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July 27th | COMING BACK TOGETHER WITH COUPLESHIP AND COMMUNICATION COACHING
If you’re thinking about divorce, maybe there are some alternatives to explore before calling it quits. Are you part of why the relationship isn’t working? If so, how can you shift into a different behavior? Terry and Darlene Ward know from personal experience that a relationship gone sour has a good chance of turning around. They’ve had a 29-year rollercoaster ride of a marriage, splitting up and coming back together several times. They didn’t give up and finally figured out how to make it stick. The “coupleship” coaching gurus conduct relationship and couples coaching and facilitation workshops and weekly programs to help identify what’s blocking you in your relationship – whether you’re married or single. The secret for making things work say Terry and Darlene: communication and taking responsibility for improving the relationship. The number one reason a man leaves a relationship? Terry says it’s feeling like a failure. The number one reason a woman leaves? Darlene says it’s because she wants a connection but doesn’t feel safe to have that connection with her partner. Listen in while the Wards discuss with Rick how to go about shifting into a different productive pattern, how to speak “microscopic truths,” and what goes on in their sessions.
Rick: Good morning everybody and welcome to my show. You’re at KPRC 950 and this is Divorce Talk Radio. As usual, I’m in here and we’re taking calls this morning if you want to call us and if you have a question about a divorce or really just a relationship issue that you might be going through yourself. You can give us a shout here at 731-212-5950.
We’ve got a really exciting show today. I have a couple that are on the show with me this morning, Terry and Darlene Ward [0:00:57] [Phonetic]. I’ve known these two for probably close to 12 years now. I’ve participated in some of their workshops. They specialize although it’s not the main thing they do, they specialize in relationship and coupleship coaching and facilitation.
And so, I guess what you could say that means is and they’re going to explain a little bit better, if you’re having an issue in your coupleship whether you’re in just a relationship or whether you’re married, it’s hard to really figure out the tools that really can cut through it all and that really work.
And so, Terry and Darlene, 29 years of marriage, 12 years of a lot of a struggle and difficulty that they’re going to share and talk about, they’ve kind of figured it out I think what they might call the secret sauce of how to really make things work. And maybe also if you know that things really shouldn’t head for it anymore, maybe they can give you some signs as to when it’s appropriate to sort of cut the string and move on.
So, let me just welcome you both, Terry and Darlene. Really want to appreciate for you all getting up this morning and coming on to the show.
Terry: Thank you.
Darlene: Thank you so much for having us, Rick.
Rick: Give our listeners just a little bit of background about your relationship and how you got into coaching and developing better relationships for couples. Any one of you, just jump in. Don’t be shy.
Darlene: Pointing the fingers in each other.
Rick: I’ve never known either one of you to be shy.
Darlene: Well Rick, I will tell you that we both came in to our relationship loving each other very, very much, always having hope. But I don’t think we had the tools in which to figure out how to move forward in a way that we felt as connected as we wanted to. We had both between the two of us three divorces filed and I think about five different separations and we just kept coming back, coming back. So we still had hope that we didn’t want to give up.
Rick: Also, what kept bringing you back to one another? Because that’s three divorce files, five separation, I mean that would be enough for most people. But what was it that kept you guys coming back?
Terry: And that was in the first 12 years of our marriage, five separations, three divorces filed. So what kept coming – why I kept coming back to her was because I loved her. Also, having children played a part. But for me, I really truly loved her but I really didn’t totally understand what love means, what it is other than this feeling and it was much more than I thought and I learned that over the years of what is love.
Rick: Now, I don’t mean to throw you into the truck, Terry, you’re about my age. So we’re both in our mid to later 50s. I hate to say we’re almost 60. And you might actually already be 60. But when you got married, you’re obviously a man in your 20s. So, tell me what you were – what were you like back then?
And Darlene, what were you like as a younger woman and how have you sort of evolved through the years? Because obviously, if you have the tools that we have at our age now when we’re in our 20s, you probably can get back together having split apart as many times. But there was something going on. You had some little tool that I think hopefully you’ve been able to identify it that maybe you can share with our listeners.
Darlene: Well, I would say the tool that we didn’t have during that first 12 years is the ability to take a look at ourselves or the ability for me to take a look at myself and see how I kept showing up in the relationship, how behaviors that I was having I kept having wanting different results.
And so, I think I finally had to realize that I needed to start taking responsibility for what I was doing, how I was behaving and how I was showing up in my relationship. It was hard because I found it much easier to be the victim, to point the finger and always realized that when I had that one finger pointing at Terry, I still had three fingers pointing back at me. And I was very unwilling to take a look at myself. I played the victim role quite well.
Terry: Yes. And so, it’s all about taking a hundred percent responsibility for my behavior and how I’m showing up. Now, I didn’t have a clue what that meant because I thought I was.
Earlier, Rick, you asked me what was I like when I first got married. Well, I was kind of like my way or the highway. I was controlling. And when I learned over the years through the pain of our separations of why I behaved the way I did is when I got to wake up in life.
And I want to also add, Darlene filed the last divorce. And I’ll never forget this. So I went back to the house and said I want to come back. It was I think our fifth separation, yeah. And she said, “You’re not coming back and I filed for divorce and I’m getting a divorce.”
And how I knew she was done with me was she went going, “If you wouldn’t have done that or if you hadn’t done this.” It was – she was crying when she told me and wanted to embrace me, which was strange telling me I’m getting divorce.
Terry: Yeah. So that’s when I knew she was done and that’s when my life started. Quite frankly, her filing for a divorce was the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.
Rick: I’m Rick Goldberg and we’re talking about divorce and we’re talking about – we’re going to be getting to talking about. If you’re thinking about divorce, maybe there are some alternatives that you can explore. You could download this and any of our podcast at KPRCRadio.com. And let’s bring it back to Terry and Darlene.
Let me ask you all, what would you say to someone who is considering going through a divorce right now?
Darlene: Well Rick, I think the first thing I would say is become empowered, look at yourself and ask yourself the question, “What part am I playing in this relationship not working and how can I shift into a different behavior?” Because if I continue showing up the same old way and you know what those patterns are, I think everybody if they’re willing to take a look, know what those patterns are that they keep reacting and responding to their mate or partner in a way that is not productive, that kept getting that same old outcome.
So it is important to take a look at yourself and know that you are committed to that behavior because you keep doing it. You’re not committed to the relationship.
Rick: What were some of your patterns, Darlene, that as you sort of go back and reflect on that you can identify for our listeners?
Darlene: Well, I was very much the victim of poor me. If he was somewhat controlling, I would come across as, “Well, I guess I’m just disappointing you or maybe you just don’t want me to be my own person,” that kind of thing. And that was not so unproductive. It’s very unproductive.
Terry: And I’d like to add this to it. So, somebody taught us how to love, somebody taught us how to do anger, somebody taught us how to be in relationship and it’s usually our primary caretakers, our parents. And what we see is how we grow up and move into adulthood, we bring that along with us as though that’s the way it is because in our life, it’s our truth. That’s what we always saw. Nobody modeled a different way of doing it.
Rick: Well, we’re going to have to stop right here. We’re going to go to a break. When we come back, we’re going to continue our discussion with Terry and Darlene Ward and we’re going to hear from them really some of the big reasons why people really are divorcing. So stick around after this break, and we’ll be right back on Divorce Talk Radio.
Rick: Thanks for listening this morning. This is Rick Goldberg and we’re on KPRC 950 and you’re listening to Divorce Talk Radio. If you heard our first little section here of the morning, you’re listening to Terry and Darlene Ward, two really dear friends of mine who specialize in helping couples get through some of the really challenging waters of relationships.
And before we left, we were talking about taking responsibility. Terry, what you had said was that as you were going through the [0:14:20] [Indiscernible] storm so to speak of these divorces and separations, you started learning as a young man in his 20s how to start taking responsibility.
So, I had a text message over the break from one of our listeners that said, “How do you actually take responsibility?” So can you answer that question for everybody?
Terry: Yes. And so, Darlene, jumped in as I tell the story. So yeah, so communication, we all hear how important communication is in a relationship but what does that really mean? So what we’ve learned by working with couples and from our own history is we tell each other what we don’t want versus what we want. So what that might look like is a couple agree to have dinner at 6:30 every evening and the kids would be there and the husband would get there by 6:300 and they’d sit down and eat as a family.
And so, when he wasn’t showing up, when he wouldn’t show up, she would tell him, “You’re never here. We made this commitment and you never keep your word,” on and on. And so, that’s what she doesn’t want.
So, how she took responsibility is she sat down and said, “So, I really would like us to eat together and I get some time, you can’t get here at 6:30. So what I’m going to do is at 6:30, the kids and I are going to sit down. We’re going to eat. And if you’re not here, I’m going to make you a plate, wrap it up, put it in the refrigerator and when you get home, you can get it out and put it to microwave and eat.” Well, that fixed the problem.
Darlene: And I think the other side of that for him was it was equally as important for him to be able to sit down with his family and he expressed that and actually got upset with her a few times because it’s like, “Wait a minute. Why weren’t you all waiting for me? Why didn’t you sit down with me and have dinner?” Even though it was 7:00 o’clock when he showed up and he had gone back on the agreement.
And she felt quite angry about it, nagged and complained. And finally, she took responsibility. And here’s where the responsibility comes in because she was angry about it by saying, “OK. Well, we’re going to go ahead and have our dinner at 6:30 and if you choose not to be here, that’s fine. I’m putting it in the microwave for you when you get home.” And she felt better about that. She didn’t feel like her time was wasted with making this beautiful meal and he wasn’t there and it was part of her resentment.
Rick: Now, my hunch is that she didn’t just miraculously wake up one day and say to herself, “My gosh! I now know how to take responsibility.” Is this a woman or a couple that you all worked with and did you help her sort of gain this insight? How did she all of a sudden get – could she solve the great mystery?
Terry: Yeah. You have to look at yourself. You have to – yes, I still sometime will slip and not take personal responsibility.
Rick: But how did she learn how to do it? Is that one of the people you all worked with?
Darlene: I think she got tired of having the same old results, of being resentful. And she had to figure out, “What is it I can do here? I have to accept that maybe this is more important to me than it is to him.” And so, I think she came to the conclusion that, “I don’t feel good about nagging and complaining. So, what can I do here? And I can still have dinner with my kids at 6:30 and I can wrap this up for you and you have it when you show up.” And still reminding him, “It’s still very important to me that you show up on time.” And actually, you know what? He did when she quit nagging. So that’s how she took responsibility.
Terry: And when you take personal responsibility like that, it’s so empowering that you let go of the resentment and the anger.
Rick: If you’re just tuning in, I’m Rick Goldberg. And we’re talking about all things divorce here with Terry and Darlene Ward. You can download our app or you can go on to the KPRCRadio.com website. And if you’re interested in more of what Terry and Darlene do in the couple’s weekends and workshops that they put on, you could to go to TerryAndDarlene.com [0:18:30] [Phonetic].
Let me ask you all, how important is communication in a relationship?
Terry: Well, and you can jump in here, Darlene. So for me, it’s everything. It’s 80% of the relationship. So we did some homework back several years ago that the 5 main reasons why people get a divorce; in-laws, domestic chores …
Rick: Is that the top of the list? In-laws?
Terry: No, it’s in the top 5.
Terry: Money might have been at the top. One may have been responsible with money and the other one wasn’t. And then careers, how to balance that, differences in raising their children, and interestingly enough, sex had nothing to do with it because that usually becomes a symptom of the others.
Rick: So let me just recap; in-laws, domestic chores, money issues, career issues, and children and differences in raising the children.
Terry: Which, religion can come into that part.
Rick: OK. OK. So how does that fit under your umbrella of communication?
Terry: And so, what I’ve learned from Darlene and I and working with couples is if we can figure a way to sit down and openly speak or as Hendricks’ says, “microscopic truth” about where we are and what we feel and share it. And then accept each other’s differences. And this is what couples have to do just like any other thing, negotiate a win-win middle to where they’re both happy, not carrying resentment and anger and don’t make a deal that you’re not happy with.
Darlene: Well, and I think what happens sometimes with communication where it breaks down is when you, my husband, are expressing your feelings and you’re saying something about me that you don’t like. I can maybe – or something that you’re not happy with, I can go to a place of really taking this personally and saying that this is just an attack on my character or I can truly try and listen to understand as to what it is you really want. And that would be the question I would say, “So tell me, what is it that you want, Terry?”
Rick: Give us some examples of what some microscopic truths have been that you’ve heard that have really surprised you.
Darlene: Well, I think the first part of microscopic truth would be to get in touch with what it is you’re feeling and be willing to express that to your partner. I’m feeling angry. I’m feeling sad. I’m feeling resentful.
Rick: And how often do you see that in relationships where couples actually have the ability to look at one another and say, “Hey honey, I’m just really sad.” Does it happen more times than not or less times than not.
Darlene: I would say oftentimes it’s less time than not. And some of it is because I’ve had people say, “I don’t feel safe telling you what I feel because first of all, if I tell you what I feel, you might try and fix me and/or think you can fix me or think you know better or maybe even not accept that I feel sad.”
Rick: Or they might want to leave you.
Darlene: Or they might want to leave you.
Terry: Or use it against me later because I got vulnerable. Even you had said you – that’s what blah, blah, blah. Yeah, that’s what couples do.
Rick: So if you’re going to share your microscopic truth, you have to be willing to risk what in your opinion?
Darlene: Being vulnerable. Risk being vulnerable.
Terry: And a couple has to create a safe space to do that. And in my opinion, they need some facilitation to learn those tools to do it.
Rick: What do you mean a safe space?
Terry: Where I can get real vulnerable and tell her that I’m scared to death about something, that I’m scared to death about money or something and she’s not going to go into, “Oh my God! Are we going broke?”
Darlene: Here’s another way. Go ahead.
Rick: Well, I appreciate that. And we’ll come back to that a second. You’re listening to Divorce Talk Radio. We’re going to take another break. We’re halfway through the show. And when we come back, we’re going to take a look at the number one reason that women leave a relationship. So stay right with us.
Rick: Nothing like a little bit of tenderness on a Sunday morning. Welcome back everyone. You’re listening to Divorce Talk Radio with Rick Goldberg right here on KPRC 950. With me this morning is Terry and Darlene Ward, two gurus in the art of coupleship and communication. If you have a question for me or Terry and Darlene, you could call us on our number at 713-212-5950.
Where we left off, Terry and Darlene, is I let the viewers know we’re going to talk about the number one reason why I either said a man or woman, I can’t remember, but you all tell me both, what’s the number one reason why someone leaves a relationship?
Terry: Well, so I believe a man leaves a relationship because the woman wants to be connected. She calls it intimacy. For most men, intimacy is around sex. It’s about number 10 or 12 on a woman’s list of intimacy. She wants to be connected. She wants to be heard without being fixed.
And so what it is in her desire to have that, she gripes and sends him messages that you’re not good, you’re not a good husband. And then he starts telling himself story, “I’m a bad dad. I’m a bad husband.”
Rick: OK. So, Terry, cut me right to the chase. Number one reason a man leaves a relationship.
Terry: He feels like a failure.
Rick: OK. Darlene, number one reason a woman leaves a relationship.
Darlene: I would say she wants a connection and doesn’t feel safe to have that connection with her partner.
Rick: OK. We’ve got a caller who has called in her from Houston. I’ve got Johnny on line 2. Johnny, are you there?
Johnny: Yes, sir, Rick. How are you?
Rick: Hey, I’m great. Thanks for listening to the show.
Johnny: Thank you. I’ve listened every time I get the chance and I like what you’re doing.
Rick: All right. Awesome. So do you have a question for Terry or Darlene this morning?
Johnny: Well, I was listening to the last segment and it sounded like you guys were describing me pretty well. I’ve been married for about four years, going on five. I’ve got an 18-month-old and I feel like I am one to have some hard time with communication and opening up and being vulnerable. And I was curious to know if there was anything that I could do to change that and to open up a little bit more and be open to communication more.
Rick: Well, before I turn this question over to Terry or Darlene, I first just want to acknowledge you for taking the first step and that is taking responsibility for a shortcoming or a desire that you got inside of you and how you want to improve. So which one of you all want to work with Johnny on his issue? Jump right in.
Darlene: Well, I’ll speak to that, Rick. I think I would say, Johnny, that here’s an important time to ask her what you want. I think a woman loves it when her man comes to her and says, “Honey, I just want you to listen to me. I want to be vulnerable and express my feelings to you. I really don’t need anything from you. I don’t need you to fix me. I just need you to hear me. Could you do that for me?”
When a woman hears that, oh my goodness! She is just all over that. She wants to be there for her man. So it is important to ask her what you want. So that’s what I would say first, Johnny.
And then I want to address the fact that sometimes we don’t feel safe expressing our feelings. And we talked earlier about creating a safe place. I think it’s more about being a safe person for our partner. So I always like to bring up the three Cs. If I’m listening to my partner and I hear him not to listen to understand that I hear him and I am critical, I want to coheres or convince him or her to feel differently, then I am truly not a safe person for my partner to be vulnerable. So that’s a real key.
Terry: So Johnny, I have a question for you.
Terry: What’s your deepest fear to be vulnerable?
Johnny: You know, that’s a great question. I would say that my deepest fear in opening up and being vulnerable would be that possibly, I have the appearance that I don’t really have it all together or that I don’t have all the answers and I don’t really like feeling that way and I wouldn’t want my wife to feel like she is married to someone who doesn’t really have all the answers and doesn’t know what we’re doing here. I don’t know. I just – I kind of – I feel like I always have to have the appearance that I know what’s going on. I know what’s best and here’s the way we’re going to do it.
Terry: And what do you think would happen if you took that mask off, that appearance mask and got vulnerable to this woman you’ve been married to, what did you say, four years, five years?
Johnny: Four years.
Terry: Yeah. What do you think knowing her if you did that, took the mask off and got vulnerable, what do you think the response of her would be when you started talking from your heart?
Johnny: Honestly, I do know that I know that she would appreciate it. But again, it’s just kind of a confidence thing for me I guess. I know deep down and I know at the end of the day she would appreciate it.
Terry: Yeah. And that’s what intimacy is to a woman. That right there is opening up, taking the mask off, that’s what women want their men to do. And it’s risky and I’m going to just ask you to take that risk and see what might happen different in your relationship.
Rick: I tell you. I got goose bumps Johnny, listening to your share and even deeper, Terry, when you gave that feedback. I know how a lot of men are and I know how I am. Can you – is there a formula that you can give Johnny or even some of the men listeners out there what’s like the step because this is how we need it as men, what’s the step-by-step little process of how I can take that mask off, share my feelings, and get vulnerable?
Darlene: Well, I would say the first thing to do is to take a look into the eyes of your wife and say, “You know what? I’m scared right now. I’m scared and I will not – I’m scared about sharing with you what’s going on for me. I’m scared you’ll think less of me. And I just need you. I need your support. Would you be willing to hear me?” And that is being vulnerable and it’s the definition of intimacy is to me, into me see. And it’s saying to your wife, “I really want you to see into but I’m scared.”
And so that’s what I talked about earlier with how important it is to start off by sharing what you’re feeling.
Rick: And speaking about feelings, Terry, can you just share what are – there are so many feeling words out there. Have you condensed it down to just sort of short list so that a typical guy can just sort of grab on to something and say, “Hey, I feel this way or that way?”
Terry: Yes. We work with four of them, fear, sad, happy, anger. And we can put anger or mad. And here’s the thing for men, Johnny, is from the minute we’re little boys, we get a message from our caretakers and society that we aren’t supposed to fear. So the first is you fall down and you cry. You’re three years old. Get up. Shake it off. Only girls cry.
Then the second is when you show anger, the “go to your room until you change that attitude”. And so we are – men are suppressed in feelings and I want you to just hear it. We have deep feelings as men and it’s awesome to share it.
Rick: So, I might have put them in a different list and I think I’ve developed rhyme for it, so mad, sad, glad, I was able to rhyme three of them, and fear. Have I got it?
Darlene: That’s it.
Rick: So is it as simple as just going to your mate and saying, “Hey honey, I’m feeling sad.”
Rick: And just take a breath and then just share whatever is up, right?
Terry: It’s that simple.
Rick: That simple. Hey Johnny, did you get something out of this morning? I really appreciate the call.
Johnny: I did. I appreciate your help and I again, I enjoyed listening to the show. Thanks a bunch.
Rick: Make me a deal. Go practice that tonight and then you send us an email and let us know how it went.
Rick: All right. Thanks buddy. I really appreciate it.
Johnny: Thank you.
Rick: You’re listening to Divorce Talk Radio here with Rick Goldberg. We’re on KPRC 950. You can call us on our next segment, 713-212-5950. We’ll be back with our final segment with Terry and Darlene Ward. Stay tuned. Don’t go away.
Rick: Welcome back everyone to our final segment here on Divorce Talk Radio. This is Rick Goldberg, your guide and guru through all things divorce whether you’re going through a divorce right now, been through on in the past, or if it’s on your mind as something that might be in your near future.
Joining me this morning if you’re just tuning in is Terry and Darlene Ward. They’ve been married 29 years. They’ve had some serious rollercoaster rides up and down and have come together and developed a program that not only a weekly program for couples for participate in but also a workshop, a weekend workshop where you and your spouse can go to and really learn the tools of how to get through some of the tensions and aggravations and frustrations that you might encounter as a married couple.
There are so many things that put pressure on making a marriage work. There are your in-laws. Now I know when I was married, I didn’t really have in-laws in my life so I really can’t connect with how challenging in-laws can be. But there are in-laws. There are the expectations your spouse may have on what you’re supposed to do and not do around the house. I guess the honey do’s and the honey don’ts.
There’s money of course, which always seems big. There are careers, whether we take this job, don’t take that job, how much time do I work. And of course, there are our children and how we’re going to raise them, whether my way is better or your way is better.
What I was surprised to hear is that sex really isn’t or lack of sex really isn’t on the list. So that would be interesting to find out a little bit more about too. But Terry and Darlene, if you could take our listeners maybe into one of your workshops and let them be a fly on the wall for a moment, what types of things would they see and experience so that they can kind of get a better flavor if they want to sign up and do one of your workshops what they might expect.
Terry: Well, we usually start with what we call My Life Movie. And it’s a digitalization to see yourself in your everyday life with your family, at work, and how you’re reacting. And then we do My Relationship Movie. And we ask questions like how are you reacting from communication, from touch, form affection?
Rick: Now, is this something they’re filling out or they’re just verbally articulating it? How did it work?
Terry: So we do a really interesting, deep visualization. And when they’re done and they’re asked these questions, in your movie, what did you see your – how did you see yourself communicating?
Darlene: And I’m going to add in there that it’s really kind of a neat visualization because we actually want you to go into a movie theater and imagine your life movie up on that big screen and just picture your day to day life and how it’s going and what’s not working and what maybe blocking you from getting you what you want in your life, which is really kind of the theme of the couples weekend that we’re involved in.
We didn’t create the couples weekend but we’re very much a part of the staff. We created the after what we call Couples Integration Group to help integrate what goes on in that weekend. But the main theme of that on the weekend is what’s blocking you in your relationship because there always this something there that’s blocking you.
Rick: Now, let me make sure I have this right because I haven’t really heard of this too often in these types of workshops. People will go to the workshop and it’s a weekend. And I guess they’re there with other couples. Is that right?
Rick: And then once the workshop is done, are you saying they will participate in sort of weekly follow-ups and are they in there with those same couples that they participated in the weekend with?
Darlene: Yes. It’s certainly a choice. You don’t have to do the After Integration Group if you just want to do the weekend. But we encourage the integration group because it’s 50 hours of intense experiential processes that get you to think and then yes, you are in that couples’ integration group with those couples you went through that weekend, which by the way, you get really connected to and you really relate to and you really feel some support from those other couples.
Rick: Do you do couples workshops here in Houston?
Rick: And do you happen to have one on the calendar coming up anytime soon?
Terry: There is. There is one at the end of September. It’s the 29th and 30th and October 1st.
Rick: And they could go to the TerryandDarlene.com [Phonetic] website?
Terry: And send us an email, yeah, from that website.
Rick: And how many couples usually attend these workshops?
Terry: Twelve to sixteen. Sixteen is the limit.
Rick: Wow! And what is it like for couples, because I would think just getting vulnerable and sharing in front of each other is a pretty big first step? What can you share about the fact that they’re now getting open and vulnerable and talking about everything from adultery to lime and to whatever in front of another 30 people that they don’t even know?
Terry: So most of it is done with couples one-on-one. And yes, so our job is how do we create a safe space? And what we hear over and over is. “I’m not going to some couple’s deal where I got to air my dirty laundry.”
And so, you don’t. Where that happens is individual couples, partners are doing processes one-on-one. And there is some group sharing in the beginning.
Rick: Who would you say of the husband or the wife, who is the most resistant to participate?
Rick: The husbands. Now, I’m just going to take a wild hunch. Once the husband gets there and gets engaged, do you find that the husbands maybe are the bigger participant or they’re hungrier once they’re there or am I just manufacturing that?
Darlene: Well, I think because the whole process is to make everyone that’s there feel comfortable, we do split off into two groups where the men go into one room and the women go into the other. And sometimes that feels more comfortable for the men to open up and even the women to open up to other – to the same gender. And once that gets started then it seems like they are able to open up a little bit more in the whole group.
Rick: Yeah. And so in the beginning when they split off male and female, Terry, do you go in there with the men?
Rick: And what are some of the kind of things that you hear? What are some of the – we talked about feelings earlier, right? What are some of those feelings that you hear from the men in that first session?
Terry: So, one of the questions we ask is, “What do you most fear about your relationship? What’s your biggest fear right now about your relationship?” And we all hear, “That we’re going to get a divorce. That she hates me.”
Rick: How many people come in to your workshops pretty much thinking, “We’re going to get divorced. I guess I’ll go through the motions and do this.” How many of those relationships do you all actually get to put a big smile on your face because you’ve actually put a dent in that relationship and I hate to use the words “fixed it” but at least you got it back on track and they’re still together today?
Darlene: Well, I would say more goes that direction than not. And what it is, is they feel supported by us and by the other couples. But I will tell you, you have an interesting point. I mean there are oftentimes couples that come saying, “This is the last resort. I’m going through this weekend and if at the end or the weekend I don’t feel good about this marriage, I’m getting a divorce.” And there have been those who have said, “I’m glad I did this. It has helped me make the decision that I’ve got to get a divorce.”
So either way – it can go either way. But fortunately, more often than not, it seems to be successful.
Rick: Now, I don’t know if I shared this story with you all or not but about ten years ago, one of my closest friends and his wife went through your workshop. And they were separated. He was living in his own place. He had a little boy, a couple of years old. And he was done, D-O-N-E, done. He told me – I think he was the one that told me, “Rick, when you take the L out of lover, it’s over. And this relationship is over.”
And I was his only friend of our gang of friends that keep saying, “Well hey, look, I support you. You just give it a shot. You do what you think you can do and see where it goes.” He goes Friday night. Whatever happens happened. He goes through Saturday, whatever you all do Saturday. Sunday morning, I got a call from him and he says, “Rick, you’re not going to believe this.” I said, “What?” He says, “I think we’re going to make it. I think this is going to work.”
And this guy was so checked out and so down the road and had this marriage in his rearview mirror. And to hear that, I mean I get goose bumps again, second time on the show today, but I really, it just warms my heart retelling that story because it was so done for him. And in many ways, I was very jealous because I was going through struggles in my separation and impending divorce and I was super happy for him that he was able to make it and they’re still married today and mine didn’t work out that way.
But I don’t know if I ever shared that story with you or if you ever got to hear that but I wanted to let you know that.
Terry: That’s awesome. Yeah.
Rick: Yeah. So we’ve got just a minute or so left. What is a parting shot that you’d like our listeners to hear about, what they can do to improve their relationship right now even if they can’t get into one of your workshops right away? What can they do right now to take responsibility and make some improvement in their relationship?
Terry: So I’ll just start with are you safe for your partner to talk to? Think about that. Are you safe for your partner to really get vulnerable and talk to?
Rick: Now, I’ve heard you used that word a couple of times and I’m not sure if I’m interpreting it right. So tell our listeners what you mean exactly by safe.
Darlene: OK. And I actually brought that up a little bit earlier. When – I’m safe if I can try and listen to understand what they’re saying, not taking it on personally. But if I know and I’m willing to take a look at myself and I see that I listen and while I’m listening, all I can think about is how I’m going to fix him, how I’m going to convince him to think differently, then I’m not safe because I’m not hearing my man as he is expressing his feelings. Because sometimes I might not like what I’m hearing but if I let him keep going on, he’ll get down to really what’s going on for him.
Rick: So if your partner wants to share and you know you’ve got a lot of anger built up, you might be better off to saying, “Hey honey, I’m not really ready to share right now.” Translation is, “I really can’t give you a safe place to share.”
Darlene: Very good, yeah.
Rick: Why don’t you give me a little bit more time? Is that right?
Rick: Terry, parting shot from you and then I think we’re almost at the end of the hour.
Terry: So, it’s all about me taking responsibility and showing up and having respect and hope in my life.
Rick: Fantastic. What a great show this morning everybody. I want to thank you for listening to Divorce Talk Radio. It’s not always about divorce. It’s about how to ride it also.
Have a great week everyone, and we’ll hear you or you’ll hear me next Sunday right here, same place, 8:00 o’clock on KPRC 950. Thanks again and have a great day.
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