In relationships, we start out completly on the same page, but somewhere along the line things seem to change. In today’s episode we are talking about why this happens, how to recognize it and what to do when you feel disconnected so you can get back on the same page.
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* miscarriage, stillbirth, pregnancy after loss, grief *
Hey everybody. How are we doing? I just changed into some of my favorite pajamas, and that is one of the best things about podcasting is I can just get comfy and get ready to chat with you all, and I am so excited just to be here with you. And I thank you for being here and listening and for sharing. It means so much to me when I see that people share the episodes and tell their friends because I just.
Love helping all the angel moms. And I hope you know that from the bottom of my heart. That’s why I’m here, uh, because I care so much about you and I know that what you’ve been through is hard, but I also know that there is so much goodness in your future, and I’m just excited to go there with you. So thanks again for being here.
Let’s talk about relationships. When we first meet, so often, what attracts us to someone is the ways they are different from us. Opposites attract, as they say. Someone who is shy might be attracted to someone outgoing, someone who is very structured. Might love a free spirit. Someone who tends to procrastinate, might enjoy someone who pushes them to get things done.
In the beginning of relationships, these differences are celebrated because we see the best in each other, and all the butterflies and the racing hearts keep us focused on how amazing this other human being is and how lucky we are that they love us back. We also tend to be on our best behavior in the beginning, so it’s easy to keep thinking all these loving, adoring thoughts.
But at some point the shininess wears off and we start noticing how these differences are a problem. And that’s what our brain is designed to do. It likes to look for potential issues that may come up. And once it identifies one, it’s gonna keep pointing it out to us. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today.
It’s something so many of my clients bring up in our sessions. What to do when you are not on the same page as your spouse. First we have to ask ourselves why do we want to be on the same page? And we know that what we really want is some sort of emotion. So I think in this case, a lot of times what we want is connection.
We wanna feel love, we wanna feel connection. We want to be together on this. So that is really what you’re looking for when you say, We’re not on the same page. It really means that you’re feeling disconnected and when you want to be on the same page, you’re really searching for that emotion and that feeling.
So definitely identify the feeling that you’re looking for when you say that you want to be on the same page. And for most people, that is connection. So I’m gonna give you a little example from my life and. It might be silly, but just bear with me here when I do the dishes with my husband, which doesn’t happen super often because it’s usually me and the kids or some of the kids or whatever, but my husband thinks that the person who is drying the dishes should rinse off the soap bubbles, and I think that the person who is washing the dishes should rinse them on their way.
Over to the other side of the sink. We don’t have a drying rack, we just use the other side of the sink. So you’re already washing. You just rinse it and put it over there for the person to dry and it’s already ready to go. We are definitely not on the same page. It can be so frustrating because I think that he should do it my way and he thinks that I should do it his way, and we’ve been together a really long time and it is still just.
So annoying. Can you think of a small example like this in your relationship? It might not seem like a big deal, or it might seem like a symptom of a bigger problem that shows up in other areas. A few that seem to come up often are money, how we spend our time, parenting and grieving. Have you ever felt like you weren’t on the same page in one of these areas?
It can be so frustrating when we are thinking that, and so often to escape from the frustration, we start trying to change our partner’s behavior. We start telling him why he’s wrong and our way is best. That’s what I wanna do with the dishes. I mean, it seems so obvious that my way is the most convenient and efficient way to do it.
Most people. Don’t like being told they’re doing something wrong though. It’s weird, right? The truth is our brains actually prefer being right over being happy. So both people dig in and then you are left with the exact opposite of what you say you want because now you are even farther apart. Maybe instead of being on the same page, you are like in separate chapters now.
That’s how the model works. We create our results with our thoughts every time. So when we think we need to be on the same page, we end up being even farther apart. Traditionally, when things like this come up, couples are encouraged to communicate and if they can’t get on the same page, they think they have a communication problem.
Like if he could just understand how much I hate it, when he raises his voice at the kids, he would stop. Or if I could just explain how important it is to have money in savings instead of getting a big tv, things would be better. Maybe we think if our partner just spoke our love language, it would be better and we’d feel more connected and more on the same page.
But all of that is just a story we’ve made up. It’s a set of beliefs that really aren’t serving us, and that is the best news. Because once we can see that it’s how we are thinking and what we are making everything mean, that is a real problem. Then we have the power to create what we truly want. And even better part about this is that.
Your spouse doesn’t even have to know you’re doing this for you to make a huge difference in how you see and experience your relationship. Like you really do have so much more power than you think. Once you recognize that your thoughts are the problem, not what he’s doing, and not communication, but just the way you are thinking.
So let’s talk about this in reference to grief. I’m gonna go with some stereotypes here. But feel free to substitute your experiences in early grief, perhaps even at the doctor’s appointment or in the hospital or wherever you found out about your baby. Each of you had an initial reaction. It could have been tears or silence or screaming, asking questions or saying nothing.
And then as the hours and days went by and you dealt with everything you had to deal with, you may have been in sync, totally supporting each other, or you may not have been. Many men do not know what to say or do. They worry about us and our physical needs. They take care of what needs to be done. They like to stay busy.
Often they have to go back to work before they’re ready, or they may want to go back to work desperately to focus on other things besides sadness, men tend to compartmentalize much more than we do. They want to put their grief on a shelf. Or they might not even know how to let themselves grieve, so they completely detach from what’s happened.
Especially if your loss was earlier on, they may not have had the same bond as you did. The pregnancy hadn’t become real to them, so it seems like they don’t care at all. What was your experience? What story would you tell of you and your spouse in the early moments, hours, days, and weeks following the loss of your baby?
How do you feel when you think about that time? If you have any negative emotions that come up, that is the first red flag that you feel like things should have gone differently and that you believe you are not on the same page. If you are in the middle of this right now, there are two things I want you to do First, start noticing what you’re thinking.
When you feel disconnected or whatever other negative emotion you’re having. Remember that everything he does or doesn’t do, everything he says or doesn’t say. It’s a circumstance in your life and you get to decide what you make it mean. And second, just choose now to allow him to grieve in his way and you grieve in yours and you find support where you can get it.
So many times we put a lot of pressure on our spouse to be everything for us, but that’s really not fair to either one of you. You may need someone you can vent to, someone you can cry with. Someone who texts to check up on you, someone who makes you laugh or brings you chocolate on a tough day. Can you find different people who can fill those roles?
So you just get to love on your husband and he can just love on you without feeling like he can never live up to everything he’s needed to be. And you can support each other because truly no one person is ever gonna be able to fill all of those roles for you. A lot of times what we think supporting each other should look like.
Is both of you grieving at the same level in the same way for the same amount of time? And definitely expressing your feelings a lot. People say things like, I’ve never even seen him cry. I don’t think he caress that much, or He never talks about the baby, or He keeps trying to fix me, but I just want him to hold me when I’m sad or he won’t go to the support group.
I know it would help him so much, but he refuses. Or he’s been working a lot. He must not be that sad. He tells people, we have three kids when we really have four. It stings to hear him say that or I wanna have another baby. And he doesn’t think it’s a good idea. He doesn’t understand how much this means to me.
Think about your own relationship. In what ways are you not on the same page in your grief? Even if you’re farther out from your loss, perhaps there are little things like he doesn’t wanna go to the cemetery as often as you do, or he rarely looks at pictures of your baby. Maybe you’re with a new partner and he’s not the father of your little angel and you feel like he’ll never understand, or he has living kids from another relationship and you don’t.
I wanna offer you a few different ways to look at what you have identified as not being on the same page. First, let’s decide what page we want to be on. For most parents, they want to honor their children and their memory. They want to heal and move forward. They wanna support their spouse and their living children.
How can how your husband is behaving actually be totally aligned with those goals? For example, after Lauren died, my husband was there for me physically and emotionally, and he wanted to help any way he could. But he soon went back to work and he has a very unpredictable, busy job. I could easily have felt abandoned if I thought he didn’t wanna be home with us or if I looked to him to be my entire support system, but I knew that that was how he needed to grieve.
He needed to keep busy. He needed to do other things besides being sad at home. He also has always been great at providing for a family in that way. He was doing what he could to support us. So even though our grief looked different on the outside and we were handling life in different ways, we were both working towards the same goal.
And I think it helped us a lot to let each other do what we needed to do without trying to change the other person or making it mean anything. A lot of people want their spouse to express more emotion and to talk more. That’s generally a more feminine way to process emotion. How could it be a good thing if you aren’t both breaking down on the same days that maybe you take turns feeling weaker and then stronger to support your partner?
How could the different ways you deal with grief and life actually be perfect? If you looked at your past with this new lens that you actually have always been on the same page, what pain could you let go of? If you knew you were both just doing the best you could in a crappy situation, what would change?
What if his way of dealing with things is actually the best way, and we were wrong about it this whole time. The truth is that however your husband showed up after your loss is exactly how he was to to how do I know that? Because he did. That’s reality. You don’t have to fight it and feel terrible, and as you allow it to be what it was, you’ll also be able to see that what is happening now is exactly how it’s supposed to be as well.
The way he parents, your living kids, the way he communicates, the way he spends money. Wherever you’re feeling some friction, you need to identify what you really want and what he wants. You very likely have the same goals. You just wanna accomplish them in different ways and that’s okay. In fact, it’s better than, okay, this is why we don’t marry a clone of ourselves.
What qualities does he have that you admire, that you are attracted to, that you wish you could be more like, how is it so great that you have some different opinions? What can you learn from his way? What if you opened up and let yourself be wrong sometimes? I really wanted to help you do this, so I created an amazing relationship worksheet for you.
It has questions to make you think about how you are approaching your relationship right now. It will help you uncover some of your beliefs and how they’re affecting your marriage. You will have so much clarity and perspective after going through it, but then I wanted to have something for you to do as a couple too.
Personally, I don’t know a ton of guys who want to do a relationship worksheet, so I made this extra bonus sheet really simple. It’s some conversation starters and questions to answer together. You can do an at-home c o v date and go through them all, or you can just pull one out at a time when you have a few minutes alone.
The link to get this will be right in the show notes. You just scroll down on the episode. You can go to Smooth Stones coaching.com/relationship to download it. I think you are gonna love it, and I was so excited to make it for you, and you don’t have to be having problems right now for this to be really useful.
It’s sometimes even more beneficial if you’re in a good place to move into a great place. So definitely go grab that. It’s so useful to us that each human is unique. We are all different in marriage. Sometimes our weaknesses are just our strengths overused, but we get in a rutt where we can only see our own strengths and his weaknesses.
So give yourself some grace and be kind to you as you walk through this process. If we’re lucky, it’s gonna take a lifetime. I’ve been at it 18 years. Now, actually it’s been 19 years since we met. We just passed our anniversary of when we first met, and I still have a lot to learn, but I’m grateful I have the chance to, and most of us have a lot of unlearning to do about relationships.
That takes time and effort in making lots of mistakes along the way and forgiving and trying again. I’m gonna finish up by giving you three tips to help you as you go through this process. Number one, be open-minded. Get curious, listen and observe without making it mean anything. Question how his way might actually be totally aligned with your mutual goals.
You don’t have to do things the same way to be on the same page. Number two, if he disagrees with you, resist the urge to go on the defensive. You can decide. You both think each other is wrong, and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to mean you don’t love and support each other. And number three, drop all the shoulds.
Every time there is a should, it’s a red flag that you have a manual or a set of rules about how your spouse needs to behave so you can feel a certain way. Even the thought that you should be on the same page can build a big wall between you. Don’t put walls where you don’t need to. They just block your ability to see that he is actually doing what you want.
This will be uncomfortable at times. That’s life. Half the time, our relationships are gonna be good. Half the time, they’re gonna be challenging, but I’m challenging you to take this opportunity to learn, come up with better questions because your brain will always seek the answers. Try asking how you were totally on the same page and work on meeting your own needs and work on being confident in yourself so that you can be the wife you want to be.
If you want connection, it comes from within you 100%. Now go grab that relationship worksheet and then give your man a ten second kiss. You’ll both be on the same page for that. I’ll talk to you next time. Don’t forget to subscribe, so.