Julie Hanks talking about love relationships

Should You Stay and Grow or Go?

The truth is relationships are rarely perfect and are often rocky. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW, a professional therapist for 20+ years and married for 26 years says, “We have this unrealistic expectation about what love is – it’s bliss, it’s happiness. It’s really about growth. We have to ask, ‘Am I still growing in this relationship?’ Cause you’re not always going to be happy. Clients come in thinking something’s wrong because they’re not happy.

But, no, this is a chance to grow. The painful moments are a chance to grow. Even in family relationships, not necessarily intimate love relationships, there are always opportunities to grow but there are things we don’t want to look at.”

The things we’re defensive about are clues as to where we are being called to grow.

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must become completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” – Cynthia Occelli

Hanks continues, “I think that happens in relationships too. Sometimes it falls apart to grow and come back together as something that’s even more beautiful.” As individuals and as a couple we should be progressing. “We learn about ourselves and grow in relation to other people. Isolated we don’t grow. We need each other. That doesn’t mean you have to be married to grow. We need relationships. We need to bump up against people to smooth off our edges.”

What To Do When Things Get Rocky

She also brings out that we pick partners who will force us to grow and heal past wounds.¬†Julie says, “If things are rocky instead of asking, ‘Should we get divorced or not?’ ask ‘What do we need to learn?’ If you’re still growing, stay in it.

I really appreciated this last statement because what I told my first husband as I finally admitted I wanted a divorce was, “I die a little every day I stay in this marriage.” ¬† I had grown so much in that relationship, addressed so many things in me, but it got to the point where I was no longer growing. I was dying. My well was dry, I had been completely depleted by the dynamic.

After making the decision, I went to a marriage and family therapist (who happened to be very pro-marriage). He helped me see my spouse was never going to grow as long as he was with me. It was too easy for him to be co-dependent upon me and allow me to carry the load. Odds were, he would never grow further as long as he was with me because of the dynamic.

In my opinion, there’s a time to stay and grow, and there’s a time to go. You have to judge for yourself whether you’re growing or dying in a relationship.

Watch the full interview with Julie de Azevedo Hanks. Lots more good stuff here:

Earl of Grantham Gets Marriage Advice from His Mother Violet

Marriage Advice from The Countess of Grantham

Maggie Smith playing Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey

Maggie Smith plays the Countess of Grantham (aka Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham) on Downton Abbey

Countess of Grantham: “You’ve been talking to Isabel….”

Earl of Grantham: “I have been talking to Cora”

Countess of Grantham: “That is a mistake.”

Lord Grantham: “You can’t expect me to avoid talking to my own wife.”

Countess of Grantham: “Why not? I know several couples who are very happy who haven’t spoken in years.”

Okay, so not the best marriage advice in the world, but you have to admit, she lets loose some zingers!

Watch Downton Abbey Season 6, Episode 3 here.

Jennifer and Patrick Youngblood

When Two Strong Willed Entrepreneurs Are Married

Jennifer YoungbloodMy friends Jennifer and Patrick Youngblood are one of the three couples who modeled to me what a great marriage looks like. These two are both very opinionated and strong-willed. They’re also both successful entrepreneurs in their own right. Jennifer is a bestselling author and Patrick is one of the most brilliant branding/packaging/marketing minds I know.

While interviewing Jennifer today for the summit and book, I got a good laugh out of her answer to my question about communication tips. At one point she said,

“My husband is the most persuasive man on the planet. If we have a disagreement and we start discussing it, I tell him, ‘Look, I don’t care how right you sound, I know I’m right.’ He can convince anyone of anything, so I’m like, ‘I don’t care! I know you sound right, but I’m right.'”

Want to hear Jennifer talk about communication? Listen below:

      JenniferYoungblood-Pt7-Communication

Be sure to sign up for our updates to be notified when more fun clips from interviews become available.