Today’s Topic: Our Marriage
Kim and I are not relationship counselors, but people ask us relationship questions all the time. We came together after failed marriages so we do a lot of work on ours and there are a lot of people that we learn from, including Tony Robbins, Cloé Madanes and John and Julie Gottman.
In this episode we answer a few questions, and the first one is, how do you manage your expectations of each other? The answer is that we have a conversation about how we like to live and assign a numerical value to each of our needs. And whoever has a higher need in that particular area wins. For example, my need for neat, organized clean spaces wins out in our living spaces because Kim really doesn’t care.
If you have expectations of your significant other, write them down and ask, is it in their zone of genius? Is it something they naturally do? If it’s not their expectation, then the buck is going to have to stop with you. For example, if having dirty dishes in the sink drives you crazy, then go do the dishes yourself.
If you have all these expectations and your partner’s not meeting the expectations, and you guys are fighting about these things, my guess says there’s a bigger underlying issue and these little things are the straw that broke the camel’s back because in reality they’re not that big of a deal.
Couples also sometimes get into a lot of horse trading. I did this for you, why don’t you do this for me? And that is a recipe for freaking disaster.
The way we approach it is really try and listen to what each other is saying. So if I hear Kim saying something two or three times, then I know it’s important to her. I want to do things because I love her. And I want her to feel taken care of and loved. And even beyond all of that, I want to do it just because I love her. We’re playing at a high level relationship where Kim’s dream is my dream and what lights her up lights me up so we’re constantly trying to anticipate each other’s needs.
If you have a significant other and you feel they don’t do anything for you, dig deep and say, for the next month or whatever I am going to continue to give 100% without any expectations of anything coming back to me. If nothing changes possibly you are with the wrong person or you need to have a conversation with that person about how unfair that is.
The next question is, how can you give your spouse or significant other negative feedback without damaging the relationship? Knowing what makes your spouse tick and their love language is really important. So reconnecting with what lights that person up, what makes them feel loved and secure and taken care of and happy, and what makes them feel like they’re contributing. When giving feedback, an idea is to start with yourself and what you wish you were doing better and then possibly they will want to reciprocate where they feel like they’re falling short.
Kim and I don’t have big blow-ups because our communication is so open and we’re interacting on a micro level all day. The other thing is that our natures are very much in alignment with each other. We like to do similar things.
A lot of people try to change their spouse. But who did you marry? Or who are you with? Why did you choose to be with them? And what did you know about them at that time? When Kim and I got married she knew that I need to have a really clean house and I knew that she loves to travel to weird places, so we don’t try to change each other. If your boyfriend is lazy and his shit is all around his apartment, that’s not going to change when you walk down the aisle.
The other side of that coin is be careful not to freeze somebody in time because people do change and grow. Something that comes up a lot is that one partner will be getting into personal development and they’re starting to look inside and seeing their flaws and their limiting beliefs. But their spouse is still over there on the couch eating Cheetos. Instead of trying to change them, try to expand their mind. Introduce new concepts slowly by telling your personal story versus pointing the finger and trying to change them.