41: Our Driving Kerfuffle (Fighting In The Car)

41: Our Driving Kerfuffle (Fighting In The Car)

What’s The Episode About:

In this episode, Paul and Stacey will talk about a persistent and repetitive kerfuffle that they used to have often in the car when Paul was driving, and it’s a kerfuffle that a lot of couples can relate to. They’re going to share a clip from their previous three day live immersion event, the Relationship Breakthrough Retreat, where they ended up sharing the story of that kerfuffle in great detail.

It all revolved around how Paul drives, and to give a little context to that, Paul is a very confident driver and can drive pretty fast. He spent more than a decade of his youth as a professional driver and so he’s always keen when he’s driving. But with the fast driving, Stacey, who is not a fan of intensity, used to constantly have issues when they were on the road. She actually used to be terrified, and that would in turn distract Paul.

He used to get pissed off about it because he felt like Stacey didn’t trust him and her reactions would endanger them on the road. That became a trigger for Paul and he didn’t know how to deal with it. Stacey tried to sort it out by shifting her reactions from yelling and making all sorts of sudden movements, to tapping her hand, which meant that she was still terrified. That was until one night when they were driving and Stacey realized there was a huge difference in their eyesight.

Paul could see really far ahead, and that’s what made his driving so good despite going fast. Stacey on the other hand couldn’t see as far, and so to her, Paul always seemed to be driving fast somewhat in darkness which is what made her feel scared. From then on, she started leaning on that skill that Paul had that she didn’t, and that was the breakthrough for both of them that put an end to the kerfuffle. Stay tuned for more on that and how you can apply the lessons from it into profoundly changing your marriage.

Key Points Discussed:

  • The job Paul had for 14 years and the valuable lessons he learned from it (01:26)
  • The lions coming at you on the road (02:57)
  • The high insurance rates in Philadelphia because of crazy drivers (06:59)
  • Paul’s disdain for her Stacey’s overreaction and her not trusting him (08:34)
  • How redirecting all his focus inside the car caused him to loose focus outside the car (11:03)
  • Seeing far and speeding through the darkness (14:09)
  • Raising your standard for yourself and lowering your expectations of others (17:42)
  • The shift in perspective that changed everything (19:13)

Where Can I Learn More:

  • Get access to the Relationship Breakthrough Retreat – here
  • Join the 14-Day Boost – here
  • Join our Relationship Development Community – here

When Did It Air:


Episode Transcript:

Stacey: 00:00 Hey relationship transformers. Welcome to the Relationship Transformers podcast. On today’s episode, we’re going to dive into a persistent and repeating kerfuffle that Paul and I had often in the car when he was driving. Maybe you can relate to this one. When we come back, we’re going to go to a clip that Paul and I did. We were on stage at Relationship Breakthrough Retreat, our three day live immersion event, which is just life changing and amazing, where Paul and I ended up sharing this story quite in depth about this repetitive kerfuffle over driving and how we solved it. And I know that so many people approached us afterwards and said, “Oh my gosh, like, you could have been telling my story, or my husband and I fight about that all the time, or my wife yells at me about that all the time when we’re driving.” So, I wanted to share this clip with you in hopes that it serves you as well. So let’s queue up the intro, and when we come back we will dive into that.

Intro: 00:58 So the big question is this, how is it possible that one person alone can transform any relationship, save their marriage, great their unshakeable love and unleash passion, divorce, proof their family without needing their partner to get on board and do this with them and yet still get to be happily, authentically you without compromise. That is the question and this podcast will give you the answer. We are Paul and Stacey Martino and welcome to the Relationship Transformer podcast. We are Paul and Stacey Martino and welcome to the Relationship Transformer podcast

Paul: 01:26 So, years ago. I’m happy to say it was years ago at this point. There was something that happened for us on a regular basis, or kerfuffle that kept coming up. But, just to pre-frame this. When I was young, when I was 17, I graduated… just because of birth date, graduated when I was 17 from high school, and survival was more my goal at that point, so I had a job. And this job that I had, luckily for me, was decent paying. It was a union job at the time. My job was to drive around. So the moment I got my license basically, I was on the road and I would drive all over Pennsylvania, New Jersey, pretty much all day long, all night. And, as a new driver, you know, I had to become a better driver because I’m now on the road.

Paul: 02:12 So I learned lessons like everybody else in life learned the hard way. But what was interesting about that period is, and I did it for… I was on that job for a long time. Over 10 years.

Stacey: 02:22 14 years.

Paul: 02:22 14 years. And what happened was, I became a really phenomenal driver where literally, it’s almost like getting to that Zen point when you’re great at a sport or something, and you hit that Zen mode. When I got into the vehicle, I kicked into like the Zen mode. And, you’ll learn a bit more about this today, but it’s the only time… when I’m driving, it’s the only time that I’m like really aware of everything, and nothing at the same time in a sense that like I’m fully present, and I’m aware of… like, I know many cars back if someone’s like changing lanes I’m aware. I picked it up in my peripheral vision.

Paul: 02:57 I’m fully aware of the dynamics. If somebody starts shifting a lane I feel it. If the road doesn’t feel right, if there’s water on the road, I feel it on the tires, like, I’m a very present, very aware, phenomenally confident driver. And as such, I have a tendency, especially if you’ve been driving for a long period of time, like, 65 miles an hour starts feeling kind of slow. Like the road is these lions as they come at you over and over. I see them like, each one is like woo. So, what happens is like, I’m so… it’s so easy for me. I do have a heavy foot. I tend to drive fast. And what’s more is, I have this phrase, you’ll love me for this one, is, if somebody’s going to die on this road today, it’s not me. And what I mean by that is, if I see someone doing something crazy, I will take action.

Paul: 03:49 Meaning, I’m aware if there’s an open spot, I’m always aware if there’s a shoulder, like it’s just because, again, I’m very aware. So I’m very confident. So if I make a move when I’m driving, I will make a move. I’m not one who’s gonna freeze in the moment or be scared to change when something happens. If somebody starts doing something crazy in a moment, I will take action. I will take action right away because I’m aware and I’m very confident they can spin out of control, but I’m going to do something else and I’m very, very confident at that. So what’s interesting is that we’ve had a lot of kerfuffle in our life around this because I’m a confident driver. Ironically,

Stacey: 04:27 not because you’re a confident driver because you’re a faster driver,

Paul: 04:33 fast driver who will change lanes in a heartbeat, which seems like there was no warning, but there was a really good reason for it. It’s not because I’m reckless, it’s not because I’m endangering others, it’s because I will take action to protect myself and my passengers in a heartbeat because I’m fully aware. It’s one place where I really shine. So [inaudible] one of a couple places I shine. [inaudible] so anyway, in this situation, you can imagine that I have my delicate flower over here. My delicate flower does not like intensity. I love intensity. Um, and what happens is here there’s this confident driver taking action and speeding a lot. Uh, and this is like, so not an issue for me. I’m completely calm. However, there’s a little flaw in my plan is because I’m very calm. I’m very focused on everything until my little flower is like, Holy shit. [inaudible] it’s like my radar collapses. All of my awareness disappears. My awareness goes like right to the passenger next to me. Like, what’s going on? Holy shit. Like what just happened? Did you get shot? [inaudible]

Paul: 05:55 and like now and more, I’m totally like, I’m in protection mode. So I’m like, I’ve got to protect her. And then I find out she’s like that. Did you see that car started to drift? Oh, are you kidding me? I saw it. Yeah, I did see it. Like, Holy crap, you could’ve got us killed. Are you right. So funny. It’s like the amount of times that this would come up got to be a lot. And my response was always like, look, I got this. I did see that car. In fact, I don’t know if you saw this, but I saw X, Y andZ too. I’m really aware. Like I got this, it didn’t help. So anyway, Stacey would on a regular basis react. I mean literally if I change lanes, sometimes she would grab onto that little hand bar as if like somehow like, and she’s just,

Paul: 06:55 you like it.

Paul: 06:59 I’m not going that fast in my opinion. But she would react like that. Her energy levels were like sky high on these things. So here’s what, what happened is we go out on a date, right? And I’m trying to have a nice night and we make the mistake of going down to Philadelphia. There’s a reason why our insurance rates are so high where we live close to Philadelphia. You know, there’s a lot of interesting drivers down there. So we’d go down to Philadelphia. It used to be my motto, I used to work in Philadelphia actually for a long time and used to be my motto. I’m like, there’s not a day I’ll drive to Philadelphia. Well, I don’t see something crazy, right. Somebody doing a wheelie down a highway, we’ve been in and out of traffic or like just some crazy scene, but I’m okay. Like I expect it.

Paul: 07:38 I don’t expect there not to be problems. There were problems, but we would go out on a date night, I’m trying to take her down to Philadelphia. They have some really nice restaurants down there and I’d take her down, we’d have this nice date night and then we’re driving back and then sure enough somebody would do something. I would take action and Stacey would cause some kind of a reaction and immediately again, you know, some, something would happen though. And she’s got this, by the way, our kids do it now. Our kids have this thing where they, cause they remember. Sure.

Paul: 08:09 Well I, if she’s got nervous on that, that little separator between us.

Stacey: 08:17 to not be screaming though I was on the spectrum. He said, don’t scream cause then we could really get into an accident. So I really worked on my progress,

Paul: 08:34 not great for my radar, just sand. It was progress on the spectrum. So we had this kerfuffle a lot and it would ruin perfectly good date nights and, and it would really stick with us. Nice to get really, really pissed off. I’m like, why don’t you trust me? I spend my whole life protecting. I had such disdain for her overreaction and her not trusting me. I’m like, I die for you in a heartbeat. And you know that I’m an extremely good driver. I’ve been driving for, Oh my God, long time. I’m 52 I’ll be 52 this year. So it’s a long time, right? I’m not going to do the math. But nonetheless, I’ve been driving for that long. Never had an accident. Actually I can’t say that once. When I was 17 I was stopped at a traffic light and somebody took my front bumper off. Like there’s not much I can do about that.

Paul: 09:23 And I’ve been on the road, I put more miles on than anyone. So I’d have all these logical arguments with Stacey and I would get pissed off. I’m like, why can’t you stop that? You’re endangering us. My primary mode for her is protection, right? So by creating a situation in my mind where she challenges my ability to protect her, she compromises our safety. Safety number one rule for me, for Stacy, for my children, like safety first, right? We all say it and then she’s creating a situation that endangers us. That was a trigger for me. I’m like my primary thing here, you’re fucking it up. Like you’re going to kill us. I could slow down, but I got to tell you another five or 10 miles an hour, we’re still gonna die in this situation if things don’t get better,

Stacey: 10:05 we’re just so comforting. [inaudible]

Paul: 10:11 so here’s the point that I want to make. Like I really would have anger around this and I couldn’t find my way out of it. I couldn’t logically figure out like how can I fix this? Like in my mind, driving slower wasn’t the answer. And seriously, I still believe that driving slower wasn’t the answer for that situation. But what happened one night changed at all. It broke through something that, this probably lasted for us for like a couple of years. That’s why I like the kids do it now for fun, like the joke thing. But it was a case where like it was one night we were driving down the road we were on, I’m gonna let you tell this part. We were leaving the neighborhood and by the way, most accidents happen within five miles. Every neighborhood I’ll say so comfy. But uh, anyway, so, so yeah. So we left the house one night we were going out. It was a very mundane night, just a regular night and then something happened.

Stacey: 11:03 So I’ve been working on it like this really did cause a lot of pain for us. Like I love my husband. I don’t want to fight with my husband. I certainly don’t want date nights to be ruined and I don’t get to leave the house a whole lot. I know that sounds weird, but I worked from home, so like Monday through Friday, like I’m in the house, I don’t get to leave. My kids are like, I missed you all day. I’m like, I fucking been here [inaudible] I’ve been anywhere else. So like Paul knows he’s got to like take me out for walks and stuff.

Paul: 11:35 Like I got to get off the walkies.

Stacey: 11:38 and so date night means something to me. It’s how I rejuvenate myself and I was really, you know, upset every single time we would fight it would be stressful. And so as I do, I’m working on it. I’m trying to figure out the wiring, trying to figure out the triggers and I’m asking myself, always asking myself, which is why I heard him say that when I redirect all his focus to inside the car, he loses his focus outside the car. Now that’s a real risk. And so I’m like, okay, okay, I get that I need to work on shifting my reaction. So I was that, that was my, my progress on the spectrum. I’m like, I’m trying not to yell.

Stacey: 12:20 I’m trying not to make sudden movements. I’m, I’m trying, I’m trying to shift. And yet I still had these fears that would grab hold of me and I’m thinking about it all the time. I prayed about it a lot and and just ask like what am I not seeing? Just like Paul does where I’m always doing that. Doesn’t matter what the professional is, I’m going to fix it and Paul has the same perspective. It doesn’t matter what our kerfuffle is. I’m going to fix this, I’m going to figure it out. Personal responsibility and something about like what is it? Why is it, why am I afraid I’m doing all the things that I do with all of our students? Like what am I afraid of? What is this trigger? What meaning am I giving it? All the things that I do. And then one night we were heading out and maybe I was inspired cause we were heading to Philly and we were still local and I knew what was coming but we were on this road near our house that I know really, really well and so does Paul.

Stacey: 13:13 It’s a country road, very, very dark. And it’s a road that I always have a fear on because there’s deer everywhere on both sides of the road. And it’s a curvy road. And to me, growing up in this area, like deer is a real thing when you drive. I remember learning how to drive. My mom would be like a deer could take a bus out. So you really have to be prepared and know what to do. And so as we’re driving, I’m asking myself, what am I afraid of? And I said to my husband as we’re on this road, Paul, how far can you see the trees? And he said, I can see the trees all the way to the sign at grey nun. And I realized I can’t, I can’t see that far. I can only see as far as the second light post.

Stacey: 14:09 And in that moment I realized I can’t see as far as he can see. And so to me, he speeding into what to me is total darkness. And I don’t know, I had no idea that he could see as far down where we’re heading. And I realized that all my fear, all my worries were because I couldn’t see the same thing through the same lens that he can see. And in that moment I realized that my opportunity is to lean on a that he has that I don’t have, which is that he can see better than me, he can see farther than me, he can see perfectly in the dark and I cannot. And then when that moment happened and I started to feel the relief of that and the gratitude of that, something changed for you too.

Paul: 15:12 Fortunately on this awakening and that she had, I also had the same awakening in a different way at the same moment. So it was a profound moment for both of us. It was a breakthrough that we needed because when she asked me that question and I’m telling her where it was, she’s like, I can’t see it, and it hit me. I’m like, I put myself into her seat at that point and I’m like, I’ve always been blessed. Up until now I’m wearing reading glasses. You’ll see me do it. Up until now. I’ve been blessed with really, really good vision. Even when I was a kid I could see really far. My clarity was really good. My night vision was outstanding and it occurred to me at this point, like I always used to, I just said this the other day, I always used to wonder as a kid, I’m like, what’s it like to need glasses?

Paul: 15:52 Like I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to wake up in the morning and have to put on glasses. I’m like, it just made no sense to me. I’m like, that must suck. In my mind. I was like, that’s, I couldn’t grasp it. So in that moment I was thinking about it and I know Stacy wore glasses and I’m thinking about her position as a drug, as a passenger with a guy who’s driving fast in the dark and she couldn’t see and it she hit me. I’m like, wow, that actually would suck. That would be scary for anybody. It was in that moment where I realized that my definition of being a good driver wasn’t that I can navigate the road. It’s very shrunken down perspective of what’s a good driver. My standard. I realized what was a good driver is the one who makes the passengers feel like you’ve got everything under control, which is really what I had was that you are safe and they felt safe.

Paul: 16:52 They felt like it’s such a pleasure to be driving with this person. I feel like they’ve totally got an under control instead of I’m hanging on and I’m scared every moment. That’s a pretty sucky driver actually now in my mind, right, because who wants to be in that passenger seat with that driver? It completely shifted my standard of what a good driver was. My resistance for all the meanings that I had applied to that, that you should trust me, vanished in that moment. No, you shouldn’t have to trust me actually. You should have an experience where you feel like you’re safe. That became my new standard from that moment on and what a good drivers and I told her, I said, you know what? I said, I can’t even imagine what that’s like. And we had a conversation as we’re driving, like the whole thing kind of melted away in a moment which had been plaguing us for years.

Paul: 17:42 And I articulated where she was with this and I’m like, Holy cow. Like I had no idea. And I said, just so you know, there are a couple of deers up on on the Hill over there and um, but I see them. And that became an opening in so many profound ways for things that you’ll learn about today for us about raising your standard for yourself, lowering your expectations of others. But that’s what happened in that moment for us. And it never became a problem again after that. And now there’s still times. The interesting thing is everything shifted. Even my ability to stay focused if there’s something that’s going on because Stacy is still the delicate flower that she is, I don’t drive like I used to. Now I’m aware and I keep track of her feeling and if I have put myself in check, cause sometimes I’ll fall back to old habits, right?

Paul: 18:30 And then something will happen. Or what typically happens is now Stacy does this, it’s more gentle, right? Not as much energy behind it. Nobody’s pulling the rope on the opposite direction. So it’s more gentle now and I’m going to get, I saw, I saw that person starting to drift over. I got it. And then over time it evolved even further where now to be a good driver for me, it’s like I see something going on or there’s something going on behind me or I just like, I see that little shift you can feel when someone sh like not paying attention. And boy is that prevalent today, right? With the drivers on their phones. Whoo. So you start to see like somebody who’s not quite there or they’re looking down and I can see them in their rear and their own mirrors. They’re like looking down at their phone and driving like this.

Paul: 19:13 Um, when I see that stuff now, I’ll proactively say to her, I’m like, I see that by the way I saw that car. They’re drifting over. By the way, there’s somebody behind us doing some crazy shit. I’m just letting you know like I’m aware of them. So now am I a good driver now how does my passenger feel? I’m no less the confident driver. I can still speed, but even if I do speed, she’s not going to have the same experience because she can let go because she knows like he sees it, he sees it, he’s got it, stuff happens. So we’re aware of it and we’re in it together. The energy discharged for all of us in that moment because of that shift in perspective of what it meant to be a good driver. I had to raise my standard. I wasn’t just like, I gotta be me. I got to drive my way. Right. I had to raise my standard and everything feels good now on both sides. It’s not a compromise. It’s authentic for both of us, so we don’t struggle with it at all. There’s no efforting up here anymore. It’s in here.

Stacey: 20:13 I love it. You told that story. Thank you so much. What I really want you to see is that I also did not demand that he just slowed down. I didn’t demand that the situation had to be fixed my way. And so many times we’re like, no, there is really one answer to this. Slow the fuck down. And we’re so committed to that. That’s our biggest problem because I’m telling you there was another answer and I never could have guessed it. Never. And as long as Paul had stayed stuck in blame, like you got to trust me, just trust me. There’s nothing wrong. You’re overreacting. It’s you. You gotta change your reaction. Nothing was changing. And as I took personal responsibility to ask myself, what is this? What is this about? Cause we never had been in an accident, but I’m definitely feeling his triggers and they’re really real. What can I do? What can I do? And the minute I did in, the minute that that shifted, it opened something for him as well. He didn’t actually need to slow down to fix it. There was a better solution. He vocalizes things to me now he tells me that he sees that thing. He tells me when there are deer on the side of the road and it’s like six more seconds before I spot them because I can’t see it.

Stacey: 21:34 That actually makes me feel more relaxed because he’s giving me the benefit of his vision that he knows I don’t have. We never drive on a dark road without him turning his high beams on, which he never used to do because he has perfect night vision. I can’t see a thing and so it’s not pleasing. It’s not compromise. We both genuinely shifted and I will tell you this, we both became a better version of ourselves because I’m not as afraid in the car and why should I go through life being afraid in the car. That’s what I’m going to protect here. I need to hold on for the next 50 years to my right to be afraid in the car. What am I protecting? Why am I holding onto my trigger? I’d love to be free. I want to let me work on this. And so any time something triggers you and you’re got your, your hands dug in that they need to change to solve this trigger, why are we protecting the trigger?

Stacey: 22:43 Pull it out and be free. Elevate yourself to the next level and they will elevate themselves as well in response to you. It’s not pleasing. Do you get that? Does that serve you how? Amen. All right. I hope that that served you. I hope you got a lot from Matt. Might be one that you need to listen to a couple of times, but let’s take some action steps, right? What can you start doing now to start getting results now we’ll action. Step number one is how can you look at your persistent kerfuffles differently? How can you look at a persistent kerfuffle and ask yourself, what am I not seeing? What can I do differently? What can I take personal responsibility for? What’s my trigger in this? How can I get curious about this? That’s the first step, and then the second step of course, is do the work. Whatever it takes. Get the skillset, take the action, solve the triggers, see it differently, whatever that is. We have our 14 day boost for your relationship coming up live this month. Don’t miss out for less than 50 bucks. You start to get the toolset and the skillset that’s in the relationship development toolbox. Don’t miss out on that. You can go to 14 day boost.com to sign up and until next time, remember together we are changing the way relationship is done.

Outro: 24:14 Are you ready to catapult your relationship to the next level? Would you love to do that in just three days? Well, Relationship Breakthrough Retreat tickets are open. This is our live three day event. We only do this event once a year. It’s a three day live immersion experience with me and Paul, where you get to have your relationship breakthrough within those three days. This is not a couple’s event. Your partner does not need to come to this event. There’s no couples work going on. It’s a fun, high energy, life changing, impactful immersion experience, where your relationships will catapult forward within those three days. It is not to be missed. Check out RelationshipBreakthroughRetreat.com for information and tickets.

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