#43 - I wish my husband knew how important eye contact is

November 28, 2023
Mistye Wilson

Episode Summary

We're so excited to introduce another new series on The Aro Podcast that we hope you love as much as we do! Every month, Mistye Wilson, wife of Aro Co-Founder Heath and longtime friend of Aro Co-Founder Joey, will join the podcast to delve into various topics, offering insights into what wives sometimes wish their husbands knew. Here's the twist: Joey will be in the dark about the discussion until they hit the record button. We hope these episodes empower listeners to bring up challenging topics with their spouses or share these episodes when words may be hard to find. If there's a topic you'd like Joey and Mistye to explore, don't hesitate to send us a direct message on Instagram! This week's episode focuses on the significance of eye contact. Mistye dives into how the absence of eye contact from a spouse can trigger feelings of rejection. Joey asks Mistye how a husband can tell when his wife wants eye contact and when it may not be necessary in a conversation. They also discuss the game-changing act of putting away your phone when spending quality time with your spouse. Mistye and Joey even touch on the importance of eye contact for young children. Stay tuned until the end of the episode when Mistye shares a practice that all our listeners can try with their spouses.

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Episode Transcript

Mistye Wilson (00:00):
He truly can multitask. So can my son, Maddox.

Joey Odom (00:05):
He is really good at that actually.

Mistye Wilson (00:06):
He can hear everything you're saying and he can be doing 5 million things at one time, and that's all fine and good for him, good for you. But when you're not looking at me and you're doing the five other things, I can't focus on what I'm saying because you're not engaged with me. I know all of your thoughts cannot be on me and what I'm saying they can't be. And when I'm trying to speak to you about something important, I need your eyes to know that I'm being heard. A lot of times moms don't feel heard. So if our spouses can come in and look us in the eyes, we feel validated, we feel seen, we feel important, it can change our day. You can change your wife's day by looking at her.

Joey Odom (01:12):
Welcome back to the Aro podcast. Hey, I'm Joey Odom, Co-Founder of Aro. And if you've been here, we typically have conversations with intentionality experts, with the goal of giving you the inspiration and tools to live out an intentional life. And I got a little special treat for you today, and it's actually more than a treat. This is actually the gift that keeps on giving because we're going to do it frequently. This is a format we're calling. I wish my husband knew, and I want you to meet somebody who's going to fill in the blank at the end of that sentence, because she's going to be here a lot. This is going to be her first and last introduction. So ladies and gentlemen, the leaves are falling and we are bringing the autumn, the Mistye Autumn. Yes. She's from Rome, but not the one in Europe. She's lived where the players play in Atlanta eating tea and crumpets in London. And now she rests her head on Rocky Top. She's not a car expert, but she loves Diesel and Axle - her Boston Terriers. Reese Maddox, Zane and Echo call her mom. Heath calls her wifey and I call her co-host. She tickles my funny bone and she's going to warm your heart to kick off 'I wish my husband knew' please welcome to the Aro podcast, Mistye Autumn Wilson. Thank

Mistye Wilson (02:27):
You so much for that introduction. Wow,

Joey Odom (02:31):
You didn't know that was coming.

Mistye Wilson (02:32):
What a big old surprise,

Joey Odom (02:33):
Joey. Thanks for that was surprised you didn't know that was

Mistye Wilson (02:35):
Coming. I appreciate that. Wow. Yeah. Bring it in the autumn. Here we

Joey Odom (02:39):
Are. Bring it in the misty, autumn. Yes. Yeah.

Mistye Wilson (02:41):
And it was a little misty this morning. I'll say. It was a little

Joey Odom (02:43):

Mistye Wilson (02:44):

Joey Odom (02:44):
Was. I had some cuts in there. I was going to talk about your favorite fruit is Berry College because you went to, okay. See your personal friends with Victor, the Viking Barry College's mascot.

Mistye Wilson (02:54):
Wow. You do your homework.

Joey Odom (02:55):
I do a little homework. I do a little homework.

Mistye Wilson (02:58):
I feel a little vulnerable right now actually. She

Joey Odom (03:00):
Well that, oh, what a perfect little segue into

Mistye Wilson (03:03):
This, this look at us

Joey Odom (03:04):
Because we're going to do something that's a little interesting, a little bit different. I touched on will you tell the listener, what on earth are we doing? Will you tell us about the premise of I wish my husband knew?

Mistye Wilson (03:16):
Yeah. So I just think we often, I think as women especially, we just wish our husbands knew

Joey Odom (03:23):

Mistye Wilson (03:24):
Everything. We get a lot of kids sometimes asking us questions and we got to know all and be all, but there's a lot of things we also wish their husbands didn't know. But this is the moments when you wish there was something that you could talk about with your husband, but it might be awkward or you feel it's insignificant or ridiculous, or maybe it'll embarrass him or hurt his feelings. But it's something that maybe all of us, maybe most of us, maybe some have just thought about. So when it started out as, I wish my husband knew, some of these topics are going to be things that I've thought before, some of these things that I've heard and listened and spoken to friends who say, I wish my husband knew. And it goes all the way from ridiculous to some of 'em are really impactful and maybe really difficult for some women to talk to their husbands about. And so I hope you and I can have a conversation that's just fun and then hopefully that will lead some of the listeners to start a conversation in their own home.

Joey Odom (04:27):
Well, it's funny because the other, being on the other side of Kristen may be saying to me, she probably even said, how did you not know that? And I think I just smile and nod. But in my brain, I'm saying, how on earth was I supposed to know that I'm not a mind reader? And most of the time, a lot of time, I really don't get it. I need some help understanding it. So what we are going to do, and you said it, we're going to have the conversation for you listeners out there for you, the things you may not want to approach are embarrassing or whatever they may be. We're going to begin that conversation, but we're going to do it with a little bit of a twist.

Mistye Wilson (05:01):
There's a little bit of a twist, and I love this twist. So here's the fun thing about this is you don't get to come into this conversation and know all the things. You have no idea. I have no idea what I'm about to bring up. And so I'm just excited. It is almost like I want you to be, well, you're my co-host husband, so it's like I want you to be on the other side of it so that women who may want to come on and ask their husband a question, I'm going to ask it to you before you have any idea. And then that way, let's talk about your reaction. Let's talk about how you feel. Let's make it as real as we can, right?

Joey Odom (05:39):
I am legitimately going to try to understand what on earth you're talking about. Well, good luck. Yeah, no, good luck. Feel what feels like. And it's because what you said, I mean, we want to start the conversation, right? I mean, the goal is not for us to just have a fun, funny but it, right.

Mistye Wilson (05:58):
Break the ice. Make it not awkward to ask these questions. Yeah.

Joey Odom (06:03):
Yeah. So what I want for you, listener, I want you have a couple homework assignments. The first one I want you, as you're listening, just jot down some notes and find out what's true for you. Because Mistye, these are your and my experiences that are coloring this discussion. This is not true for everybody. This is true for us. And I want people to just find places where they can see themselves. So that's one. Jot down some notes and just find where you can see yourself in this. Secondly, send this episode to your partner and have them, this is an easy way, Hey, listen to this. This is kind of a fun concept. Will you listen? And then the third thing, the most important thing is schedule. Schedule a date night. Schedule a time to talk about this. Go out to dinner, have a glass of wine on the back porch, whatever it is. Schedule some time to go talk about this together and compare notes. We're going to break the ice. Misty has very little boundaries, so I have quite a

Mistye Wilson (06:58):
Feeling. I'm not quite sure how to

Joey Odom (07:01):
Handle that statement. You don't embarrass easily, so you're going to break the ice. You're going to take the awkwardness out of it, and you're going to let people go into that. And then obviously put down your phones when you do it too. That's an important thing. So like you said, I'm not in charge. I'm backing off. You're not in charge. This is your show.

Mistye Wilson (07:19):
Exactly. Okay. So this is just something that with other women, I've even heard either heard or it's something that Heath and our 22 something years of marriage, we've come across it. The great news is, is that we've always felt really comfortable talking to each other, but it's a process of getting better and better and better at it. Right? So yeah. So just taking this, let's just break it out. Let's

Joey Odom (07:49):
Do it.

Mistye Wilson (07:49):
Yeah. So I wish my husband knew how very important eye contact is.

Joey Odom (07:59):

Mistye Wilson (08:01):
So I don't think husbands know what a game changer eye contact is. And I got a little something for everybody. Just give me maybe even 30 seconds of your time.

Joey Odom (08:14):
Oh God,

Mistye Wilson (08:16):
You failing it, Joey, look at you. It's going to get awkward. Awkward. Listen, do it. Listen to my soul circle. Oh

Joey Odom (08:34):

Mistye Wilson (08:34):
So uncomfortable.

Joey Odom (08:38):
I mean, that was Missy. That was fourth grade slow dance.

Mistye Wilson (08:43):

Joey Odom (08:43):
Know. Know exactly where Robinhood movie.

Mistye Wilson (08:46):
Yeah, I was in middle school. Of course. Now we're showing you. You're younger than me. So thanks for that. Already. Appreciate that. I was in middle school, first concert I ever went to.

Joey Odom (08:57):

Mistye Wilson (08:58):
And he was a high schooler. And I was like, so cool.

Joey Odom (09:02):
So tell the list for those who might somehow be younger than us, as young as we are, tell 'em what the song was and just give him a drop of that first

Mistye Wilson (09:09):
Lyric. So it's by Brian Adams, the song is called, everything I Do, I Do It for You. And it starts out with, I mean, it's really just a song about he will just go to the ends of the earth for her and just imagine being that lady that he is speaking to. And he says, look into my eyes. I mean, right. I mean, miles. Miles. So yeah. So if a guy, this is great. This is great because already your eye contact I'm

Joey Odom (09:46):
Trying is

Mistye Wilson (09:46):
A little awkward. It is very awkward. And you already notice yourself, how long do I engage in the eye contact? Can I look away? Is that awkward? Yeah. These are the things that we kind of want for spouses to think about and to talk about. In your marriage, is it easy to make eye contact? Do you recognize when you're making eye contact and do you do enough of it?

Joey Odom (10:10):
Okay. So I would not have guessed necessarily, even though I do. It does make me anybody singing in close proximity. Did you ever watch The Office? Didn't that? Oh man, that was tough. If my kids are listening, they'll know You're welcome. My kids know exactly how to make me phone welcome and staring at my eyes and sing. So it makes me feel very uncomfortable. Good. Yes. And I don't know, let me ask you this, because it makes me feel uncomfortable, physically squirming. Does it make women feel as uncomfortable? Is that an uncomfortable thing for women to look? It actually does make me feel very uncomfortable. I'm not saying with my spouse, I'm just saying in general, it's hard. Is that difficult for women?

Mistye Wilson (10:53):
For women, gosh. And the thing about eye contact is it can go so many ways and there's five different ways of eye contact. If you're looking at somebody like squinting, it's almost like it's a sign of disbelief or you don't agree with them. So last night even I was in a meeting, a Zoom call, and I noticed myself, I'm researching all this. I noticed myself squinting my eyes and just looking to the

Joey Odom (11:22):
Side I could say is You do that.

Mistye Wilson (11:23):
You doing that? Yeah. And I was like, wow. I can tell in myself I don't agree this So

Joey Odom (11:27):

Mistye Wilson (11:28):
Yeah, exactly. There's the wide eyes when somebody tells you something and you're like, oh my gosh, no way your eyes brighten. So I think it kind depends on what you're talking about because it can also be a sign of aggression. Yes. And I think that can be awkward as well. I think women with their intuition, we feel it. We know if it's awkward or not. I think, and really when it comes to your spouse, you just want it. It's such a thing when a husband comes in from work or you both come in from work. I want to be fair here, but your husband comes in and he's got his phone, he's finishing up work, which in the old days he used to just come in the door. It's not really like that anymore. They're still finishing up things. We want the eye contact when I'm speaking to Heath in the evenings, man, to have him go ahead and put that phone in Aro or to put it down or just to come in and be looking at me, it's such a feeling.

Joey Odom (12:48):
So I am actually, I'm thinking through all of this. I don't think I'm going to say this. This is probably not true. I don't think I have that need. I don't believe. So for me to make eye contact is going to require very deliberate action, especially the eye contact you're describing. I think about when Harrison and Gianna, when they were young, you said aggression. I don't mean this aggressively. When I was scolding, it was right in the face. It was pupils to pupils. So they would know this is important that I would make sure that they got the message that I was trying to communicate. But I don't think in the type of intimate gaze you're talking about, I don't think I have that need. Will you go to the heart? Why is that important? What is it about that?

Mistye Wilson (13:39):
Well, let me also back up because you brought up the children and what studies show is that when doing that, because I did it too. Look at me, tell me what happened. And you're just staring at them. Well, they do. Whether they know it or not, they take that as a sign of aggression. So that's why if a child darts their eyes over, they're trying to break that. It's, this gaze just causes you to not be able to think about anybody or anything else. And so they can't think straight to tell you the truth of the story. Oh, wow. So you might think that your child's not telling the truth, but he's just trying to look around. Okay, let me gather my thoughts. Because the eye contact is so hard into his little eyes that he's like, okay, wait, I'm distracted.

Joey Odom (14:32):
Okay, so that really is interesting because when you think about, it's funny is I'm now can only think of my eyes. What do I do with my eyes? I can only divert my, I'm trying to think through this. So I naturally am looking away and thinking, not in your eyes, I'm thinking about this. So it can be used as the power of it. So there's real power. So maybe establishing, I guess maybe one of the points what you're saying is there is power in eye contact and there's power to dominate and in a way make someone else feel lesser or feel subservient. And then there's a power to connect as well though. So you have both of those. So with a child, I don't know that it's almost like you have to be careful about how you're using your eye contact. What's the message you're communicating? And I bet this is a guess. I would love your take on this. Does that mean that, I bet your heart's intent probably shows out naturally in your eyes if you're trying to dominate. Exactly. It just naturally happens with your eyes, right? Exactly. Yes. So would I want you to think back when you're so recent, Maddox, or almost 18. 18.

Mistye Wilson (15:44):
Yeah. 17 and a half.

Joey Odom (15:45):
17 and a half. So think

Mistye Wilson (15:46):
Back, I'm holding on to every month, so please don't Speed to

Joey Odom (15:49):
17 and 17. Yeah, five twelfths. Yeah. When they were young, how do you think you would've changed? How do you think you would change? Think back to them, they're four or five, how do you think, just thinking about eye contact first, how do you think you would've changed how you used your eyes when you were talking

Mistye Wilson (16:05):
To 'em? That'd be a really interesting question to ask them. I think for me in college I studied early childhood education and some psychology. So maybe I had an added advantage to how to talk to kids on their level. I feel like with my first three children, the eye contact went pretty well. I can say that Maddox is one that would divert his eyes more, and he's more of a feeler than he lets on that he is. And so I think that's the reason I think he was being stared into his soul. And he was looking around like, give me a minute, mom.

My youngest and I did research a little bit about eye contact and babies. My youngest is adopted, and so she was from an orphanage for 14 months. Studies have shown the importance, like there are neurotransmitters in your brain that if that baby isn't stimulated by eye contact in the beginning months, it is transformational for the rest of their lives. And so what I would have done differently with Echo, I would not have asked her to look into my eyes. Thanks Brian. Adams looking. Sorry. I would've not asked her to look into my eyes. I wouldn't have questioned when she darted her eyes, she making eye contact for her is torturous. And for any moms out there that have an autistic child, you never tell them, look at me. Tell me what's going on. Really? Yeah, autistic children have a, and I didn't study anything on that, but I taught a few of the kids and you don't do that. That makes them feel completely uncomfortable.

Joey Odom (18:01):
Oh my goodness. Yeah. Gosh. That whole, again, we we're established. I think you probably had a plan for this. I didn't, but I'm just thinking the thing that's coming out of even of this part of the discussion is the power, the sheer power of eye contact for good and bad. It's almost like you have the ability to make it, to change the tenor of a conversation, or again, establish your dominance or make someone feel lesser than, or put someone really at ease by just not feeling this need for them to make the eye contact. So in the context of a marriage, again, this is not something I don't, again, I say it, I mean what you just described as, Hey Joey, you're an idiot. Of course you need eye contact. So clearly I do. But I don't know that I feel the benefit of it or even project that it's something. So why is it so important for you personally, like Heath looking in your eyes and all I can sing in my mind is a Brian Adams song. I know Every

Mistye Wilson (18:59):
Time I know You've Ruined,

Joey Odom (19:01):
Ruined My Day,

Mistye Wilson (19:01):
I'll be saying it for the rest of the day. I hope you'll be too.

Joey Odom (19:04):
So why is it, why is that

Mistye Wilson (19:05):
So important to you? So there's two things that I have to say about this. One is the two actual moments that I can clearly remember. But first let me say why it is important to me. He truly can multitask. So can my son mad?

Joey Odom (19:23):
He is really good at that actually.

Mistye Wilson (19:24):
He can hear everything you're saying and he can be doing 5 million things at one time, and that's all fine and good for him, good for you. But when you're not looking at me and you're doing the five other things, I can't focus on what I'm saying because you're not engaged with me. I know all of your thoughts cannot be on me and what I'm saying they can't be. And when I'm trying to speak to you about something important, I need your eyes to know that I'm being heard. A lot of times moms don't feel heard. So if our spouses can come in and look us in the eyes, we feel validated, we feel seen, we feel important, it can change our day. You can change your wife's day by looking at her.

Joey Odom (20:23):
The ironic part of that is what you were saying was so interesting. I couldn't help but write notes. And so I see the pure irony in that. So I want to ask you,

Mistye Wilson (20:33):
I didn't

Joey Odom (20:33):
Notice that. I didn't mean to do that, but did that even like, Hey bro, I'm talking. No, not Okay, good.

Mistye Wilson (20:39):
You're not my husband

Joey Odom (20:42):
For the listener. By the way, we keep referring to Heath. Heath is Co-Founder of Aro. I don't know that I even mentioned that, but Heath is the much smarter Co-Founder of Aro. Okay. So what you just said, I think it's worth saying again that moms don't feel heard and seen. That is, do you think that's because of the thanklessness of raising infants who aren't talking yet? It's almost, well, let me back up again. You can tell I'm processing out loud. Let's talk about the period from marriage to kids. And then do you think in that period of time, did you feel heard and seen honeymoon period? Did you feel heard and seen?

Mistye Wilson (21:27):
Yeah. And let me with that, it goes right into what I was going to say. The two things that I vividly will always remember. No, it's good. We went right back into it. But the first, I guess it was the first year of marriage, we got married in 2002 and Blackberry came out right around that time. I'm not in business. I was a school teacher, like I said. So I don't know. When Blackberry came out, ladies ask your husbands or if you were a business woman, you'll know. So I vividly remember early on in our marriage, living in our condo, and there were stairs that came up and Heath is coming up the stairs. And I remember loving when he comes home, he just smelled like the office and it was delicious and it was adorable. And he was coming upstairs and I could see him looking at something in his hands as he is walking up the stairs, I know it's not me, like usual.

And he comes in and he kind of sits down, but he's still staring at this. And he says, you've got to see this. And he starts showing me this gadget, like a miniature computer. It's a mini computer with a little bitty keys. I'm like, how are you supposed to be pressing on those? What's going on? Your full fingers? Can't touch on those keys right there. And he just starts, it's got a little pen that goes with it. And he's showing me all these things. And all I'm thinking is I don't give a toot what you're showing me right now. He didn't say hi. He didn't say How was your day? And those are all such normal things. Normally he would come in and hug me and I'd get to smell his shirt. And it was just such an intimate meeting whenever he came in from work.

And I was always there before him because again, school teacher, there was that moment of recognizing, wow, something just got taken away. And then on the flip side, I have a very vivid memory of after we'd had kids, we'd had four already. So bananas, bananas. I could go into a song about that as well, but I'm just going to be, yes, we're going to move on. Yeah. I remember going out to dinner and he looks at his phone and he takes it and he slides the phone across the table and just looks at me. I look at him, I look at the phone, I look at him, I'm thinking, what does he want me? What does he me to look at? And he said, could you put this in your purse for the night so I don't look at it? Check please. Holy moly. Oh my gosh, I just felt like a million bucks. I felt like everything and all we did the entire evening was conversation after conversation after conversation. And I don't know if maybe Aro something like it was in his head at that moment. For me, I remember thinking, I miss what this used to be. Wow. Before phones, I miss this.

Joey Odom (25:00):
And it's not even, obviously it's not even before phone. I mean it is, but it's also just before we started getting weathered down, it's before we started. Before we stopped. And again, the reason I asked about that honeymoon period was just because that was when things were happening. And I think that even started with thinking unappreciated, unseen unheard as a mom, but at that time you were seen and heard and just what it felt like to be seen and heard. So in the spirit of me trying to understand here, that moment when Heath gave you his phone, sure it was the eye contact that followed, but it's almost like, so is eye contact indicative of knowing that you're the priority because your eyes for most of us can only look at one thing at one time. Is that why? I mean, he gave you that. That was such a big moment. You weren't making eye contact at that moment. It was the symbolism of that. So is it the act of eye contact or is it the symbolism of eye contact or what is it about that that really just goes down into the soul? I

Mistye Wilson (26:06):
Knew in that moment it gave us the opportunity to have eye contact. I knew that he wasn't going to be distracted by any sort of pinging or buzz. I knew that I had his undivided attention.

Joey Odom (26:22):
Has there been a period in your marriage that this has been more important than others? Is there a time that it's been more important? How does that, you're 22 years in has it again, let's go back to phases, pre-kids, early kids, teens, tweens. Has there been a time when it's been more important or has it just always been like, no, this is just the heart of me? For

Mistye Wilson (26:43):
Me, it's always been important to me. When I don't have eye contact, especially from my husband, sometimes I can feel rejected and that hurts.

It's either that he doesn't have time for me or something's more important for him than me. I know that's absolutely not his intention. And I think that's why it's so good for couples to talk about it because of course he doesn't want to make me feel that way, but in my mind, I wait until he has time to look at me and talk to me. He's even bless that sweet, precious begging man. I just love him. I just love him. I will be talking to him and truly mid conversation, he will walk out of the room. There he goes. He just walks right out and I sit there and he knows me and he knows what I'm thinking. And he says, from a distance, I'm still listening.

Joey Odom (27:48):

Mistye Wilson (27:49):
You? Doesn't count.

Joey Odom (27:50):
Doesn't count.

Mistye Wilson (27:51):
Doesn't count.

Joey Odom (27:52):
Okay. So let me ask you, okay, so I want to dig in on that a little bit. So we were having conversations for others. Lemme just say what others are thinking. Women talk a lot. A lot. Yeah, we do. I mean it about the most insignificant things at times. And I don't know if there's a quota that you all have to compare at the end of the night where you just say, Hey, I got in my 80,000 words today or so, how is Heath supposed to distinguish between those moments where you really need the moment, you really need eye contact or when you're just,

Mistye Wilson (28:25):
You're just talking, you're kind of throwing it back at me. Come on now. Yeah, right. So man, yeah, I do talk a lot.

Joey Odom (28:34):
Yeah, you as a woman. Yeah. It's not Mistye.

Mistye Wilson (28:37):
This is universal. So man, here we go with assumptions, right? God,

Joey Odom (28:44):
Did I just win?

Mistye Wilson (28:46):
I'm sorry, not little. Not a competition. Not a competition. Never. Not with us. No. Clearly we're the same. No. There are moments when he comes in and I'm like, I need to talk to you. I need to tell you something. And maybe I haven't given him enough time to get in the door because I don't realize that he's coming in from whatever mass chaos may have happened during his day. So you're right, that is a little bit unfair sometimes to assume that he's ready for that moment to give me complete attention. I do think though, there are moments where he knows we're in a conversation and he just walks right out or breaks the conversation, talk to somebody else. A kid walks in the room and he asks him some random question that clearly is not associated with what I'm talking about. So there's a lot of assumptions there, which that's definitely something that, gosh, even I with Heath can say, I'm just really going to need you to look at me right now. This is important.

Aro Member Becca Daniel (30:10):
The Aro alerts you when people in your household have started a session. And so that can sometimes be like, oh man, I need to go start one too. Or if you're out, it even doesn't. And so one time I was out and I got a message that my teenage daughter who was keeping my youngest baby at home, it said, Finley has started an Aro session. And I thought, she's at home alone. And she put it in there and I came home to find her in Oakley Bay, Finley and Oakley Bay asleep in the hammock outside, no phone and just cuddled up together. And I thought for a teenage girl who's 16 and a half, who could have had her phone out there texting, whatever, looking at stuff and not being fully present with her baby sister, but she didn't, I mean, she didn't miss it. She was soaking up the moments. And that night she told us she was like, Oakley Bay was just flicking around listening to the leaves and watching the leaves. And that is not what she would've noticed a while ago. So I can't even say all the things I'm noticing, and I don't want to sound like you're overdramatizing this, but I'm being honest when I say you notice the hard things, the painfully convicted things, but then you also notice these beautiful moments that you normally wouldn't have.

Joey Odom (31:21):
We love hearing stories from the Aro community. The one you just heard actually comes from our Voices of Aro episodes where I sit down with Aro members and they share about their stories and their lives with Aro. Make sure to check out the Voices of Aro episodes. And if you're a member who would like to share your own story with Aro, please email us at stories@goaro.com.

Our friends Rodney and Sarah Anderson, they talk about those little bids that partners put out all the time to each other. And it's just a little bit of a bid where it may feel like a small thing, but you're really seeing, hey, are you paying attention? Are you paying? Just a little thing. So a bid could be like, have a tough day or something like that. Just the small thing where you're really hoping the other partner knows. No, I'm saying something bigger. You don't really want to put yourself fully out there. And I've gotten, and that language actually is really helpful for Kristen and me to even just before we say something that may sound small, but it is significant to us, just say, Hey, this is a bid to where that actually completely, completely disarms the other person and we we're not as good as I would like to be.

So important. Another way to say that is like, Hey, I'm going to say something that's hard for me to say, Hey, this is vulnerable for me to say, Hey, this is important to me. That little prefix of putting your partner on notice that this is important to me. I think then it's almost like without that, it's like you relinquished the right to get upset at them for not giving it the due attention you think it should have. You know what I mean? Yeah. Do you guys have any kind of rhythms like that? Is that a thing that, do you think, if you were to say that, how do you think that would go over

Mistye Wilson (33:15):
So? Oh boy.

Joey Odom (33:18):

Mistye Wilson (33:19):
We kind of do. Yeah, we kind do. So with having little kids, this is, wow, this is some information. We might need to cut this later, but there's a word that we use whenever we just need to go back to the bedroom and hang out a little bit. And the unbeknownst to any of the kids and we say, we need to have a discussion, we need to have a discussion. And that seems completely fair to the kids because they both know that Heath and I value each other very, very much. But it was several years ago that we turned it into what you're saying. I have something vulnerable to say. We say, can we go have a conversation?

Joey Odom (34:13):
Wait, so one is discussion one. So that's real dangerous

Mistye Wilson (34:16):
To confuse those two. And I think that's why, because there was a time that I told Heath, I need to talk to you. And he's looking at me like, oh, do you now? And I'm thinking, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. It's so not that. It's a conversation. Get ready for a surprise. So then I think, I don't even know if we talked about it, but then it was like, well, this is more of a conversation. So our conversations are normally held. The house that we most recently lived in, it was on our back porch, and that would be our conversation time. We're in a new home now. I don't know that we've pinpointed one perfect spot. We're still working on furniture in our backyard, but being outside in the open air is a great place to have a conversation. Yeah,

Joey Odom (35:08):
Not a discussion

Mistye Wilson (35:12):
Mean it might be inappropriate.

Joey Odom (35:18):
Alright, so I think that maybe answered my question. Again, I'm trying to think through when I'm in that situation, how do I know? How do I know? Is this important? Is this not important? And then maybe let me add a different layer on there too. What if I'm in the middle? I find myself getting in trouble sometimes where I'm in the middle of something, I'm doing something, and then Kristen will say something to me and then I get in trouble for not paying attention when I was the one doing something already. Now the ideal husband, I believe, would drop everything and say, what is it, honey? So is that fair of you? I'm going to say I'm just projecting everything onto you. Is that fair of you? And if it's not fair, what is the right response from me in that situation to say, Hey, yes, you're important, but hey, there's something else going on.

Mistye Wilson (36:10):
Say that.

Okay, there you go. There you go. That was easy enough. Yes. Because for me, a lot of times I come in just guns a blazing. And it's not that I'm mad, it's like I've got something like, holy moly, I've got to tell you this before I forget it or before, my passion is not as I'm really upset about something. I need to tell you everything right now. Otherwise I won't remember the conversation that I had with whoever on the phone. I've got to tell you. And so you're right, I'll just bust in and he's doing something. So yeah, I mean that's kind of me busting in on his time of focus, which is also not fair. So here's some things that I found pretty interesting while I was reading and doing some investigating. So there are actual hormones that are released when you're making eye contact, especially with someone you love. So first of all, the pupils in your eyes actually dilate. So think about being in a dark room. Why do your pupils dilate?

Joey Odom (37:15):
To adjust? Right?

Mistye Wilson (37:16):
To adjust, yeah. You're trying to pull in more light. So you go into a dark room and your pupils are trying to pull in more. So if looking at someone that you love eye to eye and you see their pupils dilate, you can tell already they are wanting to hear and see you more, which is really pretty crazy. The other thing talking about hormones is it releases, and this is true for dogs as well. And if you dog lovers, which I am, which you are, I so am because my dogs give me a look of love, not diesel all the time. So oxytocin, it's like it's a love drug. So it releases oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, all of these happy hormones when you're making eye contact, it releases those happy hormones, which is pretty interesting. The one that I can't quite say, this one stimulates your brain and it's called, oh man, so bad at words. This is pH

Joey Odom (38:46):
Your guess. Get phenylalamine. Yeah,

Mistye Wilson (38:48):
There we go. We're going to go with that.

Joey Odom (38:49):

Mistye Wilson (38:49):
Going to go with that. We're going to go with that. Yeah, it's a really big word, but what it is, it stimulates your brain in a similar situation like amphetamines.

Joey Odom (39:02):

Mistye Wilson (39:03):
Yeah. We're talking drugs. Crazy train, right? It gives you, when you have that stimulation in your brain, it can be as blissful slash exciting slash take your breath away. Studies show it can boost you to levels like skydiving.

Joey Odom (39:28):

Mistye Wilson (39:28):
Let's just take a moment right now, guys, so you can make your lady feel like she's skying. Well,

Joey Odom (39:36):
Think about that. I mean, think about the fact that we're out seeking it artificially through a variety of different things. And we have, it's accessible to us, it's accessible to us. For those of us who are married, it's right there accessible to us to have it on our own. You think about, gosh, you can't help but go down the road of thinking how kids aren't getting this individually face-to-face eye contact, right? Yes.

Mistye Wilson (40:02):
And it's huge. And so now we know not only is the develop transmitter in their heads, it literally lets us release hormones, these hormones that make us feel like elated. And don't you want your kids to feel that way? Such joy. This is an interesting fact too. Humans are the only primates that have white eyes.

Yeah. So when two dogs, if they make eye contact, it's not a look of love. It is not. It's a form of aggression. But think about how dark and brooding their eyes are, right? So that's why in our situation with diesel, he does not eye contact at all. So we always tell, especially men when they come in, do not make eye contact with diesel. That's an aggression towards him. He doesn't like it. It's interesting to me that all of these other animals that I can think of have these darker eyes. We've got whites in ours. It's just softer. It's easier to look at instead of just this darkness.

Joey Odom (41:22):
It's a look of, I think about diesel too. Diesel. I used to not be able to look him in the eyes. And now we've gotten know each other. He was very aggressive buddies and now we're buddies. But what that says to me, and using him as an example, and I think even as your partners, he's okay with me looking at him in the eyes. He knows that I love him. He does diesel, knows that I'm not going to be aggressive towards him, and he knows I'm going to scratch him behind his ears. And you think about that even in your marriages, and this may be helpful for me as a guy thinking through this just to kind of dumb it down. You're able to do that when you have a level of trust, when you know that the other person is actually looking into your eyes in a look of love and a look of I care about you.

And it's almost like you think about the different types of eye contact, a look of judgment. I think for a man is really hard just to feel like my wife's judging me. And so it's almost like you, I think if in a bad habit you can get to a place where it feels you can't trust an eye contact, you can't trust that gaze. That's tough. Right? Yikes. So this is a practice. So, so then I even think about in a similar vein, back to our kids. Our kids someday are going to be spouses, maybe not our kids. Maybe that'd be great if our kids could get married, would we can work on that later. Yeah, we'll talk about that. But down the road, they're going to be spouses. And if you're not in that habit of understanding, having the vulnerability of eye contact or being in the practice of it, and because they're not going to get now, that's going to be hard and it's not going to, all of a sudden, we all know this, everything doesn't get better in a marriage.

So you have to get in that practice and that rhythm. So what a valuable thing for our kids to learn and for them to get around other kids their age and to build eye contact and then be able to know the eye contact you can trust and you can't, and then be able to be, okay, here's another one. Be comfortable being seen. You want to be seen. Sometimes it's hard to be seen, right? Yes. Because you want to be, you said you want to be heard, you want to be seen. And then after all of those things, you want to be known. And then the hardest thing, despite all of those things, then you want to be loved,

Mistye Wilson (43:33):
Right? Yes. Yeah. And it is kind of in those steps now that you're talking about it. It's pretty cool when you say the eye contact in our children. So I did come up with, or I didn't come up with it, I read that the average eye contact today is between 30 to 60% of the time when we're speaking with someone. Okay? 30 to 60%. The average amount of time several years ago was 60 to 70%.

Joey Odom (44:05):

Mistye Wilson (44:06):
Here's the other thing that went along with that, and I don't want to be all preachy here, not it at all, but the average person, it has been shown picks up their phone 150 times per day. So there seems to be a correlation in what I read, that we are getting less eye contact and it's making it more awkward because we're not having as much. And in talking with my kids, my teenagers, that is so true. It is so true.

Joey Odom (44:45):
Real quick on that, I'm sure anybody who has kids who are teenagers have heard the line, don't make it awkward, dad, don't make it awkward, mom, don't make it. That's such a thing. Don't make it awkward. And it makes you wonder if the making it awkward is just doing normal stuff. Yeah.

Mistye Wilson (44:58):
Yes. Well, what we think

Joey Odom (45:00):
Is normal stuff. Exactly. Okay, we're winding down. I have a question I want you to tell from, for a husband listening, I want to hear from you. What does it feel like? I actually want to hear the downside of it. When you don't get the eye contact, when you're in the middle of a conversation and Heath might look at his phone or he might go in the other room, or when you're trying to share your heart, what does that moment feel like?

Mistye Wilson (45:28):
Okay. It kind of depends. One of them can be that I'm not interesting, which is really hurtful. One of them can feel rejected, super hurtful. And then I also, sadness is one, anger is the next, and anger is just sadness that had no place to go. And so once you've felt that sadness so many times, then when he stops listening to me and walks away, I'm angry. But it's because I've been sad about him doing that so many times. So if you find yourself being angry at your spouse, not looking at you, you really need to search and see if you've just been hurt that many times that now it just makes you mad.

Joey Odom (46:13):
So for the fellows look for anger because anger, anger is sadness that had nowhere to go. If you're seeing anger, then that may just be sadness for sure. Which to me presents an opportunity to do something about it

Mistye Wilson (46:27):
For sure. Okay. So Heath and I, before today, this morning actually, we tried this. So there's the word tan trick. You think about it and you think that it relates to sex, right? But that's not where it originated. That's such an Americanized way of doing things. So tantric is almost, well, it is. It's meditating. It's doing something for a longer amount of time to connect with your own spirituality or maybe even someone else's spirituality. So what we did is this morning we set our timer for five minutes and we completely stared into each other's eyes for five minutes. Wow. Oh my gosh. So I heard that when you start, you should start with 30 seconds, 60 seconds. But Heath and I look at each other a lot. So I thought we can do five minutes. And then once I started thinking about it, I was like, this is going to end up being awkward.

But it completely shocked me as to what happened. Instead of just staring at each other, we naturally started having a conversation staring at each other in a conversation before Heath and I even knew it. So I was like pretzel legs with him. And he had his legs just kind of like we were facing each other. So we're kind of scrunched. And before we knew it, both of his hands ended up on my knees, and then he did a little rub on my legs, which was super sweet. I was noticing it more than he was because I've been looking at all this stuff and he just stopped and he goes, oh my gosh. He said, I didn't mean to touch you. And I'm like, no, I mean you can. That's part of the eye contact. That's not a, you can do that. So after five minutes, which we didn't even know because we're sitting there talking and the alarm goes off, and he and I both like that surprise wide-eyed looking at each other.

No way. Five minutes felt like 30 seconds. It was not enough time. And I think that really showed me the true value of eye contact. So I think a really good suggestion, it's just fun. The takeaway is just how important gazing into one other's eyes is so important. So there's four things you can do. Sit in a comfortable position facing one another and you can touch or not. Heath and I started out not touching and ended up that way. Two, set a timer, desired time. If your spouse is not into this, just be like, can we go 30 seconds and then start looking, breathe deeply. Relax. You can blink. I actually looked away two or three times. Yeah, he didn't, didn't break. I looked away two or three times, maybe that's discomfort. I don't know. Then four, when the timer goes off, break the eye contact. Just start with that. And that can not just be like, Hey, would you look at me when I'm talking to you? It can be more of like, can we try something really weird? Yeah, yeah. I love that. And just have fun. And then maybe that will.

Joey Odom (49:56):
Yeah, I love that. That's the challenge. That's the challenge for all of us. That's a challenge I'll take on. I'm already feeling a little uncomfortable about the idea. I can tell. But I love that. And what if by the next time you listened to, I wish my husband knew, what if each of us had seen our partners pupils dilate? Oh gosh, what if that happened? Amazing. How cool would that be? We could see the physical, our partner's eyes, our pupils physically dilate. I love that. This was fun. It was so fun. This is the first of many. This was really, really fun. And I hope that everybody does take this seriously. Please do send this to your partner. Find a time to talk about it. Find a time. What's true for you? What do you agree with? What do you disagree with? And by the way, if you have ideas of things that you wish your husband knew, send it to our Instagram. That's right. Just follow us at go ro now. Send us a dmm. We would love to hear that. But great job. Yeah. Thank you so much. Yeah, this was awesome. This was fun. Yeah. Thank you.

Mistye Wilson (50:53):

Joey Odom (51:00):
Hey, what'd you think of that? That was really, really fun. I legitimately had no idea what Misty was going to bring up. I learned a lot. And more than having fun, I hope you learned a lot. I hope this sparks a discussion for you. That is the goal. Please share this episode with your significant other, with somebody else who you think might enjoy it to begin a discussion. Again, this is our own experience. I don't want you to take it too literally, even in terms of, Hey, only wives feel this, or only husbands feel this. We know that we all feel a bunch of different things. So find what's true for you and let it just spark a discussion. That's the goal. Find out, is this true for your spouse? Is this true for you? And maybe open up a vulnerable, intimate conversation that you weren't maybe planning on having.

And I wanted to encourage you also. Go take that advice. Go make some eye contact. I've done it. It's interesting. It's much different, but it's well worth it and it's a great experience. So I want to encourage you, again, please share this with somebody, spark a discussion and find what's true for you in here. And if you have other ideas, go dmm us on Instagram at goaro. Now, follow us on Instagram, dm us on Instagram with a topic. Now I won't see it. Our producers will see that. Our marketing team will see that, but I won't. So that will be something that we'll implement. Maybe Mistye will bring that up in future episodes and let us know what you think. Go on Instagram, let us know what you think on there at goaro. Now, we'll be back with next Tuesday with a normal episode of the Aro podcast, but next month will be the next episode of ‘I Wish My Husband Knew.’ Thank you so much for joining us. We can't wait to see you again next time. The Aro podcast is produced and edited by the team at Palm Tree Pod Co. Special thanks to Emily Miles for video and digital support. And to our executive producer, Aro's own, Katelyn Farley.