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Hey, everyone, welcome back to you on purpose. The number one health podcast in the world, and I'm excited, I'm really looking forward to today's episode and the episodes that are going to follow. I know I've been sharing a lot of behind the scenes conversations with you recently, but I'm back. I'm right here. I'm going to guide you through our next session today. It's going to be incredible. I want you to know that that these Friday episodes, these weekly workshops that we do together are built to help you make the change in the other episodes you listen to.


So when you hear ideas, concepts, practices this Friday episode, every single week or whenever you listen to it is designed to help you transform your life. Now, one of the most amazing things about being in this way together is that we're getting to build our relationship. And I want to thank you for having invested in this community. Whether you are listening to your first podcast ever or this is over 100 episodes for you, I just want to deeply express my gratitude to you.


So let me ask you this question. Do you know the five stages of relationships? According to the Independent, a large relationship survey showed that most relationships go through a similar progression of stages. See if this sounds familiar. First, there's the spark phase where you realize you're attracted to one another. Then there's the honeymoon phase. You've probably heard of that one. It's where you are in that kind of blissful state where everything's wonderful. The other person can do no wrong.


Now, this may surprise you for people who are doing online dating, it takes about three months for them to deactivate their accounts once they've been dating someone. But get this, who do you think does it first? It's the guys. As many as 28 percent of men deactivate their accounts three weeks into dating someone, compared to only 17 percent of women. But for most, it's about three months. OK, then there's the intimacy phase where you start getting more comfortable with one another.


Maybe you're leaving a few pieces of clothing or a toothbrush at his or her apartment, for instance. Again, it's at about the three month mark that most couples start to say, I love you. Those three words, I love you. And guess who usually says it first again, it's the guys. The fourth phase is the commitment phase. You're making long term plans together. Maybe you're moving in or even getting engaged or married. This phase can be pretty long depending on the relationship, except, as we know, most relationships fail.


And that brings us to the last phase, the heartbreak phase. Check this out now. I'm sure the length of the relationship has something to do with it. But according to the survey, 67 percent of people who've had a breakup will start dating someone new within the year, except for one third of millennials who say they're ready to get back to dating within a month.


But we don't want to keep finding ourselves back there, right? We want our relationships to be one of the success stories. Yet if life feels more stressful than ever, as is the case for so many people right now, how do we manage it? How do we foster relationships that thrive so that we can thrive in them and with them? How do we make love last even and especially when it feels like the world's falling down around us? That's what we're going to talk about today.


As you know, we're spending Fris right now taking topics from my book, Think Like a Monk and Going Deeper. Today, we're on Chapter five, which is about living a life connected with purpose and meaning. The passage I selected for today is this one. We've all got a special genius inside of us, but it may not be on the path that opens directly before us. There may be no visible path at all. Our Dharma's don't hide, but sometimes we need to work patiently to recognize them.


Now, when I reread this passage, something new stood out to me. Instead of thinking about finding our purpose and passion in our lives as individuals, I wanted to talk about finding our purpose and passion in our relationships. In the book, I write about how we often need to invest some time and energy, uncovering and connecting with our passions and our purpose. They don't just appear magically. And so finding them involves taking some risks. It involves trying new things.


It involves being willing to look at things in new ways. And those new things won't always work out in the way we decide their experiences or behaviors we want to repeat. But on the other hand, they do always work out because from the standpoint that we've learned something and when we're learning, we're always growing. It's the same thing in relationships. And I think if we don't have that growth oriented mindset in our relationships, it's not going to be filled with the kind of passion and excitement.


It's not going to engage us in a way that we want to have that relationship for our whole lives. Instead, it's going to become stagnant who never truly get off the ground. And so we often talk about climbing the career ladder. But today I want to talk about climbing the love ladder. How do we have relationships where we're constantly seeking new heights, both together and as individuals? So today I'm going to tell you about the three Ls of the love ladder and three ways to ensure that you're always climbing higher in your relationship.


Now, for those of you who are like ladders climbing higher, this sounds a lot like work shouldn't be easy. Think of it like this. I live in L.A. now, all around L.A. you've got these amazing trails and a lot of them go up into the hills and different canyons, different caves. Now you can stay down in the valley. That's your choice.


But if you want the best, most inspiring, incredible views, like to see the most gorgeous sunset or to view Griffith Observatory, you've got to do a little climbing. Plus, it's good for you. It's fun. And you can go at your own pace and it's healthy. And it's the same thing with the love ladder. When I talk about climbing this ladder, it's not something that's grueling or punishing, right? Sure. Maybe at some moments it will be more challenging.


That's just natural. But it's something you do together to take your relationship to those next levels. We have access to greater potential as a couple for longevity and satisfaction and joy. One of the biggest challenges of being human is how easy it is to prioritize safety over growth and exploration. It's in the wiring of our brains. Yet if we don't try new things and we don't take emotional risks, our relationship becomes stagnant. So how do we balance the two and what is it exactly that makes long term relationships successful?


New research points to teamwork. Researcher Samantha Joe set out to determine what makes a good relationship. She and her colleagues analyzed data from more than 11000 couples to find out what factors predicted, the quality of their relationships, specifically how satisfied and appreciative people are of their partners. What they found was surprising, as Joe told CNN, it turns out that when it comes to a satisfying relationship, the partnership you build is more important than the partner you pick.


It wasn't the individual characteristics of the partner that mattered as much as the characteristics of the relationship they built together. Now, to learn how to build a great relationship, it's great to have an example. So let's turn to a pair. Have been together for years. It's fair to say they're a real power couple, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. But this pair of professional climbers actually can teach us a whole lot about climbing our own love ladder, specifically their story of breaking one of climbing most hotly contested records models perfectly.


The three hours of relationships that last El Capitan in Yosemite National Park is a climbing Mecca.


Even non climbers like me know about it.


One particularly well-known route up El Cap is called The Nose, and ever since it was first climbed in 1958, a feat that took 45 days, people have been competing to climb it faster. But think about this Alex Honnold five year speed record of two hours and 23 minutes. That's a heck of a lot faster than 45 days was broken by just over four minutes. He ran Caldwell and asked him to help reclaim the record.


Over several days, the pair climb the nearly 3000 foot route over and over again, learning the route, testing the best and most effective tactics. And each time they use less and less safety equipment so they can move faster. First, Tommy would climb and set the safety equipment and Alex would follow. Then Alex would take the lead on a pitch and Tommy would follow. Eventually, the pair did reclaim the record by nearly nine minutes, but that wasn't enough for the team.


Alex was convinced they could also be the first team to break the two hour mark.


Tommy looked at his partner, took a deep breath. And said, OK, let's go for it. Everybody's like, could it be done, could the to our nose actually be climbed? And so it had that sort of allure to it. And a few days later, they pulled it off, clocking in at a lightning fast, a one hour and 58 minutes that I wasn't sure that we were actually going that fast. I saw the timer and saw one fifty seven when I got to the top and I was like, oh, we're doing it.


We're doing it. So why do I think this story is such a great model for relationships, because they never would have accomplished this amazing task without using the three L's of a lasting relationship, leading a leaning and learning. Let's look at the first El leading, just like the climbers took turns doing the hard work of leading a pitch in great relationships, both partners take turns leading. It's like with my wife, Rodney and me, we're both really engaged with our work.


But sometimes, depending on what we're doing, one of us needs more attention and support. It doesn't always balance out perfectly, but we make it work overall so that we each get the time where we lead and time where we follow. When I first met Rodney, she was new to spirituality. She had it in her. She had it in our upbringing and her family, but it was new to her. And today I consider to be one of my spiritual guides.


She's come to my classes, but now I feel like she's the one inspiring me in so many ways. Leading can look other ways to maybe you take the lead in different areas of your relationship depending on your strengths. Like Rathi, Daphne takes the lead in the kitchen because it's a major strength and passion of hers, which is really, really important. And I tend to take the lead with stuff going on in our business and everything that's around there, because that was a strength for me with other couples.


One often takes the lead with socialising or entertaining or sometimes with the kids. Taking the lead doesn't mean you have to take turns doing everything if it's not something you like or you have a particular strength, but it has to be divided consciously, intentionally. I remember when I first got married to Roddy, we would always say to each other, OK, well, I would say to her, you cook, I clean. That's how it works and we'll make it happen.


And she agreed to that. Right. It's a mutual agreement that you want to come to. It isn't someone getting left with whatever you ask them to do. So it's really, really important that you make it a mutual discussion, an agreement and intentionally go over it, because sometimes who leads and who follows isn't decided by you consciously.


It's just default. Another way partners in powerful teams share the lead is emotionally. The pandemic is a great example, with more pressure on couples and families than ever trying to keep everyone safe and healthy, trying to keep up with the work of finding a new job, trying to get the kids dialed in with school, it's way too much for one person to handle alone. But in any relationship at any time, there are going to be high pressure and emotionally draining situations.


And if you can swap leads, rather than taking it all on yourself or letting your partner shoulder the whole burden, you'll have a much greater chance of becoming even stronger as a team through the process. In terms of how we share the lead, communication is key. If you watch Clymer's, one of the things they do is communicate clearly about who is taking the lead and when it's safe to climb. They let the other climber know the rope is clipped in Iran.


Well, in other words, I've got you. We need to do this with our partner instead of playing a guessing game, which in climbing would be pretty dangerous, we need to identify and agree on who's doing what when. One of the habits I've created with Rodney is to check in with her at the beginning of the week and have a super busy just for a minute or two in the morning to say, hey, what's on your schedule and what's on our schedule?


What do you need my help with? And that help might be logistical, like needing me to get the groceries or not trying to get her to stay up late and watch a movie with me if she's got an early meeting or might be emotional and I share with her the same about my day or my week, once you get in the habit of these kind of check ins, they actually can go pretty quickly. And of course, things can change on the fly, too.


But if you nurture this habit of clear communication, you're already one rung up on the love ladder. You've got that skill in place. The second L for long lasting relationships is leaning, meaning leaning in to climb together, especially speed climbing climbers have to put a tremendous amount of trust in each other.


Research and author Bernie Brown describes vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. And like it or not, you can't have a deep, meaningful relationship with someone without it. As Brown says, mutual vulnerability is the thickener that binds people in a relationship. Sometimes we feel like asking for help and support makes us seem weak. But it actually has the opposite effect on our relationship, just like taking turns leading for both partners to be able to know that the other has their back.


And having that shared experience of trust can bond you like pretty much nothing else. Not only does it feel good for the receiver, it's an incredibly empowering experience to be able to support your partner to. As physician and author John Andrew Holmes once wrote, There is no exercise. Better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up in terms of how we let ourselves be vulnerable with our partners.


I'm afraid the only way to get good at it is through practice. But there is a practice that can help when you're in an emotionally charged situation and you want to have a meaningful conversation with your partner. One of the best things you can do to ensure to create a feeling of safety is to call on your connection. Instead of just launching into the difficult topic, spend a few minutes talking to one another in a calm and relaxed way about what you like about each other.


Recall how and why you came together in the first place. This is a tactic called priming by talking about positive memories and things you like or appreciate about each other, you're actually remembering each other of your connection. And research shows that when we feel connected to one another, we become better listeners and listening engender trust.


So try that little exercise the next time you need to be vulnerable and to lean into your partner.


There's a beautiful quote by the poet Hafize that goes, I wish I could show you when you're lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.


Beautiful thing that when your partner is vulnerable with you just being there and listening to them actually shows them their own light and their own worth. Now, the third and final L. Is that last rung on your ladder, it's learning. When they were preparing to go for the record, Alex and Tommy climb the nose over and over and picked apart each section to find the best way to shave off climbing time or staying as safe as possible.


It's all relative, of course, but by going on that journey of learning together, when the time came to perform, the two were like a well oiled machine. Then once they broke the record, they decided to go for more to break the two hour mark. We could go up this evening in the lab. I think I'm good in great relationships.


Each partner challenges each other to bring out their best.


In fact, that's actually responsible for a lot of excitement and engagement that keeps couples together over the long term. When you learn together, you grow together. And so there's always something fresh happening in the relationship. That doesn't mean you have to push always to be doing something new. You don't need to put yourself under that kind of pressure. But even just taking on a learning mindset to deal with the issues that naturally come up will keep your relationship fresh when a challenge arises.


It's like all of a sudden you and your partner in a room with a locked door and you need to figure out a way out, almost like an escape from you can look at it like a puzzle to solve or you can let your fear lead shut down and allow yourself to be trapped. Eventually, your partner is going to run out. And if you choose not to embrace that challenge and find a solution with them, you're probably going to be left behind.


My wife and I actually love doing escape rooms together. We've done about we've done quite a few together, in part because we approach them so differently. The first time we did it, RATHI is the most lateral thinker I was shocked at. Just how great she was is discovering things I would never understand. And me with my logical brain could barely figure anything out. And I was looking at the time and everything as we learned a lot about each other that day.


I'm all about trying to jump on every clue and solve it as quickly as possible. Rathi is just show she sits back and takes it all in. And I'll be honest, far too often she solves the clue, but I get my chance to. And the most fun is when we solve them together. It really feels like an accomplishment. The good news is that just like with the first two hours, you can train a growth mindset in your relationship.


One of the ways you do that when a challenge arises is to ask the questions, what's the opportunity here? How can we address this as a team now when you're struggling financially and they don't seem to be enough hours in the day? I'll admit it, it can seem difficult to find the opportunity, but it is possible. When Mark Pollock and Simon George met, Mark was already blind. But that didn't stop him from asking her to teach him how to South Sudan, which she did.


Eventually, the pair fell in love. Then one night, through a freak and tragic accident, Marc fell out a window. When Simon arrived, she said, I'm here, Mark. Later that afternoon, the doctor laid out for them the extent of Mark's injuries, including the likelihood that he would never, ever walk again. Later mark to Simon and said, You need to get yourself as far away from this as possible, Simon ten to him shocked.


What I do know, she said, is that I can't handle a breakup with someone I love is in intensive care. I'm here as long as you need me, she told Mark. When you no longer need me, then we'll discuss our relationship. Mark agreed, and the two embarked on a journey of grief and of healing together. Today, they are still a couple, and they're helping researchers pioneer technology that may help Mark and others suffering paralysis and helping them walk again.


So, yes, challenges can be big, but if you've invested in your team, you can overcome them. And the thing is, if you focused on those two first rungs on learning how to take turns leading and leaning, it's actually easier to embrace challenges and to keep growing together because you've developed that communication and that trust. But all three together and before you know it, you'll be on top of the ladder. But this ladder has no end.


It never completes or concludes. Its ever growing, ever flowing and ever moving. And it's so important that just like Alex and Tommy, we keep looking for new heights to climb together. Thank you so much for listening. This episode is probably one of my favorite episodes that I've recorded. I really, truly believe this can transform and empower your relationships. This applies to your family. This applies to your friends and of course, your romantic relationships. I hope you'll tag me on Instagram with the number one thing that you've been learning from these episodes tagged me in a post.


I can't wait to see what you're learning.


And thank you so much for listening to On Purpose. Thank you.


This podcast was produced by Dust Light Productions, our executive producer from Dusk Light is Michelle Usif. Our senior producer is Julianna Bradley. Our associate producer is Jacqueline Castillo. Valentino Rivera is our engineer. Our music is from Blue Dot Sessions and special thanks to Rachel Garcia, the dust like development and operations coordinator.