How To Stop Reacting and Start Loving Ep 84

How To Stop Reacting and Start Loving | Marriage Coach
 

 

There’s an excellent reason why you react the way you do in your marriage – even if that reaction makes you feel down on yourself.

The thing that drives your reaction could be as “little” as them coming through the front door after a day at work.

You dream of being kind and loving, yet something has you withdrawing and sending “leave me alone” vibes.

Let me tell you this, your reaction makes more sense than you can imagine, and I hope this alone will help you find some compassion for yourself.

In this week’s episode, I share some baby steps you can take this month to start reacting from a place of love instead of the old software your brain is currently running on. 

We all have old software that has us running old patterns that no longer serve us. Let me help you re-program your response so you can become that person you dream of being.

That person you dream of being is you are waiting to be released, and there is no better time than now to bring it to life.

In this Marriage Masterclass, I am going to help you:

  • Start to recognize your go-to patterns when your spouse does something that makes you react as well as your spouse’s go-to patterns
  • Understand why you respond the way you do and why it’s so hard to react differently
  • Retrain your subconscious mind to understand that you can handle these situations in a whole new, safe way that will feel self-supporting and diffuse the cycle
  • See how your change will bring about change in your spouse

Episodes referenced in this episode:
Ep 23: How To Process Emotions

Watch on YouTube

Download my free Abundant Love Mini-Course to help you to start thinking, and feeling, differently about your marriage.

Register for my free monthly Marriage Masterclass, where every month I talk about different ways you can change your marriage without changing your partner. Next month we will be talking about The Secret To Changing Your Marriage Without Changing Your Spouse: Creating Better Boundaries, register now! 

More resources and how you can start the process of Awakening Your True You and being the partner who creates your best vision of what marriage looks like for you: https://christinebongiovanni.com/

Join my AwakenYou newsletter for weekly marriage tips and early announcements of upcoming offerings.

Book your free mini-coaching session here.

Show webpage: www.christinebongiovanni.com/84


I am a marriage coach helping women and couples turn their loveless & emotionless marriage into something better than they ever imagined possible. My process starts by looking within to understand how you got here, and from this place, we work together to figure out where you want to go. Then we do the work of making that your reality!

If you feel sad and completely powerless about your marriage’s state of affairs, then I’d love to chat with you about what is going on and what’s possible for you and your future. It’s never too late to re-create your best life. Schedule a free mini-session today, and let’s talk about how to get started. 

 

How Your Lying Is Affecting Your Marriage Ep 82

How Your Lying Is Affecting Your Marriage | Marriage Coach

Welcome AwakenYou listeners, welcome to another week of upgrading your intimate relationship! It is a new month and that means two things: a new relationship goal to work on and a new Marriage Masterclass! Let’s start with this month’s relationship goal, you can pick any relationship, even the one with yourself, what is it you want to work on and what are you going to do to take steps forward? As always, you can use any of the episodes here in AwakenYou in your marriage because I always share something you can take and implement or you can download my free Abundant Love Mini-Course which is all about re-wiring your brain’s current default way of thinking of your marriage and then you can also turn to my past Marriage Masterclasses. I have done one every month this year and in each one, I share three action steps. Set your goal this week, write it down so you don’t forget what it is, and then write down 1-3 things you will do on a daily basis to start moving forward. Remember that you can also book a 30-minute free coaching session to help you plan your goal or work through obstacles that come up as you do the work of improving how you feel about your marriage.

This week’s topic has been top of my mind because of real work I have been doing this past week in my marriage. Remember, in marriage, just like any area of our life that we want to keep growing and getting better, we have daily work to do so I am right alongside all of you, in the trenches doing the work of expanding and growing this beautiful dynamic that we call marriage and intimate relationship. If you follow me on Instagram or my Facebook Business Page you might have seen the video series I posted where I share a real-life marriage circumstance that I was working through. Of course, I share some of these examples not to broadcast behind the scenes of my marriage in a vain way but to give you real-life examples of the work I teach here.

Types of lies

Today I’m going to talk about a different type of lying that you might not recognize as lying. There are what many of us might call blatant lies to cover something up that they are ashamed of or don’t want to face the consequences that they might have to face if they told the truth. This could be as big as an affair, sharing an intimate lunch with someone besides your partner, an emotional affair or even where you went between work and home that made you late – even if it was to go shopping for something you’ve been longing for.

Then there are the not-so-obvious lies we tell, lies that happen more subconsciously than we’re aware of. The example I shared in my post series was around my husband asking if I minded if he worked the one weekend evening he had off. Just reading that message stirred up all sorts of emotions stemming from a pandora’s box of thoughts, “how rude,” “he has no respect for our time together,” “he prefers working over time with me,” “he’s asking so he can blame me if something goes awry,” “he can’t express his desires for fear of what I’ll think,” the list goes on and on.

I want you to pay attention to the example I am sharing and note if and when something similar might happen to you. It may not be about spending time together, what is your flavor? Trust me, it’s happened once or twice for you, start noticing.

My reactive response would have been a “sure,” loaded with insinuation, I would have been annoyed for a while, maybe stewed over it for a bit, maybe taken it out on him but over time, with much practice, I would see the pain this sort of reaction was having on me and would have turned it around. Turned it around to something enjoyable like, “he’s such a good provider,” “he thinks this is taking care of us.”

Instead, I decided to be truthful. I shared that I was truly looking forward to having an evening on the weekend with him, that I didn’t have any specific plans but that I would initially be disappointed if he chose to work. I also reminded him that this was me being honest, not trying to control him and that he was free to do what he thought best for us.

This felt amazing.

What happens when we lie

Most obviously, we don’t want people to see who we are at our core, we aren’t letting them in to see us. In this example, it took courage to open up and be vulnerable about the truth that I was looking forward to some time with him, it opened me up to be rejected and for him to see me. This is where growth comes in because as we grow we learn that other people can’t reject us, yes, I might be sad for a bit but as I grow more and more in love with myself I learn how to let other people’s reactions to me go.

The lie would have been about putting myself “one up” on him, trying to show that I’m the better person by letting him do what he wants and that his time away meant nothing to me because I’m a strong, independent woman.

I would have stored up those emotions and thoughts as more evidence when something came along that “broke the camel’s back” – toxic emotional waste stored up inside of ME. 

What happens when we tell the truth

Yes, there may be some tension with telling the truth, keep following my IG and FB to see the follow-up that will happen after Jeff and I discuss this interaction this weekend. I’m imagining that there is some tension on Jeff’s side but I can’t tell you what that might be. He could be annoyed that I “made him feel guilty for wanting to work”, but remember, no one can make you feel guilty, we do that ourselves with our own thinking. He might feel resentful by thinking I am trying to control him and his actions. 

But on my side, there is pure cleansing. I let go of any anger, resentment, blame, and dismissiveness and spoke about what I was really thinking at that moment. I know in my heart and soul that I was speaking my truth without being manipulative because honestly, another night to get out on my own and do something I enjoy with friends would also be lovely!

It’s all about how we feel in our hearts and that is why so much of the work I do is surrounded by emotion work because our emotions tell us which direction to go. My subconscious auto-response felt awful, tight, and reactionary and my well-thought-out response felt light, freeing, and abundant.

Action steps

What I want all of you to do is start paying attention to when you hide your truth. Start asking yourself why you do that and how you could start being more open and honest. 

In order to help you with this I want you to go register for this month’s Marriage Masterclass because it is going to help you discover where you are lying and how to start telling the truth. In this month’s class I am going to teach you how to step out of reactivity into love. You will learn how to:

  • Start to recognize your go-to patterns when your spouse does something that makes you react as well as your spouse’s go-to patterns
  • Understand why you respond the way you do and why it’s so hard to react differently
  • Retrain your subconscious mind to understand that you can handle these situations in a whole new, safe way that will feel self-supporting and diffuse the cycle
  • See how your change will bring about change in your spouse

In summary, telling the truth helps you become more connected with yourself and it helps you live more aligned with your values while it also builds more connection with your partner because you are opening up and sharing who you are and learning how to deal with the other person’s reactions in a more mature way. This work allows you and your spouse to become more differentiated which is the work of growing more intimately close and secure.

The link to register is in the show notes, you will not regret committing one hour to improve your marriage!

Have an amazing week and keep this month’s goal top of mind! Happy hugging, ciao!


I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.

 

US by Terrence Real: Book Highlights Ep 81

US by Terrence Real: Book Highlights | Marriage Coach
 

Welcome AwakenYou listeners, welcome to another week of upgrading your intimate relationship! This week I have to check in with all of you to see how you are doing with that goal you set for yourself in the beginning of this month. Last week I did an interview with Aimée Gianni MS, who is a Marriage & Family therapist and a Master Coach who specializes in helping people create intimate relationships filled with love, connection and joy as well as teaching coaches to do the same. If you haven’t listened to my conversation with Aimée, get it in your “up next” listening list because I think what she has to share will be helpful for all of you. I bring that up because since I did an interview I didn’t check in on your goals, so tell me, how are you doing? Let’s start by asking the following three questions and taking 5 minutes tonight or this morning to write your answers down. 

  1. What has been working well in your relationship work?
  2. How am I neglecting my personal relationship goals?
  3. What one thing can I do this week to keep my relationship goal top priority?

If you didn’t set a goal for this month, no worries, let’s decide right now what you want to create for yourself this week while also realizing that we have only a couple more days until September when we will be setting another relationship goal together. I’d suggest you get yourself a jump start by going to my website and downloading my Abundant Love Free Mini-Course and using that for September’s project.

I’m enjoying using the podcast as a way to be intentional about checking in with how we’re doing with our relationship goals and working through the obstacles that are getting in the way of us achieving those goals. Remember, if you are finding yourself stuck and not moving forward with your plan, schedule a free mini-coaching session and let’s work on a strategy to move through this block you are having.

This week I am doing something new, I am going to share highlights from a book I just read in my Relationship Master Coach Training that is rocking my relationship boat. I think it will rock yours as well, so come along and listen to what Terrance Real has to say about relationships in his new book titled “US: Getting Past You and Me to Build a More Loving Relationship” Terry has been a family therapist and teacher for over 25 years, a best-selling author and leads couples on a step-by-step journey to greater intimacy — and greater personal fulfillment.

This book is FILLED with so much goodness that I found it difficult to slim it down to under 60 minutes. What I suggest when listening to the gems I chose to share is to pick one that resonates the most with you, mark the time in the episode that I talk about this gem, and then write it down and write about how it resonates with you. Make sure you stick around to the end because I have something I want to share with you to help you create awareness around interactions with your partner and help you decide on purpose where you want to respond from. Recognize that much of what I will be sharing are direct quotes from the book so take a big, deep breath, and let’s dive in!

Remembering Love

Real talks about conflict, moments when you feel unheard and remembering that you and your partner stand on the same side, but when you are in the heat of the moment, when fear and righteous anger course through your veins, it’s hard to remember that you love this person. In these moments, the truth is that you don’t. In these heated moments, the sense of the two of you acting as a team facing the world together looks more like two individuals fighting for their safety. He says, “the good news is that the love is still there. The bad news is that it’s stored in parts of your brain, body, and nervous system that, in those flash moments, you no longer inhabit. The higher functions of your brain, the prefrontal cortex, have gone completely offline, while the more primitive parts of your brain, the amygdala, have decisively taken over.” You are no longer present but acting from your past.

He differentiates the difference between acting from our higher brain and our primitive brain as acting from our Wise Adult or our Adaptive Child. The Wise Adult is the part of us that cares about US with traits such as: nuanced, realistic, forgiving, flexible, warm, yielding, humble and relaxed in the body. The Adaptive Child part of us is a triggered part of you, the adversarial you and me part of you. It is the fight, flight, fix, fleeing, lying, omitting, evading automatic response in us with traits such as: black & white thinking, perfectionistic, relentless, rigid, harsh, hard, certain, tight in the body.

Co-regulation

He talks about interpersonal neurobiology which is the study of how our brains and central nervous systems form through our relationships in childhood and how relationships impact our neurobiology as intimate adults. Partners in close relationships co-regulate each other’s nervous systems, cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and immune responsiveness. Secure relationships lead to increased immunity and less disease, to say nothing of lower scores in depression, anxiety, and higher reported well-being. Insecure relationships stress you out and can make you ill.

Co-regulation helps the pre-frontal cortex to work less – it is the largest energy draw in the brain, so when we interact with others our pre-frontal cortex almost always slows down and grows quieter. When we co-regulate less of us needs to be regulated and the more intimate the bond, and the greater the relaxation.

And on the other hand, we know from experience that few things can trigger us or make us go crazy like our intimate relationships can! This is where we shift into the protective Adaptive Child mode, shift out of our Wise Adult prefrontal cortices and are led instead by our more emotional, more primitive limbic system – we no longer value the relational.

How we lose perspective of the US

“When we get trauma-triggered in our close relationships, our Wise Adult shuts off, and we are seized by our Adaptive Child. Our Adaptive Child is not some toxic force you must banish or destroy – it is the young part of you that learned to cope the best way she could at the time.  What she needs to learn is to be parented and the only person who can reliably do that at this point is you. There is a spiritual principle here: to move beyond some part of you, you must first get to know it and ultimately befriend it. Moral: we need to parent ourselves.”

Abandonment

Is a child ego state – adults don’t get abandoned. Abandonment means: if I leave you, you die, children get abandoned, not adults. When you feel petrified, desperate that someone is going to leave you, you are no longer your adult self, you are in your child ego state. We all want our partners to reach in and heal the young wounded parts of us with their love, they always, to some degree, fail us. Because they are human and therefore imperfect.

Five losing strategies the Adaptive Child will turn to:

  • Being right
  • Controlling your partner
  • Practicing unbridled self-expression
  • Retaliating against your partner
  • Withdrawing from your partner

Core negative image:

When our partners seem utterly unbearable, we will see them as insufferable in pretty much the same way that they always seem insufferable. The idea that most couples have the same fight over all the years they are married. Your partner’s core negative image of you is a cartoon version of you at your worst. It is a colorful exaggeration of you at your worst. Example: men see women often as: controlling, insatiable, complaining witch, women see men often as: undependable, self-centered, charming, narcissistic boy. When we see them as their core negative image triggered we will usually fight them! TIPS: 1. Don’t deny their vision of you when it flares up, otherwise you’ll reinforce it. Admit to the kernel of truth to it which will help their exaggeration relax. 

Relational Integrity

Take turns going crazy in your relationships –  this is relational integrity, which means you hold the fort (wise adult) while your partner is going off (adaptive child). YOU MAY NOT HAVE ACHIEVED THE RESULT YOU WISHED FOR BUT YOU REMAINED STEADILY IN THE YOU THAT YOU WISH FOR. WHEN YOU REMAIN CALM/MATURE YOU WIN.

Infidelity

“We don’t ask someone why they cheat – that’s obvious. Affairs are flattering, new, and sexually pleasurable. We ask someone why they don’t cheat. What makes someone say no?” “Because I don’t want to hurt my partner. I don’t want to look into my kid’s eyes and explain why Daddy/Mommy screwed around on Mom/Dad. I don’t want my reputation ruined. And, believe it or not, I’d rather live in a state of integrity.”

Repair Cycle

He talks about the repair cycle of harmony, disharmony and repair. He calls the stage of repair knowing love. In this stage of repair, you are aware of your partner’s failings and shortfalls – the temper that’s too big, the affection that’s too small, the sloppiness, or stinginess or impulse to control – and yet you choose to love them anyway. What the relationship gives you far outweighs what it lacks so you embrace those parts of your partner that, left on their own, you might avoid. He talks about how many couples skip the repair cycle and leave themselves marinating in disharmony, eventually sweeping it under the rug until they trip over it again.

There are two types of couples: those who fight and those who distance.

He talks about Fierce Intimacy which is the essential capacity to confront issues, to take each other on, navigating the bumps that makes for true intimacy. He says “smooth, functioning avoidance is romantic death!

Repair demands assertion – not aggression, from the unhappy partner met with care and responsiveness, not defensiveness, from the other.

He shares a repair cycle that is a one way street; so when you are faced with an upset spouse it’s not your turn to air your conflicts – it’s your time to listen. Repair goes in one direction. When the other is in a state of disrepair, your only job is to help them get back into harmony with you, to deal with their upset and to support them in reconnecting. Don’t focus on what the other is doing wrong: focus on how you might be contributing. Don’t focus on how you are unheard: focus on how you might speak more effectively. Start with compassion: it doesn’t focus on who’s right or who’s wrong. Let them know that you care about them. 

Typically, too often, we speak from a place of both anger and authority instead, speak up with love to exercise soft power. You can be connected or you can be powerful but you can’t be both at the same time. Power is OVER, not with, you break the thread of mutual connection when you move into power. Dominance does not breed intimacy. Powerful women often look an awful lot like powerful men YUCK! Soft power gives voice to the I and cherishes the we at the same time. Even starting out by saying “I love you.” “The first and most important thing I want to say is that I love you.”

In AwakenYou I have my clients work through a four-step process that helps them walk through the repair cycle in a way that brings intimacy back to the relationship after conflict versus disconnection and bitter anger. Then I also teach them how to receive when their partner is sharing what went on for them where you yield and listen.

He also emphasizes how to keep the repair process limited to the one instance you are in conflict over, to never bring up anything from the past, keep it there.  Then both of you allow the repair to happen

There is so much more I want to share but I want to summarize my top take away which is to pay attention to what state you are in during disagreements. Know your relationship default dynamic and the part you play in that dynamic, while starting to see what your spouse’s default dynamic is. If you see yourself in the adaptive child state ask to take a break, ask to come back together to discuss at a different time and then make time to self-soothe and regulate your emotions. Take responsibility for your part of the disharmony and make time to repair. What I also want you all to take away is that intimate relationships are hard work, if you’re not up for the sweet results of intimacy that you never imagined possible then staying where you are is 100% a possible option. 

For those of you who stuck around until the end I want to share a special gift with you that will help you determine whether you are in Adaptive Child personality or Wise Adult personality. When you can create this awareness that is when you will be able to start creating something different, something that will help you work through your disharmony and move back into harmony. If you are struggling with implementation please book that free coaching session now before you forget. Have an amazing week and keep this month’s goal top of mind! Happy hugging, ciao!


I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.

 

How Building Self-Esteem Will Improve Your Marriage Ep 79

How Building Self-Esteem Will Improve Your Marriage | Marriage Coach

 

One of the main reasons happy relationships turn “bad” is because you’ve lost your sense of self.

You have lost yourself in the relationship and are desperately looking to your partner to do something about it.


Then you get bitter when they don’t.


All because you’ve never learned how to find safety within, a solid connection with yourself, and confidence to speak your truth for the betterment of the relationship.


This is why in AwakenYou, we start with you because without a solid foundation of safety, connection, and self-esteem, you’re never going to find the fiery intimacy you so desire. 

 

In this month’s Marriage Masterclass, I am going to help you:

  • Learn the difference between healthy, secure self-esteem and unhealthy, insecure self-esteem
  • Discover the truth about two different types of narcissism people struggle with so you can find empathy instead of rebellion
  • See how healthy pride in yourself is correlated with cultivating positive impact in the lives of others, including those you love the most 

Episodes referenced in this episode:
Ep 23: How To Process Emotions

Watch on YouTube

Download my free Abundant Love Mini-Course to help you to start thinking, and feeling, differently about your marriage.

Register for my free monthly Marriage Masterclass, where every month I talk about different ways you can change your marriage without changing your partner. Next month we will be talking about The Secret To Changing Your Marriage Without Changing Your Spouse: Creating Better Boundaries, register now! 

More resources and how you can start the process of Awakening Your True You and being the partner who creates your best vision of what marriage looks like for you: https://christinebongiovanni.com/

Join my AwakenYou newsletter for weekly marriage tips and early announcements of upcoming offerings.

Book your free mini-coaching session here.

Show webpage: www.christinebongiovanni.com/79


I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.

 

Are My Marriage Problems Normal? Ep 78

Are My Marriage Problems Normal? | Marriage Coach

Welcome AwakenYou listeners, how are each of you this week? If you were here last week that means that you heard me introduce a fun new goal-setting adventure where we are together going set our monthly relationship goal and use this weekly conversation to check-in and see how we are doing. If you didn’t set a goal last week or are hearing about this for the first time then come along with us, be brave and set a goal by picking one of the podcast episodes and following along with what I share or go watch one of my marriage masterclass replays, speaking of which I want to remind you that this month’s class is on self-esteem and why it’s so important in building a solid marriage that you love because it will be the work you want to do after listening to what I have for you today or even a bit more advanced, go download my Abundant Love Free Mini-Course which will help you start changing the way you look at your marriage. For those of you who are working on a relationship goal whether, with yourself, your spouse, or someone else, I’d like you to answer these three questions this week as you move forward: 

  1. What has been working well in your relationship work?
  2. How am I neglecting my personal relationship goals?
  3. What one thing can I do this week to keep my relationship goal top priority?

That’s it! Congratulations on playing along with me and remember that one thing you can always do to help you make progress is to book a free mini-coaching session and let me help you move forward. This week I want to turn your thoughts about your marriage upside down by challenging your thought that something has gone wrong in your marriage, your thought that you picked the wrong mate, or your thought that you’re destined to live a boring relationship future. This week I want to normalize marital distress.

What would you do if you could erase the social conditioning that most of us have hardwired into our subconscious minds that if we married the right person our relationship would be wildly happy, close, and we’d never be dissatisfied in bed? What if from childhood we were conditioned to expect that all relationships will encounter disconnection, intimacy struggles, and a falling away from each other? Yes, what if sitcoms, I don’t know, are these even a thing anymore? I don’t watch the screen and haven’t for close 20+ years so I don’t know, but what if it were normal for us to read/watch about marriages that struggled and shows that modeled what it looks like to work through those struggles in a healthy way? 

If the latter were our norm then I believe our divorce numbers would be so much lower and there would be less shame around where we’re stuck in our relationships and more open talking about what you are working on in your marriage and what’s working for you. But instead, we pretend like everything is amazing, that we’re having fantasy-level sexual encounters with our spouse, that we never argue, and when we do it’s a wildly erotic make-up session or we just complain about how awful and irresponsible our spouse is, making them the root of all the problems.

So let’s be straight up, marriage is work if you want it to be good. Except for the fortunate couples that either had a strong upbringing that included open awareness of the happy, to unhappy back to happy repair loop or decided right up front to work with a good marriage coach. We want to expect that the “honeymoon” phase will end and that disconnection, disharmony, anger, resentment, loss of self and intimacy may occur, that it is completely normal and why. I think that this alone will help loosen the grip you might have around what is going on in your marriage and once that grip is loosened it will be much easier for you to step into the woman who is ready to step up to the task of solving your relationship issues and getting back to what you want, which is more fiery intimacy.

Why marital distress is normal

Let’s go back to the point in your relationship when everything was fun, and connected with hot, steamy sex, or whatever your version of a happy relationship was. During this period of your relationship, you were busy courting each other, talking about things that your partner enjoyed talking about, doing things that each other enjoyed doing, or being willing to do things that you maybe didn’t love doing but would to show your partner how much you loved them. Each of you was doing things that validated each other, or in other words, you did things that you discovered your partner liked and you continued doing those things. 

This is an immature relationship, where each of you are looking to the other for support and validation for what you do and what you think. What this means is eventually you will run out of things to do that the other person actually wants to do or things to talk about  where they will agree with you. In immature relationships, we aren’t differentiated, we shut down when our partner doesn’t agree with us or doesn’t want to do the things we want to do, we’re immeshed and dependent on each other. Back in Ep. 60: Differentiation I talked about differentiation and how important it is to the health of our relationship. 

As we grow internally and relationally we learn how to be separate from our partners while maintaining healthy interdependence. In a nutshell, this is all of the work we do inside of AwakenYou, the work of learning how to open up to your spouse about what is important and interesting to you without needing them to agree, learning how to have a healthy conversation without needing them to validate your position because you’ve already self-validated.

So the good news is this: disconnection in your marriage is completely normal and it comes because the honeymoon period ends, we stop validating each other and feel unloved, disconnected, and passionless. The bad news is that relationships are hard work where we need to work on self-supporting behaviors that have us showing up honestly in our marriage.

As David Scnarch in Passionate Marriage states: this silent period of disconnection and sexlessness gridlock forces us to grow up, it’s not falling out of love, it is the pathway to love, it’s not a failure to communicate, it’s learning how to listen to yourself without needing everyone else to listen and agree.” 

Now with this new information, I want you to re-imagine your marriage. I want you to look at your marriage through the lens of normalcy instead of abnormality. If you were to expect this period in your marriage what would you do? Even if this period has been going on for 20+ years, what will you do? Will you dive into the work that I share with you here on the podcast, on my social channels, in my marriage masterclasses, in my free course, or one on one in my coaching program?

The main area you will want to focus on when it comes to differentiation and being all in on yourself will be the work of creating a loving relationship with yourself which includes having healthy self-esteem (this month’s Marriage Masterclass) and there are several episodes in the archives where I talk about creating connection and self-esteem as well as one of my masterclasses, so go there and start doing the work as well as sharing this episode with all of your girlfriends who are going through similar relationship struggles. 

I hope that this conversation helped you look at what is going on in your marriage a whole different way, a more normal way, as a problem that you expected. Think about another project that you might be working on and a hiccup happens, what do you do? Do you drop it and complain about what an awful thing it is or do you get to the work of figuring it out? I hope that today’s episode shared a new insight that helps you feel more empowered to work on your marriage and if you want resources then I’m here for you! Book that free coaching session now before you forget. Have an amazing week and keep this month’s goal top of mind! Happy hugging, ciao!


I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.

 

How To Apologize & Why It’s So Important Ep 77

How To Apologize & Why It's So Important | Marriage Coach

Hello AwakenYou listeners and welcome to a brand new month of opportunity and with it being a new month I want to take this as an opportunity for you to spend a few moments writing down the one thing you will work on this month when it comes to improving either your relationship with yourself or your spouse. Which will you choose and what will you work on specifically? Set your intention today, not just in your mind, write it down someplace where you will see it often, and use our weekly time together here to be your reminder to check in on your progress. If you haven’t downloaded my free Abundant Love Mini-Course then that would be a great place to start, it could be your project this month to start feeling better about your marriage. This course will help you start noticing the lens through which you are seeing your marriage and help you do a prescription tweak so that you are seeing more clearly. If you’ve already worked through that course take the next step of picking one of these episodes and making that your focus of the month, or even better, go watch one of my Marriage Masterclass replays and implement the action steps this month. Whatever you choose to do, I’ve got you. Send me a message letting me know what you’re working on and let’s hold each other accountable! This week I want to talk about the mechanics of how to apologize and why it’s so important because I am seeing how difficult this is for so many of my clients – and how difficult it was, and sometimes still is, for me. 

Can I get an “amen” from those of you who grew up in a household where apologies weren’t a part of the program or if they were it was forced upon you, more as a penalty for being “bad?” Right off the bat, we’re instructed from a place of guilt and shame that we’re bad people and never taught that yes, we all make mistakes and that making an apology for our poor behavior comes from a place of self-compassion and genuine remorse for how we behaved without it meaning that we are characteristically bad people.

Today let’s look at why apologizing can be so difficult, why a good apology is so important, while also looking at what constitutes a poorly and effectively constructed apology and then lastly I want to take a look at how you can work through a situation where the other person won’t apologize because it’s going to happen.

Why apologizing can be so difficult

Each unique one of us has a suitcase of stories that might lead us to have a difficult time apologizing to our spouses, certainly something to sort through. If this is the case we can start to recognize our pattern as developed from situations in our childhood and start to let go of these behaviors as no longer necessary. In our marriages we are working on building each other up together as a team, it’s not about each of you playing on separate teams. Together we lift each other up so when you come out of a conflict or some “disharmony” you can recognize where your unwillingness to give in and admit how you may have hurt the other is coming from your past. This past may have you afraid of admitting your part in the detachment, fear of admitting you were wrong or acted in a way that inflamed a reaction from your spouse. Apologizing might make you feel like you are unreliable, a bad spouse/person, unworthy, damaged, and unlovable. What else?

The root of this difficult and uncomfortable experience is often a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. When you have a solid relationship with yourself you are better able to admit your mistakes, know that they don’t make you a bad person and that your apology doesn’t make you “less than.” On the contrary, it has you having empathy for your spouse and where they are coming from, and what they are experiencing. It doesn’t have you defending yourself and coming back to them with all of the reasons they hurt you but instead allows you to hear their story, and apologize from a place of love and compassion so you can follow through with the repair process.

Yes, you may have things to say about how you are feeling but if you can hold some space while mending the current situation it will have your spouse in a better place to receive your words.

Why is an apology so important?

The growth that happens in a relationship comes from repairing a patch in the road that’s been damaged. When two adults come together conflict, disagreement and disharmony should be expected. This isn’t a problem, unless you are unable to work through the conflict and come to a resolution. 

It’s like anything else you do that is worthwhile. Think about it, think about any project you work on that you love working on. Maybe you like working on things that never present a challenge, but for me, projects without challenges get super boring, there’s no learning, no growth, no well – challenge. If you want your marriage to have more fiery intimacy, some good spicy fun, and an electric connection you have to dig into your conflict, go from a place of harmony to disharmony, share what is bothering you, and then work together to repair the break. And by the way, this is work we do within my AwakenYou program – learning how to be an expert at the repair cycle.

What a bad apology looks like

A bad apology doesn’t have you claiming your personal responsibility for the disruption while basically pointing the finger at the other person. You are dismissing the other person, invalidating how they are feeling and the impact your actions had on them.

Some examples of poor apologies:

  • I’m sorry you feel that way
  • I’m sorry you took it that way
  • I’m sorry but…if you hadn’t done…
  • If I offended you I’m sorry

These apologies have you placing the problem on the other person instead of acknowledging the role you played in how they are feeling. 

There are for sure times when your spouse is going to take something you said the wrong way, and yes, while you can explain away what you actually meant, simply acknowledging that you can understand how they would feel the way they do will take you way further in calming the waters of disrepair.

What a good apology looks like

A good apology has you taking responsibility for what you said/did and how it made the other person feel, without needing to explain yourself. It has you legitimately feeling regret around how the other person is taking your actions. Think about what it might be like to help your spouse trust you in that you want to work on improving this type of behavior. Don’t make unrealistic promises to never act this way again but instead ask for help with overcoming this behavior. I love an honest request for forgiveness, it makes me feel seen, heard, and loved while bringing each of you to the same level for a magical calm connection.

Some examples:

  • I’m so sorry, I legitimately feel bad that how my actions hurt you.
  • What I did was wrong, I’m sorry, please forgive me as I work on getting better at catching and changing this behavior.
  •  Is there a way for me to make this right? What might it look like for you when helping me convey my commitment to working on a change in this area?
  • I want to get better and I appreciate your willingness to lovingly call me out when this behavior comes up again.
  • Will you please forgive me? I am all in on this relationship and need your grace as I work on being better.

Do you notice how all of these put the focus and responsibility on the person giving the apology, this helps co-regulate the offended party, again bringing you both to the same playing field and connecting.

What to do when your spouse won’t apologize

Let it go. I know that feels like a hard pill to swallow and I completely understand but sometimes our partners have work to do that they are unwilling to do or don’t recognize that they need to do it. They aren’t here listening to the podcast or investing time in the way that you are. Normalizing their behavior, without accepting it as ok, by understanding what their own personal struggle might be will go a long way. You might consider stating that an apology could go a long way in making you feel better and explaining that we all make mistakes, that it won’t make you think less of them but will do wonders is making you feel included in the relationship. Sharing that the apology isn’t so that you can beat them up but so that you can feel better about their desire to connect and work on your marriage as a team.

Lastly, I want to leave you with this: healing and forgiving are two different things. You can offer your gift of forgiveness without letting go of their responsibility to treat you differently and without holding them to their commitment to change. It is now up to you to call out behavior that triggers you as well as recognize that the behavior is a trigger that you can do the work of learning how to respond differently to. Listening to Ep 75: How To Create Healthy Boundaries as well as Ep 65: How Trauma Might Be Affecting Your Marriage will help you to recognize your possible need to heal and that is amazing work for you to do!

Maybe this could be your goal this month, the work of looking at when you might want to offer an apology and working through the process of why it might be hard and learning how to do it well. Always remember, I am here to help you work through the process, if you get stuck don’t stay there, book yourself a mini-coaching session and let’s get you moving forward!


I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.