E2: How To Adult In Your Marriage


How to Adult In Your Marriage

In this episode, Daun and Travis talk about adulting. Why it’s important to adult in your marriage especially in a blended family and how to adult.

Behaving like an adult is essential to creating an intimate relationship and a blended family that is filled with joy, and connection.

Read the Transcript:

So we’re talking about, um, adulting.

Yes. So what is adult?

Well, I’ll tell this little story. Sure. Yeah. So after my divorce. I was going through my divorce with my previous husband. My kids, Dad. So, um, I was setting up. I mean, it had been a while, and I was trying to set up new household rules and expectations for the kids who were then 8 and 12. And so I was searching online to try to find out. You know what appropriate expectations were.

So, you know, what should they be able to cook? Should they be able to do this… whatever. So that, I could set up, you know, ideals for the household and what good expectations would be. So I’m reading through the list, and I remember sitting in my car, and the thought suddenly comes to me…You know, actually, according to this list, I’m seven. I’m seven years old because of what you do, or because of what I want, what it said on the list that I was supposed to be able to do, But I’m like, I don’t do that on a consistent basis.  And I don’t do that. So it really made me think about what does it mean to be an adult?

And how do we, how do we adult in relationships, Right? Because we can’t have successful or healthy relationships without both adulting and being with someone who is choosing to adult. And that doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect at it. It means that you have to recognize that you have to behave like an adult even when you don’t feel like an adult. Right?

So did that answer your question?

Yes. Well, no, I mean it definitely put a foundation. So basically, adulting is doing the things supposed to do when you’re supposed to do them right, Right. So I think a lot of times in our relationships, relationships treat people outside of our relationship better than we treat our partner, right. So if you go to the grocery store, you go to community events, you go to church, you go to a gathering and you’re congenial, right? You’re helpful. You’re interested in what the other person is saying.

You’re asking about how they’re doing, you’re polite right. But when we get home, we’re going to just throw that out the window and be like, Yeah, whatever. You know, could you pick up your damn things and clothes because it’s really irritating. Gosh, when are you going to be ready?

Right. And so a huge part of the adult team, just on a simple level, is being kind to each other. With mutual respect on a basic level. It’s a huge step forward to include others especially right because your partner should be the person that you have the closest relationship with, right?

And so I think over time, because of a lot of different reasons, we don’t deal with the issues that are, and so we allow that to build up. And then there’s a lot of resentment that then comes out in us. Behaving like children, right? Children are normally messy and immature. They say What’s on their mind without thinking that it might hurt somebody else. So we come across as rude, right? And so it’s really a conscious choice, I think, to start looking at yourself and the people that you’re around and evaluating the level of adulting.

How are you really behaving? Is this childish behavior? Is this so? So where do we start with? I think the place to start with that because there’s a lot of things that go into, like I just went into why we behave like children. Um, inside of everyone, right. You have your inner child, right? And, um, I like to think of that as our adaptive child. It’s the child that’s gone through all the things that we through in our life. It’s the part of us that has a knee-jerk reaction.

Somebody says something. We are compelled to respond in a certain right. So, for instance, you know I’m tired. I’ve worked all day. I come home. Something is not the way that I want or you know, my spouse or partner isn’t doing, isn’t feeding me, isn’t giving me what I need, Then my me jerk reaction is to cause a scene. right? Start to immediately lash out because getting you’re not getting the fulfillment of whatever it is.

For instance, you go home, work late, had to work late. You’re hungry and you’re the person who is responsible for cooking the meal does not have it ready yet, or even close because there was a little miscommunication on some stuff. Maybe, or maybe they just got busy with things around them or they got right. So you come in expecting dinner and it’s not there. So you’re like, Oh, my gosh, why isn’t dinner ready yet? I have worked all day, and then the other person is like, Well, uh, you don’t like that right?

So then what that does is it creates a pattern; because one person, one individual in the relationship starts acting out of their adaptive child. And then that signals the other person to act out of their adaptive or their adaptive child. So now you have these two children fighting with each other and arguing and squabbling about things, and all you parents know how well that works, right? It works out great.

So So the part about adulting, right? So we have this adaptive child, and so I think, really to start adulting is to recognize the parts of you that are still adapted right that are still being triggered out of things that happened, past trauma that you’ve experienced, or things that you didn’t like, or just plain immaturity.

There’s a lot of things that go into what makes that inner child who they are right, so beyond that, it’s really taking a taking the higher road. So even though that situation happens, you come home. You’re totally stressed out. Nothing is done. The house is a mess. And it was the other person’s responsibility to make sure that that on that day, so it’s taking that moment. Pausing. And telling yourself, “Okay, I’m not going to choose to act like how I feel. I’m not going to act like a child. So I take a deep breath and then, in a loving, calm manner, decide that you can either do this or you can do this.

So how do you want to respond?

She waits, right, she waits to respond, right?

You’re right. Absolutely.

That’s that is, and so training yourself overtime to stop and create space between what you’re feeling and what action is adult. So basically it’s almost like, Well, it is. It’s green. It is creating, though you’re right. No, it’s you want to make sure it boundaries on multiple multiple levels. So, like your son, you don’t come home and you want to set up a boundary for your emotions. they’re not going to get through in less until you can regulate. Right?

So that boundary goes up and stays up and should stay up all the time. But then you need to be able to create outer boundaries to let in so that you feel hear what they’re doing. So So you come home and nothing is done instead of, you know, lashing out, taking it personally, You know, maybe, instead of that, you take a look around and actually look at the other person. Hey, you seem upset. Because maybe their day has been just atrocious being more certain norms and they can go.

So instead of lashing out, you say, “how was your day?”

Oh, my God. Horrible. You know, the kids got sick of the doctor with the doctor for five hours. So long because we had to mask up… Sorry, couldn’t resist. Don’t tell us how you feel. Um, well, we have been in the doctor’s office for five hours. It took him three hours to get us in and took us an hour waiting for the doctor. And he came in five minutes and made the diagnosis. Send us out on our way. And it took us another 50 minutes just to get the paperwork to get away from the doctor and traffic, and then they’re starting.  And then they haven’t slept, right. So yeah. So that’s why nothing is done today. And I was really thinking about ordering in. Is that okay with you?

Right, Right, right. And so what that does is instead of sending you up to be two individuals, it brings. So this is the experience you have on the field? This is the field. How can we come together? Go for gold? Right? Right. So it’s the team approach.

And I like what you were saying about the boundaries are like an orange, you have the external part the peel, and the internal, the white part.

And so there are two parts like we were saying, internal boundaries, our internal boundary are the stop for our inner child. It’s the glass that is a permeable boundary. How we feel. Our inner child, our wants, our desires, our needs, and those that are outside of us. Right. And there’s the external boundary that other people’s inner child and it is what keeps, their wants and needs and desires from impending on us. And so it’s extremely important to have both sets of boundaries in order to function as an adult in the relationship, right?

Yes, absolutely. So so using that aspect. But in that same scenario, where you come from late, working late and you ask Well, how was your day? And, you know, let’s say it to me. It’s like, Oh, it was okay. I was just really lazy today, you know? Yeah. Sorry about that. And I go inside right inside. This is the key here, so I go, “OK, that really irritates me.”  So boundaries don’t eliminate the need to feel your feelings right. And it doesn’t also eliminate or excuse behavior either. Right.

So what boundaries do is create space for you to sort it out. So what would you do in that situation?

That would make me furious. I’d be like, “That’s nice. That’s great. Well, I had, you know, three meetings and for people getting pissed at me because of this, that the other thing and all I was late to work, and then I couldn’t get lunch and blah blah, blah, blah, blah, right?”

Oh, honey, I’m sorry. You know what? Why don’t I take you out to the eat?

So what I could do if that situation were happening is I could stop what I’m doing and say I’m just I’m going to take time for a second. And then for me, it would be I’m going to either go to my car back to my car and be like you got the kids for a little longer and then or go to I spend my quiet time is in my closet. It’s probably It’s probably my adaptive child, but anyway, so I would sit down and I would feel all the feelings that I’m feeling right?

Like, Okay, I’m feeling used. I’m feeling unsupported. I’m feeling betrayed. I don’t feel like you are giving anything to this relationship today. So why am I doing this? So I would process through those emotions and be like, OK, so then from my emotions, I would apply logic. Do that. Okay. How many times does this happen, right? Is this an ongoing problem? Is there something that I’m not seeing? How What would a friend say to me if they were helping me process this situation?  What would their advice be?

So then I can collect all of those emotions and calm myself through self-soothing, which is what we learn to do for our inner child, and be able to say, you know, let’s get your dinner. I can calm myself for that. So then, I come out of where I’m at, okay? Cool. What’s happened? And then I set a specific time. to address the problems with you. So that might go something like this. Hey, when we’re all done with dinner and the kids are done for the night, I’d really like to about today.  Are you good with that?

Yeah, absolutely. Right. And then on the other side of that, Okay, If you happen to be the one that’s at home, you had all easy. And you’re right. And all of a sudden you see your significant other say I need a five minutes. It might be a good idea to reflect on what’s going on. Thinking Okay. Well, she came home really upset. I thought Yeah, Nice. Oh, I didn’t do anything today. No. What can I do to help? Well, that’s started, but it’s not done. I can address the kids. You guys need to pick up your things right now, but immediately things like that can help.  Take a look around, okay?

And it could be that it’s not you or anything at all. It could be That’s just a bad day. And instead of taking it out on you, they decided to go in and take five minutes to what I always call defrag. Defragment. So So like what we used to do with computers when it wasn’t working. Yeah, when it wasn’t working right, that was really slow. It was really causing a lot of the drag. It runs a lot, right?

So when we do or when we would sit down, the next thing to do is to approach the situation with curiosity, right? So instead of criticism or not, or accusing, of being accusatory, being open and curious, so that conversation might be like, “So when I came home from work here is kind of what happened at work. I love a lot of lives. I was feeling really frustrated at work that was exhausting. I was really looking forward to going home and just being able to chill out.  And so, um, how was your day.

Well, um, my day was actually fairly chill, the kids were a mess,  I’ve been feeling stressed out because I’ve been looking job.  And so I just decided to take a day off, so I’m sorry. The house is a mess, you know, not what you are used to. Make sure that that doesn’t happen again or I’ll do my best to see that it’s tidier. By the way, out of curiosity, when you went to your closet and took five minutes, what were you feeling? See how that conversation goes.

So it’s really about taking time to calm down your inner child to be able to express yourself honestly, right?

And so if I were to express that in this situation and this type of thing and I actually we sat down and you’re like, “So how are you feeling when you were in the closet?” “Well, actually, I was actually pretty pissed off.”

What would be your response?

“I can understand that, especially if you had a really hard day. Or it could go the other way. “Like, Well, why did you have a hard day?” and, “I’m sorry that I didn’t know what you were expecting. You’ve come home before and the house has been a mess, right? And you weren’t so upset. So what’s really going on?”

It could be she had a really bad day at work. You know, that could be all it is. It could just be the bad day at work, and it’s causing everything else to stand out and, you know, be 10 times worse.  You know, I’ll come across like, “So it’s, you know, why were you really upset? Because I mean, you’ve come home before and the house has been like this before.”

So what we’re having is an adult conversation because calm discussion is the adult thing to do in that situation. That allows her to think.  “Hmmm, I’m not really sure. Let me think about that.”

So adulting is about being a safe person. An adult is safe. Children are not always safe. They are not. They are definitely not.

So, what is safe a person? I mean, we can instinctively understand what but at the same time people that we think are or feel are safe were not necessarily safe.

So I think there’s a different level of feelings, right? Obviously, physical. Then there’s emotion, right?  So I think in our intimate relationships, if you are in a relationship where your physical safety is at risk, then that is a reason to leave or to at least be in a place to explore why you’re wanting to stay.

Mhm. So, um and there’s a lot of reasons why that behavior continues. So, um, that’s something that you should definitely go to therapy. And but other than that, I think in the context beyond physical, emotional safety is really what we’re talking about most in the context of a relationship right?

And so we actually asked our daughter, what does it mean for somebody to be a safe person? And her response was,  “It’s somebody that supports you. So it’s somebody that supports who you are as a person and wants what’s best for you, right?” Yeah. Now, supporting is not enabling,  because an enabler is not a safe person

So that goes in a whole other direction.

It does. It does.

And so that’s a really interesting question. To ask oneself is what is the safe person and isn’t? Because, as we established, in order to have a healthy relationship, you have to adult and adulting means being a person. And it also means only allowing safe people into your circle. Right.

I’m going to relate a time when I wasn’t safe. Okay. When I was younger, still in the Navy.  Um, I had decided that I was invincible, you know? And I did things like drink and drive. And I was doing that on a fairly regular basis. I was still drinking and driving, and I didn’t feel any different, but I’m sure that it was driving different. I decided that I had done it a lot of times and hadn’t seen any adverse effects.  So…I was drunk, which was mistake number one…that I actually got drunk. Number two was that I decided that I was ok to drive, and then I proceeded to drive and I wound up getting a DUI on base.

It actually affected my military career. Um, I was like, halfway there, and I actually had to take a step back and reset so I wasn’t as far ahead as I wanted to in my career, but at the same time, luckily I didn’t hurt anybody or get in an accident or anything like that. But it was a HUGE wake up call!  It’s kind of from that point on, why do I really started to understand about myself and started taking responsibility for my actions. And started to think “What are my kids going to think about this? um what are my friends? My family? What’s going to happen?” Not that you should base everything on what people think of you. But if you want to be a role model, you definitely want to be a good role.

So I will share a time that and a way that I used to be an unsafe person. So the context of me being unsafe, um is the context of relationship. So I would be an overly critical person, and so have had the situation happen where I came home and the the house wasn’t as I expected it to be, then I would be critical of why my spouse wasn’t doing XYS, without looking at the context of myself with the situation. So it would be all about “They didn’t do this, they didn’t do that…etc”

Not taking any personal stability for how I was feeling and my own emotion, instead placing all those else memories. So that is a way that also people can be. And after we talked about this yesterday, I actually made it a list. I did. What do you know? So this is, um, some ways that people, any people, whether it is your and other your partner or yourself, can be an unsafe person, So unsafe Perth people instead of connecting um, and dwelling with you where you’re at, they have a tendency to abandon you or stonewall.

So because they’re unable to connect to your emotions because their defensive, then they’re not able to stay with you where you’re at and set that boundary that makes it so that your feelings or your feeling and my feelings are my for And then let’s address what’s really happening in reality, separate from feeling. So how could you recognize? Yeah, that’s how so, Um, a way to recognize that. I think it’s easier to recognize yes, yourself, for sure. So and I think that’s a good place to start is, um is with okay assessing your relation are my relationships safer?

Unsafe, right? Am I was safer, unsafe, And then take a look at yourself and be like, OK, am I a safe person? And be honest with yourself. Right? Um and you know, doing this the way we regard ourselves and our inner child ourselves has a lot to do with our growth. Right? When I talk about addressing myself, I’m talking about addressing myself with regard care. Turn as I would care for a child. So I’m not getting on my case. And like, Don, you’re just being stuff all of that.

You get your ship together and sorry. So get yourself together. And so the conversations that we have with ourselves job fostered right, is not coming out of kind of know and harshness coming out of love for yourself so and respect, right, Right. So I think to some ways, that you would notice that a person is unsafe. Regular area of is that they don’t or are unable to express their feelings to you about So or, um, if you are expressing your feeling about a situation, they automatically personal Yes, and take it as criticism against as a personal attack right.

So they’d be like, using that situation. Yeah, you were like, Whoa, Why hold it? You know, being curious, I could I would take that on. And it’s like, Well, you never pick up your stuff, So why should I do it? What do you think? That he would sit around here all day, right? Actually, right now, that is how I feel. But I’m not gonna say that. Um so I think that would be a good place to start Another way that that doesn’t that that can express itself is in abandonment.

So I touched on this just a little bit before. But basically, if you are sharing and being vulnerable with another person and they walk out the door or they shut down, that is an unsafe person because they’re not able to receive anything into themselves through those boundaries. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take a time out if you need to. What that means is that you need to express that. Hey, I need five minutes to process this. I’m going to step outside for a few. It’s not just it’s not just turning around and walking away.

The Express Agnes. I am getting upset. I need five minutes to calm down. Ah, and understand why I’m getting. Yeah, well, we another one that I put on here. A safe person is responsible. Unsafe people are irresponsible. So and you express. Right. So in the context of a relation, that is people who don’t have any inclination to adults. So they are actually irresponsible. Their irresponsible with their belongings, their irresponsible with with a job. There were response from with their time. So, yeah, it’s just everything it I mean, And it might not be all of that.

It could be a couple of on the level of irresponsibility, like, I know some that are very responsible with their bills and bills like that. But they don’t care about their health or the state of their house or anything like that. Very true. So that’s being irresponsible. Like it can be across you’re in and again, just understanding at this point what a statement person is. This isn’t like we’re not telling you to go and, you know, and then your partner or yourself This is just an awareness, right?

Um a safe person Friendly admits their weaknesses and unsafe person thinks they have it all together. So it’s always an extra director when there’s a problem. Yeah, um, that goes along with the one that we shared at the beginning, which is an inability to express your or even record right or how I feel right now. If you don’t know, the happen probably isn’t if you deny that you have feelings about a matter in your mind, everybody has feeling everybody has, um, let’s see, what else do I haven’t Another one that’s a good one is a safe person when they are confronted with an issue that they do have some responsibility for because most have more responsibility in a partnership.

They worked direction through actions rather than yeah, and not ever change that an unsafe person will say that there’s some but there’s nothing that includes a different direction, right? Like again using this scenario. Uh oh, gosh, I’m sorry I didn’t get that. Um, I will do Urban. It doesn’t. In fact, when I get up in the morning, I will start with that or I’ll have the kids got their thing, right? Just things like that. Stop it. Small, sir. Um, I think really I mean, there’s a huge listen.

We can put it in the in the description, the video. Um, but it’s it’s really a good place to to start, I think, um and so yeah, just, you know, we were all over the Yeah, but it’s all time. It deals with adult ng. And that’s what adults, it’s knowing your who you are, where you’re at, um, and and where the other person You’re with your partner, right? Yeah. Because if you guys aren’t in the same place, then you’re going to have a really hard time relating having, Um That’s not to say you guys recovery like that to go to.

We’re at seeing us together. What? Right. So then the focus would be not so much on what do we? What do we need to change in order to get here? Where are we? Where are we really, truly add what? What are the problems in the relationship? And a lot of times, people will come to mm to us and say, Well, it’s because of contamination. Okay, well, that’s true. You’re having communication problems, but the communication problems are a much higher, a much broader level. And what the actual issues are right.

So adulting is a business is next necessary is necessary Necessity adult thing is necessary in order to communicate. So if you’re not communicating, if you could very well come from a basis of not accept possibility for yourself, both of you, in the relationship with your internal and boundaries in order to be able to Kate without blame shifting and all that. But for angry outbursts, right? Yeah. Good. There might not be communication at all. It could be like the security. Yes. That’s a place. Yeah. Growth was self broke.

Get Yeah, right where you’re effectively right. Skills for communication are pretty simple. It’s like, open your mouth, come out right. And it’s about me and about framing things the right way. But there, that is those are technical things. They don’t change the heart of what’s being said. So the message is not formulated correctly. It can’t be press. Yeah. All right. All right. Well, I hope you guys like your second life. I feel like Nixon. I know you bear now I’m like old. Anyway, you guys have a good week.

Hopefully, well, I think we’re going to keep it on. I think So we make shift to Tuesday’s, but well, regular every week I’m doing this. And then if you want some information about coaching or what we’re doing, the website is almost there. Um, at the marriage connection dot com. And so we would love to talk with you. If you have any questions or comments, you want to say anything at all to us, we’d love to hear how you’re doing. So go ahead and put it in the comments below.

And we love you.

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