Are you turning away from reality and hoping for Prince Charming to come to save you?
In episode 11 of The Authentic Wife Show, I get to combine my guilty pleasure of watching Southern Charm on Bravo with my passion in helping moms become more authentic in their marriages.
The sweet tea on Southern Charm
Probably because I’m from South Carolina, I just love watching this show to be reminded of home. It’s fun to feel like I’m back home with my friends, with sweet tea and sunshine. One of my favorite people on the show is Shep Rose, probably because he reminds me of myself and my husband, he’s just kind of goofy and funny and witty and you can tell he’s a deep thinker. I think when his book, Average Expectations: Lessons in Lowering the Bar, came out, I think I mentioned him somewhere and said, “You should read mine, since I read yours!” He probably didn’t read it, but on the current season, episode eight of season eight, he says stuff that is right out my book.
The delusion of traditional marriage
He sees the delusion that is traditional marriage, that two people are going to get together and serve each other and never change and never grow and it’s going to be super awesome and easy for the rest of your lives. He also comes from a wealthy family so, evolutionary psychology tells us that because he’s wealthy he’s going to be driven to having a lot more women because technically he can support a lot more children. I believe that drive could certainly be overcome but he’s got a lot of options right now. He’s been on the show a long time, he’s tall and good-looking and has a lot of money so he’s got a lot of options.
But he talks this season the most about marriage that he ever has because that’s the storyline they gave him. He’s been with his girlfriend Taylor for a long time and they’re talking about having babies and settling down.
In this episode they end up having two of the dogs get married. It was funny the way they did it. The people that held the dogs are bitter exes. It’s Shep’s dog, Little Craig, who’s getting married. Then in between the scenes, they posted these different quotes about marriage which were quite funny.
Disney means divorce
In Shep’s confessional scenes, he’s saying how women have been misled by Disney and they’re all looking for prince charming and that’s straight out of my book, I think I talk about it in the first or second chapter of The Authentic Wife. I talk about how I grew up watching Disney and got the belief system that someday, some man would come along to save me and that men were like these mythical perfect creatures that made life better and oh to be desired by a wonderful man, and getting that ring and being married was everything.
There were so many awful messages from those movies too. In the Little Mermaid she gives up her voice, her home, and her family for this guy and it’s just so tragic because you get the message of be inauthentic and give up all you have because being wanted and married to a guy is everything and nothing else matters. What a terrible idea to give young impressionable little girls, that this is the thing to strive for.
Which then makes us 20-30-year-olds who realize that nobody came to carry us off into the sunset and to make our lives better and where the hell is happily ever after? Why isn’t this as easy as it looks in the fairytales? They all end at the wedding! The wedding is the goal! That’s it because we’re told the rest is happily ever after. Like, everything was great, and they had babies, and everything was still great, and he just worshipped the ground she walked on and everything was wonderful, and it’s such a lie! It creates this mindset that if things aren’t so great and he’s not magical, then we must have just picked the wrong prince.
Like we need to go do this whole shebang again, we done screwed up and picked the wrong guy, and that was the only problem.
Where is the fairytale that says you are going to pick the guy that’s at the same level of consciousness as you are, who’s going to reflect back for you everything that you need to heal, who’s going to push you to grow into the fullest expression of yourself, who’s going to push you to become more and more authentic. Where is that fairytale? That hey, it’s going to be hard.
Because you can’t just fake your way through marriage. They’re with you every single day, they’re going to see the worst of you, you’re going to see the worst of them, and you’re going to go through challenges. Your kids are going to overwhelm you, your bank account is going to underwhelm you, or you’re going to get laid off. There’s going to be some stuff that makes it challenging, and no fairytale talks about that.
Shep says that he doesn’t really believe in marriage and monogamy is kind of a myth, it’s not what people make it out to be, it’s not really as possible as we think it is, and He says that in his family, nobody gets divorced because divorce is a failure and who wants to say they failed at anything? All of them are successful wonderful people who’ve done well and they don’t want to fail at marriage.
I get the impression that they all really value information, education, really learning as much as you can, it seems like being good kind people to others, and they value family. They have a big close family, and because they have this older wealth and everybody’s kind of a part of that, i imagine that’s even more prevalent in their family than it might be in another. you kind of all have to stick together and protect the money, protect the reputation, whatever.
Divorce is not the only option
When he said divorce is not an option in our family, it made me want to go, Shep, I’m your person! Send your whole family to me! Because I will help them to grow through these things and to realize that divorce is not the only option when you’re not happy. Divorce is not the only option when you realize you didn’t marry prince charming or you realize you didn’t marry the lovely princess. She turned into a pretty demanding, controlling, anxious person who can’t even go on date night because she’s so worried about what could possibly happen to you and she doesn’t want to hurt the babies.
We are just not who we feel free to be when we are dating. And the ego is very smart, and it has us put out the best of ourselves while we date, so we fall in love, and then when we know that we’re safe, we nailed them, and we’re married, then that falls away, and everything else starts to come out. The ego is like ok we’re good, we’re going to protect you less, just be you. Then your partner’s left wondering what the hell happened. Where did that guy go? Or where did she go?
I remember my husband telling my dad a long time ago that he married me because I was good at all the things he wasn’t good at. Then he was talking about things like cleaning the house and cooking dinner and all these things that I absolutely loathe, they are not the things that light me up, but yeah, I did them back then. But what else did I have to do? I didn’t have three businesses back then. I wasn’t trying to get two degrees.
I’m sure part of it was my ego was this is what you have to do to nail this guy, show him that you’re a good wife. Be the person who cleans the house and cooks the dinner, and sets the tone in the home.
Like I write in my book after I was busy with my kids, all that stuff just went to the side, and I really wanted HIM to do it, and suddenly I’d expected this guy who had never done anything like that to be doing it.
Shep set honest expectations
Another thing Taylor says on Southern Charm is that Shep said he doesn’t seem himself up at 3:00 AM rocking a baby. I think Taylor is so lucky to have had (I guess they’ve broken up now) a man who was honest with her and said look, this is not a capacity or skill I possess. I will not be this guy who’s up in the middle of the night helping you. I think he says I don’t even know if I want children. I don’t know if I want that level of responsibility or commitment. He’s very honest with her.
I think my husband was honest with me, but we ignore it. We think they’ll change, it will get better. But they don’t. He’s being honest with you now that he cannot do that. He’s not going to be the one up in the middle of the night with a baby. if you want a baby, it’s going to be on you to do all of that, and you’re going to get overwhelmed and stressed out for that to all be on your shoulders.
It’s perfectly ok for mean and women to say what they can and cannot do. We cannot force people to take on a role that does not work for them.
Everybody has challenges and strengths, and we cannot put our men in a box and say you have to be just like me; you have to develop this skill. If this isn’t a strength now, you have to make it one. Too bad. Can you imagine if your husband went to you and said I know you know nothing about changing the oil in the car, but you have to do it, and you have to do it every day?
Try to put yourself in the shoes of somebody who has no clue about a specific task or job or role, and your husband comes to you and demands that you do it. He says well, I learned how to do it, you must learn how to do it. But if you have no interest in learning how to do it, if it doesn’t light you up or bring you joy you’d say no, screw you, I’m not going to do this.
We’re all different; that’s reality
We do that to men, and it just kind of blows my mind. You have to do this, you have to figure it out. We don’t leave that space for recognizing that everyone is an individual and everyone has these different abilities and different capacities. The man you’re with may not be lazy, or it may not be, I think they call it, weaponized incompetence. They may just not be able to do it.
My husband has ADHD and it makes him look at things and do tasks differently than it does the neurotypical person. I’m not sure if Shep has ever written it or if I’ve just diagnosed him from my couch but I think Shep has it as well. He at least has some traits of ADHD. He’s admitting who he really is.
Wouldn’t you rather have a guy who’s totally honest with you like that than to have him completely lie and say, oh no, I’m great, let’s get married and go have kids then a year or two down the road, he’s miserable and unhappy and he either is no fun to be around or ends up having affairs or gets divorced, why would we not want that honesty up front? Especially somebody who’s lived the past eight years on reality tv, so you can clearly see, maybe not everything, but you get a pretty good picture of who the guy is and what he’s about. You know what you’re getting into when you start that relationship.
In reality, no Prince Charming exists
I really respect him for being honest and upfront and for having read my book. Haha! I’m sure he read The Authentic Wife and he’s just sharing all my wisdom with the world. Probably not, but he’s got the same mindset, and he’s seen kind of the truth about what relationships are, what marriage is, and it doesn’t sound like he wants to get into it for the wrong reasons. He doesn’t want to mislead anybody, and he wants to be honest.
It is a little bit sad to me, his girlfriend does have an opportunity to say yeah, I love to spend time with you, and you’re my really good friend, and I enjoy this. If she knew in her heart that she didn’t want to be a mother, they could grow other things together, like a business or manage investments, so she could start to build her own wealth and not be dependent on his at any point, she could hang around maybe when he’s 50 he wants kids, who knows. She has to be honest with herself.
If she wants a guy who’s equally involved in those kinds of tasks, he’s probably not the guy.
Almost every marriage choice is perfectly imperfect
It’s going to be tricky because somewhere deep inside, we’re most attracted to the partner we need to grow up the parts of us that need to grow up. I think that we kind of evolve through that. The first person I dated and the person I ended up marrying are very different. So we learn through trial and error first what we do and don’t want. I’m very glad I married who I did. I think I made a very good conscious decision at that point in time.
But my psyche still managed to either create the dynamics I needed or picked the person I needed to heal and grow myself up. Now I get to do that. My husband is super sweet and non-judgmental and very different from the type of people I grew up around. I’m still continually inspired. He’s really a leader and knows his boundaries he’s always reminding me of my worth and having me step into that.
I talk a lot about how we grow through contrast or collaboration, there’s still enough contrast in our relationships that I can grow from, but there are also things that I aspire to be and want to be more like him.
This is something we do from inside. This is the fairytale e that I want to write– that I dream of writing someday where you can see your worth and instead of waiting for a prince to come save you, you just save yourself. That’s what I’ve done, and you can do it too.
To learn more about having a conscious marriage, click here.
To discover how your spouse having ADHD can affect your marriage and what you can do about it, please read this. If you’re struggling to get your husband to help around the house and feeling underwater, ADHD is probably a great thing to look at seriously.
You can also download my 30 Texts to End His Resistance and Get More Help to learn how to start getting more help day-to-day.
This way of asking for help appeals directly to this smart, problem-solving brain and inspires more support than making a specific request.
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