The best foundation for a happy life is happy relationships. Within the family, that starts with the husband and wife. If this central relationship is strong, safe, fulfilling, joyful, and passionate, the rest of the family unit will echo that and have a long, happy, and healthy life. In this episode, Stan Padgett digs deeper into how we can achieve that in our intimate relationships. He uses the metaphors of the mote and the beam to show how, sometimes, what causes friction in the partnership is our perception of each other. How do we begin to reflect better on ourselves and see a better reflection of our partner? How do we see the other person as they are? Join Stan as he helps you reflect in today’s show!
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Mote And Beam
This is episode eight, Motes and Beams. As with episode 7, this is the second version of episode 8. I recorded those two versions together and somehow technologically, the audio did not make it. You are getting version 2 of episode 8. Hopefully, it will be at least equal to and a lot better than episode 1. Starting point. This is a relationship course. We are going to talk about how to take intimate relationships for husband, wife, and partners, and make those relationships stronger, safer, more fulfilling, more joyful, and more passionate. We are going to have fun with it.
We are also going to talk about some serious things, and some principles that will work in those relationships no matter where the relationships are. If it’s broken, they can help fix it. If it’s okay, they can make it better. If it’s good, they can make it great. If it’s great, they can make it epic. The reason I’m so passionate about couples having epic relationships is because that’s where all the juice, joy, passion, and fun of life comes from. Equally important, that’s where the safety, security, and modeling of the next generation come for our children.
You want to protect your children. You want them to have a long, happy, and healthy life. You are going to have to model that behavior for them, and that starts your relationship with their mother and their father. We live in a society in America where something very close to 50% of all first marriages ends in divorce. The statistics on second and subsequent marriages are worse.
Mote And Beam
In another episode of the show, we will spend some time and talk about why and talk about some of the special challenges of second and subsequent marriages. For now, we want to talk about creating that intimate connection and how we do that, and how we perceive our partner. You say that’s great. That sounds like fun. What is a mote? What are you talking about a beam? Let’s start with the definitions. A mote is a tiny article or an irritant. If you remember the fable from childhood, The Princess and The Pea, the pea would be a mote. The princess was so sensitive that she could feel it. Even though it was buried under twenty mattresses, it still disturbed her. That’s a mote.
For a beam, think about what you see in some of these Western-style homes where there are exposed wooden beams. They help hold up the roof or the second story. It’s a large substantial object. Beams can be made out of multiple materials. They can be made out of wood. It can be made out of some type of composite material. In skyscraper construction, those beams are made out of steel. We call them I-beams or structural beams. They are big, substantial, and can bear a lot of weight. They are a big deal. A mote is the smallest of deals. Maybe the place to start is with a story.
There’s a story many years ago of an ecclesiastical leader who a young couple had asked to see him. They came in and they sat down. They were fairly newly married, barely a few months. This ecclesiastical leader was understandably concerned about why this very young and very new couple needed to see him. They came in and sat down. He asked the young woman, “Mary, why are you here?” She said, “I need to tell you about all of the things that my husband is doing wrong.” She proceeded to talk uninterrupted for 15 to 20 minutes, cataloging all of the mistakes he had made, all of the things he did wrong, and all of the flaws and faults.
When she was done, he turned to the young man and said, “Tell me about Mary’s faults.” He said, “She doesn’t have any. I think she’s practically perfect in every way.” With that statement and a little silence, the woman began to cry because she realized the fault wasn’t in him. It was in her perception. It’s not just her perception but what she was focusing on.
What do we have? We are human beings. We are innately, inherently, and imperfect. Ladies, I will give it to you. Men are more imperfect. I get it. We are. I’m not going to argue with you about that. What we try to do is you bring your A-game and you see the other person as they can be, not as they are. What you find quite frequently is that people will live up or down to your expectations.See the other person as they can be, not as they are. Click To Tweet
If you are a faith-based person, you may have a vision of who you are, where you came from, and why you are here. You believe that you are created in the image of a deity with a spark of the deity inside you. If you believe that and you are in a relationship, that means that you have to also believe that the person that you are in the relationship with, your husband, your wife, or your partner, has that same spark of divinity in them, giving them the capability to become far more than they are.
The question is, are you going to help them become or are you going to hinder them? The more you help them, the more joyful you are going to be about the relationship, and the better the relationship is going to be. The more you hinder them from becoming all they are capable of being. Whether it’s out of your fear, insecurity, and belief that if they truly become what they are capable of, they will either not want you anymore or someone will take them away from you. That’s fear. You can’t operate out of fear in a relationship. You operate out of trust, confidence, faith, and respect.
Create A Vision For Yourself
We will talk about how those things fit together a little bit. It’s important that you realize we have the ability to find fault with ourselves all the time if we are even more semi-honest with ourselves. If we are brutally honest with ourselves, we’d be depressed all the time. It’s like, “It’s so awful. I failed this. I didn’t do that. I didn’t complete this. I didn’t get home when I said I would.” I get it. You are not perfect. Do better tomorrow. What you have to do is create a vision for yourself.
The one person on the planet you can change is the one who looks back at you from the mirror every morning. That is the only person on the planet you can change. That’s somebody you should be joyful about that opportunity to change them and to change you every day. That means it doesn’t matter if you didn’t exercise yesterday. You can today and you can tomorrow. You don’t have to live your life in the rearview mirror drowning in a sea of your own regrets.
Do we make mistakes all the time? Do we make big ones? Sometimes and hopefully, less and less often as we get a little older, get a little more experience, get a little more wisdom, we become more teachable and become better students. There are so many ways for us to learn and grow, and we will talk about that. We will pick a topic and do one of the episodes. Specifically, on how to create our own growth plan because you should have one. You should have a vision of who you want to be 1,2, 5, or 10 years down the road. That’s something we will come back to, but that’s not today’s lesson. That’s not today’s topic.
The motes and beams are how we begin to reflect better on ourselves and see a better reflection of our partner. The young lady in that interview got a real wake-up call. A wake-up call because she was honest enough to recognize that she wasn’t perfect, but her husband saw her as perfect. He saw no flaws and no faults, and nothing to be critical of in her.
Do you think that realization and his vision of her might have inspired her and motivated her to become an even better version of herself? You can inspire people to change. You can’t make them change. If you follow Tony Robbins at all, Tony has some great material. There’s a lot of wisdom in what he has and what he teaches. He talks about change coming typically or more readily from pain than from pleasure.
In other words, people will change more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure. That’s not always true. What was the young lady’s motivation after this interview? Her motivation was to avoid the pain of her own self-condemnation she would try to be better. One of the principal ways that she was going to try to be better is to see her husband as he saw her.
Change Starts With You
He was a guy. Did he mess up? Absolutely. Probably a lot, but it was little things that she was picking up that were not big things. I will give you two stories. I once attended a lecture and it was a legal function, but it brought in this very powerful motivational speaker. She was a Hispanic woman. She was about 5’2” and that might have been in her heels, but very personable, outgoing, and powerful personality.
She comes in and she’s telling us a story of how she can get so wound up about all kinds of things. Her husband is a much different personality. She will finish with, “What do you think?” He’d say, “Small stuff.” This went on for a while. One evening he’s driving her to one of her speaking engagements and she goes off on a rant in a tangent about something and says, “What do you think?” He says, “Small stuff,” and she jumps on it.
“What do you mean small stuff?” He does something unexpected. You’d call this a pattern interrupt. He pulls the car off the road, stops, puts it in park, and looks at her. At this point, she’s like, “Wait a minute. What have I done?” He said, “You are born, big stuff. You die, big stuff. Everything else, small stuff.” He put the car back in drive and he took her to a meeting.
That made enough of an impression on her that she told us that story much later on. She said, “I gained a new perspective that was very important not just for me to have, but for me to understand him. If something happened to him or something happened to me, that would be big stuff to him. If something happened to one of our children, big stuff. All this little day-to-day stuff, small stuff.”
How do you think it would change your relationship with your partner or with your spouse if you took that approach let’s say for 30 days? You approached every little thing that you are accustomed to saying something about doing it yourself or giving them the attitude about where they know you are not happy. You say, “What if you did the opposite?” You go up and you say, “I love you so much. I’m so glad I have you,” and go on.
The first thing that’s going to happen is they are going to react like that woman did when her husband pulled the car off the road like, “Wait a minute. What did I do? Is this really my spouse? I don’t understand this reaction.” See what that does? Where you are in your relationship isn’t going to change unless something changes, and the something that changes starts with you. Since you are the only one who can control whether or not you change. You are the only one you can change. You are the only one who can control your behavior, and it’s not just the things that you do. Particularly for you ladies. Your men get when you are unhappy, no matter what you say. We are a little bit like children or animals. We sense where we are with you.Where you are in your relationship isn't going to change unless something changes, and the something that changes starts with you. Click To Tweet
Depending on where you are in the relationship, that may mean that they approach and say, “What’s wrong honey?” They may just go, “I have had enough of this. I will back away if you decide you feel better. Great. Let me know. If not at this point, I don’t care.” I hope that your man isn’t to that latter point of, “I don’t care how you behave anymore because it doesn’t matter to me. You have a lot of work to do.”
If that’s where he is or if that’s where you are, your relationship is in trouble. You may not have admitted it to yourself. That’s one of those places where a little brutal honesty is a good thing. They may not have said it out loud, but that’s real. It’s already there. The destruction of your relationship has been sowed. Unless you are going to pull up a whole lot of weeds, the crop you grow is not one you are going to enjoy. It’s not going to bring you the fulfillment you want. That’s why I’m doing this because I want you to have that.
Stop Looking For Faults
Let’s start with what we are going to do, and what that mote and that beam thing meant. The mote means it’s so easy for us to pick out flaws in other people, the moats in other people, the pea for the princess. It’s difficult for us to see the beam that blocks our vision. Meaning our own faults and flaws that are huge, but we have what is called a massive blind spot, an inability to see those or recognize they are real. We are back to us again, aren’t we?
This is a problem because wherever you go, there you are. Are you always the problem in the relationship? No, because if you are being hit and you are being abused, you are not the problem. There is no excuse for that. Absolutely none, and if that’s happening, physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse of you and your children, get out now.
Get somewhere where it’s safe, where you get an opportunity to heal, to help your children heal, and then you decide from a place of strength. Is there anything to salvage in that relationship? For my safety or my children’s safety, do I need to end that relationship? I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if it ever gets to the point where you are physically in fear, then you need to take a step back quickly.
That other part though that what do I do? You can start looking for other things. I don’t remember what. There was something that I was doing or not doing more likely that irritated my wife, and it was one of those things that I viewed as small stuff. This is some years ago so I didn’t handle it as well as I hoped that I would now, but I listened to that same thing over and over enough times that I finally looked at my wife, who in a couple of months will have been my wife for 47 years.
I said, “Honey, I don’t smoke, drink, gamble, or chase skirts. Live with it.” That was not the best way to have dealt with it, but it was a little bit of a wake-up call for her because I was telling her straight up and simply, “I don’t do the big things. I work hard to support our family. If you look at the big stuff, I’m doing okay. I need you to focus less on the small stuff.”
To her credit, she did that I’m here still. It’s a testament to her patience because she knows where I sleep, and I go to sleep a lot faster than she does. I don’t doubt that there are a couple of times she’s probably laying there thinking I ought to smother this man. She might have, but I’m glad she didn’t.
I have enjoyed the 47 years we have had together. We were a couple for eighteen months before that. We are figuring out that this past Valentine’s Day was our 48th Valentine’s Day together. We are looking forward to a lot more because there is no one I want to be with other than her. I want to be with her. I love being around her. I love to listen to her. I love the sound of her voice, the smile on her face, and the color of her eyes.
You see, guys, it does get better. It can get to the point where you come very close to the biblical admonition to be one. What I want these days is for her to be happy and fulfilled. We live in Florida for over 40 years. She now wants to go to Utah because our youngest child and youngest grandchildren are there. She has followed me around since we got married.
I made a commitment to myself. I haven’t even told her yet. I’m going to get her out to Utah in the next couple of years. Three at the outside because she deserves that opportunity to have what she wants. I will make it work in terms of my practice of law and all the other things that I do, but it’s her turn. Pass her turn. She has served, loved, and given all her life and she deserves to have what she wants. That’s now her dream, and my dream is to give her that dream.
We have done a much better job as we have gone along the path of our very long relationship of looking for the best in each other, of seeing the good in each other. There are stages where you can find faults. You stop looking for faults. You begin to recognize the good things. You begin to appreciate the good things. There’s a final step that accelerates the growth of your relationship, and that is acknowledging to your partner those good things on a regular basis, and how much you appreciate them for it.
I want you to realize, I think we have probably talked in one of the prior episodes of the show that every person has different love languages. If you have not read the book, The 5 Love Languages, I would very much encourage you to do that, and for you and your spouse to take the test. If you don’t know your partner’s love languages, it’s difficult for you to convey your appreciation in a language that they understand. Maybe there’s even another step beyond expressing appreciation to them on a regular basis. That is learning to express that appreciation in their love language, not yours.
My love languages, I know them. I have taken the test, but it was pretty easy for me. They are physical touch and words of affirmation. For her to tell me, “I appreciate how hard you work to provide for our family,” that gets me right here, right in the heart. I am a trial lawyer. You might say, “You don’t have a heart.” Whether I do or don’t, at least at that part of my chest.
For me to say it to her is much less meaningful because her love languages are gifts and acts of service. For me, a gift can be as simple as a note left in a place that she will find it or a message written in her lipstick on her mirror, or something stuck down in her purse, or a card that I get from Walgreens or wherever. Make a note, write it, and put a stamp on it. Let it come to her in the mail. That is an act of appreciation that makes her feel loved.
My job is not just to look for the best in her. It’s to identify the best in her, compliment, and appreciate the best in her. Express my appreciation, and then learn to express that appreciation in the way that she feels most loved because I love the woman and I want her to know that. Sometimes I think about the country song, it might be may even be a Garth Brooks song, “If tomorrow never comes, if the love I gave her in the past had to be enough to last, if tomorrow never comes.”
Would she know? If I went to bed tonight and didn’t wake up tomorrow, would she spend the rest of her life with the absolute knowledge and certainty that I loved her until my last breath? That’s what I want for her. That’s what I want for your partner or your spouse. That’s what I want you to feel. Until next time.