• A Better Marriage—Mighty Parenting 215 with Yana Gil de Montes

  • better marriage

    Marriage is a beautiful commitment, but that doesn’t mean that every moment is going to be easy and wonderful. Yana Gil de Montes has been married for over 15 years and she and her partner were getting mired down in complaints, stress and fear regarding each other and their marriage. Yana talks with Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler about how to make a better marriage through self-reflection, communication, and showing up as a partner and spouse. Let’s teach our teens what a healthy marriage looks like, and how to go about fixing an unhealthy one.

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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    When we work on ourselves we create space for our partner to show up differently.

    High Points From Our Conversation on a Better Marriage:

    Quote about a better marriage

    Yana became a mother soon after she became a wife, and it wasn’t long after that when she started noticing unhealthy patterns in her marriage. She constantly felt stressed and was retreating to simple survival mechanisms just to cope. 

    The ways Yana was showing up in her marriage were learned from watching her own parents; she realized she was acting defensive just like her mother, really looked at the patterns in her parents’ marriage, and decided she wanted a better marriage than theirs.

    Yana didn’t discover those patterns alone; she had coaches and coworkers and people in her workshops that all helped her gain tools and hone her awareness. When we’re in it alone, it’s hard to find that awareness because we’re juggling an entire life by ourselves.

    Support and a third-party, impartial viewpoint is so important for many aspects of our lives, but especially in work around marriage.

    When we have problems in our relationship, we tend to view our partner as the problem. But a relationship has multiple people involved, and you don’t have to wait for your partner to change before you can start improving your relationship.

    Our partners are our mirrors. They reflect onto us, and they show up differently when we are happy and love ourselves as opposed to when we’re unhappy and blaming them or the circumstances. When we sit in the mentality of a victim, we will never see our partner in that happy light, no matter how they actually show up.

    Your marriage is yours—you chose your partner and you keep choosing this marriage. Yes, a marriage requires two people, but it’s not just your partner who has to change to make a better marriage. At the end of the day, you choose your life. Nobody is choosing it for you.

    The only way you can feel and be fully empowered in your life is when you fully take responsibility for it and for how you show up in all areas of your life, including those of a partner and parent.

    A lot of the women Yana works with end up coming to a place of accepting and choosing their partner as they are. They then set certain boundaries and get to a place where they create/improve their relationships in a space that works for them. After that, their partners tend to show up differently.

    A lot of us say we want to fix our marriage, but we don’t really want to put in the work that involves. If you’re only trying to simply say Well, I tried and it didn’t work, thus the fault isn’t mine… then your better marriage isn’t going to get better. There needs to still be love and commitment—otherwise, it isn’t going to work.

    We get so mired in the complaints of our marriage that we aren’t in a space to see where our partner changes how they show up, and there’s no opportunities for them to change their words and actions. Many of the women going through Yana’s program started noticing their partners showing up differently—because their partners felt the changes and felt like they were safe enough to show up differently.

    The biggest roadblock to having the relationship that we want is fear that the relationship won’t work. We subconsciously operate from that fear so much so that it’s woven into our society. It’s everywhere.

    We get ideas from other relationships in our lives—mainly our parents and grandparents and other family. But how often do we see those relationships really work out? Even if they’re still married, we look for evidence to say yeah, but they aren’t really happy and other reasons why they won’t work out.

    There’s a lot of happily-ever-afters in media, and then we go into relationships with these ideas and hopes, and then we get disappointed and start looking for reasons why it isn’t going to work.

    We’re always hoping, but still operating from fear, and that fear creates stress, disconnection and withdrawal in our current relationships. Because we’re in that fear mode, we don’t have the important conversations with our partners. 

    However, there is a powerful foundation that we can create to make a better marriage:
    • Step one: work to understand and identify those fears that drive you
    • Step two: unlearn everything you learned about marriage 
    • Step three: create the “big why”—the foundation that will inspire you and move you forward in your marriage

    When a couple aligns on that vision, that commitment that they both want to see and to make, and are willing to support each other around it, that makes for a powerful foundation.

    Use these questions to create your “why”:

    • Why are you married (for yourself and your life, why marriage)? 
    • Why do you want to be in a relationship?
    • What do you want to teach your children about marriage?

    For Yana, her relationship is a vehicle for her growth and evolution as a human being; she wants to commit to being the best version of herself, and teach her children that they can make and have a partnership where there’s love and communication and fulfillment.

    Communication is one of the most important aspects of a better marriage. Here’s some things you should know:
    • Be conscious of your intention before you communicate
      • Men usually communicate to solve a problem
      • Women generally think if they’re talking, they’re communicating
      • So, what is the intention? To share feelings? Solve an issue? Show love by paying verbal attention?
    • If you have a complaint, be conscious of it. What is your desire? Why are you complaining; what do you really want (for yourself, from your partner)?
    • Be responsible for communication and the way you communicate

    Usually just talking for the sake of talking doesn’t go anywhere—it just leads to repeating the same patterns, whether that’s an argument or stress or your partner walking away.

    Think before you open your mouth. What is the purpose of what you are communicating?

    Women gather all kinds of things throughout the day into a mental basket, and at the end of the day we need to empty that basket. We want to tell our partner all the things we saw and said and did. 

    Have a conversation with your partner about emptying that basket; let them know that you want the one conversation to just be talking, not about solving a problem or trying to fix something. Ask if they mind doing that; maybe come up with a phrase to let them know (or just ‘basket emptying time’).

    Men have conversations to fix a problem or cover a point. A common misconception among women is If he’s not listening to me talk, he doesn’t care. It’s not that—it’s just that he might not understand the point of talking simply to talk or share things without expecting a response.

    You can also have that basket conversation with anyone you feel comfortable around. It doesn’t always have to be your partner; make sure that they know they can speak up if it’s not a good night or time for them to listen.

    We’re looking for evidence that we’re loved. And if our partners don’t express their gratitude, that’s the lack of evidence we often end up looking for (from that fear mode). We need to think, and work on shifting our perspectives and expectations. Our consistent complaining thoughts create our reality and we need to ask ourselves where these are coming from, and why we really want this relationship. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, then we can’t be honest with our partner, and thus we can’t work on creating a better marriage.


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    Our Guest Yana Gil de Montes:

    Yana Gil de Montes discusses making a better marriage

    Yana Gil de Montes is an international marriage coach on a mission to create a new paradigm for marriages all over the world. Her unique approach combines over 15 years of training with her experiences from her own marriage. 

    After getting married and becoming a mom, Yana found herself falling into the unhealthy marital patterns she learned from her parents and realized that if she wanted to be happy and fulfilled in her relationship, she had to learn new ways of being married and living life.  What she discovered after almost 16 years of training and development, thousands of hours of coursework, seminars and a spiritual awakening was a brand new paradigm for relationships and marriage and in collaboration with her husband Rick, they wrote and developed a life-changing marriage program that has saved and rebuilt marriage after marriage.

    Yana’s commitment is to support women in rediscovering connection and fulfillment in their marriage by healing the past, creating a strong vision and practicing loving and heart-centered communication where they honor themselves and their partner.

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit www.transformyourmarriagecourse.com.

    From Sandy:

    It’s easier to listen and connect with your teenager when you are calm. Grab Sandy’s complimentary lesson on finding calm at https://sandyfowler.com