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Episode 012 - Am I ready to get married?

Show Notes – Episode 012 – Am I ready to get married?

Following on from the top downloaded episode ‘Am I ready to be a parent’, Dr Ro & Harms answer the question which typically comes before children, ‘Am I ready to get married?’. With divorce rates higher than ever, with the ability to choose a partner from an app on your phone and self fulfillment through careers become the primary objective in most individuals lives. Often the question of marriage is often left to the last minute.

(Note, we talk early on in the episode of the institution of marriage, and in Dr Ro’s case, not being married in the official sense. Therefore swap the word marriage out for ‘life long partner’ ‘ life long commitment to another’ ‘soul mate for life’…whatever that word is for you)

So in this episode Dr Ro & Harms help bring to the surface the questions you may want to consider if you have or have not started to think about marriage:

  • The logical reasons people get married
  • The emotional reasons people get married
  • The institute of marriage and what that means
  • Does Harms’s millennial peers feel pressure to get married?
  • Understanding the factors to help you determine if you are ready to get married
  • The 4 levels of relationship
  • What are yours and your partner’s values and beliefs?
  • What happens if your beliefs are not aligned?
  • How to visualise the future and fast forward key scenarios?
  • What is the number one skill you and your partner should establish
  • The key immediate actions for you to take with your partner to make that decision together

Plus more is explored in this episode, all with the goal of helping you answer the question, ‘Am I ready to get married?’

If you wish to post a question about todays episode head to @thegrowthtribespodcast on Instagram and DM us your questions! We will answer them on the next Q&A special!

For a full read of the podcast, here is a full transcript of everything Dr Ro and Harms covered in this episode of the Seekardo Podcast.

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Hi it’s Harmshere and we are answering the question:

Am I ready to get married?

Hello listeners of the Seekardo podcast you have Dr Ro here as well, I’ll introduce him in a moment. But I want to frame and talk about this particular episode, so it might be slightly longer than normal introduction.

This episode has come about where listeners have thrown in the question off of the back of our parenting podcast episode. So if you listened to that it’s one of the most downloaded episodes to date and the question we answered there was, ‘Am I to ready to be a parent?’

I guess you’re going to have to imagine in your mind going back before parenting into marriage or into committing to a lifelong partner. Interestingly enough Ro who is on here is not actually married officially in the official sense, so where we are going to take this podcast in this beautiful, multifaceted world that we live in now is, if we are using the word marriage, you just swap it in for whatever that is to you.

Marriage is just a term that we are going to use as part of this podcast but you can swap it in for lifelong relationship, lifelong commitment to a partner. That’s where we are going to be focusing on this episode.

I guess the question we are going to be answering is am I ready to be in a lifelong relationship?Is that fair? Would you say Ro that is the first question and the way to tackle this episode? Because it is such a complex topic.

It is.

Hi everybody, great to be back on again with Harms and what a cracking subject. This one is certainly for me is very pertinent and particularly the number of people I meet and worked with over the years; I think you’ve framed this perfectly right because the world is changing. People are getting married at later stages in their lives instead of people in their 20s now we are seeing people in their 30s and 40s, and I think probably over the next 10,15 years, you might see people on Zimmer frames getting married.

The beautiful thing about this is and you’ve done it the right way, let’s approach it from long-term life relationships and yes, I think as you said we can switch the word marriage in there. You may hear me use the word marriage at certain times because I think we shouldn’t shy away from the word, but at the same time some people listening to this it’s a word they want to get their head around.

I think you’ve got the right frame on it and I guess what you’re saying is the key question here is, am I ready to get married or am I ready to stay in or be in, or remain in a long-term relationship?

Because it could be somebody listening to this right now, whose met a partner male or female and they might have been together for six, eight, 12 months and it’s got to that point and I don’t know if you felt the same way, but there’s a point in a relationship where it is fresh, exciting and new, and there’s a part of you thinking could this be somebody I could be with for a longer period or for lifelong. But you haven’t really had that conversation with yourself or with them at the beginning and then we are now six months into the relationship and there is a pattern starting to form and a rhythm and there’s a flow.

It’s like you’re having a great stroll around the woods together, you’re getting into flow together and habits are forming. Friendships are forming with other groups, now they’re seeing you as a couple.

We are six, 12 months in and maybe that question is starting to come up in some cases it might come up very early, but now when you get to about 12 to 24 months, it will be interesting to see if you agree or disagree with this as a millennial, but it’s now gone beyond just boyfriend girlfriend and you’ve been together for a couple months.

Now are talking about couple of years now definitely at this point, that conversation has either come up between the couple, or certainly in the minds of one of them, or possibly both but they’ve not had that conversation, possibly due to past experiences, or just fear and that’s another conversation could possibly bring into this podcast today.

Certainly four, five years into the relationship there’s no doubt that question must have come up and the conversation must have happened. It might be that you’re listening to this and you are past six months into the 12 months, maybe 18, 24 months and it’s creeping in. or you are a four, five year person who is like, “Fuck, you know what I’m having this conversation and it’s either not going anywhere, or we are still at a roadblock.”

I’m trying to paint a picture, I don’t know if that helps, but that’s how I see it with all the people I’ve coached over the years with audiences all over the world, and this isn’t just tied into one country. This is like globally.

I think that’s a really fair observation Ro because what I found in my generation is actually that decision-making process is now pushed back later. I’m not sure what it was like in your generation, I feel like the decision and the topic was discussed earlier in a relationship, but now where there’s so many options, things, inputs all of this stuff happening around us that the decision and this conversation happens later and sometimes when a lot of time is invested.

Some of the things we are going to talk about and Ro is going to discuss with you later in this episode should hopefully allow you to make that decision and have that conversation a lot earlier to determine is this a relationship for life.

Yeah I agree and I think maybe this is a good point to pick up, you just talked about the differences and as we get into this we might as well tackle it now and that is the word choices.

It didn’t come up in what you were saying and tell me if you think I’m right or wrong, back in my day, I’m not saying there weren’t as many choices but back in my day there was this tradition and we’re talking about I was born in 66. So by the time I was looking at the point where I could be getting married we’re talking about late 70s early 80s. You are you getting into that stage where you think about life and marriage, and still there is the tradition of finding a partner settling down and getting married, having a good job, education, having kids, etcetera that was the traditional model.

We didn’t have Tinder, we didn’t have Facebook, we didn’t have Instagram, we didn’t have a phone that gave me an app that gave me a chance to look at a hundred ladies, a hundred women in the space of an hour, if I just flick through, flick through.

I mean it’s shocking to me now how much I don’t know if I should use the word choice, but how much access you have to seeing other people and somebody listening to this might say that’s a bit grotesque, I don’t think it’s natural. But we are human beings and in my day it was you went out to a pub, you went out to a nightclub, you possibly joined a club. I was into outdoor pursuits so I’d go to climbing clubs and of course I did climbing, mountaineering, walking, and if you look at the ratio maybe out of 30 people in the club you might have had six or seven girls and the rest were all blokes.

Of course, if you’re in that environment and you’re meeting people with similar values or same interest to you now you’ve got like four guys all around one woman and she’s there and she’s got the pick of the bunch and having a bit of fun with them. I’m joking but not really, because it was a different environment.

Dating agencies didn’t really exist in those days, so unless you were a traveller which I was, unless you were somebody to go out and meet people, it was a very different experience.

Whereas now as a millennial you can maybe talk to me about what’s out there from what you can see, but I just think choices and here’s an interesting study that was done years ago. If you read books like Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, one of the things he talks about is how we can make decisions quickly, how people can process things really quickly. And one of the studies he talks about where they had a market stall and it had 24 jams on one stall and they had six jams on another stall, people had the choice of going by and looking at the six jams and looking at the 24 jams. And interestingly enough, there were more jams sold on the six stall than there were on the 24 because with the 24 there’s too many choices, people couldn’t make their mind up. Whereas with six, it’s less choice.

Same thing with a restaurant. I don’t know if you have been to a restaurant Harms and you’ve looked at the menu and gone, bloody hell. And you’re sat there with your mates and it’s taken so much longer to choose than when you open up a really simple menu and you go, right there are three vegetarian options, I’ll have that one. As opposed to 23 vegetarian options.

I think it’s the same thing for you as a millennial now, there is so much more choice so it takes longer and totally you guys are looking at marriage in your 30s as opposed back in my day it might have been mid to late 20s.

Absolutely Ro and you’ve hit many of the choices which almost as well as choice it creates an appearance of, okay if this relationship doesn’t work out, there’s so many more people. Because there’s that appearance of choice. You mentioned you were an active traveller, you were into travel, rock climbing. You were an out and about person when it came to your passions and projects that you were working on.

Just to add to that my lovely fiancée now that we’ve got two children, I met her whilst travelling. And here’s an interesting thing. I was travelling and I was in Jamaica and I met her in Jamaica. She was travelling and she’d been working on charity work in a South American country, Costa Rica working in an orphanage with kids. She had a passion for travel and she came back through Jamaica. I was out travelling in Jamaica, we met so our values were totally aligned at that instance.

So in my case, that’s how we met, and that was 18 years ago.

Phenomenal, so where you were the traveller and you were out and about and confined to a localised version of where you were. You met in Jamaica amazing. But now what my generation has is we can travel through this amazing thing called social media, the online world, all these chat apps are out there. Also things like meet ups are all over the place. If you look at meet ups in London for dating, there’s vegan dating, there’s dating for ways to combine different cultures and values and things that you are interested in,it’s phenomenal.

The choice is everywhere, so I love that study because it actually explains what we’re talking about quite easily. Why are my generation struggling and even asking the question of am I ready to get into a long-term relationship? Am I ready for marriage?

It’s because there’s an incredible amount of choice and it’s not necessarily that the amount of people yes, the population has grown, but not necessarily the amount of people are available in choice, but the appearance of choice is through the roof because of what we can see on a daily basis through all of our media inputs.

I could be contentious here and say, well, I agree you can travel through those media, i.e. on your phone, you can travel through lots of photographs. I personally think there’s a big difference between and this is probably what you’re trying to say here is, there’s a big difference between seeing photographs of somebody on a beach, versus actually being at the location on the beach and meeting them for real, as opposed to a snapshot where who knows what they did in order to get ready for that snapshot.

Funnily enough here is me talking about it, we met on a beach. We actually physically met on a beach, so it’s warts and all, it’s real, you’re seeing that person with their hair a bit ruffled, or maybe their skin doesn’t look just as perfectly ready. Because these apps now you can soften the filter can’t you?

Yeah Dr Ro in his speedos. You can’t hide that.

You can put me in a pair of speedos and make me have more hair.

But I think you’re right, you can travel buy part of me feels with that travel it’s filtered and correct me if I’m wrong, but I see social media as this incredibly powerful tool but filtered so much. We are getting filtered information whereas in my day, the only filtering was across a smoky room. If I met somebody in a pub for example, back in those days the pub was full of smoke. You sat there and you got a real sense of who that person was versus we didn’t send photographs; we didn’t have a quick instant visual image of show me a picture of how you look. It didn’t happen like that you had to physically meet them and then that made it interesting because now you can flick through.

I haven’t used them but I believe on online dating apps and stuff like that you just flick, though, flick through. You didn’t have that choice. I had to go in and the flick through was thanks, but I’m gone. The flick through was I’ve got to spend the next hour and a half with this person, we obviously haven’t connected, had a couple of drinks whole evenings gone, boom you leave, you never go back to that person. They don’t feel they’ve connection with you. You flick through, but it’s a physical time process, it’s real, it’s face-to-face.

I think there are benefits to that. But now everyone is busy it’s like actually Ro that evening you spent there flicking through that one person and they weren’t right for you and you weren’t right for them, I can do 50 people like that in the same time you just did that for an old traditional way.

It is a very interesting difference.

Now let’s fast forward and assume that somebody has met somebody, that they physically met or met online amazing and they are asking themselves, or one of the partners are asking themselves the question, am I ready to get married?

What other factors that you’ve seen Ro and we can both jump in with our ideas here that put this feeling, or maybe people should be aware of when it comes to the question of getting married or really stay committed, saying to your partner that’s it, this is our commitment.

Okay I think before I start to answer that question, I think it’s important that we and so many people have listened to us both now and they’ve heard your voice, heard mine, heard our stories. But we haven’t address this one specifically so just talk briefly about your situation, you’ve explained my situation.

So as we go into this they can get a bit of perspective and a bounce off the two of us, talk to us about your current marital or unmarital situation, so everybody understands.

As I’ve explained Ro is not officially married but Ro have you been with your partner?

Stina and I have been together now 18 years. In fact I think by English law probably, common law states that if you’ve been living together for a certain time you could be common-law husband and wife, but there is no marriage certificate. We will cover that in a bit as it is an interesting one.

Fantastic. Mine is I’m in a relationship for life, I’ve made a commitment for life. I’ve gone down the road of marriage, and I guess you know if you’re asking how that came about, well, when I asked Geena the topic, my beautiful wife Geena. I said Ro and I are doing a topic on marriage, Gee why did you want to get married?

You asked her that question?

I asked her that question and she looked at me and said well it wasn’t anything to do with you I just purely wanted a big fat Indian wedding. I was like thank you so much for your contribution for this episode, that was her response. I’m actually touching on a point here which is, actually that whole feeling and institute and religious elements here cultural elements here. The idea of having a wedding was almost like an official commitment to each other that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together and it was a symbol to our families as well, that this is my partner for life.

The wedding and the marriage itself represented that binding of two people l suppose if that’s a way to describe it. So that’s my situation.

Okay let’s come back and I want to ask more questions on that, let me address your question and then I’ll bring you into it. But then when we finish, I’ll probably come back and say, based on what I described what was your experience?

I’m not going to give you any clues I’ll let you react to it as we go through it. I think for most people the choice to get married or to stay or be in a relationship or swap the sentence out as Harminder has already said.So am I ready to stay in or get into a long-term relationship? There are really only two elements to this, there is either the logical element or the emotional element. That’s it.

Yes, we can argue, but surely Ro if I’m going to be getting married or staying in a long-term relationship it is all about emotions, all about love, all about the connection and you’d hope so, but actually there’s not. There are two things, there’s emotion and logic. And this is why there’s a conflict I think if you didn’t have the two hitting or butting heads together it would be so much simpler to say, actually no it’s not the right time or yeah it is. Because you don’t have one hitting the other one, this is where our conflict is.

So if I start to drill down through this maybe you can talk into that space as well, because it would be interesting to see from your perspective. Maybe what you can do is come at it like this Harms as a millennial, try and be the voice of millennials at the moment. That would be really useful.

What a responsibility.

Yeah millennials out there, you can put this one on him.

I mean, from a logical perspective people go, “Well you know it’s logical now you’re 32, 33, 34, you’re 28, 29, you’ve been working for a while you’re financially stable. This is just the thing to do, so you guys have been together you’ve shown a commitment.”

This could be a mum and dad conversation to daughter or son. It could be a friend who is older, could just be the social pressure of the fact that all your other friends have got married right now and there’s that little bit of shit we are the only ones left honey.That conversation can and does happen and here’s the big one Harms and I’ve had this because I know this, we’ve been together for 19 years. You go to weddings I’ve been to a lot of weddings and people go, “So are you guys going to get married? How long have you been together?”

I get it a lot.

I bet you do.

Especially as a professional speaker when I’m out in front of audiences and they go, “So you’re not married yet?” And it’s like they don’t go, “Oh you’re not married.” In fact, there is no easy way to ask that question.

If you’re listening to this right now and I said to you, “So you’re not married yet then?” You can’t tell me that is not judgemental.

That’s a judgemental tone right there.

Or, “Okay, so you’re not married?”, you can’t ask the question without somehow having a slight, even if you said, “Are you married, are you married yet? Are you and your partner married?” Everyone logically assumes that if you’re with somebody for a period you have to get married and I’m going to pause there because there are other things I want to add to this.

But what’s your take on that at the moment listening to this as somebody who is married and also coming from a younger generation to me.

Of course, and that is the same thing. My generation listen to constantly. If you are in a relationship.

Talking as a young Asian man.

Okay so I am factoring in the fact I am Asian and I come from that culture. So the natural next step is just like Ro has said that if you’ve got a job, if you’re stable now the next natural step is because of that you now display responsibility it’s time to get married. There is that social pressure people.

We are going to have people listening to this from France, Germany, Italy, Asian people, African people, West Indian people, Malaysia, Thailand, all over the world. So, I know culturally there will be lots of different mixes and some may not appreciate it, but can you give us your kind one to two minute description of the typical traditional and it’s not about being stereotypical, but we know there is a tradition within certain cultures to that experience as a young Asian person coming up. Is it even right to use the old school, but what is the original philosophy for young people within the Asian culture?

Because I know from my experience and I’m only half Asian, but I grew up in a very strong Asian area and also when I went to a university a lot of my friends were Asian. I could see without using the word, but I have to use it a lot of pressure on them. Just describe the traditional experience of a young person coming up.

Fantastic question Ro.

The traditional experience would be and if we rewind slightly marriage was the thing and marriage was the thing the moment you met someone. It wasn’t a case of go and date for a couple of years three, four, five, six years as many years as you want. It’s okay, now you’ve met this person the next step is you’re getting married, there is no two, three years of getting to know each other, etcetera.

That was the cultural pressure back then.

I’m really drilling down now the norm for and I appreciate this is private but it’s important as well this is one thing with the Seekardo we try and be transparent as we can and sensitive to each other, but also people listening was it on your mind on a consistent regular basis.

I dated many, many years ago, a young lady and this was at university and she came from an Islamic background and we didn’t date for very long. But she was very, very mindful of me not being from an Islamic background and also the fact that she knew that there was pressure going to be building up very quickly and we didn’t stay together long, it was a good friendship, but I just always sensed it was on her mind a lot. I’m talking about a long time ago.

Agree and I think if we rewind the times, if I put myself in a time about 15, 20 years ago to even just at that stage, then realistically, yes it probably would have been on my mind a lot. But me talking personally I was really lucky. My mum and dad just didn’t put much pressure on us, so it wasn’t a case of it had to be in your mind constantly.

Where this has shifted to if I bring us now to present time where my culture has shifted in the whole is, we can now date. We can now get to know each other. We can now spend two, three years getting to know a partner before we determine if we are going to spend the rest of our lives with this person.

Are you describing an ecosystem of the London Asian culture because you’re describing it from you experience of being in London. Is that the case really across the whole of the globe, the UK?

The answer is no.

So you’re also aware of scenarios that occur and that is because you have grown up in different parts of the country. That is absolutely the London ecosystem that’s ecosystem where there’s a diverse culture. There’s lots of factors playing into different scenarios.

The London culture is work first, the Asian culture is work first get a great career, now let’s think about marriage and you don’t necessarily have to rush it, we understand because you’ve got these career pressures, which is partly why people are deciding to commit later now.

But if we look at other parts culturally if you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody and you start dating them the simple thing is you’re getting married, it is an official contract as such, because that’s the thing to do as part of that culture.

Now, different cultures may be different I’m not that culturally aware to understand what all the cultures are like. That’s me voicing it as observing the Asian culture without any judgement that is an observation.

Let me steer you back into the millennial question broadening it. You opened by saying it’s still on our minds and we still experience that kind of pressure of people asking the question. Now broadening it to all sorts of backgrounds. Is it true then that for you most people in that millennial age group are generally feeling a sense of that logical pressure from around them?

Yes because it’s the natural next step. So when you’re having conversations it’s going to be around the moment you start dating somebody or if you’ve got a friend dating somebody, the question comes up, is that person the one? Is that person the one you’re going to marry?

It becomes natural and that question itself that you mentioned Ro, that question itself is the pressure. That question itself is the question which makes you think, is this the person I should be getting married to? Do I have to be thinking about marriage now?

That is happening but we’ve got as millennial’s, I don’t what it is or where it’s come from, we have this thing where we are quite resistant to cultural norms as well. So if our parents tell us to get married asap, we are going to say no. We are going to get married when we want to get married.

Yeah.

We have that inbuilt in us, this almost fightback to say, actually no it is my life, I’ll get married whenever I want to. It almost pushes marriage;it almost says I’m not going to think about this because this is what you want me to do. That’s a challenge us millennials have to be aware off. Are we dismissing marriage and committing to somebody out of that rebellious nature that we have or is it a genuine feeling that actually, I’m genuinely not ready for marriage.

I think that’s something we have to be very careful of.

We talked about this in a podcast, but there’s a point where a personal matures through different stages. So although millennials will be in a certain age group there will be a point where millennials hit an age group similar to mine for example, and with that comes a different sense of awareness of the world, wisdom and a different set of values and views.

So interesting to hear you say that. Just adding to all of this course we are still in the logical part not the emotional side is then you’ve got financial reasons. Sometimes decisions are made around should I stay with this person or get married to this person for financial reasons?

I joked about it in a live I did about half an hour ago now before I got into the office is, tax benefits, there are tax benefits in the United Kingdom for people getting married for example, if you’re a property investor owning properties jointly moving one asset from one person to the other. A pillow transaction I think it is called so jokes aside, there are people I’ve come across that have got married for logical financial reasons. Yes, they were together. And yes, they seem to be in love with each other, but they just said, well it seemed like the logical step forward at this stage in our relationship.

We can argue that one and say really is that the right way to do it? It’s not for me to judge, but if the result of that decision leads to them breaking up a year or two down the line, “well we should never have got married”. I actually know someone who has this conversation recently, when you hear that conversation you’re thinking fricking hell. That wasn’t a marriage based on love, passion, connection, values being aligned, you were trying to save some tax.

But it is logical in some people’s minds.

The challenge is like you’ve said Ro, if later down the line there isn’t that connection and values and we’ll go into those elements in a moment.

I think we should.

It’s just going to this cost you more money, those tax savings are instantly lost, so if that’s the way you are basing your decision on that, maybe try adding a few more layers, which is when we go to the emotional part as well.

Yes the other thing of course is and you’ve experienced this because you’ve got married is a marriage is a legal contract, it’s a certificate. It forms part of a system and I have heard you say this before as well, you know, it’s like some people make a decision to do something and you’re buying into a structure.

That’s not a negative thing, but we all have to remember the minute we do that, the minute that certificate is signed and you are legally bound into that marriage it is actually a contract and that contract states that if X, Y, and Z happens and he gets this, she gets this or if it’s the same sex couple. You are actually now part of a very old system of contract and law and that isn’t the same as an emotional marriage.

I’ve got to mindful here because you and I are going into that subject of marriage. If somebody wants to stay in a lifelong relationship and that’s the same question we’re addressing here as well. This doesn’t apply here. So we’re talking now about a legal contract as opposed to just an emotional contract between the two of you to stay together.

Does that make sense? I want to try and distinguish the two.

That makes sense Ro. But surely if I’m listening to this and you may have got challenged on this in the past, which is surely it’s more than just a contract. Somebody could argue it’s a personal commitment, so that institution of marriage shows that there is a personal commitment here to the other person. So surely it is more than just a contract.

Yeah, I agree with you. What I am I guess trying to point out here is looking from a logical perspective once you go into that, for some people it’s I want that commitment and I see the commitment as the piece of paper. Years ago I heard a lady say this, and it is within our peer group. I didn’t know her that well, but it was an argument that kicked off one time and she just said, “I want to see that piece of paper. I want to see your commitment in writing. I want to see if you’re committed instead of you just keep saying you’re going to at some point in the future.”

In her mind and part of me feels when I hear that, that is purely down to the fact there’s not enough communication and maybe in the back of her mind she’s doubting whether he really is committed. So by signing the document, doing it with the registrar and getting friends to watch and witness it. And now I know that you’re married to me. When in fact really, it’s just the finishing part of what is an amazing relationship.

It is difficult to put words around it because the minute you look at it as a piece of paper, it’s a contract, that is actually what is.Certainly in this country and other countries as well. Unless you go to Vegas where you can go in get married and get divorced the next day. You are right and ultimately it is a personal commitment and I can argue if you were my fiancé and we were in relationship and you say, “Ro I just want to see that commitment from you.”

It’s more about an emotional commitment. But then we are saying we want the piece of paper to prove that. That’s where it becomes a grey line argument, I don’t know if I’m making sense?

That does make sense.

That’s what I found when I coached people when I have had this conversation over a coaching session. This has come up it’s like, “Yeah but I just want to see the commitment.”And I said okay define commitment and then he said, “well I just want to know that she is mine for life.

I said okay but what do you mean by mine for life? “I just want to get married.” Okay, so how would you wake up tomorrow and do things differently tomorrow knowing that there is a piece of paper there now? “Well we wouldn’t but I just know that now she’s committed.”

I don’t want to give names away but this is going back five, six years now, but the two of them sat there and you could see her face and she’s like looking at me as if to say, see what I mean.She was like, “I love you honey. I know you do and we’ve been together for three, four years. I know we have but I just want to know you’re totally committed to me. I am totally committed to you.Prove it will. Well I prove it every day. You know we are together, we travel, we make plans,we’ve got a joint bank account, we’ve bought a house together, we’ve talked about having kids. But I just want to see that as a commitment, I just want the certificate.”

For some and I know I sound like I’m having a rant I’m actually not, but it does come down to a belief that a piece of paper with a signature on it suddenly changes the world. We will become different people; it means the commitment levels are different. Actually, one could argue, people might then stay there if things are wrong for fear because now there is a financial constraint because now we are legally committed. That means if I pull out of this relationship it’s going to cost me money.

Again not always the case, but am I sounding a bit cynical?

I think it gives another side to the story because actually if the listeners are listening to this at home a good conversation to have with your partner, a logical conversation is how important is marriage to you?

If you can have this conversation really early and also what does marriage mean to you?What is the act of marriage if that’s a conversation piece, what does is it actually mean to you? Because if it both means to you that actually we feel like this is an official commitment. There’s no backing out however you want to describe it, then it is cool. But if somebody is saying marriage isn’t important to me, I’m yours forever it is irrelevant if I’ve got a piece of paper and somebody saying no I need that piece of paper, then that can be resolved a lot earlier.

Yeah and the two different values coming into place there, one being love and commitment and variety, the other one being love with a massive need for security. By the way that security is we’ve got to sign a document.

We can expand on that later.

And that can be counter argued and because the beauty of human life and human beings are that we all have different perspectives, so there might be some listeners saying “that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to tell my husband or wife, or my future wife or husband. When we got marriedI felt forced into this because…”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is no right or wrong to this, but there is a way of looking at it differently if you’re caught in a cycle of the same argument and you find you’re hitting your head. So this is the logical side conflicting with what is the other part I wanted to mention which is the emotional side.

Let’s tackle that so the emotional side is to do with you. You’ve already come to this to some extent. You said, what does it feel like to get married?

I think I said this just briefly in the Facebook live I just did a few minutes ago, which is age doesn’t really come into it and I was saying that because you might be watching this or listening to this and you’re like 10 or 15 years older than your partner, which is the case for me. Or it might be that you’re in your 20s or in your 30s, 40’s, 50s like I am, I don’t believe it’s about age. I really don’t. I think the emotional element overrules all of that.

I’ve got a friend of mine who is about 60 and his partner is 30, so there’s a 30-year gap. They’ve been together for over 10 years and they’re genuinely happy, totally as a couple totally committed. I think they’ve got one, possibly two babies. Lovely couple age massive, if you look at it it’s almost a person’s life. If you’re listening to this and you’re a millennial you’re 30 years of age. But they’re really happy together.

The are several things to consider here number one if you’ve been together with somebody for a long time, is there an emotional sense of commitment in this? “We’ve been together for long time maybe we should get married?” Have you ever heard that conversation do you think that you’re old enough to have heard that conversation Harms or is that one that I might have heard more because I’m that much older? I don’t know if millennial’s actually have that conversation?

Or millennials staying in that relationship for long, so that’s the other variable here.

Let’s talk about that for a minute do you think that’s the case?That’s a good point actually, do you think that because there is more choice they’re jumping in and out of relationships? Less commitment.

I think that is one factor and of course there are relationships that last longer and you know high school sweethearts, all of that. I’ve seen that in social circles, that doesn’t really change in culture. There are probably tilts to balance so maybe there are more quicker relationships at the moment within our generation.

But there are still those relationships where people have been together and the challenges is as almost a human condition is the more time we have spent together the more time we have invested, the more emotional investment. Like you said near the start of this podcast, you’ve met their friends, you’ve met their family, you’re now in their social circles. You’re now in their photographs so on an emotional level there’s so much commitment to all of these different facets of the relationship.

So that feeling alone can regardless if the relationship is healthy or you feel like this is the best relationship, there is so much commitment in all different areas that the feeling is okay maybe the next step is we should get married.

Yes, that’s great. This is where the butt of heads the conflict, the two tribes come against each other if you like.The tribe of logic and the tribe of emotion come to wrestle because you know you get people saying to you, “Shouldn’t you get married now? You’ve been together for such a long time.”

Emotionally you’re like it feels like I want to be with this person, she feels like the right person to be with, he feels like the right person to be with and so there’s this emotional sense of okay, maybe I should. It’s like you then move it that logical step forward. “We’ve been together for such a long time now, we’ve been together for four, five, six and eight years, we should get married, let’s just solidify it. Let’s make the commitment real now.”

I’ve heard people say that, “let’s just do it, let’s tie the knot.”

Again, even that’s an interesting statement if you think about it. Another one is does the decision feel right to me?

That’s a question I say to a lot of people is, there was this couple just recently at a property event I was teaching at and they say said we’ve been thinking about marriage for a while and what do you think? I mean, I don’t know this couple. I met them over three days but they obviously felt they trust me and they came up and said what do you think? And I said well, I don’t know you. You seem like a lovely couple does it feel right to you both to get married right now.

I think they were 23, 24 years of age and whenever I ask a question and here is a great thing to do by the way, if you know a friend, a couple that have been together for a while or a couple you know are thinking of getting married, and maybe there’s a conflict going on. Or you hear a conversation happening great thing to do is get them together and have them face-to-face opposite you and I did this naturally because I coach people almost instinctively now when I’m talking to them.

And I will ask a question, completely cold, completely fresh and I’ll only ask the question once and very, very simply and immediately I’m going straight into mind-reading. Now I know we’ve talked about mind reading on another podcast we had, which was communicating with impact and we do that on the communicating with impact course.

You might not have done a lot of mind-reading but you can watch people’s reactions initially to a question. Look for micro-expressions, look for their breathing patterns. Maybe just wait for a response time to a question. So what happened with this couple I said so, you’re asking me what do I think about you guys getting married. So I repeated the question back to the first to get them into a relaxed state and they went “yes”. That also means that they’re receptive and they’re waiting for an answer, that’s a really subtle coaching tip there by the way.

And I said okay let me ask you a question, does the decision feel right for you both now?That was it I just went silent and as I did that there was two different reactions. Hers was this softness, this kind of sign of relief. It was like yes and her head was nodding and she was immediately turning to him to say yes. He on the other hand, paused before he even responded, and the pause wasn’t like this. It was a micro pause, but it was a micro pause long enough between hers and his.

Does this make any sense?

Yes, I can picture the scene.

It’s like a delay and if you’re in somebody’s space and you’re doing a slowdown process, which is when you’re mind-reading you kind of go down into a slowdown process. I’m just looking for that and you could just tell that in his mind now wasn’t right, but she was so ready and they both ended up saying yes and his tonality was, I think we talked about this in a previous podcast. It’s like you’re opening a vault and he was one click off the right tonality and then they both said yes and I turned to her and I said, do you believe him? And to be honest I didn’t ask them permission to them, but I’d been with them for over two days so they trusted me in that space.

But it’s fascinating how one question Harminder, made such a difference. I said do you believe him and this was her response, “yeah, yeah, I do believe him.” And can I be frank with you?They said yes and I said, I think you are more ready than you and they both kind of laughed and said let’s not laugh. I think you are more ready than you.

And she said, “actually I do kind of feel that honey.”

And then that conversation started and at which part I said anyway it’s your conversation to have not mine, but if you’re not ready yet and I turned to him at least discuss it because you’re about to build a property business together, that’s what you’re talking to me about. If you’re not ready and your lovely partner is here and you go and build a one or two-million-pound property business which we can talk about on another podcast as both you and I have done that. We should make that a subject in future podcasts.

I said what happens now if after one million pounds worth of property or two million pounds worth of the property later ,all of a sudden you’ve changed your mind and she thinks you’re going to get married. You’re building this for kids, family and actually you’re not thinking that. You’ve got to be honest right now because how you build that business will be based on whether you want to stay together or not. It might be you have to set up two separate businesses and I know I’m going off a tangent, but not really because the future is also about thinking about where you want to be in the future.

It is not just about the marriage and the one day and the amazing wedding for example, you had as I came to your wedding but it’s much more than that.

Most people think it’s about a wedding day, a marriage is not a wedding day. A wedding day is just the start of the whole experience. Sorry I’m going to stop now but is this making sense?

That makes sense and I tell you what for those listening at home it’s absolutely magical having Ro on this podcast because Ro you’re the only person I know where complete strangers will ask you the deepest questions and I’ve seen it with my own eyes. It’s a phenomenal thing to see and I think genuinely it’s from a place of trust. They know your skill set they understand your experience very quickly and I think trust is the underlying word there, but it’s an amazing thing.

I imagine that question, they would never have asked anybody else. They wouldn’t have asked their friends, they wouldn’t have asked their family, but hey, Dr Ro, we’ve just known you for two days, do you think we are ready to get married?

I love it.

And I don’t give them an answer. I ask them a question and if a question is insightful enough the truth comes out in our body language, our breathing, our emotions and then they gave the answers. I’ll come to you in a minute but in your case without a doubt you were. It’s just alignment, two people being aligned.

The other thing I guess emotionally maybe you can talk back into this space again is the cultural pressure, societal pressure, parents, there is an emotional connection to that and some people might say, surely that’s logical. Well, not really, because there might be the logic in the parents say for example, if you’ve got a 65-year-old Asian couple who logically and their mind think, “My son should get married now, this is very, very important that they get married, very, very important. Dr Ro you mustn’t talk to my son. Don’t you understand?You are the same age as us, it’s very logical you must get married.”

Now your response to that as a son is pressure and your response isn’t logical it’s emotional and that’s where decisions can get made from an emotional response to logic and this is where the two conflict.

I don’t know if I’m making sense. But for me I see it so much I go there is a logical argument creating an emotional reaction and this couple are buying into the logical argument from the parents and they’re getting married for the wrong reasons. Whereas your telling me a lot of millennial’s take the logical argument and kick back against it, and emotionally push against it and actually like, I’m going to prove them wrong.

Exactly and that is the emotional response. I have dived into the culture so I won’t answer that but I’ll leave the listeners with when we talk about logic and emotions, imagine the parent here in this scenario that Ro just explained he or she, or the mum or dad or whatever has got a timeline in front of them, or a flowchart. And the flowchart is step one baby is born, step two they go to school, step three they get a degree and the next box is the moment they meet somebody they get married.

That’s their flowchart. So when they’re at that flowchart and they’re telling their son or daughter right you’re at flowchart step number four, five it’s time to get married, and the emotional response, is open a clean piece of paper they don’t have a flowchart. They’re not living their life by a flow chart, especially us millennial’s, rarely do we live our life by a flowchart. We live in this completely diverse world, so the response is,“hell no I’m not getting married when you tell me to get married. I’ll get married to who I want when I want.”

That’s the response that we’ve got so I think we’ve nailed the logic and emotion of why people typically get married, or the signs to look out for in order to understand that are you making the decision of marriage for the right reasons.

Yeah, I think you’ve just nailed it actually. My book Turning Point I think the first page of the book I wrote down the whole concept of awareness and awareness is the first step to changing any transformation, any turning point in your life.

So what we’re doing here is making you aware and you may be aware of them already but we are magnifying them of the different pressures/reason/decision processes that people go through, in getting to that point where we say, right yes I am ready to get married.

I think from my perspective I’m saying, let’s look at it from a different way. Let’s look at it as a way that maybe is forcing you to make that decision as opposed to you naturally making the decision which I want to get to as we go through this. So, this is about observation at this stage get the mirror out and start to ask yourselves questions around this, is this the logical pressure on me at the moment?
Is it an emotional pressure I’m putting on myself?
Or is it an emotional pressure I’m developing as a result of a logical argument being put upon me? i.e. financial reasons, legal contract, etcetera.

I think having done that Harminder I’m just going to throw this question at you and hopefully you can just respond to it in a natural way without having to pause and think it through too much and that is so, I met you when you were engaged, correct?

Correct.

I didn’t meet you prior to that and I’ve been privileged to be there and be part of your journey and be invited to your wedding. But talk me through the experience for you as a millennial, I don’t know if you can differentiate between that and as a young Asian couple as well. But what was your experience looking at the logic, looking at emotion and if you don’t mind being open with our audience here rewind me to before I met you to the point where you finally got to the point, because once you’ve made the engagement that’s kind of your commitment to that question on am I ready to get married?

I’ve never really asked you the question so it’s quite nice that we have this conversation whilst we are in front of before an audience of several thousand people or more.

So I think from my scenario I was and I still pinch myself I think I got very, very lucky. It’s very hard to put words around the scenarios. I meet Gee three, four years ago, before we got engaged and we just clicked straight away. Now I think this question is almost best answered by going through and we almost did this without realising what we were doing. For example there’s exercises and examples that we are going to give people later in this podcast in the next stage and we had naturally gone through those elements and those were, for example, visioning our future. Having an open conversation and saying what does our future look like, do we want children? Where do want to live?
Those questions.

What do we value in life?

But we at this stage because we hadn’t gone down a path of real self-awareness and personal development and understanding the logical part of what I’m describing to you.

The reason I say I got lucky is because it all clicked into place in the sense that we had gone through some of the exercises we are going to talk about in a moment, just by luck that’s me being open. I didn’t know what we were doing but what we were doing was having an open communication, everything we did we clicked and that click came from our values and beliefs were aligned automatically. We hadn’t processed that at the time and we were also operating as a relationship where we felt like we were secure but also there was enough variety in the relationship to keep the spark alive, to then say actually, this has been an amazing three years. Now let’s think about married, are we ready to get married?

We had open conversation with each other and the answer for both of us was yes. So for those listening at home this will make sense as we go into the next stage of the podcast what I’m saying here.

What I’m saying to you Ro is I guess everything that we went through it wasn’t a conscious process. I got lucky because I just did it. And then when I met you and went through some of your trainings and became friends with you, it was like oh my god, that’s why that happened. We just did that exercise by chance and of course we have evolved the exercises since then, but that’s where it happens.

I’m hoping we can leave the listeners with the elements where once they understand these they now have the factors in place to help them determine if they’re ready.

I got lucky and I say I get lucky because in my social circle only a few of us got married, few of them are still single. In the workplace I’ve seen divorces. I’ve seen relationships, start and breakdown. I’ve seen people stay single for a long time so I’ve seen so many different scenarios, so I do class myself as lucky because all the things we are going to speak about clicked automatically.

Now if we can give our listeners this as tools they don’t have to get lucky, they can put luck in their own favour by taking a bit of control of their relationship.

That was the logical side of things and I know Ro and I have covered the logic side. Now the other side of this equation is the emotional part and if you’re listening to this at home this is not an easy place for me to go to at all, or for men to go to in general, that’s me being openly honest Ro.

Let me clarify, I’m going back as you’re talking through this. Are you describing to me, because I asked the question, what was it like for you? Because I didn’t meet you through this experience and this sounds like you are very aligned with the logical way so your pressing the button on the emotional now, and I don’t hear do this very often so I’m interesting to see, keep sharing man you’re in front of thousands of people here.

I use the word lucky, but that’s me saying I was lucky from my context. But the reason I was really lucky as I met the most amazing woman who, she just was open, flexible but allowed us to evolve together.We challenged each other. She could take the challenge she could challenge me back and it was never a case of he is right, she is right. It was just pure flexibility and for those listening at home, you can always senseI do sometimes come from a logical place Ro.

But where I come from a place of logic, there is always a challenge to come from the heart space and why I got so lucky is Geena as a beautiful woman, as my partner, life partner, she is able to draw that love from me bring it to the surface.

I think for that I’m massively lucky, because for those who have met her she is pure hearted. Everything she does and all the intention she has only comes from a place off love. So we would have conversations and I’d be getting all logical about it. I’ll be saying, yeah, we need this much money, we need this many things etcetera, we need to live here. She would say, “yeah but was does feel like? How does that feel for our future family? How would that feel for us?”

If I had a bad day at work, the question wouldn’t be around the logical conversation it would be a hug, it would be an embrace and when you can be warmed like that with your partner. That’s why I got really lucky to be matched with somebody who is pure hearted.

Ro when I’m faced with that all the logic goes out the window, so if you were to ask me back then why did you get engaged, it would be that.That would be the reason.

Lovely.

The nice thing is you can hear the difference in your voice even as you’re describing that.

I can feel it as well. I don’t go there often. Even the sensations have changed on my body, it’s phenomenal.

You’ve seen me with my kids I did an event years ago where I brought my partner and the kids in, and she connects very well with Geena, for example, your wife and the two of them connected because they’re in that space. They’re both very open and very feminine, their flow and they just connected in that way and that femininity for me was really massive. It played out in a big way because when we met, for example, we were in two different parts, two different areas of our life, but age is irrelevant when there’s something deeper. When there is a deeper connection and we are blessed as men to have somebody around us that has that beauty because it is the beauty, it’s not the logic at all. And that brings out the best in us and I think we are very privileged both of us to be in that situation.

Interestingly enough listening to you, you describe an area of what I classify these four levels of relationships. I’m going to swing it a bit more logical for anyone listening and thinking well how do I know what type of relationship I’m in? Naturally human beings want to categorise things.

So if I say to everybody listening, and this is written in detail in the book Turning Point there’s a chapter on this but let me give you headlines on this.

Before we start there were Ro let me frame this section we are going into now, if you’re working your way through this podcast, remember we are asking the question am I ready to get married or am I ready to be committing to a long-term relationship? This is now where we talk about the factors to help determine if you are ready. These are the factors that I say I got lucky with because Geena was so open and we both just flowed through this process thanks to her, but these are the actual logical things that you can take hold.

The first thing is what are the different levels of relationship?

Thanks for framing that because I’m passionate to plough into this and really bring the subject to the surface, so it is good that you’re setting this up so maybe if they’ve got a pen and paper to write this down.

Level one is basically for one of a better word, I’m in it for me. So you’re trading in a relationship. It’s often two people meet there’s a bit of a connection initially or there’s a really strong, powerful connection sometimes it’s driven by a sexual connection. And maybe one person’s come from a hurt place, dad relationship, abusive relationship that can happen by the way, or just not been in a great place for a while. Meet somebody else who is completely the opposite.

If your ex-partner was really rough, rude was verbally abusive and conceited and ego and self-driven and you get out of that relationship, I typically when I’m coaching couples meet people that go into a relationship with somebody exactly the opposite.

They look for somebody who can feed them lots of connection, lots of love, lots of gentleness and lots of kindness and they go in and they bounce off each other. And it’s often a short-term relationship because it’s fulfilling an immediate need, it’s not a long-term relationship with a long-term view. It’s like I need this now and I’m going to get this from this person.

Often it’s physical, it’s sexual, can be financial, it can be emotional dependency as well. It’s not dependency relationship as such, because that’s a level two but it’s trading. I want to get in be it in for a while and get out. Those kinds of people often are in relationships for a short period and when you meet them after three, four, five years or you haven’t seen them for a while, or you’ve just known them for years that will be the person that you know that’s been in and out of relationships and never settled into anything more than two, three, four, five, six, seven months and that’s it. Boom they’re the gone.

Does that make sense and are you familiar or seen that before in other people Harms?

Yes, I have seen it in other people, and it’s often for example trading that can be in a sexual nature as well. That’s tell-tale signs I’m just dating for the sex, okay sex is now boring, let’s move onto the next partner and I think that’s an example of a trading relationship.

Now this is where it gets interesting. If the couple that are together stay longer than that period and it happens to be that one of them is more financially stronger than the other one. It can actually move into a dependency relationship. Now it could be that people meet and they don’t have a level one relationship they move straight into a level two relationship.I.e. they meet, there is a connection, and one is more financially stronger than the other one, or one is more emotionally stronger than the other one because they haven’t had negative experiences in the past.

So, one tends to lean on the other now this is your traditional type of relationship way back in the day where man would go out and work and woman would be at home and be the homemaker. That’s your very traditional, 50’s, 60’s type relationship even 70’s. That’s changed a lot in the last 20, 25 years, but back in those days that would often be how it would be.

Financial dependency relationships can start off as a couple that really connect together. However, if that connection isn’t massively strong and they haven’t done all the things we’ve talked about, asking the question am I ready to get married? They automatically do it because it’s comfortable and he says I’ll do this and she says I’ll do that and they fit into this rut often, one is financially dependent on the other.

Now I don’t what to stereotype here and you’ve got to correct me if I’m wrong but coming from an Asian background myself I would say that’s been quite a big part of Asian culture. Would you agree?Where typically the male has been the financial driver and the female, the mother has been the person that looks after the family, cares for the family stayed at home. That can lead to a financial dependency style of relationship.

Correct and I think that does feature in our culture, Asian culture, sorry, and I think you’re spot on when you said it’s certainly the old school style. You know those who watched the series mad men the main character in that, that’s an example of the financial dependency relationship where he was the executive of the marketing department and his wife will be at home and she was taking care of the house. That’s the stereotypical world that was then and it does still remain in certainly certain cultures, certain societies and I think it’s still there. I think what’s changed slightly is where finances have become more important you’ll see the partner starting to work because the family has no choice. I think that’s where that’s shifting slightly.

Yeah and on that note there is definitely a shift in finances.So they still exist, I see them a lot, but now it’s a different shift. The woman’s gone out and she’s entrepreneurial and she’s very smart, this is the funny thing right, two couples same level of aptitude, same level of academic qualification, same level of just go-getter nature, but traditionally it would have been the man that went out and did that.

Whereas now society has changed it’s saying either of you can do it. I see now, a lot of women going out and doing amazing things in business and in their careers and that financial dependency relationship still exists except it’s the other way around now, so he’s back at home for example, and she’s out. But you can get it in same-sex relationships where one is more dominant financially than the other one.

What I’m saying is it’s a shift away from the first type of relationship which is trading one for the other sex, etcetera short-term. This is now a longer-term relationship and it’s become financially dependent, but it’s not necessarily a wow, we are connected, we are unconditionally in love, we are spiritually evolving, we are emotionally evolving. It’s kind of got into a rut and its financial dependency.

Now it can move up to another level, which is called a balanced couple or it could be starting as a balanced couple. For example you and Geena one could argue, could easily have fallen into this after a period of time and that is in other words because you’ve both come to the table as educated people and you’re both the same age group, you get together, you get married. Actually you could both equally be earning the same amount or she could be earning more than you, but the balance being that you both provide for the home.

A balanced couple is you get together, stay together, both contribute to the house, you bring different things to the table and you care about each other. You’re in love with each other and after a while you’re in love with each other, you stay together, go to work, come home, go on holiday two, three, four weeks a year. Five years later you stay together, you come home from work you put the slippers on, you sit down, you have your dinner, you talk, maybe you’ve got kids maybe you haven’t. Seven years later and somewhere along the line I see the shine go out of the relationship.

There isn’t that spark, there isn’t that wow that used to be there’s no evolvement of the couple, there is no emotional development and you can actually see this and Harms I don’t know if you’ve seen this in people around you, but I’ve seen this at the age I’m at.

It can regress back because if the couple aren’t connected they’ve not evolved, they’ve not understood their values their needs and are not really exploding together and growing to another level. What happens is if they get annoyed with each other. They can regress back to a point where they start arguing or trading, I’ll do this for you if you do this for me. Fight start to form and it can move back towards a level one or level two and if, by the way, in a balanced couple a husband or a wife loses a job wow, we are definitely shifting back to a level two relationship.

It puts more stress which can then bring it back to a level one where one gets so pissed off they say, “I’m only going to do this if you do that. Yeah but you’re never around. But I’m making the money you’re at home because you are not making the money, you lost your job.” Fuck we have now regressed back to a level one.

I don’t want to sound negative because that is not the purpose of this, but I’m just observing what I’ve seen, how I’ve coached people and how it can happen right under our noses without us even being aware of it. Now I don’t know if this is making sense, but I’m just trying to give it a category so that people can start to get a sense of oh shit we are hear at the moment, or great we are here at the moment.

But be aware of it, that is what I’m trying to say.

I tell you what Ro, I love level three because I think that’s typically where most relationships sit in, especially of my generations. Looking at millennials because they are 30 years old or new into relationships or been into a relationship, a balanced couple relationship for now two, three years. People are sitting there. So what I love about this is now listeners at home have an awareness of this is where we are and okay I understand where we are, but we don’t want to get to where Dr Ro said, which is where the shine, you know, it gets a bit dull. The relationship gets a bit beige, magnolia walls. We don’t want to get there.

So I think the awareness for my generation there is fantastic. I’ll leave it with that balance.

In that case let’s take it to level four and level four is an unconditional relationship. It means that you are emotionally developing together, this what you describe about you and Geena.

When Stina and I met we went through a massive period of just going on personal development courses together, we read books together. And because she is an emotionally developed person and in that sense an emotionally developed woman and also just very feminine by nature she challenges me and tests me and asks me questions and keeps me in that space of wanting to evolve in areas that maybe I’m not so interested in, because I’ve got my own place I want to evolve into. But there’s not a sense of trading when you’re at that level of a level four.

Now it is nirvana because you’re moving to a place where you both come to the table and you do something to the relationship but not expecting anything back, it’s unconditional. You might say fucking hell, how can you exist at that level?

I actually think it’s very hard for anyone to exist on that level. I do not exist at that level all the time it’s a constant growth process because when you’ve got kids, for example, the children are pulling on your emotional time.

Classic example this morning she was in kitchen doing something for the kids, preparing some food. I went out to the car; we’ve got two electric cars. I went to pull the lead out the electric car, but she’d asked me to go and lie back down with Liv and keep her calm because our eldest daughter had got up, this is an interesting one. Right our eldest daughter had got up, she’s going to school youngest is not going to school at the moments, she is having Friday off. Normally one of us stays and keeps her in the heat the warmth and she sleeps on. But I go out and plug the car to get the car ready and for some reason the electric unit wouldn’t charge. It was the sequence I hadn’t done right, I’m there for nearly five minutes. I walk back in the room and she’s like, honey Liv’s got up, I thought you were going to go back.

Uh oh.

What have I done as I said yeah, this is where the trust comes in. so Liv gets up, she’s now doing a jigsaw piece and she said to me, but I thought you were going to do that. I said yeah but I’m out doing the car, trying to sort out the car.

Now that is a conversation that moves down into kind of a balance couple conversation, where you’re not trading but your kind of in that sort of,it is like roommates if you like. A balanced couple can get to a place where you’re roommates and you just exchange but you’re not necessarily talking in an unconditional way. There is something creeping back in again and that is bound to happen with every single couple. What I’m trying to say to everybody is you’re striving to have as much part of your relationship at a level four, but the world and day-to-day activities will always move you in and out of a four and three.

What you don’t want to do is slip to a two or one, that’s the danger zone and I’m going to stop it there because that is where also people are afraid of getting married because they’ve watched their parents have that experience. Maybe people are listening to this saying am I ready to get married or am I ready to stay in a relationship for long term but I’m nervous Dr Ro, I’m nervous Harms because I’ve seen my parents do that.

You’re probably thinking you’ve seen a one or two type relationship whereas what we are saying is if you can get to a three and a four and ideally staying four more than three, you can have an amazing relationship.

I’m going to pause there because we could get right into this and I run relationship events where we literally drill down into this and we spend three days and absolutely pick this apart. It’s incredible to see.Single people attend. Couples attend, we work on values, relationship, the levels of relationships, their beliefs, the connection. It is great, but this is just a flavour of what you need to be thinking about.

Phenomenal.

I love that and I love the part where you said, as I was thinking about this last night evolving together as a couple, and this is where I say my beautiful wife is amazing where we are talking about a topic we are researching at the moment, and she’s going through the books and she’s like, have you checked this out?

I’m asking her some questions and she’s saying look at this resource and I think that’s where you just evolve as a couple, and it’s very hard if we were to say okay we are going to be with somebody else now, or whatever in the future it’s very hard because we have evolved together. There’s nobody who has gone on that journey together as we’ve gone through the personal development relationships as well.

So for those listening who are looking for tips and saying how do we evolve together? What do you mean by that Harms and Ro? Well its personal development together, it’s exploring topics together. It’s exploring new adventures together, things that stimulate you mentally as well as emotionally.

On that note if anybody is listening to this going, “I just really don’t know where to start.” There are very few people out there tackling this subject, and for that reason I created a video series. I know you’re listing to us on the Seekardo here, if you go to www.growthribes.com get yourself registered onto the tribe itself, take up the trial we have one-month trial for low-cost. Go into the vault and look for the relationship series, now in the relationship series I literally break this down in a lot more detail. It is a chance for you to press pause, I think from memory there’s even footage on there of me live on stage for example, which is great because you get to hear me talk about it there.

But it’s a chance for you to objectively and emotionally follow a process and I think it’s really worth doing if you’ve got a partnership work through it together, I think that would be great. I know it’s a bit of a plug for the Seekardo, but for a lot of people they don’t know where to start Harminder and I think this is a great place to go. It’s a really safe place to learn.

Essential and it’s so low cost. What I’ll do is I’ll put that link into the show notes and even that series link. If you want to watch that series on relationships and that’s where your sole focus is absolutely go head, so I’ll put that link into the show notes.

That’s amazing Ro. What you’ve described for us are the four levels of relationships and it allows listeners at home to say I’m currently in level one, two, three or four wherever you are, and this will help you determine if you’re ready to make that commitment for a life partner. If you’re ready to get married.

Ro what’s another way we can explore this?

I think the other oneand this is really important and we haven’t got time to go into detail here on this podcast and that is to go and look at values and beliefsand most people when they meet, you might go well they are aligned.

Well they’re always aligned when you first meet someone especially if you’re sexually attracted to someone.If you’re physically drawn to somebody sexually drawn to somebody, values and beliefs kind of go out the way. Because the only belief is wow he’s hot, or she’s hot and the only thing you values as much is connection with the person you’re with. Boom you’re in bed kissing and touching and all these lovely things that come with a really immediate, intimate, wow straight contact, but that’s not a measure of your true core values and beliefs.

It can take months if not years, for true core values and beliefs to emerge and you might argue surely not. Well, it actually does, because under different circumstances, under different levels of pressure, a person’s true core values and beliefs emerge.

That said, if you can start to go through a process with somebody and identify those beliefs and values early you’ll be amazed how quickly a relationship can be identified as a good relationship or not. I’m not suggesting that you immediately stop whatever you’re doing in the relationship and go “right we’ve got to do this now, and if it is not right we are going to part company.” Because that might not be appropriate and we have actually seen people do that.

I had somebody come to my Turning Points years ago and she brought her partner, her boyfriend at the time she’d only known him for about two weeks in this was their first official any length of time away together and they came to a three-day training on personal development and relationships.

I think go and read the Turning Point book there is a really good two chapters there on values and beliefs. What do you value in your life? What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about the world? What do you believe about relationships? And get an understanding of your own beliefs before you start to interrogate or understand somebody else’s, because that doesn’t work.

If you start pulling a belief on somebody else without knowing what yours are you’ve got nothing to frame reference against. Same thing with business as well. So if you’re feeling a conflict right now about getting married or staying in this relationship for the long term, meaning that you’re listening to this and you’ve actually been with them for a year, year and a half and you’re having doubts, most of that will come down to your unconsciously aware that maybe the beliefs aren’t quite aligned or your values aren’t quite aligned.

My experience has been of the two, and I’m just saying you can counter this if you want Harminder or to give me your observations. But of the two it’s not so much about your beliefs. Because your beliefs are about how you operate in the world in terms of what you think you can do, what you can do as a couple. What you’re capable of doing and what you can achieve, that is one thing. But your values are how you show up, do you value integrity? Do you value health? Do you value connection? Do you value excitement? Do you value growth?

Now that is very different and if you don’t have those values or let’s say you do and the other person doesn’t, but there’s still a strong sexual attraction. Once that strong sexual attraction has eased off and the way you connect is different and deeper beyond just the physical then the values play out massively.

This is deep Harms and tell me if I’m going too deep but I’m trying to make a point here that there is a difference, but both have to be aligned.

I think that’s a phenomenal exercise and it’s way too challenging for us to actually work through that exercise on the podcast.

You did it at an event how long did it take us? A day to do the values?

Yeah it was a day just on this thing that we spoke about, so I think take this as an understanding of starting to become aware and like all the episodes on the Seekardo podcast it’s not an instant pill it.

This is an awareness to say, “okay the other thing to consider, as well as the four levels of relationship are our values and beliefs and do they do align? Are some intertwined? Or our values and beliefs completely the opposite from each other?”

The sooner you can be aware of that the sooner you can make the decision, are we ready to get married?

That is in the video series I mentioned there is a section on that and it’s more than me just describing it. I think it’s worth for those of you that are going to go do it, or if you’re a listener and you’re already in the Seekardo you may have been into the vault and just not done the relationship series yet, go do it, great opportunity. It’s really powerful and some very honest shares for me in there as well.

Ro, so you asked me previously to give the listeners the emotional side to what was your experience before I met you.

Yes.

You’ve spoken about values and beliefs and I think it was very logical and if I was a listener at home and first time I’m listening to Harms and Ro I’ve been following along,its well what about love?

Are you saying that it’s less important? What about that because I get you’re saying values and beliefs, but I love the person.

Rights so I think this is a very important question because we cannot confuse values, belief and love. They are all very, very different, so the premise here is, and let’s put that as an underline on this. The premise here is that you are together and you may be listening to this at this moment in time and you’ve been together for six, 12, 18 months. Or just might be in a fresh relationship and you’re thinking is there a way I can fast forward this Ro?

Do you remember at the very last Turning Point I did about two, three years ago now there was a couple on the Sunday and they basically were living in different places. They were married, had two kids I seem to remember and she literally could not even look at him. Do you remember? I brough them to stage on the Sunday now the starting point to that was before I brought her to the stage, as I brought him up to the stage first to challenge him on something. And then it up blew up that they’re in a relationship challenge.

I asked the question; do you love her? Because if he’d said to me, “yeah, well I used to love her” or “it’s kind of different.”If he had any of those answers, I would not had even considered bringing her up. Because that ended up being a two-hour intervention, but the minute he said to me that I totally love her because he said it with that level of commitment. I then if you remember turned around and said is your wife in the room?And then she stuck her hand up she looked very nervous and was very reluctant but we brought her to the stage.

That transformation that intervention was amazing, but it couldn’t happen without the basic fundamental premise that yes we do love each other. So someone can be at a level three relationship. They could even possibly be a level two relationship and feel that they’re in love, but I’ll probably have to dig a bit deeper there just to make sure that’s what they’re feeling rather than the feeling of dependency.

But if the couple fundamentally and I’m glad you’ve asked the question, passionately love each other or maybe the passion has gone, but they still love each other. It’s like, “yeah we do love each other it’s just so much has happened in the last two or three years or life has changed so much, or we’ve had so much pressure on us since he lost his job, since she lost her job, since the kids have come along things have changed for us. It’s like we’re not in alignment anymore, but yes we do love each other.”

Great, now we’ve got to have a look at the values, now we’ve got to look at the beliefs because even there, the sentences being said there are based on beliefs not values by the way.

So absolutely we cannot go and start doing a values exercise and a beliefs exercise if there is not at least a fundamental connection at heart level. Does this makes sense?

That makes total sense and for the critic and I say critic, but somebody that says, “yeah but Ro I love the person.” That’s beautiful because that’s the foundation, that is the first question we’d ask. So it’s fundamental and then the values and beliefs come after that. I love that Ro. I remember that scenario and it is a beautiful couple as well.

Yes, it was quite a powerful intervention, but we needed that basic understanding. That’s another question that I didn’t ask this couple I mentioned at the weekend on the property weekend but had they kept pushing me, I would have then asked that question.

For those who come hang out with us and they come to the Seekardo meet up this is the sort of stuff that happens when we physically meet up and last time we have a group of 50, 60 people. There are live coaching experiences, so if you’ve got a challenge or a couple has a challenge then it’s a safe environment. That’s the sort of the cool stuff and the learnings and the evolution that goes on with that group of people and it’s a phenomenal thing.

Ro the next question I want to ask is, and I did this by chance because my beautiful wife was always open to new ideas and trying new things and one of the conversations we had, which later in your event did as an exercise is, we are in a two, three year relationship, but we want to spend the rest of our life together.

Is there something we can do in order to just feel and experience what may happen in the future and what I’m hinting here is almost a visual walk-through of the future.

That can be conversational, that can be almost hypnosis trance, but essentially what does the future look like for us as a couple? And I’m thinking the questions we asked ourselves and visualised was do we want children and if you asked that question and I said, yeah that’s the question I’m asking, just listen to am I ready to be a parent podcast a couple of episodes ago, that answers that question.

Where do we want to live?
Do we want to retire early?
What sort of aspirations do we have?
What kind of experiences do we want to have?
How many times do we want to go on holiday?
Do you want to live close to your parents away from your parents?

All of these questions, we have to play out in our mind and we asked ourselves these questions, but it really became an experience at your event. When you took us on a journey and can you just quickly talk into that space for the listeners who may not even understand what visualisation is.

A lot of people do it without realising that it, “what do you think about kids honey?” But it’s not done in a framed way, I hate to use the word structure but it’s not done in a way to approach the subject. Often the bloke will glance over. So what you are describing there are things like do you want to have kids? Where do you want to live?Do you want to retire early?

All these things are brilliant questions, are these going to go into the show notes? It’s worth popping those questions in.

I can do yeah.

These are questions that you really do need to consider.

My point is, you can bring the future into the present by simply describing and exploring and getting passionate about and writing down and looking at photographs, “honey this is where I want us to live, this is what I want us to do. Look at this couple here I want to do what they’re doing.”

It’s about generating a really passionate conversation rather than a logical one that person you’re with to get a sense of whether they’re aligned with that future. Because if you are describing it in and they’re on their phone or half watching the TV, or they’re nodding but not interacting. What that tells you and I is, they’re just agreeing with you, but they are not really involved with it.

You want them to be involved with that description of the future, let’s really describe how want we want it to be and if you get any tweaks that don’t feel right this is where you check back in with the values.It’s a very, very powerful process and if you don’t do it I think you will find yourself disappointed because when you get to a point in the future and you go, “but this isn’t how I wanted it to be”, they’re going to go, “well how did you want it to be?” And you go, “well I want it to be like this.” And they say, “you didn’t tell me that. I thought you wanted this.”

So whenever we complain about something that isn’t quite where we want it to be it’s because we haven’t at some point defined what that is, we’ve just put it in our minds. So we are taking it from our head’s, in our hearts and we capture it on paper and then you both look at it and say yes.

That’s like setting your compass, now we are ready to go and every time you take a step forward, a day forward, a week forward, a month forward, year forward, five years forward in the relationship. The compass is set and it’s pointing to you so you can always check back into where your North is. That’s really what it’s about setting North in the relationship and making sure that both persons north is pointing in the same direction.

I urge you listening at home if your partner when you are having this conversation with them and they are looking at their phone and they’re distracted, I think one of the ways to approach it is when Ro does put on a large event where he guides people through exercises like this is, both you come us a couple.

Comes as a couple because then it’s a supported environment. It’s an exercise without using the word, a structure, a process that Ro can guide you through and it’s a safe, distraction free environment where you’ve got no choice because Ro is not going to allow you not to do it.

I urge you if you want to really expand and grow the relationship and both be on the same level and have that North, you have the same path on the same road towards North which starts from that conversation and the description, come to whenever Ro is putting out an event come by, come on board.

I think that leads us nicely to the final one I don’t want to dive too much into this, because if you listen to the previous podcasts the power of that podcast answers this question, which is the ability really to have not only an open conversation with your partner, but also an impactful one, an effective one, a passionate one. One where it is honest and truthful, would you agree with that Ro?

I think you’ve said it all Harminder.

I think the way we’re talking today there’s very much an openness between you and I here that has to come into the relationship. If it’s closed down for what you might say, “you don’t understand Dr Ro, we used to be like that, but he’s not anymore” or she’s not like that anymore.

Back up a minute, remember every human being starts to develop and carry baggage over time if it is not released, if it is not let go, if it is not dropped, if it’s not worked on or if it’s not emotionally developed. So for all you know, there might be a fear building up in your partner, there might be concerns, there might be a personal block that is going on and the easiest way to deal with that or to handle the stress is they just shut down their external communication. So that they can internally try and resolve things, so it might not be that they don’t want to communicate with you it might be that they’ve got stuff going on themselves.

I think you’ve got to clear the decks, create that environment to have that conversation, make sure it’s done from a place of the heart rather than from the head because the minute you go “we have to do, it’s logical, we have to plan the future do this logically, I’ll get a pen out and we will bullet point everything and we will write this up and put it on the wall. We’ll have it with bullet points and I’ll have dates against it.”

That then starts to feel a bit scary for somebody. Whereas if I was Geena and I said to you “come on Harms let’s sit down together, I really want to explore some of the things we have been talking about over the last couple of weeks. I’ll get the pen out you just chat and let’s capture it on paper. I am so excited.”

That’s a very different experience. Any closed communication at this stage is usually a sign that somebody’s either in pain or they don’t want to take that step forward into the future and you’ve got to find out if it’s a personal block, let’s resolve it.

If it’s just simply because they’re not visionary, they don’t have the same values as you, they don’t even have a belief that it’s a good idea to get a vision in place. If that’s a fundamental belief you’re kind of screwed to start with. Not trying to be disrespectful to your partner but if their belief is, “we don’t need to do that, why do we need to sit down and describe the future? Why do we need to get a vision board? Why do we need to write it down? That’s bullshit, we will just fumble along and we will get there eventually.”

You’ve got problems, that relationship is going nowhere. I’m just being brutally honest and I’m going to stop there before I go into a rant.

Just to finalise Ro before we give them some action steps.

I think when you do master the art of communication because you know if you’re somebody listening to this at home and you’re thinking, “Ro, Harms you ask some fantastic questions.”It’s all come from the foundation of I guess mastering the art of communication which allows us to ask these searching questions.

Yes.

Ask your partner the tough questions.

The question that may not be so pleasant, questions which may prompt you and your partner to think of things that you may not have considered. When Ro says almost strangers who have only met him for couple of days come and speak to him and say should I do this, they almost naturally gravitate towards you Ro because, you can ask these questions. Because the people in their world who haven’t effectively mastered communication they can’t communicate with impact. They just can’t ask these questions to them. They may be sympathising, “oh it is always like that, marriage is always like that. Don’t worry get used to it, marriage gets dull after a couple of years.”

If that’s the communication they are having with you, then you are not effective in your communication, you’re not around the right people for it to be powerful. Which is probably why Ro they come running up to you and say, “what the hell do we do?Should we get married?” And why I got the questions on Instagram am I ready to get married?

Interestingly enough you and Geena very quickly approached me. If you remember on that first weekend we met and it was that level of openness as well, and that’s going back a long time now.

I know I’m probably promoting a bit in this particular recording, but that’s because this is such a sensitive subject, and it’s probably the one that comes up most when I’m doing an event is relationships and that communication. I run events as you know Harms, we do Communicating with Impact and on that weekend, one of the things I teach people to do apart from going through the different components of the communication system, is how to develop very quick rapport which gives people a chance to come to you and talk to you.

But also how to go through the process as a couple of opening up and starting to get a greater connection with each other. So the process of mind reading and understanding when and how to get that level of presence and connection.

If they want to find out how to come to one of the communication workshops, the events that we run what’s the best place for them to do that because you usually know how to direct people Harms. Where do we send them?

The best thing to do is head to growthtribes.com and leave your email address there.You’ll see on the homepage there is a box and it allows you to create a basically a completely free membership and what it does it keeps you in the loop of when there’s an event, there’s a new book, the latest podcast is released. Ro you do fantastic videos on property and wealth education. If you want to see when those are released on a weekly basis it just drops straight into your inbox.

I think the best way is to leave your email address there and that just makes sure you get the announcement first and that’s the best way Ro.

Brilliant that is lovely. I totally agree with you communication 100%.

Okay Ro I’m conscious now that I don’t want to overwhelm the listeners.

The original question was am I ready to get married? Which evolved into am I ready to become a partner to somebody for life? Am I ready to commit? All of those questions and then we’ve taken them through many different sequences and we’ve given them some real great and again the word structure comes to me naturally, but exercises, structure. We both shared our different life scenarios and how we are in a relationship and how we made those decisions.

I think the next thing is I will plug a lot of these onto the show notes so there’s a quick reference guide for people, but I would say without overwhelming the listeners because there is so much here, is what would be your next actions and suggestions? Because we’ve been going on for quite a while and I know we can continue to talk about this topic for a time.

It is a big subject. If you’re listening to it right now first of all, like we’ve talked about go and have a look at the website and then pick up some tools from there.

Four steps.

If you’re currently in a relationship right now and you’re at that point where you are making a decision, or it’s on your mind and maybe you’ve held back talking about it, or your partner’s been coming to you and saying, “let’s talk about it.” Four things.

Number one without talking to them first just find a journal get a piece of paper if you have to or type it up but I’d rather you write it. Do some honest reflection, sit down with juice or a glass of wine some nice music and just reflect internally on what you want looking ahead. How do you want the relationship to evolve?
Be clear for you first, that’s the first thing and capture it on paper.

Then ask your partner if you can sit with them and describe what you’ve written down, say, “honey I was thinking about this last night, it’s been on my mind a long time. We’ve been putting it off, we haven’t had the time to sit down. This is so important to me do you mind if I share with you what I wrote down? This is how I would love to see our relationship evolve.”

And use words like that.

That’s the second step first. Third step is in that process try and describe the vision of it and talk about the values that are important to you. If you value connection, travel, security, success financially whatever it is, that vision has to incorporate all those. If it’s family put that there and let them know the vision that you want for yourself because if they are nowhere near that and then already you’ve got misalignment. If they are that’s brilliant, you’re getting close and finally, if marriage is the subject that is on your mind ask them honestly from a future perspective or share with them honestly, how important marriage is for you.

And say to them, “what I’ve described to you part of that is us being married, being able to be a married couple travelling the world together. Having kids and just sharing the values in our life and being financially secure. I just want us to do it as Mr and Mrs. I really want to be your husband; I really want to be your wife.I just want to walk down the street, proudly knowing that I am committed to in every way this person. How do you feel about that?”

And maybe position it and word it in that way, I don’t want to be too coachy on this. But I think that’s a nice way to walk into that conversation Harms from what I’ve experienced over the years with people.

I love that because we’ve almost given a script because it’s such a tough talk to talk about, even for my generation so I think they’ll value that. Anything else to add Ro?

No that’s it, just four things go away and go through that.

Fantastic and I’ll leave the listeners with one thing which is a bit counter intuitive because I have almost been assuming by the fact that you’re listening to this podcast is that you want to work and evolve the relationship, and you are thinking about am I in a place to get married?

But you could be listening to this from a different perspective where your partner’s been giving you the vibe and hinting about the things that we’ve spoken about and you just haven’t responsive.

So hopefully this podcast has opened your eyes to being responsive, so I guess what I’m saying is if your partner wants to talk to you about the things that we have discussed in this podcast then simply just show them the love, the respect just to talk.

Just to have that open conversation. I think that’s my action point just simply to show them the love and respect to have that conversation.

That’s a great suggestion.

That’s it for me. What I would say is, as always, thank you once again for listening to the Seekardo podcast. This has been an epic one because the subject is so deep and I know we are both passionate about the subject.

The show notes will be on growthtribes.com/podcast and also we are now opening up to take listeners questions and to do that just head over to Instagram and search @the growthtribes podcast and fire your questions into the direct message box. That is exactly how today’s episode was formed. We had a couple of listeners ask us this question and we scheduled it in and shot it as quickly as we could to get that in-depth response back to them. And like Ro said, number two is if this is something that you and your partner really want to work on the first place to get started is growthtribes.com and head to the show notes and I will put the link there for the relationship series.

That’s it for me and this is me and Ro signing out, we will see you on the next episode.

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