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Handling Guilt

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

5) Grateful for the support

Thank you so much for the incredible support on both The Guilt Episode, and the The Guilt Episode Revisited, Part One. There is absolutely no way we could put these episodes out without the love we feel from you. There’s nothing easy about having these conversations in such a public forum, but you make it feel so safe and doable. I hope it causes others to finally have the hard conversations and not feel like there’s a time limit on healing. Moving forward does not mean ignoring or forgetting the past. Here are a few takeaways we hope you got from the episode:

  • Contentious issues in a relationship are hardly ever completely one partner’s fault. This took me some time to realize. I spent a few years fully blaming Adam before realizing that I had been lacking as a full partner when it came to issues like finances and planning for our future. I left him with a huge burden that affected him deeply.

  • Remember that you are a couple separate from the relationships of your parents. We often get stuck replicating the patterns of the couples around whom we grew up (and with whom we still surround ourselves). Are those really the values and interactions that you truly want to copy? While you might truly admire some of them and incorporate some into your own dynamic, there are probably many aspects of those relationships that are not ideal for you and your partner. Make the active choice to lead the path that is best for the two of you. This involves some real conversations and brainstorming, but ultimately, it will feel amazing to live the truth that is most comfortable and fulfilling for your unique lifestyle.

  • It is possible to simultaneously be angry at someone while also being fully invested in moving forward together, loving, respecting, and moving towards a fresh place of trust again. We do not need to choose one emotion and release all the other. We have a number of emotions that co-exist about all aspects of our life at all times.

4) Ten ways you can start to reconnect right now even if you’re not fully over a contentious time in your relationship:

  1. Choose one easy, mindless activity to do together a few times a week. Take a walk in the evenings, play cards, or do something that involves just “being” together and enjoying one another’s presence.

  2. Start a “gratitude text chain” and text each other one thing each day you’re feeling grateful for about your life together.

  3. Take Masterclass together. What’s something you’ve both always wanted to learn? Cooking? Astronomy? Photography? Learning a new skill together can be bonding in a fresh new way.

  4. Binge watch a show together.

  5. Start planning a dream vacation and figure out how you’re going to budget for it, even if it won’t happen for another two years. Having something to work towards helps solidify the goals for your joint future.

  6. Do the Date Night Questions ebook together. One topic a week or a month can keep you talking and discovering new dreams and goals you both have.

  7. Slow dance. It sounds silly, but put on some Norah Jones, Annie Lennox, or John Mayer right in your kitchen or living and just….dance.

  8. Go out with a couple with whom you truly feel yourselves and trust.

  9. Do a project together. Not like, fix the broken dishwasher or put together a bookshelf from IKEA, but build a birdhouse, plant a vegetable garden, or decorate a wall filled with your favorite framed album covers.

  10. Listen to an episode of Marriage and Martinis in the car and then talk about it. Start with episode #169, #171, #38, or just start at the beginning.

3) Thoughtwork and Reframing

In this week’s episode I talk about Rachel Rodgers awesome new book We Should All Be Millionaires. It’s about so much more than making money. It’s about empowerment and taking the aspects of our life about which we feel shame, guilt, and negativity and reframing them so that they become more constructive and auspicious. This is something that, as a podcaster who shares the most intimate details of my life with tens of thousands of people, I need to do often if I’m going to have the courage to keep airing my dirty laundry each and every week.


Thought: “I have three young kids, and I have to interact with their teachers, coaches, and other parents. They know all about my sex life, indiscretions, and poor choices. How can I do this and look them in the eye?”

Reframed Thought: “I share the intimate, more humiliating details of my life so that others can learn from my mistakes and feel less alone in their own struggles. This is actually something courageous, and I should feel proud of what Adam and I do.”

Now, I can go into any situation with these people and feel confident in my decisions, hold my head high, and know that whatever negative thoughts about my choices is way more about them than about me. I know the beneficial goals of my intentions and actions.

2) Small Changes Can Have The Greatest Impact

In our hearts, we know that there are some changes we need to make in order to get to our truest selves. Or, perhaps our hearts are speaking to us about the changes we can make to reach our best selves. In either case, the possibility for change is often best realized when we are supported. Kathy Lyons, special education teacher for nearly twenty years, has turned her passion for helping students into post-high-school coaching.

One of her amazingly supportive, hands-on workshops, The Small Change Challenge, is centered around a framework that empowers us to wrap our heads around a small change we want to make, examine why we want to make it, and uncover the steps needed to be successful. This challenge was designed to be accessible for individuals with special needs but is available to all. Kathy has created such a gentle and inclusive space in which all people can come together, share, and root one another on while transforming one detail of their lives. My kids and I have done this challenge twice, and it was magical to be in such a diverse, compassionate setting. I loved that my kids and I could all reach our unique goals in an environment for kids, grown-ups, and all different learning styles and abilities. It has truly been a gift. To learn more, Click Here.

1) Date Night Questions - This week’s questions are intended for partners who have dealt with some type of betrayal, or are just going through a hard time for various reasons. TRIGGER WARNING: if this is a discussion that will lead to contention, it might be best to wait until you feel ready to have this conversation in a manner that will be meaningful and productive. But ultimately, the goal is to keep communication open about this, instead of closing the door on it. It is possible to move forward without acknowledging the past. Communication can lead to incredible progress. Sometimes we have to get a bit uncomfortable to get back to a place of comfort. We also recommend listening to the Guilt Episode and The Guilt Episode Revisited (and this Monday’s podcast episode to understand another couple’s experience going through struggle.

  • Gently describe how you view the current state of our relationship?

  • Describe the relationship you think we are capable of having.

  • Close your eyes. Picture us at the point in our relationship you want us to be. What does that look like? What are we doing? What are our interactions like?

  • What is one action step I could take to help us get to that place?

  • What is one step you can take to help us get to that place?

  • What is one thought about our life right now that we view negatively, that we can "reframe" and practice "thoughtwork?"(see #3 above for examples).

  • What is one question to which you really feel like you need an answer from me in order to move forward? Can we discuss this in a calm way now, or is this something we should maybe revisit a little later?

  • What is the one thing you need to hear from me right now? What can I say to help ease your mind a bit?

If you find these questions to be helpful, you will love our Date Night Questions ebook, with twelve diverse topics, small bonding challenges, tips and strategies for communicating, and so much more!!

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