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Is there such a thing as unconditional love and aspects in marriage or other relationships?
What if we all have conditions?
That’s what we explore this week.
Enjoy the show!
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Corey Allan: Well, each week we start the normal pattern. At least I do with the show of welcome to the show. But this time I'm going to do something different, although I just said welcome to the show. So I kind of still follow the same pattern, which we are just creatures of habit, aren't we? But there's a cartoon that it came across that was talking about this concept of mind mapping, how we can read each other and know a little bit about what the other person's thinking, doing, who they are. I mean, in marriage, it's particularly prevalent in parenting. It's prevalent too, but it's also prevalent in other areas. But there's a cartoon that depicts this, that Snar talks about in his book that a woman comes into the kitchen to find her husband spraying the bottom side of a cookie sheet with the cookie spray, but it's the bottom outside of the cookie sheet,
Pam Allan: Not where you normally cook.
Corey Allan: And she's like, what are you doing? I said, well, your dad and I wanted some cookies, so I'm making a batch. And it said, spray the outside of the cookie sheet. So that's what I'm doing. To which she then you could see from her facial reaction, she's like, oh, men are such idiots in the kitchen. That's not how you do it. Let me do it. He's like, okay. So he hands her the pan and he walks back in and he sits down by his father-in-law where they're watching football and says, it worked. She's going to make him bring it to us. And his father-in-law goes, I knew she would do that.
Pam Allan: Wow. Wow. He does that to his own daughter.
Corey Allan: But it's what we do because we know who we're up against. Usually we know who we're with. We know their tendencies, and we can take advantage of that.
Pam Allan: So note to self, if you're that woman who would do that, just watch him and see how it works out when he,
Corey Allan: That's one
Pam Allan: Way cookie, want to change it.
Corey Allan: But for some people, you watch somebody doing something that's like, that's not how you do it. And it's really, you can't help
Pam Allan: Yourself, just you
Corey Allan: Step in and take over. And that's part of how we do life, and that's part of how we get in our own way, which is where we're going today in today's show. But I think it's a great way to frame some of the threads we talk about throughout the history of our show, which this is passionately married podcast. So welcome, welcome. We'd love to hear from you. And if you do this, let us know. 2 1 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5. And what's the things that you can't let go when somebody else is doing it wrong? You have to step in. I'd be curious to hear what people do, which you just can't stop. You can't help yourself.
Pam Allan: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. It's got to be all kinds of things.
Corey Allan: And you could also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and nice little plug right now for the getaway that's coming up next year and June 13th through 15 20, 24 here in the D F W area. Registration's going on. Now you can reserve your email@example.com slash getaway and come join us.
Pam Allan: Yeah, we're going to have a lot of fun,
Corey Allan: And we'll talk more about this kind of concept of the deeper inner workings. That's hard to say. For whatever
Pam Allan: Reason, weaving, working,
Corey Allan: Weaving what you caught it, see and read where I'm going and how I got caught between those two things. But yeah, we'll talk about during the getaway, we explore more of what's the processes that are actually at play in marriage, and what do we do better with those? Because a lot of those things we can't change. And today's episode, we're going to talk some about that and maybe the titles. What drew you in conditionally Unconditional. I started promoting it on social
Pam Allan: Media. Yeah, what does that even mean?
Corey Allan: Right? I promoted it on social media Monday this week, on the week it aired and just said, Hey, what do you think of this statement? And one of the first comments that came in is, you're going to have to explain, because I got no idea what you're talking about.
Pam Allan: Exactly.
Corey Allan: And then I just replied, well, you have to tune in on Wednesday. And to which then they replied a little bit later. Now, I think I kind of understand what you're thinking because it just took a little while to think it through
Pam Allan: And
Corey Allan: Realize, oh, I see what you're saying here. But coming up today on today's show, everybody gets the full show because this is one that I want to unpack where we'll spend the first part of the time talking about just this idea of unconditional love and unconditional components of marriage and relationships versus conditional. What does that even mean? And then we want to spend the last part of the episode going through how do we address the things that need to be addressed in better ways? Because there's still stuff I have to face in married life and in relationship that matter to me. But I can, oftentimes, I can't help myself and I blame other people, or I overstep, or my family of origin plays out, or I try to control or all these different
Pam Allan: Things. The phrase of I can't help myself just cracks me up. I get it. I mean, I'm that way with chips and queso. I just can't help myself. Fair enough. But there's so many things in life, just the responsiveness to the lady, you're not doing it, so I need to do it. Right. There's a number of different areas in life that a lot of us say, I just can't help myself
Corey Allan: And my emotions take over and I erupt. And it just feeds off itself because there's a biology at play in us that just can overrun us. I mean, the psychological term would be flooding,
Pam Allan: If
Corey Allan: You think about it. Schneider's term would be regressing mean. But it's all talking about the same concept that we just overstep and react. And usually the motivation is trying to control or avoid or get out of a conflict and change the tension then
Pam Allan: Rather
Corey Allan: Than address what really needs to be addressed. And so that's where we're heading today, and we're already heading that way. So let's just keep going. Let's do it. So when you think about the idea of conditionally unconditional, because I sprung this on you a couple days ago, and your first reaction was, you're going to have to explain, I don't even know what that means.
Pam Allan: Same as the reaction on the person on Insta. What?
Corey Allan: Right.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: So let's start first with unconditional, right? Because I think there's this belief that we should have and can have unconditional love in relationships or unconditional relationships,
Pam Allan: Right? Well, I hear about mean. This is,
Corey Allan: There's book titles about this too. Book
Pam Allan: Titles, and it's typically a divine unconditional love for us, this agape love that can we as humans attain?
Corey Allan: Right. Well, and I believe, just to get out ahead of this, I believe you're talking about here, Pam, the only avenue of unconditional love is spiritual. God has unconditional love. We could even do a little more of a segue into this concept too, because we still have to receive that love. So there's a condition to it, but he's still giving it
Pam Allan: Not from his side
Corey Allan: Unconditionally,
Pam Allan: Not from his side. And that's where we lick at here is typically what's my role? I can't do anything about your role. I can't do anything about you receiving it.
Corey Allan: Right. But a lot of this is because we've had these times over the course of our shows, because this week is 12 years happy birthday, by the way,
Pam Allan: For the show.
Corey Allan: Yeah.
Pam Allan: Yes.
Corey Allan: So this is pretty cool. Just dawned on me
Pam Allan: To you. You rock Corey.
Corey Allan: Thank you. Job well done. But it's recognizing that we have these components that we believe, I think a lot of times that when I go into a relationship, I've got to keep it unconditional and I've got to stay unconditionally. There's no out for me. No, I can't. I'm here.
Pam Allan: It's
Corey Allan: An unconditional commitment I have made where I think that sells everything short. If we do that, hence the word conditional.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: Because I
Pam Allan: Think Why does it sell things short?
Corey Allan: Well, because there's two things that come to mind. One, in relationships where I am treated really poorly, cheated on, abused, taken advantage of, used, neglected. And again, I think this concept applies to all relationships ships. So I have to recognize, we'll talk a lot about it in marriage, but it absolutely will apply to friendships, to family of origin, coworkers. It's just a different defined relationship, different aspects.
Pam Allan: I get treated poorly, the relationship changes. But
Corey Allan: We have a lot of times where we have this things that are, if you think about it, the way we operate relationships are, it's characterized by how I'm treated in return, that it's,
Pam Allan: Well, am I not going to get into a relationship with someone if at least right off the bat I get treated poorly, I'm never going to dive into that relationship in the first place. And then we get into a relationship where we're in and something changes, where we see that their marketing department goes away, and we start seeing the real come out.
Corey Allan: But it's recognizing, I think a lot of times what happens is we get into relationships and there's an element of transactional component to it,
Pam Allan: And
Corey Allan: I need to acknowledge that's the conditions I have. And when I can start to see that, I think you start to realize there are things in marriage that I don't need to tolerate. There's behaviors I don't need to tolerate.
Pam Allan: And those are the conditions that you're saying put on it
Corey Allan: When I can look at it, right? Yes.
Pam Allan: Well, does that mean that my love is conditional or just how I want to be treated within the relationship? I've got boundaries
Corey Allan: On it. I think my choice to stay in the depth I stay within a relationship is conditional. Maybe my love, I can try to really work to be unconditional with how I express it, because that's who I want to be. This is the premise of the whole title of the show of that when I can realize that healthy relationships, that we have to have conditional relationships, but within those, I can express my thoughts, feelings, and actions unconditionally.
Pam Allan: Sure.
Corey Allan: I can express me unconditionally, which is less contingent on how are they going to respond more contingent on who am I, who do I want to be? How do I want to operate? Right? I So it's
Pam Allan: Realizing, yeah, I get what you're saying. Yeah.
Corey Allan: So if you can look at it when you have that kind of a framework, I believe this is what actually makes the relationship better,
Pam Allan: Having the boundaries makes the relationship better. Is that what you're saying? Yes.
Corey Allan: Okay. And recognizing there's conditions involved, because if both parties realize this could end, I need to be on a better behavior, if not my best behavior in relationship, because there's no guarantee my partner's here.
Pam Allan: Right? Well, isn't this the same going back to any life lesson that we've gone through, struggle that we go through, conflict that we go through, that's what makes us better and makes us grow up. And if you see someone that seemingly has had no conflict throughout their life, how have they grown up? What have they had to refine to refine them?
Corey Allan: So
Pam Allan: It's kind of the same way in a relationship that if my relationship hasn't gone through something, is it still an infancy? Is it still,
Corey Allan: Well, this is one of the phrases I use with clients when I start hearing their story of what goes on in their life, that a lot of times I'll hear this story, the common thread can be, well, I thought we had a pretty good relationship, and then such and such came out, or such and such happened, and I'm not talking about anything that's a major indiscretion or mistake. It's just all of a sudden one of them recognized something different. And so one of the reactions I have to that is seeing it as, okay, you guys have had a good relationship on the surface
Pam Allan: Saying they had a good relationship just because they didn't have any conflict.
Corey Allan: Well, because they could get along well, they could manage the household well, they could create a financial portfolio and a story. Well, they didn't have much depth to it though, because the depth is where we start having our conditions come into play even more.
Pam Allan: Because
Corey Allan: If I'm with a friend and they say, Hey, I'll call you tomorrow, and they don't, depending on the status of my friendship with them, I might let that slide because it's like, yeah, I realize that they got busy. But if you were to say, Hey, I'll call you tomorrow and you don't, I'd be like, what gives?
Pam Allan: Yeah. You said you're going to call,
Corey Allan: You said you're going to call because I would hold you to a different standard. The condition I have with our relationship.
Pam Allan: Well, it's the meaning behind the relationship that places that on it. Okay. When you're driving at this, tell me what you're driving at then with the conditions of, is it bad that I have conditions?
Corey Allan: No, I think we need to make 'em honest and out in the open, but not use them as a weapon.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: Right.
Pam Allan: Because saying they usually are used as a weapon or they just can be.
Corey Allan: I think we could, and that's where we'll get to towards the end of the show when we start unpacking these things, because this is all, I want to back up just a little bit to help give a framework for anybody that's newer to the show that may not be sure what we believe and how we operate. Because the premises of our main points matter in how we're framing this.
Pam Allan: Gotcha.
Corey Allan: Because we believe marriage is designed to help you grow up. Relationships are designed to help us grow up. And the more important ones or the ones higher up the hierarchy require the most pressure of our own growth.
Pam Allan: True.
Corey Allan: Because your presence in my life for the last 30 plus years in marriage, 34 years, 35 years almost coming up, wow. That's coming up right on the corner too of our relationship. You require better in me just because we're in relationship as I do you
Pam Allan: Just
Corey Allan: Because there's this element of constantly, both of us trying to just be better, almost requires the other. It has to do the same. And it's not like we always are great at it, but it's a dynamic in a marriage. I don't like the fairytale idea that, well, this is unconditional and this is happily ever after forever. And because we don't know, I mean, we were talking about this in pre-show that
Pam Allan: Based
Corey Allan: On the premise that we believe only God creates and offers the unconditional love. And the one thought I said was, well, maybe dogs do because you could be gone for a minute or gone for three days and they, oh, it's so good to see you. It's so good to see you, so
Pam Allan: Excited.
Corey Allan: But if you treat them poorly over any length of time, they may still come to you, but their tail will be down, their ears will be down. Their head will be down. That's not love. That's obedience.
Pam Allan: A whole different demeanor.
Corey Allan: And so if you think about it, a lot of what we do spiritually can fall into that too. Is it really love or is it obedience a lot of what we could do relationally? Is it love or is it obedience?
Pam Allan: And
Corey Allan: I don't mean obedience to some dictator. I mean obedience of this is the role I'm supposed to play.
Pam Allan: Right.
Corey Allan: And if you are in a relationship where it's some dictator, we need to talk, give me an email.
Pam Allan: Well, and aren't there seasons of where just obedience, for lack of a better word, using that in the dog phrase is one way, but sticking to your role and playing your part well, even though you're being treated poorly, that can just be part of things for a season,
Corey Allan: Right? Well, that's where I
Pam Allan: Would, hopefully it's just as seasoned. I
Corey Allan: Don't like the idea of obedience. I like the idea, don't like that word either idea. I'm sticking to a commitment,
Pam Allan: Commitment
Corey Allan: That I made, not necessarily to the person yet. I'm making the commitment I've made to myself of I'm going to see this through. And I think that's what keeps marriage in the sacred stature. It takes in people's lives because made a commitment. I'm not going to just haphazardly throw it away. And an interesting thing, on a quick side note, the marital, the statistics of people being married are lower now. People are not getting married more than ever in history,
Pam Allan: Living together, trying things out. And
Corey Allan: Some people can think of that as a bad thing in the sense of, well, don't care. They don't respect marriage. But some of that also from the I've seen is because they do respect marriage, they don't want the commitment. They don't want the depth of what it actually entails yet it is just easier to keep it at the surface where I have an out rather than I've made a commitment to this.
Pam Allan: And isn't that the scary thing though? We're just, it's easier to keep it at the surface and not make a commitment.
Corey Allan: A lot of the ways is the world in which we have created right now
Pam Allan: That scares me.
Corey Allan: Yeah. Because it's hard to have a deeper relationship with people because you're going to get hurt. Their wants and conditions are going to impact you. And this is where boundaries come into play. I'm going to pivot to that real quick
Pam Allan: Because
Corey Allan: All of this, if I'm going to start to create something where I operate unconditionally, but my relationship has conditions are still going to be contingent on the boundaries I'm able to enforce and keep in place. I love cloud and townsend's book boundaries. That's where seminal work.
Pam Allan: What's that about?
Corey Allan: And the title says it, but one of the ways I've loved Dr. Glover succinctly described boundaries is there's three different kinds. And if you think of them concentric circles, like it's a bullseye.
Pam Allan: So
Corey Allan: Internal boundaries, personal boundaries, and relational boundaries is the outer circle. And so internal boundaries are just the commitments you make to yourself. You say you're going to get up and go to the gym after work that day, and you don't tell anybody you're going to, but you actually went against one of your own internal boundaries,
Pam Allan: Right? Let's say your internal conflict, that man, am I living up to who I want to be
Corey Allan: That kind. I'm going to go on a fast of spending for 30 days, but yet I buy something on the side. I went against an internal boundary. No one knew I had
Pam Allan: Made
Corey Allan: That commitment, but I went against the commitment I had made to myself. And then personal boundaries are the ones that are the most popular ones that we know about, which is how close can somebody get to me? What can they do while they're there? Et cetera, et cetera.
Pam Allan: Yeah. Gotcha.
Corey Allan: And then relational boundaries are ones that we collaborate to create together. I'm just using you and I as the
Pam Allan: Example
Corey Allan: Of I care about our relationship enough that I'm not going to put myself in a position to where I'm alone with a woman in a car taking her home for whatever reason. And you're going to not be on a road trip with a guy business. It's because we're trying to protect our relationship. And so those are a mutually agreed upon thing. So when we can think of boundaries in that regards, this is what's going to help frame where we're going to go here in just a minute. And then the other thing, for those of you that are in the nation that love reading and learning different things, nonviolent communication is where some of the rest of the show is coming from. It's a book from Marshall Rosenberg. I came across him in grad school and read a bunch of his work. And it is fantastic because this is not about just bending over backwards or demanding and ruling. It's just the terms we use. I just started listening to a book actually of the pronouns we choose is the name of the book.
Pam Allan: And
Corey Allan: It's not about the identity thing in the world, but it's the little words we use and how much influence they actually have over all of our life.
Pam Allan: Interesting.
Corey Allan: And so his work in nonviolent communication is a great deeper dive in this idea. If you want some conflict management work and negotiation work, this is one that can be really good. Another aside, if you want to do something with conflict is Chris Voss book Never Split the Difference.
Pam Allan: Who
Corey Allan: Was the F B I lead hostage negotiator for a long time and now has created this whole big black swan group, and they got stuff going on all over the world.
Pam Allan: And
Corey Allan: It's really good too. But it's some of the same premise because when I want to create a marriage that can go deeper or a relationship that can go deeper, I've got to live according to the conditions I'm setting. And I also have to recognize people won't always honor or respect the conditions I'm setting.
Pam Allan: True. True. Because that holds them to another level as well.
Corey Allan: Some of it, frankly, they won't like it because
Pam Allan: Even our spouse won't like it.
Corey Allan: Right. And I'm immediately thinking of the fact that a lot of times our family of origins may not like it. Well, that's not what our family does.
Pam Allan: Okay. Makes sense.
Corey Allan: This is the way we do this.
Pam Allan: Makes sense.
Corey Allan: And some of this is inherently
Pam Allan: It's sabotage of your own relationship.
Corey Allan: Some of this is inherently going to come out because what we will do most of the time is we meet and fall in love and marry somebody that is different enough that it's going to test the conditions I've got as well as the family of origin conditions they've got. Because I can't tell you, I'd have to sit down and do a guesstimate of the percentage of clients I've had over the two decades of doing this job where one person whose family fought it out loud, dinner table lawyers argue across the board on severity or not, but just it was way out in the open on how they processed what was going on in life and fought it out. Marries the person that was raised in the family that never saw any of those kinds of conversations happen if they happened at all.
Pam Allan: And
Corey Allan: So immediately that relationship is set up for how are you going to handle conflict?
Pam Allan: Yeah. Because both spouses are coming from a totally different background,
Corey Allan: And it's easy for us to take the stance of, well, my way is right. This is the way you're supposed to do it when No, it's just the way you were modeled.
Pam Allan: And let's look at what dysfunction you're now seeing in the family as an adult. Hopefully.
Corey Allan: What
Pam Allan: Is it you're not liking about your
Corey Allan: Family when you start unpacking that? And let's just do a quick aside. A lot of times what would happen in the family that didn't talk it out at all, which in some ways was mine, it was more obligatory, obedient. This is the role I play actually at work. Not going deep with stuff, not actually facing stuff. So typically somebody was swallowing more than their fair share and then getting it back some other way. And the reverse can be true too. The other family that talked it all out, typically, most of the time, from my experience in talking to the clients that have had this, the talking it all out really meant whoever it was that was taking the I'm right stance, just kept talking until everybody agreed with them
Pam Allan: Or they just got worn out.
Corey Allan: Well, that's the point.
Pam Allan: Do I have to agree? Could I've just stormed off?
Corey Allan: You just give in.
Pam Allan: They
Corey Allan: Just finally give up on it. Dad's just not going to get off that stance. And because there's not a lot of families, I love this. One of the guys in one of my mastermind groups, he has a phrase in his household that says, we learn from each other in this house. And that's been the entirety of their parenting role, that even when their kids were little, now they're older, but even when they were little, like we still learn from you. We don't have a lock on how this is supposed to go in the right quote.
Pam Allan: Yeah, no kidding. I mean, even us with our kids and stuff that's come up and we've had a parenting fail. You know what? That was a parenting fail. I'm doing this for the first time with you. Sorry. You're the oldest. You're getting the broken in. But even when the second comes around that kid's different than the oldest,
Corey Allan: It's when we think we got it figured out,
Pam Allan: It
Corey Allan: Changes.
Pam Allan: It all changes. So modeling that is key. I love that he's got that phrase with this family.
Corey Allan: And so it's seeing this, I want go through some examples of what we will often do, Pam, and I mean other people, not us. Of course.
Pam Allan: I just about spit up my coffee right there.
Corey Allan: Well, what you and I will often do, I'll own this completely,
Is when I'm heated or I'm overwhelmed or I'm regressed and I'm not thinking clearly, I'm just reacting. I'll just be personal. When I'm wanting to avoid a conflict, I will figure out ways to just get out of the conflict rather than address the conflict. And typically the ways I can do that is just lay it all on you. If you would just blank, I would be willing to blank. Right. This is what's so interesting to me. Quick aside to throw all the communication training that's out there under the bus real quick. There's that standard, I feel blank when you blank. So therefore I need blank.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: That's kind of the standard. Here's how I'm supposed to make my request, which also has an undercurrent of you better honor my request. And it's not necessarily taught with that undercurrent, but I think it's still built in unless we acknowledge they may or may not do it. But you've got to realize, how am I getting across? That's where we want to go. So one of the statements that we often can hear, I got several examples and you and I are going to work to reword them. So one of them can be, so you made me sad when you didn't call me last week. So this would be in a friendship, let's say. Right?
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: Because that's one of the things we could just, it's a reactive statement.
Pam Allan: Yeah. This is back to the I'll call you tomorrow.
Corey Allan: Right. But you made me sad when you didn't.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: And so just to unpack this so you kind of get an idea of what I'm thinking about and then we'll collaborate through the next ones. Well, first off, can anybody make you anything?
Pam Allan: No. That's
Corey Allan: One of the premises we've got to at least confront.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: I don't believe we make anybody feel what they feel.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: They feel what they feel. And I don't want to get so far as do they choose it or not. Because a lot of times our emotions are just reactions, they're triggers. They just, they're inherently biologically there.
Pam Allan: How many times did so-and-so not call me back 10 years ago? And it's triggering me for something else. But
Corey Allan: This is one of those things I think we often too as human beings, where the self-talk I've got going on is, well, they made me angry. They made me rather than did they, the situation you reacted to with anger, but did they make you, because I believe we always have choice. And one of my favorite examples of this is when I was in grad school, I was reading a book just for fun during the time on Medal of Honor winners.
Pam Allan: And
Corey Allan: It was from the Korean War, world War ii, Vietnam War, et cetera.
Pam Allan: And
Corey Allan: One of 'em was the World War ii. I believe a platoon had landed on an island in the Philippines where they had gotten intelligence that said the Japanese had gone to the other side of the hill, and so they had a beach head in a cove that could land safely and then get the hill and then attack. Well, as they pulled in, their intelligence was wrong.
Pam Allan: They
Corey Allan: Were completely surrounded. It was an ambush waiting to happen. And the guy that won the Medal of Honor, as soon as they hit the ground realized, we have no option here. We're all dead,
Pam Allan: But
Corey Allan: I can choose how going to go out. And so he actually saved a couple of the platoon members by the way, he faced his death. So the fact of he didn't have a choice if he was going to die or not, he had a choice of how
Pam Allan: He
Corey Allan: Was going to go down. I think that's the way I can go about everything. Mark Manson uses the phrase of, you may not be to blame for what goes on in your life, but you're responsible.
Pam Allan: And I think that's such a key phrase that taking responsibility for what I do with where I am, and even if it was be out of my control where I am, no one else can dig me out of it. That's on me.
Corey Allan: And so that phrase, if you made me sad when you didn't call me last week, we would rephrase that in my mind would be, when you don't call, it causes me to feel sad, right? Because that's more of a less blaming stance. And so here's one that we could actually, let's do real quick. You made me angry when you forgot our anniversary.
Pam Allan: So of course, based on the, I can't make someone sad, I also can't make someone angry.
Corey Allan: That's
Pam Allan: Their response. We are rephrasing this
Corey Allan: Now. So let's go through what would be a better way to phrase this and tap out. I'll help you all the way through.
Pam Allan: This is a collaboration. You make me angry. What was the,
Corey Allan: You forgot our anniversary.
Pam Allan: All right. So I think I would rephrase that as anniversary's really important to me. It really hurts.
Corey Allan: There you go.
Pam Allan: When you're not,
Corey Allan: It hurt that it was
Pam Allan: Forgotten. That it seems not important to you. That's my perception based on you forgetting it. Because
Corey Allan: All of this, if you think about the history of our show and the way we have gone, for sure recently, the last three or four years where I've really been specific on trying to help people recognize I need to address impact
Pam Allan: Not
Corey Allan: The character of the person. And that's the same idea. The impact of they forgot our anniversary and that hurt me. I was hurt by that. So I think because again, this is standing up and being able to say what matters to me and what's going on
Pam Allan: In
Corey Allan: A relationship, not about, I just let it go one another one can be why do you keep ticking me off by leaving your stuff everywhere? Right? I mean, because again, think about how easily we could just, we can't help ourselves. We just say these things,
Pam Allan: Would you please pick up after yourself? I'm tired of picking up after.
Corey Allan: Yeah, that works.
Pam Allan: That's the first thing that comes to my mind.
Corey Allan: I think we can also do a cleaner house matters to me, and I don't have your support in it. And it's frustrating and is because, again, I'm just trying to frame where I stand within the condition I've got of how I want life and our relationship to be. I've got a partner in it or I don't. That's it.
Pam Allan: That phrase right there really hits home to me. I've got a partner in this or I don't.
Corey Allan: And it's on this aspect of the relationship because be careful to not add a blanket to the entirety of the
Pam Allan: Relationship that we're not partners at all.
Corey Allan: Right? Because there's other areas where absolutely, we are on the same page. We collaborate, we are supportive and we're allies.
Pam Allan: But
Corey Allan: Then there's nuances in relationships that are just differences. These are the two different types of conflicts that we have. One is just, they're just differences.
Pam Allan: So to take it on another track, if I really don't give a flip about the house being clean, I don't want to be a partner in that side of things. How do I respond even if they come at me in a good way? You know what? It's important to me for the house to be clean. I don't feel like we're partners in this. Okay? Yeah. That's not high on my radar. You are going to be alone in this one
Corey Allan: At least then because this is where I would think professionally speaking, at least I know what I'm facing and do I want to keep trying to pound my partner into a way I want them to be? Or do I face who I am in the relationship context, what I actually have in the relationship? This is dealing with what's present, not what's missing. Because the hope of you would be an ally in this with me is what's missing. That's the fairytale illusion rather than what am I really facing? Well, I'm facing somebody that that's not a priority. So is that a deal breaker for me?
Pam Allan: Yeah. You look at the severity of whatever the topic is,
Corey Allan: But again, this gets into, this is where it gets so insidious, because what we often will do is I'll come to grips with this is just the reality of the relationship dynamic. This is who I'm married to. And then when we get into a fight later, it can be weaponized,
Pam Allan: Bring it up.
Corey Allan: You could even weaponize it. But the more I get into this element of weight, this is unconditionally how I'm wanting to live within the conditions of my marriage. I can take away some of the sting of that kind of a move. If you tried to weaponize it back at me, well, you're so anal in the way you want the house and blah, blah, blah. I could be like, you're right. I am
Pam Allan: Am.
Corey Allan: That's not a button. Doesn't make me lose my crap. It's a button of, because I want it too clean anyway, so I wouldn't lose my crap. But that was a joke. It's swinging a miss
Pam Allan: Just a bit outside.
Corey Allan: But it's recognizing that whenever I own what can be used against me, it's harder to have it used against me because it's the preference I am.
Pam Allan: It's
Corey Allan: Who I am. That's unconditional nature of living life. Okay, a couple more
Pam Allan: Before
Corey Allan: We run out of time.
Pam Allan: Alright,
Corey Allan: So here's some of the other ones that's kind of interesting because one of the ways, what we were talking about before is just trying to address things that have happened. But how do we also address the things that also respect somebody else's autonomy? Because how often do we say something like, if you love me, you'll come to my family's birthday party, right? Because it's a condition
Pam Allan: Often, often do we say that? I'll think of that and say, I've never said that, but okay.
Corey Allan: Okay. Something like that then of
Pam Allan: That sounds very clingy to me.
Corey Allan: That's fair. And that is not who I'm married to for sure. But there are times where we have a condition of, if you love me, if you care about our marriage, you would come to the office Christmas party or you would come to my family's event. And that's not respecting somebody else's autonomy. I'm not saying you would say this. I know you wouldn't
Pam Allan: Say it this way. Well, I get it because that's a pretty severe phraseology to say, you're saying that you think, I don't love you if I don't do X, Y, and Z. I mean that's pretty severe.
Corey Allan: It is,
Pam Allan: But
Corey Allan: It's what we say as people.
Pam Allan: That's what some people say.
Corey Allan: They won't say it this way, but there's going to be other ways it can be expressed of, do you even care about this? I don't feel like we're on the same page at all. You don't even care about our marriage, and this is when we get flooded and overreacted. I think it's stuff we all have the capacity of doing. So if I'm phrasing that differently, then you just start talking about, it's important to me. If you came with me to the party, it would mean a lot. And that's it.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: It's an invitation, not a demand. And so that's just a difference.
Pam Allan: I get it. I get it. I think I'm getting hung up on the whole, if you love me, you would, but I get that when you rephrase it to the, that makes me think you don't think our marriage is important.
Corey Allan: That
Pam Allan: Somehow that hits me a lot differently than the whole phrase of, well, if you love me,
Corey Allan: Right?
Pam Allan: It does feel, anyway, I'm going down a rabbit trail. That's just how my mind
Corey Allan: Works. But it's also, okay, let's go this way of, here's another question or statement we could say of you better quit smoking if you want to be with me or you better quit whatever. If you want to be with me that's saying the exact same thing in a slightly different way as if you love me, you will.
Pam Allan: Well, how many callers or emailers have we had of, if you want to be with me, you got to quit porn. On a moral standpoint. I'm hearing that going. Yeah. Okay.
Corey Allan: But I'm not talking about the principles of what's at play.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: I'm talking about how you address those principles because addressing it with, if you love me, you'll quit porn. If you want to be with me, you'll quit porn. That's not respecting somebody else's autonomy and choice.
Pam Allan: And in a relationship, you want someone to choose to be with you
Corey Allan: Rather
Pam Allan: Than be forced because you are laying down the lawn and telling them this is how it has to be.
Corey Allan: Because then there's this element still. Is that where you're getting? Yes. Because I've got a lot of different times where I'll hear guys and women talking about some dynamic they want to change for their spouse's benefit, and I'll ask the question of what's the primary motivator here?
Pam Allan: Is
Corey Allan: It to make them happy or get them off your back, or is that who you really want to be? You got to be aware of that because if it's about, I just want them off my back, you're not really choosing then,
Pam Allan: And that comes out if you're not really choosing that,
Corey Allan: Absolutely it
Pam Allan: Will. There might be a temporary relief, but at some point you're going to be, what's the word I'm looking for? Ah, what's the word I'm looking for?
Corey Allan: I can't help you here, babe. I went on to something else in my own mind.
Pam Allan: Yeah, well, you just get frustrated. You don't feel like you're being heard either.
Corey Allan: Right?
Pam Allan: Right,
Corey Allan: Right. You're being dismissed. And I mean, there's always that question in the back of somebody's mind of why are you here? Why did you do this? Is it just to make me happy or are you really choosing this? This is what plays out in sex a lot, is obligatory sex is bad for both parties. Right. Because
Pam Allan: It goes back to the, is it sex worth having,
Corey Allan: Right? Because it's the question of what's the real motivation? Are they just trying to get you off their back or are they choosing to participate in this out of love?
Pam Allan: Yeah. The other partner knows the difference.
Corey Allan: You can read it. If you're paying attention, you'll know in the long run. So that question of You better quit smoking if you want to be with me. I think we would rephrase that into something along the lines of, it's important to me, your health and who I'm with, and that's not something I want to be around. That's kind of just a different statement. I'm saying the same thing, but I want to respect a boundary. The easier one to talk about would be, let's say you got holidays are not too far away. That's crazy to
Pam Allan: Think about
Corey Allan: The timing. So that means you're going to be heading home to family of origin, which can mean some subjects that some people maybe just won't let go. And maybe your parents don't agree with the career choice you've made or a purchase that you've made, or way you're raising your kid or
Pam Allan: Whatever,
Corey Allan: And they will harp on that. I can't believe you're blah, blah, blah. And so if you want to actually take a stance, then it becomes, you know what? I don't want to talk about that. Well, fair enough. But I'm not going to talk about that. That's the same thing we've talked about that we do in marriage where one of us gets overreactive and say, we're never talking about that again. Well, you just overstepped my autonomy in our relationship. I can still bring it up. You don't have to participate in the conversation though.
Pam Allan: That's
Corey Allan: Respecting each other's autonomy. You're free to handle you however you want to handle you, but I'm going to take a stand for what I believe and what I want in life.
Pam Allan: Well, and I see those relationships as different, and I guess maybe I'm not hearing exactly what you're saying, but when I'm at home over the holidays, I can tell my parents I'm talking about that with you. That's a whole different relationship than with my spouse.
Corey Allan: It is.
Pam Allan: If my spouse tells me, I'm not talking about that with you. That doesn't go away.
Corey Allan: No, it doesn't. But then you're left with how do you face it in the long run, which would be more along the lines of, I know you said you don't want to talk about this, but I'm going to keep bringing it up because it's important to me. But you bring it up in the sense that I'm making my point or I'm offering my side, not that I need the conversation. I'm inviting the conversation.
Pam Allan: Okay.
Corey Allan: There's a big difference. I think a lot of times, this is something that is rung true with a lot of clients when I've told them this phraseology, sometimes conversations take place over the course of a consecutive days, weeks,
Pam Allan: Months.
Corey Allan: And most of the time when this has come up with clients, I'm like, yeah, Pam and I are in a conversation that I think the ball's in her court, and it's been a couple of days. She'll get back to me with it at some point. It'll come back around at some point. But not every invitation to a conversation has to be accepted, is a tennis match right now. So sometimes it's like, Hey, let's go back to the smoking one. I'm scared of what the health ramifications can be if you keep smoking. Well, I'm going to keep doing it. I understand, but I'm also not going to just avoid it. I'm not going to badger you with it,
Pam Allan: But
Corey Allan: I'm going to show you it matters to me. And so then my condition would be, you're a smoker. I'm hypothetically here, not at all, and I'm taking this stance with you, and then you come to me with a kiss one time after smoking. I'm like, no, I'm not going to kiss a smoker's mouth. That's a condition. And that's a big move that changes the dynamic. Well, let me go brush my teeth. Okay, we'll see if that works because we'll figure out, we'll try to figure out ways around it.
Pam Allan: But
Corey Allan: My goal in this whole show is just to bring to the surface. We all have conditions, but how do I unconditionally try to live within those conditions? That's the point. I want to still be me and express me in the way I want to go about things.
Pam Allan: Gotcha.
Corey Allan: This is a conversation you and I have had about bringing up different subjects with our kids over the years as they've become teenagers and become just emotional, reactive drama, uncertain, all the different things because they're figuring themselves out too. Not like we've got ourselves figured out by any means.
Pam Allan: No, no.
Corey Allan: But our son right now is me as a teenager. When I was a teenager, the feelings I had, I didn't know what I was feeling, didn't know how to express 'em. I just never would bring them up or talk about 'em, nor was I really asked about 'em. Whereas he's being raised by parents to ask, and so I don't know. And he gets gruff with his reactions, which is a normal teenage thing. Well, that leaves us in this predicament of I don't even want to bring it up versus
Pam Allan: That's for sure me. I'm like that. You
Corey Allan: Know what, buddy?
Pam Allan: I don't want to get his reaction.
Corey Allan: You know what, buddy? I'm going to still bring these things up and I know the reaction I'm going to likely get. I'll take it. I'm going to bring it up. That's the whole premise of what we're talking about here. We know the gridlock things we face in marriage. I want to make sure I don't let my partner's reaction to determine my stance towards them.
Pam Allan: And in that vein, I think that it's hopefully the way I'm bringing it up, and I think of this with will, but hopefully it would bleed over into the marriage relationship too. I'm not asking to be a pain in the butt. I'm asking because I love you, and I'm bringing it there on the surface because I want us to be better. I mean, there's good intentions there. A lot of people have good intentions and just go about it poorly, but
Corey Allan: Including ourselves.
Pam Allan: Including ourselves, but ideally, we're getting better. All the, so it's not just to get our point across. Sometimes it's just to try and open an opportunity for dialogue at some point.
Corey Allan: So this is the premise of me getting better at taking a stance in my conditions and living according to those better with my boundaries is what sets the stage for a relationship to go deeper.
Pam Allan: But
Corey Allan: For it to go deeper, there has to be a collaboration to make it happen. And far too often, what we'll do is a great way to land the show, babe. So nice setup. Far too often what we will do is I will want you to operate in a certain manner so that then therefore we can go deeper. But that's not really deeper. That's safe sort of. It's not really, it's illusionary safe,
Pam Allan: More comfortable maybe.
Corey Allan: Well, but it's that idea of recognizing, I want to give the opportunity for this to be deeper, and I'll see if you'll choose it or not.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: It's an opportunity for you to live in a closer proximity to me, and I'll see if you choose it or not. And the ways I needed to do that is, one, respecting my boundaries and honoring those, which is my job, to enforce and implement not other people's job to respect. And that's a huge component. You hope they will, but they won't all the
Pam Allan: Time.
Corey Allan: And that can be a character indictment or just the fact that they don't want what you want. And then it's also, I need to respect their autonomy and the fact that I want to give them choice. Most of us don't want to face relationships that way. Too scary. Because what I may end up finding is I don't have a relationship.
Pam Allan: They're not choosing me.
Corey Allan: And that's the scary part.
Pam Allan: Nar
Corey Allan: Put it this way, that a lot of times in relationships and in lives, depending on our histories, we really are just asleep.
Pam Allan: And
Corey Allan: A lot of things that are going on in our world, and the reason we want to actually stay asleep and not wake up is because what we would wake up to is a nightmare for a moment, because I don't want to acknowledge how bad it actually is. But there's hope when I do, because then I get to bring some light into that darkness and find hope and support and safety within myself and with other people. I don't know why I sometimes regularly will have this happen, babe, but there's times that I'm putting together a show and wondering, is that enough content? And yet, we still didn't get through most of what I had actually written
Pam Allan: Down part one this week, part two next week.
Corey Allan: I had a whole lot more. We could do these phrases and keep trying, because I think what matters and is important is that couples and listeners in the nation get a chance to see and think through how do I approach things
Pam Allan: Well and having some specifics of topics and scenarios.
Corey Allan: Because I think if we all are going to have similarities in what we do here, and we all are going to have similarities in how I can not do it well, because every single one of us has times where when something gets overwhelming or tough, I don't handle it well, I overreact. And when I can see it as, wait, what's the way I usually overreact? I want to do that differently. I want to do that better. Back to the open of the show. What if I am that guy that I know exactly what I'm doing because step in and take care of it for me. It allows me to just skate
Pam Allan: On something. Yeah.
Corey Allan: Well, is that who I really want to be? And if it is, then own it. And if it's not, there's your path to work.
Pam Allan: Yeah.
Corey Allan: Well, this has been passionately married. If we left something undone, we want to know seven Oh, that's not our number at all. 2 1 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Transcripts are available of each of the episodes email@example.com, as well as any advertisers, deals and discount codes. You can find them there too. So however you've taken a little bit of time to spend with us this week, thank you and we'll see you next time.
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