- “One is to put the relationship first, but the flip side of that coin is you must grow and be independent and be striving to be your best in and outside of the relationship.”
- Relationships can be hard. Learn the 2 things you can do to foster vibrant, healthy relationships while elevating your own personal development!
- “When we forget there are consequences of our actions within a relationship, the relationship inevitably becomes something separate than us.”
- Like anything, healthy relationships require balance. In today’s training, unpack how to achieve the delicate balance of putting your relationship first while also continuing to improve and fulfill yourself!
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)
I hope today a lot of what I share is common sense, but we all know it’s not always common practice and that’s why so many relationships fall apart. So simple one, first, double-sided coin. We all know these two rules, right?
1. Interdependence & Independence
One is put the relationship first, right? We all heard that before. And Denise says I’m going to combine two of hers together right here.
One is to put the relationship first, but the flip side of that coin is you must grow and be independent and be striving to be your best in and outside of the relationship.
Otherwise, if you aren’t growing, the relationship becomes stagnant. And so it’s interesting, that’s that interdependence-independence thing that makes all these relationships so dang hard, right? Is because yes, you want to pour yourself into your partner and your spouse, and support them, and cheer them on, and make decisions just for the relationship and we all have the individual spirit that wants to manifest and reach our own full potential. And how do we do those two things in union and alignment? We’re going to talk a lot about that today. Our first lesson today, let’s jump in.
Our first teaching today is that simple understanding that there are two sides of a coin in a relationship. There’s a relationship first and there is growth and reaching your potential independently as well. That interdependence independence. You must recognize the push and the pull of that and be attentive to that at all times to have a great relationship. I would argue that almost 90% of conflicts in relationships are actually not about who cleaned the kitchen. It’s not about the finances or this kid didn’t do that in the household. No, no, what it usually tends to be is a push and a pull between interdependence and independence and the couples not understanding that duality and not mitigating for that duality.
And so one person’s like, “Relationship first, we should do everything together. We should be on the same page. It should be perfect together.” And relationship first also means, “Hey, when you’re making decisions about your life, make it please in the context that we have chosen to live life together.” Who’s ever had a relationship where the person was completely oblivious to this idea of making the relationship first, right? It was probably miserable for you. It was like this person doesn’t prioritize us, and I believe that one thing has really helped us, me and Denise in our relationship, is honestly, she defaults to that. She is so good and brings me back to that too, that it’s about us. We plan together. We have to have the journey together. Don’t just go do these things. Think about how that impacts us, our life, our family. And she’s really just good at that, and I believe that’s what has taught me to be a better man, I hope, in the relationship that we’ve gotten more and more years into our relationship together. I think that that is really powerful.
How do you put your relationship first? You always make decisions within the context of realizing you’re in a relationship together. Obvious, right? And it doesn’t mean you can’t have independent decisions. It means those decisions still take place in understanding the effects and the consequences of your actions within the relationship.
When we forget there are consequences of our actions within a relationship, the relationship inevitably becomes something separate than us.
And when this relationship is separate from us, they feel a separateness. And the more your partner feels a separateness in the relationship, the more that relationship struggles. This is why you hear people say all of a sudden, make decisions together, plan together, know what you’re both working on together. That’s the idea of a relationship first. It’s, “oh, right. I have a life partner. That means I do life with my partner.”
So when I plan things in my life, I think about my partner. And that simple reminder, I know not all of you need, but you’ve been in relationships where that was not true. And if you have been, you know what I’m talking about in that separateness. You don’t feel like you really know the person or you feel like they don’t value your opinion. You feel like they are living their own life and they don’t care about you or the effect on your family. And so it’s so important for us to always remember. And when I think about relationships, I always think about the coin, I call it. The coin, interdependence, independence. Relationship first, okay, got it.
2. Make Decisions Together
And the opposite side, which so many people naturally gravitate towards and know especially if you’re in a GrowthDay community like this, is you must continue improving yourself and fulfilling yourself if that relationship is going to come into a true, deep, meaningful, fulfilling relationship, right? If you’re stagnant, don’t get mad that the relationship is stagnant. If your partner is stagnant, meaning they’re not growing, they’re not stretching themselves, they’re not trying to learn about their mindset or their effect of energy on other people or to become more productive towards meaningful pursuits that matter to them, well, then what happens? It’s like you’re growing and you’re extending but they are not. Who’s ever been there? That’s super hard.
Now, the challenge is you can’t, if relationship first is one side of that coin and growing is the other and you happen to be the person on that coin, you’re growing and you don’t sense that they are because relationships are first, you also cannot be bitter towards them, hate them, be jaded about it because there’s probably been points in your life where you weren’t growing at your potential either.
And what is the thing between? What is the material, I call it, between the coin? Interdependence and independence, what’s the material, right? If you have a penny, you know that the material is copper, right, in between? What is in between? Here’s my philosophy. The in between, the stuff of the coin is called grace. Grace.
If two people are going to come together and it’s going to work out, there’s got to be grace between them, grace when you’re growing and they’re not, grace when they’re growing and you’re not, grace when they’re struggling and you’re doing great, grace when you fall a little bit away from each other.
And without that, it’s really hard to keep that coin unified and valuable if you will. And so I want to begin today with a simple idea. I know after teaching about relationships literally for 15 years and I’ve been blessed to coach some of the highest level couples in the business world and some of the highest level Olympic couples, I mean, I’ve worked with couples in every possible scenario that you can imagine, from new parents, to people who have chosen not to have children, to people who are just trying to finely create depth and meaningfulness in a new relationship. I can share with you. 15 years of coaching, you have to imagine every conversation or every other conversation brings up a relationship that somebody is in, and what I have seen over, and over, and over again when either teaching or coaching on relationships is your, or the listener or the student’s, immediate impulse to judge the other person.
So as I’m teaching today, it’s very easy. “My husband, he’s like this. My wife, she’s like that.” Soon as I start teaching about something, you immediately cast the other person as the wrongdoer, and if we’re going to explore relationships today, no. The material in between interdependence and independence is not wrongdoer. It’s grace if you want the relationship to improve, if you want the relationship to deepen, if you want that thing to feel better. No bitterness here, no judgment here. I always say, judge less, feel better.
Okay? Let’s not judge our partners or spouses here. Let’s educate, let’s learn, let’s explore how we think. You can’t control them. Maybe you’re lucky and they’re watching with you, and if you’re watching this as a couple, make sure you put that in the chat and get some recognition and celebration that you’re participating as a couple here. I think that’s super awesome. I think that would be amazing. And so some of you are doing that. That’s great, but if your partner or your spouse isn’t here with you right now, don’t make this a judgement session on them even if you’re in turmoil, even if they feel separate, even if you’re fighting. I want you, instead, to say “let me explore my relationships with openness and grace. Let me be accountable for my stuff, think through my stuff and not make this a session of they’re bad and they’re the wrongdoer.” Because I promise you, soon as you make your partner or your spouse the wrongdoer, life gets hard. That relationship struggles. And so I want to start with laying this idea onto you of the coin, interdependence, independence, relationship first, grow so you don’t stagnate.
And as you have that difficult duality sometimes, in between what makes a relationship work is grace. That means understanding, compassion, forgiveness, openness to the other and their life amid your relationship.
I hope that helps.