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“If he loved me, he’d pick up the glass and put it in the dishwasher.” Have you ever heard yourself say (either out loud or inside your head), “My partner should just know that the stray glasses bug me?” If your partner cares about you and loves you, they will just know the tasks that need doing. Right?

Wrong.

You make a relationship mistake when you expect your partner to “just know.” Why? Because you’re asking your partner to be in your business. Or you’re in your partner’s business. Either way, it’s all muddled and you’re getting in the way of clean intimacy.

 

In this episode

  • You’ll hear a different perspective about the struggle for fairness when it comes to chores
  • You’ll realize why you might be creating your own frustration, and how to stop
  • You’ll get help: 4 questions to ask yourself so you take back your personal power
  • You’ll feel Allison’s gentle approach to chores, relationship, and creating a peace-filled home

 

If my partner cared, they’d just know

“Stay out of my bee’s wax!” This was a saying that was popular in my elementary school days. It was shoved in the face of anyone who was trying to meddle. It was no fun to hear. Frankly, it wasn’t fun to say either. It felt icky.

When you have unspoken expectations of your partner, you’re in their bee’s wax. Get out.

My guest today, Allison Evans, promises you’ll feel much freer if you stay in your own business. 

“When I‘m in my business, then I’m not relying on other people to take care of me…and all my needs. When I am not in other people’s business, they are free to be themselves,” says Allison

 

Confusing relationship love and care with meddling

I CARE about my spouse. If I get out of their business, it’s as if I don’t CARE. If I’m not in their business, how do they know I love them?

This is a mistake we’ve all made in our relationships. We confuse caring with entanglement or enmeshment. But this isn’t respectful, and it interrupts intimacy.

 

Example: confusing love with mind reading in your relationship

“He isn’t picking up his glass. He doesn’t care about me.”

You see a living room littered with empty glasses. You feel as abandoned as the empty glasses. Then you get angry and you yell, “I’m not your Cinderella!” You storm about scooping up glasses and one of them falls to the floor and shatters.

Then you feel embarrassed about your rage.

It’s in moments like this that we turn away from each other, not toward each other.

 

A lifetime of turning away in your relationship

When you make the demand, “My partner should just know,” you get dashed expectations. When you’re disappointed, you turn away from, not toward your partner.

What happens when this is your pattern day after day, year after year?

You’re alienated, right? How can this be caring? This isn’t loving.

Let’s look at how to replace those expectations with cheerful personal responsibility.

 

Cheerfulness vs the Cold Shoulder

What happens when you kiss the top of your partner’s head as you say, “You’re welcome?”

You don’t huff and puff. You’re not angry. You’re not angry because you acknowledged the kind thing you did: You picked up the glass. You stayed in your own business. The glass bothered you. So, you picked it up.

But you noticed all of this aloud.  Your kiss and announcement tell your partner you picked up their glass. Most importantly, you gave yourself credit for tidying rather than harboring resentment.

How does this habit express itself differently day after day, year after year? What kind of home do you have a result?

The moments you cultivate either build a path to one another or a wall of separateness.

 

Stay in your own business to help your marriage

It’s hard to stay in your own business!

It’s so much easier to expect everyone else to approach life with your precise agenda.

But imagine the joy in your home when everyone takes full responsibility for the way they want life to go. Allison walks us through the principles to stay in your own business. You’ll see how this will make your relationship happier.

 

Let go of your pride to have a healthier marriage

“Pride has a lot to do with staying in your own business,” says Allison.

If you’ve had it in your mind that your spouse should make the bed or put the dishes away, it can be hard to let go of that and accept these are things you need to fix yourself.

Let go of your pride and self-righteous indignation so you can cultivate intimacy in your relationship.

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4 questions can help you understand the difference between your business and your spouse’s business

You won’t be able to instantly stop having invisible expectations of your partner. But if you practice with Byron Katie’s 4 Questions, you’ll learn to in your own business.

  • Is it true?
  • Can you be absolutely certain it’s true?
  • How do you react?
  • Who would you be without this thought?

The first question is “Is it true?”

“Is it true that your spouse should pick up the glass?”

Of course it’s true. Your spouse is the one who got the glass out, so they should be the one to pick it up.

The second question is “Can you be absolutely certain?”

You’re certain it’s your spouse’s job to pick up the glass because if it’s not their job, then it’s your job and that doesn’t seem right to you.

But let’s look for global certainty: this invites you to rethink your assumption. What if you borrow a different perspective? How does the glass look from your partner’s eyes?

Suddenly you notice how your partner is buried in their book, not even aware of the empty glass.

The third question is “How do you react?”

How do you react in that moment when you believe your spouse should be doing something and they’re not?

Watch yourself. Notice your behavior without judgement. Just become a silent observer of how you react when you think this thought.

You huff and puff, stomp around the house, forcefully shut cabinets, or put dishes in the sink in your frustration. You become tense.

Notice how that doesn’t feel good in your body.

When you can notice—just notice—you naturally become more gentle with yourself and, consequently, with others. You naturally abandon behaviors that don’t feel good. You don’t even have to work at it. When you notice what doesn’t feel good, you don’t want to repeat it.

The fourth question is “Who would you be without the thought?”

When you let go of the thought that something is wrong because there was a glass left out, it frees you up. You get to let go of your pride and make a clean ask.

Without that thought, you release the tension and feel better in your body.

 

Experiment to help yourself stay in your own business

When Allison realized that it was her job to pick up the glasses, she experimented to make the job easier on her.

She made a rule in her house that each family member was only able to get out one drinking glass per day. This rule cut down on the number of glasses left out and also added some playfulness to the housework.

She made her problem with the glasses into a game that helped her put the issue into perspective and made her whole family happier. “What’s this I see? A glass? Why how is it this lonely glass has been abandoned?” You get to create levity instead of resentment.

Experiment with different ways to keep the house tidy instead of telling your family members what they “should” be doing. This is a different energy.

When you invite people to join you, they want to help. Conversely, when you shove people into helping you, they resist.

Connect with my guest, Allison Evans

In this episode, you’ll learn more about staying in your own business from my guest Allison Evans.

Allison is a master-certified life coach and the creator of “Be The Heroine,” a year-long small group coaching program. You’ll benefit from Allison’s attention to detail about how your thoughts feel in your body, and you’ll understand why staying in your own business is good for your marriage.

Want to stop arguing and start connecting with your spouse? This FREE e-course will offer you habits to improve your marriage communication so you can smile more and fight less. Sign up to improve marriage communication.

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2 Comments

  • Betsy F says:

    I love this episode! The way that Allison and Rebecca can help loosen up a painful thought is freeing. While I listened I thought of my daughter and her inherent messiness. It has felt Iike an insult to my cleanliness over the years. I had not thought to use The Work on this thought and am going to keep this questioning in my mind to see if I can find some space. Thank you💜💜

    • Rebecca S Mullen says:

      “Inherent messiness” is a theme between parents and kids, right? I totally get it that it feels like an insult. It’s so tempting to take it personally. But what if she’s just a kid? A messy kid? And it has nothing to do with you? I love that this episode is reminding you of a tool to question this. Thanks for listening, Betsy.