The Way You Show Up for Your Spouse with Ryan Cote

Ryan Cote owner of the Morning Upgrade joins us to talk about how personal development can help you show up for your spouse the way you want to. Do you want to be a patient husband or wife? How about someone that listens and actively engages with your spouse? What are the virtues you want to embody? Now, ask yourself, “Am I showing up that way for my spouse?”

In this episode, Ryan gives practical tips on how you can implement changes in your daily life that will help you become a better husband or wife and show up as the person you want to be. Instead of trying to change your spouse, you should focus on making changes in yourself.

In addition to running the Morning Upgrade, Ryan is also a partner at Ballantine Digital Marketing Agency and Ballantine Home Improvement. As a busy entrepreneur, husband, and father of three girls, he’s committed to putting habits in place that will help him be the man he wants to be. Listen in to this episode to find out more about how personal development can help your marriage.


Hey, welcome to the love hope adventure podcast where we talked about the marriage relationship intimacy in marriage and how you can go deeper with your spouse. Oh my goodness, what a great start. So we’re really excited. We have Ryan cote on the podcast with us today. Ryan is the owner of the morning upgrade. He also has the morning a free podcast is a book card, Ryan, tell us a little bit about yourself and all the different things you have going on?

Sure, I’ll start off on a personal note, married for 16 years to my wife, Jill 16, wonderful years. And three kids, three daughters, soon to be 12, soon to be 10. And then seven, all girls, and obviously keeps us busy. They’re involved in a tremendous amount of activities tremendous. There’s Yeah, between softball and soccer and dance and cheer and it goes on. But it makes things exciting. So on the business front, I run morning upgrade, it’s a podcast, book, a blog, my mission is to raise the awareness of personal development and morning routines. And I only talk I’ll be talking about entrepreneurship as well. I also have a marketing agency with my family. And we have a roofing company as well. That’s a recent addition. As we got licensed in February, I think it was. And now we’re actively doing roofing and siding and gutters and soon to be Windows. And so that’s a new little adventure for the Ballantine company, Valentine corporation. So that’s it. That’s me in 30 seconds.

That’s it. There’s nothing else going on in your busy life.

There’s more we can talk about but I think that sums it up. Well,

that’s the highlight. That’s enough to overwhelm pretty much everyone listening to this podcast right now.

That’s why I’m reading a book right now called Peace is every step is this a video this video be shown so your nieces every step book about mindfulness and just trying to enjoy the simple things in life. It’s actually a very, very good book, I’m surprisingly good.

That’s awesome. We can link up to it in the show notes for anybody that is interested in that. So we wanted to bring you on and talk with you about, you know, personal development, how that plays a role in relationships, you know because I get a lot of questions that come in through the blog. And really the core question people are trying to get answered is how do I get my spouse to fill in the blank, whatever the blank is, I want them to do you know more things around the house, I want them to be more sexually engaged, I want them to lose weight, I don’t know. And it’s a lot. And I’m sure a lot of it comes from a good place of intentions like maybe they’re like genuinely concerned about their spouse with whatever is happening. Maybe they just want a better closer, deeper relationship. But they want me to tell them how they can go to their spouse and get this thing fixed. And the truth is, is that I don’t think that they can do anything to fix or change their spouse, I think you have to focus on yourself. And there’s been something I’ve read a lot, and it is really coming up. And a lot of the marriage blog circles I run in is this whole concept of the way you show up in your marriage and the way you, you know, show up for your spouse. And like, this is a concept I’ve actually had a little trouble with. But I think you could probably explain that and describe that to us, like what does it mean to show up a certain way or whatever?

Yeah, well, I think you’re right about what you said that you can control your spouse because my wife is not into personal development at all. I mean, I guess into fitness, but she doesn’t read the books that I read definitely does not consume, the podcasts that I consume, don’t have a morning routine, all of that. And so, but that’s fine. I mean, I can’t control her. She has her life. She does how she wants, but I can control myself, and what I do, and how I show up to the marriage to my kids to my friends and all that no two things are ever perfect, but at least I’m making an effort to improve myself and show up the best I can. And it’s going to be a lifelong journey for sure. But that’s you know, that’s the whole purpose of morning upgrade for myself and for people that read and listen to the to the podcasts and read the blogs and read the book. So to me showing up, it’s just how you the energy you bring your Well, I think it’s the energy that you bring to situations it’s also your intentions, you know, so if I’m going to like for work for your team, like how you lead them, how you show up your energy, your mood. And so I think it’s just how you carry yourself and the energy and the intentions that you have.

Is there anything that has to do with behavior With this, see, I am struggling with the definition of showing up. Because when I tell somebody I’m going to show up for them, I mean, I’m going to get on a plane and fly to their front door, like I’m going to show up. This is so different because I keep seeing a lot of people say, I want to do things so that I can show up in my marriage, the way I want to

show be the best version, I think, is being the best version of yourself. So I think people, react to that they react to your energy, for example, like, if you smile at someone, you know, assuming it’s not like a creepy smile, they’re gonna smile back at you. If you’re angry at someone, they’re probably gonna be angry back at you. And so it’s sort of like this, people feed off the energy. And so when I think of showing up, I think, Alright, can I be the best version of myself right now? For the people that are around me? And, yeah, it sounds like it’s not easy, though. Sometimes you’re in a bad mood, and you have to go to a meeting or what have you. And, you know, it just, you know, you know, the term killer, like flip the switch, and then you have to flip the switch to become to forget about it, forget about all that and just be present at the moment and show up as the best version of yourself.

So if we are going to do that, you know, figure out what is that best version of ourselves? I think this is actually very hard to do, by the way, because I’ve been trying to figure that out for myself, I have no idea. I’m still struggling like we’re multiple months into a personal development course. And I don’t exactly think I got this nailed down yet. But if I did, you know, have some indication, how does personal development help you commit to that and actually show up as that best person?

Before I answer that, I want to ask Austin, if he believes that you have nailed it. Yet no showing what showing up best, the best version of herself from the course she’s taking in marriage, and like, what do we help me out here? What are we talking about? I haven’t been in the course. So I’m not sure what exactly we’re talking about. So because it’s a well, you did it? Congratulations. I would say that what I’ve noticed from the course is that Keelie is doing a lot more introspection and self-reflection, which is admittedly terrible at and doesn’t do terrible. And so we have had a lot of very interesting conversations as a couple lately, where she’s talking to me about the things that are being covered. And to me, I’m like, I think it’s hilarious that somebody had to tell her, go sit down and think about this aspect of yourself. Because I’m so I internalize things so much and overanalyze things so much that I’m constantly thinking about, how did I handle this situation? And how did I do with this? And do the kids? Oh, all the time. This way, and, you know, you know, well, it’s part of the whole, like, you not having a filter thing, you know, so, so I don’t know that the course has, I think Keelie has always been present in our, in our marriage and with our kids. So I don’t know that that has been a great improvement from the course. I think it’s been more you show up for yourself. And looking in seeing, you know, like figuring out who I am. Yeah, yeah, a little bit. Yeah. So it’s funny,

I resonate with what you said about like, second-guessing what you say sometimes I have a situation recently, like yesterday, or two days ago, I was at my daughter’s softball game, not game practice. And there were a bunch of dads there. And I knew most of them. There was one day that I kind of knew, but not really knew who he was. And the practice was wrapping up. And we’re all saying goodbye. And I said to him, Dan, I’m Ryan, by the way. And they say, by the way, I’m Ryan or something like that. And then I was like, Why did they add-in by the way because it makes me sound like I’m saying, Hey, jerk, by the way, I’m Ryan, you know to sound like it he actually just said, so I feel like even though I’m on this journey,

it’s never even thought that one bit like I wouldn’t even like I don’t even remember what I say to people half the time.

So one time in the sixth grade. I tried to do something funny. Oh, you remember the sixth grade and ended up falling over instead? And I think about it once a month

you’re not doing it at 43 Because a month ago I played in our town softball league and softball charity events and my first at-bat in front of hundreds of people mind you. In my first at-bat I hit it. It was a pathetic hit. It was like a pop-up to first base. So that was like strike number one. Strike number two was I fell running to first base. So just terrific start, you know. It’s good. I’ll be reliving that one too.

I feel like I’ve derailed Let us we were talking about, show me the question.

Yeah. Yeah. Wait, yeah. How does personal development help us show up? Yes, that was a question. Does it help us show up? I mean, you know, like, if you’re somebody who has the ability to figure out what the best version of yourself is, or I hope you get to like doing some introspection because I think maybe it’s a personality thing. I literally don’t think about my actions, everything. How does personal development help with that?

I think you’re right, in that, knowing what the best version of yourself is, is, it’s very difficult because it’s sort of like this wishy-washy sort of metrics, like how do you really know what the best version of yourself is? Because really, when you get to that, what you think is the best version, there’s really probably another best version level. And so to me, it’s more about the journey. Well, it’s, it’s how I feel about myself, and I look at my life, and am I happy with how things are going across like finances, and friends, and family and fitness, and just how I feel about myself. So I think there are some things you could look at, you know, if things are like falling apart in certain areas, and you know, like, you’re probably not at your best version. But it’s still not like a hard concrete number or whatever. But That, for me, is personal development. So it’s about the journey. And the personal development part is the journey. So it’s my morning routine, it’s the books that I consume, it’s the running morning upgrade, and try and do better and better with that. It’s my, like, my fitness, and what I do for that. And so it’s really just the way I, the way I approach like, the 1% better, or becoming like, the best version of yourself, is, I just tried to every day have made an intentional effort with those areas, like do my morning routine. Do my fitness stuff, like move every day, you know, and just I can go on and on. But, and I, it for me, it’s a belief, like I believe that I do those things. And it’s going to aid me to get to my best version. And so that’s, you know, it’s a belief for me. That makes sense. I feel like that doesn’t make sense, based on the looks on your faces, what is he talking about right now?

No, I think it makes sense. It’s like, trying to like you said, feel good about your situation. And that is something I want to address because obviously, we have a lot of couples that are in strained relationships with their spouse. And I think that it is a combination of things that ends up getting them in that place. And some of it is that they are not showing up as the best version of themselves, they are expecting that their spouse is responding to a lot of the things they’re doing. And they maybe are completely oblivious to it like I would be in that category. I’m not gonna lie. I am way better at reading people’s emotions. And like I can tell when somebody’s reacting to something I said, so it makes me go, oh, I shouldn’t say that. Again. While I don’t understand why it does do that. But some people are very clueless. And they are responding like their spouse is just responding to them. And they don’t understand how their actions are causing problems in the relationship. And then there’s probably a lot of other things happening. So I think one thing I’ve been learning with personal development is becoming resilient to the issues because you literally cannot keep problems from happening. Yes, it’s true. You know, and I would like if you to talk a little bit about how personal development builds resilience in you so that when your marriage is falling apart, or the world is crashing down around you like how do you handle that, but still somehow show up as the best version of yourself or at least try?

Yeah, you keep on bringing up my head, the fact that you right, like when they’re not that I’m like expert in marriage. I’ve been married for 16 years. And we had a couple of years where it was looking a little dicey, you know, looking a little dicey. But we made it and so he does. Yeah, yeah. It’s marriage counseling and just worked through it. I think it’s really I think if I keep on coming back to what you’re saying about showing up as the best version of yourself, because you can’t control your spouse, swimming, you’re still in love with them. You got to put in the effort and, and show up as the best version of yourself for them. And try to have fun with them and just make an intentional effort to because I have people in my life where the match, right? I know the marriage is marriage isn’t going well. And they’re not really doing anything about it. They’re kind of just ignoring it. And then how is that going to get better? It’s not, but I fully believe if one of them was like what all in, I just poured love into the other person. I think it might get better, you know, and they learn to have fun with each other. I mean, that’s one thing my wife and I do. do best. I’m realizing I’m actually not answering your question at all, but I’m gonna loop back A second thing is good.

Like we, we have fun with each other, you know, we know how to have fun. We’d like to stay up and drink wine and watch Stranger Things. And we like to go on vacation and we make each other laugh. And we also like to drive each other crazy sometimes. By we know, what’s your marriage.

We drive each other crazy day and night while we’re sleeping.

Hey, don’t confuse having a marriage blog for being a marriage expert, and be even marriage experts are, you know, at each other’s throats every now and then.

I think it’s like marriage. For me morning upgrade keeps me accountable. Like because I’m not perfect by any means. And so I have that second slice of pizza or third slice like I really run you run that morning upgrade blog. And so it’s trying to keep yourself accountable. So your question was, I don’t remember now. Can you repeat the question?

So like, how do you build that resilience through your personal development? Because I mean, listen, Austin and I are, generally speaking, when the world was crashing down around us, we could get through it. We were pretty resilient in that, but then when we were at odds with each other in our marriage, that was when things were like, you know, not going well. But I think that there are a lot of couples, who don’t know how to have any resilience. So when the money gets tight, or they lose jobs, or the kids are being a nightmare, or what have you, it like starts wrecking the relationship.

Yeah, I think you have to first want to work out and not have hope for a better future, I think hope is a very, very important thing. But in terms of like, resilience, I think I’ll just answer from my experiences. It comes from experiences, like when I think about the marriage issues, things we got through financial stuff, just things in the business just, it gets through like it comes down to like the reps like going through things and you build a callus to it. Unfortunately, that’s often how it works, you have to deal you have to go through problems to build up a callus to them. And a mindset that says, Oh, I got through this, I can get through that like to give you an example, not marriage-related, but like one of the condos that we invested in a while back, we’ve sold it but you know, there was a water leak and the whole like ceiling collapsed into like, so like things like that, like you just like you get through it. Or we had a big, giant mold issue with one of the tenants that were like very dicey. So you get through things, and you build up like a mental, like mental armor, or to steal a phrase from one of the guests I’ve had on my podcast, people to mental armor. But you can also do that through personal development. And that’s through gratitude, practice, celebrating your wins, meditation, journaling, all those things that the content you consume, like this book I already mentioned, it’s, it just feeds your mind that it gives you like the strategies to deal with things. Makes you think differently. That combined with going through and getting through going through and getting through challenges, the two of those combined is, at least through my experiences what does it.

I mean, I think probably one of the biggest relationship killers that I see is that when one or both of the people are super stressed about the situations, then all of a sudden now they’re not showing up at least even at the as the person they were when they first got married, right because like the stress of life, like how they’re just upset all the time or acting however it is that you respond to stress. And being scared or whatever those emotions are, it’s very easy, especially in a close relationship with someone to start acting out towards them or put a lot of it on them like okay, I’m scared. Well, what’s the source of being scared of you. So now I’m going to make you stop making me feel scared or have pain or whatever the case may be. So I think that in marriage, one of the best things you can do is make sure that you are not adding to already a terrible situation with the way you’re responding to it.

Yeah, I agree with that. No, one thing I made me think of is that, like how you act and how you show up, and the actions that you take, sometimes it can be a positive influence on your spouse. It can also be a negative influence, too. So it goes both ways. I think it all comes back to like energy as I mentioned before, like the actions you’re taking the energy you’re putting out it’s yours because you think about how often you’re around your spouse. You know, your major influence on the good or bad.

Yeah, I mean in the way that you receive The way you’re responding to the kids and to other people that are important to them is also going to affect the marriage and the relationship. So it’s not even just the way you’re showing up for them. It’s like, okay, well, if your spouse is not doing a good job at work, and now all of a sudden, you’re scared that children can have a job any more income or whatever, I mean, that’s going to cause big problems in that relationship. So it’s not just the way that you’re responding to your spouse, but like, all the other things as well. Can cause them to feel unsafe or insecure, or whatever the things are, which leads to, you know, keeping from being closer and building intimacy.

Yeah, yeah. What about the word commitment, like having to have the commitment to work with each other, or to get you to recognize the challenges that are going to happen in your marriage, and acknowledge that they’re going to it’s going to happen no matter what because we’re all just imperfect human beings, but that you’re committed to each other to make it work. I think that’s a big thing too. For us, like we’re a My wife has made it very clear a few times, that we’re not going to get divorced, you know. And so even we have problems. And so, you know, and she’s very fit. She’s a very feisty Italian woman. So I think it’s for my own safety. It’s in my best interest to say, yes, we are not going to get divorced.

We say the same things.

Yeah. I mean, you know,

Austin says, If I leave, he’s going with me.

I stole that from a comedian years ago. I wish I remember who it was. But yeah, that’s the thing is, we just sort of approach things. As like, I don’t know who first said this. But I know Kim and pin Holderness all the time, say you’re my person. And that’s kind of how I see it. It’s just like, you’re, you’re my person, like, you’re like whatever else happens, whatever else comes our way. It’s me, and you are going to be the ones to get through it. And I don’t know. I mean, I guess it’s sometimes I step back and say, you and I, have you ever been in a spot where that was called into question and doubted and everything was, you know, just absolutely horrible. We’ve had some bad times, but never where it was. Never has the thought crossed my mind of like, well, I don’t want to be around you. Like I don’t want to do this life together anymore. So I kind of I think you’ve definitely not wanted to be

around you. Or I didn’t want to be around you for that moment. But not permanently. And so. I don’t know, I really don’t know if that’s a product of us being committed to each other and being just, I don’t know, stubborn about it, or stuck in our ways about it, or what? Or if it’s just because we haven’t had anything bad enough happen. I really don’t know. I never.

What’s that? This wonder how that how some couples lose that I’m trying to think of what happens are they, you know, I used to earlier in our marriage, I used to wonder like, what would it take? And the longer we’re married, I like I don’t know. And I try and have sympathy for other people who apparently went through something that I’ve never gone through. And so I don’t ever want to be like, well, if people will just be committed to each other. Because I don’t think that it’s just because you and I, you know, decided

part of it is we are healthy enough individuals. And we’re not like in the middle of abusing one another. Yeah, there’s definitely a lot of that that ends up happening in couples Exactly. Worse.

Yeah. And I always I don’t know, for me, I was put divorced because of abuse and a whole other category of like, No, we’re not even debating that one. Like, no, that’s not even what we’re talking about. But it’s just people that like, like, you used to phrase earlier where you said, assuming you’re still in love. And I was like I don’t know like are they do sometimes fall out of love and it goes away forever? And is there a commitment that lasts beyond that? Or I don’t know. I don’t know. I think fortunate that I haven’t had to No, no, go ahead.

I thought you were done. And then I realize you weren’t done talking but I’m done.

I if I think about it from my point of view, like there are several things I think we’re still you know, happily married it’s I’m still very attracted to her I don’t know if that’s a wrong thing to say like, the attraction has to be there, but I just think it does. That’s just my opinion, you know, so I’m still very sexually attracted to her. And, as I mentioned before, we like to have fun, I respect her as a person. Right? You know, I respect her as a mom. You know, think those three things, you know, you know, very important, you know, the attraction, the fun,

and the respect. And to sort of going back to, we were talking about resilience, and you were talking about sometimes building up calluses, you’ve got to go through something. I feel like the more difficulties that we’ve had to walk through as a couple, as a family, as individuals, just, you know, like, maybe I’m going through something, but you know, she’s married to me. So it’s not like our marriage is going through a hard time, but I am, or she’s going through a hard time and I’m here with her. That to me, you know, like, that deepens the commitment. It deepens the love, it deepens that, as you said, the respect, I mean, like, I, I have always respected Keelie. But I respect her, like so much more now, because I’ve seen her go through so many things as I’ve seen her, you know, give birth three times, and I’ve seen her build a business and I’ve seen her, you know, try a hobby and try. I’ve seen her start to try businesses that didn’t work, you know, like and she still Yeah, and that’s the thing is going through those difficulties and the successes have just made me respect or even more love or even more appreciated. We’re gonna put teaching our kids how to drive on that list, because that is scary. That is what is on the list for me.

We, There was never a single conversation about it. But the entire family agreed altogether that dad was not going to be the one to do that. I think we all like the kids are on board. Yeah. Nobody wants dad to do that. So worked out great, but I don’t, it just wouldn’t work. Well, it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t. It wouldn’t be good. My relationship with my kids. My blood pressure was jumpy. little jumpy? She says Yeah, well, I mean, listen, when we first got married, especially I would walk in the room and scare the crap out of him all the time. I’m like, Are you not aware that you live with someone?

I thought you were gonna bring up the fact that for like the first 10 years of our marriage, including when you had children, I would comment on your driving in the passenger.

Oh, yeah, he was completely freaked out by me driving like, you know, you shouldn’t accuse

me one time, a decade in and she goes, You know, I drive around this city, like five days a week with your children in the back. Do you not trust me? And I was like, that’s a good point. Yeah, just so so going through all those things, the resiliency, I think builds over time. And if it’s building within the marriage itself. That’s, that’s going to help. And I feel like the fact that I know I can depend on Keeley means that I, I’m going to show up for her. Getting back to our key phrase there. Like when she’s having a difficulty, like, I’m going to show up for her because I know she’s going to show up for me. And so whether that whether that’s in a time of difficulty, or a time of celebration, or whatever, you know, being there and being on not I’m not perfect at it not 100% of the time, neither machine, neither is anybody but the more you do that, the more you show up for your spouse, or your spouse shows up for you, you know, you want to reciprocate, and it just builds over time.

Yeah, yeah. I think going through challenges together, does build that bond for sure. And just life experiences and raising kids or, or not. Yeah, yeah, those different experiences and challenges do bring you together as a person because you usually get you’re usually getting through them together as well. Right, hopefully, and so it just builds that bond. And I think back to like, to go back to personal development, I think it’s forced me to try to become a better husband too, because like, one of the masterminds I’m part of it’s a men’s mastermind. And marriage is a big topic of that in our conversations. And they encourage everyone to, you know, be the best version of the husband, you can be and father, and so just being around other men that are in the same boat, trying to be the best version of themselves. I’ve seen big gains there because I’m not like, I tend to be a little bit introverted and keep to myself, I tend to be a little bit selfish, you know, I tend not to, like, always think about her needs necessarily. And now I do better in those areas just because of the personal development journey. And the mastermind and other guys encouraged me and give me advice. And so, you know, just trying to put in the effort and hopefully I’m doing a better job.

I liked that you were bringing up the community there because that was actually something I was going to say about, you know, one thing about personal development that you talk a lot about is by surrounding yourself with other people who are like-minded, they are people that, you know, you guys kind of all have the same goal. And I think that’s really, really beneficial in marriage. And I think sometimes we isolate ourselves too much in marriage. And we don’t want to share about problems because you know, you don’t want to disrespect your spouse, but you do have to have people that you can be honest with them, and, like, they’re still going to love your spouse, regardless of what you’re saying about them. I’m not saying just go share this with anybody in the world. But I think that it helps you stay accountable, which is something that I’ve been learning is a lot with personal development. I’m not amazing at this, by the way, like, I wouldn’t say I love to be accountable to people. But I am definitely getting, I’m doing that more like because it does require you to actually just share, I’m not very great at sharing deeply about the way I feel or think or whatever about things. So I think that community in having strong friendships with other couples is a really big part of your personal development goals.

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