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Episode 9 – Newlyweds... All Over Again!













This episode is for my listeners and clients who have been married longer than a year but are still wanting inspiration and improved connection with their spouses.

WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER IN THIS EPISODE:

  1. Tips on how to bring the "newlywed vibe" back to your marriage

  2. Why the 4-7 year phase can be tricky

  3. Tips on setting up your marriage for the long haul.  (By the way, newlyweds, you should listen too and gain some tips for what's to come!)

Please keep sending in your feedback, questions, and stories--I love to hear from you! 


00:16 Welcome to the First Year Married podcast, where we get real about building the marriage of good dreams. I'm marriage coach Kayla Levin and I take newly married and engaged women from anxious and insecure to confident and connected with practical tips, real life inspiration, and more than a little self awareness along the way.

00:39 Hello again. Thank you so much for coming back to the First Year Married podcast. I'm really excited about today's class. Unexpectedly, a good proportion of the women in my courses have been women who are in the four to eight year married range. My program is called First Year Married. My business is called First Year Married, so generally I attract the newlywed crowd, but for one reason or another we've had a lot of women who are opting into the course to give themselves a marital reboot.

01:10 They do tend to be right around that range. We've had some women married longer than eight years and of course married less than four years, but I'm seeing a cluster there in that four to eight year range. And it's really cool because this is a group of women that first of all, I just really love working with and also they bring this really beautiful compliment to the course with and for my newlyweds.

01:35 You have the newlyweds who were coming in and they're maybe starting to see some things that they're concerned about, but then you've got those four to eight year marrieds and they're kind of like in the trenches. They're really doing the work. They're rolling up their sleeves. They're like, "I'm in it to win it. I'm going to make this marriage work. I'm ready to do the work. I'm ready to rethink everything."

01:53 The questions are bigger and often heavier. Not all the time, but a lot of the time and I think it just really brings this beautiful depth to the program for everybody while we're doing all the group coaching and so it's just been really such a pleasure. One of my concerns about niching down so much to First Year Married, while on the one hand, I'm obviously very passionate about getting there just off in a healthy way and off to a good start, at the same time sometimes we don't really realize that we need that boost until we'd been married a couple of years and life does start to get a little more complicated, and so I'm so, so excited and inspired by these women who have just decided that they're going to become newlyweds all over again.

02:34 That's why that's the title for the podcast this week. The first and most important thing that I wanted to do with this podcast was really just to start a conversation. I want to tell you that I see you out there. Every once in awhile, somebody who knows me will say, "I just want you to know I've been listening to your podcast even though I've been married for nine years."

02:56 I actually love that. I think that's fabulous. I know the name can be misleading, but I want you to know that you are not alone. I'm hearing from a lot of women who've been married for longer, not only am I excited that you're here and that you're listening and that you're inspired and you're using this material and you're improving your marriages, but also your questions and what you're looking for to get from this podcast is just as relevant.

03:21 So I want to hear from you too, so please don't feel that you can send in your questions and you can't engage just because you're not officially newlyweds. I do want to take some time to talk about the unique struggles that happen at this phase. Why are these women popping up all of a sudden around four to eight years married, wanting to reinvest, wanting to focus more on their marriage?

03:45 We hear a lot about the idea of the seven year itch. Four years is also reported as a spike in divorce rates sort of around there. So what is going on here? Why is it that this is a phase where it starts to be a little more complicated? People are taking more time, they're ready to invest, they want to focus more on their marriage. There can be a lot of factors going into it, and there's obviously a lot of people who have opinions, so some that I found to be very compelling for my research.

04:12 One is that in a lot of cases, and of course this is going to be different for every couple, but for a lot of cases the careers can still be new. Around that phase you might have chosen your career path and your husband might have chosen his career path, but you're not really up and running. You're not at the head of the company. You don't really get to relax in your career yet so there's still that pressure.

04:36 And so that is something that when you're first married, you have the excitement and you're very young, but four years in you're starting to want to do a little more adulting, and maybe your friends are moving into a house, but money is still tight and so it can just create this little perfect storm for added stress, and I realize that that's outside of the marriage itself, but of course those things affect it.

05:01 Another one that comes up a lot, and you've probably already guessed this one around that time, and again, not for everyone, but for a lot of people, they're adjusting to parenthood. So whether that's their very first child or maybe it's a couple of children in where they start to realize, "Wow, I've just been so hyper focused on becoming a mother, on becoming a father, the marriage has taken a backseat."

05:23 That's one thing that happens. The marriage takes a back seat, and they're like, "I don't even know who this person is anymore." Or just the general good feelings and all that goodness is not there the way that it was the last time they picked up their head and looked around, and also adjusting to parenthood and having little children is very challenging.

05:40 People are functioning on less sleep. They have extra pressures, more things to schedule and focus on. Babies get sick and all those things and so anytime you're adding more pressure to the outside environment, it can come and it can seep into the way that those spouses are treating each other, the way that they're making space and time for each other. Of course that that's something to be taking into consideration.

06:01 Another thing that comes up a lot in terms of adjusting to parenthood that I just want to mention because I do see this with my clients, is when the person you marry doesn't parent the way that you expected them to. That's really fascinating to work on and I love using the model for that because we really have a lot of beliefs and a lot of preconceived notions about what parenting should look like and what our child needs to experience and what's best for them and what he should be doing and when we start to sort of wiggle those loose a little bit and question those and start to challenge a little bit here and there, we start to be able to appreciate our partner in a very, very new way.

06:41 Finally, I think another really big one that comes up around this phase is that that momentum has dissipated. I alluded to this a little bit before, but when you first go into that newlywed phase and you've got all that energy and you may even have some cash from the wedding that people gave you, or you've got a lot of debt from the wedding.

06:57 That's also possible, and you are going in with that enthusiasm of being newly married and you're so in love with being married that the actual marriage itself doesn't need to do a whole lot of work. It's so exciting to be married that whatever he's doing, you still get to be married now, and then of course being married becomes the norm and so now we're looking at our spouse and trying to see, "Am I getting what I think I need from that relationship."

07:26 Finally, the last one is the idea of money in the bank. Now, this is a metaphor that I find so powerful in all relationships, particularly in marriage and parenting, and that is that at the end of the day, you have to think of your interactions as money in the bank and all the positive interactions are deposits into the bank and all those negative ones are withdrawals and they don't have to be ... Sometimes the deposit will be very big.

07:52 Sometimes the withdrawal will be little. They all add up. If we're never putting anything in and every once in a while we throw something into the bank that doesn't really work. We need to be making consistent and regular deposits into the bank, and the truth is that at four years married, you really don't have that much time to put those deposits in the bank.

08:13 It feels like, "We don't feel like newlyweds anymore and it feels like we've been doing this a long time," but there isn't necessarily that feeling of we really, really have come to trust each other, we've really come to rely on each other, we've been through hard times and we've come out the other side.

08:30 In some ways, yes, but as you're married longer, you really have more of that feeling of, "Look what we've been through together," and you see yourselves more as a formed unit against the world. When the world needs to be something that we're against as opposed to against one another and every time you overcome a struggle or an obstacle, whether it's between the two of you or between you and the world, you really, really do fuse and create confidence in the relationship.

08:58 Speaking from my own experience and what I have for my clients, this is not something that's a psychological study, but what I see a lot is that at four years, there's still this underlying feeling of insecurity about the relationship itself. It's just still little. A four year old is little. Still a little kid. It's the same thing with your marriage. Four years it's still young. And so what do we do about that? That ties us right into the solution of what we want to look into.

09:29 The first thing is you want to take the long view. You're looking to be married to this person for decades. So four years is a very, very little bit. And like I always say to my newlyweds, when they say to me, "How could we be fighting? We just got married." The answer is it's the opposite. How could you have any solutions? You just got married, you're still figuring each other out. You think you know a lot. You have no idea the depths of this person that you're married to and how much you're going to discover and how you're going to learn to work together.

09:58 If you're looking at the long view and you see that you are four, six, eight, even 10 years married, you realize that you're just beginning to scratch the surface of this relationship, of this confidence, of everything that you're going to have, as a couple the relationship becoming an entity in and of itself, you're just in the very beginning and so in some ways that ... For me for sure and I think for my clients also, it's a huge relief.

10:26 What it feels like at four years and I hear this a lot, "Oh my gosh, is this what it's going to be like for the rest of my life?" But instead, if you looked at it and you said, you look at a four year old, would you say to them like, "Ugh, at 20 you're still not going to be able to write in complete sentences?" No. We know that from 4 to 20 natural growth is going to occur.

10:47 It's the same thing. If you're saying engaged, if you're staying committed, if you're staying involved in the relationship, you will naturally grow. You're going to be experiencing life together and where are you going to be 10 years from now with just awareness and a positive intention in the marriage is light years from where you are right now, so you can relax and know that growth is happening even if you don't see it, even if it's hard right now.

11:13 I have a four year old and I think like as happy as my four year old is, his life is very frustrating sometimes because he's still getting all the manual dexterity down, like buttoning things and he can't reach a lot of things. It's a beautiful, exciting time, but there's a lot of just technical frustration in his life and it's like that for these four years marrieds also.

11:38 The first thing I gave you is take the long view. The second thing I want to give you is to take care of yourself. Especially in this phase, when life starts to feel like a pressure cooker, if you're relating to any of this with the house struggles or the friend struggles or the child's struggles, or the career struggles, or the finance struggles. Any of that. You want to make sure that you're really aware of what's going on with you.

12:05 Because ultimately if you're showing up to the relationship resentful and frustrated and really just dried up, you have nothing to give. You have nothing going in that's feeding you, then you have nothing to contribute back to their relationship. And I don't mean take care of yourself means run up a crazy credit card bill and go to the spa. It doesn't need to be that. And we've talked before.

12:28 We talked in the recent podcast about baseline self care and the higher level of self care as we go into it and very much in detail in the course, but they give you a basic idea. You've got the things that you want to be doing on a regular basis, and then you have the things that really connect to you on a deep soul level that you want to make sure you're getting to every couple of years or so. Pull that out for yourself.

12:48 What are the things that I really need? Also, another possibility for you if you're looking at that, is listen to the podcast episode on Zero Based Scheduling. That will give you an idea of how to see how to work these things back into your life. First was take the long view. Second, take care of yourself. Third, pay attention to your mind. If you didn't know I was going to say this, you haven't been paying attention.

13:14 Maybe you're new to the podcast. Welcome to the podcast. You got to pay attention to what is going on in your mind. Four years in you have probably developed some super speed highways in your brain. You see his sock on the floor, you are already off to the races with all the thoughts that that means and all the feelings that you're feeling and all the things you're going to do about it.

13:35 You are not even conscious of the action going through your brain of I saw something and I had a thought about it and now I'm feeling and acting like this. You've been around each other long enough that these frustrations can start to go onto like a loop in your mind. So that is why it is so critical that you're paying attention to your mind and that's very, very simple. It's very simple.

14:01 All that means is you get one of those things going off where you're like, "This is really annoying. This is really frustrating," or a thought that I hear a lot of clients thinking, "Can I live like this the rest of my life?" And it can be big. It doesn't have to be sock on the floor. It can be a big, big issue, and what you need to do is you need to write down literally what is going on with no interpretation and then what are you making that mean?

14:27 And then you want to start challenging everything about what you're making that mean. How is the opposite also true? How is it true in a different way? Ask questions about the opposite answer. It's hard to give examples of that like one right in front of me, but you just start to wiggle that idea Lucy, you have in your brain and start to see how you are going to feel very, very differently when you're less attached because what happens is we have a thought like, "He doesn't respect me," and we go about our lives thinking that that thought is true with a capital T.

15:02 He doesn't respect me. And we call her mother and I'm like, "I don't know what to do about my husband. He doesn't respect me," and we're talking to our friends, "What do I do? My husband doesn't respect me." And they're like, "Oh my gosh, he's a jerk." And then, "You know what you need to do to get him to respect you, you need to give him a boundary or you need to leave for a week or you need to tell him that you need respect or stop respecting him so much, then he'll start respecting you."

15:23 We are responding to this. What we're not doing is questioning it. Who says he doesn't respect you? When did we decide on that? Did he sign on the dotted line, "I no longer respect my wife." Where did that come from? How were you wrong about that? How is that not true? How is the opposite thing? How is it that he respects you more than anyone? How is it that you get more respect from him than from anyone else?

15:48 Your brain will do an amazing amount of research. It's research, research. It's like a private investigator. When you ask your brain the question, "How is it that he really does respect me in a profound way?" Then all of a sudden your little private investigator mind is going to go to town answering that question for you. You will be amazed and all those solutions your girlfriends were offering you, all that frustration, all that empathizing, it's lovely, but there's another option.

16:21 The other option is that that problem didn't exist in the first place. Now, that doesn't mean that we don't communicate with our spouses. What it means is that when I'm feeling upset, I'm looking into my brain and figuring out why did I get upset. And I'm starting there. My feelings are coming from me. I don't need you to change for me to feel better.

16:41 Going down the list again. First, take the long view. Second, take care of yourself. Third, pay attention to your mind. Fourth and most importantly, be a newlywed again. This is the reason I am so inspired, specifically inspired by the women who joined First Year Married online, and you don't have to do it by joining my course. Of course, I'd love you to do this by joining my course, but you can do this in a lot of ways.

17:08 But what that means is if you're starting to feel burned out, and I know this is hard, I know I'm asking a lot of you, but there's nothing that is going to improve your life more than working on your marriage. You really believe that, and there's nothing that drains you, like not feeling good about your marriage, and so if you're feeling like you're just in a slump or you're feeling uninspired or unconnected, take some time for yourself to be a newlywed again, and maybe you're not going to be going to the fancier restaurants that you went to when you were first married, but maybe you can do something.

17:42 Maybe it's a glass of wine at dinner. Maybe it's a specific night that's just designated to being together. Maybe it's just putting your phones away and leaving them outside the bedroom, but you want to do something that's breathing oxygen into the relationship. Something that gets you excited. That feeling of being a newlywed. Use that word with yourself. How can I feel like a newlywed again?

18:05 In some cases it might mean how you're taking care of yourself. Does that mean you want to go shopping and get something that looks pretty on you or he wants to do that? The way that you showed up for each other when you were first married was probably a little bit less super comfortable than when you've been married for longer. So do we want to reinvest in that area?

18:24 Sometimes that gives us the push. We look for that excitement coming from the other person, we will look for that person to get us feeling inspired and connected, but sometimes when we just do that work in our own, I would say basically all the time, when we're just doing that work in our own sphere, that excitement happens by itself.

18:45 Show up like you're a newlywed again and you will feel that connection. So I want to thank you for especially those of you who've been married longer. Those of you who are still newlyweds or who engaged, I hope you got something from this little perspective on what might be coming around the corner. Maybe it'll be very different for you.

19:06 Those of you who have been married longer, I want to thank you again for listening, for your questions, for your feedback, for your ratings. I can't believe these reviews on iTunes are just amazing. I read every single one and am very, very touched by all of them, so I want to thank you all for that.

19:23 If you are interested in finding out more about the First Year Married online program, I've started a wait list, so this is how we're going to do it leading up into the next course because I don't have a date yet and it's going to depend on the wait list that we get. So the first class of the program is available free. That class it stands completely on its own. You can watch that class and gain from it and use that material that day. You do not need the entire course for it to make sense.

19:53 I don't give you just enough material for you to walk away confused. It is very, very useful, powerful material in that first class and you'll also get details about what the rest of the course looks like. That is all available to you at firstyearmarried.com. We'd love for you to come over and check it out. Love to hear from you.

20:10 I'm on Instagram at @FirstYearMarried, love getting your DMs and hearing from you over there too, and thank you again so, so much for listening in. Have a fantastic week. I will see you back here next week. Bye, bye.

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