42. Friendships & Marriage with Helene Wrede Brolund

May 4, 2022

In This Episode

Helene Brolund and her husband work together to help people create real friendships. Along the way they are balancing having a business, being partners and parents together. Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman is a marriage coach for women in business. Her passion is helping women find flow in that intersection of marriage and business. Together we’ll be talking about marriage, friendships, the importance of connection, and how we do it “all” in a way that feels aligned.

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REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Welcome to the Connected For Real Podcast! I’m Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman, a marriage coach for women in business, and my mission is to bring God’s presence into your life, into your marriage, and into your business. Let’s get started. The following is one of the many conversations I had with experts and professionals about real life and how it affects marriage. Let me know your takeaways on Instagram or Facebook, @connectedforreal. Enjoy.

Welcome to the Connected for Real Podcast. I am Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossmanand I am here today with Helene, right. Did I say it right?

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. Because I’m from Denmark and we say things weird. Hi, it’s so great to be here with you guys. I’m looking so much forward to this conversation.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

So am I. So, first, let’s start by introducing yourself. Go ahead and tell us what makes you so awesome and we’re also going to talk about working as a couple because we are in season three and it’s all about the couples working together and making it work with all of the different parts of life. So, first tell us what you do.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Well, I run a company and actually a movement where we put adult friendships on the agenda in this world because friendships are so core to who we are. Our happiness or fulfillment are fun but we don’t talk about them. So, it’s kind of either you’re good at it or you’re not good at it, and if you’re not good at it, it’s really shameful so we’re putting that on the agenda teaching people how to form these amazing friendships we long for. And I’m a first-time entrepreneur so that is also fun trying that out with all the different emotions and everything going on and I am so lucky that I get to do it with my husband. We live in the smack middle of Copenhagen, Denmark with two little kiddos and just enjoy the city and enjoy getting to make a difference in this world, to be honest.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love that and when you were talking the first thing that came up for me is that feeling that I had because we used to move around a lot as a kid and so as a kid, you learn how to make friends and you make friends and go on with life. Usually, I was the third wheel because I would move into a place that already had friends and I would make sure that I somehow fit in and try to belong and all those people who make their life all about belonging and then realize that actually I just need to be myself and then I’ll belong. So that was my experience but something that I realized with all of the–once you grow up out of that, I guess past the teenage area, maybe into the twenty’s is that now it’s actually harder to make friendships because suddenly it becomes about who’s in your kids’ class, and their mother, and who’s at the park, and who’s around. It really turns into this, “Okay, I guess I don’t have much of a choice.” Right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And it becomes more proactive as opposed to just part of what happens around people, right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah, and what I see as well is that we tend to have the same understanding of friendships as we did on the playground because one of the top advices that I hear people receive is, “well you need friends, well then get a hobby”. And when I hear that, I’m like,   “are we still five and just need to go out into the playground and then we’ll make friends?” Because there’s growing up. There’s so many levels of what are our life values. What do we want to do in the world? What is important to us that needs to be resonated in these friendships as well. So, I can’t just go into any gathering. I, for example, I jog. I don’t think a runner’s club would be the place I would find my friends to be honest. So, we need to look in a different way but because we don’t talk about it. We don’t know how to look for friends so we assume that we just should find our friends among the people we’re around.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah, and you know what’s interesting, I actually have found that Covid made it more exciting for me to make friends because we’re talking deeper. You get onto zoom and you don’t have much time and so you’re, “Okay. Let’s get down to it. Dude, are we vibing? It’s open heart. Let’s get down to,” –No, there isn’t that mushy middle where it’s like, “nice to meet you. Yeah, I like your dress.”–

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

There’s when the weather, “let’s talk about the weather.”

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah. The small talk sort of just goes away because there’s no time for it.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. And I think that’s a perfect point when creating friendships as [an] adult is we need to get out of those habit conversations we have even around corona or the war or whatever is going on and we need to be better at actually listening to each other and actually asking questions that go to the heart and the core of things because it seems to me, we live in a world where we talk so much about what we do, but friendships about who we are. So, we actually almost need to develop a language around who we are so we can share it sometimes.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And that’s so interesting because sometimes and most times, we ourselves don’t know who we are because we identify so much with what we do.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yes, totally agree. And that’s even why we have to dig into learning a language around who we are. I’m absolutely in love with a personality profile called the Enneagram that we use a lot because it talks so much it gives us a full language of who we are and it has strengthened my friendships and my marriages, my marriage. I have one. I’m sticking with that one that’s for life.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. –

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

So, to understand these differences but also to develop this language because you’re right. We attach identity to something that I believe G-d has never intended us to attach our energy to.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right. That’s amazing and can you go deeper into that what is a practical way that a listener would hear this and say, “Oh, Now I know what to do next time I’m speaking with someone or next time I’m out.” What’s something practical that they can take away from this conversation and say, “Huh, I feel more ready now, to be a friend or to get into a deeper conversation or to be okay with saying who I really am.”

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. Oh, but there’s a lot of different, –I think one thing you can do when you want to reach out and get to know someone, is just when you ask questions realize that there’s a situation. Whatever happened you got a promotion. Then there are the feelings and the thoughts around that situation and already there that changes from person to person because if you’re really excited and you want to move along in this world and get a career, then you might be really excited and proud, but if you’re a family person who’s more into, “I want to make sure I have time enough for my kids.” You might be worried about this and then so you have the situation. You have the feelings and your thought and behind that, you have the deeper values of what is important in your life and your life story. So, when you listen to someone sharing something, you can actually go deeper into the friendships by asking about thoughts and feelings, and then again asking about what is the deeper story, the identity story behind this. So, that’s the first practical– if you want to meet people and then I think if you want to share more about yourself which is the other side of it in this trust-building process that we have when we want to build friends is that it takes time to learn. So, I would suggest that you start by reflecting more about these levels as well for yourself. Whenever something happens to yourself think about, “Okay, this happened. What are my feelings and what is why do I have those feelings? What is the identity story that I have or the values that it clashes with that make me mad or that make me sad or that make me disappointed or excited, whatever happens?” So, you kind of have these levels,  and the more you can share about yourself the more you can take that into and ask people in relationships the better you meet because you get past what you do and down to who you are actually.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, I love that. That’s so powerful. Having the ability to–you said the conversation has two sides and the first side, – “I, this is so cute. I think this is your husband. Isn’t he?

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yes.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Is that your husband? –comment. Love this. Thanks for watching. Now we know somebody’s watching. It’s so exciting when there’s a live comment. When, by the way for all of those who are listening to the podcast if you come and follow me on Facebook or Instagram, –no, Facebook or Youtube, you will be able to come on to the lives and comment too. So that’s very exciting. You said about the conversation has two sides and this happens very well when I’m talking to my sister or my best friend and we’ll say, “Okay, listen it’s my turn. I gotta talk,” And I talked up talk talking they’re, “Okay, your turn. What do you have to say,” right. Because we have to be really, on top of being fair and listening to each other and taking turns whenever one of the people has something really urgent to talk about or really big. Listen to just what happened to me and then my sister will say, “I’ll listen to you but I have to tell you what happened to me so don’t hang up,”  right and we have that communication the ability to say both, “let’s make sure that we both get heard.” But sometimes, you don’t realize that with people you don’t have you said –trust, which is so mind-blowing for me because I never put that word to the, in my head. It was never a connection between that and trust. So, when you have that trust with people then I trust that my sister will stand up for herself or my friend will stand up. I have something else to say or I have to put you on your spot or something. We trust each other that we were speaking the same language. I have, today, I had a conversation, a situation where I had no trust there and I didn’t feel it so I was completely unaware when I spoke because I was not – I am human. Not in my aware state. I was just, “Okay, very comfortable in my skin, very myself, very not aware of what was happening around me.” And then when I realized that the other person, there were a couple of people, most of them were very close to me or people who know me already and one person wasn’t and she took it very badly and very differently than I would have expected anybody take what I’m saying and so it put me on my spot. It woke me up. It made me realize that I have to be more careful when I’m around people who don’t have that trust. Who I don’t know for sure that I love them and care about them right because sometimes I will say things and I won’t feel the person. So, in those, I think and it’s just really interesting for me to share that because people are like, “Oh, you’re so perfect.” So, I’m not perfect–

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah –

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And I think it’s the it just it’s so fascinating how the two parts are always playing this yin yang game right because you can listen to the other person and get them to talk about themselves or you can talk about yourself and either way you can get a connection. But in both sides, you have to be more awake than I was a little bit proactive yeah in the conversation.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. I really how you point out that we need to put more attention into our interactions.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes–

HELENE WREDE BROLUND
Not just behave we normally because we all do this.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. I’m sure I’m not the only one but it feels really icky when I’m in it I feel.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

So, I’ve done that too seriously and I’m nerding and geeking on conversations and how to build trust. I spend my life thinking about this and I mess up badly as well so, –

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

That’s just part of life and I think first of all it reminds us that we’re normal. We’re human. We’re not perfect and that’s part of the perfection is that we’re constantly growing and also I think if I was too perfect then I wouldn’t be relatable and then people wouldn’t be able to learn because nobody sees themselves in somebody perfect and says, “Oh, she’s really inspirational.”

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

No. I’ve been working so much to being a leader in our church as well I’ve led youth for years and I’m not perfect. You’re not going to grow up and become perfect. Don’t worry about it.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh. That’s the worst is when kids are, “I just want to grow up and everything will fall into place.” No, and you have to figure it out still.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

We’re figuring it out now because it’s not gonna wait. Time is not going to do anything.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

No. But what I really loved about what you said with your sister though is something I think is very important in the trust process as well that you trust that she will share her needs. Because I think that’s part of the trust process as well. Actually, it’s a big trust builder that we ask for help as well but I think it’s also the don’t behave mind readers trust that we’re gonna open our mouth because we can’t read each other’s minds and there’s nothing worse than sitting there and having had a conversation that I thought was good but the other person didn’t open their mouth and said, “Hey, I would like to say something,”

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

So, it’s trusting that as well as a big part of trust and then I think also with your friend and the story you shared because we have this tendency to think that friendships are supposed to be light and easy. Then having conflicts and friendships is kind of taboo. It’s kind of that’s not supposed to happen but actually going through the conflicts builds trust. If we dare to go on the other side.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

And we sometimes say, Simon and I that, “if you don’t have any conflicts in your friendships they’re probably not that close.” Just because we are flawed as people you say we all make mistakes and if we’re not so close that we kind of rub on each other once in a while then we’re probably not that close to each other. We’re kind of still keeping up the facade or keeping up the mask and being playing nice instead of being real.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, I love this which brings us to marriage because it’s so perfect what you just said. When you’re married to someone, you’re gonna bump into them all the time because they’re the closest person to you, right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah –

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And sometimes we think that’s a problem but actually my parents always told us when we were growing up. You’re supposed to fight. Fighting is good. It means you’re communicating. It means you’re talking about things. It means you’re digging deeper to find the values and to find what’s actually important and I think I took it differently than let’s say my brother did which is very interesting because you can have two people in the same situation as two kids who are very similar in age and each one takes it differently. I thought, “Okay, great. My parents have a wonderful marriage. They’re folding all the time and my brother, he’s, “I don’t know why they’re still together. They’re fighting all the time.” It’s very interesting, right. Because you never know how anybody is going to take what’s happening in the actual situation but I think that’s really great what you said. We have to be willing to go past that and get to the other side and then it gets deeper and more meaningful because we actually know now that this really means a lot to me or I never realized how important it was to be awake when I’m with my friends, right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Sometimes you just want a lazy and you just want to be, “I just want to be,” – without having to think or without having to be on my toes.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Lazy.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah, and they’re definitely, “that’s easier when you have people close to you.” But I think it’s often you said it’s a group where there’s different trust levels in the group and that just that requires us to be awake because one on one, we kind of we might know okay there’s a high trust level I can just be lazy but in groups it’s just a different ball game as well.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah. And that reminds me that one time I was so exhausted. So tired. I think I was pregnant and I was on the couch and I couldn’t move and everything was blah and my husband was trying to get me to do something and I just wouldn’t. I’m like, “I’m not feeling that not feeling good,” And then suddenly there was a phone call and it was a friend I jumped out of the couch and I go get the phone and I’m on my,– “Oh, yeah.” and he’s, “seriously?” It’s just very interesting how sometimes we have different reactions to different people–

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah –

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

–depending on the level of trust.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. Definitely. That’s very important when there’s less trust, we are more shiny, aren’t we?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

And more perfect.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

When there’s less trust we’re more perfect you’re saying.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Exactly. Yeah. Exactly and then the people close to us and I think that’s one of the things where we also have to protect each other. I see that having a company with my husband serving in church, being parents, being partners is that we have to have an awareness of how we deal with conflict and we don’t always get the worst of each other but that we are mindful of being respectful and no fighting the right way or discussing the right way about the differences rather than yeah then blaming or being angry or one of the things we do is if I have an off day, which I’m a very feeling person so there are just days where I’ll just be a little bit more tense. Let me put it that way. Then I will actually say to him even though it feels a bit shameful because it feels stupid that I can just tense that day but just saying, “Okay. Just be mindful that today my, I’m not on top of the world.” Because then he knows how to navigate rather than us hitting each other and then the easy part for me when I have a bad day is to start the blame game. So, “It’s your fault.” I feel bad and sometimes I’ll go, “I’m so sad right now and I can find a million reasons why it’s your fault.” But I know it’s not. But it would be really nice if it was but I know it’s not.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And isn’t it wonderful to be able to be honest like that because it takes so much vulnerability to say that to someone, right. Because –

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah­–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

You want to blame them so you don’t want them to know what’s not their fault. You want them to feel it’s their flow but it’s not and for you to say that it’s very powerful. Very very powerful. And that goes to communication. Communicating with your husband on how your day is going is really important [Music]. I heard of a lady who put a sign on her shirt that had the bomb with a little thing that was like a spark. So, it was just a picture, she drew a picture of a bomb and she just had her on her shirt because she had some event happening that night and she was running around like [a] crazy lady and this guy came with the delivery stuff and he delivered the things and saw the sign and he was like, “Where would you me to put these down?” And he really reacted in a way that showed he understands. “It’s not personal. I just want to help you. Where should I put this down to make it as easy as possible for you to get on with your day.” And she didn’t have to say anything. She didn’t have to explain or apologize or whatever. She just had the sign–

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

And it sometimes really helpful to use these things to make it easier for other people to know where you’re at.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. But you say it requires vulnerability and it requires that I dare take the shame away of because we live in a world where feelings are not valid and we’re supposed to be logical but we’re not as logic as we agreed we are at all. But, so actually being okay with letting I can’t control my feelings right now or I mean my feelings is at least for me, I know that’s been a journey of validating that is okay. I’m not immature because I can’t control my feelings. I’m not weak because I can’t control my feelings. I think that’s two of the core things that I hid myself in the head with when I went up there. I’m trying to remove that.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, the wisdom. Yes. Wow. Okay. So, let’s get into, I have a couple of directions I want to go to. First, is how do friendships and marriage, marriages help each other thrive so before we got live, I said, I heard a friend of mine and I remember this when we were all very young and all getting married. A lot of my friends who got married stopped hanging out with their friends because now they had a husband. Now they spent more time with him. Now they were consumed by their newfound love of their life and the friends felt very left out. Some friends were like, “Well, I don’t have any friends anymore because all my friends are married and I’m not.” And there’s a feeling of either or so I wanna, I want you to talk about the importance of having both because your marriage can’t be all the things and your friendships can’t be all the things and I actually told my kids, I have different friends for different things and I think that’s a really important understanding that you don’t have one best friend that you go to for everything. Sometimes you need somebody who’s a little bit farther who you know is wise. Who you can vent to and then won’t bring it back up again two years from now to remind you what happened. You need that space sometimes or somebody who’s just a useful friend who’s like, “I need eggs right now.” And who’s gonna save my life with this test. I have to study sometimes it’s just really important to be okay with having lots of different things. So, I want to hear your take on that.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. I think there are two things I’m thinking. One is we need, we’re created for connection. I believe that G-d created us to be connected not only with one person and that’s never described [in] any way in literature or anything that it was enough to just have that one person. And also, statistics show that marriages are just stronger when you have more people because there’s actually, there’s some when you study loneliness, of course, there can be loneliness if you lack that one person but there is actually the level of loneliness where you require close friends. And then there’s a level of loneliness of being part of a larger group. So, we have all these needs documented when you dig into what loneliness is and you actually, yeah, unfold this box of loneliness. Another thing–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I think the first one before everything else is the loneliness without G-d. There’s, where you forget to bring him into the situation and then you think or you feel you’re alone with all this on your head, on your shoulders, carrying the world and you have to be in control and you’re not able to. So, you feel really really stuck and alone so–

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

–that’s the core, in my opinion.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

I think that’s even on my wedding ring I have three diamonds because it’s G-d and Simon and me because we’re in this together and we can’t do this alone. Now we resonate with that there’s nothing good–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I thought it was the only one with a story around my ring.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

So, I design it myself. It’s also a triangle with two lives that revolves around this triangle because, yeah because it’s around G-d.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

That’s beautiful. I love it.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

That’s funny. But what I also love that you point out is that we tend in the western world especially to go well. I have a lot of acquaintances and then I have cameras and I have friends and then I have close friends and we kind of have this triangle like this and then when we value these relationships, we put the triangle on the other way around. We say, “Well, I don’t need acquaintances because they’re kind of I can just get new ones it doesn’t matter but I really need these close so we put so much pressure on our close relationships. Whereas, I believe that we need all of them we created to actually not have a triangle but have it equal. They are all valid. They all serve a purpose in our lives and we can’t dismiss just because we have a husband and we have kids. We still need close friends. We also still need friends we hang out with that can help us bring eggs when we need that. We need acquaintances that are simple and we also need new people in our lives to give us new inspiration so we don’t get stuck. It’s very common in Denmark that people have the same friends that they’ve had since before they turned twenty and they just kind of stuck with those friends and never experienced anything else or other ways to live their lives. So, I think it’s just so important to realize that if we want healthy relationships, we actually need to value all of them. All the different levels that you describe. That was a really beautiful example of that.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

 Yeah–

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

And just also, I’m sorry. I don’t know if I’m talking from experience and I’m talking for research that my husband can’t meet all my needs and if I have that, if I think that, he’s always going to disappoint me, isn’t he?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, yeah.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

And I love him to bits and pieces. He is my best friend. There’s no doubt about that because friendships and marriage for me is always a really important thing but it’s, –he can’t listen to everything and sometimes I also need someone else’s perspective on what’s going on. We even have it as we’re preventing ourselves from getting divorced by having people who get to see our lives. We get to speak into our lives to get to see how we’re parents, how we’re partners because they just see things we don’t and I need more perspectives than my own because I’m just not that clever.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

You know what? You said something so smart. My husband is more, he’s an extrovert-introvert. So, he does his refueling as an introvert and then he goes out and speaks and leads and whatever and then goes back and say, “I’m an extrovert so I get all of my fueling as an extrovert.”  I’ve only recently started being okay with just being on my own alone, reading a book, –that wasn’t my thing. Now, I’m getting into it. In the last ten years now. If I were to need my husband for all of my needs, he would explode. I don’t know if he’d be even able to contain half an hour of me being in that state of like, “Oh, let’s go do something, let’s get deep into the thing.” And it’s like, “Okay, you go find a friend. Come back [once] you’ve put it all together.” And you have actual points to talk about because I need to talk through my problems and he’s a guy and he needs to just tell me what needs to happen. Let’s deal with it. Let’s fix the problem. Let’s figure it out. It’s very helpful for me to have friends, right. Below that, I know I’m very aware so I make sure to always surround myself with new people like you said I think that’s really important. People bring in a whole new wave of consciousness into what you already know because there’s the fresh perspectives–

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

You’ve never heard of and suddenly I think of, “Wait. That’s not what I’ve been doing all my life.” So, that’s really, that’s fascinating.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

It is. I love that it’s getting, having someone who lives their life so differently from you is so beneficial because it really opens your eyes even to things that you didn’t even think was a habit or didn’t even realize was all only given in your culture. It could actually be done differently. I love that and it keeps us curious and I think curiosity and friendships is so important because no matter if you’ve known each other for two minutes or twenty years, we still develop and and this second, we start assuming instead of asking that’s when we lose each other. That’s when we get caught up in our own heads and minds. Sometimes I say when we assume with the level of fantasy that we are able to create a whole world of what has been going on we might as well write the next Star Wars movie or something.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Because it’s just so elaborate what we can assume instead of just asking and being curious and I think you say meeting new people remind us to be curious in all our relationships.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, and I think it’s also really beautiful that you can go back to the relationships you already have and start being more proactive in those two, right. We said, just notice, pick yourself up and be, “Oh, I’m actually going to be conscious about this. I’m going to be interested in why this is happening or what he’s saying or what’s underneath in the emotions.” How do you feel about that? And what’s going on behind the scenes just being more interested can blow almost, blow life into a relationship that is going stale or feels a little bit weak.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. And I think it goes for marriages as well because I think it often. It is because we don’t get to that deep level that it can be hard being in a marriage sometimes as well but of course both people have to want to go to that level and actually form language around it because I think sometimes, I’m a feeler and my husband is a doer so both of us when we’re in a conflict if something’s going, on words are not the first things that come to mind. I feel and he does and we actually both have to commit ourselves to spend time to translate that so we can talk about what’s going on. And we sometimes think that people don’t talk about things just because they don’t want to but honestly, it’s just because you have it takes time, effort, and focus to translate and include be able to worth it and even having a vocabulary around our feelings or our core motivations, our core fears because putting them out there can be so scary but we might not even know it might be subconscious when there’s a fear writing us right now. I know that I have to on a regular basis dig down into my fears going, “Okay, I feel something’s writing me. What’s going on?” Instead of just letting it be and trying to numb it out. It’s so easy to do in our society.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, yes. Numb it out. We can go on a whole tangent on that but I want to address something that you say. You said you need both couples or has both husband and wife to be willing to sit down and communicate and actually that that would be ideal, right. We would, we want everyone to be open to sit down and talk about everything but as a marriage coach, I take the approach that you can single-handedly change your marriage and that goes to change your friendships, change your relationships, change everything in your life because when really what you were saying is, I need to be able to take my emotions, my doings my numbings, and translate them into what’s actually going on. If I can do that for myself, “Poof!”

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I have opened the door so I don’t need my husband to do it for me to have that transformation and then when my husband sees that I’m doing it and I’m modeling it, it’s much easier to then have the conversation and say, “This is what I’m doing. I’m not expecting you to do it too. I’m just modeling, just telling you what’s going on in my life.” When there’s no pressure on the other person to have to do it too or then they are able to then be free to try it out. See if it feels good. See how it works for them maybe it’s working, maybe it’s not but no pressure. I don’t need you to do your processing in order for me to do mine and usually from my experience because you’re talking about your experience, my experience shows that you can single-handedly completely break through a stale marriage or something that feels it’s not going anywhere by connecting to yourself and getting to know those skills and language and really changing the way that you live your life. You’re changing the dance. There’s no way that the marriage could ever stay the way it was when you yourself have changed. So, it’s gonna change somehow. Let’s see where it goes from here.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

I absolutely resonate with the fact that you can create change by changing. Definitely. I think when I say that it’s more you say in the ideal world and that is the easy process but the journey to get to there, it’s definitely, – Simon and I have been on that journey because I’m the one that’s very aware of my emotional life. Very aware of I remember the beginning of our marriage he would–when I would address a subject he would be, “Well, is that a big deal? Or, do we even need to talk about it?” And then just slowly how we’ve been working through and finding each other and developing so that we are there both of us, – so, I don’t think like you said, I don’t think you have to start out that way. I don’t even think you have to start up that way in your friendships.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

But of course, it’s hard work when you do it on your own. So, what? –

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

–My advice to that is [to] get community. Surround yourself with people who [are] also on that path of doing it alone because suddenly you’re not alone anymore, right. That’s the power of those friendships. It’s when–

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

That’s why you really need those friendships to share it with, isn’t it?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes, and it’s actually really beautiful. Yesterday, we, I have my mastermind every week and it’s a group of women who are all working on breaking through their marriage and I have another one for marriage and business but the community aspect of just being okay with everyone is on this boat together. I’m not on my own trying to fight the world and trying to change things that feel they’re unchangeable. There is a bunch of us and we’re all supporting each other and it’s all okay. It’s so powerful.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

It is. And that’s where friendships come into play, isn’t it?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Yeah. And that I think that when you were saying about the different levels of friendships, acquaintances, and community, and whatever they’re, they don’t have to be your best friends and actually really, it’s nice that no one knew each other before the group because this way you can just present whatever you want. You don’t have to say what you don’t want. You’re very safe, very contained, and at the end of it, you go to your own life and do your own thing and then come back with what you’ve learned. So, the interaction is very interesting and very good from watching it. It’s just it’s a beautiful way to have the importance of all the levels that you were talking about. You don’t have to be super-duper close in every way in order to create relationships and friendships.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Or really meet each other in a deep and meaningful and vulnerable way.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND
You don’t have to only have that in the close friendships now.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah. I love that. If you were, let’s say to go to a get-together and you wanted to get deep. You didn’t want to stay in the superficial level talk. Do you have any ideas for people how what to ask or how to listen differently that could actually make for good conversation even just to entertain yourself so you don’t have to feel you’re stuck there talking about the letter?

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

We do that all the time. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Let’s change the subject. Well, just even shine. Don’t talk about what you do but what I do often when I meet new people, “Oh, amazing to meet you. So what’s your, what are you passionate about? What are you passionate about? What’s important in your life at the moment? What’s taking up your headspace? What are you focusing on in this season?” Starting with questions that already get you ahead of the game rather than starting with, “Hellos. Are you nameless? So, what do you do?” So, getting into the air is it’s just asking those really practical questions and then once they share or compassionate about this, –okay, how then remember the levels again like okay, you’re passionate about. How does that connect to who you are and how you want to live your life and then another little pro tip I often use is I frame what I say in the sense that I share my motivation first off because trust is trusting someone’s motivation. So, when I openly share my motivation, I’m creating trust but also to go, “I’m asking this because I become really curious when you say this, or I’m really just I’m longing to hear more because it’s exciting to me that you’re passionate about this.” And when I express my positive intentions with my questions, I don’t become nosy because I think that’s one of the other things that we’ve taught. It’s curiosity that’s nosy. It’s tap press. It’s digging for the dirt and actually framing, –no, I’m not digging for dirt. I’m actually just interested in you and what I see is that most people they that someone’s interested in them.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Definitely a positive, –so asking questions about passion, about what’s important–getting there is a great way to just start the conversations on a whole different ballgame.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love that. And there was a season in my life that I heard a question that Claire Pells on The Get Paid Podcast so she had a guest and she asked them something, how much money do you make in your business, whatever. That’s her get-paid podcasts all about. How [do] people get paid. So, the lady said she made seventeen million dollars this year.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Okay.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Claire was out of curiosity, “how did your life change when you realized that’s how much money was coming in?” And she’s, “actually not really much. We still to cook so, I didn’t get a cook but we did get cleaning help.” And the question was so powerful. How does your life change when you suddenly have seventeen million dollars? So, that season of my life, I think in every family event and every friendship, [the] thing every time I was sitting at the park that was all I was asking people was, “if you had seventeen million dollars, what would you change in your life?”

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

“What would you do? What would you, what would excite you? What would you suddenly be, “I’m finally able to do this.” And then you realize everything people said was not anywhere near seventeen million dollars’ worth. I was, “I would start dancing. I would start learning art. I would start decorating my house.” Okay, how much is that gonna really cost, right. Or I would start writing my book. Okay, so start.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. Just do it.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

I love how your geek on specific questions. I do that as well. I, you can even if you want, if it’s scary to start your conversations or you want to do different, start writing down and evaluate it. I do this. I evaluate. How does this question work? Well, that was a bit too deep. I didn’t get any interesting answers from that so what else could I do than to actually– because we have conversations all the time. But like you said we’re not focused. We’re not present in our conversations. So, we end up even having these– I call it habit conversations around whatever is on the top of our heads or we just stick to the cultural norm of what we talk about instead of actually getting to know each other and connecting in a conversation. Conversations can be so powerful.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love how you said that so powerful and so boring because everything in life can be that way. You can wake up in the morning and be, “Ugh, I can’t. Another day.” Or you wake up in the morning and jump out of bed and be, “Woohoo! Another day!” And really depends on you. Not on anything else.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. And how much you can actually even say that now, sorry. I just didn’t– in conversations, you said that you can change your marriage well even in conversations. Well, you can be a game-changer in the conversation. You can take charge by the questions you ask and the way you listen and you can totally change the atmosphere of a room just by asking the right questions.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. Oh, I also wanted to add another thing that was very helpful for me and also for my kids. Sometimes thinking ahead of what you’re going to focus on. So for example, when we go to my grandparents, they’re going to talk to the kids, “Hi! How are you? What is up in your life? What’s going on? Right. They’re ninety or whatever eighty-something and they see a kid. What are you gonna talk to a kid about, right. Or a teenager about. So, they ask the regular things. “So, what grade are you in and what do you do and who are your friends.” And I tell my kids, if you come prepared with a story or with a situation or with something that you want to know about them, the conversation is going to get really interesting. But if you have not completely unprepared and you’re going to visit the grandparents and you’re, “Yeah, I’m in third grade. Yeah, I have some friends. Yeah, I don’t really like enough, but whatever. It’s gonna get very boring very quickly but if you come and say you know, “I had this issue with a friend of mine. She stole my pencil and I didn’t know what to do. What do you think I should do?” Oh, now you’re giving the grandparent an opportunity to be the wise old person to tell you to do from their experience and maybe do you have a friend that who is half here, half there, nice sometimes and not nice sometimes. What do you do about it so it creates a real connection when you come prepared and sometimes if you can just stop and think ahead what is something I’m willing to share that isn’t, I don’t know the deepest darkest secret of whatever but something that’s just really may add to the conversation, may pull some really interesting wisdom of the other person that’s really being proactive right there.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. I love that and even just preparing for the questions what do you do and how are you doing if we just prepare different answers with just those two questions.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, my goodness.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

And I’ll also say in friendship, you’re being aware that preparing for what do I want to share next. What trust level are we on. What do I feel a little uncomfortable sharing maybe but that’s what I’m stepping into to build the trust in our friendship is also great preparation. We talk a lot about preparing for French friend dates in our program just because you say preparation can make all the difference. We say in Danish that well-prepared is half-finished. I don’t know if it goes in English but I think it goes in the situation at least.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
It’s good. I like it. Oh, there’s a great saying, “failed to prepare and you prepared to fail.”

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Boom.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Oh, so powerful. Really and that’s exactly is. Now let’s talk about preparing when you don’t want to talk about something. When something is going on in your life and you’re like, “If somebody brings, that up I’m going to shoot them. I do not want to talk about this. I do not want people to get into my business. I do not want them to ask me again for the fiftieth time. The same question about the same thing.” Usually, this happens after something traumatic or something happened that everybody knows about. If there’s, G-d forbids, if something is in the news, even in the local news about something that happened you now have to deal with all the people who are concerned and want to know and are ready to help but you don’t want to talk about it. How do you deal with that?

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

I will sit down and think so what do I need and then become very clear about expressing that and acknowledging when someone asks, “Oh, I hear your concern, and thank you for that.” And be generous in that assumption because they might be nosy. I don’t know but be generous be, “I hear your concern and I’m so glad that you are interested. What I really need right now is–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah. Oh, that’s so perfect.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

And just being so clear in what you need because I think that’s another thing, we’re not very clear. Marriages or friendships. Whatever we talk about. It’s the clarity of expressing my need and I think I actually talked–I was with some girls in a car and we talked about this thing because one of them has been sick with being down with she’s been sick for six months of stress and I could just tell she just changed the subject. I was, “you probably don’t need to talk about this, huh.” And I really like how we talked about you sometimes, you feel you’re obligated to share with your friends but sometimes it’s really just not what you need.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

And sharing out of obligation is not building the relationship. You’re actually both losing because you’re having to talk about this again and again and I had this conversation with a friend as well who was pregnant. I was like, “Do you want me to ask you questions about your pregnancy or do you need to not do this.” Or even when I started dating Simon. I was like, “Everybody, shut up. Be quiet.” You need to not ask me questions because I need to figure this out on my own and I will share with you if I need to.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

So, okay with having needs and expressing those of course being aware that other people hopefully do it out of really good intentions but otherwise sometimes it’s also because it’s the easy thing to talk about, isn’t it?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right. Yeah, that’s so great.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. Even being able to what do I then want to talk about. How do you, how do you then take the situation on from there? Take charge.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. Don’t be a victim of the conversation.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

No.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love it. So powerful. Oh, so powerful. Yes, and this is advice I give to women who just have a baby and they’re like, “Everybody wants to just come and see my baby and they don’t really care that I’m all tired and whatever.” I’m like, “tell them what you need if you’re gonna come over. make sure you bring really yummy cookies and you take out the garbage on your way out or make sure you bring me a meal because I’m really hungry or whatever it is.” Be really clear about what they need to do in order to come through that door because if you’re not clear you’re just gonna be resentful but if you, if they’re feeling a need for you then you’re going to have a feeling of win-win. They got to see the baby, they got to spend time with you and you got the thing you needed. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t that what it’s all about? Having that win-win relationship? So, be willing to know what you want which is something we’re not very in touch with which is why in my calm method the C, is connect to yourself because if you don’t know what you want then you’re not going to be able to do anything.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

No. I think it’s also because we’re afraid of rejecting people so even saying that this is not a rejection that I don’t want to share this with you or it’s not a rejection that I don’t want to invite you over to see my baby. It’s just that I have a need now that I have to take care of and addressing that fear of other people feeling rejected and that can also be very powerful and help us to be okay with expressing our needs because we are also sharing that I’m not rejecting you.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yeah. That’s what you were talking about before. Framing the situation, the conversation. Framing it in a way that it’s this is not because I’m not nosy. It’s the same as not because I’m rejecting you. This is because I want, I have a fascination and I need this right now. This is the season I’m in. So powerful. The framing.

 HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Love it. I love it and–

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

It helps a lot of situations.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

What?

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

It really helps a lot of situations. When we frame things, it’s such a powerful tool in so many ways.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. Oh, I love it. Okay, in the couple of minutes that we have left, tell us how you and Simon are able to keep business and marriage a little bit balanced so that they don’t sort of flow into each other and become this gray mush and how do you deal with that.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

First off, we’re still practicing, to be honest.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

We’re all on the same boat.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. It’s definitely. Also, because it’s something so personal we’re working with and we’re so passionate about it. What we are trying to do is to have set times we work because that gives us, –now we’re off. So, we don’t talk about this. So, that is one thing we try to do. Another is trying to and I have quality time as my love language. So, we’re both we’ve talked a lot about our different love languages and how we have to prioritize that and so we try to grab hold of each other’s or our own love language and go, “Okay, I’m empty. Hey, I need this.” I know it’s not because you don’t love me but this is just low on me right now. I need it. So, going for a walk or just hanging out with each other. So, we try to be very aware that who we are becoming is more important than what we’re building.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love that.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

–as parents, who were becoming as partners, who were becoming as friends to other people around us in our community is more important than the tasks we’re doing. So, we actually evaluate a little as well to be like, “Are we becoming the parents we want to be? Are we becoming the partners we want to be? And how do we then adjust?” That is also something that we practically do to make sure that we balance things out and then sometimes we look at each other and go, “Now we can’t talk about work. Now we can’t talk about this baby that we’re so passionate about because we just have to have fun and have to do other things together.”

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

And we’re lucky we have an eight-year-old who’s pretty good at expressing his needs as well so he was actually one going you work in the afternoon and I’m sick of it. Would you stop? I miss my parents and that’s amazing that he can actually share that and express his feelings and his need I love that.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. Oh, my gosh. Do you want to hear the funniest thing when Covid hit and the kids stayed home because there was no school? I was still working and so, they can play and you’ll work all the time and I was like, “No. I don’t. I work during the morning when you guys are not supposed to be here and then at night when you [are] supposed to be asleep. But you guys messed it up, not me.” And so, it was so funny seeing that they finally, for the first time, saw what I do when they’re not here. And it made for a very interesting conversation about what actually happens in real life when you’re doing the thing you’re doing.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Because for kids, I think the most natural thing is, “And nothing happens until I come home, right.” There’s a pause. Just the teachers. They’re all dead during the summer. They come back to life in September. it’s so funny we have these things the dentist–he only lives in his little office and never comes out.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

So, that made for a very interesting conversation which also you said, it puts you in your place because you realize, “Oh, I actually have to keep to this now, right.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Yeah. Exactly.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love that. Okay, you’re amazing. I got so happy meeting you the first time and now I get to meet you again and it’s so fun to make a new friend. Tell everyone how they can follow you and find you and make friends with you and give you all their money.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Why just learn more about friendships? I would suggest if you, we say that because friendships are so core in our life, we think everyone should be geeking on friendships so if you don’t, you’re missing out. We actually started a Facebook group called the Authentic Friendship Network, so if you search on that on Facebook, it’s a free Facebook group where we have weekly trainings and we go live and we talk about all things friendships and you can connect with us and you can ask us questions and also if you search for Simon and Helene and you can see how my name is spelled down here Simon is a little easier but Simon and Helene and we we’re both on Instagram and Facebook, but I think those would be great ways of connecting and of course, there’s always when you join the Facebook group. You can book a call if you want to have a connection call around. “Okay, I’m stuck with this and friendships or this is hard, I don’t know how to share myself. I don’t know how to build trust. I’m constantly struggling with finding the right friends,” then bring it around because it’s so important for us to talk about this so that we can show up and be ourselves because honestly, we believe that everybody’s created for this connection and it’s when we have these friendships that we dare step back and be all that G-d has created us to be right, so, yeah. So that’s the ways you can do it but the most direct way is in the Facebook group the Authentic Friendship Network.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

I love it. I’m going to go be friends right now in that group. That’s amazing. I love what you said about the community because in my religion and in the Jewish way of looking at things we are in the time of redemption and in the time of redemption women are going to be leading and they’re not going to be leading as one woman is going to be the leader, the way we think of a leader. We’re actually going to be a network of women and we’re all going to be changing the reality together and it’s a mirror to what happened in Egypt when women were the force of what brought on the redemption. It’s almost, it’s going to happen again and I see that happening now with all these beautiful amazing powerful women who are stepping into that leadership position who are getting out of their comfort zone and willing to be live to say, “I am human and I made a mistake” or “I’m  not perfect and I’m doing this anyway.” Because even in those little moments, in those little private things that we’re going through, the fact that we have each other is so powerful and I love that this is your focus because it’s such an important focus.

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

It is. And it’s not hard. No one’s teaching us how to do it. So, we all have to find our own way and that’s what we’re trying to change.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. And now you’re teaching us how to do it so, everybody let’s go join that group now you’re going to suddenly have people joining the group be like, “Thank you.”

HELENE WREDE BROLUND

Looking forward to seeing you all and connecting with you all.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN

Yes. I love it. Okay, thank you so much all for being with us this was amazing, fascinating, wonderful. Make sure you come back next time and thank you for being connected for real.

And that’s it! Thank you for listening to the very end. I would love if you can leave a review and subscribe to the podcast. Those are things that tell the algorithm, this is a good podcast and make sure to suggest it to others. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more people became more connected for real? And now, take a moment and think of someone who might benefit from this episode. Can you share it with them? I am Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman from connectedforreal.com. Thank you so much for listening, and don’t forget, you can be connected for real.

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