Hey everybody, welcome back to the Partnership Aligned podcast. I am so excited to be back here with you. I missed you guys last week. I was in the middle of a tech crisis and just could not record or produce a podcast so it’s the first time that’s happened in 18 months. It definitely felt a little weird for me but also it gave me an opportunity to really celebrate my consistency. You know 18 months of putting out a podcast every single week- that’s amazing! 

So moving on! This week what I’d really love to talk about is a topic that is the underlying nuance of a lot of my work but I don’t think I’ve done a whole episode to just really tackle it. Parts of other podcast episodes maybe but not a full one.

So what I want to talk about today is this idea that you can actually fix your relationship without fixing your partner, OK. And I’m gonna explain to you why and how that works. But first I want to recognize that there is a lot of resistance to this idea because logic would tell you that if there are two people in a relationship, then both people need to be working on that relationship in order for it to change or improve.

 And I understand that is sound logic. However, relationships are not logical. Relationships are energetic. Relationships are emotional, relationships are spiritual, so we can’t always apply logic to things that are not logical.

 The truth is, and I’ve got plenty of evidence and testimony to speak to this, that you actually can improve your marriage without your partner ever being part of the process. You guys have probably heard me talk about my favorite metaphor or analogy. I’ll never learn the difference, but my favorite analogy for relationships is doing the waltz.

Two people are ballroom dancing. They’re doing the waltz. One person takes a step forward and so the other person takes a step back. Then that person leads the other person in a twirl and so that person goes ahead and twirls.It’s a dance. It’s a dynamic where both people are playing a part.

Even if you hate doing the waltz, even if your partner is the one that takes that step first meaning they are the initiator of the toxic dynamic, you are still taking a step back and making space for that dynamic in your life. You are accepting it into your life by taking that step back, and when they go to try and twirl you if you go ahead and twirl, you are part of the dynamic- even if you were not the initiator.

This concept is so important to understand because it is the foundation of what I’m going to teach you today, so remember you are contributing to the dynamic even if you don’t like it, and even if you didn’t start it simply by continuing the dance.

 And I talk a lot about not taking the step back and maybe even going and sitting down and that’s really what I want to talk about today. How do you sit down from a dance that you’ve been involved in for a very long time? 

Well, the answer comes in a couple of different ways. There are two routes to changing how you conduct yourself in your marriage. Now I’m going to tap into a little bit of cognitive behavioral therapy. You can either go the cognitive route which means that you change your thoughts about your partner and therefore your feelings and behaviors change as well or you can go the behavioral route and just exercise some willpower in doing something different and then you’ll see the benefits which will then change your thoughts and your feelings.

There really is no right or wrong answer. Although there might be a right or wrong answer for you. OK this is why coaching is so important. When I’m working with someone I can tell by their mindset and by the dynamic and by how much work they’ve done whether they need to go the cognitive route or the behavioral route.

Either way I get people there -and much quicker than you think. The reason that people stay suffering in a dynamic for so long and just get stuck is because they don’t know how to sit down and this is what I wanna talk about today.

So first let’s talk about the behavioral route because that’s the easier one to tackle. The behavioral route says I’m going to do something different regardless of how triggered I feel by my partner. 

So if when my partner gives me the silent treatment, I usually am running after them and saying why won’t you talk to me? Why won’t you sit down and have a conversation with me? I hate that you ignore me. You’re such an ass. and then maybe I go ahead and ignore them as well…. if that is how I usually respond and react to my partner, giving me the silent treatment, taking a behavioral route to sitting down from this waltz would be doing something different.

So, for example, I might decide to say to my partner while he’s giving me the silent treatment, “Hey, I can see that you are so hurt that you’re deciding to resort to the silent treatment. I want you to know that I’m here to talk when you’re ready but until then, I’m just gonna go on with my life because I don’t really have the energy for this.”

 When you say that in a calm tone, and when it comes from a place of just certainty as opposed to a place of revenge and anger- it actually works really beautifully. Because you’ve now sat down. I’m gonna give you a little spoiler alert- if any of you have a partner who’s giving you the silent treatment they don’t actually want you to be silent they’re giving you the silent treatment to either punish you or get attention from you. It is a manipulation tactic. OK I have an entire episode on this, ep 80 titled The Silent Treatment. I will link that for you in the show notes. In that episode I talk about how I used to be the one giving the silent treatment so it’s very much from the perspective of the person who gives it.

 Anyway, that is an example of how you would behaviorally just do something different. Instead of taking that step back when they take that step forward, you just decide to go sit down. Now your partner has two options: either they keep dancing without you and they just give you the silent treatment even though they’re not getting what they want back or they decide to come and sit down with you, meaning they do something different.

 I’ve seen it go both ways and I’ve seen it be interchangeable. This is a process. Now let’s talk about the cognitive route, which is a little bit more complicated because even though changing our behaviors is really difficult, changing our thoughts is more mysterious, right? 

You can easily identify how to change your behavior. You just literally do something different. It might be difficult but it’s simple. It’s something that you can figure out on your own. maybe you can’t do it on your own, but you can figure out what it would look like. But in terms of the cognitive route, in terms of learning how to change your thoughts, that is something a little bit more mysterious, and a little bit more complicated.

Why? Because a lot of our thoughts are a product of our core beliefs, which came into our life when we were very very young- most often before we were even really conscious so if you find yourself really being a slave to your own thoughts- racing thoughts, lots of worrying, lots of resentment, lots of spewing venom at your partner in your head then you probably need to go the cognitive route.

And I have a specific tool, called the Thought model that I am trained and certified in that I teach my clients how to change their thoughts and yes, the first step is always awareness for sure, and I’m gonna teach you guys the first step here that I actually teach in my program, I can’t take you all the way through the process it’s really something that takes some one on one time and some guidance and I have a whole course that’s coming out to teach how to do this as well but for now I just wanted to give you that first step. 

The first step is just to start identifying what is a fact and what is my thought. So for example, if you’re struggling with resentment, you may have a thought that says my partner doesn’t care about me, or my partner doesn’t respect me or my partner doesn’t get me… and I know that you think that this is a fact, but I promise you it is your thought. 

A fact is something that is provable in a court of law; the weather is a fact,  traffic is a fact, the time of day is a fact, what your partner actually said is a fact, what your partner actually did is a fact, what you have said, or did in the past that you can no longer change- that is a fact .These are things that can be proven. 

These are facts and they’re neutral. And what I mean by that is that your partner could say something like “I don’t want to go out tonight” and you might interpret that as he doesn’t want to spend time with me and someone else might interpret that as oh he’s tired. 

OK this is a very basic example. There are much more nuanced examples, but for the sake of really driving home the efficacy of this tool, I just want to use simple examples. Another example would be if you are in the kitchen making dinner and there are kids hanging all over you and your partner is like on the couch on the phone you might interpret that as he doesn’t care and doesn’t want to help me. Someone else might interpret that as oh he doesn’t notice what’s going on and I need to ask for help.It’s the same exact fact it’s the same circumstance- I am in the kitchen, kids are on me I am cooking, husband is on the couch looking at his phone. Those are the facts. Your interpretation of those facts comes from some kind of core fear or belief.

That belief might be something like “I’m on my own here, I have to do everything myself” or it might be “he thinks this is my job”. I mean it could come from the dynamic between your parents growing up. There’s so much here, this is why coaching is so important.

So why is it so important to separate facts from thought? Well, the entire world is walking around thinking that they’re feeling the way they’re feeling because of what’s going on around them, they think that there are certain circumstances in their life that just cause them to feel a certain way. This gets me really riled up because one thing I really hate is victimhood. I know that there are actual real victims and that’s different. I’m talking about when you make yourself a victim because you are not empowered to see that it is actually your thought, your interpretation, your story, your narrative about your circumstance that causes you to feel the way you feel.

Once you really learn that, once you get good at that, once you practice that, what you will see is that it is not the actual circumstance around you. It is your thoughts about it, and this my friends is the best news that I can give you because you can change your thoughts you cannot change your circumstances. Well sometimes you can change your circumstances, and I’m all for that if it’s an aligned fix for you, but you may not want to change your circumstances or you may not be able to.

Being able to change your thoughts, learning the process to identify the difference between your circumstance, and your thought, and then learning the process of changing your thoughts so that you can feel differently, and then do something different and then have a different result. That is the entire point of my work. 

I’m not here to convince you whether you should stay with your partner or not. I’m not here to change your partner. I am here to show you how to change your entire experience within your relationship without your partner needing to change.

Now if you’re still saying, “but my partner needs to change,” I understand you I really do, I felt this way as well when I was married to an addict. It was a circumstance. It was a fact that he was on drugs and you might be saying to yourself there’s really not too many ways to think about that, but actually, there are because our thoughts about the things around us are actually our thoughts about how it affects us and I can decide that I will work hard to find inner peace and alignment. 

Even with a partner who is not sober! And when I shifted into that thought everything changed for me. I was no longer a victim of his addiction. So if I can find peace within a relationship where the other person isn’t even sober, I promise you you can find peace in anything! And I can show you how. The best part about this work -actually it’s not the best part, the best part is that you get to feel peaceful no matter what- but one of the amazing byproducts of this work is that it is contagious .

Not in every single relationship have I seen this, but in a lot of them, I’ve seen that when one person decides to change, decides to sit down and not do the waltz anymore the dynamic is dismantled and the other person eventually does something different as well. 

This work is contagious and you might be asking yourself “why should I be the one to change?” He should be the one to change!” And my answer to that is why not you?And I don’t mean that as a rhetorical question. I really want you to take a minute and ask yourself why am I resistant to being the one that does things differently and changes first?

A lot of times, the answer that I hear is “well I feel like I’m always the one that has to do the work or has to change” And to that I say congratulations! You get to be the one that decides when change happens. That is amazing. Embrace the fact that you are willing to do the work, willing to make changes, and yes, it’s hard and yes, it takes time but that journey is what brings you closer to being the woman that you want to be.

 So if this episode resonates for you, if you are craving a change from the inside, if you are willing to put aside the idea that both people need to do something different. If you are willing to take a chance -actually it’s not a chance because it works every time – but if you are willing to do the work, if you’re willing to get uncomfortable, if you’re willing to be the solution to your own problem, if you’re willing to be the hero in your own story, then I am the right coach for you.

 If you are dead set on being right, if you are dead set on changing your partner, I am not the right coach for you, but if everything I said today resonates for you then it’s definitely worth hopping on a free call with me to see if we’re a good fit for each other. 

So scroll down, let’s have a free call or you can email me at elana@nullpartnershipaligned.com and let’s talk about how you’re going to save your marriage and your family. Let’s give your kids the childhood they deserve. Let’s give your kids a successful relationship when they’re adults because they’re going to go look for what they witness growing up. That’s just psychology. Familiarity trumps positivity. Your kids will go looking for the dynamic that is familiar to them, so give them a fighting chance and give yourself a better experience in your relationship. All right guys that’s all I have for you this week till next time have an amazing, amazing week.