Turning Your Relational House into a Home: Having Tools in Your Tool Belt

making a home
Click here to watch my talk with Danny Colella.

Transcript from a Facebook Live video:

Danny: Hello, good morning everybody. My name is Danny Colella I’m a Facebook Live marketing expert, coach and consultant today, we’re in Jason’s Page, say hi to everybody, Jason.

Jason Polk: Hey, how’s it going?

Danny: So you are …

Jason Polk: I’m Jason Polk and I’m a guy who helps out with relationships.

Danny: He’s a relationship expert, I’m gonna call him that because I’ve had an awesome moment to sit down with Jason and really get clear about what he does and how he helps people, and it became apparent that we needed to sit down and start taking all of the information that’s in that big, beautiful brain and start getting it out to you, his audience. So you have a real passion for helping couples. You have a real passion for empowering relationships right? That’s your thing.

Jason Polk: Yeah, it is my thing and it is what I do, it’s what I focus most of my energy on and let me share with this too, Dan, a lot of what I do is personal. I have been divorced, I have been I difficult relationships …

Danny: Yes.

Jason Polk: So what I wanna do, I wanna help people avoid that and have the relationship that they deserve and as we were talking earlier, it is something that we can learn to do, and when we do, we reap the benefits of it.

Danny: Totally, you’re like most men, you’ve failed.

Jason Polk: Yes.

Danny: We’ve all failed, I’ve failed, it’s happened, but what Jason has taken is he’s taken the time, and the energy, and the approach to start figuring out where you failed and start helping others figure that out because divorce rate is at an all time high, people are struggling and we want you to know more than ever, that there is help, and there is somebody here that wants to position himself to make sure that you succeed in your relationship.

Danny: So the title for today’s Live was, “Having the Tools for your tool belt and being a Relational Hero” which is so important. So this message is for anybody that’s currently struggling, that wants to have a stronger relationship. That wants to improve that connection with their spouse, right? Have a deeper, intimate relationship and you’ve got something you’re gonna show us, this whiteboard isn’t just here as a beautiful backdrop, you have something you’re gonna show us today which is about building a house, and then potentially building a home, but having the right tools to go with that, right?

Jason Polk: Yes, correct.

Relational Heroism

Jason Polk: And Dan, real quick, let me share on the idea of relational heroism. So what I mean by that is that instead of going with your typical, worn out, knee jerk reaction you go with what we call, “Door B”, you choose a healthy response and don’t go with your old, knee jerk reaction as I said.

Danny: Which is a big deal.

Jason Polk: It is a big deal so let me share a quick example of that. In my own personal relationship. My typical, old family playbook, so to speak, would be to withdraw.

Danny: Oh, pull away.

Jason Polk: So pull away …

Danny: Be quiet, silent treatment, you’re a silent treatment guy.

Jason Polk: Oh man, I’m really good at that. I can take-

Danny: I am too.

Jason Polk: Yes, exactly. I can take it to a whole new level but I don’t want to get into that right now. It’s unhelpful. So anyway, let me tell you an example, one day, I came back home and my wife gave me some feedback and it was difficult for me to hear, and my initial reaction right there was to take off, to withdraw, but you know what I did instead? I took a deep breath, and again, this was hard because part of me wanted to come back at her and get defensive, so I took a deep breath and instead of withdrawing, because I know what’s gonna happen if I withdraw, it’s more of the same, and nothing productive gets done.

Danny: No.

Jason Polk: So I went forward and I told my wife, when I’m like that, “Can you be supportive instead?”

Danny: Totally.

Jason Polk: I don’t need for you to fix the problem, I just need for you to be supportive, and right there, I feel like that was a pivotal moment in our relationship.

Danny: You created a space.

Jason Polk: Yes.

Danny: That didn’t exist before. That space didn’t even happen, it was shut, I’m gone, I’m detaching, and by doing that, you created the space that you and your wife could step into and you could say to your wife, “Okay, help me through this. This isn’t easy for me right now. I’m gonna struggle and I’m gonna fail, but can you step in this with me and we’ll try to get through this and see what Door B looks like.” I don’t even know and I’m afraid but I wanna see what it looks like now, right?

Jason Polk: Yeah, you know what she said when we did that? We went into that space, she said, “Wow, thank you for telling me, now I know what to do when you’re like that.”

Danny: Totally.

Jason Polk: Oh my God, that was such a great moment for our relationship. So that is what I wanna help people with. I wanna help you be a relational hero, so as you’re talking about, we can have that relationship that is enlivening, that is vibrant, that is secure, that is safe. We can have what I would call, ‘home’, which we’ll get into.

Danny: I love it, and one thing I wanna touch on that is you created that space and that possibility for you to have a better relationship with your wife, right?

Jason Polk: Exactly.

Danny: Now that possibility exists because you chose Door B, it wasn’t there before, but now you have that possibility, that’s a beautiful thing, man.

Jason Polk: Thank you.

Danny: Beautiful thing. Yeah, so get right into your house and home, I love this. I got to see this before, so pay attention. These are gonna give you those tools we’re talking about in that tool belt to really grow.

Making the relational home unsafe/Making holes in your side of the house

Jason Polk: So right here, are my awesome stick drawings of partners in a couple and hopefully you can see that because this art work is amazing. And so when couples get together, they start building a house, and so a house is what keeps partners safe. So partners will get in trouble if they so to speak, blow holes in their side of the house, and you may be wondering … dropped the marker, okay, how do we blow, or kick holes in our side of the house?

Danny: Right.

Jason Polk: A big one is … it’s probably the biggest, what do you think?

Danny: The thing you see the most, infidelity?

Jason Polk: Yes, infidelity.

Danny: Infidelity is a big one, and it’s a problem and it causes a problem in everybody’s life.

Jason Polk: I can’t spell.

Danny: You were so close.

Jason Polk: Okay.

Danny: I.

Jason Polk: I. Thanks. I have really hard …

Danny: Or that … I don’t know, neither of us know how to spell this word.

Jason Polk: We were talking about this before is that we’re not good at spelling. Okay so infidelity …

Danny: We’re flawed just like you.

Jason Polk: That’s not right but … and then another one would be anger.

Danny: Anger.

Jason Polk: Which is obvious.

Danny: Other holes you can have … and this list can go on and on because every relationship is unique. It can be money problems, it can be not supporting your wife, it can be downright being mean, like you said, anger, that’s a big deal. These holes are huge and you have to recognize where you’re kicking holes, right? This doesn’t work if you’re just like, “Well I don’t know why it’s drafty back there, I didn’t do that, it didn’t happen.”

Jason Polk: Exactly.

Danny: You have to be able to recognize where you put holes in your relationship.

Jason Polk: Yeah so each partner’s responsibility is to take care of your side of the house, so that is what these arrows signify, to make sure you’re not kicking holes in your part of the relationship structure.

Danny: Because it creates a structural … it doesn’t add structural integrity to the whole house. A hole over here affects the integrity of the entire home, which includes this side of the house.

Making your house a home/Relational tool belt

Jason Polk: Exactly. And so I’ll draw arrows over here, just to be fair. So you may be wondering, “Well how do I avoid kicking holes in my part of the house?”

Danny: Yeah, I am wondering.

Jason Polk: Okay, so what I am going to help you with is a relationship tool belt.

Danny: Yeah, okay. A tool belt being things to serve you in a relationship, right?

Vulnerability

Jason Polk: Yes. So things to serve you. So in a way, the tool belt not only prevents the holes, but it also gives you the means to fix the holes. Very important right here. So number one, we’re gonna start off with vulnerability.

Danny: Vulnerability.

Jason Polk: Vulner …

Danny: Ability. Yeah, you got it.

Jason Polk: There is an N somewhere or an R. Don’t get stuck on my spelling right here, please. Okay, so vulnerability. So you may be asking, “Okay, what does that look like?”

Danny: That could scare most men, I think women, you could probably embrace that a little quicker than a man could.

Jason Polk: Yes, I agree.

Danny: Yeah, what does it look like?

Jason Polk: Yes, you are exactly right, us men need a little bit of help with this.

Danny: And that’s okay. We are validating your ability to not be vulnerable by our ability to validate in the past that we couldn’t be vulnerable but we’ve worked through this stuff, we’ve worked on this tool belt to the point where we can enact this into our relationships.

Jason Polk: Well said.

Danny: You’re perfectly imperfect is what I’m saying.

Jason Polk: Even better said.

Danny: Yes.

Jason Polk: Okay. So vulnerability, that means not leading with the anger. That means leading with what is underneath the anger. For example, if I am upset that I feel my wife has been very busy, she hasn’t been around the house a lot, instead of leading with the anger of, “You’re never around the house.” I will pause, I’m gonna go through Door B here and that is, “Honey, I miss you.”

Danny: I miss you.

Jason Polk: I wish you were around more. Right there, is vulnerability. I’m not going with my knee jerk reaction of anger –

Danny: Which for some men that could be, “The house is a mess. You’re not taking care of the things you need to take care of.” When deep down inside, as the man, you’re really wanting to say, “I wish you were here more.” But I express it in that way, form or fashion.

Danny: And that’s unsupportive to your partner and you’re gonna create … you’re picking a fight, you’re gonna get it.

Jason Polk: For sure, even with that example too, just something a little more vulnerable is, “I feel like I’m doing most of the work here.” Right there instead of, “You never clean up the house.” It’s a very simple skill, but you wanna give your partner a means to connect with you, if you have conflict. That is huge.

Jason Polk: So yes, reaching for what is underneath there. Also taking this a little further and I’ve mentioned this before, instead of leading with a complaint, you switch that complaint to a request.

Danny: Give me an example of that.

Jason Polk: Perfect. So a request, to think about that, it can make us vulnerable, it leaves us vulnerable. So let me give you an example. Say I wished my wife snuggled more in the morning. Instead of leading with, “Honey, you never wanna snuggle with me” I will say, “Honey, would you like to snuggle this morning?” Because right there, that request, it leaves me vulnerable because she can say, “No.” Right? But if she does say, ‘No’, we don’t have a fight on our hands, so I would be curious, “Oh, well what’s up with that? Why don’t you?”

Jason Polk: And she may say, “I’ve been stressed, I have a lot on my mind right now.” Okay perfect, I’m not taking it personally. So right there …

Danny: Because it’s not always about you, right?

Jason Polk: Yes.

Danny: It’s not always, “No I don’t wanna snuggle because I don’t love you.” It could be 9 million other things that’s on her mind.

Empathy

Jason Polk: Yes, very good and so that leads us to the next thing, empathy.

Danny: Empathy. Which is a real skill as well. An earned skill, it really is. Especially from two men, talking to men, it’s an earned skill. Just the same as running a marathon. You don’t wake up in the day and just get empathy.

Jason Polk: Yes, exactly. So what you were saying, so in a way you said not take things so personally so I know what it’s like going on with her. I put myself in her shoes, in her perspective, right there is empathy and this is probably the most important things for relationships is empathy. So let me give you an example of empathy in practice. So in regards to speech, before I speak, I go in and choose Door B here, I’m going to think, how is what I’m about to say gonna land with my partner? So, is what I’m about to say, is it gonna be unsupportive and unsafe? Well you know what, I shouldn’t say that. I’m gonna go with vulnerability right there.

Jason Polk: So putting yourself in your partner’s shoes is huge. This is paramount right there.

Danny: And this is a great time for me to touch on this too. Doing that is not you just giving them. Doing that is not you just crumbling to your wife’s needs, you have to understand the fact, and again, I tend to talk to men because I recognize, by not doing this right now, you’re costing yourself something in your relationship, a deeper love, a deeper connection, not fighting, understanding, trust, you’re costing yourself that.

Danny: When you start to embrace this and do this exactly what Jason’s saying, you might find right in that space, that deeper connection, less fighting, understanding, love. It’s a big deal.

Jason Polk: Exactly.

Danny: You’re not giving in, you’re giving something up to gain something bigger, right?

Jason Polk: Yes. Exactly what you said is that you are going to get more when you utilize these tools. So in a way we can say, “It’s enlightened self interest so I’m doing it for my relationship, I’m doing it for my partner, but also I’m gonna benefit” so it’s cliché, but it goes without saying, happy wife, happy life.

Danny: Totally.

Jason Polk: And these are the tools that will help you have a happy life or a partner.

Danny: Yes, totally.

Accountability

Jason Polk: So number three. So one of the most important skills too is accountability.

Danny: Accountability. Oh my Gosh, holding yourself accountable for your actions?

Jason Polk: Yes, exactly so this would be more of repairing the holes that you may have kicked in your side of the house.

Danny: These are your holes, possibly. There might be many more that you don’t know.

Jason Polk: Yeah, so it could be anger-

Danny: If you can’t see them, infidelity, money, anger and family.

Jason Polk: Yes, and infidelity is spelled wrong but everyone is overlooking that.

Danny: Hopefully it’s far enough way. It’s the thought that matters.

Jason Polk: Exactly so accountability right there, this is really important. So if you screw up, just land on it. Say, “I’m sorry.” That’s it. Just own it, just land on it. No, “I’m sorry, but …” forget the ‘but’. For example, don’t say, “I’m sorry, but you have to understand, I did this because of that, and this happened, so I did this.”

Danny: But I was stressed, but i was overwhelmed. Like no, you did what you did, own up to it.

Jason Polk: Exactly, own up to it because you are not going to fix anything if you don’t take accountability. If your partner is in distress, they don’t care about your intentions, I’m sorry. So your first job right there is starting to repair the house is to just own it and just be there with your partner’s distress.

Customer Service Representative

Jason Polk: So let me share the customer service example, if that’s okay.

Danny: Yeah.

Jason Polk: Okay so say I did something or say my partner is upset. So my job is to be the customer service representative. So let me give you the example. Best Buy is next door. Actually this way. I don’t know, it’s confused because it’s backwards.

Jason Polk: If my computer is broken and I go to the Best Buy customer service representative, and I say, “Hey look, my computer is broken” and he comes at me and says, “Well you know what? My computer is broken too, and so is y refrigerator.” I’m thinking, “Well why did I go to you? I don’t care about your broken computer, I don’t care about your refrigerator, I want my computer fixed right now.” And so that analogy goes with relationships. If your partner is in distress, be there. Be the customer service representative to tend to what is upsetting your partner. And that’s a form of accountability right there.

Danny: And we talked about this earlier, the form of accountability with all these things is understanding that it takes a big man to be small. It takes a big man to be small and recognize where this stuff is happening. A small man can never be big, it takes a big man to be small in these situations and own what’s going on because I just wanna encourage you, whatever it is and wherever you’re not adding that tool to your tool belt, we talked about this earlier, it’s a bunch of men walking around with hammers, looking for nails. Or a bunch of women that understand how to decorate the house but have no clue what it takes to build a house because that’s where blame shift starts to happen, right?

Danny: When we talk about money traditionally, it tends to be something that falls on a man. Traditionally. Not saying that’s every case. So the man’s like, “Look, I built this thing.” And the woman is like, “I know how to decorate it.” And really, that’s not a house you both own, you have to understand that it takes two people and you have to validate that other person for that, right?

Jason Polk: Yes, exactly. So take it from the men’s perspective, I think it’s built in us to be providers, to bring home the bacon, so to speak, or the tofurkey bacon, if you’re vegetarian, and so we also … and that’s a good thing that we can do, that we wanna do as males, but now the relationship dynamics have changed. So women now want us men to not only bring home the bacon but also be relational as well. To help out with the family. To talk about emotions, which may be scary and I think unfortunately too for us men, we’re not really taught necessarily how to be super relational in our upbringing.

Danny: No, not at all.

Jason Polk: So again, these skills right here are a great start. And that’s what I love working with men to empower you to have these skills to have an awesome relationship.

Danny: And an amazing house that eventually turns into a home.

Jason Polk: Yes, and thank you. So once you start not knocking holes in the walls.

Danny: I made a hole there.

Jason Polk: Yeah, I saw that, you did make a hole into this beautiful house. So once you start using these tools in the tool belt, you will start fixing your house, repairing, and you’re avoiding knocking new holes in the house. So your house will then become a home, so very important. Your house will become a home.

Jason Polk: And so that’s red …

Danny: For love.

Jason Polk: For Love, that’s a heart. You may not be able to see that but when your house is now a home, that is where intimacy can flourish. If both partners feel safe and supported, then both partners are able to be completely themselves, you said it earlier, perfectly imperfect.

Jason Polk: And so that’s what the home is right there. And then once we have enough experience in the home, it’s almost like our mindset changes. So it’s not that we can’t indulge in anger, it’s not that we can’t have money problems or we can’t cheat on our partner, it’s now that we don’t.

Danny: We don’t, we choose not to.

Jason Polk: We don’t cheat, we don’t throw our partner under the bus in regards to our family, we don’t indulge in anger because it doesn’t … what am I trying to say? It makes our partner feel unsafe and that is not our mission of the home.

Danny: Not at all. And the reason you wanna work with somebody like Jason is because, just because we tell you that you’re knocking holes in your house doesn’t mean that you’re never gonna wake up and find a hole in your house, okay? Just because you fixed this one or this one, doesn’t mean you’re not gonna knock a hole in your house again.

Danny: What do I want you to understand from this today is when two people come in and work on this together, you now have common areas to communicate. You have similar verbiage. You have the same words to use that somebody understands that says, “Do you understand you’re kicking a hole in our house?” And when you can say that to your partner and they understand where you’re coming from, that’s when you can start to repair this stuff at home. That’s when you can … politely, because if you’re doing your job, people are leaving you, that’s when you can say, “Jason, we don’t need you anymore, you’ve given us the skills and the tool belt to have this conversation at home.” And when you have that verbiage, that same lingo or I’m trying to think of the main word I can’t think of but when you can say, “Honey, you’re kicking a hole in the house” and they recognize that, that’s when the repair can start to happen.

Danny: Not just, you come into therapy by yourself and you’re like, “Oh yeah, he’s kicking a hole in my house” and you tell your husband, “You’re kicking a hole in my house.” And he’s like, “What are you talking about?” You’re not gonna connect there. But when you come in and work with Jason together, one on one, you start to work on this tool belt together and you start to go home and have real skills to empower yourself in your relationship, make sense?

Jason Polk: Yes, it does completely. And also, for myself as a couple therapist, I have empathy for couples brave enough to come into my office. I’m not saying I’m a scary guy but couple therapy in general can be kind of intimidating so I have empathy for that and I also know that this stuff, it takes a little bit of time, right?

Danny: Right.

Jason Polk: So not to kick our self in the butt if we don’t get it right, is that this is stuff that we have to learn, however, if you can start doing this stuff even poorly, it’s gonna have huge benefits on your relationship. For example, you don’t have to be a relational pro in order to start receiving benefits from using this tool belt.

Danny: Totally, totally. Well that’s great information man, I think you really empowered everybody to understand what the tool belt means, to understand how a relationship starts with a house, and if you work hard on it, it eventually becomes a home. So awesome man, thank you so much.

Jason Polk: Yeah, thank you.

Danny: You did a great job.

Jason Polk: Hey thanks, you too.

Danny: Yeah.

Danny: So if you’re still watching this and this added value to you, make sure you click the share button. What we want is more couples who are struggling to actually get this message. So clicking the share button is gonna help more couples who are struggling on Facebook to actually get that support and love that they need and get some good programming and possibly find this guy to start repairing those holes so thanks for your time, man. Jason Polk, you can look him up online, he helps couples repair and build a home.

Jason Polk: Yeah, thank you so much Dan, thank you for watching.

Danny: Thanks everybody, bye.

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