Have you ever wondered what makes a good relationship, my answer is Jelly Beans. Yes, that’s right Bright Juicy Jelly Beans. When l was a young girl, my mum explained that LOVE was like a jar of bright juicy jelly beans. And the need to look after and protect them was extremely important for a successful relationship.
In turn, when I told my first husband, my Jelly Bean Jar was empty, it meant our relationship was over and there was nothing he could do.
Today, I have learnt from the past and l have Jelly Beans all over the floor, find out how you can have a successful relationship in my latest podcast.
My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce
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My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce
Join my Free Facebook Group here:
Hello, everyone and welcome back to the Divorce Angel Podcast. My name’s Tanya Somerton and I’m the divorce angel. In today’s podcast, I’d really like to have a chat to you about my concept of the jellybean jar. For those of you who don’t know, I am the author of The Jellybean Jar which is a book all about how to streamline divorce and some of the issues that I found when I was going through mine and pretty much why business come about.
The book itself was called The Jellybean Jar simply because when I was a little girl, my mom said to me that love was like a jar of beautiful, bright jellybeans and I’ve remembered that all of my life and it’s something that I’ve also talked to my children about when we talk about love and what love is.
If you can imagine a really big jar of gorgeous, juicy, colorful jellybeans, they represent happiness and joy, sweetness, and if you really like jellybeans, they can make endorphins. Your jar might not be jellybeans, your jar could be something else that represents love for you but it is what my family has talked about for years and years now if not really decades about love.
I remember when my husband and I were having our conversation about separating. I’d said to him, “I’m really sorry, but my jellybean jar is empty. There’s nothing left in there.” and he looked at me as if I was silly like, “What are you talking about?” To go back make this a little bit more understandable, I suppose I need to explain to you exactly what that means to me.
If you imagine when you first fall in love someone and you truly love them, I’m not talking about lust, I’m talking about love, you have this jar of jellybeans and every time someone does something wrong, a jellybean can be removed. But if you’re in a really good functional relationship, that’s where you’ve got two people working together who have the same goals, who want to go in the same direction, and really do care about one another, so they put that person’s feelings as a priority or they want to protect their feelings, if they do something wrong, they will always try and make up for it.
If a jellybean is removed because someone’s done something wrong, let’s, for instance just say you had an argument over something and your partner takes responsibility for it, and by taking responsibility, he or she could do one or two things. Either apologize or take you out for dinner or buy you a bunch of roses or just do something nice to let you know that they’ve made a mistake and they were sorry.
When that happens, the jellybean goes back in the jar because they’ve taken responsibility and they’ve taken ownership of the issue which shows you the person that feels like they’ve been had done by or the mistakes has really hurt your feelings, it shows you that they understand. They understand where you’re coming form, they understand why you feel the way you do, and because of that, they’ve put steps in place to remedy the mistake.
What happens though over a lifetime in a relationship, because sometimes they can feel like a lifetime, the jellybeans will sometimes go up and down, but if we don’t work on our relationship long-term and take it each other for granted, sometimes the jellybeans just aren’t replaced. They continue to be removed and not replenished. This is a very, very dangerous game, and unfortunately, it’s what happens in a lot of relationships.
Here in Australia, we have up to 40,000 divorces every year. That’s just Australia, we’re not talking worldwide. The figures in some countries are astronomical. 40,000 people are getting divorced every year. When I go through or talk with my clients, the majority of people that I work with have had long-standing relationships and it’s sad to see. I’m talking 20 and 30-year relationships. That’s a long time.
In 20 or 30 years, of course, something is going to go wrong. There’s no doubt about it. We’d have to be pretty lucky not to have an issue in a relationship that’s that long. But when we go and always make good or try and address those mistakes, or address what’s going wrong, especially if one person is saying, “This has really affected me. I don’t feel like I can get over it. It’s an issue that has hurt either my feelings or my morals.” or whatever it is that you stand for. If that other person’s not prepared to go and have counseling or therapy or at least address the hurt that it’s caused you, the jellybeans are coming out in a hand-full. They are just being removed and the person that feels like they’ve been hard done by just feels like they are invisible, that their feeling mean nothing. That’s why it is so important to make sure that you replenish your relationship and your jellybean jar.
If I get back to my first marriage and what really made me take steps to address my empty jellybean jar, it was things, for me especially, around– I felt like I was being taken for granted. I don’t know if any of you guys listening to this understand that, but when we got married, really without my knowledge or understanding, we took on these roles within our relationship that we were expected to fulfill, I suppose, forever. I got to a stage where I really felt, for me, that I could be doing more but my expectations within my marriage were that mother and carer role, which I’m a very caring person and it’s part of the qualities that I’ve tried to instill in my children as well, it’s to care about others. That’s not something that so much worried be but what did worry me was the fact that at some stages, I just felt like I was a slave. I felt like it was my job to always make sure that everything was clean, that there was food in the fridge, that it was always my job to cook the dinners, it was my job to make sure that everything relating to the house was looked after. Because it was an old school sort of relationship where that’s he’d come from, his expectation were that he would be the breadwinner so whenever I spoke about doing more that I wanted to do in world, he didn’t like that so he liked to know where I was and what I was up to and made sure– I’m not saying that he did that because he wanted to keep tabs on me, which I am sure at some stages he did, it was more that he wanted to make sure that he was providing for the family, but I out grew that.
Both had morals and beliefs that when we went into our relationship and I was very, very young. I was 18 and he was 23 at the time that we got together so I sort of jumped straight out of my childhood bed into our maritable bed, if that makes sense. I’ve gone from being part of a family straight into following the footsteps of my mother and grandmother in being his carer as such. I just continued that on when we got kids, but then when I realized that there was more that I wanted in my life, it was too late because we’d already taken on those roles within our relationship.
When I tried to explain that this is what I was feeling and this is what I felt, he didn’t understand. So for me, when he didn’t understand, they jellybeans were being removed on my behalf even though he couldn’t see what was going on. But then moving on from there– That was just sort of a discussion that we had over a decade, but then as we moved on from there, other signs of issues that were happening neither of us were address or things would go wrong and he didn’t see that they were wrong. Because he didn’t see that it was a problem, he wasn’t replenishing the jellybean and therefore, my jar was just emptying. At the end, to be honest, it was emptying really, really rapidly.
One of the things that my mom said to me was that once a jellybean jar is empty and there’s nothing left, they cannot be replenished so you can’t remake jellybeans. Once your jar is empty, it’s empty. There’s no love left and you can’t remake it. I got to that stage and I’d probably been at that stage for about two years before I had the courage to then leave the relationship. But before I could leave, I had to have the conversation. Let me put it in another way.
Imagine if I ate all the jellybeans and I was on a sugar high. At some stage, once the high is finished, we’ve got to come down and we’ve got to come crashing down. That’s what happened at the end. I as so unhappy that I was bringing everyone else down with me. My children could see it, my family could see it, and to some extent, and I talk about this in the book, my mom said to me, “We just want our Tanya back.” like I turned into someone that they did not even recognize anymore. Like my unhappiness was so apparent to everyone around me and I thought I was hiding it. The sugar high, at some stage, has to end.
Now when I look back and having now been remarried for four year to my new husband, Richard, who I love dearly, there’s so much I learnt from my first marriage. What I learnt was that we have to make sure that we replenish the jellybeans. We have to make sure that we talk about the things that are really important to us. Sometimes it’s hard to have conversation with another person, especially to describe how we feel and to put words around our emotions. But my new husband, we make a point of talking about the jellybean jar. We make a point of talking about when things aren’t right. I often explain to my friends and that that our house is full of jellybeans because I now look at this completely differently. It’s not about replenishing the jellybeans that had depleted from my jar, it’s about having so much surplus in my jellybean jar that we never run out.
What I mean by that is that every morning when I get up, I think what can I do to make his life better. It might just be a little thing, it might just be a text message to tell him I love him, it might be making sure he has a favorite dinner and the ingredients are there for us to cook at that night, that he’s got something in the fridge to be able to make his lunch. Whatever it is that he is really, really passionate about, it’s me taking just a little step– I don’t have to go out of my way to make it a massive issue, but I do try and put something little in place to make sure I make his life as easy as possible. Conversely, he does exactly the same thing for me. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am his number on priority. He makes it very, very clear.
This week, I had a client come in to my office and we were having a chat about her and her husband’s relationship and what it was that she really felt was the final demise. She said, “When I think about it, he was always so far in front of me. Whenever we walked somewhere, he was steps in front of me. He would never stand beside me or never stand behind me. He was always so far in front.” It’s funny how that one symbolization can mean so much in a relationship.
My husband walks beside me, or he walks behind me with his hand on my shoulder. He makes sure at any given time, he knows where I am. It’s funny, we were watching the news last night and there was a thing on the news with Miley Cyrus where a stalker had try to kiss her. When I watched the news, and my husband was sitting next to me, the first thing we both said was that her husband was well and truly in front of her. He really should have been standing behind her and making sure that she was supported and okay, yet ushered into the car and she was sort of just left there. Of course, this guy had the ability come up and do what he did to her. That would never happen in my life because Richard is beside me in everything we do and that symbolization is not just in our life and in our decisions, but it’s when we go for a walk, it’s when we go out for dinner, it’s when we go to the movies. It’s the same in everything that we do.
If you’re listening to this right now and you’re wondering, “Do I need to leave my relationship? Have I made the right choices?” the interesting thing is whether you believe in a good or a universe, there’s something inside of you that is telling you that something is not right. Whether that is because your jellybean jar is nearly depleted or whether your jellybean jar is running out and your partner, he or she, is just not doing anything to address the issues and replenish the jellybeans.
The analogy is something that you can use to describe it at the basic level. It’s something that as a child my mother taught to me and it’s something that you can easily describe to your partner. My husband– Or talk about the jellybean jar. He is a commercial diver by trade. I remember when he came home one day and he was saying, “At work, all the boys, we were all on the pier and we were having a conversation about the jellybeans.” Can you imagine how that makes me feel. I’m talking about the big billy guys that put their life at risk every day and here he is talking to his mates and his work colleagues on the pier about their jellybean jar. You know I’d love to be a fly in the wall listening to those conversations. I think that would be really, really interesting but the thing is my jellybean jar is my priority. It is what I want to make sure is always overflowing and full of beautiful bright jellybeans and if they’re all over the floor, that’s the picture I have in my head. I just want them everywhere and I want that for every other couple. Please make sure that you are addressing your jellybeans.
If you’ve already left your relationship, when you go into your next one, remember this analogy that I’m providing and I’m sharing with you right now. Remember that when you meet the next person, and if they’re the love of your life, you are wanting to forever replenish your jellybeans because that they are the most important thing that you can have for a successful relationship.
That’s it for this week. I hope I’ve made sense and you understand what I’m talking about. I’m sure you can because as I said, if I can explain to my children, I’m sure that you get it too. If you’d like to get a copy of my book, you can get it from my website at www.tanyasomerton.com/shop and there’s a copy there. I think they’re 29.95 for a hard copy or you can get an electronic copy for 9.95. There’s a lot of information in there about making sure that you protect and look after your jellybeans. But that’s it for this week. I hope you have a great week and I look forward to talking to you again next time. Bye for now.
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