In this episode, The Married and Naked Podcast explores Brene Brown's advice on using the phrase "The story I'm making up is..." and how this simple phrase can help us own our own story in marriage conflicts.
When faced with a conflict, we often jump to conclusions and create stories that may not be true and can perpetuate arguments. By using this technique, we can gain clarity and understanding about the stories we make up about ourselves and our partners.
Through a personal example and practical tips, Joel and Tammy discuss how this tactic can help us manage conflicts and foster healthier communication in our relationships.
Join us as we learn how to own our stories and build stronger relationships.
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Welcome to the Married to Naked Podcast. I'm Tammy, founder of the blog, married to Naked, certified sexuality coach and speaker. And I'm Joel TV host, motivational speaker in the Guinea pig to the lessons you're about to learn. We're high school sweethearts, married over two decades, and we are on a mission to help you create the marriage you desire and deserve. Let's get naked. Welcome to the Married to Naked Podcast. Hello everybody. Happy to have you here today. Hi baby. Hey baby. You always say, Hey Bibi. Hey Bibi. I don't know what else to say. You know it's funny cause I was listening. Ah. So, okay, you so do I know. Look at, so she's pointing out right before we started, she goes, okay, you always say it's funny. And I was like, I do. And then I literally did it without even thinking about it. That's hilarious. But it is funny because I was listening to some of our past episodes and I realized that you and I always say, Hey babe. Hey babe. How you doing? How you doing? Even though we've been around each other this whole time, so. For those of you that are out there, welcome into the Married to Naked Podcast. How are you doing, Tam? I'm good. I'm good. What's the latest? The latest is I have started my season of assemblies. Um, I dunno if you shared in the past, but in addition to doing the TV stuff I do the social media stuff, I do, I also do school assemblies and I am. Knee deep to where my voice, I would imagine over the next few episodes, my voice is going to get deeper and deeper and where it sounds like I'm a chain smoker because I start losing my voice. Mm-hmm. And I don't smoke at all and I never have. But, uh, just a matter of doing lots of talking in front of elementary school students day after day after day. Mm-hmm. But you love it. Oh my gosh. I freaking love it. Is it okay to say freaking love it? It's, yeah. You say whatever you want, baby. It is the best thing in my life. Well, besides you and Mar my marriage and this podcast and our children. And our children, it's the best thing in my life. I love doing this. It's so much fun. I, I, My getting. You know, I jump outta bed at five o'clock in the morning, get ready to go somewhere, and I'm excited to go, so I love it. That's very cool, baby. Very cool. You handle all the backend stuff. Mm-hmm. Your work isn't nearly as fun. Am I correct in that saying that you're zero fun In the work that I do for your assemblies? All I do is the backend stuff. I don't get the fame and the glory and the applause from the children or the teachers like you do. I have an idea, Tam. I was inspired by another podcast. What I love to do is give one of our listeners a gift, if it's okay with you. Mm-hmm. You're looking at, like, you have no, you have no idea. We haven't talked about this at all. None. So you have those principles, the date night questions mm-hmm. Which are pretty awesome. And you, I don't know why, but I'm surprised you sell a lot of them. I, I don't know why that sounds terrible, right? Uh, I'm surprised. Please, babe. No, I, I don't mean that in a bad way, but I'm always like, dang, I can't believe I'm yourself. They're really inexpensive. They're really, you know, they're. AB buy and, and do you know what they are? Did you sound like you don't even know what you're saying? Well, I know we used them and I know I love using them. I, so what they are are, okay, I have four principles. Each one has 20 date night questions, different date night questions on each printable. So I sell them as, uh, like a bundle, just a really inexpensive, fun bundle. And you print one off and take it with you to your next date night. And then you've got conversation. On your next date night because we believe that you keep the conversation focused on you and not about the kids and the work and all the hard stuff, right? So date night questions are, are fun thing to take with you, and they're really cool. And I don't mean to diminish, like, I can't believe how many you sell, but I, I'm really shocked. I think it's a highly searched thing. People looking for fun things to do on date night, people looking for fun date night. And you made 'em really cheap too. And I, and we have a blast when we do them as well. Oh, I, I love 'em. Yeah. I absolutely love 'em. I think we pull 'em out about every few months. Mm-hmm. Or, or you're working on new ones. And so we always, you always test'em on us anyway, so I love 'em. Well, all that to say, can we give away like a couple of those Sure. To some fans that leave us, maybe reviews. Absolutely. So why don't you do this, leave us a. And then send us an email saying, Hey, I left a review. Uh, my name is Deborah L, you know, whatever your handle is. So what we'll do this month, we'll actually pick out two people who left us reviews and we'll send you the most recent principal. Is that cool? Yeah, sure. That'd be fun. I'm happy to share those. And you can email us at married, m a r r i e D, the letter n naked, n a k E d gmail. Cool. So we'll randomly select out two of you that sent us this email letting us know you left a review. You have to let us know. You left it though. Yes. Yeah. Email us and let us know. That would be great. Cool. And all right. I love it. I'm glad you didn't put up a wall to that. No. Why would I put up a wall to give them things away? That's awesome. That would be super fun. I was gonna say I should, I should give the credit to where I saw that from the podcast that I saw from, although as I'm talking and searching at the same time, boom, I found it. Pillow Talk podcast. So I wanna give credit to them. Cause I did hear that they do that to all their listeners and I was like, dang, that is really great idea. And I shared it with you, but I didn't tell you I was gonna be doing it today. No, it's great. I love it. Cool. Awesome. Thank you. So what do we got going on today? Cuz honestly, I have no idea what we're about to talk about. Okay. Well, today we are going to be taking inspiration from one of my favorite people to learn from and that is Brene Brown. And we are going to be using one of the tips that she has shared that has made a positive impact in our marriage. And back in the day I was reading. One of her books called Rising Strong. It was one of my favorite books I've ever read. She made quite an impact on me, and I remember one day I came home and told you about a story that I had read in her book, and she shared a story about how her and her husband loved to swim and they were out at one of their favorite lakes and she had on her bathing suit, and they go off on this early morning swim before anybody. Wakes up. They're both very good swimmers, so they really enjoy swimming. They're, they take good morning swim in the lake. They both head off together and they swim to, maybe it was an island or kind of a buoy, and then they're gonna turn around and go back. Well, when they both got to the island, she's feeling very grateful for this moment and just really loving it. And she tells her husband, You know, I just feel so close to you right now. I'm just so grateful and happy that we get to, we get to do this together. And he's like, yeah, it's great. And then he takes off going the other way and she feels like. Slighted by it. Like, wait a minute, what? What just happened? Here I am feeling so grateful and amazing, and I get that response from him. So she's swimming back a long swim and she's telling herself, you know, all these things that she thinks that must have meant, and she's feeling really hurt by his response. They get back home and she says these words that they use in their marriage and that created a really good habit for us. She. The story I'm making up is that you think I look terrible in this bathing suit, or you're not happy to be here with me? And he says, no, that's not it at all. I was actually having a panic attack in that moment, and I just had to get back as fast as I could. Wow. That story made an impact on me because it makes you realize and recognize how many stories we tell ourselves about our partners about. They think about us, about what people in our circles think about us, about what strangers think about us. We make up these. Sometimes very elaborate and grand stories, and Brene Brown says that our brain is wired to protect us above all else, and it wants a story. She says it's the same idea as the reasoning that sees us rationalize an unexpected situation or defend a negative behavior that somebody had done that we love. She says, our brains, they want a very clear cut story where there's a good guy and a bad. That's the default that our brain goes to. So if we step back a little bit from maybe relationship, we think about some of these stories that we might be telling ourselves, and some of the examples might be a story I'm telling myself is my relationships don't work because I'm unlovable or I'm not creative. I've always been unlucky. The universe is against me. I'm a fraud. I'm ugly, I'm a bad. And these stories run through our brains and dictate so many of our actions and create assumptions that we put onto the people around us, even strangers. Not just the people we love, but just random strangers. But I think one of the most important lessons that I've learned is that just because you think it doesn't mean it's. And I've really learned that our brains can be liars and they can be crafty at making up stories that serve in protecting us, but often hurting us through falsehood. And that story that she shared with that and how she and her husband have learned to use just those few words. The story I'm making up is, I thought was so powerful and it was such a good example of how we do that day in and day out over and over and over again. And I shared that with you because I thought that might be really helpful for us. To try to catch ourselves in maybe disagreements and arguments and try implementing those words. The story I'm making up, I don't exactly remember the time period that you shared that with me, but I do know that it's been in our communication with each other since you did share that with me. Mm-hmm. And it really is impactful. In fact, did you get, did you have inspiration? Our tiff yesterday. Is that where this, and you know, doing this podcast today actually came from? No, this has been prepared for days. However, in our tiff yesterday, I thought, okay, I need to say the story I'm making up is, and I can't even remember what the TIFF was or I would say what it was, but I can't remember at the moment. But no, it was the other way around. Can I remind you? Sure. I had just gotten back from an assembly and you. Going out and I was coming in. Mm-hmm. And you were like, um, yeah, I'm gonna go to the go get. Uh, I had my purse on my shoulder and keys in my hand, and, and you're like, I'm gonna go to the grocery store and then I'm gonna go do a couple other things. And I'm like, oh, okay. Let me come with you. And then I went upstairs, and then you're like, ah, it's okay. I'm just gonna go. And you're yelling at me from down the stairs and I'm all, okay, well I'm almost ready. And I'm yelling back. And then I said, okay, it's all right. You can go. And then you left. And then I was just like, Wait a minute, does she not want to be with me? And that's what I'm telling myself. It a little bit more context is you just gotten back from a three day trip. Mm-hmm. So I hadn't seen you in three days. You were hanging out with your friends and had a great time. And so this was like my first time really seeing you and I was excited to be with you. And what I was telling myself was that you just didn't want to be with me. Had enough, and you were out the door. So when you got back, and then of course I said, do you not want to be with me? And kind of went at it like that. And I was super irritated by you saying that. I was like, I don't even know what you're talking about. I haven't even really seen you. Why are you doing that? And we kind of went. Separate ways you went to the gym and I stayed to work irritated with each other By, by that, right? Yes. So I sat out in my car. I was literally just trying to think like, what did I just do? What in the world just happened? And I'm sitting there for like 20 minutes, kind of rewinding the tape going. Wait a minute. I think I may have just made a mistake and so I sent you a text. Are you have the text pulled off? You just said, I want you to know how much I love and adore you, which is a great way to start a text. I'll tell you that you just said, I did not mean to offend you today or make you defensive. I didn't realize it, but I guess I was just seeking a little compassion, which is on me and not your fault. So I'm very sorry for that as well. I love you very much. It was a great way to disarm any. Any frustration I might have had. And so, you know, I thought about, I had been thinking about it too while you were gone, and I was thinking what was going on with me? Like, what was I telling myself? And I realized that when you say, well, don't you love me or Don't you wanna be with me? Or I start feeling like I'm doing something wrong and that I'm not enough for you, when all really happened. I was trying to be nice to you and not make you come with me like I had errands tr I was trying to make you not you just got home. I was like, it's okay. I can totally handle it. So we both went on these opposite direction. You feeling unloved and me feeling like I'm not enough. Just cuz you read my text. I feel like I have to read your text cuz you responded to me shortly after I sent that saying thank you so much for your words. I appreciate them very much. I think you triggered me feeling like I wasn't enough. Sorry, I got defensive. We can talk when you get back. Right. Love you too. Right. It was so sweet. I mean literally. And that's when, so I'm. Of course now I'm sitting here in front of the mic going, oh, wow. Is, is that the inspiration for this podcast? Right? Because when you did walk in the door, I did say, the story I'm making up is that, yeah, you did. I'm not enough for you. When you say things like that, to me, it starts to make me feel defensive and feeling like I need to protect myself from not feeling. You know, it's interesting because we, we each have these trigger points in our, in our relationship. There's a trigger, there's some sort of trigger where it puts you in a direction you don't want to be, or you don't want to go, or you don't even think know that you're going in because you and I didn't know we were going in those directions until, yeah, I think, I don't know, over the last couple years, maybe it was last year, I don't know, somewhere along the. I don't know if I should be taking credit for this, cuz I'm not positive on how you definitely deserve the credit up. Please take any credit you want to take, please. I feel like I had this kind of epiphany that most of our arguments between you and I come if we peel it all back and we just keep peeling and keep peeling and keep going down to what is the true story behind those arguments. Typically it comes down to the same thing every. At the very base of it, it is you feeling or scared of feeling unloved or unwanted. And for me, it's me feeling like I'm not enough or I'm not good enough. And I feel like when we are able to. Acknowledge that and really analyze our arguments. That's usually what it comes down to. And we're just kind of getting into this and really recognizing. But I do see it time and time and time and time again. So I appreciated that you were able to kind of peel it back and get below the surface. Cuz it wasn't about going to the grocery store, it was about how it made you feel unloved. Yeah. And it wasn't about me not wanting you with me, it was. Me trying to protect you from having to come and me feeling defensive that I wasn't good enough for you. So I think it's been really helpful in us being able to analyze our arguments that way and being able to say, Hey, this is what I'm saying. To myself. Is it true? You know, and I want to give yourself a little bit more credit than you just did. You didn't just come up with this epiphany. You were doing a lot of work and yeah, research and deep work on yourself, and a lot of studying in terms of. Human relationship. The human psychology to help me understand, well, this feeling that I have is from my past way, from this feeling you have stems way back from your past. Yeah. Early on where you weren't, didn't feel like you were enough around your family. In our early on in our relationship. And so it just wanna give you a little bit more credit than you're actually giving. So yeah. I know maybe you pulled it all together, but you were doing a deep dive on why that is and how that is and, and what was showing up every time we were having these, these. Arguments that sometimes would last for days. Yeah. And now, I mean lasted what, an hour and a half maybe tops. Yeah. When we both had that, oh, wait a minute. What's really happening here? Yeah. I think that that's a really powerful thing. Often in arguments, just people in general kind of work more at a surface level and are arguing about, like we shared before, about like the dishwasher or about the cups around the house or about. Whatever it is that is very surface when what's usually happening is something much, much deeper that's being triggered. If you can connect to that and understand that and speak from that place, when I understand that about you, when I get that about you, it really gives me a lot more compassion for you and I can speak from a different place than I could. You just being mad at me for going to the grocery store without you? Well, that doesn't make me feel any kind of compassion necessarily. However, when you might say, Hey, it was kind of triggering that feeling of feeling unloved, I'd be like, oh, well I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to do that. Yeah. At all. So I just think it's a really powerful way to kind of analyze arguments, analyze what some of those triggers are for you, and utilizing the words the. I made up can be really powerful for that. So a few reasons why this can be helpful in recognizing these stories we tell ourselves. Saying the story I'm making up really allows us to own our own stories without pointing fingers, without being accusational, it's so much better received. You're kind of owning that own story rather than point. A finger. It keeps the focus on you and your own feelings. And I read this from a blog when I was researching this called Cup of Joe, and she said, it's amazing how much easier it is to share your anxieties when they're couched as stories with this one little turn of phrase, our brains not our partners are the enemy. So no one has to feel the blame. And I felt like that was such a good way to say it. That really was. Wow. I like the way that sounds. Yeah. Another reason why this is really helpful is saying the story I'm making up allows you to really dig deep into your own feelings and triggers and really get to know yourself and your partner at a deeper level. The deeper you can go, the more you can understand yourself and your partner. It just makes such a. Difference in your relationship and how you can communicate with each other, the compassion you can find for each other. It's been really powerful for us, for sure. I could not agree more with that. And this is just one example. I mean, I feel like there's weekly and monthly examples of that popping up. Sometimes Daily. Sometimes daily. Yeah. You don't even necessarily realize you're saying that. So part of our practice is getting better and better and better at recognizing when those things are being triggered. And you did a really good job. This time. Well, I, I appreciate, I'm, I'm, I feel a little ashamed that I even did that, but it goes to show you we're human right. We're human. It doesn't matter. Absolutely. Who we are, what we are doing, us doing a podcast about Mary being, you know, forthcoming in our relationship, you still have those triggers that are so deep down on you that you don't even know. I didn't even know what was happening. Yeah, un until I'm driving to the gym going, what's going on? And then I take a deep breath, what the heck just happened? Well, Very powerful that you took the deep breath and asked the question. The other reason why this can be really helpful is it allows for clarity from the person. So I've used it with you recognizing that I'm telling myself something because I want you to be able to say, is that true or not true? Yeah. So if I say to you last night when you came home, and I say the story I'm telling myself is that I'm not. Then you had the opportunity. You said it has nothing. I don't remember what you said. What I said is I actually just wanted to be with you. I just wanted to go with you because I haven't seen you. So yeah, it was like the opposite of what you were saying to yourself. Right. And then I was saying, oh, you don't want to be with me. That's the story I was telling myself. The truth was, You felt bad cuz I had to get up at five o'clock in the morning, go do a show, come back, and now I was offering you go to the store with you and you're like, oh honey, you don't, you don't have to do that. I was just trying to be nice. Yeah. It had nothing to do with me. Not wanting to be with you. Yeah. Yeah. But I think it is important because it allows you to get clarity on what you're telling yourself so that you have the opportunity, your partner has the opportunity to say whether or not that's true. If you just let those stories. In your brain, they can take you down a really deep, dark path. If you just continued to be ticked at me because you felt like I didn't wanna be with you, that could have just gone in a really long, deep, dark argument. Yeah, I think that clarity can be really, really valuable. And the other thing is it creates a sense of empathy for your partner. It allows them to see you and understand why certain things might be a trigger, just like I was. You telling me that makes you feel unloved or it kind of triggered that feeling of being unloved or that fear? Well, I can speak then to that in a totally different way and feel a tremendous amount of compassion and empathy for you. I want to just quickly talk about how we can implement this in our relationships so that you can begin. Utilize this. The story I'm making up is phrase in your own relationship and see the power that it can have for you as well. So here are some ways to go about implementing this. Number one. Take a deep breath and put down your defenses, just like you did on the car ride to the gym. I, I did it when I got to the gym, to the car ride. I was still, you're like huffing and puffing. Huffing, yeah. Death grip on the steering wheel. And when I got there, I'm like, what in the world am I doing? What is going on? You took that deep breath and you, you just laid the defenses down. So that's really step one. Step two is then doing what you did and step two, and that was ask yourself, what is this that you're. Telling yourself, and you may have not used the phrase, but that was essentially what you were doing. Yeah. Deep down below the surface, you might think, for example, the story I'm telling myself is that they're jerk cuz they're always late, but go further. Why does that really bother you? What does it make you feel? It might be, the story I'm telling myself is that I'm not important to. When they're late because they're late. So get below the surface. Don't stop at the first layer. Stop 3, 4, 5 layers below and just kind of keep going till you get to that really core story. Then once you have that core story, take a breath of kindness and courage and tell your partner the story I'm making up is, and then finish it with whatever that worry or fear is. Cuz that's really what it comes down to is typically some kind of fear that lies. That surface. And then once you say that, then just kind of sit back, don't say anything. Let them respond and, and hopefully it opens kind of a give and take dialogue to be able to discuss what that story is that you're telling yourself. So tho that's how you would go about implementing that. And it's been not so seamless for us and it's not really a habit yet, but I think it's getting better. It takes a lot of work to. Catch it and to really understand it and then to say it. And sometimes I feel silly saying it. When you came home last night, I was like kind of giggling about it and I was like, okay, the story I'm making up is, and we were kind of giggling about it, but it is extremely powerful and I imagine the more and more and more we say it, the easier and easier it gets. And. More importantly to push past that awkwardness because we truly have seen that it makes a, a large impact in our ability to resolve conflict. You know, I will add this, that I feel like every single time you say those, that phrase, the story I'm telling myself is it never has once match. What you were telling yourself. A hundred percent. It's never once matched it. Now again, I, I don't use that same phrase or I haven't used, but I'll say, this is what I feel like is happening or this is what I think you are saying. And the exact same thing for me. It's never once matched what's going on in our head a hundred percent. And that's a really good point. And imagine that's how we most of us are going through our lies and our relationships is all these stories were. Really recognizing, we don't really know what's deep below, we're not sharing 'em, and it's just perpetuating conflict after conflict and can go completely unresolved and really wreck, uh, relationships. So it takes a lot of vulnerability and courage and willing to kind of deep do that deep dive on yourself in order to get there. But you're right, it usually is not at all what I'm telling myself. I would. Ever. Yeah, I'm maybe ever. Yeah, you're probably right. Probably ever. So, so take that note and think about that in your own conflicts, your own relationships. Take the time to kind of dig in and get to know yourself and what those deep, dark, true fears and worries are that are being triggered. And use the phrase, the story I'm making up, or the story I'm telling myself. Try that from now on in your arguments and kind of see how. Helps you begin to resolve some conflicts and helps you begin to have some empathy and compassion for each other. I love this one. I know it's not as sexy or as fun as some of our past ones, but my goodness, the biggest impact I see it's made on our relationship is the length of time we go where we're actually mad or angry or upset with each other, right? Because you can't feel. Angry or upset when the person is being extremely vulnerable. And just like the cup of Joe was saying, like suddenly the brain becomes the, the enemy, not your partner. Yeah, you're right. Yeah. I love it. It's a powerful tool. It is, it is. Thank you so much for, I'm, I'm so glad we got to talk about those one today. I am too. And I hope you utilize it and tell us how it works for you. Don't forget to share the review and send over your, uh, handle to us via. And we'll look forward to talking to you next time on The Married and Naked Podcast. Bye everybody.