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Episode 22 - There Must Be Something Wrong with Him

Episode 22 Overview

We may not like to admit it, but we tend to have some opinions about our husbands. Whether he's too messy, bad with money, or not taking his job seriously enough (or too seriously!), it's very common to forget that these are only our opinions and not a true fact. In this episode I'm going to teach you how to coach yourself when you are getting frustrated with your husband. 

You can also sign up for my course starting in May here and get free access to the first class immediately.


00:01 Episode 22: There's Something Wrong With Him.

00:17 Welcome to the First Year Married Podcast where we get real about building the marriage of your dreams. I'm Marriage Coach Kayla Levin and I take newly married and engaged women from anxious and insecure to confident and connected. Through practical tips, real-life inspiration and more than a little self awareness along the way.

00:39 Hey ladies, welcome back. I hope you're up for this because I'm in a little bit of a ranty mood today and that's what you're going to be getting because I'm hearing from a lot of you. I'm so glad I'm hearing from you and I'm so excited that I don't just get to be a marriage coach, but I get to be a marriage coach with people who have the humility and self awareness to understand that the world might not be exactly the way they think it is. Right? And that their brain might be playing some tricks on them, or they might have their own stuff coming up.

01:10 It's just amazing to be able to take the work of learning about marriage and relationships and male/female dynamics and go so much deeper into this self knowledge and self awareness that we get when we apply the model, and we apply this thought work. So here's what I wanted to talk to you about today, which is that I'm hearing from a lot of you that there's something wrong with your husband. Right? And it's obvioulsy different for all of you. So those of you who are listening who are married, which is most of you, try to identify what this thing is for you as I'm giving examples.

01:44 So some of you tell me that your husband doesn't know how to eat healthy. Some of you tell me that he's not very good at his job, or he doesn't really know how to be organized. He never really learned how to clean up after himself. Some of you have opinions about his parenting, he doesn't really understand because he didn't take all the classes that you took. Okay? And the thing is, is that when you tell this to me, I can hear from the way that you're describing it that you are seeing this as a fact. Right? Your husband doesn't know how to eat healthy. Let's just say that, that's the one.

02:14 So you know, you've found out from his most recent doctor's appointment, he's not doing well, he really needs to lose some weight, but he really doesn't know what to do. Yeah? The reason that this is a challenge is that when we're dealing with something, which is really a thought, yeah? All of those examples are thoughts. My husband's not good at his job, my husband's not very funny, he's not a very patient person. Right? Whatever the thing is that you've sort of decided about him, it does not feel like a decision it feels like an observation. Right? Like you're out there, you're observing him, you're learning about him and this is the conclusion that you've come to.

02:51 And I get that, because especially early on in the marriage we're surprised by our husband's behavior. Right? So we want to kind of box them in a little bit so that they're less surprising to us. But when we do that we have to be so on top of ourselves in realizing that all you're doing is applying a thought, and a thought isn't true. Okay? I am not saying you're wrong, I am not saying you can't think that thought, all I'm saying is that it's only a thought. People can get upset about this right?

03:25 Because if they're telling me, "My husband's not very patient or my husband's not good with money." And I say, "Well that's a thought." So the immediate reaction that I get from people, especially if they haven't been doing a lot of thought work is, "You mean I just have to put up with it? Are you saying I just have to deal with it? Like I can't express myself when I don't like the way that they're acting. I can't tell them when they're wrong. I can't tell them anything, I just have to keep my mouth shut?" And the answer is no. You can absolutely do anything you want, and you can absolutely think anything that you want.

03:56 But when you observe something, okay I'm going to go to money. I like this one, especially because we're doing money in May right? So let's focus on money. So you look at your husband, you say, "My husband's not very good with money." Okay? And you have tons of evidence to support that. When you met, you weren't in debt, and he was. He had credit card bills, and he buys things you don't really agree with. Right? You don't really see why a video game is a worthwhile investment. And you know, he paid a bill late also. Like maybe, you even had the lights shut off. You've got tons of evidence about how he's not good with money.

04:31 And so you come to me about how can I deal with being married to a guy who's not good with money? And we can take that, and we can work with that. Yeah, we can say, Okay let's just say he's not good with money. And now I can sort of say like maybe it's great to be married to someone who's not good with money, because it'll make me more responsible. Or maybe this is some kind of punishment for something that I did once and now I just need to learn to deal with it. It'll make me a better person because I'll learn patience. I don't buy any of that. I'm sorry, I don't think that, that's going to work for you. I think what's much more freeing for you, but also for your husband, is that you say to yourself, "That's just a thought that he's not good with money. It's totally just a thought."

05:16 Stick him in a room with a bunch of people who won the lottery and then lost it all, and he's going to look like Bill Gates. Or what's the guy who lives in the really humble house, but he actually made tons of money? My husband's listening to this right now and he's screaming it because he's editing the podcast. What's his name? Okay, you guys are all going to write in and tell me who I'm thinking of. I hope you know who I'm talking about, he's like a stock market genius, and he made tons of money in investment, but he's still very humble. Okay. You'll tell me. Right?

05:45 So my point being, back to the point. You stick him in a room with a bunch of people who lost all their lottery winnings, and he's going to look like, oh, I almost had the name. He's going to look like he really knows what he's doing. Buffet, Warren Buffet. Yes, I got it. Okay. You were writing in already. Thank you. Right? So he's going to look like Warren Buffet in that comparison. But you stick him next to you or you stick him next to some people who ... Okay, so all I'm saying is everything is relative and everything you tell yourself, you're just going to get more evidence for. So yes, you have a file folder of all the reasons he's not good with money, but the only reason you really have that, is because you had the thought and so your brain went to go gather evidence.

06:31 And if you had had the thought that whole time, which I see that, that might have been hard for you. But if you had had the thought, he's pretty good with money, or he knows what he's doing with money, or he has certain values that he keeps to with money. You'd have a file folder on that too. And it can be really hard for us to separate from this stuff, because you guys really believe there's like this thing that's wrong with your husband. Yeah? And it can be really hard to accept that maybe you're wrong about that. I want to offer to you and not because I just want to bully you and be mean to you and make everything your fault.

07:07 But because as long as there's just something wrong with him, the only thing you can do is deal with it or leave. Right? Those are your only choices. Or I guess you could just be miserable at him, you know, and cranky. None of these are attractive choices. I don't know about you, I'm not interested in any of these. But when I say to myself, Wait a second. My brain offered me this sentence called my husband's bad with money, and I ran with it. But what is actually the case? Maybe what's actually the case is the bill wasn't paid, and the lights got turned off.

07:46 So now I'm going to go really neutral into what actually happened. Taking away the blame, I'm taking away interpretation, I'm not using adjectives. What actually happened that everybody would agree on? Okay? So let's say the bill didn't get paid, and the lights were turned off. So now you immediately, immediately have access to so many other perspectives on what happened. Okay?

08:13 First of all, I could be okay with that the lights got turned off. Because if my husband's not good with money, and the lights got turned off, so now I'm in panic mode. Because I'm living in this reality called my husband's not good with money and now I'm seeing I can even really rely on basic utilities. And so now I'm spiraling. Right? Now there's so many things I don't know if I can trust. Like what if we lose healthcare, health insurance and then someone gets into an accident, God forbid? Like right? I'm spiraling. But if all I'm looking at is the bill wasn't paid, and the lights were turned off, then that's really all that happened. Yeah?

08:54 So I might look at that and go, "Oh, when you don't pay your bill, they turn off your lights. Let's go pay the bill, hon." Right? Or I might go, "You know what? I do want to encourage my husband to stay in charge of the bills. We decided he's in charge of bills so this has nothing to do with me. The bill didn't get paid, the lights got turned off, I don't need to comment. I don't need to be involved in this. This is his domain and unless he asks me for me help, or he asks me to get involved, I'm going to assume that he's going to call the company, and he's going to take care of it." Yeah?

09:29 But what I hear from a lot of you is that what you want to do is you want to make sure he knows that he should turn the lights back on. Right? And this is something that I've seen to be so true with parenting, and I hesitate to make any parenting marriage comparisons. The only reason I'm okay with this is that he can do the same for you. I'm not implying that your husband is like a child, but that there is a certain amount of respect in allowing life to take its consequences and allowing other people to just learn from those consequences. Okay?

10:05 So let's say your husband wants to buy something that's a bad investment. So you could express your concern about that. I'm not saying you can't, but I want you to know that you also have the option to choose from, among many options. You also have the option to say, "I don't really want to be his financial manager. I'm not interested in playing that role in this relationship. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to call that money a sunk cost. Okay? That money's out the window. As soon as he invests it, I'm not looking to see it come back." I will see this because we share money right? So I'm not going to expect you to suddenly be like, "Well who cares what happens." Right? But what I would say in this situation is as soon as the money's invested, you don't expect any return on it and you are considering that money invested in the process of learning how to invest in money.

11:01 Now this only works if you're willing to not comment, not criticize, and there's no, "I told you so" later. So where does this play in with your kid? So instead of chasing your child out the door with a coat because they'll be too cold, you say, "Goodbye", when they're walking out the door. And then when they come home at the end of the day, and they say, "Mom, I couldn't play it recess, it was freezing." You'd go, "Oh, was your coat still on the hook?" They go, "Yeah." "Ugh, I'm so sorry. That must have been a really boring recess for you." "Yeah." Great. Look, life just gave me an opportunity to not have to be involved. Right?

11:43 Again, what I see a lot and this isn't true for everyone, but it's true for a lot of us. It's true especially for our Type A perfectionist types out there, and I feel you in a very real way. If that describes you even sometimes. Which is that we feel the need to sort of comment, we feel the need to choose structure and to really the word is criticize, but that's not how it feels to us. Right? The lights get turned off, and we feel like we need to tell them. "The lights got turned off, you need to call the company." Right? And the process that I have found to be so unbelievably useful, in terms of I don't have to deal with it anymore, this doesn't have to be my job. I don't have to be responsible, I don't have to be breathing down anyone's neck. I get to relax and take a break from that.

12:29 That's number one okay? Is that you just say, "Okay, I'm not going to worry about it. If he said he's going to pay the bill, I'm going to just totally trust that he's going to pay the bill. And I'm also going to be okay with that he might make a mistake." And one of the thoughts that I love to come back to a lot in my marriage, is I want to be in the kind of marriage where people can make mistakes sometimes. Okay? So instead of thinking of it like the lights might get turned off, and I'm really panicked about that, and I'm really scared about that.

12:58 It could be he said he's going to take care of it, so I trust he's going to take care of it. And you know what? If the lights get turned off, that just means he didn't learn this lesson yet in life and he's going to have a chance to learn it now. And I'm excited to be part of a marriage where you get to make mistakes, and I don't have to be embarrassed or ashamed. Because sometimes I'm going to show up and make a mistake too and that's fine. Right?

13:20 I have this also with newlyweds when their husbands are very cranky or like start to express like they're having a really hard time emotionally. Yeah, even those of you who are dealing with husbands with depression, this comes up a lot. And sometimes instead of that sort of what do I do to fix this? Yeah? Then, and again, I'm talking about from your perspective. If there is a mental illness, if there is depression, then obviously I am not the person saying who should be getting more medication or anything like that. That's way beyond this scope of a life coach. But from the perspective of the wife looking and saying, "There's something wrong here, there's something wrong with him, he won't get off the couch. Or he's not engaged with life, or he's not going to work."

14:07 Something instead you could say like, "We're facing like a whole life together and there's going to be highs and lows for both of us and this is going to be the kind of marriage where that's fine. And I'm just going to be there for him where he's at and that's going to be okay. We're not going to be in a hurry to change anything." I think that that feeling of being in a hurry, that's a really good red flag for you. If you feel like he needs to learn a lesson right now, or he needs to change his behavior right now. This is a really good sign that it's time to stop and to look at your thoughts. Okay? Because you're probably sort of working under that, like I said in the very beginning, you're working from a place of whatever the thing is. That he's bad with money, or he's not functioning or whatever it is. You're acting like that is the reality on the ground instead of just a thought that you're having in your brain when you're looking at the reality.

15:02 Like it's the glasses that you're wearing. Yeah? The color of your glasses is my husband's non-functional. And so now you're going to see a world in which you have a non-functional husband. But you could also just put down the glasses and then just look at him and then all that's happening is he's on the couch right now. Yeah? And so we take away all that sort of emotional charge, we take away that hurry. We take away that need for things to change right now. And this is where the work becomes really powerful and this is why the work is actually more empowering than trying to change him.

15:36 I think I talked about this in a recent episode. Right? Which is it's not you just have to deal with, it's not you just have to put up with it. It's that you're creating it in the first place. You're the reason that this is creating a lot of anxiety, you're the reason. We have these rules right? Like husbands are supposed to act like this, people are supposed to do this. This is how bills should be paid. And then we come across somebody, especially if we're married to them, who's not following our rule book. And it's very hard for us to step back and be like, "Wait a second, I just made a rule once upon a time and that rule is just mine. I just made it up in my brain. It's not a solid concrete reality that were all existing in."

16:21 So for those of you who are struggling with something about your husband. Right? "My husband's great, but he's just ..." However that sentence is ending. Right? "Things are going well, it's just that my husband sometimes has a problem with blah, blah, blah, blah." Okay? Whatever you're saying sort of to finish that sentence. I try not to use real examples from those of you who are reaching out to me personally. But just use an example as close as I can to get the idea. Whatever that thing is, and it's so natural, it is so normal, it is so normal. I want you to just look at that and just sort of say to yourself, "I just decided that. I just decided that, that's true about him. And I could decide something else is true about him too."

17:10 And this is the part that I wanted to share, which I think Allison Armstrong and Laura Doyle are both writers in the world of marriage and relationships. And they both talk about this idea, which is that the other benefit of this whole concept is. That when you leave them the space, when you leave your husband the space to impress you. When he's in charge of the finances, and you're not breathing down his neck to make sure everything's getting paid on time or that he's making good decisions. Or he has a certain amount of his money that he spends, like we talked about with Jen last week, and you're not judging what he's spending. And you're not making decisions about whether that's an appropriate way of spending his money. But you're just letting him be, like let him be an individual. So what happens is that there's room for them to grow into becoming that person.

18:05 Because especially for those of you who got married, let's say in your 20s, you didn't have a whole lot of time to do adulting. Yeah? So women, we tend to be a little ... Pretend to be adulting like really well. The person you're married to, he knows about you and you know about him, where the cracks are. Right? But when you look at other people, they all seem to be functioning. So then we panic that like our husband, or we don't really know what we're doing. That's totally normal. That's just normal, that's just part of what you're figuring out in your life right now. Yeah? And so all of these things can just be fine. They really can.

18:39 I mean I think that that's like 90% of what I'm doing with you guys. It's just I'm hearing from you and like it's really a catastrophe and you're very concerned and you're not sure how to react to it. But like it's all totally fine, it's very normal. Especially for you newlyweds, totally normal. You're learning stuff, you're learning how to be an adult. Some of you are pregnant and you're having babies, it's just hard. It's hard, it's okay. So it's fine. It's fine, what's going on 90% of the time, it's fine.

19:06 If you're concerned that you're beyond the 90%, that maybe this is really ... You can always reach out to me. Right? If this is beyond the pail of normal coaching thing, I will help you find the right resources. But most of the time, the problem is the glasses and we just need to take those glasses off and sort of look at ... Probably one of the easiest ways of doing that is to look at your husband to say, "Who's the guy I see him becoming? Not who am I trying to make him?"

19:33 But when you married him, you probably had some kind of vision of like who this guy is becoming. He's emerging. Right? The man inside of him is emerging, he's becoming this person and you're signed up for that, you're really excited about that. And if you are treating him as the person that he's becoming and not the mistake that he made last Tuesday. So then he can grow into that space. And by the way, that's true for every human being. You know all the research that they've done about teachers who were misinformed and told that certain kids have very high IQs. And then those kids out-perform their peers. You know, it's the same for children, it's the same for him to us.

20:11 You know, if your husband looks at you and you make a mistake and he's like, "Yeah, but I know you've got it in you." So now you do in a way that you didn't right? If it was, "Oh gosh, maybe we should just ... Maybe you shouldn't be in charge of paying the bills anymore." Right? So I want to encourage you all this week to try and notice. Number one, try and notice what are the glasses that you're using? What have you accepted as fact about your husband that is a problem? What are the problems about him? Okay?

20:43 Number two, I want you to sort of identify like what is the phrase? How are you verbalizing that for yourself? And those are you glasses, and acknowledge that you've been gathering a lot of evidence to support this because that's what our brains do. But that you could start to look at the idea of removing those glasses. And number three, maybe your other pair of glasses that you can switch out, these are your cool shades, is the man he's becoming. Right? The vision that you see of who he really is inside. The potential that he really is. Putting those glasses on, seeing him that way. It's extremely profound, it's extremely powerful how we really rise up to meet each other's expectations.

21:29 I don't know if I've shared this one on the podcast before, but it really bears repeating. I've heard this story given over a couple different ways by a bunch of different people. But it goes something like this. The Governor of Texas and his wife are driving through Texas. And they're in a tiny little town when he realized that they ran out of gas. He stops to get some gas and he notices that his wife is acting very strangely when the gas attendant comes out to pump gas. She seems extremely flustered, and she's kind of blushing and she's sort of hiding her face. And he's not really sure what's going on. And as he's driving away, he notices the sign for the town and he suddenly has a light bulb moment.

22:04 He goes, "Oh my gosh, isn't this the town where you grew up?" His wife is a little bit embarrassed and she says, "Yeah, this is the town where I grew up." He said, "I bet that gas attendant was your boyfriend. That was your high school boyfriend wasn't it?" She goes, "Yeah, that was my high school boyfriend." And then her husband says, "And you were thinking if I'd married that guy, I would be the wife of the gas attendant." The wife laughs and she says, "No, no, no. I was thinking if I had married that guy, he'd be the Governor of Texas."

22:46 Of course, it's a ridiculous story, but it's cute and it is a very good reminder of the potential that we have in how we view our husbands and how we respect them. And I'm telling you, if you walk around all day long with respect for him. Figure out what he's good at that you're not good at. To me, that's the easiest shortcut. Just find things that he's just really good at, that you're not. And then when you start to feel lack of respect, you could just go to that place and be like, "Yep, but he can do this. Not me." For me, that helps a lot.

23:16 You know, I just want to encourage you especially again, those of you who are newly married. But also those of you in that, you know, we talked about that four to eight year sort of period of time where things can get very real and can get pretty challenging. If you're in that phase also and honestly for any point in your marriage. The higher the bar in terms of how we're seeing our husbands, the more room you're giving him to grow into. And I want to encourage all of you, it is very worthwhile to put those glasses on and to bring that respect in. It will only be ... You know, it will become a mutually respectful relationship and I just want to wish you all the very best and I hope to hear from you.

23:56 By the way, if you do want to take this work further, at the time of this podcast there is one more week to sign up for the First Year Married Course. So you guys, like what are you doing if you're not signed up yet? That's just craziness. Okay? This course, I've had women from dating through 10 years married take this course. It is six weeks starting May 19th. You have lifetime access, so even if your life is getting a little bit busy, I want to encourage you go ahead grab it now and we will be working through the material. You get all the material instantly as soon as you sign up, but then we as a group go through one thing at a time. One class per week to really focus in to get all our questions asked. To really make sure that we know how to implement this material and apply it to our daily life. It's extremely powerful.

24:44 It is such a joy for me share this material with you and I can't wait to have you in the program. So I hope I see you there. Have a great week. Bye, bye.

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