It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F-word here: Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same—and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it. [00:27.6]
(00:34): And welcome back to our continuing mini series with Jasmine. I don't know how many different ways I can introduce this one. Okay. Today, I want to talk to you about Disney and Hollywood and happy endings. And oh my goodness. You and I, friends, we all grew up in a society that has had so much entertainment and books and movies thrown at us that a lot of our ideas about what makes a very powerful relationship have been formed by a bunch writers who themselves are angsty and have serious relationship problems and are stuck in their fantasy world and not actually resolving their real world stuff. And many of them actually put their relationship troubles onto the population at large, without realizing it because it's a compelling mu movie and will identify with it. But, you know, just because it's on the screen, doesn't actually mean it's true or needs to happen that way. So when I grew up, well, I grew up on Disney movies for a long period of time. And in Disney movies, well, the prince charming come on, I have to be prince charming. So, so she just gave me this look like, where are you going with this? Okay. So prince charming. He like goes and he saves the damsel. He's the nice guy. He gets the girl, the girl likes him in the end, they kiss and they marry and they go happily ever after in like two days,
(01:59): Right. The happily ever after thing was just sort of like this catchall, like, oh cool. If we can like, get over our relationship struggles toward marriage, then the rest of it is gonna be hunky Dory. And so I kind of grew up going like, okay, I need to be the nice guy. I need to be the guy that does these things. And turns out that in normal relationships that didn't always work correct.
(02:24): How, how go, what are you trying to say about me girl? But, so I grew up trying to be this guy that like, that tried to fulfill those roles in high school and in those relationships. And I kept finding out that I wasn't the one that the girls liked or whatnot. And so I was get really, really down on myself and I was already struggling with feeling like I belonged and some of these kind of core thought processes that were on loops in my brain, cuz we moved around a lot. And I was a little bit insecure with myself and so on and so forth. So I grew up on those movies and then later on, you know, a lot of the dating advice and a lot of the other things I learned was like, Hey, you find some things that you have in common. You go find somebody that you really connect with and that you resonate with. You get on the same page and all of this was around getting on the same page and doing things together and being the same kind of person. So for the number of years of my weded life, I tried to make Jasmine into some version of me basically,
(03:26): Basically so I tried to get her interested in the same things. I tried to get her to do some of the same things. And while we did connect on Dan, Right? I mean that's where we met on and the folk dance team. And so we did definitely have that in common and that might be close to it. No, We also were of the same religious persuasion at the time. Right. So we had sort of a similar belief background about the importance of family and that the fact that it's really important to do while you're young and find that other person and that this is sort of the goal of life. Why not? Well as time went on, I don't know about you, I'd be curious about your end, but for me, I was still trying to make that happen. Meaning I was still trying for all of those years to try and be the same to have the same interests, the same likes, the same beliefs. I mean, even talking about scripture with her was like trying to get her on the same page. So a lot of things probably sounded like arguments.
(04:26): They well, they did, but you have a louder tone of voice anyway and you get way more passionate and dramatic than I do. Have you noticed, have you guys noticed, okay, So, you know, I throw that in and it way it was not a good recipe for, Hey, let's bond over something. Cool. It was, I'm gonna force you into liking this so you can be like me and we're gonna, you know, be partners in crime. And I think I was just so overwhelmed with having that pushed on me plus the addiction stuff that I was just like, you know what, suck it. I don't wanna do your stuff. I can, like, I can barely even handle my stuff. So it w I think it caused a pretty big rift for a while of, well, you don't like what I like, and you don't, you know, the other person doesn't, and we don't even like talking about the same things or, you know, that kind of thing. So that was a really big thing that we had to figure out.
(05:27): Yeah. So let's give a first off, what was your expectation in a relationship? Did you have the same kind of like, Hey, we're gonna be on the same page thing happily ever after, or were you actually intelligent? I, I think I was a lot more intelligent about it than you were dang it for once. I like, I, I knew that it would be hap ha we would have to work on it that it wouldn't all be happily ever after. I didn't have any idea. It would be as intense as it was intensely opposite of happily ever after, as it was. I, I think I kind of just realized that, Hey, those Disney movies, those are really just stories. And maybe I just didn't connect with any of the characters in them because I, I don't fit that kind of mold. Maybe now I would cuz they're coming out with a way more diverse set of actual people, characters on movies,
(06:27): Animated people, folks, animated people, very, very diverse animated people. You know what I mean? So you know, just, I, I just knew it was a story I didn't really ever feel like, Hey, my life is gonna play out like a Disney movie and I need to be the actual princess Jasmine, because I was born before she was even created. So there's that. But well technically a thousand in one nights was written way before that
(06:53): The Disney movie got it. Nobody knew who she was until the Disney came out. So I, you know, I, I knew it was something we were gonna have to work at and I did not go into the marriage trying to change Bob. I didn't go in trying to say, you know, like you should do this, you, I had expectations for sure, but it wasn't a, a forcing of my likes on him that I felt on the other end.
(07:22): So we got it, got to the point where as she's navigating me, trying to get us on the same page. And she's like, I don't like this page that it got to the point where both of us at one point were saying, you know, we're in a great space now after we'd come through a bunch just tough. But if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't. So we were looking on Facebook and we were looking at all these anniversary posts that people post that I, that still make me wanna throw up in my mouth.
(07:51): And they're like, oh my gosh, we've been through thick and thin. And we've been hard times in great times. And if I had to do it all a all again, I would do it all over. And we both and a heartbeat and we both looked at each other and were like, I wouldn't, that one's hard. And at first we were like, Hey, look, we're finally people on the planet that are honest. Yeah. Like all these other people, cuz if you say you love your spouse, the reality is you're committed to them, but you do always love them every single second of every single day.
(08:23): Yeah. I mean, if, if I'm honest, there are times where I hated Jasmine's guts. She, there are times where she hated my guts where she's literally punching the wall, upset with stuff that going on. She didn't break her hand folks. I, like I said, she has iron fists, but like there were times where there was real hatred and real resentment and real pain and all of this massive gamut of emotions. And so when people were like, I love you, honey. I was always like, I don't even know what that means. I'm here and I'm not given up, but I don't know what it means to say. I love you. And so, So we thought, Hey, we're this honest couple. And then came a real shift for us because I finally started no longer feeling G I, I had to live up to other people's expectations. And I started embracing some of the questions that were in my heart around faith and a around God and around religion. And that became a huge shift for us because the faith that I grew up in, you know, you're married forever. And so when I leave the faith, I also kind of leave the wife so to speak.
(09:29): I, I basically felt like he was like divorcing me that wasn't in my head at all. It had everything to do with faith, but her perspective. And it's a very valid one because my faith is so central to who I am as a person. And I thought that was the same with him. And so when it wasn't like for me to wrap around my head, wrap my head around that in a second, you know, it was, it was too hard for the moment. And so he he's throwing this at me and it really did feel like, well, what do I even do? Like he should, the actual marriage just be ended. Like, I guess that's on the table too, you know, kind of thing.
(10:21): And it's a fair response given everything that has come from that sort of belief system. So since then we are on very different. There's not a lot that we are the same on movie quotes. We like quoting those. We do enjoy some dance, Nature being so nature being outside and we have the same children. Coincidentally, somehow it worked out that way. But there's beyond that. There's really not the topics I like to think about and discuss how are you on those? Yeah,
(10:53): Not that interesting. But also the topics I like to think about like I'm super into sciencey stuff, like way into it and it, you know, previously it just felt like, well, he would get excited about something and I'd be like, wha or I would get excited about something. He'd be like, wha and then we just didn't wanna listen to each other or talk to each other because we felt like the reactions were you're dumb. You're boring. I don't wanna talk about this kinda thing. Yeah. And we had seen this in other family, extended family relationships and stuff where we're like, we don't wanna have a marriage like them and then our friends or yeah. You know, and then we ended up strangers at the grocery store.
(11:33): So we ended up making one anyway where it was really like to two people in a mutual toleration scheme. And the relationship was sort of a business contract in many ways. And so to get beyond that and allow the space for Jasmine to be all that she ever wants to be without any constraint that she'd be any different than she is. And me to be the same without ever feeling like somehow I'm a burden on her because I think something that is really important to me and at the same time, still be able to be relationship and to be married and whatnot took a little bit of a leap
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(12:45): And so people ask us, even at this last retreat, one of the questions was like, isn't this a big like stumbling block? Isn't it really hard? Were you guys, you guys have different faith backgrounds. You, you think differently.
(12:56): I mean, you see it all the time in just politics, right? Two people have different opposing views and automatically the other person is dumb and stupid and they can't be friends anymore. And that's it. And that is something I have never believed. And I have never liked that train of thought. I, I firmly believe that two people can think very differently and still get along. And so I, I really tried to bring that into our marriage and especially with his leaving our church, my church. And it, it was a huge, gigantic stumbling block for both of us, probably for about a month. But I would say mostly because I did not see it coming. I wasn't in his head and he didn't feel comfortable talking to me about things until he decided. And so he decided, and he spew it on me.
(13:56): And then I had to, you know, like figure out all of this stuff, the implications for me still having faith in a, a family forever. And like now what does that mean for me and the kids and for us and, and things like that. Like I had to figure some things out on my own and we had to figure things out together. We had to decide if we wanted to stay together, actually in this marriage and things like that. So for probably about a month, it wa it really was a big stumbling block, but I don't feel like there was ever well now we think different. So I have to hate you now. Right. You know, I don't. And especially from my faith, like, I think that's the very last thing that Jesus would want a person to do. You know, if somebody's trying to be Christlike, why would they ditch somebody? Just because they now have a different viewpoint on something. And so, you know, after, after we kind of came through that, it's, it's, there's some things that come up that we have to talk about and, and things like that. But it really is just a matter of two people who have different opinions being friends.
(15:12): Yeah. And you would do this with your friends. If you didn't have this role of, I'm a husband, I'm a wife and we're supposed to be together and we're supposed to be on the same page and we're supposed to be unified in our decision and stuff. And you were just like, thinking about 'em as like your best friend folks. That's a good idea by the way, your best friend and you don't always agree on stuff. And you're just like, okay, whatever. Yeah. That's one of these dumb ideas that she carries around or he carries around or, or it's, and you may think it's dumb and they may not. And so you don't have to judge it that way, but you don't have to agree. You have to remember what a thought is. There's some firing synapses in the brain and you have an, an, an internal experience of something that has some content to it.
(15:47): That's all, it is a person having an internal experience. That's thought is there's nothing wrong with two people having different internal experiences. It's cool. If you can have some that are similar enough that you can talk about them, but it's not required. It's also cool to meet someone who has a totally different life experience than you. And just be like, wow, how does your brain function? Yeah. And I used to spend time every day, just staring at Jasmine. Like if I look inside and I cut her open, all I would see is like nerves and blood vessels and muscles and tissue and all this other stuff and intestines and things. So where is she in all of that? And I would just sit there and she'd be like, what are you doing? I'd like, what? And I'm like, nothing. I'm just staring at you awkward, by the way, we also connect on awkward things.
(16:40): Yes, we do. So, but I was just fascinated. Like I would be with any other foreign creature who thinks and behaves in totally different ways. And there's nothing wrong with that. And so the whole idea that you have to have the same thoughts in order to be connected is absolutely ludicrous. The very fact that we are alive on this planet means that we're connected, cuz we're breathing the same atmosphere. We're receiving the same sunlight. There is a constant interaction of cells and molecules between all these people. There. Isn't a really stiff boundary between persons and their environment and whatnot. Cuz if you weren't on this planet in this atmosphere, you wouldn't last very long. And so when it comes down to it, like you are already connected, you are already deeply energetically, entwined, and already there for each other. The only question is, can you experience that connection and too often the sort of marking line about whether you allow yourself to experience your connection to someone or something else is, do they think the same?
(17:43): Do they believe the same? Do they have the same skin color? Do they dress the same? Are they the same nationality? Are they from the same hometown and so on and so forth? And when you can break those down and recognize that at the core you are both just a piece of life, each expressing life in your own unique way, then it can become like a celebration where here's judgment doing this thing that I would never do possibly, but, and I can celebrate that. And if it's something that's like, she's having a rough time, well I can do what I can to be their supportive. And if there's nothing I can do, I can watch from the sidelines and help the kids and put not. So I think it's really important to step back. There is no contradiction in that the two of you have a vastly different opinion about things, a different belief system, because when it comes down to it, you don't know what life after this one is like, you, you have some beliefs that are really powerful for you here. And so what if you walk together in whatever beliefs you have and SA to support each other, eventually, you know, the truth will make itself known eventually if you keep paying attention. And I think from that point on, there's not a problem.
(18:53): I think an important thing to note though, is that both of us have a mutual respect for each other's religious or spiritual searchings right. So I have mine and Bob's familiar with it cuz you know, he grew up in the, in the same belief to be fair. The way I grew up in that belief is vastly different than the way that she grew up in that belief, even inside of a church, you know, the 15 million members, there's 15 million different versions of that religion. Everybody's gonna have a different experience, but The, the doctrines, the Princip were familiar.
(19:31): So he's familiar with the principles. And so he, like, he has a better understanding of why I do what I do. On the flip side, he, in his spiritual endeavors, he doesn't, I don't know that much about them and I'm, I'm starting to kind of more asked questions and just trying to find out more. But what I'm trying to say is we both just respect each other and support each other as we are searching for whatever spiritualness in this case that I'm talking about. So it isn't well, he left and I'm right. So I'm just to do whatever I want that In the hopes that he comes back around or something.
(20:16): Sure. And, and that being said, like, I still want to raise my kids and my faith and Bob is very supportive of that, you know? And so like I try and be supportive of him in his faith whenever I can. And that's, you know, whether that's just, okay, I I'm going to just take the kids all weekend, cuz he's gonna go travel to do some stuff. And that'll be fine, you know? Or I don't know, just anyway I can, there's there's always been a mutual respect for, okay, this is your piece. You, you feel that this is kind of sacred, so I'm not gonna make fun of it. I'm not gonna think it's done because it's not, and I'm not gonna like, you know, put myself above you. It it's, it's just both of us seeing that you of us has something important to us. And even though we don't agree on it, as in thinking, you know, the same on it, we're both trying to help each other become better in that way and do all that we can.
(21:16): Yeah. And so what that looks like in a day to day, for instance one the, the church of JE belongs to they pay tithing and I pretty much, I'm not the only income of the family, but the vast majority income. So I split the income and half of that, I, she pays tithing on because I know that's important to her and that's not like I could run the home without her. So I look at it as like a joint income. And so she does tithing on that half and the other half, I donate to some charitable organizations and then I also put in some of it into a savings account for the family. And so the other half is something that I'm disposing of in a way that I feel is in line with what I care about on a morning basis. She takes the kids through some scripture study and I realized early on that if I'm present for it, then I'm gonna question it in ways that are not super conductive to a good conversation. Well,
(22:04): And also during the school season, whatever, during school, we only have the kids and I, we only have five to seven minute time slot for that scripture study. And that's literally the only time we have in the entire day when I have all of my kids at home at the same time. So that's when we do it. Obviously Bob likes to talk, it would go over. Everybody would be late for school. I would be upset one because of schedule two, because he's making the kids think too hard in the morning, you know, it just wouldn't go over. Well, we tried it for a little bit. We tried and it it's, it's just turned into, okay, mom, mom does this. Yeah. And it's, you know, we do what we can.
(22:47): So, so they do that. I go to church with them on the Sunday in order to support, like take wrangle the kids for the main meeting. I listen to my own stuff during that. Like I have some ear pods in and I, I listen to my own stuff cuz I don't really wanna listen to what they're saying in the church, but I'm there to take the kids to the bathroom. And and then during the second hour of church, when there's like a Sunday school class, I kind of go out and meditate or sit on the lawn or, or process some things. And then on the flip side, in terms of stuff like frequently when the kids are having a hard time, she'll send them to me to have 'em work through their emotional stuff or do some breathing with them or when I'm having one-on-one conversations with the kids, you know, I'll question and I'll challenge their thinking because we, neither of us want them to grow up just automatically believing what it, whatever it is that we tell them. We want them to discover for themselves what works and what brings them joy and happiness and wellbeing in life. And so that they're making their decisions for themselves and not for us. And we'll get into that in the parenting one a little bit. But
(23:48): Yeah, we're not trying to create little bots, you know, here, we, we really do want them to be able to, to start learning how to figure out what they like and what they don't like, what rings true for them and, and really discover that for the selves. You know, like I told, I told Bob, I want my kids to be able to decide for themselves because I don't want them turning 40 and having a Meltdown like Bob does
(24:15): Having a breakdown and then everything's just, you know, because then there's somebody else that has to deal with that. And yeah. You know, it it's, it's just something that's important to us to get our kids to start, start thinking now and figure out how to learn for themselves. Yeah. And so in the end we are too, we are probably more, would you say we're more different than when we started than when we
(24:38): Sure. But that being said, we also connect way better now, even though we are vastly more different than when we started our marriage and the, the connecting point is simple, honest language where you don't feel like you have to hide anything. And so the reason a lot of our upsets would come was because I would feel like I'd have to hide and then eventually I couldn't take it anymore. And then I'd finally revealed to Jasmine what was going on in my head. And then she'd be like, and she'd be like, oh, I thought we were fine. And now you bring this up. Apparently everything wasn't okay. And big reaction because I didn't feel safe enough to share. And neither did she. And so to turn that around, really your ability to be able to be all of who you are. It's not like the other person went you to be any different than who you are really. I mean, if you're both, both honestly in the relationship, they just want you to be you.
(25:33): And obviously if that doesn't work out or it's not working out, then you gotta make a different decision there. But in the end, if you really wanna be in a relationship where you are allowed to be all that you are, then that has to start in the smallest ways where show up and you're like, Hey, this is what I feel about this. And maybe if the big topics are too taboo for you guys to talk about, cuz you blow up. Maybe that's a place for some emails and the other topics are maybe your beginning topics are like, so what's your favorite color? Why do you like this food again? Tell me what was your just dumb stuff that you would do well dating and start over as if you were dating, get to know the other person, use the playlists we suggested in the other episode and go start to like, get to know each other fresh.
(26:19): Cause honestly, if you are both trying to better yourselves and if you have gone through Rob's programs, you, you have changed. And so you actually really need to get to know each other over and over and over because both of you are probably constantly changing. Yeah. You're new people all the time. And so constantly paying attention, constantly asking questions, constantly, getting curious and celebrating in wonder the life that you don't have to live, but you get to have front row seats to, and that'll allow you to be all of who you are and them to be all of who they are without you needing to be any different so that they can be happy. That starts with honesty, communication and a little bit of courage because well, you've lived a life where everybody expects things from you and if you don't live up to their expectations, oh my gosh, what if they're gonna get upset? Yep. It takes a little courage, but you can do it in baby steps
(27:13): And that's it for today's alive and free podcast. If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your earbuds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcast for. And while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus it's just nice to be nice.
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