525: How to Transform Your Relationship with Bryan Reeves

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Bryan Reeves

In 2016, my marriage was on shaky legs, and my wife and I struggled to find common ground. It’s easy to lose hope and want to give up in those tougher moments. I’m so thankful to share this conversation with today’s guest, as he played a crucial role in turning my marriage around.

Bryan Reeves is an author, relationship coach, and former US Air Force captain. His book, Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her), was inspired by his wildly popular blog post, which was read by over 50 million people. Bryan’s a big believer in treating relationships not as something that should be perfect but as a beautiful, ongoing project.

In this episode, Bryan shares game-changing advice on how to keep the flame burning bright in your relationship, day in and day out. He walks us through the power of small yet deeply intentional actions that can save your relationship or marriage. Following his guidance, you’ll see a real transformation in the way you connect with your partner. Most importantly, you’ll see how you can bring out the very best in each other, fostering a sense of lifelong support and companionship.



KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Commit fully to the relationship or just step aside
  • The importance of balancing masculine and feminine energies
  • How to be spiritual without being arrogant
  • Strive for progress, not perfection
  • Embrace your partner’s imperfections instead of trying to change them
  • The power of acknowledging you always have a choice

 

AYG TWEETABLES

 

“If we’re being honest in our relationships, conflict and disagreements and differences are going to arise.”

“It’s not the differences between you that cause problems. It’s constantly trying to make the differences go away that causes problems.”

“What works for one couple won’t work for another. What worked for you yesterday may not work for you today.”

 

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Organifi makes the highest quality nutritional products, which are made from whole food ingredients (not synthetic vitamins) that I enjoy nearly every day, and have for many years. Visit Organifi.com/Hal, and use the code HAL at checkout to get 20% off of your entire order. I hope you find something there that you love! :^)

 

Rise by CURED Nutrition is a natural supplement made from CBD, Lions Mane and Ginseng (among others) that helps boost energy, performance and cognitive function. There’s no caffeine, no jitters and most importantly, no crash. Visit CuredNutrition.com/Hal and receive 20% off of your entire order. They have tons of other products as well, hopefully you’ll find something that works for you. :^)

 

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Copyright © 2024 Miracle Morning, LP and International Literary Properties LLC

Hal Elrod: Hello, my friends. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. Today, we’re talking about how to transform your relationship with Bryan Reeves. Now, I’m talking about your romantic relationship. And Bryan, literally, is the man that saved my marriage. There’s not too many people, maybe he’s the only person in the world I can say that saved my marriage.

But in 2016, my wife and I were really struggling after being married for about six and a half, seven years. And I read a blog post by Bryan called Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her), which is also the title of his new book, Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her). And that blog post has been read by over 50 million people, which, by the way, just think about that. Like, think about how much wisdom Bryan must have around relationships if a blog post that he wrote got shared and read by 50 million people. So, anyway, I read the blog post and it completely transformed my paradigm around how I showed up for my marriage and it transformed my marriage as a result. And I tell that story in more depth today when I’m talking to Bryan. So, I’ll let you listen to it here in a few minutes.

But I want to tell you about Bryan. He’s a former US Air Force captain turned internationally renowned author and men’s coach and relationship coach with a current focus on supporting men to elevate their lives and relationships. However, ladies, do not turn this episode off, all right? Don’t tune out. Even though his focus is working with men, what we talk about today, and I preface this ahead of time with him, is I said, “I want this episode to apply to men, women, it doesn’t matter.” I want to share this, what I got from Bryan’s work around how I show up to my marriage so that whether you’re a man or a woman, you can apply it to your marriage.

Bryan’s the co-founder of Elevate Your Relationship, a live coaching experience for men who are truly ready to elevate their relationship game. And again, he is the author of the new book, Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her): A Guide For Your Journey Through The Transformational Fires Of Love & Intimacy. And again, this is based on the blog post that went viral and was read by 50 million plus people.

So, today, we talk about how Bryan got into this. But more importantly, I shared the story and then I asked him a lot of questions to unpack how you, the listener, you can transform your relationship, whether it’s a marriage, whether you’re courting someone, you’re engaged, or you’re just trying to become the person that you need to be to attract the love of your life and create a harmonious relationship when that time comes. Either way, this is going to be an episode that can help you in your most important relationships.

Before we dive in, let me take just a minute to thank our sponsors, first and foremost is CAROL Bike. CAROL Bike, I love this bike. I use it three to five times a week, and the workouts are as little as five minutes or as long as 15 minutes that utilize reheat technology, reduced exertion, high-intensity interval training, which is scientifically proven to be one of the most effective ways to get the physical fitness results that you want as fast and easy as humanly possible. I don’t know about you, but I’m busy. I want things done as efficiently and effectively as I possibly can, and that’s why I love the CAROL exercise bike. It’s fun to use. There are guided audio tracks that guide you through the psychology of being motivated and staying on that bike. And so, if you want to lose weight, build strength or for me, I want to build a cardiovascular stamina, check out CarolBike.com/Hal, that is C-A-R-O-L, CarolBike.com/Hal, and then use the discount code HAL, H-A-L, to get a discount on your order. And you can try the bike for 30 days. No risk. That’s what I did and I loved it, I kept it. And now, me and my son, my 11-year-old son, he loves it as well.

And then last but not least, our sponsor Organifi, similar to CAROL Bike, if you want the fastest, most effective way to improve your health to boost your nutrition, head over to Organifi.com/Hal, that is O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I, Organifi.com/Hal. And whether you want to improve your focus with their Focus supplement that I just took about an hour ago, it’s why I’m so focused right now, or their Red Juice, which I take before I work out every day, or their Protein powder that I take after I work out. Or they have supplements for your liver, sleep, relaxation, anxiety, you name it. Again, Organifi.com/Hal and use the discount code HAL. And between CAROL Bike and Organifi’s nutrition, may your nutrition and fitness be on point the best they’ve ever been this year in the fastest, most effective way possible.

All right, without further ado, I’m so excited to share with you how to transform your relationship with the one and only Mr. Bryan Reeves.

[INTERVIEW]

Hal Elrod: Bryan, Bryan Reeves, dude, it is good to see you.

Bryan Reeves: Hal Elrod.

Hal Elrod: So, I just told you something before we started recording that I want to say for everybody listening, because there’s not a lot of people that I can say this to. In fact, maybe you’re the only person in the world that I can say this to, and that is that you literally saved my marriage.

Bryan Reeves: You’re welcome?

Hal Elrod: Yeah, what do you say to that, right?

Bryan Reeves: What do you say to that? Yeah.

Hal Elrod: So, no, I mean, and if someone has listened to Episode 458, if you’re listening right now and you’ve heard Episode 458, the title of that podcast was How I Transformed My Marriage, I opened up with the story that I want to, I’ll retell a 60-second version right now, which is in 2016, my wife and I had moved from California to Texas. I bought a house sight unseen. She did not like the house. That does not go well when you’re waking up every day in a house that you don’t like, that you trusted your husband to find for you. Anyway, so needless to say, we were really struggling in our marriage and it was one of those where everything I did triggered her. And then she got upset, and then I got triggered by the fact that she was upset, right? And round and round went this vicious spiral. And so…

Bryan Reeves: I know that math well.

Hal Elrod: What’d you say?

Bryan Reeves: I know that math well.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. But we got in this huge blowout fight, and she went camping, and I was supposed to go with her. We had such a big fight that she was like, “Don’t even go camping with us. I’ll just take the kids.” And I’m like, “Fine.” In hindsight, big regret on that decision. But maybe it was meant to be, because while she was gone, I came across your article, your blog post, Choose Her Every Day, which of course now is the title of your book. And I read that, and it was a total paradigm shift for me, realizing that we were in this reciprocal relationship game where I chose her when she was being nice to me, but when she wasn’t being nice, what she would have said was because I wasn’t being nice, then I distanced myself from her and I created separation and I had animosity toward her. And I realized we were headed for– we were on a bad path.

And when I read your article, your blog post, Choose Her Every Day, I went so far as to not only realize that I needed to change, but I wanted a visual written fixture in her mind so that she knew what I was committed to. So, I wrote what I called my forever pledge. I beautifully framed it in this 11×14 frame that I nailed to the wall of her bed, right where she would wake up and read it every morning and go to bed and read it every night. And she came home. And I needless to say, the shifts that I made after reading Choose Her Every Day and that forever pledge and that being accountability for me to live in alignment with what I committed to her, it totally saved our marriage. And we’re at the best place now, eight years later, that we’ve ever been.

So, thank you. And that is why I brought you on to the show, is we ran into you at the airport. Of all places, I saw you at the airport and your wife a few weeks ago, and I said, “Dude, come on the podcast, man.” I want to save some marriages because really, your work is doing that for people, dude. So, thank you. And I’ll let you respond and then I’d love to hear how you got into this work.

Bryan Reeves: Yeah. Well, first off, man, it’s a deep honor to know that my work has served you and your family. I think of the ripple effects of the people that are touched by that confrontation with choice, especially. And I want to acknowledge you, Hal, because a lot of people read that and actually ended relationships. Yes, a lot of people doubled down and recommitted. I mean, look, you took it next level with the forever pledge nailed to the wall, like, dude, next level props to you.

But a lot of people realized I’m actually not in. I’m not all in. In fact, I wrote that article from the awareness of a past relationship that I was in for five years that I would tell her, I would on some level, telling myself that I’m all into this, that I’m genuinely wanting to be in this relationship. And the reality, Hal, is that I wasn’t. I was not all in on that relationship and there was nothing likely to bring me all in. We were out of alignment on a deep level, but there was just so much in the way of me really being able to see that and own that and honor that and make a choice from that place that, yeah, we spent five years. I think I start that article, which is, yes, now become my book. I spent five years hurting a good woman by staying with her but never fully choosing her. So, props to you, man. And yes, I’m honored to be here, Hal. Long time in coming.

Hal Elrod: Oh, man, yeah. No, I think, how did we connect? Was it Jon Vroman that connected us? Or did I connect you with Jon Vroman? I forget.

Bryan Reeves: No, it was Jon. So, I met our buddy, Jon, at a party in Austin.

Hal Elrod: Down to Front Row Dads, just for context.

Bryan Reeves: Down to Front Row Dads. Incredible dude. Love Jon. And we just dropped in the conversation for, like, two hours, sitting by this pool side, and eventually, it came out. I’m a writer, I wrote this article, Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her) And then he was like, “Oh,” like his eyes lit up. He’s like, “Wait a second, you’re the dude that wrote that. Oh, my goodness, my friend, Hal. You know Hal Elrod?” I’m like, “Yeah, no.” “Miracle Morning guy. Dude, that article changed his life.” I was like, “Whoa, that’s super cool.” So, yeah. And he was like, “Hal is like one of my closest friends.” And that was a really fun moment. And that’s how it happened.

Hal Elrod: That is awesome. Now your background, you were in the military. You were the US Air Force captain, so high ranking officer in the military. You had an engineering degree, but you did have a masters in relationship, something. What was your master’s in?

Bryan Reeves: Master’s in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma, yeah. So, anybody should be prepared to do intimate relationships well. I figured I should be the guy. Plus, I got three sisters and two moms. And so, yeah, I’m entering my mid to late 20s, like I got this. I’m going to crush it. I’m going to make a woman the most happy being on the planet. I got my stuff together, educated, a master’s in human relations, Hal.

Hal Elrod: And three sisters, I mean, like, that right there, two moms, three sisters, you got the real-life education and you got the formal education.

Bryan Reeves: And I got out of the military. First off, I couldn’t feel my body, I couldn’t feel my emotions, I couldn’t feel my feelings. I was so disconnected. Neck down, all I could– I was just living in my head up. I couldn’t– a lot of people get that men have a hard time crying. What’s less talked about is we also don’t really have– it’s hard for us to laugh, like, when I laugh from a deep, deep joyful place. So, I was disconnected from, yes, my sadness, but also my joy and enthusiasm for life. And from that place, Hal, I tried to do intimate relationships with women. And it was one disaster after the next. So, yeah.

Hal Elrod: And how do you go from that place to writing this article, this blog post that’s read by millions of people, so much so that it becomes a book by the same title? Where’s that transition?

Bryan Reeves: Yeah. Well, I started blogging, I was actually there’s a lot of transitions, a lot of gaps in the story that we’re not going to get to. But I started, I was actually managing the spiritual music bands. We were torn all over the country and I started blogging about that because I love writing. So, this was in, like, I don’t know, 2009, 2010. I started actually blogging and went– anyway, when the band broke up that I was managing, I was like, “Well, I have a bit of an audience developing and let’s keep writing. What should I write about?” And all these. At this time, I was going through an excruciating breakup, and I was 35, 36. I’m 49 now. So, that was almost 15 years ago. And I was just like, I’m learning so much about my responsibility in relationships where I have been ignorant, what I was completely unaware of. Like, the secrets, there should never be secrets to a relationship. I was studying them because I resolved to not suck at relationships anymore, Hal. I’m 36 going through another excruciating breakup, and I’m like, this cannot be my destiny. I cannot be destined to fail at love for the rest of my life. I just, I refuse.

So, as I was learning, studying with all kinds of teachers from, man, Dr. Pat Allen, who wrote this book, Getting to ‘I Do’ to Alison Armstrong to David Deida, Michaela Boehm, and just all kinds of teachers who were starting to open up the mystery box of relationship. I had done a lot of spiritual seeking, but spirituality is about the pursuit of oneness. Relationships are a dance of duality of twos, right? And so, all my spirits, and that was the other thing, I thought, well, I’m such a spiritual dude, man. I read The Power of Now and the New Earth and Conversations with God and did Byron Katie’s work of questioning all my stressful thoughts. Like, again, why are my relationships sucking so much? Because none of that spiritual teaching was ever exploring the duality of, for example, masculine and feminine intimacy. Two people, two different worlds coming together.

And anyway, I started writing about that. So, this would have been 12, 13 years ago. And that started hitting a nerve with people. Because this is the early days of blogging, there’s not a lot of men, especially, out there, sort of revealing their hearts and opening up in this way. Now, it’s everywhere. But at that time, it was just not done so much. And I was doing it and it just hit a nerve. And I just kept, was like, “Oh, interesting. This is meaningful to me. I see what the world is wanting. It’s connecting with the world. Let’s keep going.” And I just kept drilling into and I was writing hundreds of blogs over a few periods of years. Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her) was just one of so many.

Hal Elrod: And that one just took off?

Bryan Reeves: And it just, and it took off three months after I wrote it. I don’t even…

Hal Elrod: Did it get picked up by a major, like, New York Times, like some sort of publication?

Bryan Reeves: Dude, it was translated. It’s been translated into lots of languages. It’s been republished all over the world. I mean, I lost track of what happened to that blog a long time ago.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. Wow. And I want to say a couple things that you mentioned something. First of all, you and I have so much in common. Like, I also lived in my head and didn’t know how to access my emotions for many, many, many years. By the way, can you trace that back to, like, some sort of trauma in your life? Or was it the trauma of the military? At what point in your life did you stop being able to feel emotions?

Bryan Reeves: Well, I think just growing up, a boy or even a girl, for that matter, but growing up in our culture, we’re taught, especially our generation, we’re taught young, don’t feel your feelings. We’re taught don’t be a sissy.

Hal Elrod: Don’t cry, yeah, yeah.

Bryan Reeves: Don’t cry, all the things. And that just gets reinforced when we step into our teenage hood. And then, yeah, I was in a fraternity in college. That was, again, not very big on feeling your feelings and being with sadness and all of that. And then, yeah, the military, it’s like the military just invested millions of dollars doing what culture was already doing, right? They just took it next level. So, yeah, traumatic things happened, but I think it’s the water we swim in.

Hal Elrod: Societal conditioning, no, that makes sense. The other thing that you said that was really interesting that I’d love to unpack for a minute back and forth, is you talked about that you were a very spiritual person, and that spirituality is about oneness. In a lot of ways, it could be a selfish pursuit. That’s been my experience. But I really wasn’t aware of that, maybe until you just said that. Because then you mentioned that it doesn’t teach you relationships, which is duality, which is the consideration of the other.

And just like you, I read Power of Now, A New Earth, did Byron Katie’s. Every book you read was one of my favorites, right? And what I also realize now, looking back as you’re saying this, it’s helping me really unpack it, that there was a lot of ego in my spirituality without realizing it. I would look down on my wife and be like, “You haven’t done all the work I’ve done.” And I’d get frustrated, like, why are you so triggered in emotional? Why aren’t you more emotionally intelligent, right? So, it’s interesting that spirituality, like going on a really deep spiritual journey, can make you very self-centered and very– but in almost in an enlightened way, where if you’re a hermit, you’re great. But if you’re trying to bring the spiritual evolved, enlightened, I figured it all out version of you that actually has the ego hidden underneath, peeking its head out into a relationship. It’s a tough mix. And I think just now, after being with my wife for 20 years, I’m just starting to figure it out, I mean, in the last couple of years.

Bryan Reeves: Yeah. I can’t point to a guru out in the world who has an intimate relationship with one other partner that I admire. Like, I don’t know where that person lives or exists. There’s this funny story that happened when I was in relationship with a woman many years ago. And I was studying the Daodejing and the Dao in Chinese ancient philosophies of spirituality. And I had this beautiful book, this beautiful sort of soft cover book that was like a bamboo cover and it was printed with this beautiful calligraphy. And one day, I got into an argument with my girlfriend at that time, and she ended up, in that argument, taking that book and the cover of it, shredding it, just ripping it right in front of my face.

And I laughed today. I mean, at the time, I was mortified, like, what the heck are you doing, woman? Can’t you see how terrible you’re being? I love that moment now, Hal, because it was so symbolic of the arrogance that I was embodying, the arrogance, my spirituality. Yes, it was an arrogance that I wore unknowingly, of course. I mean, I like to say we’re all innocent in our ignorance. I mean, we don’t know what we don’t know. And I was just very ignorant at that time, but I wore it as this kind of arrogance. And I’m so grateful for that whole experience as painful as it was because I’m married now for– I’m with my wife, Silvy, for about eight and a half years.

And man, that lesson of don’t let what I think I know get in the way of just being here in the moment, breathing in my body, doing my best to listen, even through my own building upset or frustration or rage, which isn’t easy. It’s a practice. It’s an ideal I lean into every day and I get it wrong often. But that gift of man put aside what you think you know and just be here, just listen. You don’t have to sacrifice yourself to be present with this moment, with this person. What I see now, Hal, that I never saw before in my past relationships was, there’s this other moment with that same girlfriend where we’re having an argument. This was the woman, actually, that was the inspiration for that article Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her). We were together five years.

There’s another moment, towards the end of our relationship, where we’re sitting in a stairwell in a Miami apartment building and I am like, my arms are crossed, my body’s turned, I’m like, “Screw this. This sucks. I do not want to be here. I’m leaving.” And I remember her sitting on that stairwell. And look, she could be cruel. She could be mean. She could be shaming. Like, we both made a mess of things. But what I see now, I remember, I left that stairwell to her, even though she was like, kind of, in her own way, begging me not to leave or demanding, which just was, like, made me want to get out of there even more because I didn’t know how to be with that.

But now, Hal, I see the woman in pain that I never could see before. I see this woman sitting there and she’s hurting. She has no idea. She’s not communicating skillfully. She’s not being vulnerable. And that’s important, that matters, right? But I can see now, and that helps me in my relationship with my wife, that moment is heartbreaking as it remains. I hold it precious in my heart because it allows me in moments where I might see my wife and maybe she’s not being very skillful in this moment. Maybe she’s being a bit whatever her defenses are and coming at me in a way that doesn’t feel good to me. I can bring this and see underneath and to see the woman in pain and it’s helpful for me.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. Because the difference between taking it personally and just going, what you’re saying to me isn’t okay, right? You shouldn’t say this. You’re not allowed to say this. It’s not right. It’s not evolved. It’s not whatever. Versus one of my friends, the way he frames it is he now asks himself which version of my wife is talking to me right now? Is this the scared little girl who was abandoned by her father at a very young age and has a lot of deep-seated fear of abandonment? Because that’s a very different person that you’re going to, right? If a little girl were saying the things your wife is saying to you that had just been abandoned by her father, you would look at her with eyes of just love and empathy and you would want to nurture that little girl. And same thing, when you’re coming, are you that scared, insecure boy that was getting picked on in high school or whatever? What are you going to say?

Bryan Reeves: Well, yes, and though I want to be really mindful about this because my wife and I are often speaking into our dialog, our boundaries, what’s okay, what’s not okay, right? The difference is, going to my past and when that partner would say something, the one that I’ve been referring to, this woman I was with for five years, I wrote the article, not really about it, kind of about. When she would say something hurtful, I would just fight her on it. It’s not like that. I would get defensive. I would get offensive. I would do whatever I could to win the battle that had just begun.

And that, obviously, doesn’t serve. It certainly didn’t serve. It only made things worse. The alternative, what a lot of men do though is they just shut down. There is this idea, this other myth that I should just, especially in the world of masculinity these days and the man is fear. There’s this idea that as a man, I should just be able to take whatever she brings. Like, I heard one of my teachers once described it like, well, expecting a man to just take the emotional, verbal onslaught of his partner and just breathe, breathe and do his balls or bring his spine, whatever, it’s almost akin to expecting to teaching a woman, look, sometimes your guy, he’s going to come home, he’s going to have a bad day, and he’s just going to want to punch you in the stomach, here’s how you breathe. Here’s how you breathe when he punches you, take the punch. Just breathe it in and then breathe it out when he– that doesn’t work either.

Hal Elrod: Whether it’s verbal abuse or it’s physical abuse, abuse is abuse.

Bryan Reeves: 100%, man. And a lot of men, we do experience, again, our partners, my wife is amazing and she can be unskillful just as much as any human can. And it’s really important that we learn how to be assertive, not aggressive, to be loving and respectful, even as we say things like, “Babe, the way that you’re talking to me right now is not okay. Please, just–” I’m starting to get angry. It’s like we learned to share our own vulnerability and that spiritual arrogance, that one-upmanship, it’s like I’m not being vulnerable. You’re not doing it right. It’s the finger pointing. You’re not being evolved. You’re not doing this right. And I think learning to transform that into, wait a second. Oooh, okay, this isn’t working for me right now. Either let’s take a break or please, let’s do this a little differently. And again, that’s a skill that I think must be learned for long-term relationship health.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. Recently my wife came to me and she said, “Hey, I want to talk to you about how you show up for our family and how you’ve shown up.” And she said, “This is going to be really hard for you to hear.” But she said, “I think it’s really important.” I said, “Okay.” She said, “When you got cancer in 2016,” which, by the way, that’s a side note. It was three months after your article saved my marriage that I was diagnosed with cancer and went on the most difficult journey of our lives. If it wasn’t for your article, because we were in such a vulnerable place, I don’t think we would have survived that cancer. So, there’s an important piece to that story.

But she said, “When you got cancer and you were sick for three, four years,” she said, “I stepped up and did everything.” And she said, “Our kids don’t view you as competent and they don’t view you as that you can take care of things because they saw you unable to take care of anything.” And she goes, “It’s not your fault. I’m not faulting you.” She’s like, “I just want you to understand that now, now that you’re healed, I need you to step up and I need you to plan things, handle things.” Because what had happened is not only did my kids rely on my wife to handle everything because she had done it for the last four years, I did too. I’m like, “Oh, yeah, you’ll plan the camping trip and you’ll do it,” right? And she’s like, “I’m tired, I’m done.”

So, my point in sharing that is the vulnerability piece and the communication piece because, well, that hurt me so bad to think my kids don’t view dad as capable or competent. Ah! And I wasn’t aware, I didn’t even know. But my wife and I have, because of the communication that you’re talking about, where we do share, hey, this is how I feel. Hey, this is hurting me. Hey, this is– that vulnerable, open communication, I was able to breathe and go, “Thank you. That was really hard for me to hear. I’m still processing it. It’s probably going to take a few days or weeks, but I needed to hear it. Thank you for having the courage to share it with me. And I’m going to implement it.”

And that was probably six months ago. And since then, I’ve stepped up. I’ve planned vacations. I handle stuff now. And now, my relationship with my kids and my wife is transforming once again to another level because they’re like, “Oh, dad can handle stuff just like mom.” So, yeah, just a really important thing that you shared about being vulnerable with each other and being open and honest.

Bryan Reeves: That’s rich, man. I mean, your wife, I heard a lot of skill in the way that she approached you with difficult information. And obviously, it wouldn’t have served for her to keep that from you, right? That’s only going to breed more resentment, more disconnect. Not just with her, but also with your children. And you’re clueless. And I think, again, that’s why I said earlier, if we’re being honest in our relationships, conflict and disagreements and differences are going to arise. And I love, Hal, though, that you also responded, right? Again, these are all skills that people can learn. And that’s what I’m so excited about. Like, with my book, Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her) and doing relationship work and I specialize these days in really focusing on helping men step into relationship, step into their power in relationship without losing themselves, do skillful communication, learn how to do conflict because it’s going to happen. If you’re having real conversations with your spouse or your girlfriend, conflict is going to arise. And a lot of us have this belief, this, again, another myth that if we have differences, it means the end of us. If we can’t resolve our differences, it means the end of us. Well, that’s not true at all. It certainly doesn’t have to be.

In fact, I’m often telling couples when I do relationship couples, work with the people, one of the things that I’m teaching them is look, it’s not the differences between you that cause problems. It’s you constantly trying to make the differences go away that causes problems. That’s what’s causing the problems.

Hal Elrod: Resisting reality, wishing the other person were different than they actually are.

Bryan Reeves: Exactly. Now, it doesn’t mean that, again, relationship done well, Hal, is a paradox, right? You must learn to fully embrace your partner as they are, and we are constantly teaching each other how to treat us. We must also be influenceable by each other. So, it’s a bit of a paradox, right? And I love that about relationships. It’s like an ongoing riddle. I give a lot of insights and tips and tools and things you can try in my book, but it’s all experiments. What works for one couple won’t work for another. What worked for you yesterday may not work for you today. So, you and your wife, you’re in the work, man, and you’re doing well, not just because of what is it? Eleven years ago or nine years ago, you made that pledge. That’s not why you’re doing well because you did that nine years ago and put it on the wall. You’re doing relationship– you’re in a great place because every day, you’re leaning into the challenges that arise.

Hal Elrod: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it is. And I’m constantly reading books on relationships, on marriage, and implementing it and learning. And it’s good seasons and bad seasons. But what I feel like in our marriage, because we’re both committed to the growth and we’re both reading books all the time, she listens to audiobooks, and I want to talk about your book here in a second, but the way I described it, I actually was at my Front Row Dads’ band yesterday morning. Once a month, I meet with three other guys, and we all talked about how to be the best fathers and the best husbands that we can be and just support each other as men, Front Row Dads.

And we met yesterday, and I was talking about, I was giving them an update and just saying, “Ursula and I are at the best place in our marriage we’ve ever been.” And I said, now, if you would ask me, three months ago, I might have said, “Ah! We’re in a tough spot,” right? But here’s the way that I view it and this to me, is one of the simplest ways to understand the journey of growth. It’s not perfection, it is progress. But the way to understand is it’s two steps forward, one step back, three steps forward, one step back, one step forward, one step back, right? So, the point is that you’re trying to take more steps forward and get to a better, more evolved place than you are regressing. And I think as long as you’re both committed to growth, it’s inevitable.

So, tell us about your book, Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her). And it began as an article and I did just remember, I’m looking at my notes, that’s been read by over 50 million people, not a few million people, 50 million people. And if you’re listening right now, I’m going to say this in the intro, so people get this. Like, if you wrote an article about relationships that 50 million people read and resonated with, there’s something that you figured out, Bryan, that most of us still have to learn. So, talk about your book, Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her).

Bryan Reeves: Well, I want to first clarify too, it’s not just for men. This book is written for women as well. I know the title might suggest otherwise, but no, what I’m really proud about with this book, and I think that article also encapsulated it or at least spoke to it, is it’s very validating. I think that title Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her), it resonated with something so primal and so widespread as well. And this, I think for men, it’s very challenging in the sense of man, it’s like, step up. By the way, it’s choose her every day or leave her, right? Not just choose her every day, it’s like you have a choice, man. This or this, in or out. And I think for many men, that’s very enlivening. Like, whoa, I am at choice here.

And that changes the game when all of a sudden, I’m no longer a victim to a difficult woman or a circumstance or this. No, I am at choice. Whereas for women, and again, I’m painting with broad strokes here, but for a lot of women, I think they’ve had experienced the feeling of not being fully chosen so, so often. One of the terms that I coined that I talk about in the book, Masculine Checkout Syndrome, that thing where a man stays in the room, but emotionally, intellectually, he’s gone. He’s not here. And that is so, so, so common. We men, we don’t understand connection. We don’t have a concept of connection that makes sense to the women we’re often partnered with. And so, I write about that and choose her every day.

So, I think it’s very validating for women. You look at the reviews on Amazon and a lot of women are writing about, Hal, like, thank you, thank you, thank you. This is so validating. This helped me understand myself better, helped me understand my partner better. Men, what’s interesting, Hal, is some of my favorite messages from men are, dude, when I first found your work, it made me so angry. I was so resistant. Like, how dare you kind of thing. But as I really got into it, I mean, one guy said this literally, he said, “As I got into it further, now, all I want to do is give you a big hug. You’ve changed everything for me.”

So the subtitle is A Guide For Your Journey Through The Transformational Fires Of Love & Intimacy because I personally have experienced and I believe it’s true for many, many people that love and relationships are a transformational journey and it is fire. It burns down all that is not relational in us so that we can show up and be relational, right? And it can be a painful process and I think, for most people, it’s rare the couple, in my experience, that just gets in and it’s effortless all the way through. Some couples don’t hit their– what am I saying? Their breakdowns, their confrontations until decades into the relationship, right?

Hal Elrod: I mean, it all comes from living on the surface. I think that can get back to either be just the courtship or it can extend where people are hiding who they truly are out of fear of the partner not loving them or fear of not being worthy, so on and so forth. Well, Bryan, man, again, your article changed my life. I’ve got your book right here in my hand, Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her): A Guide For Your Journey Through The Transformational Fires Of Love & Intimacy by Bryan Withrow Reeves. Well, hey brother, thank you for the impact you’ve made for me and so many men. I really appreciate you.

Bryan Reeves: Hal, thank you, man. It has been a pleasure to have this conversation with you.

Hal Elrod: And now that you live in Austin, we get to see each other more often, man. So, I look forward to the next time.

Bryan Reeves: I love it.

Hal Elrod: And tell Silvy I said hello. Tell your wife I said hello.

Bryan Reeves: I will.

Hal Elrod: All right. Goal achievers, thanks for tuning in. Go check out the book where books are sold, Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her). Again, even the title would lead you to think it’s for men. It is really for men and women. In fact, if you go read the reviews on Amazon, half of them are for women, give or take, and half are for men. So, it really is just a book about how to figure out how you can take full responsibility for how you show up in your relationship. And that, to me, is the most empowering way to approach a relationship. Instead of saying that person needs to change for me to feel good or even meet in the middle, it’s like, hey, how can I be the spouse, the partner, the significant other that they need? And in doing so, I’ve found in my own relationship, when you show up at your best, you bring out the best in your partner. So, check out the book, Choose Her Every Day, and I will talk to y’all next week. Take care, everybody.

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