Episode 75: Relationship Health: The Most Important Thing You Need To Keep An Eye On
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[00:00:00] Staci Bartley: Hey, thanks for coming. Welcome to the Love Shack.
[00:00:13] Staci Bartley: Hey, welcome to the Love Shack. It's a little old place where we get to get together and explore fresh perspectives, eavesdrop on juicy conversations and discover the things that matter. And have a little bit of fun along the way as well. This is episode number 75. We're gonna be diving into relationship health today.
[00:00:34] Staci Bartley: It is the most important thing that you need to keep an eye on. And what is it we need to keep an eye on? Don't worry. We're gonna be covering that.
[00:00:42] Tom Bartley: Absolutely. Today in the Love Shack, we're gonna be sharing parts of chapters three and four in our, it's not our upcoming book, it's Staci's upcoming book, that is going to be released on March 30th.
[00:00:53] Tom Bartley: If you're listening live. So stay tuned. That's exciting.
[00:00:57] Staci Bartley: Yeah. It's gonna be chapters three and four. Thanks for that, babe. It has been a labor of love and I'm so excited to share it with all of you. And so if you know that you want a copy of this book, if you're a, a continuous follower or listener, shall we say, to the show, then you can do that by going to our website and getting on the list and we will notify you and just give you a shout out is gonna be free for the next or for the first few days of launching that book after March 30th.
[00:01:23] Staci Bartley: So today it is the most important thing that we need to keep an eye on, but what do we need to keep an eye on when it comes to our relationship health? We do know that relationships can be hard, right? We all know that relationships take work, but it's not always clear what we need to be keeping an eye on so that we know whether our relationship is healthy and thriving or not.
[00:01:45] Tom Bartley: And absolutely today in the Love Shack, we're going to teach you our simple formula for getting your relationships back on track when you feel the connection between you and your partner is what we would say, atrophying, and share how you can tell when your relationship health needs a boost.
[00:02:01] Staci Bartley: We're Tom & Staci Bartley for any new listeners out there, and we help committed couples rescue their relationship so that they can finally create long-lasting love without having to spend hours analyzing their past, beating themselves up, man, do I know what that is, or feeling like they are making no progress at all in everything that they're doing. We do this via sharing our unique frameworks, teaching new tools and skills, one-on-one sessions, and through our signature courses.
[00:02:29] Staci Bartley: Relationship rescue is one of them and love for a lifetime is another one of those.
[00:02:34] Staci Bartley: So, so great to be here with you today. And as we dive into this topic, right, I want you to get some paper and a pen. There might be some wonderful aha's that are gonna go off for you today. So don't hesitate to take some notes as we're talking and sharing.
[00:02:48] Tom Bartley: Yeah. And today's episode is sure to help you understand the importance of what to keep your eye on to ensure your relationship health, and to provide you with some useful tips you need to know to ensure that love is going to last.
[00:03:01] Staci Bartley: Mm-hmm so doesn't miss it. We're gonna be right back after taking a quick break.
[00:03:06] Staci Bartley: Go get that paper, your favorite beverage, and maybe something to write with. This one is going to be something I promise you've never heard before. So coming back and let's talk about some relationship help. Shall we?
[00:03:18] Advertisement: I met Staci and Tom, about two years ago, I was at a point in my relationship where I was ready to file for divorce. Not that I wanted to, but I just felt hopeless and helpless. I'd been through other counseling and coaching and didn't find any success with Staci and Tom's methods. I was able to eliminate insecurities, set boundaries, plant my flag, eliminate rabbit holing.
[00:03:42] Advertisement: I was separated from my wife for a year. And I have since moved back home for the last six months now. I still refer back to a lot of the teaching that Staci and Tom provided. And it's helped me. It's well worth it.
[00:03:55] Advertisement: Learn the simple three-step system to rescue your struggling relationship by registering for Staci's brand new free workshop.
[00:04:04] Advertisement: Reserve your seat by going to stacibartley.com/workshop
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[00:05:17] Tom Bartley: Welcome back inside the Love Shack. Great to have you. We are Tom and Staci Bartley. This is episode 75, and we are again your host, and we have our incredible engineer, Eric Rider at the helm of KKNW. Because I'm kind of a detail guy, just a reminder. There are lots of different ways that we try to be of service to you.
[00:05:35] Tom Bartley: So as Staci encouraged you to grab some paper and pen and you say, "I can, I'm driving," don't worry. Everything we do after our show is live here on KKNW it is uploaded to all the places you can find a podcast. And on our website, we have a lot of show notes and our wonderful daughter, Brooke.
[00:05:51] Tom Bartley: Brooke, we love and appreciate you, also transcribes every episode. So if you like to read rather than listen, we're also on YouTube and Facebook. So there are lots of different ways. I just point this out to remind you there are lots of different ways that you can hopefully use this material that we're sharing with you.
[00:06:06] Staci Bartley: Yeah. And today we're gonna be diving into chapters three and four of my upcoming book that will be released on March 30th. And so as we step into the heart of the matter, let's talk about today's topic, babe, shall we? Absolutely. This is a juicy one. This one is so important. And when it comes to our relationships, it can be overwhelming when we're trying to figure out what we need to do to make them better.
[00:06:30] Staci Bartley: Most of us don't know how to go about doing this because we've never really been taught and we don't understand truly how it is we operate as human beings. So when we feel like our relationship is beginning to slip away from us. We feel that atrophy of connection that we once had when we first came together and we decided we were gonna build a life together, our relationship connection.
[00:06:52] Staci Bartley: It's normal for us to say things like, "Hey, we need to talk." Or, "you're never home anymore!" Without realizing these statements usually turn into fights.
[00:07:03] Tom Bartley: And the good news is that there's a way to avoid this. This is really what we wanna, you know, to share with you today. And the secret lies in how you are looking at the situation.
[00:07:12] Tom Bartley: What you may not realize is there is a void between where you are right now and where you desire to go.
[00:07:19] Staci Bartley: And the difference between viewing this void with a "get to" with some understanding and skills versus thinking "I have to" and striving to do a lot of mind reading and guessing, is huge. If you can get into the mindset that you too can experience a deeper connection in your relationship.
[00:07:41] Staci Bartley: We need to talk about that. We need to step into that void place because, and it's interesting... We intuitively know that we need to spend time together, and we need to communicate, and we need to talk. We know that because somewhere inside of us, whether it's a conscious thought or not, we go back to how we created this relationship in the first place.
[00:08:00] Staci Bartley: And we realize is, oh my gosh, we spent a lot of time together. We shared a lot of hopes and dreams. We shared a lot of ourselves. Who we are, even some of our past messes as we were originally getting to know each other. And then we build this life and then it starts to play out. And then. What happens, why is it that we stop sharing and where did the time and conversation go?
[00:08:22] Staci Bartley: And so we naturally intuitively reach for that when we're going, okay, wait a minute. I can feel this isn't right. Or I can feel this not being in a place emotionally where we once were feeling that deep connection or sense of, we got this, right? A sense of knowing who you are and me too. And how do we get that back?
[00:08:42] Staci Bartley: So we naturally reach for that. So I want you to know that that is so normal and so intuitive and so wise of you, but there is a void and a gap there between where you were when you once started and, where it is, you are now in your relationship. And this is where we need to step into a very important principle that I call the principle of contrast.
[00:09:05] Staci Bartley: So this came about years ago when I finally rolled up my sleeves personally, to study love and relationships. I remember hearing again and again and again, you've gotta love yourself and maybe you've heard that too. It's still very much a mainstream idea. And the idea is you've gotta work on loving yourself and then you can show up and be all that you can be in a relationship.
[00:09:27] Staci Bartley: And I would think to myself back then, well, okay, how do I do that? I, I get the concept, but you know, if I can't figure out how to do that, and nobody seems to be able to teach me how to do that or how to go about trying that on, then what does that mean about me and, and what's possible for me? So, if I can't figure this out and nobody seems to be able to tell me, how does that just mean I need to get okay with not having a great relationship?
[00:09:52] Staci Bartley: Do I need to just kind of settle in and, and realize that this is the best is gonna be? And I used to be panic about not being able to find the love that I so desired and by nature, I now know over time, I am such a relationship person. And so that thought is kind of funny to me as I look back, but I was panicked about this idea of not knowing how to love myself.
[00:10:16] Staci Bartley: And I knew at the moment, I didn't, and nobody could seem to teach me how. And so this internal conversation with myself would absolutely like to infuriate me. And so it into a monster for me, where I had a tremendous amount of self-doubt and insecurity, and I put myself in quite a predicament. Thankfully, I didn't give up there.
[00:10:37] Staci Bartley: And you don't need to either. I want you to know here and now that we can all create great relationships. We all have the capacity for great, incredible deep connection and love. Oft times we don't have the ability and the understanding that is needed to go there. And so today I want to show you how.
[00:10:58] Tom Bartley: Absolutely. So let's take a moment right now. We're gonna break this down so you can understand it in real terms. We're going to give you a crash course in relationships. What we like to say relationships 101. So you can finally see through the mystery and the mystique and all the lies and myths, big and small, that are promoted and preached about relationships.
[00:11:17] Tom Bartley: We want you, you to see and understand how they truly work once and for all, because again, if you don't understand how we're wired as humans... we find in our private practice, this is very, very helpful. Once you can understand how it is that we're all wired. Again, it shows up in our different flavors and colors that we are as unique individuals, it gives you a much better context now to move forward and take your next to be best steps.
[00:11:43] Staci Bartley: Yeah. And I love that you said flavors and colors, et cetera because that's gonna play out into this principle of contrast. So I want you to take a breath right now, and I want you to imagine for a moment an expansive white space. This white space represents the universe that we live in and it's filled with anything and everything possible.
[00:12:05] Staci Bartley: And we need to wrap our head around that. Lucky for you and me and all of us, we are born into this place and we get to decide out of anything and everything possible, what is you and what is not you? And we are on this quest from the beginning of birth until the day we tap out of this earthly existence, we can have a lot of conversations about what happens next and why we're here.
[00:12:35] Staci Bartley: We're not gonna jump into that today, but what I want you to realize is this ever-evolving, unfolding process about who am I today? What do I like? And what do I not like? Who am I and what works for me? And so, you know, babe, when you said, you know, colors and flavors and those kinds of things to, to wrap your head around what it is we're talking about.
[00:12:57] Staci Bartley: I want you to think at this moment about what your favorite foods are and what your favorite colors are and who are your favorite people and what are your favorite places to visit? And what is your favorite music, you know, right. What's your genre of music? What is it that lights you up? What are your favorite activities?
[00:13:17] Staci Bartley: And all of these are a byproduct of your awareness about the principle of contrast. This works for me. I like this. Ooh, I like the way this makes me feel. I love it when we do this. And we can't help, but explore those things without having a big smile on our face. Like there is this biological feedback.
[00:13:38] Staci Bartley: If we're paying attention inside of us, that goes, yep, that's me. Oh, you nailed it. You so nailed it. Right. You love that music. You love that food. You love that color. You love that outfit. You love that person. And that's the principle of contrast at play. Right. So I don't know that I know what your favorite color is.
[00:13:57] Staci Bartley: What is it? Today it's purple. Oh, that's because you're wearing it. That's right.
[00:14:02] Tom Bartley: if you're watching on YouTube, but you can see that. See there, you're missing my purple shirt. I'm good with that.
[00:14:08] Staci Bartley: And so as you explore this, like take a moment right now and just notice all the things that start to trickle out as we highlight what works for you in a relationship.
[00:14:17] Tom Bartley: And I would add that I would assert I love that word. You know, I've said that in past episodes that perhaps what is coming up for you now is different than what your favorites and, and not favorites or dislikes, I guess, would be a better way to say that of maybe say a year ago, two years ago, three, meaning this is a very, very constant and ever-changing and always changing until we have taken our last, last breath contrast in our lives.
[00:14:43] Tom Bartley: Meaning it's not a set and forget it, right?
[00:14:46] Staci Bartley: For sure. Well, just think back even like a year ago. It's easier if we look back further or even five years ago and look at how your favorite things have changed, right? Or what you've added to your favorite things, it starts to highlight the idea and the reality that we change over time.
[00:15:05] Staci Bartley: That this is a constantly evolving experience that we have as being alive on the planet. That the person I once was is not the person I am today. And certainly, the person that I was five or 10 years ago, or 20 years ago is not the person I am today. That what I like and what I enjoy and the people I spend time with is vastly different.
[00:15:26] Staci Bartley: And sometimes we'll even have the experience of things that I love, and I, I so enjoy. And then I go, hmm, I don't really like that. And, and the thing that comes up for me in simple terms is like, I used to love peanut at M&Ms. You know, I don't like 'em now. Right. That's something that I've kind of set aside in my life and I've traded it in for other things.
[00:15:46] Staci Bartley: And so just be aware of that.
[00:15:49] Tom Bartley: Well, and I would add that the same dynamics that Staci's sharing has also happened inside of me. I would bet it's happened inside you. If you're, if you're in an intimate relationship, if you're in a marriage or you know, a significant union right now that that same journey, that same place of contrast is different for your partner, just like it is for yourself.
[00:16:09] Tom Bartley: Hence, the reason why we find ourselves in this place of potential atrophy, right? Mm-hmm I mean, because you hear us say if you listen to our show for any period of time over, over again, this is the most, this is my word. These are my words. This is the most dynamic, relationship process thing we're ever going to enter into.
[00:16:29] Tom Bartley: And to think that we could just get everything right. Excuse me. And then live happily ever after of the story likes to say is, is a, is a one and done stagnant process. That's nothing could be further, nothing from the further, from the truth, but I, I view that as exciting, you know, because would we want it to be stagnant?
[00:16:49] Staci Bartley: No. But, you know what, knowing that we figured it out gives us a sense of safety. It gives us a sense of control and that's why we wanna make some sense of it. And we wanna create some consensus around the experiences that we're having without realizing a principle of contrast is true for you. And it may not be true for others.
[00:17:09] Staci Bartley: And this is what tends to start to get us into interesting times. I do wanna point out also that when you're first coming together in your relationship, I want you to think about what you're talking about and what you're sharing. Right. Especially as we're coming at this from maybe the second time.
[00:17:24] Staci Bartley: And I mean that you know, cavalierly, whether you're were married or not, we're coming at this from hopefully experience in the relationship realm of maybe, you know, one or more people. Whether that was my college lover. And then I met somebody and then I got married or, you know, most of us go through several relationships before we finally decide that this is the person for me, whether we marry or we do not, again, that's a principle of contrast.
[00:17:48] Staci Bartley: Like we're not gonna know ourselves and understand ourselves, life and love, without this principle playing out. So let's say now you've, you've thought this was the one, and when that didn't work. And then I got into another relationship. When these things start to play out, we start to make up some interesting stories and perspectives about what works for me and what doesn't.
[00:18:10] Staci Bartley: And as we're getting to know each other, we can even talk about what didn't work in my last relationship. And we can share all of that and be completely disclosed. But interestingly enough, remember contrast is not only what works, but what doesn't work. And it's the, what doesn't work part that we are not so good about knowing how to talk about and how to explore and how to strategize and problem solves about what we need in our relationships.
[00:18:35] Staci Bartley: And most of us, you know, and, and the more you care, the more, this is true. Do not want to share that we do not want to be a problem. We do not wanna rock the boat, so to speak. We do not want to be seen in a light that's different from the way that I think you view me and that you love me.
[00:18:52] Tom Bartley: So let's say that you know, we have some listeners out there and they say okay, yeah, no, I feel like my relationship health is not where it should be. I feel like there might be some atrophy setting in, I agree that darn "you need to just love yourself" statement kind of makes, you know, kinda like, you know, fingernails on a chalkboard. So help me understand. Now I'm starting to, you know, get my arms around this contrast thing.
[00:19:16] Tom Bartley: How does the contrast thing help me? In a much more practical manner than this learn how to love me.
[00:19:23] Staci Bartley: Mm-hmm well, it is learning how to love yourself is AKA a substitute for learning how to know yourself. Okay. So it's important for us too. It's not about loving yourself. It is because you're gonna love yourself more when you know yourself.
[00:19:40] Staci Bartley: But in this principle of contrast, I just want you to understand, as this starts to play out, you can't stop it. Like it's a part of how we are as human beings and the world in which we live. And that this contrast is very unique to you. We are constantly rolling over and exploring what works for us now and what doesn't work for us.
[00:20:01] Staci Bartley: We tend to think in our relationships that we wanna get it all done and all figured out like essentially we're gonna arrive somewhere without realizing that's not even possible because that contrast is going to play out over time. And sometimes we'll say, Hey, well, you didn't use to do that. Or you didn't use to like that, or, you know, what's going on?
[00:20:20] Staci Bartley: What's wrong with you? Well, what's wrong with you is contrast. I've changed my mind. I've now discovered that this is what I think, or this is what I feel, or this is what I'm drawn to, and it's changed from the past. And we don't realize that that's going to happen. Like that's normal. That is a normal human experience on this planet. The problem is we don't know how to share it, and we don't know how to talk about it. So in the beginning when things are really good and we're talking about all the wonderful places and things that we're going to create and all the things we're gonna explore and share, I call that the magic carpet ride, because we are talking about the things we love, the things we enjoy.
[00:21:01] Staci Bartley: And as I said, we can even disclose some of the things that I know and am aware of that I didn't do so well in the previous relationship that I wanna do better at, or, or things that I realized my partner did that I didn't catch because I didn't know what I didn't know. And we bring all of this experience forward without really realizing the principle of contrast.
[00:21:21] Staci Bartley: And then what ends up happening is we put life on this connection. I go, oh man, I'm really into you. You get me. This is gonna be fantastic. I mean, I can easily go back, babe, when you and I were coming together. And I was like, oh man. You know, because of my experiences that I share in the book, I thought I'd hit like a home run and it was gonna be nothing but smooth sailing from now on, you know?
[00:21:42] Staci Bartley: And I don't know if you felt the same. I didn't know if you thought that this was gonna be smooth.
[00:21:46] Tom Bartley: And do you still feel like you've hit a home run?
[00:21:48] Staci Bartley: I feel like I hit a home run.
[00:21:50] Tom Bartley: Yeah, we got that one clear whew.
[00:21:52] Staci Bartley: Yes, but here's the thing how I thought it was gonna go. Yes. It's very different from how it went in the contrast of experience.
[00:22:01] Tom Bartley: So okay. So then we've got some, you know, people okay. I'm following you now. Yes, I've, I've navigated and my partner and I've navigated some significant contrast. So how is it then? Back to that, like loving myself. So understanding where this contrast is, and then how do I, how do I verbalize that? Is that, how do I share that with my, understand that for myself first, and then share that with my partner?
[00:22:25] Staci Bartley: Well, yeah, and it's not that simple, so I don't even wanna go into the idea of how to communicate and share that with your partner today. What I wanna impress upon you is as we begin to look at the contrast and you. Begin to take on this quest of understanding who you are from the foods you eat, the clothes you wear, the things that you love and enjoy as well as the things that you do not.
[00:22:53] Staci Bartley: We are constantly evaluating. This works for me and this doesn't. I want this, I don't want that. And that is an ever-evolving, unfolding process that will never stop in your lifetime. And I just want you to get your head around that piece first.
[00:23:14] Tom Bartley: So that's whereas far as looking at the things that we need to keep our eye on, that's the initial place that you're if I'm hearing you correctly.
[00:23:22] Staci Bartley: No, actually yes and no. What I would encourage you to keep your eye on is a little thing called safety, but I wanna make sure you have the process of contrast and you got a firm grip on that first because here's the thing, what we tend to do when challenges arise. And they are going to, there's a whole bunch of contrasts that we can't get away from.
[00:23:43] Staci Bartley: Even when we dream, when we dream, we're thinking and working through our contrast, as much as we are in the waking hours of our day, we can't get away from it. And what doesn't work, we'll continue to stream out regardless of what we do with it. Now, here's the interesting thing about the emotional experiences we have around the contrast.
[00:24:06] Staci Bartley: I only have two options. I'm either gonna express it, share it with you. We're gonna problem solve it, strategize it, or I'm going to act out. So contrast in one, one way or another is gonna have its way with us. It will endeavor to get your attention as a human being and as a creation that we are in this universe, it wants validation.
[00:24:30] Staci Bartley: And if I can't give it to myself by knowing who I am, knowing what I want and what works for me and what doesn't, I will need a tremendous amount of exterior validation to feel like I'm okay. And so this starts to play out on our relationships big time, especially in regards to what doesn't work.
[00:24:53] Staci Bartley: And we don't know how to talk about what doesn't work. So we tend to sit on it and sit on it.
[00:24:58] Tom Bartley: So give, so what might give, how about if we give an example in our relationships? So this might be helpful for people's cause again. Even me, ladies and gentlemen, with Staci and all her frameworks, I sometimes need more clarity.
[00:25:11] Tom Bartley: So how about, and story can be very helpful in that regard. So what would you say let's share?
[00:25:16] Staci Bartley: Well, I liked your idea. Why don't you tell me a story about what's coming up for you about contrast in our relationships?
[00:25:22] Tom Bartley: Well, one that comes immediately to my mind is Staci moved, to Sacramento from Salt Lake City and was in November of, 2011, Right.
[00:25:30] Tom Bartley: Mm-hmm and then lo and behold, in, in April of 2012. One of Staci's wonderful daughters, and five grandchildren at that point in time, needed some very significant help and was in a shelter and we needed to go pick her up.
[00:25:46] Staci Bartley: Mm-hmm we had to rescue her from a domestic violence relationship. She had five kids in tow and was pregnant with the sixth.
[00:25:52] Staci Bartley: And so by the way, this kind of, we said, you know, I thought that I'd hit a home run. And I, I thought it was gonna play out one way and then contrast started to play out in life. And it played out very differently. This was the beginning of that playing out very differently. And I ended up traveling to Salt Lake City to rescue my daughter and grandkids, and we brought 'em across to California and still really at that moment, didn't realize what it was that was going to unfold from that time forward and to be perfectly honest, it almost crippled our relationship. There was a moment in time, maybe four or five weeks after the fact of bringing her here to California that we weren't quite sure we were gonna make it. And all of us had to do a reevaluation of what works for us and what doesn't work for us and what we signed up for and what we didn't sign up for.
[00:26:42] Staci Bartley: And there was a tremendous amount of sharing and, and re-vetting, if you will, about what it is we wanted in our relationship and what it is we were going to create. As well as how we were feeling and what we were doing emotionally. Now, as this played out for me, I'll be the first to admit that I became very panicked as many of us can when we don't know what to do.
[00:27:03] Staci Bartley: And we forget about the principle or don't know, not only forget, but I forgot. You don't know the principle of contrast probably. And I started to like beg and plead and, and like try and corner Tom and try and like get pin him down and like reassure me that this is gonna be okay.
[00:27:20] Staci Bartley: Cause I can feel you pulling away. I can feel you shutting down and that's not what I want, you know, tell me, tell me you still really want this. Cause remember this is only six months into us building a life together. So it was relatively, it was many years ago, but it was very significant and, and Tom could only say one thing, what was it, babe?
[00:27:38] Staci Bartley: What did you tell me as I was going, honey, please, you know, talk to me, tell me about this. If I remember to love you, let me touch you.
[00:27:45] Tom Bartley: Give me some space. Back up. And let me take a breath and let me best I can, you know, really understand what I'm facing here. Be all in the, in the spirit of full disclosure.
[00:27:59] Tom Bartley: And that's a statement Staci and I use, you might wanna try that when you're getting ready to kinda share something maybe that you lay the card on the table, play the card on the table. That wasn't really in my profile if you will. Wasn't expecting that. No. Oh, kidding aside. So I, yeah, I just need some space to like, whew.
[00:28:19] Tom Bartley: Holy camole.
[00:28:21] Staci Bartley: And here's the thing about Tom. When he needs space, he can pull way back. He's usually very jovial and very emotionally expressive and, and such. And all of a sudden there was this huge piece of contrast were all of a sudden he retreats and goes missing and I start to panic. It's like, oh my gosh, what's happening?
[00:28:41] Staci Bartley: You won't talk to me about this. You won't share. You're right. And, and my thing is when I'm in that space personally, right? And this shows our individuality and our uniqueness. I want you close. I want you to touch me and hold me and reassure me. And so the fact that he would just go missing, like, it caused me to panic in ways I've never panicked before.
[00:29:03] Staci Bartley: And so all I know is come close, please be with me. Oh my, my gosh, we gotta be close. You can't leave me. And he's going yeah, you, you better back up. And thankfully we were able to, you know, understand these principles of contrast and how unique they are to each of us at that point in time. And then as we took some space and I allowed him space and I took some space to understand, geez, rather than worry about what he's gonna do.
[00:29:31] Staci Bartley: Maybe I need to kind of reconsider things for myself. Let's let me get clear here. What I wanna point out about our story is so many times in our relationships, we are so busy trying to figure out our partners that we don't figure out ourselves. And that was certainly my problem.
[00:29:50] Staci Bartley: I was trying to enroll Tom in the idea of how wonderful and how great and how incredible this could be despite everything that we were being called to take on. And instead, I didn't take time to figure out me, does this works for me? Is this gonna work? Is this something that I feel like we can venture in together?
[00:30:06] Staci Bartley: And what do I need and what's going on for me, and what's not working for me. And what do I need to ask for? Which are all principles of contrast. And so the space was brilliant. It gave us both time to consider where we were individual, as people before we tried to put it together in a relationship co-creating life together.
[00:30:29] Staci Bartley: And so the space was really good. And then there was this incredibly profound moment that came about when both of us took some time. I ended up staying at my daughter's house for a while because she needed the help. That's where I was called to be anyway. And there was a phone call that happened. And I, I want you to tell that part of the story.
[00:30:48] Tom Bartley: Yeah, well, you know, for me it was just like, you know, hey, this is not what I expected, but at the end of the day, you know, I just said, am I willing to, if this is not going to, you know, work out, is that gonna be okay for me? Meaning how would my life be if I didn't have Staci in it. And I sat with that and I came to the very clear con conclusion that that wouldn't work.
[00:31:10] Tom Bartley: So I need to step in and take all of this on. Wasn't what I expected, but, you know, welcome to the life experience. And it was clear from, from that vantage point. It was very, very simple, I would say, simple, not easy, simple for me to decide. No, I'm not willing to, I can't imagine my life without Staci and so let's put our heads together and continue to create permission and safety.
[00:31:35] Tom Bartley: Again, you, you all hear us say that over and over the two most important things. I just, we was just on a train ride from my birthday. I'll share that. But the young man said, Tom, what's, you know, what's the secret? I said, what's the secret is Adam is permission and safety between you and your lover. That's the secret. You can navigate anything if you have those two things.
[00:31:57] Staci Bartley: Well, and, and this experience that we're sharing with you put our permission and safety on steroids. Yes. Like we realized and recognized that this was the most important thing that we could protect and that we needed to keep our eye on for the long haul, because if there was safety to share, then we could share the difficult stuff, as well as the hopes and dreams that we are continuing to pursue as we navigate some very, very tumultuous waters.
[00:32:23] Tom Bartley: And as that contrast is happening and you're able to identify within you, what has changed? There was a radical change in what we had just shared. The important distinction here is when you're sharing that, you're sharing that from a place of "I". So I did not realize this was going to be part of what we were gonna be navigating that, you know, cuz when we stay with I you're sharing truly what's going on for you and you're not becoming accusational or accusing towards your partner.
[00:32:50] Tom Bartley: Cause let's be honest who wants to step into a place where they're feeling like they're ganged up on?
[00:32:54] Staci Bartley: Well, and this is a very important part that I, I appreciate you bringing up because we need to figure ourselves out and share where we are. Because the reality is we don't have the Intel of experiences of this principle of contrast for our partners.
[00:33:10] Staci Bartley: And boy, do we think we have it all figured out don't we mm-hmm and we spend so much time trying to figure out our partners that we never take the time to figure out ourselves. And that's so key, especially when it comes to the principle of contrast. And if we don't do that, then when we come to the table to share, I have nothing to share about myself and I attack where my partner is coming from.
[00:33:36] Staci Bartley: And it makes it very, very difficult for us to be open, to disclose, to be vulnerable, et cetera. And that's where we fight. Instead of making progress. We also try and avoid, you know, hurting somebody's feelings or, or not disappointing them. And that happens as well. But what we don't realize is if we don't lay that, that card on the table about where I am and where I'm not, and take what I say, the punch front, we end up living in pain for the long haul. Continuously, because the contrast for us about what doesn't work and what does, is not going to stop, and I will continue to feel the pain of this doesn't work for you. This doesn't work for you. You're not liking this. You're going along with this. Why don't you say something? Okay. This is gonna become a problem.
[00:34:28] Staci Bartley: And we can do a really good job of pushing that down initially. But as that plays out over weeks and months and years, pretty soon, it becomes raw and I become very oversensitive to it. And I don't even know why, because I'm not taking the time to explore myself. I'm just thinking about trying to get you to comply and conform to what I think is most important.
[00:34:52] Staci Bartley: What I think is valuable, how I want this to go and I need to coerce you into making me feel better. So it becomes a game of manipulation, a game of control, a game of push and pulls, where I'm trying to enroll you into my side. And you're trying to do the same for me. Hence the fighting and the cycles of fighting where we never get any better.
[00:35:14] Staci Bartley: That's very different from a conversation around this is where I'm at. This is where I go. This is what I'm experiencing. What are you experiencing? Tell me what's happening for you. And unless we allow the space and the safety to take hold there, we will continuously fight instead of understanding ourselves and our partners in new and profound ways.
[00:35:41] Tom Bartley: Yeah. And it's gonna definitely, this is where, what we like, you know, the title of this week's episode, this is where our relationship health is going to denigrate. It is going to spiral down. So if you can leave with anything again, when you're sharing this place of gosh, yeah, no, I am realizing I'm in a much different place than I was however long it was ago. Because that's all of us. Center your sharing around the I statement and then extend that gift and opportunity to your partner.
[00:36:13] Tom Bartley: And so then you're not coming from a place of accusation and pointing fingers.
[00:36:17] Staci Bartley: This is just where I am. This is just what I'm noticing. This is what I see works for me and doesn't work and what doesn't work for you. And this is how we begin to step into that idea of teaching our partners, how to love us best.
[00:36:30] Staci Bartley: And if I'm required to translate my thoughts and feelings into a language that first I can understand that truly is the gift that I contribute to my partner and vice versa, then sharing and communication and time together becomes about understanding instead of who's right and who's wrong and who's got it figured out and who doesn't. Because the reality is we all feel like our contrast and what we're experiencing is the right way.
[00:36:59] Tom Bartley: Share with us babe the, you use this with our private clients, the the the balloon analogy with specific to cause, sometimes people hear permission and safety, and again, you know, I'm emphatic about this physical safety goes without saying, that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about emotional safety, but share the balloon analogy with us.
[00:37:18] Tom Bartley: So I think everyone can get their arms around that.
[00:37:20] Staci Bartley: Yeah, Tom's highlighting the idea in our contrast. Is it playing out to create the safe place, to share our contrast, to lay our cards on the table? And safety is so paramount. This is where you wanna keep your eye on the ball because if we don't feel emotionally safe to share and disclose some of those things that are sometimes really hard to share, let's be honest...
[00:37:43] Staci Bartley: That's never gonna go away either. Right. There are gonna be some cards in the contrast that you need to lay down about what doesn't work for you that are gonna make your armpits sweat, right? They're gonna make your knees feel like they're a little shaky at times, and we need to have the safety to just go there. And this is where a lot of our communication frameworks will start to play out here in the work that we do, but we can't even go there until we understand the principle of contrast and how to emotionally work with me, myself, where I go, what happens inside of myself emotionally.
[00:38:15] Staci Bartley: And so safety becomes paramount and important. And the analogy that I love love, love, love is it takes effort and time to build safety. Mm-hmm and safety are literally at its core. Just permission. Permission for me to feel the way I feel and permission for you to feel differently. Permission for you to have the same experience.
[00:38:38] Staci Bartley: This is where I'm at. This is how I'm feeling. This is what I'm thinking. And I know that it's probably different on your side of the table and rather than try and figure that out, I wanna create a safe place for you to share that. So babe, you, you tell me where you're at and, and these are the conversations that Tom and I have all the time and this, this matchy matchy idea, that we become panicked about guys and gals...
[00:39:05] Staci Bartley: We are never on the same page realistically, because what I'm experiencing as a human being and what my partner is experiencing are very different things. These are composites of what I have experienced and been through long before you probably came together as a couple.
[00:39:25] Staci Bartley: And so I go certain places, I feel certain things that are very, very independent of you and our relationship, and we don't share those things anymore. And so this is what I call our internal movie, which is a byproduct of our contrast, our internal movies. Are simply how we script our lives. The narrative that we use to explain this is where I am. This is what's happening. And this is how I got there.
[00:39:54] Staci Bartley: And what's interesting about our internal movies that come from the contrast that we experience in our lives is when we understand them, they always make sense. The problem is we don't understand them. We don't understand why our partners do what we do.
[00:40:11] Staci Bartley: We completely understand why we do what we do because we understand the internal movie. We are creating the internal movie, so to speak. And so communication really at its core needs to be coming from a place of understanding. And that's a hard period. Communication is not to enroll or manipulate or coerce or control or belittle or to criticize.
[00:40:35] Staci Bartley: Those are all things that, in the end, sacrifice the safety to share and without emotional safety to share, what's playing out on my movie with my contrast, we all clamp up as you have never seen before we will not share. So our relationships become very surface. Very practical. We are checking boxes.
[00:41:00] Staci Bartley: We're doing the activities that we feel like good. You know, spouses do good partners. Do we take, we trash out? We pay the bills. We drop off the kids. We clean the house. We have our Friday night date. And yet there is no emotion because we are not sharing ourselves emotionally anymore.
[00:41:22] Tom Bartley: So again, back to that balloon then.
[00:41:23] Tom Bartley: So what would, what. The metaphor that you use, which I think is helpful. So safety in, in a very literal sense as far as a balloon is what?
[00:41:33] Staci Bartley: Well, so imagine a latex balloon and through each conversation we share, and we're very mindful about not criticizing, belittling, betraying, minimizing. Which is challenging for us because that's what we've been taught to do.
[00:41:50] Staci Bartley: Most of us, there's an unwinding there because that's what we've been taught to do. But as we do that with every round, right, and we get more and more clear about my contrast and my movie and narrative about my own life. I'm breathing air into that latex balloon. Whew.
[00:42:08] Staci Bartley: And it takes time and it takes effort and it takes patience, one blow at a time. And when I inflate that latex balloon notice, it's really easy to maintain that. And if someone does eke out a little bit, it only takes a breath to reinflate it again, and we're okay. What we unknowingly do is sacrifice safety when we don't understand the principle of contrast and how to share and talk about our contrast and our movies with our partners.
[00:42:41] Staci Bartley: And what ends up happening is we sit down to have a conversation and we go, I can't believe you would go there. Or why say you can't be home more, or, oh my gosh, I can't believe you would go there again. Right. And just like letting go of that latex balloon, all the safety has just left the room and everybody starts to clam up and withdraw.
[00:43:01] Staci Bartley: Right. And that's, that's going in the wrong direction. So if you ever wanna know the health and safety of your relationship, all we need to look to is how safe do you feel to share and express. The contrast of what works for you and what doesn't in your relationship. And if I keep the focus there, if safety, and it's so funny, because you know, in the world where I come from, you know, in business, in corporate America, you know, there's this saying that always says safety first.
[00:43:31] Staci Bartley: And safety is so first when it comes to our relationships, because without that emotional safety, and as Tom said, we're gonna assume that physical safety is already in place. If not, we need to address that first, but as we're growing our relationships and trying to get them back on track, emotional safety is what we want to protect.
[00:43:52] Staci Bartley: Because that is everything. Without it, we will not share our contrast. We will not explore our movies. We will not share our movies. And hence the connection that we once experienced at the beginning of our relationship will continue to break down, I call it the race to the bottom.
[00:44:09] Tom Bartley: And I would say every new conversation you have with this new awareness and understanding would be those initial breaths into that balloon.
[00:44:16] Tom Bartley: All of us have blown a, you know, balloon up and in the beginning, you know, it's like, dang, doesn't seem like I'm making much progress, you know? And then a little bit more, a few more breaths than if you, then you start to make progress. So each just views that as each conversation you have and a new way where you coming from this place of "I" here, how I am feeling, here's what I didn't expect.
[00:44:35] Tom Bartley: Again in extending that privilege and honor to your partner, you know, you continue to keep that balloon a little more air, a little more air, you know, a little more safety, a little more permission. And then when we make some backtracks, which we're going to, you know, some of it can come out or all of it can come out well, that's okay.
[00:44:51] Tom Bartley: Then you, you know, you start again, but that, that that's you, that seemed to be very helpful and gets people to have their arms around this place, cuz this is a different place than what you often hear outside of this conversation.
[00:45:02] Staci Bartley: Yeah and recognize and accept that relationships take work. And that work is a composite of engagement and time.
[00:45:11] Staci Bartley: And so many times we feel like we just need to get this problem solved without realizing, Hey, we can talk about and explore where I go personally in that challenge or in that problem. Many many, many times, and every round counts, it does. So if it takes 20 times to get through it to a new place of understanding, if it takes us 50 times to get through it, that's okay.
[00:45:32] Staci Bartley: Because as a result, as a byproduct, you're becoming more clear and understanding about yourself as a person. And becoming more clear and understanding your partner as a person. And that's what creates the unfolding connection, whether we're sharing the parts of the contrast that are exciting and wonderful and I can't wait and we're dreaming together.
[00:45:51] Staci Bartley: Or I'm sharing the parts that I'm struggling with, and that is hard for us and that, you know, I'm stuck in and this is where I am and to do just have somebody allow that permission to be where you are and feel the way you feel and for you to give that gift to your partner.
[00:46:05] Staci Bartley: That's huge. That's what builds safety. And you find that as you start to play with this, as you get more clear about what contrast is playing out for you, knowing it's gonna change you, don't get yourself stuck in a place where you can't change your mind and things don't roll over and you don't put your partner in that place either.
[00:46:24] Staci Bartley: And then you start to be able to go deeper and you start to be able to have an easier time of working through the inevitable challenges that are going to play out in your relationship. And once we understand these principles, then we've gotta be able to willingly run the miles we have to practice because this is something you're gonna get good at over time with practice.
[00:46:44] Staci Bartley: And as you begin today, just start thinking about what works for you and what doesn't, how things have changed over time. What are the things that you would love to be able to freely speak about and explore in your relationship? And then we can be ready to step into some of the communication that will be helpful in how to say what we need to say without shutting the conversation down and sacrificing that safety.
[00:47:08] Staci Bartley: I know that's a lot to take in today, right? I hope that your takeaways are, you recognize the importance and the principle of contrast that you realize it's unfolding all the time, that you understand and realize why we go to time and conversation as a go-to it's because we know we need to spend time there to reestablish our connection.
[00:47:26] Staci Bartley: And that's true. And safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to relational health. Without it, we can't spend time. We won't spend time and we won't have the ability to share what it is that's going on inside of me, that permission is gone. And by the way, last and, and exclamation point, what's happening for you inside of you with your principal contrast is always different than what your partners are.
[00:47:52] Staci Bartley: And as much as you think you have it, it out, I would behoove you to allow them to tell you about that instead, after all, you don't have access to the Intel that they do. Okay. We're gonna take a quick break and we're gonna come back with a little fun.
[00:48:12] Staci Bartley: Hey babe, did you know that the average couple spends only two hours a day with each other? And the majority of that time is spent eating, watching TV, and surfing social media rather than connecting. And if children are involved, my gosh, it's even less time.
[00:48:26] Tom Bartley: I know babe. That's why you created our Conversation Cards For Connection because they're the perfect conversation starter.
[00:48:31] Tom Bartley: So the next time you're sitting on the couch, rather than turning on the TV or grabbing your phone, pull out a card and get ready for some good old-fashioned laughter and loving connection.
[00:48:39] Staci Bartley: Yeah and you can get your cards at stacibartley.com.
[00:48:41] Announcer: Real people, real life, real radio alternative talk 1150.
[00:48:47] Tom Bartley: Welcome back inside of Love Shack, Tom, and Staci, we're gonna step right into the follow the fun. What is the fun we are following Mrs. Bartley?
[00:48:53] Staci Bartley: Oh, yes. Well, because we're talking about the importance of time. I thought it might be fun. Put this time conversation in a fun context, because it is about creating the time, and here's the thing.
[00:49:05] Staci Bartley: Time and effort expended are usually more appreciated than the money spent.
[00:49:09] Tom Bartley: Yeah. I'll give you a great recent example, Staci... I love trains. I'm not sure where that comes from. I love trains. So on my birthday, Staci said, we're gonna go on a, a, a local train ride. I didn't even know it existed for a couple of hours where you have some wine and look at the beautiful countryside, but what was most special about that?
[00:49:25] Tom Bartley: Staci? You know, the time and the interest and to find this, I didn't even, and I've lived here for many long years, longer than Staci. So it was meant a lot to me that she would go and, and seek that out and plan that for me, that was huge. I mean, I mean, the event was fun, but just the intention of it and, and what, what it took to, to pull it off was, really, really meant a lot to me.
[00:49:48] Staci Bartley: So let's explore ways that we can share more time. And there's a couple of things that I would just in hope that, that. We can do differently, which is don't go grocery shopping on Friday night. This is a time for you to relax and share the week. So take that time, make it important.
[00:50:04] Staci Bartley: And don't do your laundry on Sunday or Saturday mornings. Those are great opportunities for us to take our time to slow down and make some love slowly, intently, share some coffee, take a long walk together. Utilize those breaks and times to your advantage when it comes to your relationship.
[00:50:22] Tom Bartley: Yeah, you can save some time by shopping online. You reorganize time by, you know, organizing your chores and errands together so you can be real, more efficient.
[00:50:31] Staci Bartley: Yeah. And you can hire people. I mean, even like younger people, it doesn't even have to be professionals, that are wanting to make a few bucks to like mow the grass and do some of the yard work, or even head to the grocery store with you. So that you can create more time to do some of these things that we talk about here in the show.
[00:50:48] Staci Bartley: And you know what, babe, you can find time, time by planning together. So plan together, understand what's happening on everybody's calendar. And when you have these moments to meet for a quick lunch or, you know, meet after work for a quick, you know, drink a bottle of wine or share of a, a favorite beverage, these are, are the things that create the moments that matter most.
[00:51:13] Staci Bartley: So take 'em.
[00:51:15] Tom Bartley: Get on our fun list every week. You know, the first Thursday, first show, every month we do a giveaway. And so get on our fun list. You can find all about that on our website.
[00:51:25] Staci Bartley: Yeah, with time on our site, you can break out of a rut. Plan some fun and take time to make love. Which is what we all know we need to do.
[00:51:33] Tom Bartley: Speaking of time, we are now into the last part of this episode as we land, and Mrs. Bartley, what are we feeling this week?
[00:51:41] Staci Bartley: This is a song that we choose for every single episode that we have ever done. And today I love this song, it's so delightful. And because we've been talking about right this contrast and how it plays out, there's a wonderful song by Michael Franti who says life is better with you.
[00:51:57] Staci Bartley: This was the realization that Tom and I came to, that life is better with you. And even though we're going through a lot of challenges, it's better with you. And so let's figure a way through this. He says in his song every day is not Valentine's day, but you make the best of it. And life is just better with you and some days or better than others, but these days, life is still better with you.
[00:52:20] Staci Bartley: And it's such a delightful song and the video is incredible. So I encourage you to pull it up on YouTube. It is a great experience of what's possible when we learn how to share the contrast that we are experiencing digitally and come to that realization conclusion. Life is better with you, babe.
[00:52:38] Tom Bartley: Absolutely. Wouldn't change a thing.
[00:52:41] Staci Bartley: So check out this week's song. You can do that on our website. We have a Spotify playlist to make it easy for you to experience and feel what it is we've talked about today in regards to the realm of contrast. So, that's it for this week's episode of Love Shack live, and if by chance you have a conversation about sex, love, and relationships, you would like to hear us talk about or a question you would like us to answer, we are committed to having the conversations that matter most to you.
[00:53:06] Staci Bartley: So again, you can do that on our website as well. Special thank you to you our listeners. It's so fun to see the show grow and download, and thank you so much for sharing it with your friends and family. That means the world to us as we spread this message and create more love in the world.
[00:53:21] Tom Bartley: And a special thank you to KKNW the entire team and our incredible producer, Eric Rider.
[00:53:25] Tom Bartley: Thank you so much. And if you need some assistance to maybe talk about this contrast with your partner, reach out to us and you get on our list for our book launch, lifetimeoflove.me. We're gonna be having some fun specials right out of the gate. It's gonna be free for a few days after the launch.
[00:53:41] Tom Bartley: You don't wanna miss that until next time we will see you come on back next week and join us.
[00:53:46] Staci Bartley: We have more conversations right here are in the Love Shack until we see you again. Have it incredible bye for now. We'll be in touch soon.
[00:54:03] Announcer: Thanks for joining us today in the love shack, we hope you came away with something that made your toes tingle. To learn more about everything you heard on today's show. Go to Stacibartley.com/podcast. Love the show? Help us spread the love by sharing the show with others.
[00:54:23] Announcer: Okay. Everybody time ago. We've got to close the doors to the love shack for this week. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Come back next week though, and join us for another edition of love shack live with Tom & Staci Bartley.
Relationships are hard.
We all know that relationships take work, but it's not always clear what we should be keeping an eye on to know whether or not our relationship is healthy.
In today's episode, we're going to teach you our simple formula for getting your relationship back on track when you feel the connection between you and your partner atrophying, and share how you can tell when your relationship health needs a boost.
Hi! We are Staci & Tom Bartley and we help committed couples rescue their relationships so they can finally create long-lasting love without having to spend hours analyzing their past, beating themselves up, or feeling like they are making no progress. We do this via sharing our unique frameworks, teaching new tools and skills, one on one sessions, and through our signature courses Relationship Rescue and Love For A Lifetime.
When it comes to our relationships, it can be overwhelming when trying to figure out what to do in order to make them better.
Most of us don't know how to go about doing this, because we've never been taught. So when we feel like our relationship is slipping away from us, we usually say things like "Hey, we need to talk!" or "You're never home anymore!" without realizing that these statements usually turn into fights.
The good news is that there is a way to avoid this. And the secret lies in how you are looking at the situation. What you may not realize is there is a void between where you are, and where you desire to go.
Recognize and accept that relationships take work.
One of the best things you can do for your relationship is to accept that relationships take work. This means that you will need to put in the effort if you want to make things better.
It's not always going to be easy, but it's worth it. So make sure you are both committed to working on your relationship, and be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day, and your relationship won't be fixed overnight either, and that's ok!
Keep an eye on the void between where you are, and where you desire to go.
The best way to figure out if your relationship needs a boost is to keep an eye on the void between where you are, and where you desire to go. This means that you need to be aware of the areas in your relationship where you are struggling.
The difference between viewing this void with a "get to" and adding some understanding and skills, versus thinking of it as a "have to" and doing a lot of mind-reading and guessing, is huge. If you can get into this mindset, then you too can experience a deeper connection in your relationship.
So make sure you are taking the time to talk to your partner about your relationship and be honest about where you are struggling. This way you can work together to find a solution that works for both of you.
Understand how relationships really work.
In order to have a healthy relationship, it's important that you understand how relationships work. This means learning about the different stages that couples go through, and what to do in order to make sure your relationship is successful.
It's also important to be aware of the common challenges that couples face, and how to handle them constructively.
Last but not least, you need to know the most important thing that you need to keep an eye on in order to maintain the health of your relationship. So make sure you are taking the time to learn about all of this, so you can apply it in your own relationship and have the love you always wanted.
We hope that this episode has helped you to understand the importance of keeping an eye on your relationship health, and provides you with some useful tips on how to do so. If you are committed to making things better, then be patient and keep working at it. The results will be worth it!
Thank you for tuning in!
Links mentioned in show:
- Get on the book list so you can stay up to date here: lifetimeoflove.me
- How To Stop A Fight In 20-Seconds Or Less. Get Your Free Cheat Sheet Here.
- Relationship Check-up - tired of re-hashing your issues with your partner without making progress? Schedule your check-up today!
- Get on the fun list here.
- Check out our Love Shack Live Playlist for all the songs we play on the show.