Is it harder for Millennials and Gen-Zers to trust their partners more than it has been for past generations? Do social media, dating apps, and even cheating apps make temptation too hard to resist? What about the other places where trust is key in marriage -- such as finances, supporting our dreams and coming along for the ride, rebuilding broken trust, and more.
In episode 15 "How To Trust Your Spouse (with All the things)" my guest is the delightful Anne Streett, who is an LMFT Associate and specifically works with millennial couples at Millennial Life Counseling in Dallas, Texas.
IN THIS EPISODE:
We start off on the subject of monogamy. I’m curious to hear whether Anne is seeing that monogamy is becoming less desirable seems less realistic within millennial and gen z relationships — especially with all the temptations that the internet, dating apps, etc. provide.
Anne says that even in the case of having an affair, you're essentially looking for monogamy in someone else.
Millennials are given so much information everywhere you go. It’s easy to see all the ways you can go wrong. Even engaged people are kind of stuck because they’ve decided they want to get married but they still don’t feel prepared. They want more information. I always say (laughing)“you can never prepare a millennial enough.”
Some of the Many Benefits of Marriage:
(1) Married people live longer.
(2) They have fewer strokes and heart attacks.
(3) It lowers your chance of being depressed.
(4) You’re even more likely to survive cancer for a longer period of time, or to survive a major operation.
(5) Your goals and purpose stretch beyond yourself and go to the other person that you share your life with.
We long to be attached and bonded. Affection is so necessary, and we end up being very emotionally isolated without it.
Apps present these endless choices to you. It almost morphs it into a game, rather than a serious search. “Swipe right” one more time could have a slot machine effect and it’s addictive.
There’s a strong hesitancy in millennials to label anything as serious too soon. And Anne think that is more of a fear of vulnerability than it is a fear of monogamy.
In order to have a successful, monogamous relationship you have to be transparent and vulnerable with each other. And that can be such a big task. So many millennials really don’t want to start over in a new relationship because dipping your toe into the vulnerability pool feels so investing, and you can feel so violated when it doesn’t work out.
We discuss the trend of changing the traditional words in marriage vows from “til death do us part” to something like “for as long as this is serving us” or “for as long as we both want this.”
Trust in Managing Finances Together:
Trust regarding the management of finances together.
What is your emotional attachment to money?
What does money mean to you and how did you get there with that?
Does that look the same for your partner?
What issues arise from that?
The money mistakes couples might make as a result of witnessing how their parents managed money.
The arrangements will vary between couples, and there is no one way, but the point is to be open and honest; and to understand where you’re each coming from.
Should you merge your finances?
Is it a smart idea to keep a savings account on the side, incase your relationship doesn’t work out?
Trusting Your Partner to Remain A Partner Wherever the Future Takes You Two:
Making the choice to have a partner for life means investing in each other’s dreams. It’s not “my/your future”, it’s “our future.”
Life gets hectic and you have to be flexible with one another.
Try to outdo each other in fulfilling each other’s dreams.
Building Trust Into Daily Practice:
How do we earn our partner’s trust? Is there something we can put into daily practice?
How to prove to your partner that the things they’ve shared with you from a vulnerable place are safe with you.
5 Ways to Create Trust that Lasts
- Be accessible to your partner. Readily responding to your partner; physically, mentally, emotionally. This creates an atmosphere of trust and lets your partner know that you’re there no matter what. Make eye contact, put your phone down, don’t interrupt. Sit with a painful emotion your partner may bring to you, instead of withdrawing. (concept from Dr. Sue Johnson)
- Be vulnerable with your partner. Look beyond anger and tap into your hurt and pain. Take the risk that is sharing this with your partner (it does feel really really risky but do it anyway). It also shows that you value their support and that you find them to be a shelter.
- After a fight, work hard to repair and heal the rift that was created. Don’t just separate until the angry feeling has passed, or just try to move on because you’re exhausted. Make the effort to deal with it so you can repair and heal. “Conflict is where the growth happens” - Liz Higgins.
- Avoid being passive aggressive. It sends mixed messages and creates so much confusion. It basically tells your partner that they’re supposed to know you’re hurt, but you don’t trust him/her to really tell them why. Alternatively, when you respect one another to be truly honest about what’s hurting you, then you’re sending the message that you trust your partner to help you through it.
“Honest without tact is really just cruelty” - Anne Streett, LMFT Associate
You could say something passive-aggressively to your partner, and then once they’re offended follow it up with, “What? I was just being honest.”
If you don’t speak to your partner in a respectful way, then your honesty is cruel (and not constructive).
- Have respectful conflict. If you go into name calling, or rehashing past mistakes, you threaten your partner’s safety with you. And they’ll begin to doubt whether they can truly trust you in this relationship.
Why it’s ok to be scared or nervous even when you’re engaged. These feelings can actually be very normal. You don’t have to have everything figured out, or have all the answers, before you get married.
ABOUT MY GUEST, Anne Streett, LMFT Associate
In a world where we are not always encouraged to reach out for help, I would like to applaud you for taking the first steps. It is no easy task to entrust your inner thoughts and experiences with a stranger—but I am committed to meeting you right where you are in your life.
Therapy requires a bit of risk taking. You may feel uncomfortable with the idea of confronting aspects of your life that aren’t working well. However, it’s my mission to suspend my assumptions when you share your experiences with me. I’m eager to let you teach me about your world as it is now, and how you would like to see it improve.
LIVING OUT PARENTHOOD, JUST LIKE YOU
As a wife and mother to three children, I am right there with you when it comes to navigating the ups and downs that come with these roles. When I started my own journey as a parent, I quickly realized the enormous void in our society’s ability to provide support to new parents. This is not the type of venture to do alone, yet the resources are limited.
Do you find it hard staying connected to your partner since this new little person came and shook things up?
Do you sometimes feel resentful about your new responsibilities and then beat yourself up for feeling that way?
NEW PARENTS: YOUR RELATIONSHIP MATTERS
I have made it a priority to empower couples who are in the trenches of parenthood and restore confidence to help you thrive as a team. Your relationship can be a haven in the craziness of parenting; one that bonds you through the hard days.
If you’re struggling to figure out if you want children, or are feeling plagued with anxiety about your first (second, or nth!) child on the way, know that what you are experiencing is so normal, especially as it relates to the millennial generation. Now is the perfect time to prioritize some space for yourself and your partner to explore what exactly you need- for yourself and from each other- to succeed as parents and to make sure your relationship stays above water.
As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I look at everything in your life through a systemic lens. This means that everything is connected and has a ripple effect. Your relationships paint the picture of your world and illustrates how you operate. This is why it’s so effective to focus time and energy into your relationship: it will have a direct impact on your experience of birth, parenting, and navigating the ups and downs of family life for years to come.
Something you should know about me is that I look for your strengths every chance I get, especially in the most hopeless of situations. I will enter our therapeutic relationship armed with compassion, thoughtful curiosity, and the work of uncovering your strengths to bring a fresh perspective on your struggles.
I have worked in many diverse settings in my time as a therapist. Most recently, I worked with ALS patients and their families in UT Southwestern’s Neurology Department. I have seen how illness can have a shattering effect on relationships. But I also saw couples and families become stronger than ever through their courageous support of one another. Maybe you’re grieving something or someone in your life and you feel stuck in that pain. It doesn’t need to stay like this forever, and I’d like to help.
I hope to shine a light on your strengths, and help you bring hope and excitement back to your life and relationships.
PURCHASE THE ESSENTIAL WEDDING AND ENGAGEMENT PLANNER