Episode 12: Your Familiar Discomfort

by | Last updated: Aug 28, 2023 | Podcast

When you’re trying to decide whether to stay or go in a loveless marriage, fear can be paralyzing – fear that you’ll hurt your husband, fear that you’ll end up in an even more painful situation, fear that you’ll make the wrong decision and regret it.

In this episode, I teach you how to get the missing information you need to make the right decision about your marriage – one you’re completely confident you won’t regret. You’ll learn how to overcome your fears so you can break free from this place of confusion and heartbreak and finally take real steps toward happiness.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • What paralyzes us from deciding whether to stay or go in a loveless marriage
  • If you’re stuck in indecision, it’s probably because you’re missing this one thing… here’s how to get it
  • The truth about the fear you’re facing (and how to take action despite it, even if you can’t get rid of it)
  • What being “ready” to make a decision about your marriage actually feels like
  • Just how many people struggle with indecision (including real numbers from my clientele) (trust me… you’re NOT alone!)

Featured On The Show:

Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage? Book a Truth & Clarity Session.

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If you have a suggestion for a future episode or a question you’d like me to answer on the show, email us.

Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you’re serious about finding that answer?

Book a Truth & Clarity Session with a member of my team. We’ll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there’s a fit for you and I to work together so you can make - and execute - the RIGHT decision for YOU and your marriage.

“Welcome to The Loving Truth podcast, where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now, your host, relationship expert and certified master life coach: Sharon Pope.

“Hello, loves. This is Sharon Pope, and this is The Loving Truth. I wanna talk to you today about your familiar discomfort.

“You see, sometimes the discomfort that we feel in life can become so familiar to us that it almost becomes a bit comfortable. It's like living in a pain that you've come to know. And I think that sometimes that's the way that it is when you're in indecision about your marriage, because being in indecision is not comfortable. There's nothing comfortable about a lack of clarity of whether you're going to stay or go.

“But I wanna explain something to you. So think about it. If you think your options are A and B - A: I have to stay and endure what is essentially a bad marriage, a loveless marriage, a disconnected marriage, whatever, however you describe your marriage, I have to stay and endure, is option A - or B: blow up my life and end my marriage. Well, both of those feel horrible. They feel like horrible options.

“So instead, what ends up happening is that you stay stuck in this middle place of indecision. I don't know if I'm gonna stay, I don't know if I'm gonna go, because that feels better than the unknowns of what would happen if I actually tried to really get equipped with real relationship tools and fix my marriage. And then what if it worked? What if it didn't work? What if I left the marriage? What's on the other side of that, like the unknowns is what paralyzes us from taking a step in any one direction.

“But when we don't take any steps in any direction, we just remain stuck. We remain stuck in this place of indecision. And that's why I always say there are more options. There are option C and D. Option C is, I'm gonna really get equipped with some relationship tools and I'm gonna give it my very best effort. And option D is, I'm going to make peace with the decision to end my marriage, and I'm going to navigate that in the most loving and peaceful way possible.

“Those are at least more inviting options that might invite you to take a step forward. I always say if you're an indecision, it means you don't yet have enough information. And so how do you get more information? You have to take a step forward in some new direction.

“Now, I wanna share with you some numbers about my business because I want you to know if you have been stuck in a decision for a long time, you are not alone. As a matter of fact, you're way more, you're normal; it's so much more likely there are so many more people out there like you than those people that are able to come to a decision and walk through that decision very quickly.

“Okay, so I'm not telling you this to tell you all the details about my business cuz I think you care about my business. I don't, but I want you to know that you're not alone. So in an average week, there are about two hundred people who will fill out one of my applications and they all have some version of a very similar story about how their marriage is struggling and where they're at in that struggle.

“And most of it's a place of confusion and indecision. There are about twenty to twenty-five people a week that will schedule, confirm, and show up to an appointment. So from two hundred people who raised their hand and said, I'm really struggling, twenty-five of them will show up to a call with a member of my team to explore whether or not there's a fit for us to work together.

“And then five to seven of them will say, ‘Yeah, I'm ready to do something about it, and I think that this is the best next step forward for me.’ So think about that two hundred people a week to five to seven that'll say, ‘Yeah, I'm ready to move forward in some direction.’ So if you haven't taken action, I don't want you to feel bad about that.

“I want you to realize that it's the unknown, and the fear of the unknown is greater. At least it has been greater than the discomfort that you've been existing in. Okay? And this is just human nature. This is just how human beings are. We do not like being uncomfortable. We really like the warm and cozy of our comfort zones, don't we? Right?

“So more people are likely to remain in their comfort zone or something that feels familiar to them than they are to move into something that is unknown because unknown equals scary. Now why is that important? So this is not new news or a fact that you've never read before. So there is a part of your brain called the reptilian brain or the brain stem. You can hear it referred to as multiple things, but essentially it's where fight or flight lives in your brain. And so it was super helpful to us when we had to hunt for our own food and things like that. We needed that fear mechanism, but we don't need it anymore.

“And so what that part of our brain does is that whenever we're headed into something that feels unfamiliar, it's going to send us messages all day long about all the terrible things that could happen and why you should really just, you know what? Just keep doing what you're doing. It's fine that your marriage doesn't feel good. It's way scarier over here. You know what? It'll really destroy the family. It'll destroy him. What if you're alone forever? What if your kids never speak to you again? Or what if your kids have to endure some hardships? What if?

“It gives you all those what-ifs coming from that part of the brain, the reptilian brain, and we all have it and there is no off switch, but I tell you that so that you don't feel like there's something wrong with you. There's not something wrong with you. Nothing has gone wrong. You just have never gotten equipped with how to work with that part of your brain so that you can navigate fear, so that you can allow fear to be present and still take steps forward so that you don't remain stuck for the entirety of your life all out of fear, right?

“So facing the new and the unknown can feel scarier than existing in a pain that we've come to be way too comfortable with. And you know, I am not someone who thinks that life is random, but I think a lot of people think that way. Like that good things just happen or bad things just happen and it's all just random. I mean, I am a believer that life is happening through me, not to me, but let's say it is just for argument's sake.

“Let's say that fifty percent of the time things are going to happen in my life that I would put in the good bucket in that column. And fifty percent of the time there's gonna be things that I wouldn't want to transpire in my life, and they're there and they're present, okay? So even if that's true, worst case scenario, you got a fifty-fifty shot that if you move forward in any direction, that your life could be better, that the outcome could be better, that your emotional health and well-being and how you feel could be better. It's at least a fifty percent chance that it could be better than it is today as opposed to worse. But that part of your brain is only gonna tell you the downside of that equation about how it's very scary and it's definitely gonna be worse than it is today.

“And that's why you should stay right where you are doing exactly what you're doing and just stay stuck because the alternative… we don't wanna face that. So here's the thing, we say that we want an answer to our marriage, to our indecision, that we can make peace with. But really if you think about it, when you come to an answer like, let's say trying again in your marriage, like really leaning into it and giving it your very best, equipped and supported with real relationship tools - that can feel scary, right? Like even just trying again can feel scary - trying again and it not working or it not working the first time or the second time or something like that. Like what if it just is an epic failure? That can feel scary. And then of course ending a marriage - that is always going to feel scary.

“So there is no path where fear is not going to be present. I think sometimes we stay in indecision, we stay stuck there waiting for there to be a moment where fear isn't present. And I just have never seen that exist. I think fear is always going to be present no matter what it is that you're reaching for or trying to do that feels new.

“And so if you can start to wrap your mind around the clarity piece - [that] is one piece of it, but to get to clarity, to get to more information so I can make a decision that I can feel at peace with, then I'm going to have to take some step in some direction at some point to get more information.

“My mentor, Martha Beck, has a fun little game that she plays. She calls it the ‘warmer, colder’ game, right? You probably remember this from when you were a kid or maybe your kids play it with you, where they hid an object. And then as you would move closer to finding that object, they would say, ‘You're getting warmer. You're getting warmer.’ And then as you would step away or you would be moving further away from the object that they hid, they would say, ‘You're getting colder.’ And they would do that all the way up until you found the object, sort of like hide and seek.

“But it's the ‘warmer, colder’ game. And you can do that same thing as you are navigating the path to clarity. You take a step in one direction - does it feel warmer or colder? If it's colder, pump the brakes, back it up, take a step in a different direction. If you take a step and it feels warmer, take another step in that same direction. This isn't about going from a place of complete indecision to a place of absolute clarity. It doesn't work that way.

“But you can get there. You can get anywhere just taking one step at a time, just taking one new step and learning something and then taking another step in learning something. And eventually you learn, can this relationship evolve to a place that feels good for both of you or not? And if you really try and you take those brave steps and it still doesn't work, then you do have an answer that you can make peace with.

“So I don't think that our discomfort is something to make us stop or abandon our dreams and desires for ourselves. I think it's life sort of calling you forward and asking you to meet it where it is. And yes, it will require something of you and it won't feel comfortable. And fear will probably be right there riding shotgun with you. But that doesn't mean that you can't move forward. It doesn't mean you can't start taking small, baby, actionable steps.

“So the reason I brought this up is because I genuinely wanted you to know that you're normal. There's nothing wrong with you; nothing's gone wrong. All the systems are actually working exactly as they should. But like anything, when we become conscious of something, then we have the opportunity to say, ‘Is it working for me that I'm letting fear hold me back? And I've gotten a little bit too comfortable in my discomfort because this isn't how I want to live, but I just haven't been willing to walk through the unknown of it in order to get to the other side, to a better feeling place.’

“Now that you're conscious of it, now you can make some logical decisions for yourself on whether it's working for you or it's not. But when it's unconscious to you and you're not even aware how fearful we are of the unknown that we're willing to remain in a lot of discomfort, then we can't do anything about it because it's just sort of background music that's playing and we have no control over it.

“So I bring it up so that you can become conscious to it, and so that then you can make some very intentional choices for yourself about where you're at and whether or not you are ready to really move out of indecision so that you can come to clarity for yourself.

“All right, I hope that this was helpful for you. I will see you next week. And until then, please take really good care.

“If you're listening to this podcast because you're struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you're serious about finding that answer, it's time to book a Truth and Clarity session with a member of my team. On the call, we'll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there's a fit for you and me to work together so you can make and execute the right decision for you and your marriage.”

“Go to clarityformymarriage.com to fill out an application now. That's clarityformymarriage.com.”