Secrets of Happily Ever After

Will Considering Divorce Make My Marriage Stronger with Sharon Pope

March 13, 2024 Monica Tanner, Sharon Pope Season 3 Episode 267
Secrets of Happily Ever After
Will Considering Divorce Make My Marriage Stronger with Sharon Pope
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Could your marriage become stronger if you considered divorce as a viable option? 

Today, I'm chatting with relationship coach Sharon Pope, as we uncover the paradoxical notion that acknowledging the possibility of divorce can actually reinforce a marriage. 
We delve into the power of choice and how it can lead to a more intentional and fulfilling partnership. Throughout our conversation, we emphasize the importance of setting healthy boundaries and reveal why trying to control our partner's commitment often backfires, leaving a trail of unhappiness and discontent.

As societal roles evolve, so do the dynamics within a marriage. Sharon and I discuss the new terrain of gender expectations and responsibilities, dissecting how modern marriages are adapting—or struggling—to keep pace. We cast light on the silent signals that a relationship may be veering off course and stress the urgency of addressing issues promptly. Whether it's cultivating a space for open dialogue or recognizing when it's time to seek professional help, we guide you through the critical choices that can either rejuvenate your relationship or lead you to part ways with grace and certainty.

This episode addresses the complexities of maintaining intimacy amidst the demands of parenthood. We share strategies for nurturing your connection and why it's essential to remain curious about your evolving spouse. In addition, we explore how relationship coaching can provide the toolkit needed for couples to flourish through adversity. 

So, whether you're looking to reignite the spark in your marriage or contemplating the crossroads of "stay or go," this episode offers valuable insights and practical advice for embracing the continuous journey of love and partnership.

Speaker 1:

Well, you're talking about human nature, right? We don't solve the problems we should solve. We solve the problems we have to solve. So we wait until there is no other option. We wait until rock bottom.

Speaker 2:

Have you ever wondered what makes the difference between those couples who absolutely love to be together and the ones who merely tolerate each other in their old age? Hi, I'm Monica Tanner, wife to a super hunky man, mom to four kids, relationship coach and intimacy expert. My goal with this podcast is to help you and your partner swap resentment for romance, escape the roommate rut and nurture a bond built on trust, communication and unconditional love. Each week, I'm sharing the secret strategies that keep couples madly in love, dedicated and downright giddy about each other, from the honeymoon phase to the golden years. I'm on a mission to craft the code of happily ever after, and I'm sharing those juicy secrets right here, because an awesome marriage makes life so much sweeter. Let's get to it. Hello and welcome to the secrets of happily ever after podcast. I'm your host, monica Tanner, and I'm so excited to introduce my new friend, sharon Pope, and I'm going to let you introduce yourself, sharon.

Speaker 1:

Sure. So I am a relationship coach who helps strong and successful women who are struggling in lonely and disconnected marriages get the confidence and clarity they need to either fix the struggles in their marriage or be able to move forward without regret. That's what I do. That's what I serve.

Speaker 2:

Yes, well, I love that because you have this, this, a message that's really important. I agree with it, too, that divorce is always an option, and so I would love to just start there, like how do you teach and talk about that?

Speaker 1:

And dive right into the deep end.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, I'm like you know what. Let's just jump in.

Speaker 1:

Let's do it. So the reason I say that divorce should always be an option on the table is because if you can't function inside of your marriage sorry, if you cannot function without your marriage, you won't be able to function inside your marriage. So being able like that's the ultimate boundary, right? So I'm not suggesting that we should float divorce around as a threat day in and day out. That's not what I'm saying. But I'm saying that ultimately, there has to be some final boundary that you're able to keep for yourself in order to honor yourself if the behavior is hurtful and continuous. So yeah, I do think that a healthy marriage has divorce as an option on the table. So it can be kind of a provocative thing to say. Sometimes people get a little.

Speaker 2:

You know what's interesting is, I absolutely agree with you and there's a lot of people out there who I mean. I do interviews. I love talking to married couples, right, I coach them and I do interviews with them and you know, I have experts and a lot of people will say we never say the word divorce, divorce is not an option, and I actually completely disagree. I am more in your camp. So again.

Speaker 1:

you don't have to bring it up all the time, Right.

Speaker 2:

It's not a threat. It's not a threat.

Speaker 1:

Never bring it up. But if it is not an option in the back of your mind, then you don't have any ability to set healthy and loving boundaries for yourself. Like I remember, I was talking to a client one time and her husband had let's just, we'll leave it at like he had cheated at 18 different ways. Okay, but she did not. She would not put divorce on the table, and that, for her, that was for religious reasons. So she could get mad, she could cry, she could beg, she could plead, she could get upset, she can nag, but ultimately she wasn't ever going to leave and he had no incentive to really change his behavior. So then what do you do? You just suffer. So you either suffer out loud, griping about it, nagging about it, crying about it, or you suffer quietly, pretend it doesn't exist. But either way you're suffering.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, and I think too, in my research and just my experience learning from married couples, the best, passionate, most intimate, fulfilling marriages are a choice, and so if there isn't a choice, you're right. There's no incentive to keep growing in that direction, because you know, if you take divorce off the table, then you're not really choosing each other, right.

Speaker 1:

Right. I love the idea of actively choosing one another, but staying together, because it would be a real pain to break it all up and then I have to share half my money and all that stuff, like I'm here because there's nowhere else. I'd rather be yes.

Speaker 2:

My husband knows, because I have to be here, because I want to be here. I want this to be a great experience for both of us. Right, yeah, it's right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's actually why I say the other random, provocative thing I say, since I have so many of them, it's the five dreaded words are till death, do us part. Because what we did in those marriage vows is we tried to lock down our deepest fear that our partners and so if we can lock it down and we can make ourselves feel secure about that, but the reality is there is no guarantee. There is no guarantee and if one of you stops choosing the other at any point, this is in trouble.

Speaker 2:

Because I think the most unhappy people that I've ever met are trying to control things that they can't actually control. So, like I like to teach these laws of relationships and the first law of relationships is you can only control yourself and I've met so many very unhappy people who are running around trying to control their partner, their children, the weather, the economy, whether or not someone's going to die, and we can't control those things, and so the like. Attempting to control them makes people very, very unhappy. So I think that's really interesting that I've never looked at marriage vows like that. But yeah, you're like trying to lock down something that you have no control over.

Speaker 1:

Which is another human being, and they're just.

Speaker 2:

Yeah Well, and how long they're going to be on this earth and how long they're going to choose you back, and you try to control actually any of that.

Speaker 1:

Right, but we hate that answer and so it is difficult.

Speaker 2:

We love to try to move it down. It's a tough pill to swallow, for sure, I agree. Oh, so good. So let's stay on this sack of divorce for just a little bit, because I've noticed this trend as well. Why are an increasing number of women asking for divorce? My husband's always like it's the women. It's the women and I'm like you're right. But why is that?

Speaker 1:

Well, women are no longer trapped the way they were. I mean, if I look at my mother's generation, it's not that long ago, it's one generation ago, which was very, very different than it is today. So my mother, if she wanted at any point, if she had, she wanted to leave my dad, which she never did, but if she wanted to, she really. It wasn't that feasible for her to do that. I mean, even though in the 70s there was the ability to do like the no fault divorce. And then you know, the government said banks, you can now loan money to women, you can open a checking account to women. But that didn't mean banks wanted to do it Like. So she couldn't get a loan on her own without some man co-signing for her who was going to watch the kids. And she worked Like.

Speaker 1:

My mom was like a pretty progressive lady. She worked back in the 70s and she worked her way up to being a vice president of HR. But you know where before, if she would have gotten divorced you know she was hardcore Catholic she probably would have lost her church. A lot of people in the family probably would have judged her. She wouldn't be able to support herself. How would she take care of the kids and work at the same time.

Speaker 1:

We didn't live near family, like she didn't have those kind of options where today women have a lot more options. And this is where I actually I have kind of a real soft spot for the male experience because also, if you look at one generation ago, so our husbands who taught them how to be a man and what husband and a father looks like? But they're fathers. But I can tell you what was required of my dad as a father and what women require today of fathers. These are very different things. Like I don't think my dad ever changed my diaper. I make a joke that he was across the street getting a sandwich when I was born because he was my husband almost missed my first baby.

Speaker 1:

Right, like it's, just it's different.

Speaker 2:

now, you know, and so that probably would have been like the nail in the coffin now.

Speaker 1:

Right. Women have more options now and they're not as stuck as they once were. And I don't think I think men are starting to get the memo that, like, what you were taught is not the full story today and it's not all that relevant for today, because what they were taught is like, basically, you go to work consistently and you don't screw up too much, like I don't care if you stop at the bar on the way home, but don't stay there all night, kind of thing. You know what I mean? The expectations were so different, and now the expectations in marriage are. I mean, they're enormous.

Speaker 1:

But you have to be my best friend, my greatest confidant, my passionate lover, my safety net. You have to be everything, and so marriage is a lot different, and this is only one generation removed. And so I think that's the reason why so many it's so many women now that are saying this doesn't work for me. Relationship is really important to women, connection. We're built for connection right, and we're the first ones that feel it when it starts to, when we start to disconnect from each other. But that's not always the case for men, and so right now I think there's a lot of men that are getting like this really difficult wake up call, and so that's why I say I have a little bit of a heart for that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I agree with you so much. And you also say that women leave mentally years before they leave physically.

Speaker 1:

Talk about that for a minute, yeah, women will take, will take years to debate the stay or go question in our minds and it'll swim around up there. I mean, I've had some clients who tell me like it's been more than a decade and they think about it every single day. So and I know this from my personal experience of you know, when I was going through, I was married before, so this I'm in my second marriage and I for sure got to a place of where I had tried all the things that I knew to try and when that didn't work, I just gave up on. I didn't I didn't necessarily give up on the marriage yet, but I gave up on my husband and I gave up on ever creating change. Like I wanted to, like I wanted the relationship to feel. So I, I just talked myself into like, yeah, that's not important. Connection, affection, all of that is just not important. We're good friends, we can just make this work. He's a good guy, he's a good man, and so I, just I gave up on ever creating change, but I never told my spouse that, and that's some pretty important information, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

So so we give up mentally, and that can be years before we're ready to take action, before we're ready to say like, okay, now I'm going to do all the hard things of unwinding the marriage. So we're men and women, I would say. But this is a heads up for men too is when a woman stops communicating, she's starting to check out because that is our source of connection. And so when she's stopping even trying to connect with you, like at first, it might feel like a relief because she's not nagging you anymore to talk to me. But I'm going to tell you what that's when your marriage is like. Now you're on the rumble strip. You're on that shaky zone like when you're driving down the freeway and you hit those, the rumble strip bumps. You are on the rumble strip and if you don't take care of it now, you're going to end up in a ditch.

Speaker 2:

That's really interesting because there is that statistic that couples will wait six years in a really unhappy marriage before they'll seek any type of help. And for like people like you and I who are like, why suffer in that way, right, I mean, we can help people get to a better place, whether it's with each other or you know the next phase, it's like there is help, so why suffer for so long?

Speaker 1:

Well, you're talking about human nature, right? We don't solve the problems we should solve. We solve the problems we have to solve. So we wait until there is no other option. We wait until rock bottom.

Speaker 1:

And the problem here is that you wait that long. And you know, if you take it from, if we take the female perspective of where she's considering ending their relationship, you know she takes years to get to that place of where she's now ready to express this to her partner, that she's ready to that. For her, the marriage is over. We got to navigate separation and divorce and he's like wait a minute, what? Right? Take it off guard by it, because we're not communicating as we go through there in terms of like that continuum of getting ready to do something, and so it's very jarring. And then he's ready to do all the things.

Speaker 1:

I mean I always say like if I and I'm not, this is not even an exaggeration If I had $10, if I had $10 for every time the woman thought and thought and thought and thought, and thought, and thought and thought, and now she's ready to take action. She expresses where she's at and now her partner wants to do all the things. She wants to get a coach or wants to go to counseling, or he wants to read books, or he wants to talk to you, and now he wants to do all the things. The problem is, her heart is checked out and she made this decision over the last several years, and so now you want to do all the things. Sometimes it's not too late, but sometimes it is, so it's a gamble.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's really tough. So I mean from a man's perspective, like if she's not asking for what she wants a lot of time I think men don't really understand the extent to which there is a problem.

Speaker 1:

No, and that's because in general, women are not very direct communicators.

Speaker 2:

Right, we like to hint. We like to hint and think about it.

Speaker 1:

Right. And if you're talking woman to woman, those hints, we get it, like we pick right up on it, like you could hint something to me and I'd be like got you, oh, we got it. You do that to a man and their brains do not process things the same way that female brains do, and we say things to our partner like I'm unhappy, what is he supposed to do with that? Most people don't know how to make their own selves happy and he's supposed to know what it's going to take to make you happy. Like in a confused mind always does nothing, so he doesn't know what to do, so he does nothing. Or he kind of will say things like oh, we're fine, we're fine, we don't have to do that because ultimately he doesn't want to have to do that work. It would be easier if I could just talk you into just being fine with fine.

Speaker 1:

We're fine when she doesn't feel fine.

Speaker 2:

Yeah yeah, that's so hard. One of the things I'm like so adamant about is you have to constantly be making requests of your partner. If you're going to be in a good, fulfilling, thriving, passionate marriage, you have to be willing to continually request from your partner what it is that you want, and if you're not willing to do that, you're not going to be happy with anyone is the reality.

Speaker 1:

Well, yeah, we have to be able to express what we need. Our partners aren't mind readers, and so if this is what I need, then why wouldn't you tell him that? Let him in, like he's not going to be able to reach your mind, and then all you're going to do is set you both up for failure, you know?

Speaker 2:

So true, so true. So talk about the divorce alternative. How do you create the 2.0 version of your marriage? And maybe you, maybe you'll address this, but I want like speak to the woman who's like I am not happy, I'm not happy, I'm not happy. Now what?

Speaker 1:

Hmm, so, first of all, I would say you have to get equipped with real tools. So the content piece is important, but if content alone solved it, we would not have the divorce rates that we do today, because there are more than 100,000 relationship books available to you on Amazoncom today. So we think reading a book is super productive. We think listening to a podcast is super productive, right, all these things. And I've written nine books like I'm not telling and I'm a podcast, so I'm not telling you, don't listen to these things, but I'm telling you. That's a starting point. Yeah, it's not the end point.

Speaker 1:

And so we've got to be able to get equipped with the tools. And then we've got to apply the tools over and over and over again until they become more habitual. If you were learning to play the piano, you wouldn't sit down and it would immediately sound like music. It just wouldn't. And so you've got to be able to give yourself a little grace while you're applying new tools and learning a new way of being inside the relationship, and then you can see can the relationship evolve to a new place? Because if you've been trying and trying and trying and it hasn't worked, then you need some new tools, right.

Speaker 1:

But just to keep saying like I'm unhappy, I'm unhappy, I'm unhappy, that's not helpful. So, evolving your marriage to what I call just marriage 2.0, it's just the same idea as you know how Apple comes out with a new phone every six months or whatever it's like. There should be different versions of your marriage. This idea that, like, let's say, we get married at 30 years old, that who you are as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, is going to be the same thing that you are at 50. Oh, my friends, that is not true. Like we're going to. We are going to evolve as individuals, which means our relationship needs to evolve.

Speaker 2:

Like we never negotiated who's going to do what once we had kids, before we had kids, we just waited until like I think we had all conversations about it, but we just had no idea, right, like I remember my sister-in-law pulled into town with her three kids, you know, and my husband and I had just barely gotten married, and I remember looking at her car and be like I will never drive a car like that, with like just crap everywhere. I mean, they were on a road trip with three kids, and I just knew that I was never going to do that, right? Of course, when then you have three kids and you take a very long road trip, you just don't know what you don't know.

Speaker 1:

You don't know what you don't know and you're just in survival mode for so many years, and so that's also a time that couples grow apart, not surprisingly, because you're in the survival mode and giving all of your love and time and attention to these little ones. You know who need you. But, boy, if you don't come back to the relationship at some point, you're going to be in trouble, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And I want to say now that's some point, like always come back to the relationship, because I hear so many people couples come to me and they're like we'll have time to invest in the relationship when the kids grow up, when the business is successful, when we reach this financial milestone, and I'm like no, no, no, you can't be happy.

Speaker 1:

I was talking about when they're like 12 months old. Get back into the marriage. Exactly, you are the foundation of this family that you keep building on top of. This foundation is going to get crumbly if you don't pay attention to it.

Speaker 2:

Have you taken the intimacy level quiz yet? If not, you absolutely should. All you have to do is go to Monica Tannercom backslash quiz and take a three minute quiz. At the end I'll tell you what level of intimacy you and your spouse are at and I'll give you next steps to be able to increase your intimacy. Regardless of what level you're at, you can always make improvements. So do yourself a favor and go to Monica Tannercom backslash quiz and learn about your level of intimacy and how to improve it. Yes, and I always want to promise it is the best gift you will give those little ones. I promise you're not going to do everything right and parenting, but if you will keep your connection strong throughout all of it, they will have everything they need to succeed.

Speaker 1:

It's true, because they're going to learn what love and marriage looks like from watching you not from your words, from your actions and what they experience the two of you to be. That's so good Like if you wouldn't want your daughter to be in the same kind of relationship that you're in.

Speaker 2:

You better fix them. Yeah, look at that. Yeah, yep, so good, so good. So what are some ways that people can start building this type of intimacy that they want, that they're proud of, that they want a hand down as a blueprint to their kids?

Speaker 1:

So there are. You know you could easily do a Google search and be like where's to build intimacy? There's a bunch of books Like I love Harriet Learner's the Dance of Intimacy. But I'm going to tell you one like if I could give you one thing that any person can do, it costs you nothing and we all kind of suck at, it is be present, put your phone down when your partner's talking to you and be present with them, listen to them, look them in the eyes, like be there. You know what I mean. And we're getting so distracted.

Speaker 1:

I remember I was last September. I went to Italy with my husband and we were in Tuscany and we were sitting there having lunch and I looked across the restaurant and there was this couple who they were probably in their 30s. You could tell they weren't mad at each other. It wasn't like they were arguing or anything, but they both had their hands like on their faces one hand on their face and the other hand with their phone in their hand and looking down at their phone. You're in Tuscany, you're eating beautiful food and you're staring at your phone and you know you could tell it wasn't like they had one thing to do, like oh, I just have to return this one email Like it wasn't. It was just mindless scroll and we're getting worse and worse at it, and it is.

Speaker 1:

This is not good for marriage. This is not good for marriage. So the one thing that you could do today, go home and be present for your spouse. Really talk to them. Look at them Like, ask questions, get interested in them. Yeah, be curious about them. It's not like they're not the same person that you married. They have evolved, they have changed. Ask them questions, like just be there. That's the easiest thing, that's the easiest path.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's so interesting because I feel like my husband is going through a big life change. Like we've been entrepreneurs our entire marriage. We've owned a business. We started it together, right, you know, a couple of years after we got married and 20 years we built this business. And I say together, we started it together. I pulled myself out and started, you know, did my own thing after we had three, four kids, right, but he ran this business for 20 years and he sold it like a month ago, oh my gosh, was unemployed for about a month and then I mean, he sold it because he got this job offer that he just he got it. He was excited about it, right, and it was really different, something he'd never done before. They really, really, really wanted his skill set and he's like, you know, at some point I'm going to sell this business and then where will that leave me? Like I could. My options are I could work at Home Depot, I could retire, like I don't want. He didn't like any of those options and so he was like I'm going to try it. So today is his second day at this, brand new, like the experience is brand new to him and everybody's really interested.

Speaker 2:

How is your? How is your first day at work, like all these things. And I'm like, what about me? Like for the first time, like I'm having to handle all these things that usually he does, like I, 10 hours went by and I didn't get a text from him. Like I mean, he's like so busy trying to you know, and I'm like usually we we talk several times during the course of a day. I can't actually remember in 22 years of marriage when we've gone 10 hours without communicating with each other. So it's funny because we have this whole, you know, family Marco thread or whatever. And so he's talking about his first day and this morning I jumped on and I was like let me tell you about my day yesterday, right? And so he texted. He's like your Marco is hilarious.

Speaker 2:

And I'm like, yeah, it's because we're constantly changing. And like we don't like to say this, but the reality is, is everything that our spouse does affects us in some way, shape or form? Like we don't have to, you know, met, meld into one. It's like you're experiencing the world and I'm experiencing the world, and as you experience the world, I changed my perspective with things and we have both of these rich experiences to draw from and so like people who are like my spouse has changed so much, I'm like, of course they have Get interested in that. Like who are they now? Like you can still be as interested in your partner as you were the day you met them and they swept you off their your feet right. There's just as much to learn about them.

Speaker 1:

I saw a you know, it's like a little. It was a meme or something on Facebook. This was years ago and I have searched and searched for the author of this to credit them because I think it's brilliant. But basically it was like a young man who was interviewing his grandfather, who'd been married for 60 years, you know and he said what's your secret? Or grandpa? And then the grandpa says something like your grandmother, in our 60 years together, your grandmother has been at least eight different women and I have been excited to get to know every single one of them and I thought, gosh, if we expected our partners to change and we looked forward to like, who are they gonna be next and where are they gonna go and what? You know what I mean? Like if we looked forward to it and we're interested in it, how different our experience would be as opposed to now. Sometimes you hear people go well, you've changed, yeah exactly Like it's a.

Speaker 2:

They're fleeing an insult, right.

Speaker 1:

That's an insult because you should have like you should be flash bros in the day we're married. This changing thing, that that changing business is getting in the way of our marriage. We'd be fine if you wouldn't have changed Like. That's ridiculous. Every cell in your body is always changing. Every blade of grass outside is changing. Like if you, if you are uncomfortable with change, you were born on the wrong planet.

Speaker 2:

Yes, the only constant life has changed, right? I love that quote. Yes, so yeah, so good. Oh, yes, I love that so much and I actually have never thought of that as, like the one piece of advice is to be present and just like be interested in your partner, and I think that is, it's beautiful. I mean, it's absolutely at the crux of like love your partner, love them like you did when you were dating. I mean, I do say that a lot Like there's no reason to ever stop dating, there's no reason to ever and so much. Such a huge part of that is getting excited to see them every single time. Like what are they gonna say? What are they gonna be wearing? What are they gonna smell? Like Like you know all those things that you got excited about when you were dating, when you're just getting to know your partner, that never has to change.

Speaker 1:

Right, right, it doesn't, it doesn't. But you gotta, if you're not intentional about it, it's not gonna happen. Right? And so if you just sort of stumble along and assume like, oh, I'll just put this marriage over here, like it's fine, there's nothing here to pay attention to, but I'm gonna pour all of my time attention into my business or into my kids or whatever, that thing is gonna thrive, but your marriage won't.

Speaker 2:

And back to how we originally started this episode. Which I think is so important is this idea that, oh, they're not going anywhere, like they can't, like they're stuck, so I don't actually have to actively give them my attention, because what are they gonna do about it? What?

Speaker 1:

are they gonna do about it? That's why I think these are the five dreaded words. They're killing our, that's killing our marriages until death's. The most part is killing our marriage.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Because we think we don't have to try, we don't have to invest in it. It should just come naturally and easily. And when it gets hard, that's when we go. Oh well, maybe this was a mistake as opposed to going. Oh, here we are, like we're living in this close proximity to another soul on this planet for I don't know five or six decades, and we're gonna hit some rough patches.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Okay, so this is actually a topic that I know from Gottman, but you might have a different spin on it. But what happens when you can't recall the good times anymore? What happens when you're so frustrated with what's happening in your marriage that you're starting to rewrite history?

Speaker 1:

So I know that that's a common place to go in our minds of like, well, what drew you two together? Like, if you ever go to a marriage counselor, one of the first things they're gonna ask you is like what drew you together? Why were you attracted to each other? Like, go back to that time. Mentally, my perspective on this is probably a little bit different. It's just that we're not trying to go backwards, like trying to go back. Monica, be the woman you were before you had kids. Just be her. Like make it happen. She was much smarter.

Speaker 2:

She knew a lot of things that she doesn't know about. That's not how we're married.

Speaker 1:

But like you can't go back.

Speaker 1:

And if you go back, you're just gonna end up in the same place and we're not trying to get to the same place if you're struggling in your marriage. So this is really about moving forward. So I think your time and energy, your mental energy, would be better spent on that. So I think that's a good thing. Your mental energy would be better spent trying to figure out how can I create some new memories going forward that feel good to who I am today. Like what would feel good to you today? It might be to do something together that feels a little adventurous. It might be something that is more nurturing, like, but what is something that would feel good to you today? And then how can we create that experience together? Let's focus on, like, how do we move forward, as opposed to like God, I've got to remember how I felt 20 years ago, before we had kids and we were both single or we were like newly married maybe, and you know, we just had our jobs to worry about. It was so much easier.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you know that's so good and you know what? I actually think it's very challenging, more so for women. Most of the time, I notice is women tend to kind of lose themselves at some point, and so it does require some effort and some work. Like, what would feel good to me now? What do I want to pursue now? Like who do I want to be now?

Speaker 1:

It's such a big question and it's a hard one for some women to answer, cause if you have lost yourself, as you say, just knowing what, what do I want? Like, stopping and asking yourself what do I want right now, what do I need right now? Like can be a radical thought for a lot of women, and you know it's. It's not surprising, and it's not going to change anytime soon, that, like the day you give birth, it's sort of this unspoken thing that you know your needs, your dreams, your desires, what you want. That now goes on the back burner for at least 20 years, maybe more Like, and we gladly do it. But at some point we start to get a little resentful about why aren't my needs getting met, why isn't anyone asking me about me? And the problem here is that no one else can or should do for you what you're not willing to do for yourself. And so when you've taught everyone around you that you don't have any needs no one's paying attention to. Well, you know what? We should make sure that she's getting her needs met. What do you need right now? Mock, like no cause.

Speaker 1:

Everyone is self-focused and you can call it selfishly motivated, you can call it self-focused, but we all are. Your kids are very good at it. They're very self-focused, right. They're like Me. What about me? What happens to me and your husband is your next-door neighbor, is your mother is like everyone is focused on themselves, but when you lose yourself to the benefit of everybody else, then at some point you're gonna get salty about that. I remember a client she's like screamed out one time in like a coaching session. She's like what's gonna be my turn? And I was like you know what, darling, the minute you decide.

Speaker 2:

That's right. When you step into that line like you have to step into the line If you're just watching all the people pass, nobody's gonna say, hey, come, cut in the line. No, you're gonna get in that freaking line.

Speaker 1:

Here's what I want. And so even just stopping and asking yourself randomly throughout the day, what do I want Right now, what do I most want, what do I need, and then give yourself that thing, because so often we're like, oh yeah, after I do these 12 things, then I'll go give myself that thing, like that 20 minutes of reading a book or a walk outside or whatever. I want you to do it now. Whatever it is you need right now, go do it now.

Speaker 2:

Oh good, so good. Oh well, this has been so fun to chat with you. I have my final question that I ask all everybody who comes on my podcast if you had the undivided attention of all the couples in all the world for just a few minutes, what's the most important thing you could teach them about deciding whether or not to stay the course, whether or not to keep working on their marriage?

Speaker 1:

Mm whether or not to keep working on their marriage. So I'm gonna say it like this Most people think that their particular problems are unique to them, and the reason for that is because we don't openly talk about a lot of our marriage issues and I'm not suggesting that we should, but because we don't talk about it, we think we're all alone in that and we think we're the only ones struggling with that. And you and I both know as relationship coaches. The stories are all pretty similar. There might be nuances, there might be little things, like how long you've been married, or you know. There might be nuances, but there's not dramatically different things. And so if you're struggling in this way, other people have struggled in this way and they've found their way through it. And so then what is the difference between the people who find their way through it and the people who don't? And I think that you know there's a lot of conversation around. Just never give up.

Speaker 1:

Quitting is bad. I don't agree with that, but I do know that when you know that you have given it your very best, and we go back to this idea, this is not just like we came into marriage with love and hope and I went into my toolbox and I did everything I could. Well, that didn't work. So I guess I have to divorce. That's not what I'm talking about. Get tools, apply those tools, see if you can evolve the relationship to a good spot.

Speaker 1:

You know when you've really given it your best and when you've sort of phoned it in. You might be able to bullshit someone else, but you can't be as yourself. You know when you've given it your all. And if you have and it still does not feel good for you, then you don't need permission from me or anybody else to do what you need to do to take care of yourself. That's when you know is that I've really given it my best, I've done the things that I know will work and it's worked for other couples. And if it hasn't worked for us and I've given it my best, then you can make peace with that decision and you won't have that regret. Because that's the thing that keeps so many people stuck is this idea that, well, if I end this, what if I regret it later? That will keep you stuck for years. Just that thought alone. But if you know you gave it your very best and it still didn't work, you can make peace with that.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, sharon. I think that's like you've given us so much to think about. I think this is really good and, especially, I just kind of want to add to the end of this there are so many people who can help, and I think one of the biggest reasons to seek out a coach or a therapist is because you can't see the label from inside the bottle and sometimes we are so standing in our own way and we cannot see it. And somebody with an outside perspective, who has seen a lot of marriage dynamics that aren't working, can just hold up that mirror and show you the things that you can't see and give you some tools and some options to try something different. And so I, just before you're like it's never gonna work and I've tried everything, I really, really, really recommend going to somebody who specializes in seeing these marriage dynamics and giving you tools and being able to lovingly point out this is it's not.

Speaker 2:

A lot of times I think too, talking to couples it's not the husband's problem or the wife's problem, necessarily, it's the dynamic that's the problem. And so when I'm talking to couples and coaching couples, I'm not like this is your fault or this is your fault, or it's 50% this, you and 50% Like I don't believe any of that. It's the dynamic, the dance that you've gotten into. That is the problem and that is what we're diagnosing, and you always have the choice to change the steps. Both of you do at any point.

Speaker 1:

I think that so many people think that we should all just be relationship experts. Right, but that's not real. That thought is just a thought because we came into marriage with what we saw growing up at home. That's all we've got Love and hope and a few tools. Like with my mom, I remember she used to give my dad the silent treatment. So, lo and behold, in my first marriage that was like this is what you do.

Speaker 1:

You're not leaving, you're not leaving you get from the silent treatment. That's what I knew to do. So I think people think that, oh, that should just come naturally. But you can't be successful at anything on this planet without some tools and training and, my friend, you haven't gotten any as it relates to relationships. So just like you wouldn't take your car to a chiropractor when the transmission blows, you should not just rely on your best friend. Because they happen to be your best friend, that doesn't make them an expert.

Speaker 2:

I was kind of that's interesting. I was thinking the same thing because I just our garage door broke and somebody came today and he's an expert at garage doors but he didn't come out of the womb like that. I mean, he was explaining to me the springs and all the things and I'm like he learned that skill so that he could help me, because I don't know anything about garage doors. But it's a valuable skill set and relationship is the same way. Like you don't come out of the womb just knowing what to do. You have to learn the skill set if you wanna be good at it.

Speaker 2:

And there are those of us who are obsessed with the skill set not to say we can fix every marriage or any of that. Like I still struggle to use the tools of my own marriage and I'm very open about that. I'm like that completely backfired on me the same tool that I'm teaching all of the people, right? So it's like it's not an exact science but it's definitely a skill set. And you learn the skill set if you want to be good at the thing Everything right, you wanna be a doctor.

Speaker 1:

Might need some tools and training. Wanna be an accountant. Wanna be a writer. I don't add anything. You wanna be successful at it. You're going to need some tools and training, so good.

Speaker 2:

Awesome. Well, tell the listeners where they can find you, learn more about you and these nine books. I'm so intrigued, I can't wait to pick one up.

Speaker 1:

Well, you can go to stayorgobookcom and that's where you can find the book. It's called Stay or Go how to Find the Confidence and Clarity you Need to either fix the struggles in your marriage or move forward without regret. You can check it out there.

Speaker 2:

So good, awesome. Thank you so much. Yeah, you're so welcome. If you had as much fun as we did just now, I hope that you'll head over to your favorite podcast player and leave a rating and review for the show or share it on social media. That's how other people can find this awesome content and we can spread the message that happily ever after is possible. Feel free to check out my website, monnecatannercom to find out more ways you can work with me and, as always, thank you so much for spending this time with me. We'll see you next week.

Secrets of Happily Ever After Marriage
Navigating Changing Gender Roles in Marriage
Building Intimacy in Marriage
Embracing Change in Relationships
Relationship Coaching and Finding Solutions
"Stay or Go