Redefining Your Tribe – Your Most Intimate Relationship (Episode 236)
Marriage looks quite a bit different than ages past, and it can be more complex than ever. The definition of tribe is "a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader."
This week, we break down what marriage is today, how our tribes have changed over the years, and how to get intentional to create the tribe where you and your family thrive. Like every other relationship, it's nuanced and individual. We don't have the one right way for everyone, yet we know some essential components that will get you on the same page to start with!
Redefine your Tribe by knowing who is in it and what roles each person has.
The Changing Face of our Tribes
There are so many shifts in our world that we identify - looking at timelines, we have things like BC and AD...yet in our modern world, BC meaning "Before COVID" vs after is definitely a different approach. So much shifted in 2020, and our perspectives and relationships surely have. So let's just look a little bit at those changing purposes for relationship.
Early on, before agriculture, we needed each other - we all had these clearly defined roles and specialties - the hunter, the gatherer, etc.
Then we moved into the agricultural world, it wasn't about having that full community. Instead of a tribe working together, we were able to corral our select animals and isolated down a bit. And, our children were extra commodities to help on the farm. Kids were extra hands and resources on the farm. Even with my father, growing up strict Mennonite, he was running the family tractor plowing fields at 4 1/2 years old. While we segregated out more by family blood, it wasn't for the emotional connection so much as practical resources.
Then, the industrial revolution hit, and we moved to the suburbs! Kids were playing in neighborhoods together, and there were pretty clearly defined traditional roles of who is at work and who is at home. We were looking at a time where people were able to get out of survival mode and open up to higher levels of connection - and we added more of the heart and mental health into what we see as important in family.
Now, in our world of access and information, we have a pretty gray area to create a tribe. As we rise up in equality with what all everyone has access to do, there are more homes where both parents are working, or the mother is the provider instead of the father. We no longer just have males and females; we have a full spectrum on gender and where people identify. Mental health and recognizing the impact of that and our emotional needs for a fuller life has created a more enlightened and emotional society. So how in the world do you make a connection happen when there is so much ambiguity as to who does what and what that looks like?
Start with what is within your control
The one constant is you. How well do you know who you are? Do you know what you're good at? Are you willing to be fully vulnerable with yourself, and step into full responsibility on your actions - and reactions - in life? That's not just knowing your sweet spots where you flow, but knowing what triggers you into reactive behavior where you might not be thinking about connection. When we feel threatened, we aren't typically thinking intentionally, and we can be very reactive. If you want to go into any other relationship, having a good understanding of what motivates you and what sets you into unintentional reaction mode can be pretty stinkin' valuable.
Your mission in relationships is not to force everyone to become a mind reader. How well do you know yourself, and know how to get the best our of yourself? If this isn't on your radar, this is your starting point. You are letting people know every day how to treat you by what you are allowing to happen, what you are willing to speak up on, and what you support. Have you clearly communicated with your partner what makes you feel supported and what shuts you down? Have you truly sat with that thought yourself to be able to identify what they are?
Not sure what your triggers are?
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What is the Modern Marriage?
So what does the "modern marriage" look like? The 2019 special edition of Time Magazine's, The Science of Marriage" says this:
"What does a modern marriage promise that historical unions didn't? The ultimate dream; a partner who sees what you really are and not only accepts it but improves it. The promise you make is not just to be faithful and true and to stay married but to try and bring out the best in each other...to try and understand, really deeply understand and hold [their] feet to the fire and say, 'okay, this is great, and remember, this is what you wanted, and don't let go of that dream."
Marriage - or a committed partnership - isn't about having that person be the variable on what you're allowed to feel. It's not being dependent on the other for your happiness, but both of you bringing those things that bring you joy to share with each other. The modern marriage looks at each individual as a whole, and what they are bringing to create synergy, not completion.
What is your lane?
Work has been the foremost focus for most things...and understandably so, as money is what pays for our party most times. Yet in our work-focused society where everyone could (and some say, should) work, if both partners in your home are focused on their work lane, who is maintaining the household? Or is it happening in spite of the lack of attention you're giving to it?
We're in a world of ambiguity where there are not clearly defined roles in work, marriage, even gender. It's not about being in the "right" lane - it's learning what things you can bring to the table to help fulfill all the roles of a functioning and healthy household.
Nathan and I laid out two analogies for figuring out what "lane" you're in with your household. When I'm speaking about lanes, I mean those responsibilities - who is bringing in income, who is paying the bills, who is handling home repairs, or getting the taxes done, or cooking the meals, or cleaning the house, or...the list could go on and on - all the things that are involved in just living life together.
Be an Artist and find your voice
Oftentimes, especially with art, you will find people will copy work. This isn't to be seen as a negative, but a compliment to their inspiration. Artists will often mimic others they admire as they learn to find their own voice. And as they get closer and closer to their own authenticity, they find their own voice and you see it in their unique spin.
As you are figuring out what rhythm works for you and your partner, it can be helpful to take in podcasts (like the episode above) and read blogs (like this one) and self-help books and more. Recognize them for what they are - someone else's perspective on what is the most helpful. Take those things that excite you and inspire you to move closer in your relationship and try them out. As you keep trying things out, you'll start to recognize what feels most authentic to you and your specific relationship.
Take it with a Grain of Salt
And, just like everyone doesn't care for the same seasoning in their food - or the same level of it, for that matter - take the things that work for you, and let go of those that don't. Try that wonderful "red-light-green-light" approach we use for testing out what is helpful. Give things a shot, and be willing to grow together. If you both have the same goal, it's easier to let go of what isn't working well.
Resetablish your Tribe
So let's go back to that explanation of what a "tribe" is: a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.
Who is in your tribe, and is there anyone leading it? Are you each waiting for the other to take initiative? Are you showing up halfway, expecting the other person to fill your cup so you can show up "whole"?
Are you first and foremost recognizing your own needs and how to fulfill them? I'm looking to my husband to be my affirmation, my accountability, my support, my encouragement...not my whole emotional fulfillment. While these traits are critical in a connected relationship with another, they are not essential to my survival.
I'm not in a tribe for the sake of my survival anymore. I'm in this tribe by choice. I can stand on my own two feet, and that's our goal with our daughters as well. They aren't going to connect with another out of necessity for their survival. It has to be something other than that. And when you get out of survival mode, you're able to step into something way more beautiful, and way deeper.
Your Weekly Challenge:
This isn't about coming to your relationship 100% whole - as long as I'm alive in this world, I aim to be growing and learning - which means I will be gaining new insights about who I am. This is about getting intentional about your willingness to show up - for yourself, and for your partner. And yes, in that order, or you will see a breakdown...or buildup of resentment.
Show up and assess what is important to you and your partner for creating a happy life and household together. Let them know what you can bring to the table - what are you willing to do for your family? How will you show up and commit to being present?
Have your partner do the same. If either of you aren't sure where to start, start with this free download on connections, and see if that helps shed some light. Then look at those things that neither of you may want to do - like trash duty, for example - and determine who's willing to step up and make it happen anyway. It's not about just picking the fun; it's looking at what you can create that's even better when you are moving forward as a team.
- Goals and Word of the Year (Episode 233)
- Valentine’s Sweet Valentine’s – The History and the Mystery
- What is your goal? Or maybe that is the wrong question to be asking
- 37 Essential Tips To Save Your Marriage
- The Burden of Overwhelm – Moving Forward While Always Feeling Behind
- 5 Tips To Focus For Frazzled Families (Episode 160)
- Have Life Seasons Got You Stuck In A Funk? (Episode 179)
- Which is More Important - Skillset or Mindset? (Episode 218)
- Self-Love, or Self-Sabotage? (Episode 152)
- Ashley Logsdon, Relationship Coach
- Personality Styles
Questions or comments?
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