Episode 60: Is Shoe Leather Stew Enough for You in your Relationship?

The resiliency of women has been proven throughout time. You are no different. You handle so much, do so much, endure so much. My guest Maurice Harker CMHC of Life-Changing Services boldly shares what to look for when a spouse is choosing recovery from addiction, what you are scientifically deserving of, and that your children will be okay. You don’t want to miss this episode. I was blown away by his insight.

Episode Transcription:

(This transcript was created using software. Please be advised that it won't be 100% accurate, and it may contain formatting errors.)

Welcome back to choose in. I'm your host, Roxanne Grenada, and I am here today with Maurice Harker. Oh my goodness, you guys have heard about him from me a lot. You probably know him in this recovery world. He has been to my retreat and been a speaker and he is so fun, because he kind of is like off the cuff and he just says what he wants to say. And it's a breath of fresh air. So you're gonna love him, but let me tell you a little bit about him. Maurice is the originator and director of Life Changing Services, which is a mental health counseling agency in Farmington, Utah. He also is the originator of Sons of Helaman.

And if you've heard of that, that is for young males who are struggling with sex addiction, and he helps them through that for self mastery and that training program, as well as Men of Moroni program which is for men, he has the worth group, which is for women in betrayal, trauma, as well as so many other things. You also have Daughters of Light. I know I know, several people who have been through that program, which is for young women. He is the author of Like Dragons They Did Fight, I I'm Not Okay You're Not Okay and That's Okay, as well as The Man Knew His Wife. So these are three books that you can check out.

I have read two of them already. I have been to Maurice's seminars, I've been to different conferences. He's done. And you have heard me talk about him several times. He's also featured in my book because I learned so much from him. He was one of the first people that I heard that it was like, Okay, wait, what did he just say like, this is life changing. And so I have him here today to help us and we're going to go over a few different things. So welcome, Maurice.

Thank you. Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. I hope to serve you and your people. Well,

okay, awesome. Well, we're just going to get started. And today we are going to be talking about women, mostly, this can be men as well who have gone through any sort of trauma or betrayal that don't know quite how to navigate it, how to know when to be done trying, when to save themselves, how to go about doing that, because women have such a hard time with letting something go. It's our nature to love and serve and nurture. And so what what do we do, right?

That's what we're going to be talking about. And the reason that I wanted to start with this is that one of my clients, who's also a client of Maurices, she brought to my session with me this concept, and I'll let him say the name because I got it wrong in just a minute ago. But this concept about how much are you going to take? How much are you going to keep doing the same thing over and over? So I'm going to turn it over to you and let you kind of talk about this concept, introduce what we're going to be talking about, and then we'll go from there.

Thank you. Um, first of all, I want to give a caution about how we interpret a lot of the terminology that's been provided in my profession. Unfortunately, there's a tendency to give unfortunate or negative labels to things that I don't think should have negative labels. This thing that we've experienced with women, primarily women, they're men who experiences well who have this almost what might appear insane effort to give a relationship another chance to try again, to take more pain to get hurt more. And I'm a little angry and sad that there's an implication that there's something wrong with a woman who does that.

You know, us men folk who pride ourselves in being super dang smart, and love to throw out psychological philosophies. If you apply the same concept to a man, look at him, he bounces back after failure. He tries again, when it doesn't look like it's likely to succeed. He gives people another chance with a noble and valiant person to keep trying and to achieve success. But for some reason, when a woman does the same thing she's considered codependent or in meshed where if she was smart, she would just get out faster and very angry that you women are being disrespected for your resilience, that you're being disrespected for your hope at almost insane levels. But it's quite often measured by the end result.

They who seek after the most impossible of circumstances and succeed are considered the noble ones. But those who pursue the exact same measures of impossible to know the outcome efforts, and it doesn't work out, we call them stupid. We call them codependent, we call them other things. And so the first thing I want to do is validate and express gratitude for the phenomenal fortitude of women who try again, I don't see very men in therapy for marriage trauma. And the statistical reason for that is men are less forgiving, statistically.

And once a man is burned, he will put not put himself in a position to be burned again. And so the main reason betrayed men spend less time in marriage therapy is because they give up faster and because they forgive slower. So before we talked about how to acquire and reacquire sanity for a woman, the first thing I encourage you to do is never judge yourself for being over forgiving. And for being overly hopeful, and for being willing to take a whole lot of dirt as you try to go for one more chance. So thank you for your efforts. Ladies.

I really love that before you keep going. I just had a couple thoughts on that and comments because I was one of those that kept going kept trying one more time that was waiting for the next like the next miracle or just going okay, okay, what do we do every day? Okay, God, what do I do today? What am I supposed to do? To really at that point, make this work is what my thought was, obviously, you can't do that. But I was in it. I was gonna sacrifice till the end, I was in it for the long haul. I was willing to forgive I was willing to heal and all of those things.

In my case, that didn't happen. But people would say some of those things like you should have left early, earlier. Why didn't you leave earlier? As well as when I did finally choose divorce? After a I felt like I did everything I possibly could people would say how did you like, why didn't you stay longer? How did you leave like, he's a good person, right? There's so much to it. So I love that you address that, that we are doing the best we can we are really resilient and trying and everything like that. And at the same time, we can't sacrifice to our death, which is where I was getting to I was to that point of sacrificing my own spirit, my own everything.

It's been fascinating for me, as a male therapist working with women. Somehow the one piece I got right early in my profession was having the advantage of having no sisters, I was able to enter interviewing women with a higher amount of curiosity and less expectation of what they think. And luckily, I say that sarcastically there's inadequate information in the textbooks on female psychology. And so it gave me the opportunity to do lots of open minded interviews.

And as I learned about how women try to figure things out, and how they try to go, what should I decide? How should I decide what should I do? I was amazed by some very unique dynamics of one woman would have a very short list of reasons to enter marriage, both feel inspired to end her marriage and would feel confident doing so another woman would be going on her third or fourth year of agonizing, but she still had yet to feel like she was inspired to break away and become separate. And the specific checklist of what problems should be in place before your break away, was never crystallized. And to this day, it still isn't. And those of you who are seeking for that list, as far as I can tell, after 16, 17 years of doing this work, it doesn't exist.

So you seek to find relevant pieces of information that can contribute to your decision making. But whether or not a woman is instructed to be enduring, and to keep trying in horrific circumstances, or whether or not she's instructed to break away and start fresh early. There's no way for any outsider to have access to that inspiration. So for those of you who have loved ones in these situations, or for those of you have women in your group or in your therapy group or in your social circle, please I beg of you have a respect for the process that woman is going through as she works through this. It there's so many variables and factors that There's no way that your opinion of what they should do is actually going to help them.

No, not at all right? It can't help them. It can't because nobody knows if I'm looking at somebody else's situation. And I'm telling them to do something that's based on my own logic that has nothing to deal with. I'm not tied to it emotionally. So of course, I can't know just like people couldn't know that for me, either.

So the principle that Roxanne's asking me to lead up to is a concept of resilience. One of the common things I have to do with women and I did it with one woman earlier today, I did it with another woman at the end of last week, is a reminder of their fortitude and resilience levels. I don't like to say things that are bold to women. I prefer to be chivalrous, and I prefer to be noble and caretaking. But apparently, when you're a therapist, you're supposed to be more direct.

Yeah, truthful, you got to say the reality, right?

Yeah. And I just hate that part of my job. So I usually close my eyes and just say it and the woman says, Thank you. And I really can't understand why they say thank you,

we love it, we just want to know gives us gives us somewhere to go.

So ladies, one of the first things you need to check if you're in this decision making phase is are you accidentally spoiled by a comfortable life? Meaning when you think about the devastation, that what the end of a marriage would do to your ability to have a nice home for your kids to be able to pay for piano lessons, to be able to have gas in a car to be able to have savings in the bank account. Okay. In my office, we often refer to a principle called pioner woman mode. We refer to that principle to remind each of us that if you're kicked out of your home in Nauvoo, and you cross the Mississippi River while it's frozen, you can still do that very well.

So I often have a conversation with women, as they talk about how devastating it would be to end their marriage at this time. I will ask them will you have more resources then the women had to cross the Mississippi River? And they say, Well, yeah, but and I'm all then you have enough? Like, no, you don't understand I'm I, I, I don't even want to be in your shoes. That's not even close to it. But whether or not you can survive it. If your decision is based on whether or not you can survive it, then you can't based on whether or not you're going to have a car, or whether or not you're going to have shoes. You've got to set aside all of those things that seem like they're necessary. Because and the principle Roxanna  asked me to put on the table is you can live off of shoe leather stew. You can other women have done it before, and children can handle it. I

'm very angry about society's implication that children are porcelain dolls. When you interview people who've been through very hard things, there's a guy named Uchtdorf, something Dieter, or something like that. Even in the opening part of his recent presentation, April, he referred to having to move several times to avoid being killed during the early phases of World War Two. Okay, now he talks about it. Like we had to dodge chickens in the barnyard Kay so that we're like, oh, that sounds horrible. Okay, most of us have never been through anything like that.

Okay, but look how he turned out was what did his mother keep him in a comfortable home, did his mother make sure he had food, his mother made sure he could go to piano lessons. Unfortunately, something happened in our modern parenting society that makes women feel like you're ruining a child's life, if you're not able to provide him with comfort, many children have developed into glorious people, partially because of the difficulties of their childhood. And when a mother spends a little more energy thinking about a resilient mindset, instead of making sure all the resources are available, she can pass a greater piece of wisdom to our children than to make sure they have their needs met.

Absolutely. I think there's sometimes that misconception right that if we save them from the world, then they're going to be better off. But if if we protect them from those things, then they don't get to learn and so isn't it better for them to learn in our home with us, showing them guiding them through how to be resilient how to make it through hard things, saying the truth like this is our reality.

What can we do from here, teaching them how to to bind together and do something hard and then they can have that? You know, that after the fact right when everything's like wow, we made it right? Like you're saying that resilience, that piece that says I've done hard things, but if we let them go out into the world, and then they're 25, 30, 35, 40, and then they all of a sudden face something hard. We haven't prepared them at all right?

You know, sometimes I look for what was missing in the literature. And one of the things I wish was in the Pioneer literature was some of the things teenagers would say to their moms as they cross the plains.

Okay? That could be interesting, right?

Wouldn't it be interesting? Cuz can we almost guarantee that a 13 or 14 year olds is across in the plain say to their mom? Why did you make us do this? This is dumb. Do you not see how bad our circumstances are? Because of your choices? Mother?

Oh, for sure. They said that they had to have, right every child has said that.

Is that not the exact same thing that mothers who are deciding to get away from the mob mentality of difficult husbands? The dangerous environment? And then the child blames the mom for ruining their life because they're crossing the plains in a handcart. So what did mom say? Here's here's one of the sad things that I hear moms saying nowadays is the mothers apologize. I'm so sorry. I've made your life difficult. I'm so sorry. That I made those choices. Can you imagine Pioneer Women apologizing to their children for abandoning Nauvoo and going across the plains? We don't even hold that in our mind is the mothers would not say I'm sorry.

No, they're saving their children's lives all of their lives there, they have to do this. It doesn't matter if it's hard or not. We have to do it. We have to do I mean, there's no other choice.

And so when a mother is convinced that she is being as wise as she can, for the sake of herself and her children, she's removing herself to a position of safety even though the resources are fewer. The greatest gift a mother can give her kids is the mentality of resiliency, as opposed to apology. This was a wise choice. I'm not backing down on that being a wise choice. I also am sad. I wish the mob had not chased us out of our home in Nauvoo, I wish the man I had married did not become this type of person.

But in order for me to fulfill my stewardship as your mother, I have to put you in a position that is less resource than we might have been in. So I've prepared a lovely shoe leather stew for you tonight. And I think you'll all enjoy it. Okay, so. So when the when the kids throw back at Mom, this is one of the most agonizing parts and we're not even talking about some of the horrific things that the women went through. Like, what if your decisions put you in a place where your baby died?

Like how often do the women of today experience betrayal, trauma and the baby dies because she's trying to put herself in a position of safety. Okay, I want to have empathy for the agony that women go through these days. But let's remember, this is not the first phase of history where women have been forced into horrific circumstances in order to protect themselves and still horrible things happen.

Right? It can't it doesn't mean that things aren't gonna happen that are bad. It's just a matter of moving forward, keep going. Have the leather shoe stew? Is that what you call that? shoe leather? shoe leather still I love that. And and just Yeah, keep keep going. Just keep going.

What has amazed me is the resiliency of women. I mean, the what has blown my mind is, these are the same women that will find some corn husks on the side of the road and make a doll out of it. And now we have a corn husk dolly made out of scraps. You know, when you think of the things that mothers did to entertain and edify their children back then it was based on scraps,

which really shows that it's not about how much or the quality necessarily, it's about that feeling of nurture that feeling of of being like safe with the person who's with you, and that they care. And so offering a cornhusk doll just gives a child something to hold something like oh my goodness, my mom made she gave me this and there's a feeling of peace and safety that that you have a caregiver that is there that loves you. Everything's gonna be okay because here I am with my doll can be anything right? Anything that you're holding on to and with my mom or with my person or whoever it is, that is the one that's leading you through this horrific time.

Now in that concept, when our mutual person that we know brought that to our session, we were talking about it on the other side of it, where where how long do you eat the shoe leather stew? How long do you get pulled behind that wagon? With your with your tied by your ankles, and then every once in a while you're led up You're you stand up and you are given shoe leather stew. And you're like, Oh, thank you so much for giving me this my person so amazing. He, I think everything's gonna be fine now because he just fed me this do wear as has when so this is where we took it that day.

When do we say, wait a minute, it's the bread crumbing concept, right little pieces, I'm going to drag you by your ankles, through the prairie through the snow. And then every once in a while, I'm going to stop and do something nice. And I'm going to do it and you're gonna be like, Oh, great. He skis. Okay, now everything's fine. Is that do you understand where I'm going with this? Okay, so where Yeah, so take it to that angle to have, we don't just sacrifice an eight, the leather stew forever.

In a session earlier today, in an effort to try to teach the process of marriage recovery, which is different from individual recovery. If the husband has done the work necessary to be ready to apply himself to marriage repair, I have to remind the men of this that if you go through the Men of Moroni training that doesn't prepare you for marriage repair, it's a completely different process. Just because you're stopping addiction doesn't mean you're good at being a husband.

And so as I was thinking about how to bring a marriage back to life, from after its devastation, it's really vital that you allow your brain to approach it from a born again experience, meaning you have to let it start from the beginning again, and not just a duct taping of the old one. So when I'm training women in this situation is if you're in a convoluted relationship, if it's really messy, if you're just coming off with the awareness that you've been dragged behind a vehicle, you've got to get away from the guy long enough to start getting your own feet under your ground the same way you would train a girlfriend who went through a bad breakup in college, okay, you would be warning your don't start dating again, until you get some momentum, don't start dating until you clear your head.

Because if you go on a date, and the guy's nice to your for five minutes, she's gonna misunderstand what that means she's gonna really suck that up, like your description. Some might call this the camel drinking water at the end of the desert experience, like, Oh, this is wonderful, right? We know that. If you try to rebuild a relationship with both people still being wobbly, it's going to crash into the river again. So what we train women to do is don't make any decisions on whether to stay married or not, at that time, just get your own psychology strong and independent the same way you would, if you were preparing between relationships in the dating phase of life, don't try to get your husband back yet.

Because until you have a little fortitude for yourself, you're going to be too thirsty and too hungry. Which makes you willing to eat shoe leather stew, as opposed to an actual meal that a man brings you. Right. So my preference well, it's not really my it's scientifically accurate. For if a marriage has fallen apart, you let it die in its current form. And then you start over again, you start over again, with a separation of some form, where you now have a woman and a man. And we now train the woman to approach relationship creation and development that with greater wisdom. So under what conditions would you go out with a guy for the first time with your new wisdom?

Right, that's a good, that's good right there. Right? Even though it's your own spouse already, right? asking yourself that question, because then you're seeing it more clearly than you're seeing it for the reality of what it is. Because you can do the same thing by saying, Would you want your child to be in this relationship that you're in? It's like, No way, right? Or what if your friend came to you and they were in this relationship? You'd be like, What are you doing right? So to be able to, to step outside and be the observer of it and say, Oh, this is gonna be a new relationship that I'm forming. That I love that that's, that's great.

My favorite tool for that is called handbook for your daughter. So what I do is I have the woman start by just splatting her brain onto paper, just dumping it whatever her angst is, or frustration, etc. Okay? I'm starving for attention. My husband has been mean to me. But then he comes back and was nice to me for seven minutes and I can't help but lap it up. Like a dog with a bowl. Okay, I just can't help but resist it. Now you set the book down, close it, go make a sandwich, get a drink of water, clear your head, and then come back and be the mother who reads her daughter's journal.

Then you open the book up from a mother's perspective and you read the entry. Then you scream a few times because I can't believe my daughter's going through this I want to kill somebody right now. Okay, I mostly want to kill him, but I kind of want to kill her because she's in this position. And then from a position of a mother, write counsel, to that girl from a mother's perspective, if it's easier for you do it from a big sisters perspective, or from a best friend in college perspective.

After you've written down your counsel, you do not let a boy in your life that fast you get yourself independent, you clear your head, you stay away from all boys for six months, you look in the mirror and see a rock star before you even go out for ice cream with a boy. Okay? And he will be begging and he will bring seven books he's read between times that you didn't even tell him to read. And he will show you his certification of seven addiction recovery programs that he's done. Okay, and he will show you this massive mountain of effort that you weren't involved in at all. Before you even go out for ice cream with him, shut the book, go get a sandwich, drink a water. You come back. And you're the girl again.

I love that so much.

You read it. And then you follow your own wisdom.

Yeah, it's in there. We have it already in there. You do

have it It blows my mind how women have I rarely have to give women advice because all I have to do is access their Mother Brain and I get all the advising.

Yeah, they know what I ready. When you when you said that calm concept. When you were at my retreat to all those women that were there. One of my clients came back to me later and said they did that they had had a situation. So they did exactly what you said. And and she was blown away. And it just helped her like, okay, no, I'm keeping my separation right now, this is what I'm doing I am I'm not going to go back into that one that's grasping the camel drinking the water, I'm not going to do that, because you can see it so much more clearly. And that's just so great.

Because then you really realize your self worth, you feel it, you see it because you're that outside or writing that wisdom down. And all of a sudden, it like, brings it out of you like this lawyer this like fighter that says, I do not deserve any of that. I'm not going to make him do it. I like what you said with he will come to you with the list of everything he's done. That's really powerful. And so good for us to remember. Because we don't have to keep reminding and begging and pleading, everybody knows what to do. We've we've already talked about it, right?

Whether it's in therapy, or, or whatever we know. And so once that's established of this is what I expect. This is what I'm wanting. If you want your own recovery, or if you're trying to heal, then you're going to do it. And then oh, can you imagine how that would feel if they actually came to you with the stuff that they've done? Hey, I wanted to share with you, I read this book and I did this thing and look at what I found in my program. And I am so sorry for everything I've caused it. I'm working on it so that I never do that to you again, I want to work on it. I want to work on me. Right? That is so good and so true. Because that's what we're deserving of. were deserving of healing and healthy happiness, all of it.

To add one piece to the deserving part. It's not only something you deserve, it's not only something you should want or expect, as a scientist of healthy relationships, if it doesn't exist, it will not a healthy relationship. This is not a preference of a woman. In order for relationship to be healthy, a man must be proactively self developing self improving self studying, this is not a boundaries issue. This is not an expectations issue or a preference issue. It is a scientifically sound foundation. If a man is not studying for his own personal development, he is not ready to be a husband.

Wow. Okay, you guys, I want you to rewind that and listen to that phrase again. That is huge. That is exactly right. We can let go of babysitting of mothering of anything, they if they want it, they will do it. They will be a healthy person, which makes them a healthy husband, which means they can be in your life. Wow. So amazing. I love all of that. I love all that so much because it is a complicated topic. It's a complicated subject. We've got a lot of emotions and feelings and children. And there's a long relationship I was married 21 years before I chose divorce.

So sometimes it's super complicated, right? But just those kind of key things to remind ourselves of those things, writing out all that stuff that you said the handbook to our daughters just writing it all out, and then replaying it as the outside of you. Giving the wisdom can really help us navigate on a day to day basis because I know that it gets complicated and I know that it gets all swirled up and we get like overwhelmed and we get chaotic in our brain of like, how am I supposed to do this?

And what are people gonna think and what am I supposed to do and when we step back and use the tools that we're learning that we know, the roadmap just naturally given us our next step, so we don't have to figure it out all by ourselves. Definitely not alone in this for sure. So Maurice, why don't you tell everybody kind of how they can get ahold of you what what kind of things you offer, we didn't even talk about marriage repair or anything, but just some of the things that can help them to be able to utilize what you have, and and further work with you if they choose.

Because I come from a small town in Idaho, I have built all of my training systems as if people are not rich. So I'm going to assume you do not swim in piles of cash. And so after doing a lot of work to try to make myself available for marriage therapy, and starting to see that that's not something everyone can afford. And some people don't like or not quite ready for in your face challenges because if you work with me in my office, I will make it worth your money. And we will get in your head and twist things around. So if you're not quite ready for that, I also started noticing in my work that some of the themes were being repeated over and over again.

And so I started doing some recordings and some write ups and some audios in a series where all the main principles that are needed for marriage repair from any type of betrayal trauma are available. And because the common theme in my office is marriages are pretty much dead before I even meet them. We call this online self paced multimedia educational system, the Lazarus lectures how to raise your marriage from the dead. So there are 40 lessons with three years worth of information crammed into them with lots of audios and videos.

And I strongly recommend that you sign up for the workshops once once a week for an hour that go with it. And for the husband and the wife to go to that husband go to his workshop, the wife go to her workshop, which are separate, okay, is a month's worth for the price of one therapy session. Wow, okay, that's incredible. So, so for $150 both can get the resources now the key which will surprise you is you don't do them together.

course not, you have to do your own work first.

You do your own work, and then it magically somehow improves the marriage. Which I already know the science behind it, so it's not actually magic. But when I can get the woman to function like a wife and a husband, a man to function like a husband, it somehow magically fixes the marriage so they can call Life Changing Services. You can look it up online most of the time if you just Google marriage repair workshops Maurice Harker Lazarus lectures Marie Tarkir Life Changing Services Maurice Harker, it'll take you to the emails, the phone numbers, all the different things. So Google's adequately friendly in those areas. Okay, so that's how you get the resources.

Okay, great. And we will make sure those resources are put into the show notes so that you guys can just click the link and head right over there. So Maurice is actually going to be back we're going to film another session, and we're going to be talking about young people, young adults and our youth. And so if you have children, if you are in that group yourself, that will be our next one that you'll hear. So Maurice, I'm so glad you were here with us today. I look forward to our next our next chat and for those of you who need some help, please check out Maurice Harker and his website at life changing services.org. org. Okay, all right, or go to my website at Roxanne Kennedy-Granata dot.com and we will see you next time.

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