Hi and welcome to the, okay, no, I'm gonna redo that. Reset.
Welcome to the It's Your Story to Tell podcast. My name is Rhea and I'm your host today. I'm so excited to be here. I am a coach with the collective. I specialize in navigating toxic and narcissistic relationships and boundary setting, which is so important. And I am thrilled today to be joined by my amazing husband, Reimer. He and I are going to be talking about some really tricky stuff in our marriage. We kind of hit rock bottom, and then we were able to
navigate through the hard stuff and get to where today we are incredibly strong, stronger than I think either one of us ever thought was possible. So I'm really excited. Welcome, Reimer. Happy to be here. Thanks for being here. And do you want to just tell us a little bit about yourself, just a couple of sentences about kind of who you are so that the viewers know? Well, obviously I'm Reyes' husband and we're just here to talk about kind of our relationship and where we've gone, where we've
getting married 11 years ago and our journey through very, very hard times to where now our relationship is just amazing with the changes that we've made and the boundaries that we've set together as a couple. Yeah. And if you aren't familiar with me already, you can go back to episode 16 where I tell a little bit more of my story. Obviously it's hard to fit.
your entire story into a one hour podcast episode. So there's some bits and pieces in there about some of the stuff that I went through and some of the stuff in our marriage. And so you can get to know me a little bit better in there. And then you'll also hear some more about my story today. So I think we're just gonna dive right in. I think we're just gonna jump right into the hard stuff. And I will say, I wanna give a little bit of a disclaimer that
We are gonna be talking about the hard stuff today in our marriage and.
We've discussed this already. We've discussed being able to share those tough things with people. The heart that we share together is to be able to help others through our pain and our struggles. And so there are going to be some things today that might be kind of difficult to hear. It might be bring up some triggers or stuff in your own relationship or your own marriage. And if some of that stuff happens, then I hope that you will reach out and get some support because it's so necessary. So.
A couple of years ago, we hit rock bottom. It definitely was rock bottom for me. I think that you would kind of agree with that. Um, and so how would you describe our marriage prior to and during that rock bottom part? Well, I think that from the beginning, we, we had a lot of struggles with our, our blended family, our own.
things that we brought to the relationship. So we started kind of off balance already, but we also, I think together, we didn't have great communication, we didn't have great boundaries, we didn't have great tools to make the relationship good. And I think that that's what led to ultimately like the.
the hardest point where both of us were kind of like, we're done, where do we go from here? Yeah. Yeah, and just real quick, because I didn't really explain this if you haven't watched episode 16 and you know nothing about me. I brought into the marriage domestic violence in my past, some sexual assault from a teenager, a lot of trauma.
emotionally, physically, sexually, just all the things. And so I brought in this great big steamroller full of my past that I brought into the marriage. And that affected a lot of the way that we communicated and the way that we interacted and how I received communication from you, right? Is there anything that you can kind of pinpoint that you brought into the relationship that you think also affected it in a negative way prior to us?
kind of growing as a couple? Well, I think at the beginning, I always thought I had the good childhood. I didn't bring anything to the relationship. You brought all the baggage. All my fault. I thought I was the just fine individual. And as I've grown in the last, really grown in the last two years, I've realized that actually I brought a lot of negativity into the relationship as well. Growing up, my father dealt with
anger issues forever. He's still, I mean he's worked immensely on that, but that was always been a problem for him. And so the example that I grew up with was that communication was done much more easily in anger. And when there wasn't anger, there really wasn't a lot of communication. And also...
The example shown to me by both my parents was just grind it out. Just do whatever it takes to get the job done. Don't say no, just do it. Yes, I can do that. Yes, I can get this done. Just keep filling that plate up. There was no healthy boundaries set. And so those types of things is what I brought. I brought to the table.
I communicate best when I'm upset, when I'm angry. When I'm not angry, I close, I close down, I keep things to myself, I keep my mouth shut, whatever you wanna call it, and don't communicate those things. And I just push, just push through it, push through it, and not say, hey, enough's enough, I can't do this, or no, I can't take on this other task. So, and not just in the relationship, right? That affected...
the entire life, you know, I can't say no to my job. I can't say no to my friends. I can't say no to whoever, right? So not having those boundaries at all, then it just compiled into the relationship as well. Yeah. Yeah, and I feel like at some point I recognized that you were bringing that stuff into the relationship, you know, that it wasn't just me who was bringing stuff in and...
I remember just kind of saying, well, you've learned from your childhood, from the way that you grew up, you've learned these things. And in my mind at the time, you refused to admit that was a problem or that was an issue. You were like, yeah, this was my childhood and it was great and I'm perfect. And again, this is my perception. All of this that I'm talking about here is my perception. It's the way that I saw things and there's another side to it, right? There's your...
your side of how your perception how you saw things. But I just want to put a disclaimer because I think both of us want this or, or need this, but, uh, we're not here to paint either of us in a bad picture, right? This is both of our perspectives. Yeah. And I think that's important in relationships in general is that I can see something like exact same problem or the exact same thing in a completely different way, because I have a different life experience and a different perspective.
And so as we talk and share the stories, like it's from each other's perspective, we might not be on the exactly the same, like we didn't see it the same way because we're two different people. And that's something that I think we've learned together that we can see the same situation and the same problem or the same issue in two completely different ways. And if we can't communicate to each other, what we're feeling or seeing or, or whatever that causes a problem. Yeah.
And a prime example of that, I'm kind of jumping off course here, so you'll have to bring me back in. You're good at that, you know, that I tend to squirrel a little bit. But a prime example of that, several months ago, I was cooking, I was making dinner, and you came in and you just started doing your thing. And my past that colors my view of the world and your actions and everything else said, he thinks I can't do it good enough. He's trying to take over because he thinks I can never do anything right.
So I got really angry and hurt. And then something, because we'd grown so much and we'd done so much work, something in me said, okay, ask the question, ask the clarifying questions. Is that why he's doing it? And so I said, why did you just come in and start helping with dinner? And you said, well, because I could see that, you know, the kids are kind of being noisy. Maybe you're a little overwhelmed. You have a lot going on. It's getting close to dinnertime. And I wanted to help out. It was like.
Oh my gosh, totally different perceptions. You saw me maybe needing something, needing some help. And so you jumped in to help out. You were being kind, being sweet. And I totally viewed it in a different light because of my past experiences where I thought that you were thinking I was incapable. And so that's a perfect example of how our perceptions have in life, everybody's.
past experiences and their perception of what's going on shapes their view of the world and what they see that's happening. So we are learning, and we have learned, but we're still learning to ask that clarifying question to be a little more cautious and kind in the way that we talk to each other and assume, you know, to not assume things and to just say, hey.
what were you meaning behind this or what was going on in your mind when you did this rather than instantly feel that I mean we feel it instantly anyway but once we feel it then we can take a step back and say what was going on here so I felt like that was just the perfect example of yes absolutely our perceptions um and then now I have to get back to where we were see I told you got to rein me in I'm squirreling did you
realized that everything was as bad as it was when, so maybe you should give, is it okay if I give a little background? So about a year and a half ago, things got so bad to me. I had felt like I was trying to use my voice and set boundaries for years in the marriage. And I'm not sure if it was because of
your own upbringing, the tools, maybe the lack of tools that you had at the time, you weren't able to hear me or respect my boundaries or realize how important I was maybe. And so I felt like I had been trying to tell you, trying to tell you, trying to tell you, and you just weren't getting it. Nothing was changing that I needed to be changed. My boundaries were not being respected. And I was at a place where physically I was suffering.
I was having all of these migraines and I felt ill all the time. I felt like I would start to feel like I had the flu. My body would ache just from the stress of everything that was going on in life, but our marriage too and the toxicity because we were never getting along. We were not a team. We were fighting all the time. And then emotionally I was suffering too, even to the point where at some point I started having thoughts of ending my life because it was so bad.
So I was at my breaking point. I was like, I can't continue like this in our marriage anymore. And I asked you to leave the house. What would, how did that feel when, what was going on in your mind when all of that happened? When I said, I need you to leave, did you realize that it was that bad to that point? No, I realized that things were bad, right? Cause we were arguing all the time.
things were always an issue. The kids were always an issue. Just everything, it was like go to work, come home and be grumpy basically. And so I knew it wasn't right. I wasn't happy in the relationship, but I wasn't really, it wasn't my fault. The kids being unruly, the...
house, you know, being a place of peace, uh, was, wasn't my fault. That was, uh, yours and the kids and this is how you were viewing it. Right. How I was viewing it, you know? So it was like, if they would just do this, then everything would be peaceful. And, um, my perspective of that was, is you saying if you would just do this. And so.
as we've communicated and grown and now our relationship is so much better, I've seen like that's exactly what was going on in my mind. It was like, it's not my fault, it's your fault and your fault and your fault. And I'm just the victim here. You know, I'm in this bad circumstance basically. And so then that last fight, the last blow up, whatever you want to call it, and you said...
I need you to leave was like a punch in the face basically. Like it was, I didn't know really that it was that bad. I kind of thought, you know, like I wasn't happy, but like it was, it was when we talked about this, I think a month or so ago, it was like the most painful thing ever.
because I guess I was blind to really how bad it was for you. Yeah. And I think that often that can happen in relationships where one person is trying to communicate, trying to set their boundaries and they're at their wits end and the other person has no idea that they're really at this point, that they're really at their wits end. Do you have any advice? Any recommendations for?
people who might be watching this that are saying, yes, I'm at my wit's end and my significant other doesn't get it. They're not getting, I mean, obviously our hope is to help people from this podcast episode. And, you know, just in general in our lives, we wanna help people before they reach the point where somebody has to say, you need to get out of the house because that may not always work. It might not always have the effect.
that you, that it had on you and I where you went, Oh, wow. It's actually this bad of me to make changes. Do you have any sort of advice for? I think, and it's hard to say, cause you can't, again, another, another topic that you and I have talked about is you can't force somebody to change. Right. And I think lots of relationships. There's that piece where it's like, I want my significant other to change. So what can I do to change them? And.
The truth is, there's zero. You cannot change another person, right? You can change yourself. So you yourself can search the tools to make you a healthy individual, right? So you can figure out what you can change to be healthy. You can figure out what you can change to communicate well. You can figure out what your significant others love language is. You can...
communicate with them about what their needs are in the relationship. Um, and like we've kind of talked about earlier, set boundaries, right? And, and the boundary came to the point where you said, you need to leave. I can't, we can't be together anymore. You need to leave the house. Um, and that was a major boundary, but it was a boundary that you had to set to be healthy. Um, and so.
So getting those tools on your own, right? You get your own tools for yourself. Cause what ultimately actually changed in our relationship wasn't that you changed me. Right. It was that I said, okay, whoa, where get we, it's get a divorce and see my kids on weekends or it's make the relationship work. And what can I do to change myself to be a healthy individual so that I.
healthy for the relationship itself. There's nothing I could do to change it. I couldn't convince you to let me stay here or... We tried. Yeah, I tried. I tried. But there's nothing that I can do to change your mind or change you as a person or anything. I can change me. I can change myself. I can change my lack of tools and my lack of abilities so I can control myself. So I guess my advice to them, the short of it is change yourself.
and do what you can to make yourself healthy and set your own boundaries. And then if, you know, and pray. Yeah, that's it because we can't control anything. And we've talked about also how I reached that point in all of this in asking you to leave and reaching my point of I just can't do this anymore, where I
spent a lot of time in nature. I spent a lot of time in prayer. That is incredible self-care for me. And I would go out to the country and I would sit surrounded by this beautiful nature and I would just cry out to God literally tear streaming down my face and just what do you want me to do God? What am I supposed to do? Please help me. Please come be here with me and give me guidance. And at one point along
I don't even know when it was, but at some point in one of those times of just sitting in nature and praying, I felt the Lord saying, you are going to have peace and joy in your life no matter what. It's either going to be with him if he makes the changes or it's going to be without him if he doesn't. And truly that is the place that I think we all have to come to if we're at our wit's end is not a place of trying to change the other person because you can't change the
And in my past relationships, there was two in particular that were so toxic that there was no saving the relationship. I set the boundary and said, I'm done, I need to leave. And they had the opportunity to change and they didn't. And so that relationship needed to be severed because they were not willing to make the changes or we weren't right together or whatever it is, especially in the abusive relationship because that person was not going to change their behavior. And you just...
It just worked out to where God was working on your heart. You had the desire to want to change for our marriage or, you know, everything else. But ultimately I couldn't make that happen. I had to say, I'm going to be okay. No matter what I'm going to have peace and joy in my life with you or without you. And then I was able to let go of that. Trying to change you that need to control you and just say, all I can do is work on myself. And that was a big pivotal moment for me.
to just let go and give that to God. And we've talked about this a little bit and, you know, how did that, I don't know that you necessarily could tell when that moment was, but I kind of lost my train of thought. I'm squirreling again. But something that I did wanna ask is, can you walk us through when I said that and you've told me before that you kind of hated me and that you were like, well, fine then, we're just gonna get a divorce.
And then what happened for you? What changed for you? Because right now, so I've kind of spoken in saying that you can't change the other person. I've kind of spoken to the woman here or the person who is frustrated and at their wit's end and saying, I can't move forward in this relationship, right? The only thing that you can do is work on yourself, change yourself, set your boundaries, because that's what I did, I set boundaries. And by the way, when you tried to convince me to...
please let me come back and stuff. I did continue with the boundaries and I wrote out some, probably a little too much. I got a little too extreme with my demands, but I had some very clear boundaries of, okay, if you're going to come back, here's what needs to happen. And I need you to agree to this. And some of the major ones were that we see a therapist that can help us. And I think...
I actually don't remember the rest. I remember that was a major one. And then the anger that I really needed you to be calm when you spoke to us. So if you were angry to like go take a break or whatever. So I had set boundaries and then I continued maintaining and holding those boundaries. But what happened now, like speak to the men of where did you, what did you need to do when I said you need to get out of the house and you were like a hater.
What kind of happened in your mind then and in your actions? Well, I think there was the initial emotional reaction. So I was like, she's crazy. Like, this person is off the wall. Because again, I didn't know the extent of how you were feeling. We weren't communicating. And so my gut reaction was like, OK.
Cool, this is over. But then there was this piece of like, our family unit right now is, I have an adopted daughter. You have three that you brought to the relationship. We have a very blended family. Very blended family. And I have a very intimate.
knowledge of what split home is like. I grew up in a whole home. My mom and dad were together and still are. But I saw my adopted daughter with her mother and never knowing her actual biological father. And then when her mother and I were no longer together, that pull and that just that pain that caused from having a split home.
And then seeing it in my stepchildren as well, there was no way my biological children were going to be without mom and dad. So that was like a huge, like, okay, I'm not getting divorced. This is not an option. You're like, dogging your heels. It is not an option for me to visit my kids on the weekends or whatever. It's not an option. So...
I don't care if I have to be miserable for the next 18 years, I'm not getting divorced. So that was like the number one thing. That was like the first thing that, okay, I'm not doing this. This is not an option. But then again, you were like, my boundary is this. And so then I'm like, okay, I can't, how can I work with this? You're being stubborn. I'm not getting divorced because my kids aren't going to grow up in a split home. We're not moving anywhere. We're not going anywhere.
And so that was like a stalemate. I was like, I don't know what to do. I don't wanna speak down to you, but I was like, I can't fix crazy. And I thought you were crazy. I was like, why can't you just be like me, suck it up and grind it out, right? Cause that's my mentality, just suck it up and go. We could have, but we would have had a miserable marriage. And our kids were miserable. We were fighting all the time. We were angry with each other. So there wasn't even.
really a peaceful time anytime, because we were upset. I was upset at them or I was upset with you and they sensed it. So it wasn't healthy all around. Yeah, but I was just like, why can't you just suck it up, right? But then I had a book that was recommended to me through work, through some coworkers. And
way before this ever happened. And it was kind of in regards to work, right? It's a leadership book. What's it called? It's called, I'm gonna have to look at my notes, Extreme Ownership by Jaco Willett and Leif Babin. And through this process, through this time, I remembered what I had read and learned in that book where Jaco really
talks about if you're, and it's, again, it's towards relationships, but it's really towards business and life success, but it applies to relationships and basically everything, is if something's wrong.
Who's in control of that? And in my mindset previous was you, you're the problem. The kids are the problem. But what the knowledge that I gained from that book was is that if I have a problem in my career or my job, I can change that. I have control over that. If I have a problem in my relationship, I have control over that. I can change me. I can change mine.
And extreme ownership, it says, take ownership of it. Everything that's going wrong is your responsibility. And one of the things that I fought so much with you was I felt like you were telling me it was my fault. And so I'm like, arguing with this. I'm like, no, there's no way I can take responsibility for this. She's already telling me that everything is my fault.
But then as I started to think about it more, and I read some other books, Anchor Management for Men by Neil Cooper, and Raising Men by Eric Davis, and all of these books have a lot of the same things. Like if you're frustrated with things, fix it. Take responsibility for it, right? Take ownership of it and fix it.
get the tools, get the education to fix it. And so that was like when you gave me your list and you said you need to get out of the house. And I was like, what, I don't know what to do. So I was like, okay, one of our big problems is my anger. So what can I do about that? And so then I read the book on anger and it talks about if I'm getting angry with you, I just gave you the power. I just gave you.
You'll the power over my feelings and control over me. Basically you I'm giving you control and I'm letting go of control. I have no control. And that feeling of no control. Just escalates the situation. And so taking that control back, right. Control of my emotions. Um, then I can think logically when something that would normally make me angry.
I can think about it logically. What's going on? I can be curious. Why is this person reacting this way? Why is this person doing this? Right. And when we're in our logical state of mind, everything is so much further. So as we go into emotion, it's not. And so getting those tools, just that one piece, and then just kind of stacked on itself, right? So if my relationship is bad, it's my fault. So taking ownership of my portion. So I...
can get the tools I need to make myself a better person, make my relationship better, all those things. If I control my temper and I don't give you or the kids or my coworkers the power to make me angry or not angry, I control then how I feel and how I react to things. And then I can react to it in a healthy, constructive way. Yeah. And that's what boundary setting really is, is you set...
a boundary for yourself really, what you're going to allow. And sometimes that's in your thoughts, right? You're setting a boundary for your thoughts. I'm not going to allow myself to blame this on other people or assume that it's their, I'm gonna take responsibility for it. And then it's up to the other person, whether they're going to respect your boundary or continue to cross it. But you have the control of yourself.
versus giving it to everyone else, which is incredibly freeing, it sounds like you're saying, and I would agree with that also, but is that kind of what you're saying? Yeah, because you're taking your life back, basically. Yeah, yeah. And you taking responsibility for your stuff, I needed that all along. We actually just talked about this last night, that when you started taking responsibility, because I had needed you to take responsibility so much and you had pushed the responsibility onto me or the kids.
or the situation. And so whenever you would bring something up that you were frustrated with or was stressful for you or whatever, I was catching this piece of, okay, but you're overwhelmed because you took on too much at work or whatever, but you're overwhelmed because I went for a walk for two hours and you were stuck with the kids, but you never told me that you needed me to go at a different time, whatever. You hadn't communicated that to me. And so in my own mind, I was thinking, but you didn't communicate any of this to me.
take ownership of your part in it, take responsibility for your part in it. And when you started doing that, I was like, oh my gosh, now I can start to own my part in it. And now I can start to say, yeah, the kids shouldn't have done that and that's their part in it. But until you did, I know it came across to you, like I was just blaming you for everything. And I know you also felt that way because you weren't yet seeing that you had control. You felt like...
everyone else had the control. So when we would bring something up, it caused this huge fight because I would say, but you have a role in this. And then you felt like I was saying all of it's your fault instead of saying, yeah, the kids shouldn't have done that or this situation sucks. I wasn't empathizing. I wasn't listening to you because I felt attacked every time because in a sense you were attacking me. You were saying it's all everyone else's fault. So it just ended up being this.
incredible domino effect once you started taking responsibility and saying, okay, what can I control? Then it allowed me to take responsibility and say, what can I control? And to give a little bit of a backstory, again, if you haven't already, you know, seen episode 16, or you don't already know me, I came into this relationship, like I said, with abuse in my past. And so every time that you raised your voice in anger,
or even just got frustrated with something, I was instantly triggered, instantly back in this war zone. And my emotions escalated really quickly. I either wanted to run away, fight. Okay, so it's fight, flight, flee or fawn. Those are the four things I'm figuring out that there's more than just fight or flight. And truly I would go through.
Every one of those, not in every situation, but there were several times when I could see, oh, I was trying to fight there. And if that didn't work, then I would try to run away. And if that didn't work, I would just, I would freeze or I would fawn and fawn is basically where you dissociate. And none of that was listening. I wasn't able to listen to you. So I would get so triggered because of my past and because of things that were happening. And then you weren't healing any of that. You were almost re-injuring me because you.
Well, because you were refusing to, again, my perception here, but the way I was seeing it is you were refusing to see that it was a problem or you were refusing to. To me, it felt like you didn't love me enough to have empathy for me and my past to change. But also around this time, I got a coach who was able to help me see that.
I didn't need to be a victim forever and ever. I didn't need to allow all of this stuff to constantly trigger me forever and ever. And that coach started helping me to work through my own triggers and staying present in the moment or walking away when I would start to escalate so that I didn't go from zero to 10, I went from zero to three or four or five and was able to stop it before then. And so it was...
just this incredible domino effect where you started working on your stuff and I started working on my stuff. And could you tell, you know, was there a point where you could tell that I was, I was changing too and it didn't feel like it was all on your shoulders anymore? Yeah, I think that, so when we started, we started seeing a therapist and that wasn't the first time that we had really talked to marriage counselors.
any kind, but it was... Yeah, but let's talk about that for a second. Will you finish your thought and we'll get back to it. Yeah, so I was just saying, like, there was a point, like, we had been to a couple marriage thought counselors or, you know, couples before, and it always, I always had that same mentality of like, it's all my fault, it's all my fault, it's all my fault. But there was like a point that I remember, there was one point that I was like, some of the things that are coming up...
are things that have come up in past relationships for me and The only common denominator is myself and that sucked I didn't like it didn't feel good. I was like No, it's definitely Like I don't want to admit that you have a fault, right? Yeah, but it opened my eyes a little bit and then as we continued and As my toolbox got fuller of
of things, I was able to see that I'm sitting in this victim mentality. I'm a victim of life circumstances, my relationship, and instead of being in charge of my life. And that was like the turning point. And then I was able to empathize and listen to you and go, oh, she's
This is how this has made her feel. Yeah. I don't have to always take responsibility, like take on, not take responsibility, but not take on your emotion. Yeah. Um, and, but I can empathize with you and I can stop and go, yeah, I, the things that I'm doing aren't healthy. They're not, they're not, um,
creating a good relationship. I don't have to communicate in anger. I can communicate in a calm, cool and collected voice and I can be heard. And if I communicate in anger, I can't be heard. So change it. And that goes for, you've discovered and even I've discovered too, because I used to be a yeller. I used to yell at my kids. But if it goes for your partner, your husband or wife, your kids.
coworkers, friends, anybody that you're trying to communicate with, the majority of people, I can't say 100% because who knows, there's probably that 1% out there that's different. You used to say you were different, but the majority of people will hear you better if you're communicating calmly, right? Because then they're not going into the survival mode so they can actually hear you. And that has been monumental for us. When you've come to me and you've said, hey, I have a problem and you've said it in such a loving way.
I used to ask you to do that. I used to say, before we started making the changes, I would say, can you put your arm around me when you're telling me something that's upsetting you? And you would say, no, because I'm upset. I don't wanna put my arm around you when I'm upset. So that kind of goes back to all of those things I felt like I was trying before I reached my wit's end. And I said, okay, I've tried everything. I can't go on anymore. Marriage counseling for us, we found a great counselor.
who was really able to, I call her a translator, because she really translated what I was saying to you and helps you to actually hear it and what you were saying to me and helped me actually hear it. We've both talked about how she called us out and it didn't always feel good, but she did it evenly. So it didn't feel like one of us was under attack or whatever.
but you were very resistant to marriage counseling. And we had seen a couple people maybe once or twice and every time, and then we even did like that Bible study, the marriage Bible study with a couple who I felt like it was really helpful for us. But I also, you were still in that place. I think of feeling like I was the problem and we just weren't a team yet. So it didn't really help make the changes, but
What made you decide to go actually see a counselor and continue going back? Was it just because of the boundary? I think it was the ultimatum, basically. It was like the, if you don't, we're not even going to visit this. And so it was that the initial shove was I'm not getting divorced. Okay. Um, and then, uh, what kept me going was I'm learning things. I'm.
learning things that are helping me not continue in the path that we're on, we're going in a better direction. And it was such a snowball effect because not only did we like over the last year and a half, two years, completely change our marriage, but I felt as a man I've completely changed who I am. You have. And how I perceive life.
and how I go after life is completely changed by the tools that I've gotten. And then now that's like one of my passions is just learning to be better, growing and being successful as a person. Yeah. And that's something that I always wanted from you. I've always been a person who wanted to better myself and learn more, learn about...
the way that my brain works so that I can work with it and all this stuff. And for a long time, I felt like I was alone in that. And then now in the last couple of years, I've really felt like we're really like a power team of motivating each other and encouraging each other and just making these huge amazing changes in our life, not just in our marriage, but what was the point where it turned from, I hate going to counseling.
And I don't want to be here to, okay, I'm actually willing to go. Or were you ever willing to go? Did you begrudgingly go every time or did you reach a point where you were like, this is helping I'm okay. Yeah. I think when we, when we started getting tools and I think, uh, like you said. Her calling us out. Um, so when, when she would call you out and you would listen and then you would make a change. Um,
It motivated me, obviously, because it was like something good. Um, but then when she would call me out and I could listen to it because I didn't have the same emotional attachment that I did with you. And so listening to her, her giving, uh, perspective that basically your perspective, but in maybe different words, so that I, or, or in a deescalated environment.
that I could listen to it and think about it and process it and absorb it. And then I've always kind of been like, why are we doing this at such a waste of time type of mentality. But it, I could see the difference when we would skip an appointment or two, especially, you know, early on, even in the middle of it. Because
we would be fine in between pretty much. And then if we skipped a session or two, then things got too escalated. And so it was almost like a download time where we could share our feelings in a safe environment and hear each other and have somebody help us hear each other. Right, because all the things that were said in that room, we had been saying for years.
but we hadn't been listening, either one of us hadn't been listening and she was able to present it in a way, I think she was able to present it in a way to you that you could hear and in a way to me where I felt safe. And I remember you actually calling me out one time and saying, I think that you want to come to these sessions so that you can dump everything on me that you've been holding in. You can tell me all the things that you've been feeling that you can't tell me during the week because I think you feel safe here. And I was like, yeah, that's exactly right.
when I would try to express things to you before and you weren't listening, I felt like you would twist my words and I felt like you would turn it into, and we both did this. I have to take ownership for my own self too. As soon as we felt something coming at us from the other person, we would get defensive and we would say, but here's my feelings. And then we weren't listening to.
the first person and their feelings and validating their feelings and then coming back later, or even five minutes. Sometimes all it took was five minutes. We just needed to say, I hear you. I get what you're saying and I feel that, even if I don't agree with it. And that was a big turning point for me, I remember was the day when I realized that I don't have to agree with you to listen to you. And that's a big piece of advice that I'm gonna give anybody who's listening is.
to really start to understand that you don't have to agree with what the other person's saying to be able to listen to them. But anyway, then we've finally have reached a point now where we're able to communicate those things. But at the time it was like, I can't tell you these things at home because you either come back at me with your own feelings or your own stuff, or I felt like you twisted my words or you weren't getting what I was saying. And in the counseling room, she was able to say,
Well, Rhymer, I think this is what Ray is saying or vice versa. We also, I mean, we were incredibly blessed to end up with a counselor that we did. She had a history in some sort of abuse. So she understood where I was coming from. And she also had a husband who, you know, under like, had a lot of similarities to you. And so she could understand that dynamic that you were bringing in and really speak to each of us, to both of us.
Not everyone finds that right away in a counselor. So I don't know if he would agree with this, but I would just say to like keep trying and visit a few people if you need to or whatever, so that you can find the person that's really gonna help you both and be able to be neutral. She was able to be neutral, I think. And actually almost I felt like she was attacking me more often than you sometimes, but she wasn't. She was just calling us out on our stuff. So go ahead.
I was just to, to the men, I think there is a stigma that going to counseling is weak or, um, you know, you're gonna air your dirty laundry and, um, something that I've learned, cause I hated counseling. I thought counseling was the biggest waste of time ever. That was my, my belief from childhood basically. And that's probably stems from. I have.
quite a few psychologists in my family. I don't always agree with what they say. And until adulthood, I've had really no use for it. And even when you suggested it at the very beginning, I was like, no, this is stupid. But also coming from my career as a firefighter, there's that stigma or that mentality of be a man. If you have emotions, you're weak, you're not a man.
If you go to ask or you ask somebody for help, you're not a man. And there is thousands of people that end their lives because they don't say, hey, I need help. Or thousands of marriages that end because the team doesn't want to say, hey, we need help.
And so you're not a lesser person. You're not less of a man. If you say, Hey, I need somebody, I need some help here to figure this out. And, um, you know, we're not the smartest people, right? The there's, there's lots of smart people in the world. There's lots of information. And if we ask for that, or we go and seek it out, we can gain those information and then get those tools. And so I just encourage everyone.
that to get rid of that thought process, because that was one of the biggest things that I think helped us was that other perspective, that safe place to go and talk, not at home where we couldn't stay regulated and listen to each other. Yeah, because we definitely didn't. And there was also a piece of codependency, which I think...
prior to going through all this stuff, I didn't even know what codependency was. I was like, oh, codependence anonymous or whatever, you know, that people go to that group, that's them. We're not them. I didn't even realize what it was until I started kind of looking into it. And I think our counselor had maybe said something, but I'm not sure what it was, but. She actually brought it up. Yeah, and then we started kind of realizing, we started looking into it more and realizing that we take on, and you've talked about this a lot, that that's been a major change in.
your mind and in your life is for you to not take on my problems, I think is how you say it. I notice it when I'm a verbal processor. So when I have a problem, I'll come to you and I'll just start like word vomiting, right? Here's my problem. I'm talking through it. And previously, I always felt like you would get impatient with me, be like, Oh my gosh, she's talking forever. Hurry up. Or that you just wanted to tell me what to do.
And I like the advice, I'm a problem solver. I want to solve the problem. That's why I'm verbally processing it, but I need to get it out first and then talk through it. And I really needed you to come at me in a way that was like, I wanna help you, not you're stupid. And that's not what you would say, but that's how I felt based on your tone of voice, your body language, the way you were talking, whatever.
And I think after we've talked about this, it sounds like what actually changed for you is not that you realized all that and had this magical moment of, oh, she needs me to talk to her a different way, but that you stopped taking ownership. When I would word vomit to you and tell you all my problems, you stopped saying, oh, I have to fix something. And you started working on being like a team with me, maybe. I don't know, how would you describe that? Well, it was just that the difference between listening to you and empathizing with you. And then if you wanted to...
figure it out, a problem solved together, working together to do that. Instead, what I was doing was you came with me to me with a problem or an issue and then I would just take it. OK, all right. One more thing on my plate I have to fix or take care of. You know, if you if it was an example of like the kids are stressing me out, we've got all these things to do and my auto response was, OK, I'll do this, this. I'm
already busy. I'm overwhelmed. I'm exhausted. But you just told me you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. So I'll take it on. As a helper person or whatever you want to call it, I'm going to take this and this and this and this. And so every time you'd come talk to me, instead of listening to you, I was like, one more thing I have to put on my overflowing plate already. And so then my reaction to you is like,
I don't want to empathize with you. You just handed me a bunch of stuff or I took it, right? You didn't hand it to me. You were just wanting me to empathize with you and listen, but I would just take it. So that goes back to that codependency. I was taking on your feelings, your thoughts, your frustrations, your everything. I think that you weren't, I'm bringing it back to boundaries because boundaries are so important. A lot of people don't realize how important they are. And a lot of people don't set and enforce them.
And I've learned so much about boundaries and they have just helped me monumentally in my life and my relationships, including my abusive relationships, including my marriage and my kids. And so I think that a lot of what you're saying, and I think it kind of rolls into codependency is that you didn't have boundaries. You didn't set the boundary of I'm not going to take on anymore or I'm not going to take on her stuff. It's kind of like they go hand in hand, right? If you don't have boundaries, you might
some struggle with some codependency. And if you're codependent, you might have some boundary issues. Exactly. And then I mean, that was just one example that I gave about me kind of needing to verbally process. I know that there's a stigma that guys are always the fixers. Men always wanna fix things. Women want to rant about it. I'm using air quotes because you know, we don't think we're ranting, we just think we're verbally processing.
and men want to fix it, right? I'm actually, I think a pretty big fixer in our relationship. You come to me with something a lot of times and I instantly go into problem solving mode. So maybe I break that stigma a little bit in our marriage. But I think that part of that rolls into that you weren't necessarily trying to fix it. You just wanted to fix what you were feeling. Like you had this emotional reaction, this feeling when I started talking about
overwhelmed I was that you have to take it on, right? And then that made you feel more overwhelmed and you didn't want to feel all that. And so you just, I'm not sure. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I feel like maybe, yeah. Well, I think that, yeah, that kind of goes to avoidance, right? Avoiding conflict or avoiding something that's difficult, right? So it's much easier just to go, okay, I'll take that. Right. Because that's not, you know,
less uncomfortable than empathizing with you and allowing you in certain aspects to be uncomfortable. Yeah, yeah. And so definitely it's definitely avoiding the conflict or the hard thing. So if you call me with a problem with the kids and say this is an issue, I can deal with it in my own way, which is more comfortable for me than saying yeah.
that sucks, I'm sorry, you know, and giving you empathy, but then allowing you to, to do the hard thing, right. Um, or whatever it is. And that's that boundary of like, I'm full up. I don't have any more capacity. I'm going to have to let you do your own, own stuff and vice versa. And I think that, and that conflict avoidance for me, that goes back to my childhood of like, when my dad communicated.
It was an anger. It was uncomfortable. So then I would avoid conflict at all costs by people pleasing. Yeah. And doing, you know, not setting my own boundaries because it might make somebody irritated. Right. Which is so funny to me that you say it was easier for you to take it on than to let me be uncomfortable. I'm thinking, what? Why would it, you know, why would that be easier? But it just.
a lot of people operate that way and we want to be comfortable, whatever feels most comfortable for us. And a lot of times what's most comfortable for us is has to do with our upbringing or for me had to do with ways that I dealt with trauma for years and years and the pathways that those created. I also in my portion of the co-dependency was trying to keep you from being angry. That was my thing.
So in that, I wasn't allowing you to have your feelings. I wasn't allowing you to have your emotions because they made me uncomfortable. One of the areas of growth that we've had is that you have worked through when you're angry, you're not as explosive. And I wanna give a disclaimer that you've never been abusive as opposed to my previous relationship where there was abuse, there was physical, emotional, verbal, all the kinds of abuse. I hate saying that, but...
there was, pretty much. And with you, you had some toxic behaviors, you had some hurtful behaviors to me, but you were never abusive and you never directly called names or belittled or anything like that. Although it felt to me when you were being overly critical, like you were belittling. So again, there's that what I brought into the relationship and my perception of things versus, you know, you and your perception of things.
But I think just all that to say that there was just a lot of layers to it. It wasn't just one thing. There was a lot of different layers, but us both learning how to let the other person have their emotions and have their feelings and just listen was, would you say that was like a big part of it? Yeah. And listen and then keep your reaction to yourself. Right. I think that the biggest thing that I learned.
through this as far as the communication part is, well, number one, communicate calmly. But also listen. And when you're listening and empathizing with the other person's feelings, is not the time to go, what you just said made me feel like this. Because you're not giving them the opportunity to be heard. You're just saying, oh, but this is my reaction to your feeling. And so listening, being curious.
Why does that make you feel that way? Why does when I do this, cause this issue, you know, how, how you feel, um, being curious and then if you had a, a reaction or a, uh, something, think about it. Let it, let it sit. Why did I feel that way? Why did I react to how, what they just told me? And then an hour later.
20 minutes later, however the conversation is, if it's a very calm, cool, collected conversation, then maybe at the end of it, you can say, hey, I wanna talk about this. I felt like this, is that a legitimate feeling? We've done that where we've said, do you feel heard? Is it okay if I communicate how I'm feeling? And sometimes the other person will say, no, I can't hear you right now, and that's okay. But sometimes we're like, yes, we're good, we can receive it, right?
that's been an important part of our conversation is asking, can you hear me right now? Being curious about the other person. Right, and really caring. And that changed a lot when you started making changes and I started making changes, but I started to feel like you cared about me, like genuinely loved me. And I know you loved me all along, but I wasn't, there was a lot of times where I wasn't feeling it because of the way that things were going.
I'm just so thankful for how far we've come now and how strong we are. I know we've talked about a lot of like the yuck stuff and I feel like we could talk for two more hours about just the way that everything's gone and changes that we've made and lessons that we've learned. I feel like there's so much that we didn't cover. So maybe we'll have to have like a part two on this. One thing I do want to bring up really quick, because again, my heart in this and your heart in this is to help other people.
is the Five Love Languages book was something that you just on your own read, which at the time you hadn't read. As far as I knew, you hadn't read a book in like years and you're like, well, I read this book. And then, so we both read the book and we were able to see that, oh, maybe our love language wasn't what we thought it was. We had a great conversation about that. What is our love language and what dialect is it? Because a lot of people don't understand that there is a dialect that you might have, not just...
For me, it wasn't just quality time. It was quality time with some deep conversation. So that's just one example of a dialect. But figuring out what each other's love language was and starting to work on speaking that helped fill up our tank so that we could then receive some of the hard stuff and feel more like a team. And I felt more loved. I don't know if, I know men are in general said to need.
respect more and women are in general said to need love more. Did you feel love? Did you feel respected when I speak your love language? Yeah, I think that learning each other's love language and what they actually were and then
you know, the communication piece, right? So communicating better showed me that respect. You gave me that respect. You being on my team versus on the other side of the table made a huge difference in that respect, feeling respected. And communicating that, and then it led to where now it feels like when we have an issue and sometimes you'll say, hey.
on your side, you know, I mean, the same way, or, you know, you pointed out that just fills that, that need for respect so much more and, and brings me so much closer to you because then it's not like, here's this problem and it's, I'm over here by myself. I have to take this on. Uh, we're together and, and we, we can fix this problem together. Two more brain, you know, two brains, two more skill sets.
it makes it so much easier to get through. Yeah. That was a big problem in our marriage early on is that you, well, early on for the entire time up until the breaking point, as I call it, you didn't feel supported by me and I didn't feel supported by you. We felt very alone and we were very alone. We were not a team. We were attacking each other. I was trying to say, hey, can we try this? Like I would ask for counseling and you'd say no. And then I was like, I'm alone. He doesn't even want to work on our marriage.
you would have an issue with something and I would defend the kids instead of, you know, being united with you and you felt like you were alone. I remember a couple of times I took a sticky note and I wrote, I support you. And I stuck it right in front of you. And you told me later that was big for you because then you felt like, oh, she's with me. She's on my team. And for me, the reason that was big for me is because I was shaking.
If his voice escalates at all, if I can tell that he's angry, I still, I've done a ton of work, but I still get a little bit triggered. I still get anxious. I still feel unsafe, even though I know that I'm not unsafe. I know that I'm safe with you logically, but emotionally, I'm taken back to those years and years of abuse where I wasn't safe. And so in the moment of, it feels like there's a conflict and me feeling unsafe for me to say, I support you is putting...
that stuff aside and saying I'm going to pay more attention to the fact that we're a teen, then I'm going to pay attention to the fact that I feel a certain way because of my past or I'm being triggered or whatever. In our relationship when you do that now, I've, I notice it, it is so grounding. So I'm already like, if, if something is upsetting, right, I'm already, we're, we're moving out of that. Um,
logic brain, right? And into emotion. Yeah. And that, Hey, I'm with you that, you know, reach across the table or that touch that said, Hey, I'm, I'm supporting you. That brings me back down into that logic. Hey, we're together. We're going to figure this out. And it de-escalates the situation at least for me. Yeah. Well, I am so thankful for again, you know, how far we've come. Like I said, we could continue talking so much more. I think we're about at our time limit.
Um, I, I do want to say that boundaries are, have been monumental in our relationship. When I started setting boundaries because, you know, out of necessity and enforcing them, I, like I said, I tried to set boundaries forever. And then I finally said, okay, I have to enforce them. You've also had to set some of your own boundaries. And maybe next time, if we, you know, do part two, then you can talk about your experience with that and stuff. But.
I just want to remind anyone who's listening or watching that you can set boundaries, you know, you set the boundaries and then the person has to decide whether they're going to respect them or not. You setting boundaries doesn't mean it's going to change the other person. Me setting the boundary is not what changed you. You are what you decided to change. Previous relationships, the people decided they weren't going to make the changes, so it ended. You made the decision.
I don't want this relationship to end. For whatever reason it was, you said it's because of the kids. And the first day that you told me that, you said, I didn't do the hard work for you. I did the hard work for the kids. And I was like, well, thank God we have kids or we'd probably be divorced. But if you hadn't been ready to make those changes, then, and I had set the boundary and you just stayed in it and you weren't ready to make the changes. It would never would have been a healthy marriage anyway. So.
The point that I want to make to you is if you set boundaries and they're not respected, then I would encourage you to get some coaching, get some help, get some support and come to a place, prayed, whatever it is that works for you and come to a place where you're able to say, I have to let go of the outcome of this because the outcome may not be our outcome. If the other person isn't ready to make the changes, it's never gonna be a healthy relationship.
You have to be healthy as the individual, right? That's what you can control is yourself. And so you can't control your significant other or your kid or whoever it is. Right? We're all unique individuals and we can't control each other. We can't control the world around us. We can control how we react, what we do and what tools we gain. And if we are healthy, happy individuals, that's the start.
Absolutely. You have wrapped this up beautifully. That's a perfect way to end this. I would love to help you on your journey if some of this stuff resonates with you and you still have more questions. Like I said, there's no way that we could cover everything in an hour, but I would love to help be able to walk alongside you and help you discover what steps you can take to make your marriage healthier, to make your marriage to the point.
I cannot believe how strong we are now. And we talk about this every time we go on a date, which is filling my love tank, cause it's quality time. And he's really good at that now. And we spend a lot of time together now cause we love it. We love being together. And we talk about this idea of just how strong we are now and how far we've come. And I don't know a lot of other marriages that at least appear as strong as ours now. And it's incredible to come to that point after literally almost.
reaching the point of divorce. So thank you for the work that you've done. And thank you to all of you who are watching and listening for taking the time to hang out with us and just listen to us kind of talk through some of this stuff. I would love to help you on your journey if I can help you take the next step or figure out what to do next or where to go from here or work with you in some coaching stuff to help you get to a better place. And...
The hope is that your marriage or your relationship would be able to be strengthened. Ultimately, you'll have to work through that and discover whether it's going to continue and be stronger or whether you're just going to be stronger on your own. So we drop new podcast episodes every Friday. I hope that you'll join us for the next one and it won't be us together, but it will be on this platform with a new person talking about their story.
And we just thank you so much for joining us and hope that this was a blessing to you. If this was a blessing you and you got some, something helpful from it, please leave a comment and tell us what it was that spoke to you and please share this with your friends and family and people that you think that it might be. Um, it might be a good tool for them. And thank you. Any last words? Anything else you want to share? Thank you. All right. Thanks guys. Bye.