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Commitment and Conflict Resolution
In segment two of a two-part series on healthy relationships, we explore the role of commitment and conflict resolution in healthy relationships.
Questions answered in this episode:
- What is the role of commitment in good relationships?
- How do we improve our ability to resolve conflicts in romantic relationships?
Other topics discussed:
HOW DOES THE TYPICAL, UN-EVOLVED DUDE DEAL WITH COMMITMENT
- Holes in the fence
- Lusts after others
- In the short-term, to the decision that you love this person
- in the long-term: the decision to maintain that love.
- These two aspects of the decision/commitment component do not necessarily go together, in that one can decide to love someone without being committed to the love in the long-term, or one can be committed to a relationship without acknowledging that one loves the other person in the relationship.
DECIDE TO LOVE THEM
- They’ve probably changed
- Decide to be their person, always
- Me now vs. us always
DECIDE TO MAINTAIN IT
- Do the work
- Decide to stay
- Decide to be loyal
- Know where the pitfalls are
- Stay true
- Don’t jeopardize it with poor boundaries
HOW DOES THE TYPICAL DUDE FIGHT?
- Rolls eyes
- Complains about her crying
- Attack mode
- Passive aggression
In UFC, hockey, and even war there are rules
YOU HAVE TO FIGHT
- Avoidance of conflict: one of the greatest predictors of divorce
- Conflict IS intimacy
- You’ve never had a true friend if you didn’t have some squabbles
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
- Is now a good time?
- Take a time out if needed
STATE YOUR OWN FEELINGS WITH EMOTIONAL WORDS
- Our emotional vocab is so limited
- Know when to express frustration vs. annoyance vs.I feel _____
- _____ when _______ happens
- Try not to even say “YOU”
NO YELLING OR NAME CALLING
- In court, there is none of this, even though parties HIGHLY disagree.
- Why? Respect for the institution!
NO OLD STUFF
Bringing up the past is a weapon used to WIN
APOLOGIES and FORGIVENESS
- Apologize when you’re wrong
- But don’t demand one if they are
Mike Spurgin (00:05):
Guys. Suppose you’re in a relationship that isn’t working or certainly not as well as you would like it to. Maybe there isn’t enough of something, something he wants had something you don’t know exactly what it is that’s missing. You feel a growing emptiness and want to do what you can to salvage this thing and while it takes two willing parties to make a relationship work, we’re going to discuss some things today that might help you at least identify what may not be working and how you might make some adjustments to have a happier relationship than you do now and we’re going to present four critical elements to a happy partnership and what you might want to do to try to fix what isn’t working.
Brad Singletary (01:14):
Hi guys. Brad Singletary here with my buddy Mike Spurgin, taco Mike. We’re continuing the conversation from episode 52 this is part two of a series on the elements of a healthy relationship and the previous episode we talked about passion and intimacy and how to increase those for a healthier connection. Today we’re going to be talking about commitment and how to resolve conflict. Thanks for being with his brother. The next aspect of this from this triangular theory of love, dr Sternberg talks about his commitment, so we’ve got passion, which is the fun, the sexual arousal, the excitement in the relationship, intimacy, which is the emotional bond, the warmth and the and the connectedness, the feeling of connectedness. The last one is commitment. And here he’s talking about commitment as in the decision to love this person. This is a decision that you’re going to love this person and that you’re making the decision to maintain that.
Brad Singletary (02:14):
So it’s not just, I know he’s talking about commitment here is that the gate is closed and I’m not, you know, I’m not having relationships with other people. That’s a boundary issue, but it’s also a decision. When I first saw this, I think I saw this written as just commitment. I think he’s changed the language of it to now decision, decision slash commitment. That’s on the models that I’m seeing on on his website, which we’ll share, but decision to love this person. Is it that easy? Can you just make a decision? Are you just making a decision to continue to foster a healthy relationship? You’re deciding to maintain the connection that you have. Thoughts on that commitment? Yeah. I think that’s a super simple, basic building. Fundamental of every
Mike Spurgin (03:00):
Single thing in life. Every day I have to decide like what am I goals? What are my priorities? What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Am I recommitting every day to this job? I have a career I have to whatever it is that attitudes, beliefs like don’t, don’t I have to recommit to a lot of stuff all the time and don’t. I have a lot of pressures on that. Aren’t there a lot of reasons for me to get distracted and get annoyed and then get discouraged and then lose hope and faith in w in so many things that I’m invested in that I’ve, that I’ve decided to make commitments toward. Like, isn’t this a foundational building block to just being alpha, just being loyal. Like aren’t these all basic truths about what it is to be a man, what it is to provide care and stewardship over the things that I have committed to the people that I’ve committed to? One of the, one of the tragedies that I see in life is when dudes have affairs. When dudes step out on their women, especially when they find an attraction outside of marriage that is myopic. So like the do the, so it’s a dude who’s, who hooks up with a chick cause she’s hotter than his wife. She’s younger than his wife. She has physical care characteristics and attributes that are to, in his mind better than than his wife. That’s shit because he’s lost loyalty. He’s lost integrity. He has allowed himself to be.
Mike Spurgin (04:48):
And I understand, look, I mean it sounds like I want to, you know, take this guy out in the back and cut his heart out. And in some ways, yes I do, but in some ways I’m him too because there’s lots of ways in lots of instances when I [inaudible] I’m frustrated, I’m just, I’m just bombed, I’m frustrated, I’m pissed at whatever situation I’m in. And then I see something that seems more enticing, more exciting, more attractive, more whatever than the thing I’m, I’m eating my, I’m eating my sandwich, I meet my cold bologna sandwich with like slice, Velveeta cheese and then here’s some other homie over there eating something way good. I smell it, I see it. I want it like that’s completely normal and natural. That’s because I’m an animal. I’m very little more than just an animal. And so if I smell a better cut of steak that you’re cooking, I’d like a slice of that.
Mike Spurgin (05:44):
I’d like to get me a bite of that hundred percent normal, super natural. However, that’s not what I’m about. So for me to fall loyalty and integrity because of some of these like superficialities that’s, that’s so thin and flimsy. And to your point, every day I just need to wake up and I need to recommit to my life. The life I’ve chosen now there’s a whole nother conversation we should have. Maybe the life you’ve chosen needs to be heavily modified, heavily rethought, like there’s all kinds of things we might need to do. Decisions, read, decisions we need to make. So we’re not quite talking about that. We’re just talking about some of those basic things that you’re, you’re already there. Stay committed to what you’re already in. Does it need to be changed and modified? Probably. Who doesn’t have that life, but you’re on this train. It’s going down this track. [inaudible] Engineered the damn train, right? Keep the speed right. Watch the signals, do the right things.
Brad Singletary (06:51):
I love it. I, I think an alpha, you talked about what does an alpha do? He commits, he endures. He doesn’t give up easily. My parents had been married for 56 years. And I remember as a kid growing up, listening to their, what they talked about, cause I would see them fight. I mean there were some crazy crazy and I was like, Oh my gosh, I’m scared. I’m in the other room. I mean it’s kind of traumatizing murder, right? Serious. And they would just say, and you know, when I got old enough to ask questions, like, is everything okay or whatever. And they’re like, Oh yeah, we’re not divorcing. Like that’s, we’re not, we’ll never do that. And I can’t imagine that in 56 years you don’t go through some things that make you consider that. And I think that’s maybe the case for marriage in general.
Brad Singletary (07:34):
It’s just a piece of paper. Yes, I hear that a lot. Divorce is just another piece of paper, but it’s the commitment. And I think this, I love this part of the model because it’s about committing, making the decision that even though this person has probably changed, you know, you’ve been in a relationship with somebody for 10 years, this is a different human being than when you got married 10 years ago. Guaranteed, right? If you decide to be their person and you decide to take actions and to do things that are based on us always versus me now, that’s the kind of commitment that I think he’s talking about. I’m going to do things that are good for us always rather than for me. Now we’ve got to decide to maintain it. Do the work, decided to stay, be loyal, know where the pitfalls are, what kind of, we’ve talked about boundaries in the, in the last one of our, a couple shows ago, we talked about boundaries already, but in terms of commitment and where that gets fuzzy, what do you see where men start slipping? What’s the slippery slope of the boundaries with you know
Mike Spurgin (08:49):
How, how does a guy undermine in a road his commitment to his significant, yes. Yeah. So the ways that I’ve seen it and, and, and have, have had it told to me many, many times our guys who dance on the edge of the guard rail and they damn well know it. And so these are dudes who are going out to lunch with chicks in their office. These are dudes who are having long extended conversations that have have far and away long pushed past professional boundaries. Like, so talking to dudes. So this is, this is sort of like the thought of that a grown ass man knows when he’s out of bounds. He knows when he’s over the line, he knows when he is taking chances and pushing boundaries that are too far in a professional setting or even in a normal relational setting. So it doesn’t even have to be professional.
Mike Spurgin (09:52):
It could be the two neighbors who go out to the mailbox, they both see the mailman drive by and then they both go out to get the mail and they stand there at the mailbox and they chitchat and flirt while both of their spouses and families are in the house. That’s a weird example, but that’s what I’m talking about. So it doesn’t have to be on a w in a work setting. It can be in any setting. You know, some of us are in religions and some of us have interactions with other, with, with, with, so like partner groups. So like I’m in a men’s group and then we have overlap with this women’s group. And then once a week we got to get together and have a meeting and that seems all above board. But then we have these sidebar conversations or we text each other.
Mike Spurgin (10:36):
And so then then that’s out of bounds. And don’t tell me that you don’t know what the F those boundaries are. Nobody can look any other alpha in the eye and say, I didn’t, I didn’t know that that was that I was crossing these lines. So one of the things that happens that is chicken shit is when these dudes are doing this repeatedly and continually, cause it’s a fricking dopamine rush, such a hit, wholly hit, like you think all the other stuff that, that, that, that a dude can go down toward. You know, all the little exciting things. Gambling stealing like I’ve, I’ve stolen stuff. I’ve snuck, I remember being a teenager, this is, this is a crazy story. I remember being a teenager. This, I had a paper route. This is a weird, this weird diversion. Let me tell this real quick. I had, I had a paper out.
Mike Spurgin (11:34):
I was a teenager, I was probably 14, maybe 15 and a couple streets over. There was a guy who had this really cool in his garage. He’s an older dude and he had a like a slot car track set up on his, on some boards in his garage. And I would S and he would leave it open and I’m out delivering papers and I would see that. And for like two weeks I planned to the heist of like going in his garage and like stealing a car cause I could see what they were and they were really cool. And so for like two weeks I was just dopamine hit after hit when I think about it and the excitement of it. And then I pulled off the heist and then he came out total bus. Totally. They all went sideways. So there is a massive rush from doing and thinking about and planning and executing like the illegal and the stupid, it’s a real thing.
Mike Spurgin (12:26):
I was 14 that was my excuse, 36 year old dude. What’s your excuse? You know what I’m saying? Right. So there, there’s really no reason why any dude who is an, and here’s another, here’s something. This is a [inaudible] mental exercise that I use whenever I’m attracted to. And whenever I find myself being pulled to an attraction that I have no business being pulled toward, then I say in my head, that’s none of my business. It’s very, so it’s very natural and and, and, and acceptable for a dude, for his eyes to land on a chick. That is that. And she is attractive. That’s 100% normal and 100% natural. So that’s a decision point. Bam. I’m just been handed a DC my life, like I’m over here doing this, whatever. I’m painting a wall. Who knows what it is? I’m over here. My attention’s over here and then Badu over there.
Mike Spurgin (13:20):
Now my attention is all right there. It is now up to me to decide what to do with my attention and from that moment forward, and so what I do as a practice because I that’s not on my business. That’s none of your business. None of my business. She is none of my damn business. She’s somebody else’s business. She’s her husband’s business. She’s her father’s business like that, that girl, that woman, that person is not the property. I want to be clear about this. I’m not saying she’s somebody else’s property. She’s somebody else’s object. I’m saying she is none of my business. I’m not going home with her tonight. I didn’t. I didn’t come here with her. I’m not leaving with her. Those yoga pants have nothing to do with you. I have nothing to do with me. I don’t have any say in the trajectory of her life, nor should I and nor should I try to insert myself.
Mike Spurgin (14:08):
I know dudes. Here’s the thing. I know dudes who will go to the grocery store. They will troll the grocery store or target because they’re hoping to like see some chicken and aisle. They will. They will this, this is a scenario. Here’s a scenario. Some dude, he’s leaving work Texas. Why baby? I’ve got to get some blanket, you know, we need some detergent, whatever. Okay, I need, I need some of those tucks suppository, but what? Whatever. Okay, so it takes away, that seems pretty innocuous. I’m going to go to target and pick up the things you wanted me to do. Right? You get, you’ve got to list baby. You could give me a things or he’ll like solicit here. Like, babe, I’m going to go to target tonight. What do you wait, what do we need? Okay, so a list seems all super above board.
Mike Spurgin (14:45):
He’s going there because in aisle seven hopefully he sees that yoga chick. Okay. And then so he is trolling, dude, that’s fricking, that’s how to bounce. So he hopes it and I’ll seven there’s the yoga chick yoga pants chick. Now he’s going to go down there. He’s gonna. Oh, so then what? He’ll do, Oh, dopamine’s up. He siren seven. So he’s going to roll past. Maybe he’ll get a chance to catch her in another aisle, whatever. She’s over there looking at the thing and then he’s going to like cruise down the aisle. Maybe like ask her a question, try to get that interaction. Try to all these head games, head frickin games. This is all fantasy level stuff. This dude’s trying to escape and Dodge out of his life cause he’s like, he’s bored in his life. He feels trapped on fulfill whatever. He’s got all these King baby.
Mike Spurgin (15:33):
I love your King baby. He’s a King baby and he just wants to get a little dopamine. He wants a rush. She wants to get out of his head. And so he’s doing it and all. And so that’s like one way. Another way is some dude with porn on his phone, porn on his computer. He’s chatting up Craigslist. There’s 10,000 ways, 10,000 ways that a dude is slicing him, slicing off his hand, a little, a little cut at a time. He’s diminishing. His power is diminishing as authorities, diminishing has his presence and his own life. He’s weakening himself all of these things. This is, this is, this is scary level, high level stuff. What are you seeing out there?
Brad Singletary (16:13):
Exactly what you’re talking about. I love, in the last episode you talked about cotton candy and that, you know, that’s just fake food and so he thinks he’s meeting a need. He thinks he’s like, this feels good to him. So he pursues it and he feels like, and this is where I’m talking about all the other alpha stuff out there, how to, how to get laid, how to have sex with multiple women every week and all this kind of stuff that is just complete garbage to me. I can’t even, I hope we are never associated with that kind of like masculinity thinking that’s just, that’s totally not where we’re going with it. But I think men do that. They, they are, they’re chasing down. I’ve been there myself, you know, we’re all, we all kind of have these, these things wired into us. We’re visually stimulated.
Brad Singletary (16:56):
It starts with that and then, and then we have to, we have to, you know, guard. You’d be said make the decision about what this means to me. I see the hot girl, she’s my type. She’s in my age range. I don’t see a ring on her face. We’re just always assessing like the, the visible information. Somebody said one time, I love this. This is my little thing. A bird can land on your head, but you don’t have to let it build a nest. The thing may come to you, the thought may come, you just don’t have to let it stay and so to be aware of it, what I heard and what you were saying there, Mike, is that you’re aware of it. You might even say, wow, she’s hot. None of my business, I don’t know if you say that to yourself or not, but you acknowledge I’m having the thought.
Brad Singletary (17:37):
I’m seeing this person as attractive. I’m seeing that as some threat or some enticing, you know, this is something something in me may want to pursue, but it’s none of business. You’re deciding to stay committed. We’re talking about staying, keeping committed in a relationship, not flow, not ride the, the wagon all the way to the edge of the cliff to see just how close you can get. And so these opportunities do come up everywhere where men are self-medicating, you talked about escaping their lives, they’re trying to, they’re trying to find some excitement or fulfillment there. They want to feel passion
Mike Spurgin (18:18):
And they also might want to have
Speaker 5 (18:22):
Mike Spurgin (18:24):
We’re all chasing love. All behavior really at its fundamental core is me chasing love me seeking the reciprocation of love and still be significant. We want to feel significant, feel loved, important and noticed. And if I can get this hot chick who’s clearly, you know, none of my business to engage me and pay attention to me in the Kleenex aisle, then I can see I could take that and then use that for the next week or two to two to self medicate. And so that is exposing just a dramatic and diabolical wound that I have. There’s an injury like, like I’m grabbing at that moment in that interaction to like plug this bullet hole inside of me. And so it just really is exposing these huge holes that I have in me. These are, and these are all symptoms, these are all symptoms. So all my bad behavior, I go to the bar, I, I, you know, like it’s a work trip.
Mike Spurgin (19:33):
Ah, there’s, so we could spend, you know what we should do, we, we could do a whole show with these scenarios. The dude who goes on these work trips, you know, I’m a, I’m a tax attorney and I got this client out of town. I got to go do a deposition on this thing. I got to take a statement, whatever. So baby I got to go to like Philadelphia for three days, whatever. And in Philadelphia I got a whole circuit man. I got certain strip clubs I go to. I know what time, I know it’s what’s Jammin did all of these scenarios, they all play out over and over. Like there’s so many of us who fall into these same patterns and same pitfalls. And it’s, it’s just we’re looking for significance. We’re looking to be validated. We’re looking to have somebody pay attention to us cause we don’t feel like we get at home like these that we could just continually play scenarios over and over and over. And these are all just symptoms. Nothing more than symptoms that, that, that, that I’m broke, I’m broken down and I’m looking for validation and affirmation and in fool’s gold it’s cotton candy.
Brad Singletary (20:39):
I want to do a show on, we’re talking about commitment in relationships. I want, and you’re, you’re saying that so much of this has to do with the commitment to yourself, your own growth, your own self awareness. Like I, I would like to do a show in the future about how to have a relationship with yourself. You know, how to, because if that’s the core of all this, if all of this, if all of these problems that we get into all these failures and relationships and whatever out X outside of us, these external connections, they’re really failing because of some problem that we have in our, in our relationship to ourselves. We should do that. I want to, I want to do that sometime. Okay. Write it up. So last question here is how do we improve our ability to resolve conflicts? We talked about these are four elements that make a healthy relationship, passion, intimacy, commitment, and now I’m adding two to this guy’s model. The ability to resolve conflicts. So how does a typical dude fight if, if this is something that we need to improve on? What is the typical jerk out there doing when tension arises or conflict arises in their and their relationships? How are guys typically fighting? What do you see? Mike dirty. Fighting. Dirty. Okay. How do they do that with a woman?
Mike Spurgin (21:53):
I know guys who you know, the gaslighting gaslighting is a classic one. Explain that to us. Give us like the clinical rundown
Brad Singletary (22:06):
Gaslighting. It comes from a movie from, I don’t even know when it was, but I think it was a black and white movie. So before we had color TV, gas lighting was a movie. And basically the idea of gaslighting is that we make the other person feel crazy for them. They may understand what we’re doing, but we’re kind of flipping it and where it’s a manipulative form of manipulation where we make them feel crazy for doing that. Why would you say that? You know, even bringing it up, why would you even bring that up? How could you even think such a thing? You know, and that’s just, you’re being a little bit paranoid. That’s gaslighting and ugliness. I’ve had that happen to me before and it will, it will really, it really kind of EFS your mind up a little bit. It definitely destroys a relationship. So gaslighting, dirty, dirty fighting, you know, I think there’s all kinds of things that are passive aggression. Guys are like rolling their eyes and they’re not respecting tears. We’ve talked about that already.
Mike Spurgin (23:04):
They’re going all silent and like avoiding. Yup.
Brad Singletary (23:07):
Pouting. I loved you talked about that in one of the previous shows about pouting as manipulation because you’re punishing the person for whatever they did that you didn’t like. I’ve been, you taught me on that one. That’s something I’ve been really thinking about.
Mike Spurgin (23:19):
Yeah. Powder is really just a master manipulator. So these are all just cop outs, right? What w how K, how does an alpha then deal? How does it dude who is self-aware and is okay in his own skin? How does he handle something when his, when his, when his partner brings him some data points, some pieces of information that needs to be addressed. How does an alpha then handle that? I think he’s understanding
Brad Singletary (23:46):
His own emotional response. He’s not, he doesn’t feel like his worth as a person is hindering on this relationship because she’s pissed cause he didn’t take the garbage out this morning and now we’re going to have stinky garbage in the garage all week. He’s not threatened by that. He’s, he, he doesn’t you know, he’s not being shaken to his core every time she cries or is upset or goes off. And one of our shows in the past, Derek was talking about how it, yes, sometimes they come at you like the Terminator, but he understands that conflict is part of, is part of intimacy. You know, when one of the number one predictors of divorce is the avoidance, the absence of conflict. I had I was married for 13 years and there wasn’t a lot of conflict and it represented, I think a disconnection in and the, and the emotional ties to, but anyway, so how does it, how does an alpha handle conflict?
Brad Singletary (24:42):
First of all, he fights fairly. If you think about like UMC, I’m not a TUF Sam, what I say, UFC, UFC, the UFC. UFC fighting cage. Yeah. Yeah. The MMA stuff or there, it tried to beat each other’s faces and there’s blood often and things like that. But still there are rules or hockey’s a pretty brutal sport. There are rules. Even in war, there are some rules. There are some fair things you do, you know, I don’t know what they are. Don’t shoot him in the back. I don’t know what those things are, but I’m basically an alpha knows how to ride through the emotions that come with conflict. And first of all, he’s, he’s not gonna forfeit the game. He’s not going to not show up to the fight he’s going to, he’s going to get in the ring and put, put himself in the position to contend.
Brad Singletary (25:29):
I was listening to a Jordan Peterson podcast or one of his, maybe a book chapter recently where he talked about, I want someone who can contend with me. He was talking about his wife. He wants to fight with her. He doesn’t want somebody to just kind of laid it all over and take, yeah. Let him have his way. I think too many men are that way. They think they have to be the nice guy and they think they just have to conform and comply and that kind of thing. That’s not good at all. So he’s aware of his feelings. He’s not threatened, you know, as security as a man. His worth as a man isn’t threatened because she’s dealing with something emotional. And he gets in the ring and he, he has the fight, but he does. So with some restraint, you know, we talked some of these principles we talked about in the episode on boundaries about, you know, is this a good time? If now’s not the time you’re falling asleep, this is probably not the right time to bring up the heaviest thing that’s going on or or it’s a bad time for you. So appointment, it’s gotta be the right time to have those conversations. What else might, what do you got in mind about resolving conflict in a healthy way to keep a healthy? There
Mike Spurgin (26:44):
Was a time where my wife and I were having very, very difficult. We’re in, we’re in hard straights and the, the shrink that I was going to, great, great lady, Valerie demic here in Vegas taught me something that, that like transformed how I sort of interacted with somebody in my wife in this instance. But then I’ve used it over and over and it’s how to, how to receive that criticism, how to receive. And it may not even be criticism, how to receive somebody else’s feelings and then process it and then, and then re re re reengage after that. So there were some basic, basic things that I needed to like figure out and then some resources, some tools. And so one of the things that I used to do is when somebody would like bring to me this piece of information that I had this cognitive dissonance over.
Mike Spurgin (27:32):
So cognitive decision dissonance is where my, my, my analytical mind is spiraling. I’m spinning out cause I’m like being presented with this fact that that can’t be so like it just cannot be true. And then I just want to shut down. I just want to like, I want to reject or implode or like avoid or whatever. Like my brain just doesn’t have the bandwidth to process this, so I’m just going to try to like avoid or I just don’t know how to, I guess that’s the simple way to say it is like my brain just doesn’t even know what to do with this. So when I would be presented with something that just rocked me I probably would, would trip into any one of these things in my mind probably go to was probably just like shutdown, avoid, shutdown. I remember times where my brain just felt like it was in lock up, you know?
Mike Spurgin (28:28):
Have you ever met? It’s funny, my wife today, her phone would like lock locked up. It wouldn’t respond. Yeah, freeze up. And I remember probably just being deer in the headlights because I just wasn’t able to sort of comprehend that I was really this piece of garbage and I use that as an extreme sort of way to say that, but like here or this person is like observing me and I’m terrible at whatever it is that they’re sort of bringing to me. But I think my shit don’t stink to I, I’m the last person to realize that I’m an idiot at this thing. But everyone else has seen it and I just cannot process it. And so when it’s finally like, it’s now to the point where it’s critical mass, like there’s no other, I can no longer pretend I can no longer just deny that that’s the truth.
Mike Spurgin (29:14):
Like shit, it is really freaking true that I am X, Y, Z. That’s when my brain would just like wrong. And Valerie, one time when I was talking to her, we were talking about this exact thing and she said she’s had people pass out. Wow. Faint out, just like stroke out or fall asleep. And I guess that’s kind of the same thing but like just sort of like their head tilt and they’re just like, they shut down. And so for me it was like during the headlights, so blah. Okay, now what, what I learned was Oh. And then something else I would always do is then I would listen to them with the a hundred percent intent of like refuting and rebutting and then I would interrupt interrupting. So I would interrupt and then I would counter and I just waited for you to say something that was factually inaccurate to even one level.
Mike Spurgin (30:08):
Like let’s say you, you just laid out 10 things and, and nine of them are bang on and then there’s that one. That’s it. There’s a data point in that one that I can refute. That’s all I heard. Latch on to that and run the other way with it. And then I’m just going to zing that and drill that. So what I learned was right so I used to, I used to have a notepad and sometimes when I’m on a complicated conversation with somebody I’ll just write down and so I don’t interrupt cause I’ll write down if there is something that I feel like is important enough to redress, then I’ll take, I’ll just kind of write down some notes. I try to, and I let the other personnel, I’m doing this, I tried to not make it be too much of a distraction, jot down some notes and then as you get to the end of their piece you can also ask them, is there anything else I really want to make sure that we’ve covered this.
Mike Spurgin (31:01):
This is an important topic to me. Like I can clearly see it’s an important topic. Do you, can you think of anything else? Give them a little palette cleanse, a little pause where they could be like, Oh shit, no, there’s five more things. Okay, that’s fine. Can I have those too? And so is there anything else? Do you want to, do you want to add anything else to this thing that we’re talking about now? Okay, fine. You’re done. All right, good. And then, so when I review my notes, it turns out that maybe a couple of those things that in the moment I really wanted to bounce on and hit and drill. Now I kind of look at it, nah, it’s not even worth it. And so I might cross out a couple of those and then the one or two or three or four and 50 or whatever that really should be addressed really matter.
Mike Spurgin (31:40):
Now we can, now I can sort of bring those back and I didn’t interrupt, which didn’t elevate the interaction, it didn’t piss them off. So there’s all kinds of ways that you can really learn how to be a good conversationalist, how to, how to receive information, how to process it, and how to give it back. These are fricking life skills that will help you in business and negotiate contract negotiations, interpersonal relationships. So some of this stuff we talk about, it’s like spousal relationship, dude, why don’t you level up? Why don’t you get, why don’t you up your gamesmanship in all the ways that your life interacts with somebody else’s life and, and like alpha up in everything. Be able to take a punch, take a PO. Yes, Brad. Yes. Well, well said. Freaking learn how to take a punch and then stay on your feet. Don’t just collapse into a baby every time somebody gets a good one, a right hook connects and then you collapse. It’ll go into attack mode yourself. I like how you that all the ways that
Brad Singletary (32:40):
You would kinda counter and come back and try to defend and, and not re you’re not receiving it. And I like how you described that Mike. I can just picture you. I’ve seen you do that before. Maybe you were upset with me and you were taking notes down about what were you going to say after our conversation. But
Mike Spurgin (32:55):
Have you ever watched a video of two cats fighting? They’re just, they’re just paused every which way. Like there’s no grace to it and there’s, there’s no thoughtfulness to it. But then you watch a very, a very skilled set of boxers and they take, what a great analogy, what a great visualization. They know when to throw a punch, they know when to take a punch and they’re understanding the rules of the conflict and engagement. And it’s a beautiful thing. Like professional boxing is like this graceful thing. Yes, it’s violent and, and, and barbarian of course. But it’s beauty. It’s the thing of beauty. It’s amazing.
Brad Singletary (33:26):
Yeah. No hitting below the bell, you know, and there’s, there’s, there, there are boundaries and rules. The timer ends the bus, you know, when the bell rings, you stop this round and there’s so many things that go along with that. I love some of the rules that I encourage people to use is just don’t talk about old stuff. If, if there’s, if there are fights you still need to have, maybe you go ahead and have those. But then in the future, if it’s over more than 24 hours old or you know, you, you decide with your partner what the rule of thumb is on that. But old stuff is just usually a weapon that you’re trying to get one up. It’s one up and ship on that. Also apologies and forgiveness. This is something that I have struggled with and have really been working through this over the last few years.
Brad Singletary (34:12):
But I’m a person who really respect apologies and I feel like without an apology, in fact, I even used to teach my clients, Oh, if there’s one of you who can’t apologize, that’s a toxic person and I, I’ve changed, I’m changing my tune on that a little bit. I think that as the offender, if we’ve done the wrong, I think we have a duty, I think an alpha can’t apologize. He can acknowledge and accept. He can promptly admit when he is wrong, right? But as if you’re, if you’ve been hurt and you’re the one, I think to demand an apology, it’s a waste of time. I think it’s a waste of time to sit around and be upset that they haven’t apologized yet. They haven’t come to you and laid it out and really fallen on their sword and whatever. And I think that if you’re the bad guy, you better own it.
Brad Singletary (35:04):
You better go to it. You better make amends as soon as possible. But don’t be, don’t be upset when the other person hasn’t done that. Just I guess a kind of a mild example of something that may happen in my relationship. My wife’s not big on apologies and I was for the longest time, hurt by that, but she’s always coming back to me. Sometimes it’s with food. You notice I’m putting on weight with this with this corn teen here. She’s cooking up a store. Man, I had to buy gas X on the way in the, I’m weird cause I’ve been eating all day anyway. She will come to me and kind of make amends in a way. That is, it’s, it’s not, she may not say the words be with words. It may not be with words. It may not be, I’m sorry, but she’s coming to me and reconnecting with me and giving me some love after this thing has happened.
Brad Singletary (35:58):
It’s, it took me understanding that it took me adapting to the reality rather than demanding it fit my look this way, my template. Anyway, so I just think if you’re the bad person who’s done the bad thing and you’ve pissed the other person off or whatever happened, you need to apologize. But don’t as the receiver of that as someone who may feel you’re deserving of that. Don’t sit around and be upset if they don’t. You’re just gonna. You’re just going to frustrate yourself. And then something that Mike has taught me so much is that you need to be, ha, you need to have a spirit of forgiveness in your relationship. And maybe you can close us out with that thought about forgiveness. And you know, if we’re if this is a way, if conflict conflict is going to happen, what’s the role of forgiveness in resolving that?
Mike Spurgin (36:53):
Maybe my final statement would be the reality of any relationship is you’re a jacked up, broken down three wheeled car scraping down the highway with sparks coming out the back, going from crashing from guardrail to guardrail, just barely keeping it on the road. That’s most of us and we’re married to that exact same thing. She’s that way too. She’s that way too. So here are these two cars just like careening and crashing and smashing down the down the down the highway and it’s a hot mess on every level. Both sides too. For me to think that that I’m not doing things that exacerbate her brokenness and vice versa is delusional and, and completely irrational and definitely from dude to dude, not alpha. When I don’t, when I don’t understand and accept the fact that I’m a contributor to the dysfunction in my life, that that I’m the common denominator. Here’s something that somebody taught me a long time ago. I run through life and I, and I think everybody else is the problem. Maybe Derek taught me this. I think Derek really kind of set this for me is like I’m the common denominator. All of my bad dealings and all the people that are garbage and idiots who do, they all know me.
Mike Spurgin (38:22):
So it just takes a huge gulp of reality to understand that all of this kind of starts and ends with me. And if I’m not forgiving, then I’m resentful and, and there’s no change. Nothing’s going to change. So I’ll, I’ll, I’ll S final this is my final statement and then I’m, and then I’m done because I think everything ends in forgiveness. Everything finishes out with forgiveness, unconditional love and tolerance. And then coming back and then forgiving again and forgiving again and again and again again. And that’s how I choose to stay alive. Because if I don’t forgive, then I don’t want to live. I don’t see any purpose to it. I don’t see any reason to continue to get beat up over and over. Cause life beats relentlessly beats you up. Beats me up every day. Every moment is just another confrontation and other assault.
Mike Spurgin (39:33):
And so without forgiveness, there’s really no reason to just try to make these, you know, we’ve talked at the front end. So to circle back, we talked about commitment and deciding, well, why would I decide to try another day when it’s just been more gut punches and more, you know, car crashes. Forgiveness gives me the power to re-engage because this’ll be another show, but I’m still married because of forgiveness, because my wife’s forgiveness. To me, there’s so many things in my life that I owe other people’s forgiveness for towards me. I remember, this is a funny thought. Now I’m going to end with this. When I was like 14, maybe 15, we had a car, happened to be a Volkswagen bus and we had replaced that vehicle with another car. And that bus didn’t go anywhere. It just kind of sat. And so I was really clever and thought that I had this pulling a fast one.
Mike Spurgin (40:37):
I would go and I would drive that thing. So dad would be gone, mom, they’d be gone, whatever the keys are right there. And I would go drive that car. I would drive that bus. And then one day I was at a parking lot around the corner from our house. I now remember I’m fifth, maybe 14 or 15 and so for whatever reason I thought it’d be cool to see how fast this thing could go backwards. And if I could kinda like do this little backwards spin out thing or whatever. But anyway, I backed into a tree and I dented the bumper. And so I brought it home and I, and it was parked on the street and I took a bottle and I smashed it and I put it on the ground as if, and so my story was that the, the ups guy, and I saw this, so my story was I saw this happen, the ups guy was doing a U-turn in the street and then he hit it and the glass was the headlight from, it was like a spaghetti sauce bottle and, and so the glasses on the ground and it was the headlight that was the headlight of the ups guy.
Mike Spurgin (41:31):
And then he didn’t stop and he took off and it was the ups guy cause we whatever. So that was my story. And my dad knew it was shit. It was so obvious there was probably still tree bark on the thing. The little dent was like perfectly round from a tree. And then it was clear that the glass was from a Ragu bottle. Like none of this made any sense. None of it added up. He did not get mad. He did not go crazy. He didn’t trip out. He looked at me as if to say you’re a dummy and I, and I totally know what happened here, but he did not lose it, didn’t punish me, didn’t berate me, you know, all the things that he should have done. Instead he said, well, this is unfortunate. It needs to be fixed. You need to fix it.
Mike Spurgin (42:27):
And so we fixed it together and we went to a junk yard and we got another bumper and we did this thing and together he and I fixed that car. He forgave me for my stupidity. He forgave me. And so I use forgiveness that I’ve been extended. The forgiveness that I’ve been extended in my life is an, is sufficient to me to keep me here and other day and to then to, to charge me and convict me to offer that forgiveness to everyone else for everything else repeatedly and continually and unendingly. And if that ever stopped, if I, for whatever reason, decided to turn that switch off, then for me it would be, I don’t know. It’d be lights out. I guess so that’s my piece.
Brad Singletary (43:14):
Mike, you’ve just brought us home, man. I just, I’m blown away by the things that you’ve learned, how you, how this stuff heats up. These conversations just kind of warm up into this beautiful. One of our little thing on the alpha shots is a, this is wisdom, not whiskey and I just believe that you are a person who’s lived in such a way that you’ve, all you’ve wanted to do is learn from these experiences and figure out how to do it better the next time you’re a gardener. We started with that, talking about the kind of the law of the harvest. And if I don’t, if, if the things didn’t turn out right, what, what do I, how do I change it? That I plan it too early, too late, too much water, not enough water. The pH is this, does this need fertilizer that I have?
Brad Singletary (43:59):
Did I over fertilize this thing? There are so many things that we can influence in our relationships when it comes to passion, the intimacy, the level of commitment and the way that we resolve conflict. And I had just as I’ve watched you man, like I don’t know I, I’m a, I’m a fan, but as I’ve watched you over the years appreciate learning from you and how you share that with these dudes here, here at all the time that what you are, that what we are doing here is meaningful. [inaudible] It’s so good. And I, as I think about our growth mine in your stories, I think we’ve been able to do it because of the men around us. So that’s each other. It’s other men, other situations that we’ve been in friendships. And that’s what I want to just end with here is encouraging you to, you want to prove your relationship, get some men in your life, get a tribe who are, you know, capable, intelligent people who are trying to be, who can be their best.
Brad Singletary (44:59):
You want people around you who are already where you’re, where you’re looking to be. So appreciate you being with us tonight. We know our show went a little longer than we we thought it might, but we’ve decided that we’re not gonna run by any timeframes. We’re just going to say what needs to be said and ended there. So, Hey, we are, we find that most of our listeners are coming through iTunes. So we’re asking you to leave a rating and review there. Follow us on Instagram. Our handle is at alpha quorum like us on Facebook. Share feedback wherever you, wherever you can, where if you know Mike or myself, our phone numbers through social media, we’d love to just hear what it is that you, how you see our show, and what do you think it is that we can improve. We appreciate you being with us. Men change their lives by working with the tribe of men to improve their actions, attitudes, and attributes.
Speaker 2 (46:00):
Gentlemen, you are the alpha, and this is the alpha Corum.