Thursday, December 01, 2022
One way to communicate with your partner is to share vulnerability. What’s it like being a dad now? The one byproduct of a healthy relationship is grace.
In part one, I talked a little bit about my divorce my relationship with my ex, and our experience with couples counseling. So if those topics seem interesting to you, go ahead and check out part one. In this one, I want to fast forward more towards today. My story as it is now. And as I tell my story, I share some things that I learned along the way. And hopefully this can be value towards your journey to having the relationship that you want. And sometimes it's interesting to hear other people's experiences. So fast forward to today. As you may or may not know, I've been married to my wife, Jessica, for over six years, and we've been together for over 10 years. And we have two daughters, a four and a half year old and 13 months at the time of this recording. I gotta say, although things are stressful, I am happy. I am content. Not only is it pretty cool, being a dad, of two amazing young girls, Jessica and I have a healthy relationship. We share laughs We have emotional intimacy. We have physical intimacy, sexual intimacy. Sorry, I'm not sure to give you too much TMI. But just sharing what's real. It wasn't always the case of Jessica, let me share a little bit about after my divorce, man, I was kind of the relationship template I had been is a lot different than it is now. I was going from a relationship of I got you. Why don't you do this, we bring up grievances in a elevated tone. In other words, we're not requesting we're just complaining. And so that was a lot of the template that I had before. Although at the time, we just kind of started DD, I was actually learning from Stan talking about how to have healthy relationships. So although I think I was better, I still had a lot to learn. And I still needed to experience a healthy relationship. I didn't really know how to do that. Here's one small example. When we first started dating, just goes into gym, and she loves to work out. And she was gonna come by my place, but I didn't know when she was coming by. I assumed maybe she'll be there six or so. But 730 rolls around. And she came by and I was pretty upset. Although I didn't really text her before that I remember of hey, where are you at where you're coming home. I just had this uncommunicative expectation of when I think she should be home. And when she wasn't home at that time, I was upset with her. Instead of requesting, hey, you know what, next time, can you give me a heads up or when you're gonna be back? Or here's vulnerability with a request. I was missing you a little bit. I wanted to hang out with you next time. Can you give me a heads up on when you're going to be home? That's a lot better. Then what I did was, oh my god, what were you doing? What took you so long? You couldn't call me. And with the ladder, what I get in return is a defense. I don't get a response to what was really going on, which was I wanted her there to hang out. I get a response to my energy, which made me like Oh, give me a break. I'm just a little bit later. Can I work out? Okay. So you can see how relationships can be difficult to navigate. Now take that simple situation. What I would do was hey, when you come back home or if she does get home next time, can you give me a heads up? When you're coming back, I was getting worried about you. That's a lot different. But also to know, we had enough experience between us, we know each other really well, that we can give each other grace, my previous relationship, we didn't have much grace. But now Jess and I, yeah, she's running late. And she's at the gym. I give her grace, because I know that's her thing. And now, I'm not watching the clock, come home when you're done working out, right. I mean, of course, I want to look at some heads up. But that's the one kind of byproduct of a healthy relationship. It's Grace. Of course, it doesn't mean you don't communicate. But basically, we know that both of us are trying our best that we don't wake up on a mission to this each other off. I share this with couples. And because I do share with this and appreciate this, I don't have a manual. This is today, I am going to do number four be to really get under justice skin. Right? We don't do that. A lot of what we do is automatic. And if we have enough good experience and trust going between each other, then we can give that grace. Now it doesn't mean we don't work. So let me tell tell you a little bit about my ongoing work, even after I've done all these relationship classes, and all this kind of therapist the healing and just not have done or on couples counseling, of course. But nowadays, we're kids Time is of the essence. And if something's bothering us, the next question is, when do we share it? Luckily, we can share it in front of our 13 month old daughter. Pretty sure she can understand what we're saying. I don't know, maybe she can. So we need to have understanding or agreements on when and how we bring things up. So this happened yesterday, actually, my wife went out of town recently. And she had back to back on a town excursions for work. And you know, the first one is cool, you know, hey, I'm home doing the damn thing. Getting two girls ready in the morning, take him to school, or daycare, picking him up. And then we go into work. And as you're hearing this, you might be thinking Woe is me. But hey, our full disclosure can sometimes be a lot, you know, if it's a few days in a row of just you, that's why I've sidenote, my hat goes off to single parents also stay at home parents, because then, you know, get a break, sort of romanticized idea of stay at home, anything in my 20s and 30s. Nowadays, man, you know, that's tough, because when I go to work, I have adult interactions, although work can be stressful. But man be with kids. That is a tough job. But again, hey, of course, I love my daughters, right. But men, and this seems to be we got to have a break. So I had a little bit of resentment that she had back to back trips, and I was getting a little bit stressed at work. And also there was some resentment because from my perspective, I felt like she left things a little bit messy. So the kind of attitude is, okay, well, can us clean up my mess for me see you. Now, I talked about grace. But now I'm gonna be seeing the opposite of what I just shared. Because after our conversations, he was like he had so much going on. I'm sorry, let the house messy for you. One of the benefits of communication. And so she was back wasn't in a good headspace. And as I mentioned, in part one, my style to deal with conflict is passive aggressive withdrawal. And as I mentioned, that is something that was modeled. And then I learned growing up. In my family, we didn't bring up frustrations in a constructive way. If we did bring up frustrations, there would be the anger or through some form of acting out. And although I coached people to do this all day, this is my challenge, to first be aware of what's bothering me. Again, that's some of my work. And the second is to have the courage to share that now. This is all new territory for because in the past, my style would be to pout until just said, Hey, what's going on, and I may start, oh, nevermind, whatever the passive aggressiveness of my adult state of mind right now, so he just shared it, it's kind of annoying, I guess it'd be annoying myself. And I'm like, that was aware of what was bothering me. And then I shared it. Now, I didn't share it via yelling at him shared the complaint. But this is what happens as the years of yours couples counseling and coaching, it was something like, yeah, when he left, I was a little bit frustrated, the place was messy. And I would like if you have the opportunity to space out your work trips, more. So basically, to have more space in between your work trips. I know that seems like a small thing. But for me, that's a really big deal. And the way I share that Jess was able to get that in, okay, no, I get it. And then she said, her perspective and just say, you know, I had a lot of work going on. And I had this and that, and you said to have course you makin space out my work trips? And she said, Oh, yeah, by the way, I was a little upset when you didn't take our daughter to her physical therapy, physical therapy is every Wednesday, it was on my planner, but I was just stressed, I was kind of treading water, completely spaced it. But here's another thing I learned. And also, I think, because we do have the trust, we do give each other grace, I didn't defend myself. I was okay, you're right. I know it was on my planner, I totally screw that up. These may seem like small things. But for me, this type of stuff didn't happen in my previous relationship. And I also think it's a really good thing to model in front of our kids, basically, we were able to have a talk, you know, to let out some of the steam. Because if you don't let this email is going to build up in for me to build through passive aggressive withdrawal. And if I let it build up, if I let the pressure build, so to speak, then resentment is going to start growing. And then I'm going to get snappy, maybe angry. And that's not a good thing. So maybe this boils down to communication, or having tools to be able to communicate. And let me share a theme of this. One way to communicate with your partner. And I think especially good to model in front of a kids is to share some vulnerability. Hey, you know, I've been feeling overwhelmed. I was a little frustrated when the place was messy. And then here's a request next time, give me a heads up at this messy? Or could you pick up the dishes before you go or do the dishes before you go. And if you can space out your work trips. That is a really good technique for communication tool, sharing vulnerability. And given a request, basically, what you're doing is you're helping your partner help you. Because as I mentioned earlier, our partner can do much with a complaint, and depends on how the tone of the complaint is oftentimes, the responding to the tone, the defense and not the content of. So that's a little snippet, I guess I'll call it my story. Part two, is one of the quicker recording that I've done. Oh, and I want to share, I recently put together a mini course that is totally free. And I'm gonna put a link to it in the show notes. Basically, what it is, is some of the things I just talked about. And one of the things that I share is moving from a complaint to a request, as I shared, that's a new course. And I give you a worksheet on that to the course is called Steps parents can take now to improve your relationship. So it's a 30 minute video with some worksheets. And I just basically go through different steps principles that I have used, that has provided the foundation for a healthy relationship between Jessa and there's also links to a couple of videos. One is the feedback wheel. And I'll mention that in a future podcast, basically is a framework to give feedback to your partner, and I recorded a video of that. That's free, it's unlisted. So the only way you can get it is if you say Check out the free mini course. So I'm gonna leave a link to that and check it out. I hope that it can be a benefit for you so you can do something right now that can improve your relationship.