us to be more on the same page of this. You may say I want to spend more time with you everyday – where we're not just going from one task to the other – but that we’re actually sitting down and connecting and communicating about our day.. And maybe they will comply. Maybe they'll say yeah I want that too – let's figure it out let's make it work.

And then there's going to be other things where you have different opinions or about how you spend your time, that are going to be more difficult to come to an agreement on. These are the things that you're going to want to have a give ad take conversation about,

but you don’t have to make the give and take and the possible disagreements of how things need to be done MEAN anything negative about either of you.  You get to choose how you are going to feel about your different opinions on how things are run. You don’t have to bring judgment and frustration into those discussions.

Some things may be such big differences that you think about ending the relationship – but I want to offer that you can even do that from a place of love and peace.

Cris and I are pretty compatible people after 24 years of living life together and very purposefully working on our conneciton. But there have been many things for both of us that we have had to totally and completely accept about the other person that originally in our marriage we tried to change about each other.

And this is going to be the case in any marriage. You are definitely going to have things about each other that you don't agree with or that you don't necessarily love. But I'm telling you right now that acceptance of who the other person is –  is going to help you to draw closer and closer and have that intimate connection that you want.

So where can you step back and allow your partner to be authentically themselves…  Not trying to change for you. But to show up and be totally and completely, exactly who they are without guilt and shame.

Nobody likes to be manipulated and made to feel guilty and to be shamed into change. You don't like it and your partner doesn't like it either. So where can you step back and say “your growth and your change is completely your responsibility and I respect that. And I trust that who you are is exactly who you're supposed to be.

And now I'm going to take that freedom and that energy that I kept spending trying to change you – I'm going to spend it on showing up how I want to show up in life. I'm going to spend that energy on creating the emotions that I want to feel right now.

So be onto yourself,, That you have the ability to show up in any and every situation how you want to. And then be onto yourself – when you start to notice yourself creating emotions that are not helpful to being your best self in your relationship.

What thoughts are creating those emotions? What judgments are you allowing to creep in that aren't necessary? Where can you replace criticism with curiosity in those moments?

Where can you stop people-pleasing and ask for what you want? Where can you rest when you want to rest?

And where can you be vulnerable and bring honesty into your relationship from a place of wanting to connect not a place of wanting to manipulate your partner to change or you.

Bring complete and total awareness to where are you are blaming and giving away your own power. And take ownership of your power again. Take ownership of the responsibility of how you show up and the way you are choosing to think and feel in any given moment. And when you're really clear on that, now you can have conversations that create connection and vulnerability instead of tension and disconnection.

Ongoing relationships require honesty, vulnerability, compassion, curiosity and it requires a lot of self-coaching. But You have to bring awareness to your thoughts and feelings. And understand your role in your relationship. Become the person who is consistently aware of their power in the relationship. Become a person who shows up as their highest self. When you do that, then you bring the other person into it. Then you open the doors to more conversations and discussions of how to work through your differences.

It only takes one willing person to do this work to really bring a lot of healing and connection back to a relationship. The Temptation is to say but we both have to be doing the work at the exact same time and we both have to be on the same page to make it work. I'm sure that's helpful, but most of the time we learn and grow at different rates in life.

I’m so glad for the times that cris has stepped up when I was struggling … and I know that he is so glad for those times when I’ve stepped up for him when he was struggling…

But there are times when we were BOTH struggling to be our best selves.

And ONE of us had to make the choice to be the first.

And I encourage you today to be the first. Be the first one to step up and really do this work on yourself. Because that is what you have control over right now. You don't have control over when or how quickly your partner makes the changes you think they should make.

Start with you. Feel the freedom in allowing your partner to be exactly who they are. How do you want to show up? How do you want to make your relationship less challenging not by people-pleasing, not by getting frustrated and lashing out, not by lying and and hiding everything including your feelings, but by bringing awareness that you are in control of your feelings and you are in control of how you show up in life.  YOu are in control of how and when you bring up those difficult conversations with love and peace.

That’s what i’ve got for you.

And I know that there are so many of you who need help in your specific relationship.
You need someone to talk these things through and to help you understand how to implement these tools in a way that works for you.

Coaching is the way to do this, friends. Working 1:1 with a coach can help. If you’re curious how, get in touch with me and we can schedule a free consultation this week!

And Again if you haven't joined my free Facebook group yet, do so! I can't wait to see you in there.

Have a great week friends!

Enjoy the Show?