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Say Yes to Adventure with Josh and Jenny Solar
Dec 24, 2015 · 36 min
True Love Exists...You Just Have to Listen
More episodes from Growth Marriage
2 days ago
How Picasso's $179 Million Painting Can Transform Your Marriage
In May of 2015, Pablo Picasso’s painting Les femmes d’Alger sold at auction for $179.4 million. Until recently it was the highest price ever paid for a painting. Guess how much time Picasso spent painting this work of art? Oh… about a day. In his lifetime, it’s estimated that Picasso created roughly 50,000 works of art. That’s nearly 2 pieces every day! It’s easy to assume Picasso’s greatness came as a result of raw talent, a natural gift, or his unique style. But the reality is that the reason Picasso is probably one of 5 famous painters you can name off the top of your head, and the reason his paintings sell for millions, is because he was relentlessly dedicated to his craft. He created every single day. And a lot of his creations didn’t look anything like the abstract stuff you probably think of when you hear the name "Picasso". What made Picasso special was his tens of thousands of paintings. He painted when he felt inspired. He painted when he felt hungry. He painted when he was sick, when he was angry, when he was depressed, and probably when he didn't feel like painting. As he painted and created and hustled he found what made him unique. He found his groove and his style. He created his legacy. This is not much different from love. I love thinking of love as art. You get better with practice. You have to invest, grind away, and do the work on the days you feel like it, and especially on the days you don't. The only way to find your unique relationship style, your strengths in partnership, and discover what little things hold the highest value for you is to love every single day. You don’t create a $180 million marriage overnight. It’s 50,000 foot massages while listening to her tell you how her day went. It’s 50,000 sincere compliments. It’s 50,000 apologies and 50,000 hours of self-reflection. It’s 50,000 attempts to shut your mouth and listen instead of explaining or providing excuses. It’s 50,000 deep breaths before giving him the benefit of the doubt. It’s 50,000 requests for help and saying “thank you” when she helps. It's 50,000 attempts to show up at your best. Every day you’re creating your legacy. Every day you get to decide whether or not you will put in the work to become a master, or whether you’ll be just like everyone else. “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone” ― Picasso What will you choose today?
Sep 17, 2020
Did you brush your teeth today?
Did you brush your teeth this morning? My guess is that you did... at least I hope so. You've probably brushed your teeth almost every day of your life since you had teeth. It's a pretty logical thing to do. It prevents cavities, bad breath and gum disease (obviously) as well as a bunch of other great health benefits like preventing heart disease, dementia, and diabetes. But you probably don't think about all those things when you brush, do you? You just do it because it's a good habit you've developed (or it feels gross if you don't). Brushing your teeth is important! You can't just go to the dentist once every 6 months and get a really intense, professional cleaning and call it good. WHEN IT COMES TO THE THINGS THAT MATTER, CONSISTENCY ALWAYS BEATS INTENSITY! So, what's the "brushing your teeth" equivalent that keeps your marriage thriving and healthy? That's what we cover in today's episode.
Sep 2, 2020
We shouldn't be struggling with this
Aug 25, 2020
Are You Settling For Less In Your Marriage?
Some people think that to have a good marriage you have to get really good at letting the little things go. They think a good partner will look past the minor dysfunctions that show up in marriage. You just gotta ignore the little hurts that get inflicted over time. I mean, what good is marriage if you’re constantly talking about stuff that isn’t working, right? The science of researchers Gottman, Swanson and Murray shows that couples who have a low tolerance for negativity in their marriage are actually happier, and more likely to have lasting, satisfying love. In a nutshell, happy couples don’t let things build up and fester before addressing them. They call this having a “low negativity threshold.” You might be thinking, “But Nate, didn’t you just write an article about ? This seems a little contradictory.” I hear you. Just bear with me for a minute. I promise I’ll provide a good explanation. First, let me start out with a story... One evening a few weeks ago my wife and I were in a hurry to get somewhere. She made dinner, we ate, then left the dishes in the sink. The next morning we both ran to work early and left our breakfast dishes in the sink. That evening we got home and began making dinner again… the mountain of dishes was growing. The pile was magnified by the smallness of our kitchen. There was no space, no clean dishes, and a lot of frustration. My wife - champion that she is - dug through the pile of dirty utensils and food-covered appliance attachments to find something she needed for the food processor. Then I heard her scream. There was blood everywhere. She cut her finger on a sharp blade buried in the mess of dishes. She was in pain, she was frustrated, she was overwhelmed. I was panicking, stressed, and upset. All of this emotional tension, the stress, the literal mess, and the blood and pain could have been avoided if we had just taken a few minutes to manage the mess when it was small before it turned into a mountainous problem! We could have cleaned while we cooked. We could have scrubbed dishes and thrown them in the dishwasher before leaving the house. We could have stayed up a little late, or woken up a little early to make a dent in the pile. We could have hired someone to come help us clean. The problem that too many couples face is that they let the dishes pile up, and pile up, and pile up until someone just can’t take it anymore! They get so frustrated, or hurt that they snap, explode, and lash out. Are you getting the analogy yet? I'll spell it out for you, just in case. Rather than maintain a clean kitchen (healthy, happy, resentment-free relationship) by taking care of the dirty dishes (small hurts, disappointments, and arguments) when they’re manageable, they instead build a tolerance for living in a filthy kitchen (miserable, lonely, anxiety-ridden marriage). Sounds miserable, right? I know you don't want this. You want epic love... not this miserable counterfeit we try to convince ourselves is an actual marriage. Now let’s talk about how to keep your emotional kitchen clean so these meltdowns don’t happen. How You Start Is Important For me, the hardest part about cleaning the kitchen is starting. Once I make some progress and gain a little momentum, the cleaning gets easier… Sometimes it’s even fun. The same is true with the “emotional kitchen” the most important part is simply starting the conversation… and starting it the right way. In his book, , marriage researcher, John Gottman talks about the importance of a “Soft Startup.” A soft startup is a kind way to begin a conversation about something that’s bugging you without picking a fight, or pushing your partner to shut down emotionally. The Soft Startup is all about being gracious and kind and setting your partner to respond with the same kindness. You're ensuring you tackle conflicts as a partnership. Instead of conflict being you vs. your partner, it should be a tag team of you and your partner vs. the problem and your emotions. Last week, after writing the article about not complaining, I got an email from a reader whose partner had an awkward issue to be addressed. It will make a perfect demonstration of how a soft startup should work. A harsh startup might sound like this: "Holy crap, I can't take it anymore! Your toothbrush is disgusting? How can you not smell that!? It makes me nauseous every morning when I walk in the bathroom. Don't you have any respect? Your breath is nasty." Yeah, your partner won't react well to that, or anything like it... Start a conversation with accusations, anger, frustration, an aggression and you won't get what you want. You'll just end up with a fight. Now let's try a soft startup. "Hey babe, can I talk to you about something that makes me uncomfortable? (Asking permission is a great place to start) I just noticed recently that your toothbrush has a really strong smell and it's kind of grossing me out. I don't want to embarrass you, but I wanted to bring it up because I'd want to know if the situation was reversed. (This is coming from a place of kindness, not criticism.) Would you mind picking up a new toothbrush on your way home from work? (Notice the request instead of a demand.) Thanks for being so understanding. (Gratitude is always a good touch!) This was a hard thing for me to bring up. I love you." Boom! Suddenly a potential complaint or an attack is turned into an easy (albeit slightly awkward) conversation! Thanks soft startup! Maintain High Expectations Ever hear unhappy people say something like, "The best way to avoid disappointment is to always have low expectations."? Gross... Sounds to me like it's time to bust another marriage myth. Low expectations do NOT equate to a happy marriage. Research shows that couples who have high expectations for their marriage are actually happier. Part of maintaining a low negativity threshold for your relationship is being committed to putting out the small emotional fires before they grow into raging infernos that can wreak havoc on your marriage. Here's some statistical proof that will blow your mind: Researchers Notarius and Buongiorno (1995) found that the average amount of time a married couple waits to get professional help from the time one of them detects serious problems in the marriage is 6 years. SIX YEARS! These couples sit in the anxiety and tension and misery of conflict for the better part of a decade before saying, "Hey... this isn't what we signed up for. Maybe we need some help." Holy crap, it's no wonder 50 percent of first-time divorces happen in the first 7 years of marriage! (Thus the name of this website.) This bologna happens because people would rather adapt to more conflict, anxiety, stress, and unkindness than simply repair the emotional wounds inflicted in the relationship. If you don't want a marriage full of grudges, resentment, festering emotional wounds, regrets, fighting, and sadness, you MUST raise the bar for yourselves. You cannot settle. You have to have the hard conversations with respect and kindness. If you're having the same arguments over and over again, you should ask for help! You can't lower your expectations for what's acceptable. This is the work that makes epic love possible. This is the work the top 1% of marriages do. They don't settle! Where are you settling? How can you level up? Do you need to implement a soft startup to address something in your relationship? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Aug 18, 2020
Do You Ever Feel Like A Prisoner In Your Marriage?
People frequently complain to me about their marriages. They tell me secrets they would NEVER tell anyone else. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. (If you’re unhappy in your marriage, and you reach out to me, that means we’re moving in the right direction.) Today I want to share with you an important pattern I’ve noticed during these with hundreds of frustrated, disconnected, and unhappy couples. They all want the same thing… Freedom. I know this, because the way they talk about their marriage often sounds like a prison. “I feel trapped…” “I feel stuck…” They feel like they’re at the mercy of a disengaged, or unpleasable partner… “He doesn’t ever help with anything. I feel like I’m his mother, or his maid.” “I can never do anything right. Even when I do my best to give her what she wants, she’s still unhappy.” My heart breaks when I hear the desperate stories of a lonely partner who just wants to be set free from their prison, and feel that deep connection they once felt. Inevitably the conversation takes a turn… typically with the same question. “What do I do?” The answer is ALWAYS the same: Freedom from pain, tyranny, and misery always comes with a heavy price. The price is personal responsibility. Wherever freedom exists, someone, somewhere has taken responsibility for a problem, an injustice, or the suffering of others. Harriet Tubman made 13 trips to the south through the Underground Railroad to free over 70 slaves. She made their freedom her responsibility. (a WNBA star) recently stepped away from her basketball career at the peak of her success to help exonerate Jonathan Irons – a man who’s been wrongfully imprisoned for the past 20 years. Maya stepped up and made herself responsible for righting a wrong that she did not commit. Healthcare workers all over the world are putting themselves at risk to take responsibility for the wellbeing of sick people everywhere. I witness that sacrifice every week as my 7-months-pregnant wife puts on her maternity scrubs, and spends 13 hours a day, 3-4 days per week on her feet, running from room to room, caring for patients. And I see the tears, anger, and anxiety she experiences when she comes home exhausted and angry at people on social media who refuse to protect themselves and those they love. She knows that their lack of responsibility will inevitably put more responsibility and pressure on her and her coworkers… who are already near a breaking point. Responsibility is hard. And ultimately, if you’re feeling trapped, stuck, or imprisoned in your marriage, you have two choices: Wait for someone else to take responsibility for changing your marriage Step up and take responsibility yourself What does that look like? Well, to start, you’ve gotta be REALLY honest with yourself. You need to carefully consider, and take responsibility for the choices you’ve made that created your current situation. That type of honesty is never easy. When you peel back the layers and stare the truth in the face, it can be incredibly painful. I’ve seen women who were absolutely furious at their childish and irresponsible husband. That fury transformed into tears when these women realized that they had contributed to their husband’s childlike behavior by treating him like a child… These amazing women didn’t know how to deal with the inherent anxiety and worry that comes up when you have to truly trust someone else to help you get things done. Trust can be scary! It was much easier to micromanage, nag, and complain about their husbands when things were done “wrong way” until, eventually, their husbands decided, “If every effort I make results in disappointment, why even try?” Ooof… that’s a heavy truth to face. I’ve seen husbands hang their heads in shame when they realized that they’d spent decades focused so much on work that they completely missed the opportunity to forge a relationship with their wife or kids. “We’ll go on a date next weekend,” and… “I’ll make it to the next game,” turned into the dread of realizing the people they love most in the world look at them like a stranger. Or husbands who realized that they have been objectifying their wives for years… Using them as a maid, a chef, and a sex doll without ever stopping to ask what their desires, interests, or dreams are. A piece of them dies inside when they realize how cruel and selfish they’ve been. Or maybe someone simply realizes that they should have said, “No! The way this relationship is headed is not ok with me,” a LONG time ago. The truth can be incredibly harsh. But this is the first step on the path back to connection, deep meaning, profound purpose, joy... and freedom. The next step? Make a different choice. Take responsibility for the words you use, and the tone you use to convey them. Take responsibility for asking for what you want, and holding firm to your righteous desires. Take responsibility for your past mistakes. Apologize for them. Ask what you can do to make them right. Take responsibility for breaking the negative cycles that you perpetuate – with your partner… or inside your own head. Take responsibility for your weaknesses, flaws, and insecurities. And seek help to improve them. The path to freedom is simple… but it is NOT easy. And it’s also why the divorce rate is so high... "Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility." - Sigmund Freud One last thing. I know taking responsibility is scary. But one of the most beautiful things about it is that when you choose to pick up a heavy burden and bear it willingly, it gives your life a deep sense of meaning. It transforms you. It chips away at your weaknesses. It makes you humble, and grateful, and compassionate. It makes you better. The work that comes with earning your freedom – whether in marriage, or any other aspect of life – is ultimately the thing that forges your true character. Don’t look at your impending freedom as a burden. Look at it as an opportunity. It will change your life.