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show up

You HAVE To SHOW UP!: Immutable Law of Marriage
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Immutable Law of Marriage:  You Have To Show Up!The body is there, but nobody’s home.  That would describe many people when their spouse is talking.  Or even when they are making love.

The shell is there.  The person?  Not so much.  They are failing to “Show Up.”  And they are violating an Immutable Law of Marriage.  If you keep failing to show up, eventually, there will be no relationship to show up for!

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who forgot to show up?  That hollow look, the lack of emotional connection, those missed facts.  It doesn’t feel too good, does it?

Which raises the question:  How often do WE fail to Show Up?  I’m afraid I miss it more than I want.  But can we show up MORE?


Let’s talk about how.

And if you have missed the other episodes from the Immutable Laws Of Marriage Series, here they are:

Immutable Laws Of Marriage Series
#1 Marriage Is About Becoming A WE
#2 Marriage Is NOT A Vehicle for Happiness (Or Misery)
#3 We ALL Have Fear
#4 There Is NO Pause
#5 Connection Is The Lifeblood
#6 The Goal Of Conflict Is Progress
#7 Love Is What You Do
#8 Look For The Best In Your Spouse

11 Things Happy Couples Do Differently: Connection (part 2)
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Success leaves a trail.  If you want more of something, take a look at those who have what you want.

In this podcast series, we are examining what happy couples do differently than other couples.

Last week, we looked at how happy couples deal with conflict differently.

This week, we examine five ways happy couples connect differently than other couples.

Connection is the lifeblood of a marriage.  Without that sense of connection, the relationship atrophies and begins to die.

But there are a group of couples that have learned to stay connected, and build their connection.  Learn their secrets in this week’s podcast episode.

11 Things Happy Couples Do Differently, Part 1
Connection Resources
Show Up!
Gratitude and Appreciation
5 Love Languages
Why Sex Is Important In A Marriage
The Truth About Attraction
The Save The Marriage System


Time To Really Show Up In Your Marriage!: #50 Save Your Marriage Podcast
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Show up in your marriage!We all do it.  We play it small.  We try to “slide by,” avoid the conflict, and hope something will change.

If you find yourself doing that, time to stop!  Life happens, problems end, and relationships improve, only when we finally commit to showing up.

Being present can radically change your relationship.  Really being there, present and attentive, can change your entire life.

So why don’t we show up?  Past hurts, fears, anger, resentment — they all can get in the way.

But letting those emotions and concerns get in your way only limits your life.  They only keep you trapped.

Free yourself and discover how to show up in this week’s podcast.

Let me know what you think in the comments area below!

How You Hide and How To Show Up In Your Marriage: Save The Marriage Podcast
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

How To Save Your Marriage By Showing UP and Not Hiding!Fear, resentment, habit.  All reasons why we hide.  And we hide more the more important the relationship.  The intimacy may scare us, the scars may hide us.

But if we want to heal a relationship, especially a marriage, we HAVE to show up!

In this week’s podcast, I examine the reasons we hide, and how to change this.

Discover the 6 Steps To Showing Up.

Follow the 4 P’s of Showing Up and you will find deeper connection than you believed possible.

Listen and then comment below.

How’s Your Attitude?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

How To Save Your Marriage, It is All In Your HeadNothing can stop a person with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help a person with the wrong mental attitude.
–Thomas Jefferson

Is it time for an adjustment?  Are you needing to make a mental shift?

Today, as I am writing this, it is the 3rd day of overcast, dreary, rainy days.  I must admit, I have a bodily response to this kind of weather.  I find my mood dropping a bit.  Creativity is a bit more tough to come by.  I stare at the blank computer screen and  hope for some inspiration to write something that may be helpful to you.

Earlier this morning, I stood in my basement and had a long discussion with myself.  Do I work out or take a break?  My sabotaging mind began to tell me about how my shoulder is a little tweaked this morning.  “My legs are a little tired,” it said.  “Probably it won’t be a good workout.  Maybe I should just do a little, then take a rest,” my mind kept telling me.

“But today is a workout day.  Today will pass quickly, and if I don’t get busy now, I will not have the chance to get it done,” my mind answered.  Later, the phone will be ringing.  Emails will need an answer.  So, I do what I always do.  I decided to get busy.  And about 10 minutes into exercising, my sabotaging mind finally quieted down (not silent, but quieter), and I got sweaty.

At the end, I realized that my exercise time had been real quality.  I had really gone after it.  Not 100%, but mid 90%’s.

The next challenge is writing time.  My mind starts again:  “Perhaps another cup of coffee will get me going.”  “Maybe I should check email again,” my sabotaging mind says.  Then I remember the advice of an elderly professor when I was not writing my dissertation, but should have been:  “Put some glue in that seat, sit down, and write!”  So, I sit down and write.

Then the question I pose to myself this year comes back, “Am I showing up?”

Each person in my family always chooses a word to live into for the year.  We reveal the word on New Year’s Eve.  This year, I cheated.  I wanted two words, so I just hyphenated:  Show-Up.  That is my word.

When I say “show up,” I don’t mean just dragging my body along through the day, sort of being there.  I mean really Showing UP!  Bringing myself, all of me, into the present and into the presence of the moment.

Woody Allen said “Eighty percent of success is just showing up.”  Unfortunately, many people have used this as an excuse to just be somewhere, to be physically present — hoping that will be enough.  That is not showing up.  In an interview, Allen revealed that the life lesson he was talking about was the need to do what you were doing.  If you wanted to write a book, you had to close the door and write — not do all the distractions that come from that.  If you wanted to learn the clarinet, you had to actually show up and practice.

“What,” you may ask, “does your mental attitude have to do with ME saving my marriage?”

Ah, there is the important point of this article.  I think YOUR mental attitude is a huge determinant of your capacity to save your marriage.  Let me be clear:  you may have a great mental attitude but still not save your marriage.  But I guarantee that if you have a poor mental attitude, you will NOT be able to save your marriage.

Fortunately, you do have control over your attitude.  You may not have control over whether your mind keeps tossing out the sabotaging thoughts.  But you do have a choice in whether you buy into those thoughts.

Your mind is simply doing what minds do:  creating thoughts.  Minds do that.  Some are useful and constructive.  Others are useless and/or destructive.  Fortunately, your observing mind gets to make a choice — listen to the constructive, ignore the destructive.

The real problem is not your mind thinking; it is when you buy into the thoughts as reality.  Sure, my shoulder was a bit tweaked this morning.  So, I needed to be mindful of that while exercising.  But it did NOT necessitate me avoiding the exercising.  It was simply a matter of examining the thought for what was useful and ignoring the useless.

When you have made a decision to save your marriage, you have to make a shift to a new mindset.  Your mind will constantly send you thoughts about why you can’t/shouldn’t/won’t save your marriage.  But that does not make those thoughts true.  It is just your sabotaging mind at work.

The story has yet to be finished, even if your mind has written the ending.  In fact, your mind probably has written any number of endings.

Which ending is true?

The ending of the story has yet to be written, so don’t believe that sabotaging mind!  Time for a readjustment.  It is time to tap into a different attitude.

Here are some ways to do this:

1)  Consult your plans, not your emotions.

This is a quote my wife often uses (she is also a therapist).

We often stop following our plan, but instead start allowing our emotions (caused by the thoughts of your sabotaging mind) to guide our actions.  Your emotions are not reasons for actions.  They are the results of your thoughts.  And the longer you linger on those thoughts, the more power those thoughts/emotions gain.  And the more power those emotions gain, the stronger you grow to believe your thoughts are true.

Might your thoughts be true?  Sure.  But they may also be false.  Or at least exaggerated.  At the very least, when you get lost in your thoughts, you lose your capacity of noticing the difference.  When you consult with your plan, you stay on-course.

Notice, though, that there is a need to have a plan to consult!  If you have not created your plan to save your marriage, you may find some help with my Save The Marriage System.

2)  Make a decision to Show Up.

Do a self-check here and there.  Are you really present?  When you are with your spouse, are you really there?  Are you really listening?  Are you stuck in the past, in what has happened?  Are you convinced that you have “been done wrong,” and there needs to be a shift on the part of your spouse?  Are you ready to let go of your complaints?

Sometimes, instead of really being present, we let that internal “script writer” really take control.  Then, the conversation with a spouse is less about what is really being spoken and more about creating the script you think should be spoken.  Yep, that mind is a great (almost Academy Award worthy) creator of the conversation that “should” happen.  Unfortunately, your spouse is also creating a script, with an entirely different writer.  Neither of you will stay “on script,” either your own or your spouse’s script.

So instead, try to really show up and focus on the words being spoken.  Ignore that script-writing mind that tells you about the words that “should” be spoken.  Respond from the deeper place of having truly listened to your spouse.

Presence is powerful.  Your presence can only happen in the present.

3)  Recognize the difference between your thoughts and you.

Our mind is just the creator of thoughts.  The same mind that takes humans to great heights also pulls us to great depths — but only when we forget that our mind is just thinking.

The fact that we are thinking is never the issue.  The fact that we forget we are thinking is the real problem.  A quick reminder to myself that I am just thinking is often enough to give me a little space.  Just enough space to see the thoughts are not reality.  Just a thought.  Then I have a choice to stop believing that thought.

We all have the “observational mind,” capable of stepping back to watch the voiced mind talking and talking.  Once you shift to the observational mind, the voiced mind is shifted just a little away from pretending to be reality.  It is suddenly quite clear that the voiced mind is just thinking.

Just to remind you, not every thought is false.  Remember, my shoulder really was sore this morning.  So there was an element of truth.

This is important, though:  Not every thought is true!  We tend to err on the side of believing every thought.  We tend to stop noticing how critical and sabotaging our minds can be.

You are not your thoughts.  You are having thoughts.  You are observing your mind at work.  It is up to you to decide just how much you will believe those thoughts.

4)  You CAN shift your attitude!

We live in a world that seems to have bought into the belief that we are slaves to our emotions.  Our emotional life is given way too much power and authority.  People say “I can’t help how I feel,” not as a statement of their emotions, but as a justification for their actions.

Emotions are often beyond our control.  There are lots of impactors on our emotional life.  Thoughts certainly play a key role on that front.  The environment also is a factor.  I know that gray days are going to gray my mood.  But you know what?  I have spoken with people who actually LOVE the same weather that leaves me feeling low.

Hmmm.  So, those feelings are not because of my environment, but how I respond/react to my environment — and how I think about that environment!

Okay, so I will admit that we are not able to stop our emotions.  And I would not want to do that.  I am not wanting to create a “plain vanilla” existence.

I just want to draw a distinction between how we feel and how we choose to act — how we choose to Show Up!

So, how DO you choose to ACT differently than you FEEL?  Well, it is probably something you have done repeatedly throughout your life.

When I was younger, from my early teens to late teens, I was a performing magician.  I started doing tricks even earlier and got hooked.  In fact, at one time, I was convinced I wanted to be (don’t laugh!) a professional magician.  What started as curiosity soon grew to a job.  I was fairly in-demand for parties, both children and adults.  I did a ton of shows.

During those years, I learned a great deal that still teaches me today.  I cut my teeth on public speaking by doing birthday parties and other events.  And one of the things I learned is that if I did not bring the energy for the show, there would be no energy.  It did not matter if I had a bad day, if my parents were upset with me (or I with them), if I was upset about not being able to get a date, or any other manner of teenage angst.  I was being paid to perform.  So, I showed up.

I discovered that even if I didn’t feel the energy, I could create the energy.  I could step onto stage and BE the energy that needed to be there.  I could set aside my emotional mindset and embrace my “show-up mindset.”

What I learned is that there is no situation where that is not possible.  I can always make a choice to pull from deep within and really show up.  That doesn’t mean that I always do.  But I always know that I can, so if I don’t show up, it is really my own fault.

5)  Adopt a PMA.

One of my passions is scuba diving.  I spend far too much time breathing air above the surface when I would rather breathe it below the surface (in the tropics, please) of the water.  I enjoy it so much that I decided I wanted to teach others to love it, so I became a certified scuba instructor.

But long before that certification, I went through the basic certification as a diver.  My instructor (and now we co-instruct) is a long-time diver.  In fact, he was certified at about the very beginning of any certification.  He still dives and is very active.  And he was an excellent role model as I was moving through certification.

I remember the very first lecture, poolside, in my first class.  Ray announced to the class that there would be some challenges in the training process.  He expected one thing from us.  Not perfection, and not successfully completing each task.  But he expected us to have a PMA — Positive Mental Attitude.

During his discussion, Ray noted that a PMA included an assumption that we could do the activity.  It was a willingness to learn, to try, and then to practice each skill.  Ray simply asked that we never say to ourselves, “I can’t do that.”  Instead, we were to keep reminding ourselves that we COULD do it, then work at it until we could.

There are many times during my years as a coach/therapist where someone has said, “I can’t. . . .” and fill in the blank with any number of things they believed they were incapable of.  I would always end there phrase with “yet.”  I didn’t mind someone saying “I can’t [fill in the blank] yet.”  Then we could explore how to get past the limits and make it happen.

Again, just to remind you, not every marriage is going to be saved.  But to start with an attitude that your relationship cannot be saved locks you into that, with no other option.  I would rather you choose a “wait and see” approach to what happens to the marriage, while saying “I CAN work on this relationship.  I can work to reconnect, to build a stronger relationship.  I can work to be a better person, to forgive, and to be forgiven.”

Step into your own PMA, and recognize you get to choose the attitude you carry around.

6) Disconnect from the outcome.

This last point may confuse you a bit.  Your goal is to save a relationship, right?  So why disconnect from the outcome?

Because you have no control over the outcome.

You may do all of the right things, you may have a great PMA, you may be a great person that would be a great spouse.  And still, your partner can opt to leave the relationship.

If you are tied to an outcome, you will only be okay if that outcome is achieved.  And yet the outcome is not in your control.  It is always a losing situation to have your well-being tied to something for which you do not have control.

So what do you have control over?

You have control to choose to work on the relationship.  You have control to choose your attitude of how you will approach life.  You have control to not believe everything your mind cooks up.  You have control to choose a course of action, regardless of the emotional storms that hit you.

The outcome, you have no control.  The process, you have full control of how you enter into it.

7)  Show Up.

Make it your goal to show up more and more in life.  Be present.  Bring yourself into the moment.  Leave your fears to the side.  Choose to show up in all of your awesomeness!