Marriage Mistake #4: Willie & Veronica Talk About How to Stop Wrestling with Change in Your Marriage | EU 5042 min read

February 1, 2021

What happens when someone in the relationship becomes “too comfortable”? How does tough love towards your partner actually encourage growth more than you trying to fix the problem? Can focusing on yourself inspire your partner to do the same? In this podcast episode, Veronica Cisneros speaks with her husband Willie about how to stop wrestling […]

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I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, marriage coach, course creator, retreat host, mother of 3, married for 23 years and host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast. 


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What happens when someone in the relationship becomes “too comfortable”? How does tough love towards your partner actually encourage growth more than you trying to fix the problem? Can focusing on yourself inspire your partner to do the same?

In this podcast episode, Veronica Cisneros speaks with her husband Willie about how to stop wrestling with the change in your marriage

In This Podcast


  • Comfort can harm the relationship
  • Give space and have trust

Comfort can harm the relationship

I think in a relationship we desire that security … of having that comfort, but I think that’s also the thing that oftentimes leads to the demise of the relationship, where comfort becomes the thing that kills the relationship because we get too comfortable, and that comfort leads to complacency. (Willie Cisneros)

When both parties become too comfortable in their relationship, with one another or with themselves, they can stagnate in their growth or pursuit of their goals.

However, when one person is inspired to get going again, they can feel left behind or pulled down by the other partner who still enjoys the level of comfort that keeps them stuck in the same patterns or habits.

Give space and have trust

It can be the hardest thing to do, to leave your partner is a tough space to be in, and trust that they will pull themselves out of it. Of course, you can help where necessary but it is important for them to get themselves out of that place too.

If a person in a relationship is doing everything for their partner who is in the rut, trying to change them, trying to fix, repair, make right or shift the relationship to constantly best suit their partner, that will only build resentment and breaks self-authenticity for both parties.

You can’t motivate anyone to do anything that they don’t want to do, but you can for damn sure inspire them by being the change you want to see in your relationship. (Veronica Cisneros)

Sometimes, the best thing we can do for the other person is to fully focus on ourselves. When we invest time, energy, and resources into bettering ourselves, into independent growth and learning, that type of action is recognized by our partners and they are inspired to pick themselves up by the bootstraps too.


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Meet Veronica Cisneros

Veronica Cisneros | Empowered And Unapologetic PodcastI’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.

So I started  Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist.

Whether you listen to the podcast, join the free Facebook communityjoin the VIP community, or attend our annual retreat,  you’re in the right place. Let’s do this together!

Thanks for listening!

Podcast Transcription

[VERONICA CISNE…: You can’t motivate anyone to do anything that they don’t want to do, but you could for damn sure inspire them by being the change you want to see in your relationship.
Have you ever thought, how did I manage to lose myself? Being a mom is so hard, especially when we’re feeling stressed and disconnected. We exhaust ourselves trying to create this perfect life for our family. You deserve to enjoy your marriage and your kids without the stress perfectionism brings. I am going to teach you how to identify who you are outside of all of the roles you play. Hi, I’m Veronica Cisneros. I’m a wife, mother of three and a licensed marriage and family therapist. I am on a mission to teach women just like you, how to become empowered and unapologetic. Welcome to our girl gang.
Hey ladies. Welcome to Empowered and Unapologetic. I’m your host Veronica Cisneros and today’s guest is well, he’s looking at me right now. I think he’s the sexiest man alive. He is my husband. We’ve been married for 21 years? 21 years?
[WILLIE CISNERO…: Yeah, tomorrow we are going on 22.
[VERONICA]: 21 years, going on 22. However, it hasn’t always been this way where I’ve thought he was the sexiest man alive. There were times when he and I weren’t necessarily on the same team. However, I asked him, literally pleaded with him, if he would do one more episode with me and here’s why I had to plead with him. It wasn’t because he wasn’t willing to do it. It’s because it’s like about to be like 9:30 at night, and I know he has a long day tomorrow, however, because he’s absolutely amazing and loves me very, very much. Well, I like to think that this is why. He’s here willing to go out and help us out. So, hey babe, welcome to the show.
[WILLIE]: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
[VERONICA]: Okay, so we’re going to cover something really personal. So, not only are you on the show and it’s late at night, but we’re also going to cover a very, very vulnerable topic. So, mistake number one is, or I’m sorry, mistake number four is I can make him change. I just have to try harder, love him more, do more. So, when you hear me say that, what comes up for you?
[WILLIE]: You can’t change anybody, whether it’s you trying to change your husband or your husband trying to change you. It’s going to end up in disaster when you try to do things, whether it’s through manipulation or through guilt, shame, it’s all going to lead to a bad term somewhere along the lines, because change is only going to happen independently and it’s not going to be what you make that other person do.
[VERONICA]: So, one thing I often get , a matter of fact, I just covered it with about three couples. I’m ready for change. And this is like from a woman’s point of view. I’m ready for change. I know our relationship needs it. I’m tired. I’m ready to go ahead and take that next step and move forward.
[WILLIE]: And that’s great. Self-recognition is, I think the most important thing with change is recognizing that you’re the person that’s being accountable and responsible for your marriage and the success or failure thereof and you’re willing to accept that you are a prime reason or a reason for it not doing as well as you think it ought to be. And so, changing yourself, I think is first and foremost.
[VERONICA]: Yeah. Well, so what a lot of women run into is, okay, so I’m motivated for this change and let’s say maybe I want to go ahead and move forward financially and live on a budget and look to move towards financial prosperity. Or maybe I want to go in and lose 15 pounds or 20 pounds, or I want to get my health on the right track or maybe has to do with business and success. I’m ready to go ahead and take that big leap. However, my biggest fear is if I move towards that ,will my husband. And so, one question I’m often asked is how do you get someone motivated knowing they want to make a change, but they always have an excuse on why they can’t? One thing I thought about when I was writing, this is obviously everything that’s in this workbook, it’s experiences both you and I have had. Its issues both you and I have had. And it’s something I cover often in my private practice.
But I think about when you retired from the military and here I am moving towards my private practice, building up that practice and like hitting numbers I never thought I would, I never imagined I would hit. And you had retired from the Marine Corps and you were transitioning from you being this complete bad-ass and like hero and all around everybody knows you to civilian life. And so, this is something that was, it was kind of like, we’re both aiming for the sky and then you retired. And it was like, I felt as if I was still aiming, but you were kind of out of speed up. So, what was it like when you were there in that transition?
It sucked. It’s trying to figure out. Like at that time, it’s trying to figure out my own life. And when there’s a role reversal at times, as I say, especially for our men, when you’re the person, that’s the primary breadwinner, when you’re the person that is the security for your family, you want to continue to be that and provide for your family and not have to rely on somebody else to pull the weight. And you know, there’s some people that are here that like, they get to that point and they’re like, “I’m retired now. So, now I get to finally relax.” And that’s great if that’s what you want to do. But if you get to a point where you’re just like, “No, I want to do more. I just don’t know what the hell it is that I want to do.” And then your spouse’s like, “Well, I’m off to the races and I’m just, I’m going, and I’m doing these things.”
I think in a relationship, we desire that security within our own relationship of having comfort. But I think that’s also the thing that leads to sometimes the demise in our relationship where comfort becomes the thing that kills our relationship because we get too comfortable and then comfort leads into complacency. And then complacency leads to other things where there’s, you know, maybe one person that’s, like you said, you know, whatever the motive is you know, maybe you’re recognizing you’re out of shape and you want to get in shape and maybe there’s some insecurities by the other partner that’s just like, “Well, why all of a sudden there’s this change?” And you start to leave your partner behind. But I think it’s the way that3 it’s done. And it’s shared amongst the two of you of how this change is happening and why it’s happening.
[VERONICA]: So, how has it, so I’m going to go back to, for you, like my question, what was that like for you? So, I’m still moving forward.
[WILLIE]: I was struggling. I was struggling with trying to find my own way, a new path, because like while one chapter ended, a new chapter was beginning. I just didn’t know how this next chapter was even going to be written. So, I was trying to find that thing and it was, you know, try this one thing and do it and do it well, and then just realize this is not what I’m meant to do and then go onto the next thing until I finally reached that point where I’m like, “Okay, this is what I know that I want to do.” But it’s in finding that and it’s going all those journeys, it’s hitting roadblocks from time to time and having a supportive spouse or partner to be there during those times too. Because even in trying things, even as an entrepreneur, you try something and you’re like, “This is a failure,” or as a, just a person and you realize, I’m going on this diet, or I’m trying this new fad or whatever the change is. Be there for each other through this.
[VERONICA]: So, you said it was hard, right?
[WILLIE]: Yeah.
[VERONICA]: And I kind of wanted you to stick to that for a minute, like it being so hard for you. What would it have looked like had I went ahead and, because this is what I see a lot of women do. What would it look like had I went and said, “Okay honey, so today, you know, because you were looking for jobs. You had a job, and you weren’t happy.
[WILLIE]: Before I got out.
[VERONICA]: Right? So, you had this job, you had it all set up, but you weren’t happy. And I can see that you weren’t happy. What would it have looked like had I been like, “You know what? So, I circled all of these jobs that are on Indeed. And I have all of these jobs on here.” And I’m constantly feeding you and trying to motivate you. Like, what is the message you would receive if I was that spouse?
[WILLIE]: That’s a kick in the balls.
[WILLIE]: For my wife to be doing that for me and saying, “Here’s the…,” it’s like your mom saying, “Go get a job.”
[WILLIE]: That’s exactly what I feel, what it would feel like.
[VERONICA]: I didn’t do that obviously.
[WILLIE]: And although the intention isn’t that, is being supportive and trying to help, but the message received, to me wouldn’t be that.
[VERONICA]: No, obviously, I mean, obviously I didn’t do that. However, like I find a lot of women are like, “Okay, so he’s unhappy with his job.” And ladies, like you get so caught up and, “My husband’s not happy. My husband’s not happy. I need to help him find his happy.” When right now you’re saying, if I did that, I’d be smothering you. It sounds like it, right? And I think one thing I had learned, you know, what it was, it was when you were in Afghanistan and I don’t want to say this. I do and I don’t. This is going to get me to cry. But like, when you were in Afghanistan and you had called me and said, “Babe, I need you to up on my life insurance.” And I was like, “Why?” You like, “I need you to up it.” And you and I had a discussion and you told me, you know, I was just blown up and you were like talking to me and when you were talking to me, you were kind of very matter of fact, giving me all of the details.
And I went from being your wife to your therapist. And it was like, you have to stay cool. You have to stay calm. You have to listen to everything that he’s saying and not overreact because you’re not in a place where I could just grab you and hug you. I mean, obviously I can’t take care of you, but, you weren’t there where I can like be that wife be that support. I could only basically listen. And what I realized after that conversation, I don’t think I’ve ever shared this with you. But what I realized after that conversation was like, okay, I can’t do anything to change where you’re at. I can’t do anything to make that shift in that mindset.
Hell I can’t even be your therapist at this point. And so, I have to trust. I have to let go of that illusion of control I really don’t have and I have to trust that everything is going to be fine. And it was so hard for me to do considering, I mean, you’re clear across the country, like the world, not even the country. You’re clear across the world and you’re telling me, I was just blown up. Me and my Marines were just blown up, you know, and we did a psychic eval, we did this, but whatever we’re going to go out again, I think it was like the next day. And it was just like, okay. And so, what I learned was I really don’t have control over our circumstances. And it was then that I just started to go ahead and let go and trust that, even though like you literally, your life was in danger, like you could have died that day.
Totally could have died that day. If you guys didn’t have that mine roller attached. And it was like, I still have to go ahead and put faith in this. And, I’m sharing with you guys this story, because like, it’s literally that. Yeah, it sucks. It sucks seeing our husbands down and out. It sucks when they’re not motivated. It sucks that, it hell it even sucks when they give up and we go to trust. We go to go ahead and step back and allow it to happen. So, if we’re able to go out and step back and allow you to go, the men to go ahead and do what they go to do, how does that shift the relationship?
[WILLIE]: Say that again.
[VERONICA]: So, if I’m able to go ahead and pull back, right, and just trust that you are going to go ahead and figure this out, even though you’re in a rut, even though there’s this big ass speed bump, —
[WILLIE]: I think it’s cultivating the relationship that you want to have together. It’s not the relationship that you want your other person to mold into and you’re trying to make them into this thing that is your creation. That’s then is going to start to build resentment and shame because they’re not even being authentic to themselves. They’re being this version of what you want them to be versus being themselves. And eventually they’re going to get tired of seeing this person that they stare at in the mirror and realize, “Where did I lose myself? I’m not even being true to myself. How am I going to be true to my wife? I’m just doing this because it’s what she wants me to do.”
And then, they’re going to be, you know, and then it’s going to start to spiral from there. I would say it’s better to like foster and cultivate a relationship that you want to be in together, and that, you know, let’s use words like we and us and, or even seeking to understand from each other, like what is it you want to do? And how can we do this together?
[VERONICA]: Like, go back to ‘you.’ So, like for a man, I like, I get you’re going to fix it the mode. I get that. But like I want you to help us understand like really how —-
[WILLIE]: That’s part of it. It’s not doing it with shame and doing it in a way that seems demeaning or like it’s just, you’re a piece of crap and you’re worthless and you’re not doing anything and I’m having to support. That’s what the feeling is like. It’s like, you know, all those things of what can I do to help you? What can I do to spark some change in you? What that’s really saying to us and what we’re hearing is you’re not pulling your weight in this relationship. I’m having to do everything. You need to get your together. And that’s more or less what I’m telling you in a nice way.
[VERONICA]: That’s what the message you guys are sending, “We’re trying to motivate you?”
[WILLIE]: Mmh. And it’s not motivation. It’s more of a put down and this is you passively, aggressively telling me that like you either get on board or get on, move on.
[VERONICA]: I love that you said that because a lot of us don’t see it that way. It’s like, “No, wait a minute.” And I’ve heard women say this. I’ve heard couples, I’ve heard men say what you just said right now. And a woman’s reply would be, “Wait a minute. Like, no, I’m really just trying to help you because you haven’t applied for a job in like two weeks. And you know, I’m not seeing you make any phone calls or I’m not, I’m not seeing you pull your weight. And I feel like I’m going to be doing this, but I’m like literally trying to motivate you.” And men have a very difficult time being able to say, “Well, you’re not motivating,” being able to say, well, you just said, “You’re not motivating me. If anything, you’re shaming me.” And I feel like, shit, because you’re constantly reminding me I’m not enough.”
[WILLIE]: Yeah.
[VERONICA]: Right? And so, ladies, I want you to hear something. You can’t motivate anyone to do anything that they don’t want to do, but you could for damn sure inspire them by being the change you want to see in your relationship. Write that down. If you have to fricking stop it, pose it, rewind it, do it. But you cannot, you can’t, we don’t have that ability. We don’t. However, honey, when I started go ahead and take on, or take off and move towards these goals, and I never thought I’d ever achieve, it wasn’t that I was obviously leaving you behind. Hell, you were coming with me. But what was that message you received where I was like, “Hey, you know what, babe? I’m here. I support you. I see you hustling. I see you doing everything you need to.” And it was when you were at Home Depo and you were transitioning to, you were looking for something else and the VA was taking forever. Remember? And it was like, all right, well, whenever it happens, it happens. However I’m still going. What was that like for you? Did you feel like I was leaving you or did that inspire you?
[WILLIE]: It was, in a way it was like, it was opening for me because I have seen, like in my own life, I was, you were, it was a role reversal. When I was doing my own thing, when I was you know, just kept on climbing the ladder and doing everything that I can to get to the top, you were there to pick me up. And even on days or times when I was just like, “Nah, I don’t want to do this anymore, you were there for me.” And it was then that I had to realize like, you know what, it was something that I had to see that although you sat there and you still continue to, to grow and learn independently, I had to be able to learn to do the same thing to myself.
And, you know, however, that meant whether it was reading books or trying to find another job and just finding that niche, finding that thing that was going to make me happy because it wasn’t going to happen with you making me happy or through your own growth. That was something that you were seeking for yourself, which was great. It was just me being supportive and joining you for the ride versus saying, “No, you need to come back here and screw this plan that you’re on and this journey that you’re trying to be on. You need to come back down to reality over here.”
[VERONICA]: So, would you say it inspired you watching me grow?
[WILLIE]: It did inspire and inspired my own growth to realize that, you know, you had done this once for me before, why can’t I do it for you and at the same time we grow together versus growing apart?
[VERONICA]: And I think me pulling back and just kind of letting it happen. Not only was it not only, not when you did end up getting the job at the VA it was like, it wasn’t that I did it. You did it. And it was, I just kind of seen it, like, it was so much different than what we did in the past Because what we did in the past, I did what most women did or do. It’s like, “Oh, if I could only motivate him, if I, you know, read this book or listen to this,” and that didn’t work. And I, what I didn’t realize is I was pushing you away from me. I didn’t realize that I was shaming you. And so, this is why I wanted you on this episode because not only do women need to hear this, but I think it’d be a good idea for women to get their husbands to listen, because I feel like so many times you guys don’t have a voice.
It’s not because you guys aren’t strong. It’s not because you guys aren’t men, but it’s because you don’t express yourself. And so, I feel like, you know, me having you on, it’s kind of like this vehicle, you know, this opportunity for men to be heard. What would you like to say to women with regards to this mistake? I can make him, if you heard a lady say this, “I can make him change. I just have to try harder. Love him more, do more.” What would you say? What would you say to her?
[WILLIE]: God. “I can make them change.” You’re not going to make him change.
[VERONICA]: Why not?
[WILLIE]: He’s set in his ways, at least for that moment in time. And if it’s going to be, I just need to try harder, show him a different kind of love verbally, physically, whatever that is, you’re just going to waste your time. It’s going to, you’re going to get tired out, just trying to do these things and eventually you’re going to give up and you’re going to start to build resentment because you’re like, “I’m seeing all my own growth and he doesn’t want to grow. So, maybe I need to just need to find somebody else.” Like change has to happen independently. So, that way you can have changed together as a unit, as a family and, or however, size and bigger you are —-
[VERONICA]: But if we do that, will we be sacrificing the marriage? If we let him go? If we allow him to go ahead and motivate himself? Would that be sacrificing the marriage?
[WILLIE]: I don’t think so.
[VERONICA]: Why not?
[WILLIE]: Because like I was saying, like you can’t make somebody change. And trying to force it down their throat, it’s just going to make them, it’s like telling a kid don’t touch that, don’t do this, don’t do that. It just makes them want to do it more. So, when you tell them not to do one thing or you, it’s just going to make them start to rebel even more and more and more, and they’re doing it out of spite, oftentimes. So, if you’re trying to foster a relationship where you want to build change in a healthy manner and be supportive of one another, what is it that’s stopping you from this change? What are you afraid of? And so that way, maybe I can help you with this thing and you getting over your fear.
Oftentimes, that’s the biggest, it’s not a challenge. It’s fear of crossing through this thing that you feel like you don’t have the ability to be able to go through. And once you face that fear and then overcome it, then it’s like, you know, maybe you have this monumental thing that you want to achieve, but it’s facing that mountain of whatever that is that’s difficult. So, maybe it’s breaking it down piece by piece and having little wins along the way to have that euphoric feeling of knowing that, yes, you can work towards this goal and towards this thing versus I want to do this, but I’m just scared to and I can’t do it. So, then you give up or your partner gives up and now they don’t want to change themselves. And so, they start to give up.
[VERONICA]: But that’s something he has to do on his own.
[WILLIE]: They have to do it on their own, but you could also help them see it from another perspective of, well, help me understand what it is you’re trying to do. Well, I’m trying to create this thing. Or in five years, I want to be here. Okay, well, in one year or in six months, or in three months, how can we have small wins along the way or help you achieve this thing that you want to see in five years? You know, helping them see it from a different perspective.
[VERONICA]: So, basically asking them, how can I, understanding what change they want and then asking, how can I be a part of that change?
[WILLIE]: Mmmh.
[VERONICA]: Gotcha. Gotcha. So, we have a list of questions that we’re going to go over with you, and that’s on page 15 of our workbook. If you don’t have the workbook, yet, ladies, I want you to get the workbook. It’s going to be in our show notes. So, let’s go ahead and go over them. So, do you want to answer them or you want me to answer them?
[WILLIE]: I’ll present the questions and we’ll just do this together.
[VERONICA]: All right. Awesome.
[WILLIE]: All right. Identify why it’s important that he changes. Is he unhappy? Are you unhappy?
[VERONICA]: So, for me, the reason why I wanted change to happen is because if I’m being honest, I did not like seeing you like that. It was one of the first times I’d ever seen you like —
[WILLIE]: Defeated?
[VERONICA]: Yes. Yes. And I look at you like my hero. Like, I think you’re just this bad-ass amazing, man and then I’m watching you and it’s like, you’re busting your butt working. You know, you were on the night shift working, you were doing admin, but you were still, you were like long, crazy hours, you weren’t with us that much because you were sleeping during the day. And I just looked at you and how miserable you were and I wanted to take that away from you. I don’t want you to be like that. And so, that’s why it was important for me to have you change, because I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but it’s also true. It’s important for me for you to change, because I can’t deal with these motions. So, as long as you change, then these emotions will go. But the longer you stay in the stuck defeated position, I got to deal with these crappy emotions. And so, that’s ultimately what I was trying to do. And I’ve noticed most women are trying to do the same thing. Like, help me get rid of this right now because I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to cope.
[WILLIE]: Okay. If he doesn’t change, how will that impact you?
[VERONICA]: So, at the time, for me, if you didn’t change, then that meant I would have to look at you being miserable, short tempered, frustrated, overwhelmed, defeated. I don’t want that. I don’t want that at all.
[WILLIE]: How does it impact the marriage though?
[VERONICA]: Significantly, because I noticed I would pull away. It was like, well, let me go. It wasn’t like I wanted to create an argument, but kind of, because as long as I can make do something, control something, then I, again, don’t have to deal with this emotion. And so, it impacted the relationship because I was, in my head, I wanted to work 50,000 times harder than you but then I was upset because I was working harder than you. And I see that in marriages all of the time, like, well, I resent her because she says she doesn’t want to be in this position. She wants to have more friends but every time I present an opportunity for her to meet people, she is like fricking a hobby crap, you know, or vice versa. You know, he says he wants to improve. He’s obviously dealing with depression, but the minute I go ahead and challenge him or ask him, “Hey, let’s go out, let’s go do something.” He doesn’t want to do it. So, yeah, it builds resentment in the relationship.
[WILLIE]: Okay. What do you think that we have that’s what’s within our control?
[VERONICA]: Obviously, the only thing we have in our control is ourselves. Like there, I’ve learned that in this field, even though I have like all the training, all of the knowledge and all of these years of experience and like I’m a therapist, I still do not have the control nor the power to change people. I don’t have it. Nobody does. And so, it’s realizing that every single day, like when I’m sitting in front of, I practice virtually, but when I’m sitting across from maybe somebody that’s suffering from a meth addiction, or I’m listening to a couple say, “You know what? This is hard. This is hard.” Or when I’m looking at a little girl who is tiny, you know, she’s suicidal. It’s like, I am powerless. I can guide them. I can teach them. I can’t control them.
[WILLIE]: What are some things that you would say that have worked in the past and what hasn’t?
[VERONICA]: Ooh. So, with you going back to our marriage and our relationship? What has worked in the past? What inspiring message I given you that has led to some form of change? Nothing, nothing. There hasn’t been anything that I’ve ever said that was like, “Holy crap, this is it. This is the Holy grail. He’s going to change.” It hasn’t been that. Now what I’ve done, that’s something different. Whenever I’ve literally, whenever I’ve put myself in your shoes, whenever I really, really heard what you had to say and where you were at hell, I mean this past weekend, what was it? Sunday when you and I were arguing, I was pissed off at you because of the bacon. Was it Sunday? Yeah. Sunday. Yeah. Yesterday. Oh my God, girl, ladies. That’s another episode. I was about to drop, kick his because he almost burned my bacon.
We’ll talk about that later. I’m not kidding. You remember. You were there, but even you and I were in an argument and even in that, there were so many things I wanted to say to you because I wanted to hurt you and I wanted to drop kick you and do all of these things like —-
[WILLIE]: No doubt. Well, that’s not going to happen.
[VERONICA]: But I wanted to do all of those things. And what I realized was, okay, hold back, hold back, bring it back, Veronica and instead, listen to what you’re saying. That has been the most powerful tool that I have in my toolbox is the power of listening to understand because you and I were able to both, even though maybe we didn’t agree a hundred percent on the same thing, you and I were able to come to this place of what would you say? Like, peace? That sounds lame. But like, you know what I’m saying? We were able to come to this level of respect for each other.
[WILLIE]: But part of the argument was the fact that she was listening to respond and listening to it and to fire back versus listening to understand. It took a while to finally get there because that’s where we eventually wanted to be or where I eventually wanted her to be is, is like, look, you do this as a profession. I’m your husband. Try to do the same thing with me.
[WILLIE]: Don’t listen to try to fire back and see, you know, trying to one-up each other. That’s not going to be healthy for our own relationship.
[VERONICA]: That though, right there, has —
[WILLIE]: And I would say like, like even you having this growth mindset now, and even before, like when I retired, I was all in on this stuff. Tom Bill, [inaudible 00:32:10], all these people that are all about, you know, Gary V, these guys that are all about like, just establishing this hunger, this desire to want to be and do more and become more, a better version of yourself. Like I tried to force podcasts, books, all these things on top on you. You weren’t ready for it at the time.
[VERONICA]: Hell no, I was like, “I don’t even have time.”
[WILLIE]: And you were like, I don’t want this stuff right now. I’m trying to figure my life out, trying to figure this stuff out.”
[VERONICA]: I’m glad you brought that up.
[WILLIE]: And because like, it took you time to finally realize like, and it wasn’t like one of those things where, you know, you tell your spouse, one thing, they hear it from you a thousand times, they hear it one time from that friend or that relative and all of a sudden it becomes this prophetic thing that you’re like, “What the hell! I’ve been telling you that for the longest time and you finally heard somebody else say the same thing, and now you want to actually do it or listen to it?” It wasn’t one of those instances. It was just the timing wasn’t right. And it doesn’t mean that what you were saying is wrong or anything like that, or had any ill intent. It was just, it just wasn’t the right time for them. And eventually it’s going to come to that where they will, they may see it, they may drink the Kool-Aid and realize that this is, “I want to be on board too.” But you can’t force it on your partner to say like, “Look, see my intentions and know that they come from a good place.”
[VERONICA]: Yeah. And when you were doing that, I felt that same way where it was like, here we go here. He’s trying to, when you were trying to like, have me listen, you would even play it on the radio.
[WILLIE]: Yeah.
[VERONICA]: I remember you [crosstalk]. He would turn on the car and he would play it. And it’s like, so the message I received, kind of going back to the lesson, the message I received was here are all of the reasons why I’m not good enough and I need to listen to Tom Bill or you will end my life to go ahead and get on their level so you see me as this accomplished individual. Like that was the message I was receiving. So, every single time you’d turn on the truck or turn on the car and we’d go on this road trip and you’d be like, “Here, listen to this.” It’s like, “I don’t want to freaking listen to this. I don’t want to listen to it.” Like I started, I was so pissed off at you at. Remember? Every single time.
[WILLIE]: Exactly. Now, you know how I was feeling.
[WILLIE]: So, this is why this lesson is in here because I felt that way too. It was like, “That’s not motivating me. If anything, it’s telling me, I’m not enough. So, don’t do that. Let’s go ahead and do something different.” And it ended up me being like, when I started seeing you like reading books, I was like, “This fool never reads books.” But when I started seeing you read books and listening to all of these podcasts, there was one podcast that you had played and I was pissed off the entire time, but I was like, “All right, I’m just going to listen to this and have it in my head, the entire trip,” because that’s just what it felt right at that moment. But there was something that like had just clicked for me. And it was like, “Oh, this makes sense. You could still be pissed off at your husband and throw a punch at him after this is done. However, this like totally makes sense.”
And it was like, okay, but there was still that resentment because you were attempting to motivate me. I didn’t need that. I had already felt like, dude, duh, like, look at my practice, look at where I’m at. You know, I was at the hospital too. And it was like, I’m already doing all of these things. I can’t fit one more thing on my plate. But yeah, it’s like, what’s happening is neither us are communicating to the other person. “Hey, I get it. I understand. It’s here. Listen to the 50,000 ways you can make yourself better.” And that’s not healthy.
[WILLIE]: Yeah. Okay. So, last and final thing here is accepting him for who he is and who he isn’t. This is important. This is the part where you’re going to write down your feelings about this whole portion here for who your partner is and who they are. So, what do you know to be true about your partner? Writing that down, the good and the bad. Don’t hold back on any of this stuff, but at the same time too, this isn’t now the time to smear their face in the dirt. It’s writing down those things. And obviously, you know, in the beginning of our relationship we are trying to do all we can to impress our partner, but then we get comfortable and we start getting complacent in our relationships. But there is those good things, those good qualities about each other.
It’s bringing those things back and bringing that spark back in your relationship and trying to figure out like you had plans for one another. You had plans together to grow as a couple. And what are those things that’s reigniting that fire within your own marriage, by doing those things and just bringing it back to that, bringing it back to the beginning? You know, what are the things that you want to do and grow together as a couple? How do you want to see yourselves in six months, a year, five years down the road, growing old together and doing those things. So, it’s trying to find out, find those things out and being a little bit vulnerable and humble and willing to listen to one another.
[VERONICA]: I think the biggest thing too, though, is accepting him for who he is. Like being, he’s not fricking, he’s not, I’m not going to say he’s not your prince charming because I don’t want to sound rude. But like, he’s not a character from Walt Disney. Like, he’s not that. He’s not, you know, and I think so many of us get caught up in that story where we need you to be everything. You know, we see our full potential and it’s like, I mean ship for a long time when you were in the Marine Corps. You know, you had your degree, you had your bachelor’s degree and it’s like, “Dude, why don’t you go ahead and be an officer?” And you’re like, “That’s not what I want.” And I was pushing, pushing, pushing that on you because I was refusing. I’ve seen your potential and you had everything there, but it wasn’t that you weren’t good enough. That wasn’t the path that you wanted by any means.
And so, where we get tripped up as a wife is we see all of this potential. We see all these great qualities and we want you to go ahead and be that better version. But if we look at ourselves, we’re all, our husbands probably also see that we can be this better version, but we’re too afraid to. And so, we don’t. So, if we can pull back and accept our husbands, our partners for who they are and who they’re not, not only will there be less expectation, but there also be less weight on the relationship. You won’t feel that added weight of me attempting to push you to go out and be something you’re not, or you don’t want to be. And in turn, you’re not going to resent me for it.
So, this is where I’m going with this last question. And I want you to just write it down and let the pen take over because it’s so important. Who is your husband and who is he not? Any final words, honey?
[WILLIE]: No, I think, I mean, I don’t have much to add other than, you know, we accept what we deserve or we feel that we deserve in our relationship. And so, sometimes we have to try to adapt our marriage and our relationship. Hopefully it’s for the betterment of the relationship and we’re not looking things narrowly. We’re taking everything into consideration, whether it’s, you know, what is the benefit of this change? Is it going to help my marriage? Is going to help my family? Is what I want to do going to, you know, am I going to get more time with them or am I going to lose more time with them? So, hopefully whatever these changes are that you want to see, all that stuff is taken into consideration with you and your partner. Communicate with one another openly and candidly where it’s, you’re doing it in a way that’s, you know, in the same tone that I’m speaking right now, where it’s a respectful conversation with one another and you genuinely want to hear each other. And you’re trying to hear each other.
So, that way in the end, it’s only going to benefit you versus trying to shove each other’s agenda and make your husband or your spouse or your wife be this version of something that you want them to be. Let them be who they are. You accepted them. You loved them for who they were when you first met. Continue to do the same thing now, but just help them be a better version of themselves by helping them see their true potential and helping, well, you can do that with the things that you do independently with your own habits. And hopefully they just see that and eventually they jump along on that path and they go on that same ride as you.
[VERONICA]: And it’s okay if they’re not there at that same pace.
[WILLIE]: Correct.
[VERONICA]: They’ll get there, and if anything, they’ll surpass you or you guys —
[WILLIE]: Challenge each other?
[VERONICA]: Bingo, that’s something you and I do often is there’s times where you’re like five steps ahead of me and in certain areas of life and there’s times where I’m 20 steps ahead of you. Well, thank you so much for being on here, honey.
[WILLIE]: Thank you. It was an honor.
[VERONICA]: All right, ladies, if you haven’t already joined my girl gang, I highly encourage you to join it. This is a group of women who support each other and every Monday at 8:00 AM Pacific standard time, I am on there, live answering any questions you have with regards to this workbook. Ladies, you want to get your hands on this workbook. It’s free right now, for right now.
And I’m going to tell you that people pay a good amount of money to go out and get this information. And it’s all yours for free. Make sure you share it with a friend and in addition to that, be sure to go ahead and print it out. Print it out, answer the questions, be open, honest and vulnerable because as long as you take that stance, you will find, you will then start to see that, not only that development, but you’ll start to see that change that you so badly desire. All right, you guys, love you and I will see you soon. Bye.
Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a family of podcasts that change the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Better male Revolution, or Imperfect Thriving, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
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Many women lose their own identity in the shadow of being a mom and a wife. We are a community of women who support each other. We leave perfectionism behind to become empowered and unapologetic. I know you’re ready for the next steps. If you want to become empowered and unapologetic, get my free course, Unapologetically Me over empoweredandunapologetic.com/course.
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Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

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I’m Veronica, your new Boss MOM Mentor with no filter and no BS. 

I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, women’s coach, course creator, and retreat host. Married for OVER 20 years, raising three girls, and the host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast. 

Enough about me… 

My jam? Helping high-achieving women thrive both at home and in the hustle of work.

I've been there.

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