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Geoff Steurer, LMFT talks with Tony about how to rebuild trust in a relationship even after situations that couples believed they would a) never stand for in their marriage and b) believe healing was even possible, like infidelity and betrayal. Geoff is the host of the podcast "From Crisis to Connection" and co-author of the book, "Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity."

You can find Geoff at https://www.geoffsteurer.com or on Instagram: @geoffsteurer or Facebook: @geoffsteurerMFT

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Sign up for Geoff's Trust Building Bootcamp by following this link https://www.geoffsteurer.com/a/18461/ZB9Pb8qW and enter VIRTUALCOUCH15 for 15% off the course.

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Tony appeared on two episodes of Geoff's podcast "Protecting your marriage in a faith crisis (part 1) - Tony Overbay - Episode 93" https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/from-crisis-to-connection-with-geoff-steurer/id1290359940?i=1000522608518 and "Protecting your marriage in a faith crisis (part 2) - Tony Overbay - Episode 94" https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/from-crisis-to-connection-with-geoff-steurer/id1290359940?i=1000523235363

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Sign up today to be the first to know when the next round of The Magnetic Marriage Course will launch http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic

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[00:00:00] I have so many things I want to say, two stories to tell about about my guests today. People would ask me if I knew Jeff. I just feel like there was a nice instant connection. I was on just podcasts for not one, but two episodes because we were just vibing so well. So, Gestur, welcome to the virtual couch.

[00:00:18] Tony, my brother from another mother man just now.

[00:00:21] Right. I love this. I couldn't wait to do the joke, I think, on your podcast where I was saying when I was looking over your website, we are the same other than you are far more handsome, have a lot more hair. And then you've both written books about pornography, addiction and recovery. And we've got podcast, I guess. Oh, that's so crazy.

[00:00:39] Same thing. When I first started, it said people like, hey, Tony, I said, looking at your stuff. And I'm like, wait a second, we almost do the exact same thing. This is so dang cool. But some people might feel threatened by that.

[00:00:50] But that's what I was going to say. Fantast. Yeah, because I really think there's a cool thing there with the concept of scarcity mindset versus that growth or, you know, growth mindset, because we're both just we're both just trying to change the world.

[00:01:03] Right, Jeff? Absolutely. Absolutely. People are hurting, man.

[00:01:06] I was going to mention something that then someday this will seem dated. When I was waiting for us to begin. I was looking at my phone to see what the air quality is, to see if we're going to watch high school football tonight, because there are so many fires in the area that I met. And and I feel like anywhere I talk to someone, there's some sort of a natural disaster. How are things in Southern?

[00:01:24] Yeah, air quality stinks, as definitely have some. Yeah, we've got fires in California that are the smoke is wafting over here and yeah, it's tough. Yes, we have beautiful, clear blue skies here, but it's just hazy. So so we don't usually get that kind of weather over here except the fire season.

[00:01:38] But yeah. And it's it's unfortunate there's a fire season. Hey, help my listeners know a little bit more about you. Give me your background. Tell me tell me about you, Jeff.

[00:01:47] Totally. I bet I actually have celebrating 25 years of marriage on Monday. Oh, congratulations. My wife, Jody, thank you. Yeah. And so, yeah, we've got four kids, ages 22 to 12. And yeah, I went to BYU, studied to be a journalist, and then I ended up at Auburn University doing marriage and family therapy. And I've been in marriage.

[00:02:08] Ok, I got to stop you right there. Little did I know what I'm saying. We have all these things. So that was my initial major in college as well as journalism. So that is why did why did you change your major or why did you stop?

[00:02:19] I didn't change it. I, I graduated with a communications degree and the same same.

[00:02:24] I did not know this about you. Mine's mass communications.

[00:02:27] Yeah. Mass communications, communications studies from BYU. And and then my senior year, I my wife and I had been married just a few weeks. I just met Wally Goddard, maybe, who, you know, and he lived next door to them. And we ended up living with them for two years in their basement. And it was from that experience that I decided I wanted to be a marriage family therapist. We just talked about marriages and families and all kinds of parenting, about these fictitious kids we didn't have yet. Yeah, I figured I would start talking about parenting stuff. And it was just so dynamic and interesting. And I just thought I got to do this for a living. And this is nuts. People talk about this for a living. And so I ended up this was my senior year, so I ended up changing a few classes around and got what I needed. And I ended up getting accepted into Auburn and did my my master's degree in MFT over there, moved to Alabama. Oh, wow. So, yeah, so I've worked now as an empty since I've been doing therapy with people for twenty three, twenty two years.

[00:03:24] Wow. Ok, I have so many questions about that, but I do not know about either. First of all, I think I missed the opportunity for a joke of were you an amazing parent, the fictitious kids, much better than with the best.

[00:03:34] Oh, dang. My wife and I would have actual real arguments about fake children that didn't exist. Right. I think we would we would all of a sudden just start discovering kind of all the different things that we had opinions about that you don't know you have opinions about. Yeah. And it was just really funny, because some points we would stop each other and go like we don't even have children. Why are we even talking about this? Yeah, but it was the collision of our ideas, our values, our backgrounds. But yeah. So interesting those conversations.

[00:04:02] No, I love that, because it's funny. We have kids that are for kids, as well as 22 or 23 to 17 somewhere around there. I know I'm in the ballpark and things do get a lot different. And we were just commenting a few days ago about, boy, when we were young, we really did feel like this isn't so bad. We've got this whole parenting thing figured out. And I've had a couple of people in my office lately that have said, boy, I wish I could go back there and because it seems so much easier. And so, yeah,

[00:04:29] I have all the answers. Be so confident. I know.

[00:04:31] Yeah. And so go ahead. Oh, no, go ahead. No, I'm so sorry, Jeff. I've got ridiculous follow up questions. Another one that I have is I didn't realize you've been doing actively doing therapy for so long. And I'm always fascinated by people that come out and they are working as therapists in their early 20s without kids, without they're just now married. And what was that experience like for you? Did people respect you? Did they did they want somebody that had already been through the been through the ringer, so to.

[00:05:00] Well, I think the people that were brave enough to say something would say things to me like I'm old enough to be your mother or stuff like that, but I think overall, like I had really good training from Auburn, great supervisors, great professors. And then my first job out of grad school was at a rural mental health clinic in Arizona. And I worked there. I worked there for six years. And so that gave me you would just call like street smarts. Like I joke with so many different kinds of cases, cradle to grave, every issue under the sun, serious illness, marriages, parenting and child therapy, everything. And so my my skill set just it really accelerated during that time. It was I just I felt like at the time that everybody needs to come work in a place like this because it was good, exposed me to so many things. And it was there that I learned what I really wanted to do. But yeah, no, it was tough. Like I was trying to do therapy with teenagers, but I had a one year old or I was trying to work with these marriages that have been married 30 years and I've been married five years. And so, yes, now that I've been married 25 years, I'm forty seven years old. I've got all these over two decades of experience under my belt. My obviously, my confidence is a lot higher now in terms of my ability to not only my training and experience, but also just lived experience. I just am not rattled by as much. Yeah, I think a way to put a confidence that things are going to work out or there's there's figure ways to figure it out. We can get there from here. Right. Like there's just things we can do.

[00:06:28] I love that that confidence that things will work out. I love that, because that's going to play a lot into what we're talking about today with trust and boundaries. And let me stay on that being, too. How did you you talk about you started to find the population you wanted to work with. What was that experience like and how did you find the population?

[00:06:45] Yeah, so I was working. I was doing so much child therapy. I had to play therapy room, the puppets, the whole works. Wow. And I loved it. But then I noticed that I would go home and not want to play with my own kids because I was so played out, OK. And I thought, OK, this isn't good. My kids will eventually grow up. But I love this. Is it really my thing? And what I found myself doing was I was always wanting to meet with the parents. I wanted to get my hands on the marriage. I was like, let's go up to the headwaters man. Like these kids obviously may have their own issues and temperaments and challenges, but I knew that there was something systemically going on upstream that I wanted to get my hands on. And so I ended up doing a lot of marriage therapy and billing it under the child's name. Ok.

[00:07:30] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:07:31] Right. So it and so for that, just because I wanted those parents to get a better environment for themselves and their kids, and that's where I was like, OK, I need to do I need to work with marriages that I registered my business, moved to Utah and started my marriage therapy practice.

[00:07:47] If anybody was this is the first time they're they're hearing me the comment. I'm sure the quote would be, if they're following you over here to this podcast, they're going to say, all right, Tony, back off talking about yourself here. But I can't I had no idea about this part of your career. I started with kid therapy as well. Of course

[00:08:02] You did, Tony, because we have the same

[00:08:04] Is the same. And the whole reason I didn't I went away from it was surprisingly because I wanted to deal with the parents because I felt like I was just giving the kid coping skills.

[00:08:13] Exactly right.

[00:08:14] Oh, that's crazy, Jeff. That is. All right. So then you go to Utah and now you're doing more couples

[00:08:19] At that point. So when I moved to Utah in 2006, I was starting to I was starting to do some work in my agency in Arizona. I was starting to run into online pornography issues, sexuality issues. And this was in 2006. So the Internet had been high speed, Internet was in homes. Now, at this point in the early 2000s. And you were starting now to see like the tsunami of online sexual betrayals starting to come into our offices, at least in my office. And this was in a rural community where there's no dirty magazine stores or strip clubs or nothing. This was like rural conservative community. But people were just blown apart their marriages with all this stuff. And I was like, oh, wow, this is definitely a problem. And I need I don't know what to do. I had training in marriage therapy and some other stuff, but I just I didn't have I wasn't equipped. So I reached out and got some training from the LIFESTAR network, from Damrey Toddles and those guys. Yeah. And they ended up saying, hey, we'll give you the rights, if you will, or the territory for southern Utah. And I moved out there, moved out to St. George and opened up a sexual addiction treatment program that I ran for 15 years.

[00:09:25] Wow. And I recently sold it. And but I'm that I really cut my teeth working with this population here in St. George. And Mark Chamberlain brought me on as a coauthor for his book a few years later. Kevin Skinner, I just started really connecting with a lot of these great therapists and mentors here in Utah, these guys that were doing some really great cutting edge work at the time and are still still doing great work. And it just was I just fell into this community of professionals and friends that were working with these issues and helping a lot of couples. And they have just. Come in over the years, and we've just been able to help so many people with pornography issues, sexual betrayal and fidelity, and then really learned how to put these marriages back together. Especially as I worked and did my training and emotionally focused couples therapy back in 2009 with Sue Johnson and her team. And so I just I just have had the opportunity and have been so fortunate to get great training, great mentors, great thought leaders. And we've just been able to do a lot of good things with these couples that are just looking for help, you know?

[00:10:29] Yeah. And again, and I think I don't think I even stress this enough at the beginning of this show. I loved being on your podcast so much. And we talked about some people that are navigating a faith journey. And we and then we ended up landing a little bit around the F.T. principles or about my battler's of a conversation. But so I feel like that is so important to have that framework. But what I feel like I, I would love to hear your thoughts on, and I think you've got such good ideas here on. So, you know, let's say we've got this framework to communicate, but how do we how do we start rebuilding trust? And I feel like that is the biggest thing that you see, especially when those couples come in and they just feel like they are in such crisis. And I don't know. What's that like for you? Where do you go first? What do you do?

[00:11:14] Yeah, that's the biggest reason why I built my trust building course and spent so much of my I wanted to really focus in on this because so many couples would come in and they would have a church leader or a loved one or themselves. Just think we just need to work on our marriage. We need to go on more dates and they're bleeding out. There's been a major betrayal, there's been a discovery, there's been some major infidelity or something. And the couple just is trying to now put back the marriage. But it's like putting back together something that it's like the pieces don't even fit. It's so shattered. And so it's like you just the things don't line up. And the couples is in trauma, one or both of them. And it's just very overwhelming. So you can't just start by pushing the marriage in front and trying to work on the marriage. It's another sort of way I've talked about this, is that when there's been a secret or a discovery of a secret. It's there's a big crater blowing in the ground. And so the one betrayed partner drops to a different level than the person who's had the information, had the had the upper hand in a way.

[00:12:16] And it's really critical for marriage therapy to work for marriage enrichment and these things we like to talk about with strengthening marriages. There's an assumption that the couple is on level ground to one degree or another. Ok. And so there has to be you have to backfill that crater and you have to do things to get that love that that relationship, get that person down in the hole, back up to level ground, because there's been such a huge violation. There's been such a power imbalance, a huge shift in the dynamic, in the relationship. So that starts with telling the truth, knowing exactly what's going on, safety, making sure there's healthy boundaries, making sure that that there's deep accountability from the person who broke the trust that they're they're actively serving in a role of trying to help the relationship, help the wounded partner. It's trauma. This is not just, hey, I have a bunch of needs. You have needs. Let's work on our needs together. It's not like that early on when there's a very Fermat trail like this. So that's where I start caino.

[00:13:18] I love it. And I would love to we could break down each one of those. And I'd love to get your thoughts. The part about telling the truth and maybe I'd love to get your thoughts, too, on the whole concept of I always say No. One, when they're going to confess or right after they got caught, let's say either of those situations, they don't say, all right, let's just take a time out before we say anything, you know, dumb. And a lot of times, that's where and right now I'll just say, let's say that's the guy that is the betrayer. Just the we we both work with men or women that have done that. But then they just at times, yeah, they're going to just unload and then. And tell me if you also see at first where people come into your office and the guy has he really has wanted to now say, OK, here's what's happened. But he's still working from this place. And this is where my first pillar of assuming good intentions of that, I still don't want to devastate my wife. So I'm going to tell her some things. But I really would just assume conscious or subconscious, tell her just enough so that she will understand. But then I don't want to tell her more. You know what I mean by that?

[00:14:20] Oh, absolutely. And a lot in this case, a lot of guys will will believe that they're doing this for their wife. But the truth, I believe, is that they're doing it to manage their own shame, their own. Yeah. They're so overwhelmed because they can't handle the reality of their own story. And so basically, they're oftentimes going to give her the light version. They're going to spotlight just generally the behaviors that are either already been discovered or the ones that they think she can handle. Exactly. Yeah. But where that needs to go is that he needs to have some time with his own story first, because he's been lying to himself about it. And before he can ever really do a full inventory disclosure, whatever you want to call it, I call it a form of disclosure before he can do that. He's got to have some practice telling his story to a therapist, to if he's in a group, just 12 step group or church leader, he's got to have practice reducing his own shame and internal reactivity around that story before he can pass it over in full truth and humility to his wife.

[00:15:22] That's I love the way you put that. I mean, because. Yeah, that's a that's so good, because then when he's trying to share some things, there is that shame. And I feel like oftentimes then he will then he will pull back, which I feel like it causes the wife to just want to know more or and I'm sure you see this often, too. But OK, now wife is now been hit with this this trauma, this devastation, and now goes back and starts asking more questions. And so if he only gave a little bit of the information to begin with. Ok, now. Sure. All right. He'll tell a little bit more thinking, OK, she needs to know a little bit more. But now what? Are we training her brain? Is that OK? He obviously didn't tell me the truth. And the more I dig now, I'll get the truth. And then we're starting to create this unhealthy dynamic.

[00:16:06] Yeah. Oh, yeah. The flow of the information is going the wrong direction. It's coming it's being pulled out of him versus flowing out of him. And she needs to know that he'll bring her the truth. And so a lot of these guys, again, they're caught up in their own shame. And so that can come that can come out in different ways. They can withhold and say less information, which is what we're talking about. Right. They can even like fire hoser with all their shame and guilt and tell her way more stuff than she needs to know. There can be he he can sometimes collapse into a heap of shame and feel like such a victim and like an awful person in some ways, expect her to take care of him.

[00:16:47] Exactly. Yeah, a little bit of victim mode and want her to rest

[00:16:51] And be all kinds of different ways. This will show up. And so telling your story, you would think it would be just straightforward. Just tell the truth, man. It's not that simple because you're dealing with a lot of that reactivity and shame inside of them that they have to manage in a. Healthy way, otherwise, they're going to overwhelm their partner and it's going to delay the trust building.

[00:17:12] So, Jeff, it's funny. I always say that what I literally just said to you, that no one is going to say, let me hit pause, let me go meet with somebody before I even express or we try to do this. But people listen to my podcast. That may be on the verge of saying, all right, I need to deal with this. I do need to confess something to my spouse. So what do you say? Do you say go see the therapist first? You do give a do you go and confess and then say, but before we go any further, we really need to do this the right way? I don't know. I've never asked this question. You're an expert. I mean, what are your thoughts?

[00:17:45] Yeah. Yeah, that is so tricky because you know, what you're asking them to do essentially is schedule a trauma. Right? You're basically. I know.

[00:17:53] Ok, yeah.

[00:17:55] You're like, OK. So I guess a couple of scenarios. One scenarios where somebody comes into my office and by themself and they've never told their partner, they pulled me aside and say, hey, I'm basically sitting on this huge secret. I've never told my partner, will you work with us as a couple or what do I do that I can count on one hand the amount of times that has happened in my career? It's super rare. And it happened recently, happened probably a year ago. And I had a client come in and she had never told her husband anything about any of this. And so I, I did not I worked with her for about four or five weeks, and we worked on her story. I helped her prepare disclosure. And then I actually had her go do it with him out in the desert, like they took a drive. I had to do it out there because I sense that he would be safe the way she described. She felt comfortable doing it. And it went really well. He actually it worked out fine because I didn't want to double team with her and have him feel double team that these two people were going to basically just dump this reality on him. And I didn't have be with him at all. I didn't know him at all. Wow.

[00:19:00] Oh, that's a really unique, rare way to. Yeah. So if you're listening to this and you're sitting on a bunch of secrets and you've never told your partner, it's important to go meet with a therapist and figure out what your options are, because dumping it on your partner can can cause a ton of unintended trauma. Yeah, this guy there, healing has accelerated because she came in and when she disclosed to him, she was very prepared. I had her totally ready to talk about it from a place of humility. She had all the things worked out, which she'd written it all down. It was organized. There was no drama. It was just like heartfelt and humble. And it went better than it could have gone if she had just blown it up. Wow. So that's one example. But the most common one is where somebody comes into my office and there's already been I would say this is ninety nine percent of the time. Yeah. And I just made that number up. But that's basically what I see as the pattern is the couple comes in and there's already been some kind of a discovery. Either he's confessed or she's confessed something, or there's been a discovery, totally unintended. And what we're doing now is I'm having to make a case with them and say, look. Do you believe that this is everything again? Most of the time it's no, I don't trust them.

[00:20:15] I discovered this much. They've only told me this much. So what I'll do next is basically say then we're going to structure form disclosure. You just disappear the truth completely one time versus dragging this out. And you need to have practice city with your story and really learning how to get deep into your heart. I'll do this over the course of a couple of meetings, but the vision of it is basically, OK, we're going to have a redo on this and we're going to do it correctly. It's going to like that. You came in with your came in with your like your duct tape and baling wire version of trying to fix this thing up. We're going to take all that apart and we're going to put in some anchors and some bolts and we're going to really lock this thing down so that you don't ever have to go through this process again, because otherwise it just becomes like a limp in the marriage for the rest of their life. Do I really know everything? Were they fully honest? How do I know we want to get rid of that? And have there be a rock solid assurance that, OK, I know everything. Now we're working on current stuff, not past.

[00:21:15] That's brilliant. That is. So then if I go back to that concept of being truthful, of telling the truth. How scared do you see people of that? Or again, I feel like sometimes when people get this thing off their chest, they want to just go back to now. Can we just go back to the way we were?

[00:21:31] Yeah, it's awful. Yeah. Telling telling the truth is so scary, especially when you're up against. Losing that secure bond with the other person, right, innately we just are so we're just constantly on guard against losing that, and we just were defenseless. And so we'll do almost anything, including manipulate somebody with lies. Yeah, that's how strong our commitment to security is. A lot of people think, well, they're doing this because they they don't respect me or care about me or they hate me. And it's no it's because I don't want to lose you. But it's a terrible it's a terrible outcome. It's not OK. So, yeah, telling the truth is terrifying. But again, part of what good recovery looks like for a couple is learning how to tell the truth first about the big behaviors. And they get practice through that disclosure process, but then they learn how to tell the truth just about, let's say, how they're feeling or what they want. Absolutely. Or what they need. And those can feel like secrets. I don't dare tell them that I'm lonely. I don't dare tell them I want that I want to have more sexual intimacy. I don't dare tell them that that hurts my feelings. And so they start to learn and practice telling the truth so that if they can tell the truth about that stuff down the road, it's less likely they're going to end up having other secrets that are much more consequential.

[00:22:50] Absolutely. And I feel like and I say this so often, but I want this I want to hear more from you today. But we're so afraid of contention that we avoid tension altogether, but that tensions where the growth can happen and that and. But where are you now that we're so afraid of any tension? Because what if what if they leave? What if what if this is too much? And and I feel like all they're closer than they think to where that that really can be an amazing growth opportunity. We're different. We're different people. We are. And I feel like this is where we get this chance to now have a relationship where there's legitimate curiosity because we can be different instead of that fear of like, I don't know if I'm too different, you know, they might leave.

[00:23:27] Absolutely. Yeah. And I think it takes a while to get there. I know even just my own twenty five year marriage, like the kinds of questions I'm able to ask now and the kinds of security we have, I wouldn't have had that the first 5 or 10 years. There's no way. And so with couples that are coming out of a betrayal or coming, you know, trying to rebuild safety first, they have to they have to know that it's not going to keep happening and they have to know that their partner is in deep accountability and remorse. They've heard everything. And then and then that that intimacy, that curiosity that you're talking about, being able to tolerate differences and ask for what you need and really kind of embrace a lot of disowned feelings and wants and needs and desires all that. And that's just good material to work. It is the rest of your marriage. That's to me, that's the gold and that. Yeah. And the couples that that avoid that stuff or shove it down, ignore it or shame it or criticize it like that. Just to me, they're missing out on what marriage was designed for, because my individual growth as a man has skyrocketed because of feedback from my own wife about. Absolutely. That if it weren't working for her and I have to look at myself and what I'm bringing in, man, it's just like dynamic and rich.

[00:24:38] Yeah, OK. I want to get to some trust things. I want to throw a theory out as I'm saying this, I might end up have to edit it out because it might go against the very marriage course. I'm trying to pitch. But I've noticed that, you know, in my mind, it's the people that have had the most success in in even my marriage course are those that have they've been through some things. And I have this vision where I would love to teach every young couple to. We don't. How about we get to the point where we don't have to go through so much and we learn how to communicate and be vulnerable and deal with tension and we can be different and that sort of thing. But as I almost want to say is I beta tested some of these principles on on newlyweds. And you kind of oh, you know, you need to express this or the assumption of good intentions or or don't tell them they're wrong or or questions or comments. They're like not it's really not a big deal. And that's where I want to say, OK, but but it's things are eventually going to become a big deal. How about we go out and start talking about him now? And I'm finding that it's the old people don't know what they don't know. Right. Yeah. Yeah, I don't know. We had to solve that one. We had to figure out.

[00:25:43] Yeah, I think I think I think it's experiential. And I and I think that we have to. I don't know. I just think that. The longer I live, the longer I do this with clients of my own marriage, stuff like that, I just don't want people to be afraid of embracing as much as I don't want people to, like, be betrayed sexually or some of them. Sure. We're talking about something's going to go wrong, right. Somebody is going to there's something's going to go sideways. There's going to be some hurt somewhere. And I just want people to know what to do with that when it shows up, whatever that is. And because it's experiential, like like the gut level, like nervous system instinct, response. I have the love, the connection I have with my wife that's been forged out of a lot of trial, a lot of heartache, disappointments, misunderstandings, even some betrayals that have been really damaging around in our own relationship, things that we had to work through early on that that were just so hard. And I would never be able to probably get that gut level instinct in those those kind of that rock solid commitment and some of these things that I feel today without that and I don't know that we need to like engineer those conditions for it. They're just you put two people together. Stuffs going to happen, man.

[00:26:59] It is. It is. And if they've got the framework and they they they're going to get the. So can you talk to me? And again, full authenticity and as you say, full disclosure. That's in my head. I kept I kept saying when we were trade messages about today, I like Jeff. You're the I want to know I want to hear you talk boundaries. But then as I would go deep, dove more into the material that you provide. You have this trust boot camp, this trust workshop. So and then when we jumped on before we hit record, I was saying, do we talk about trust? We talk about boundaries. And what are your thoughts on differences, similarities? Where do we go from here?

[00:27:31] Oh, man. Boundaries are are a lot of people think of boundaries. Just as for the person that has been betrayed, like, oh, I need boundaries to protect myself from from being lied to or being taken advantage over being abused or whatever. And absolutely like that's that to me is sort of like the obvious boundary stuff. But if you think about people that break trust, they have serious problems with boundaries. They they they are a lot of times they're self neglecting. They're not they're not even paying attention to their own needs and desires and stuff. And so there's there's they're crossing lines there. That could be like not getting enough sleep or not eating correctly. Just physical maintenance stuff. Yeah. Or it could even be flirting or other boundaries around other people or poor digital habits or the list of boundaries can go on. That could be like not saying no to stuff or taking on too much or having terrible work habits or people pleasing. So so boundaries to me are just the framework of how to live a really emotionally and physically and emotionally and spiritually healthy, balanced life. I don't I don't think you can separate out boundaries from almost any discussion, because that's what keeps us upright. That's what keeps us healthy and functioning. And that's how I believe boundaries are. What bring us joy.

[00:28:42] Yeah. No, I love that. I really do. I talk with the Preston Pug Maya, who helped me create this course. And we talk about the concept of presence and radiance and the flowing river and the riverbank or the the artwork and the picture frame or and so in that concept of a boundary, that we do need something to kind of keep things what's the right way to put it. So I don't know. So something can be more igby more structure to it. I don't know. So it doesn't just go everywhere. Right. I might add that I was get.

[00:29:15] Yeah, I'm not I'm not sure exactly like in terms of are you asking like I

[00:29:19] Like the idea of personal boundaries, because I feel like when I am just kind of all over the place and at times where I've said, oh, well, that's just my 8D, as I just did right there, or this is just the way I vibe. But when there's more of that structure in terms of personal boundaries, with regard, like you say, at a time of self care, saying no to things, basically all the last four or five things you just listed that then I do feel a lot more productive. I feel more connected. And so I really like that idea of starting with the personal boundaries. I really like that.

[00:29:51] Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I just know that a lot of a lot of the heartache and pain when I've put it on other people, like, well, that person's not give me what I need or this whatever. I have to look very clearly and see, like, have I even asked for it? Have I ever have I even set any clear expectations? Am I managing even my schedule or my time or my business? Am I am I am I showing up in a boundary, healthy, clear way? And when I do, I find that most people adapt and adjust and things go pretty dang well. But but when I'm not boundary, when I'm just chaotic and all over the place, then and I just invite so much trouble into my life.

[00:30:30] Hey, can I ask a specific question and tell me your thoughts on this? I appreciate when you were saying a lot of times we think about the betrayed is the one that then needs to set the boundaries, which I totally agree. Yeah, but I have had those times, or even when you put the betrayal trauma structure in place where the person who who the betrayer will kind of be there for the I'm going to be present. I'm going to be here for you and I'm going to left language, maybe the attachment injury, apologies, and I'm going to show you that I'm not going to go anywhere. But then when it continues to go at times and I've been trying to work with people to set that boundary to say, man, I, I, I'm here, but I feel like we're starting to get into some really unhealthy territory or unproductive conversations. And I don't know. Do you have any thoughts on that, what that boundary looks like for the betrayer without it feeling like they're just running away from a conversation?

[00:31:24] Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's a really sensitive one. I do talk about this and of course, I get into it specifically around even like what if the betrayed starts becoming abusive? Yeah. Yeah. What if what if they strike me verbally abusive or physically abusive in some cases, which I've had people get their nose broken or I've had or people just really get aggressive because they're so hurt. So does does the betrayer have any right to say, hey, that doesn't work for me? Or is that just part of them taking it because. Right, because they broke trust. So they should just take whatever is given to them. I think that obviously an extreme examples are Padilla's legal things, like physical violence or stuff like that. Of course, they need to be able to set boundaries and protect themselves. But when it comes to that, that line of do I have any rights to express my needs? The thing is, is that I believe everybody everybody's feelings are valid. Everybody's needs are totally legitimate. It's a triage thing. It's basically being able to say, if you're deep in your accountability, if you're deep in your your honesty around the impact you've had and you're listening to your partner talk about how hurtful that may feel, like you're being abused. But the truth is, they may just be sharing a lot of like, truthful, hurtful things about the impact you've had on them. And and for you to bail out of that and say like, well, I'm not going to hear that.

[00:32:41] I'm not going to be talked to that way, that would damage more trust. That's a problem. Yeah. And on the other hand, if the betrayed partner is saying things like UAF and this and that, and I hate your guts and I don't want to be like if there might be again, it's like climate versus weather, like if there's an occasional lightning bolt of that, you probably ought to just take it and have some compassion. But if it's the climate, if it's like it's like you've now moved into this, like really tumultuous, verbally attacking kind of aggressive climate that's just like that every single day in and out, every conversation that it's important to to basically describe this. Ok, this is a pattern. This is this is actually destructive for the betrayed to be there, obviously, in so much distress. I can't let this continue anymore. And I'm not going to do it from a place of self-protection as much as I'm doing it from place of I'm protecting the relationship I'm protecting. I like it or him. I protect like this is just unhealthy. So I think if it's coming from a place of self-preservation, in my experience, that's generally coming from avoidance. But if it's coming from a place of this is toxic, this is really damaging, we're not getting anywhere that's that's going to land a little differently. So that makes

[00:33:55] Soga. Oh, yeah, it makes so much sense. And so so that's you say that's Covered in your in your in your workshop and your course. Yeah, I love it. I know. I'm grateful. I'm grateful that that that is there, because I think that will give and I like it. But when I was even reading about your course, I think sometimes people just want to know that there is hope or there is a plan. Oftentimes, I feel like that's enough. To keep somebody engaged in the process, and so I liked it, if anybody is hearing this and they are the betrayer that just to know that, OK, yeah, it's normal for them to feel at times this is too much. And I and I love the climate versus weather. I really do. That's so good. So how do people start, in your opinion? Again, I want people to take your course because I want them because it's now sound like I'm doing the sales pitch for you. But it goes into so much detail. And I want people to be able that this is such a big topic that I think it needs more than 15, 20 minute discussion on a podcast. But in that vein of giving people hope, what do you what do you tell people as far as how to start rebuilding trust?

[00:34:53] Well, the the first place so are we talking to the person who broke the trust where they can start or the.

[00:35:00] I think the couple I would love to know, because I think. Well, I don't know. You tell me, where do you go with that?

[00:35:06] Well, there's there's kind of two we talk about. There's three that there's that there's two individual recoveries. Yeah. And then there's this couple recovery. Yeah. The couple recovery clearly depends on it depends on how well those individual recoveries are going. So if you have one person who is working really hard, so a lot of times you'll have the betrayed who's super motivated because they're hurting so badly. So they're they're motivated and they're they're coming. They're working and working. And then the person who's been unfaithful or betrayed, the relationship is being dragged in like that. Dynamics in terms of where to start. It's going to be hard to do any marriage stuff there, so we're we're going to start is we're probably I'm probably going to start working on help if both people are coming in. I'm probably going to split them a little bit and work a lot with just creating some safety and some containment with the betrayed so that they can just get their emotional bearings and get some safety and get some clarity about what's happened to them, what they need. A lot of the times they're in trauma, they're dealing with physical stuff.

[00:36:06] Sometimes if there's sexual betrayal, we have to make sure that they're safe, even go get an STD test. You think it can get really hard to try and help people feel safe and with the person who broke the trust. Early on, I'm just in a lot of ways, it's sort of like it's kind of like the old 12 step thing. It's like even just helping them wake up to the fact that they even have a problem. Yeah. And that's that a lot of the times they may come in just wanting to get this over with. And so what I'm wanting to do is help them settle in to the journey, help them settle into the benefits of rebuilding this thing from the ground up. And that's going to come from honesty, transparency, accountability, caring about and really recognizing that they are a source of comfort to their partner if they'll do this work. They're so in touch to the fact that they're a source of pain, but they don't realize that they're actually a huge source of comfort if they'll if they'll do the work.

[00:37:03] No, I love it. I do. And I feel like that helps people understand it again. There is a plan or there can be this structures, which means there is hope. So I almost like they're realizing the more I'm asking these questions, that they are a bit ambiguous. I feel like I'm almost asking what The Huffington Post seven things to rebuild trust and you'll never believe. Number four for kind of a thing. But I don't know if you have that kind of advice that you even give people or if if they're in this kind of a situation, it's so much more than just that. Really?

[00:37:29] Yeah. Yeah. I do have an acronym that I use in the course quite a bit, which is ACT, which is stands for accountability, compassion and time. And and those those principles for the person who broke the trust are critical that that it all comes back down to if they want to be a safe person, if they want to be a trustworthy person, they have to learn to live in accountability, not be afraid of that. Ok, and that's and that's that's going to show up in lots of forms. And I tell people all the time, look, there's no expiration date on your accountability. It's not like you can be accountable for the first six months. And then after that, you can't say to your partner, hey, you can't bring this up anymore because of that. Right? It's now you're accountable. If I betrayed my what I remembered, I first was married to my wife, like we were married like two weeks. And I totally hurt her feelings. It involved like my ex girlfriend. I ran into her on campus, didn't introduce my wife. My wife was sitting right there feeling stupid. It just the whole thing was such a mess. And I was so immature. And to this day, sometimes it will come up as even as a joke and laugh about it with other people or tell stories.

[00:38:31] And I'll seriously get back in the car and say to my wife, like, I know we're joking about that, but like, seriously, I'm just so sorry that that happened. That's just like, no, no brand new wife should have to, like, feel so stupid and humiliated. I'm so sorry. I still feel really badly about that. And that accountability. Twenty five years later is so important. And then and then the compassion, of course, is just caring deeply about the impact you've had in your partner, and that that compassion shows up everywhere. It's like I care about your pain and I will make sure that I am the kind of person that will sooth that, tend to it. That's proximity, closeness, softness, kindness. Like I'm just going to be a source of comfort for you. And then the time thing is it's not only it's going to take a long time, but it's just multiple times that there's going to be repeated over and over and over again. It's it's going to be like, yes, we've had this conversation before and we'll we'll have it again. And this might feel like a broken record, but the repetition is going to help you start to experience me as a consistent, safe person.

[00:39:37] So that is so good. Yeah. No, I mean, it came up at that part I love because I feel like and I'm sure you hear this often, too, where or how many times are we gonna have to go through this? And it's as many as you need to. And I love what you said so that I can show them that that I can be there for them. I can be consistent. And I love when you see in the scenario, let's say it's the guy again where they look at it like, oh, no, I know what to do with this. I'm grateful that she's expressing this trigger or this hurt, because I know what to do with this and knowing that the wrong thing is the look, we've already talked about it. When are you getting it over? It's absolutely the wrong thing. And I think there is that fear of, well, what if this goes on forever? And that's where I want to say, OK, what if but if we're doing the work each time, then we're not going to we're maybe not going to need to worry about that. Right. Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I love it. So the the acronym is wonderful. So that helps a lot, too. So any other thoughts there? I feel like I feel like I had an aha moment about five minutes ago where it really isn't just these cliches. It's it's being willing to get in there and do the work and admit the things that you don't know, because no one's been through this process until they've been through the process. And so going in there with humility and not going in there with trying to tell their their spouse how they're supposed to experience this trauma, pain.

[00:40:55] Yeah, and I, I tend to not be very good at like acronyms and breaking things down into steps in general, it's just not one of my strengths. So I don't I don't I don't think like that, but. I also don't I also think that this trust building process doesn't play well to that, like you were saying, I think that what I want them to do is to tune in and settle in, to settle into a journey of of being curious and understanding the way that they've impacted their partner. Because if you start get into steps of like, well, do you do this and this and this and that happens, it almost it almost kind of creates this environment where the person who like you're almost kind of creating like a finish line. And I want to say like this is not the goal, isn't to like get through it. The goal is to integrate this into your story and have this become something that draws you both closer together so that you feel like you've overcome something together. Yeah. And instead of just like we got past that, never talk about it again, I think you're missing a huge opportunity for deep intimacy. Long term, it takes years, though, for people to really get there. And I want them to settle in for the long journey.

[00:42:02] And I love the concept of settling in. I love that where when people say, well, OK, but if we're still doing this in a year and I often want to just stop them and say we're that's the wrong that's the entire wrong parallel work from. Right. It's like I hope that they still feel like they can come to me and bring something up in a year, because I want them to know that we can have these conversations, because that's going to mean we can have all kinds of conversations. And I feel like that's that part where people don't even understand what that relationship can look like because they didn't see it modeled maybe growing up. And they certainly haven't had to be this honest and accountable until this happen, which is going back to what I think you and I were talking about. I want to create something that is going to make this happen. But, boy, when we when we got this opportunity, it's kind of let's do this. I wanted to throw I want to random train of thought, but I do a lot of my podcast talking about marriage.

[00:42:52] And I've been talking so much lately about interdependent versus codependent then. And so we're interdependent. And we're and then when you're differentiated, where one person ends, the other begins. And and when we're breaking free from this enmeshment or this codependence, and as we become differentiated, it will come with some invalidation. And I think that's where that uncomfortable place is. And that's where I feel like and here's where I'm going with this, is I feel like what we're talking about is I will have people sometimes say, oh, wait a minute, if I might. If we're interdependent and we're differentiated, then that sure doesn't sound like a marriage. And that's what I'm saying. We don't even know what that looks like is that is safety and that's curiosity. And now we're going through the life one through our life, being able to say, hey, what do you think about that? And we're processing emotion as as a couple. And and that is just something that is beautiful. But people don't know what that even looks like until they're there. Do you know anything about that?

[00:43:43] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It reminds me that quote and I'll paraphrase it from Anthony DeMello, who basically said something like, We don't really love people. We love the idea of people. Right. We love the idea of what we think they should be. And that's that's that lack of differentiation. That's yeah. Basically, in my own marriage, like I like I can honestly say I did not love my wife. In a mature love when I first married her at age 22. Yeah. I love the idea of her. I love the idea of a wife and who I thought she was. But as I've gotten to know her, I've had to confront a lot of things that are very different than how I do things. And and and that challenge, if she were just to kind of like mold into the version of what I thought she should be, I'd be a very unhappy person. And I think she would, too. And so, yeah, the richness is in. To me, it's like endless curiosity, if you ever wonder, like a lot of couples, like we have nothing to talk about them all. Oh, but if you're both like really healthy individuals and you have things going on and opinions and thoughts and things that you're interested in exploring and preferences. Oh, that's given me all the material I need to talk about with my wife.

[00:44:52] More getta so good. And I feel like I love what you're saying because I feel like I thought we will hit thirty one years of marriage here in just a month or so. Awesome. And I and I but it's the last even few that the more of that there is that differentiation. My wife wife's dress a little bit more stylish. You might wear a little more jewelry or things that I know that in a less mature version of that I talk to guys all the time are like, well, geez, well, why are you wearing that? Versus, Oh, man, I love this. Tell me more like tell me, tell me. That's right. Oh, and and it breaks my heart to think if there was a part of her that felt like she can't be herself because of the fear of well, I don't know if Tony's going to like it or not. And that's that part where I feel like people don't even know what that looks like to say, oh, this is different, but tell me more or not. Well, this is different. What what's this all about? And it's a whole different energy

[00:45:38] Partner as an individual that exists. And I think we get married. I know I did. A lot of couples get married because of how that person makes you feel. Yeah, we we talk about it like oh, they're amazing because they make they make me feel so loved or me, me, me, me, me egocentric. But yeah, I think I think mature love is really about it's like we do with our kids. Like we don't want them to just be like carbon copies of us. We want to really get to know them and figure out what their journey is. And I just feel honored that my wife wants to take her journey with me.

[00:46:09] Oh, that's so good. That's so good.

[00:46:11] Yeah, chose me to have it with.

[00:46:13] No, thank you for the laugh. Now, like I know what our next topic will be. I'd love to go deep into the differences in marriage or differentiation next time with spouses or mature relationships. I could talk to you about that all day, too. I love that. I really do. I do. Ok, this is better than I even imagined. Jeff, so thank you so much. And then so awesome. It is. I want people to go take your course. So tell them where to go. That always sounds funny to me. Tell where to go, Jeff. Tell them tell me where to get your course. And then that you've been very kind to give them my my people, my people a code. So, yeah. Where do they go?

[00:46:45] Yeah, I might. I definitely want your your listeners to to access the course. And there's a 15 percent off coupon. Virtualcouch15. Thank you, Virtual Couch. Just put that in at check in and save you 15 percent on the course. But yeah, it's it's it's a it's a 12 week course. One lesson or one module per week. And there's like four or five, three or four lessons inside each module with videos and worksheets. And and then as part of the course, I offer a one year question answer live monthly webinar with me where you can get on it. That's good. And connect with me and and get additional support, because I know it takes longer than 12 weeks. I just do the lessons over 12 weeks. And then you can have a year to kind of work things out and get get support. But yeah, you can just go on my website, just your dot com if you don't know how to spell my name, which is really hard to spell. You can just go to from crisis to connection. That's another website and you'll see it on there under courses.

[00:47:38] What I'll have I'll have links to everything, too. And I really do mean it. The the I don't I don't know if you've gotten a lot of feedback, but I now point people who are struggling with faith. I mean, even talk about that. But that's what I loved talking with you about, that. We we covered stages of faith. We covered faith journeys. We covered as I've been pointing people that are coming to me for that to your podcast, because I just I appreciated your you've been answering all the questions. Amazing here. But you're you're an amazing interviewer as well. And you've been getting a lot of pretty darn amazing guests on your podcast as well. So I highly recommend that, too.

[00:48:10] Yeah. No, it's it's fun. I love podcasting.

[00:48:13] Yeah. So we will do it again soon.

[00:48:16] I look forward to it, man.

[00:48:17] And I cannot believe you did. Therapy. Communication brings the whole thing. Just I don't know what we'll find out next, but I can't wait. So. All right, Jeff, thank you so much for coming on.

[00:48:26] Hey, thanks, Tony.

In this special BONUS episode of Tony's top-10 most downloaded episodes of all time on the Virtual Couch, Sexuality and Relationship Counselor Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife makes discusses what to do if you no longer find your partner physically attractive, as well as how to communicate in a relationship where one partner has a high desire for intimacy and one has a low desire? Also, find out what men do that Dr. Finlayson-Fife says will result in them being "toast!" You can find out more about Dr. Finlayson-Fife's work, as well as her online programs for individuals and couples around their sexuality at finlayson-fife.com. And please sign up now at http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic for Tony and Preston Pugmire's FREE webinar on how to create a more Magnetic Marriage on Monday, April 26th, 2021 at 5 PM PST. Space is limited so go reserve your spot today!Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

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Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

----- TRANSCRIPT -----

[00:00:00] A couple of days ago, I flew home with my family, we had been on a weekend trip to Southern California there for a basketball tournament my son was playing and we weren't able to get a flight home on Sunday night. So we headed back early, very early Monday morning. And the plan was for my family to drop me off directly at work and I would immediately jump in to therapy with clients. And as often can be the case, the flight was delayed and leaving Southern California. And by the time we landed in the Sacramento International Airport, I was running a little bit behind and I let my clients know and they were wonderful in understanding. And we immediately headed to my office and I was already in my head a little bit, just kind of thinking about the day ahead, client issues, ready to get myself all ready for therapy. And I missed a very necessary exit to head to my office when that was going to add several minutes onto my trip. And it's hard to describe, but there was a way to still kind of make the on ramp. But it would take a little bit of, let's just say, a tiny bit of off roading. And I was driving the opposite of an off road vehicle. But I said, man, I missed my exit. And we all shared a couple of ideas and I calmly made a power move. I made it to my exit and we were on our way, did a little bit of that off roading.

[00:01:08] And I commented to my wife that I felt like situations like those are where the mindfulness training pays off. I remain calm. I noticed I had missed my turn. I didn't beat myself, beat myself up about it, or unload a profanity laced tirade or anything like that. And I was pretty accepting that I had had this off roading option and that I needed to embrace it and I would get to work eventually when I got to work. So fast forward to yesterday morning. I had a podcast that I was so excited to record. I've been writing some notes down for a couple of weeks, but I needed to be at my office by 4:00 in the morning to get it done before starting with clients at 6:00. So I get to my office and I back into my parking spot, as I often do, and I reach for my keys where I think my keys are going to be. And I do a lot of typical aid like behavior, but I feel like I'm pretty decent and not losing my keys because I kind of put them in the same place every time. So I take everything out of my bag. I'm searching through my car and nothing. So I had to do what I have literally never had to do before. I had to drive back home. And then I spent an hour tearing through the house while everybody slept using the the flashlight on my phone, just looking for my keys and no luck.

[00:02:15] And I remain calm. I was fascinated by this and I ended up heading back to my car, took everything out of my computer bag very methodically, and eventually I found them in a little pocket that I truly never use until apparently yesterday morning. And I vaguely remember thinking that was a great place to put them when we were heading to the airport to head back from Southern California to Northern California. Now, why do I tell the story? Well, because of mindfulness. Because I'm telling you, you're practicing the ability to notice thought because you have tons of them and not necessarily have to act upon the thoughts, meaning I had all the old favorites, that I'm an idiot, that I can't believe. I can't find my keys, that if I have to cancel my sessions at six and seven and possibly eight waiting for other people to get to the building, that I'm going to look unprofessional. And all of those thoughts were there. But I noticed them and there were plenty of other thoughts that were coming even in the midst of me trying to find these keys about things, about my bag, about things, about taking out of my bag, about the fact that having to drive back home and some of the things I noticed, some of the things I noticed heading back to work at the time, I did a little more traffic.

[00:03:14] And so I think my brain, for whatever the goal was of throwing some of those thoughts out there, some of the productive ones, the unproductive ones. And I really got myself back to present and I kept looking for the keys. So if you aren't already practicing a daily mindfulness routine, I highly, highly encourage you to do so. Their apps and books and YouTube channels. But just start. You don't need to be perfect at it. The second reason I tell those stories is that I then maybe it's no big guess, but I had no time to record this episode that I wanted to. But the good news is that I've been working on letting out another bonus episode. And what I'm viewing is a bit of a series of the top ten episodes that I've ever had on the virtual couch in the previous four years of episodes. And so I been working on another bonus episode with virtual couch favorite Dr. Jennifer Finless and wife. And this is truly one of my top episodes from a downlow perspective of all time. And in this episode, we talk about the concept of having a high desire and low desire partner in a relationship. And I'm going to leave it right there because I really want to get to this episode, but know that the audio isn't necessarily the best. But that was because Jennifer was in Europe at the time.

[00:04:18] This was a few years ago. And she was calling from, I believe, her phone and talk about perfect segue. This is actually the episode I had kind of forgotten about this, where she mistakes me at one point for press. Buckmeier, who she mentions that in this interview and at that time I didn't know who Preston was. So that was what actually led me to Google him. And as he has shared on a couple of my podcast episodes, especially about our magnetic marriage course, that he then reached out to me later looking for some help. And at that point, the stars that aligned the universe had spoken. I knew who he was, thanks to Jennifer Finless and Phife in this episode. And despite being a little bit overbooked at that time, I made room for him. And the rest, as they say, is history, magnetic marriage history, no doubt. So back to the Segway next Monday. April 26th at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, Preston and I are putting on a free couples or relationship webinar on creating a magnetic marriage that is absolutely free. So now you can go to Tony Overbay, dot com magnetic and sign up to reserve your spot on the webinar, because thanks to technology, there's there's a lot of spots available. But there's there's limited as well about the number of people who will be able to participate or view that webinar live. So go right now to Tony everyday dotcom magnetic. And while I have you, don't forget that if you are looking for therapy, if you're looking to try out the world of online counseling or online therapy, if it's hard to find someone near you or if you just really want to continue to embrace the online experience, head over to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and there you'll get 10 percent off your first month of online counseling.

[00:05:49] They offer a sliding scale and they also can put you in touch with a counselor in up to 24 to 48 hours. And you can do this through through text, through email, through video, whatever works best for you. You owe it to yourself to really start digging in deep and looking at some of the things that maybe you've been dealing with over the last year or two years or your life. So head over to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch and get it going with couples therapy or individual therapy, whatever type of therapy, whatever kind of help you need, it can start right there. Betterhelp.com virtual couch. So let's get to this episode, this bonus episode. And with Jennifer Finless in five, I'm going to try to push out my regular episode a little bit later this week. So stay tuned for that. But hopefully you'll go over to Tony over Gay.com magnetic. And I will see you at this webinar coming up next Monday at five p.m. on April 26th. All right. Let's get The Today Show, my interview with Dr. Jennifer.

[00:06:58] For the return of

[00:06:59] This guest, you probably read it in the title already, it is Dr. Jennifer Finless and Faith. If you haven't already done so, please make sure you check out Episode 45. That was the first time that I had Jennifer on my podcast. And that episode is Neck and Neck with Episode 12 on Raising Your Emotional Baseline for the most downloaded episodes of The Virtual Couch. And I think when I checked last, that Dr. Phenix episode is in the lead. So what does that tell us? It tells us that talking about intimacy is something that we need to do. And it's hard it's difficult for a lot of couples to do that. And so I think that they are willing to look for anyone who can help, who can give advice, who can talk about what a healthy, intimate relationship looks like. And Dr. Fife is one of the best that doing so and so. I am so grateful that she is willing to make a return to the virtual counselors. Kind of a funny story about how this came about. And we talk about that on the podcast. So if you are not familiar with Dr. Fife for her work, Dr. Jennifer Finlayson, if you can find her at Finlayson Dash five dot com, and she is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in relationship and sexuality counseling. In addition to her dissertation research on LDS women's sexuality and relationship to desire, she is also taught college level human sexuality courses, as well as community and Internet based relationship and sexuality workshops. And if you go to her website, she has some online programs that are incredibly popular. And I have had many, many clients take those online courses, a couples relationship course, a couple's sexuality course of women's sexuality and desire, of course, and how to talk to your kids about sex course. So I highly recommend those. And she has workshops and events all over the country so you can sign up to find out more on her website. Finlayson five Dotcom. So without any further ado, let me get to the interview

[00:08:40] With Dr. Jennifer.

[00:08:50] And that's well, the big question is, where are you today?

[00:08:53] I'm in Lisbon, Portugal.

[00:08:55] Wow. And you've been gone for a while. How many days?

[00:08:58] September. We left beginning of September. And so we're like, what would that be like six, seven months into this? I didn't realize it was that long. Yeah, it's been phenomenal. So we've been all over again. We were in the U.K. and then we were in New Zealand and Australia and then Asia, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and and then now Europe. So we're kind of starting we were just in Africa last weekend. Wow. And now we're heading up into Europe. So we've done Spain, France. So it's been amazing

[00:09:35] When you get back to the US,

[00:09:37] The middle of June. Wow.

[00:09:39] I did not realize that. Yeah, yeah. But what do you what do you miss what do you miss from home.

[00:09:45] Oh nothing.

[00:09:48] No food. No pizza. You're from Chicago, right. Nothing like that.

[00:09:52] Honestly, I don't feel any sense of missing it right now, I'm sure if I were doing this for a very long time. Yeah, I was just remembering a time for some as I was speaking, I had said all this to you, but it was actually another person that interviewed me because we as a family decided to take our kids out of school and just travel for nine, 10. I'm talking to us. If you knew that

[00:10:12] Well and I was funny, I was thinking I should probably know that.

[00:10:15] Ok, yeah. I really like you do know that. I'm like, wait a minute. That was that other person, Quagmire. But anyway. But yes, we took the kids out of school and happened to work fine for everybody. My son is going to college in the fall and he was only had a couple of classes left to do, which he's done online and things like that. So and my husband and I both can work online. So we just took the show on the road and it's been really phenomenal experience.

[00:10:43] So you've been doing a lot of the retreats and workshops and that sort of thing I've done.

[00:10:47] I did, yeah. I've done a lot to I've done two things. So I did one thing before I left. My family went ahead of me to England and I did it with them. And then I flew back for a couple of phratry. Then we did a couples retreat in Italy. So I was just there and now I'm flying back to Oregon to do another women's retreat. But that's tell me about

[00:11:09] That, too. I mean, because this is going to air pretty quickly. I'm gonna maybe try to get it out tomorrow, Friday. So.

[00:11:14] Yeah, yeah. Great. Yeah. So May let's see. May 1st through the 4th. We are doing another women's retreat in outside of Portland, Oregon, and we did this last year and it was a huge success. It was it's the heart of desire class that I teach for women, LDS women, about their relationship to themselves, to their bodies, and to desire both in general in their lives and sexually. And so I've taught that course in the two day forum, but I expanded to three days to just have more time with the content, more video clips, more discussion. I teach in the evenings as well. There's exercise, there's good food. And it's really it's you know, it's more than two times better than the two day trip because because women have more time to connect with one another and to really immerse themselves in the content. And so you really do see a transformation happen from the beginning of day one to the end of the day three.

[00:12:13] I have to tell the story of how this came about. So I was sitting in a session. I've got my iPad in front of me. I'm taking notes. I'm probably asking somebody how they feel right in that moment. And I'm very present with my client. But a text does come through from my nephew and he says in all caps, they're talking about you and my psychology class and he goes to BYU. And so it was funny. The imposter syndrome kicks in, I think. Is he saying I'm a fraud or what's the competition? Then when he gets back to me, he lets me know that the professor was talking about our interview that we did about a year ago on my podcast, just talking about couples of intimacy and challenges and ways to communicate. And I was really grateful. That was neat to hear that we were we were part of the subject matter. But I have this I don't think I shared this part with you. He didn't told me later that he had presented the professor presented it is that you were an expert. And I was I think he said something to do with I had something to do with pornography. So then one of the one of the women in the class said, oh, that's horrible that he makes his living over that. And there was like, no, I'm not a porn star. You know, I helped men overcome pornography addiction. And so I thought that was funny. So hopefully people heard the second part and people aren't Googling me and thinking me. So I'm grateful for taking the time, especially with you on the road. And and I just I initially said, hey, I'd love to talk about one thing, but then, man, the more I think about the second part of the topic I had asked you about, I wouldn't mind if we maybe started there. And that's the the concept of do you run into this a lot? The I have I work with women who will just say, what do I do if I no longer find my spouse attractive or physically attractive? Do you run into that?

[00:13:50] Yeah, definitely. And so what do people do about it? I mean, I think the question for me around that is, why do they not find their spouse attractive and what's happening in the marriage? You know, is it and basically, would you be OK with your spouse applying the same standard you're applying to you? Like, are you in a double standard or would you understand if your spouse felt the same way, given the same behaviors or whatever? But I think the question of why don't they? And, you know, sometimes people don't feel desire. I would say oftentimes because their spouse is disappointed them, because there isn't a lot of investment in creating a vibrant, lively sexual relationship that they've kind of just wanted the central part of the relationship to take care of its. And rather than taking care of it as a couple and so are you not attracted because you are creating that kind of energy in your marriage, you're not attracted because your spouse is doing things that are unattractive and out of good judgment. And we could talk more about that if you want. OK, or is it that you haven't really chosen your spouse and you haven't really invested and you haven't really made a decision that this is where you're going to bring your whole self and your best self? And so the lack of desire is more it's a way to get out of the pressure that a marriage places on all of us, at least a choice based marriage. And so a lot of people will kind of use the idea of their lack of attraction and almost cultivated in their own minds as a way of not having to deal more straight away with the marriage with themselves and their role in it.

[00:15:51] And I appreciate that. And maybe if I even start from I think when I see it a lot, it's coming from if I'm working with someone who is working through betrayal, trauma, if they're their partners, had a physical affair, an emotional thing, or if they just found out that their husband has been addicted to porn for years. And so they've just got shaken the foundation of their marriage. And so so I think what you're seeing there, if you like, at times, is that more of the the emotional piece?

[00:16:18] Oh, yeah, definitely it can be. And, you know, for me, what I want to think about with that is this person's lack of desire or a function of good judgment or poor judgment something is their spouse behaving in a way that is truly untrustworthy and that this is not a person that anyone in good judgment is going to want to open her heart and body up to. OK, and so I don't see the lack of desire as a problem as I'm seeing it as an expression of her self-respect. Yeah, OK. If she's been with someone who's been lying to her for years or who has been unfaithful, that's a function of self-respect. And I'm not saying that it needs to end there. The conversation needs to end there. I certainly can understand where it's coming from. On the other hand, I do see a lot of people that kind of claim and foster a victim. Position in their marriage that often has some basis, right? Yeah, but that it takes on its own life because it becomes a solution to their own anxieties about sex, intimacy, choosing a partner. And basically what they're doing is saying, you know, because you haven't so filled some unrealistic fantasy of what a marriage should be. Right. That you revolve around me. You make me feel good all the time. Your sexuality is only reinforcement of me and my sense of self when I want it.

[00:17:54] If you won't do that, then I'm going to punish you for being a disappointment and a failure. And I can go find a whole group of women who will agree with me on this and my betrayal trauma. And I don't have to deal with myself in the marriage. And and so sometimes people will kind of lock down on their victim position and their lack of attraction as a way to get themselves out. Growing up in the marriage, really knowing their partner, really dealing more strictly with the marriage. I mean, I think and I'm certainly not you know, people are always responsible for their actions because they're the ones making them. But there's often a context in which people make their decisions. And oftentimes couples collude in a dishonest marriage. They. They make it difficult to have an honest conversation with them, and so they they certainly make it easy for there to be a kind of undercurrent of deception or non truthfulness. And then when that becomes explicit, you can kind of go blind to their own participation in a low intimacy marriage because of two people who really struggle or don't have it yet, developed enough of a sense of self to show up and tolerate the exposure that's inherent to an intimate marriage,

[00:19:21] Like what you're saying about if it is an out of use the word reprehensible. But is it something in the letter to say that the husband is doing that is just if he's not being there for the partner? Because I feel like when I do the couples work, if the husband is trying to do the repair, he's trying to do nice, emotionally focused therapy and attachment apologies. And and then he's being there or he's doing this, that he was trying to be there, trying to have those conversations, I feel like is that and I like where you're going with that and the acceptance and commitment therapy world, is she hooking, refusing to that? I don't find him physically attractive. So if she can believe or fuse to that story, then she doesn't have to lean in or do the work or go through that uncomfortable part.

[00:20:01] Exactly. Because I've worked with a lot of people who, you know, there's a basis for their lack of desire, there's a basis for their lack of attraction, and then their spouse really does get it together. Self confronts, really becomes a better person. They know their spouse is more trustworthy. Yeah, I know. And we'll even acknowledge he's really made changes and I respect it. But then they still want to kind of hold on to. Well, but, you know, I don't know if I can forgive him. I don't know if I can really open my heart up. I don't know. I mean, that's legitimate. Everybody has to make their decision about what they're going to do. But I see it often they're putting it in this issue of I don't know if I can forgive them because maybe it's too little, too late, but not really focusing on their own anxiety about intimacy. I don't mean just sex and really letting yourself be knowable. Yeah, really showing up and knowing this other person as a flawed human being and yourself showing up as a flawed human being, a lot of people don't want to do that. So they'd rather find a reason why they would do it if only their spouse would get it together.

[00:21:06] I like that because I do often say that if I get the woman, then one on one, if he is meeting those emotional bids and he's there for her and she knows if she goes to him with the trigger that he's going to respond appropriately, then lovingly and gently. Is that then where she can say, all right, maybe I do need to look at him, I am fusing to this thought or now I because I feel like a lot of times in the material world, they don't want to say that they necessarily have to do anything. And I'm not saying that's a generalization, but it's look, he's the one that did the betrayal. And, you know, I don't need to do any.

[00:21:38] Yeah, exactly. And I think that's at least not a view you're going to find a lot of sympathy for from me in my office. Because, I mean, listen, I mean, if someone goes and has an affair and is lied to for five years about it, I'm not talking about that. The woman has somehow is responsible for this guy's choice, obviously. Exactly. But but on the other hand, people do need to look at what their part is in a marriage and which may be putting up with garbage from the other person. But I really understand as how is this couple linked and how they put themselves together as a couple and how has that sort of created an equilibrium in each of them so they don't have to grow because that's what as human beings we tend to do. And I think a lot of people get stuck around this betrayal, trauma, infidelity thing. They kind of go and find their intimacy with their respective groups, meaning betrayal trauma group and the porn addicts group, for example. Yeah. Rather than really growing into a more honest, intimate, choice based marriage. on I. Yes, to that. I think that when we as women have been kind of constructed as dependent upon men for our happiness, for our well-being and we're the nicer ones.

[00:23:12] That we're the weaker ones. I mean, not very many of us want to admit to that kind of cultural idea, but a lot of us have inherited that idea. So I'll love you as long as you husband loves me first. That's the one a lot of us want to pull off internally, OK, because you're the man, because you should make the world safe for me. Then I'll love you with a response. And if you don't do that, I don't. I'm off the hook. And I think that's a convenient idea. But I think. Constructing ourselves is much weaker than we are as women and that we also have promised God to love our spouse as much as they promise not to love us. And so what does it mean to love this man? Flaws and all? What does it mean to choose him? Was it mean to know him? I don't mean putting up with shenanigans and betrayal like that. But, you know, is there a way to not just vilify and understand who this person is and how they've come to make the choices they have and how I wanted to see them more as a solution in my life rather than some someone to love and to choose.

[00:24:21] And I. Yeah, and I love that. And you feel like and I almost feel like we're both agreeing that. And that's with the caveat that the husband is willing to do work or try to repair the relationship or own his own his own stuff that like you say, there are plenty of people that don't end up having the affair, but even though there's dysfunction or or that sort of thing.

[00:24:41] Yeah, yeah. And that's exactly that's assuming there is a partner who is wanting to deal with himself and is trying to grow and become better, that the spouse is also looking at herself in the marriage.

[00:24:56] Can I take a slightly different path? I'm curious your thoughts. So and I feel like this is the basically the most part of what I work with every now and again. I do get someone that is saying my husband literally is put on two hundred pounds, but I don't find him attractive and then they typically want to go in and just be brutally honest. And what are your thoughts on that?

[00:25:17] Well, again, I would be looking at the reason of the why. Why has the partner put on two hundred pounds and what is the meaning of it in the marriage? Is it that the person has a metabolic issue and there really is some issue that can't be changed? Yeah. And then I say, you know, is there still some way for you to love and choose this person? What would you want for yourself if you were in your spouse's shoes? Like what would you hope for? What kind of acceptance would you want to have? And are you able to offer what you would expect or what you would see as a decent and fair? If if it's I think it's harder if it's that you're married to somebody who is indulgent in the marriage. Right. That they're not really taking responsibility for themselves, that they're kind of in a some kind of indulgent behavior in this particular case, maybe with food or if you have somebody who's indulgent in their, you know, with alcohol or pornography or something like that, then I think it's. It's much harder to sort of look past it because you understand there's a volitional behavior that is undesirable and that someone is choosing a path that isn't desirable because it's an expression of weakness. And I don't mean that we can't choose our spouses knowing that we each have weaknesses and knowing that we're fallible human beings. I think it's a lot harder to desire somebody when you think they run their life by their weakness.

[00:26:56] Yeah, when I when I work with addiction, it's I talk about there's a void there somewhere. So you are not connected in their job or as a parent or with their health or their faith. So I'm coming at it with more empathy of trying to see.

[00:27:08] Ok, yeah, well, I would say that maybe with empathy, but also I do think that marriage, if you're going to keep passion and desire alive, it has to be a growing marriage on some level. And you have to be willing to look at yourself and have conversations about things that are difficult. And if you really want a good sexual relationship and your spouse is struggling honestly to be attracted because, you know, you're not trying, you're not putting in effort. I mean, I think if you if maybe a hard conversation to have. But I think if you are really trying to create something better, it's probably a conversation to have. Yeah. And it's not about trying to push the other person down or make them feel small. It's about trying to create something better. Yeah, well that's really what's driving it. And I like

[00:28:03] I was saying, is empowering them as therapists and instead of going in and saying, hey, you put on a ton of weight, you know, coming at it more with the more of the. Tell me more about that. Tell me what's going on in your life, not only in this indictment, I guess.

[00:28:18] Yeah, yes, exactly. But exactly. And the focus of it is not about, you know, I'm going to trample you because then I have an excuse for not desiring you. But I really do want to have a good sexual relationship. And so what kind of going back to what I was talking about initially, like is the lack of desire a function of good judgment or poor judgment? Let's say that is a function of good judgment. You feel like your spouse is living indulgently or they're not respectful of you or they don't care about you except for when you climb into bed at night. And this is the only time they seem to care that you're there. Your lack of desire may be a function of good judgment. You're saying this is not the kind of sex that I want. One thing I talk about in my women's course is that women have as much, if not more sexual capacity than men do, but they're much pickier about where they show up and open up. And so that's that's how we're wired. That's fine. But then it means sort of advocating for what you really want. And so if someone is saying, look, I'm not as attractive as I want to be because I want to have a good sexual relationship with you, I want this to be a good part of our lives.

[00:29:30] And the fact that you do X, Y or Z or if you would do more of A, B and C, I would find it much more desirable. I would find it much easier to choose and be here. And it's not to tear the other person down, it's to actually create something better. So it's not about, hey, I just don't desire you, it's OK. I am having trouble. I need to think about it. This is about selfishness on my part or limitations on my part, or if this is something I need to address and if I need to address it, that I really do take it up in the frame of I want something good. Yeah. Like that. And this is this is interfering. And I say it too, because I love you. I say it too, because I want good things for us. And if you mean that and your spouse can track that, you mean it might be a hard conversation but it's going to be a productive one. Yeah.

[00:30:23] So really. And how you frame it like that a lot on those lines. I'm dying to know your theory on this too. I think before I did the whole became a therapist that I call it the Beauty and the Beast theory where, you know, love will will rule regardless. It doesn't matter if I find the person even in the slightest bit attractive. It doesn't really matter. What do you see with that? Do you think that?

[00:30:46] Well, I mean, I do think there's something to kind of a visceral attraction, which is not the same thing, that it will make you happily married. Yeah, but there is some research. I think Lattman talks about some of this research where there's certain people that other certain people will find attractive, kind of over and over a certain characteristics, certain. You know, I always was kind of drawn to sort of lanky guys like not buff, but like kind of slender. That's exactly the person I'm married to. And and I think there's a lot of people that just sort of feel an immediate kind of attraction. I definitely felt that when I first met my husband. And I think that's important. And when we when we are dismissive of that, I don't think we do ourselves a favor. What we should be dismissive of that is of the idea that that's enough for a good marriage, because it's not a lot of people are very attracted to each other, but that are mean, selfish people incapable of creating something good. Right. And so it's not everything, but it is something that said, I think that a lot of people felt very attractive in the beginning will undermine their feelings of attraction. Things will happen in the marriage, as we're talking about, that will undermine attraction.

[00:32:06] And you may feel no attraction to the person that you once felt a feelings of attraction when you first met them. And that's not about something fundamental to who the person is. It's about what you've been creating as a couple in the marriage that's undermining desire. If you are one of these people who married somebody in part because they weren't that attractive to you. And I know a lot of people who've done this because they found it safe before they found it easier if they could just say you're going to be the father or the mother of my children. And I can sort of desexualized you because as I like sex and I like those feelings, but I'm afraid of them in a marriage. Well, I think it's harder. But just to be completely honest, I think it's a really indecent thing to do in a marriage. I think it's a really unfair thing to marry someone thing, the secret that you're not that attracted to them because you've now entrapped somebody who feels your lack of desire and you're just kind of putting up with that sexually every single time they're with you. And I think that's a very humiliating thing to do to somebody that created

[00:33:21] An unhealthy relationship with intimacy in general, right?

[00:33:25] Absolutely. And it's going to undermine the whole marriage because I think the sexual choosing part of the relationship is really fundamental to the foundation of a marriage in a choice based marriage. I mean, if we were in arranged marriages, that's that's a different framing and a different understanding, but and a choice based marriage. Part of the understanding is that I choose you, I desire you and you desire me. And of all the choices, we have made one another special. And that part of the specialness is that we share our sexuality with one another and we choose each other. And I think when that doesn't play out in a marriage or you don't hold that as an important part of the marriage and something you have a responsibility to an understanding, you have a responsibility to, it wreaks havoc on the marriage.

[00:34:19] I did a podcast on a concept that Dr. Skinner, Kevin Skinner talks about, and it's these levels of intimacy and where it's natural to go in this physical attraction, but then underneath that physical or these layers of verbal intimacy and emotional intimacy and cognitive intellectual intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and that if we just go in at that physical, then if we're trying to have that verbal intimacy and we can't even talk to our partner for a while, we can say at least there or at least we have sex and then we jump back down to emotional intimacy and they don't meet our emotional bids and OK, but at least there's the physical and that that kind of sets things off in a pretty negative pattern. But if you nurture those levels from the ground up, this verbal and emotional, then physical intimacy is the byproduct of what a different experience that is other than the it's just we're going to have we're going to have sex instead of the we feel like it's the the the next thing that we need to do because we feel so connected.

[00:35:12] Yeah. I mean, I think that, yes. You can't build a marriage on just sexual attraction. I mean, I think that's clearly going to fall apart pretty quickly. That's the only thing you share because a marriage is so much more than just having sex. Yeah, but on the other hand, I don't think we should make sex the thing that you arrive at after all the other pieces are in place. Sure. I'm not sure if that's how Skinner talks about.

[00:35:41] No, no. And in fact, he talks about it. When those things are intact, then it is even easier to. Then he referenced there was a sex therapist when he introduced this name, Pat Love, who said she she has a small libido, her husband has a large libido. And when those things are intact, she now feels like when she knows that he needs the base, that he needs sex and he stressed whatever that she knows. I think she said the phrase, I can just pull him over and give him a quickie in the closet, which everybody laughed about. But it was like, yeah, so it wasn't saying we have it always has to build these layers up, but that sure helps secure the connection.

[00:36:14] Yeah, I think it's part of the foundation, the emotional intimacy and the physical intimacy are just fundamental to a good marriage. And if it's only one or only the other, I think the. Struggle's. Yeah, so, yeah, I think we we owe it to ourselves to understand not the importance of having sex is not really what I'm saying so much as the importance of desire in marriage. Yeah. Which is not the same thing as having intercourse with a lot of people have intercourse without desire.

[00:36:49] Yeah, well,

[00:36:50] I mean that you choose this person that you want them in your life

[00:36:55] When that's perfect Segway to just a couple of more minutes so that you and I were both on a low. I love marriage therioke. I think we were both on the right. That was fun. Your episode was fantastic in the you talk there about low desire and high desire. And I and I run into this all the time of the high desire person just saying if we only had more sex, the low desire person feeling like when he pouts and goes about it in a certain way, I feel like eventually I just have to give in and then it just creates this like unhealthy dynamic. Can you talk about low desire, high desire?

[00:37:24] Yeah, sure. It's kind of a broad and I think where to step in. OK, yes. It's a very well

[00:37:31] How how about when I get I get the guys, they look at me and they I think and I don't even know if it's because as a male therapist, they assume that I'm going to have their back, so to speak, when they just say, look, when I when I have more sex, I'm a happier and better husband, better father, better at work. And they look over at me and then I typically look at the wife. And just having done this for a while now, we're knowing that she'll say, OK, I basically feel like I'm responsible for his happiness, his world. And here we have that. So she's the desired partner in that situation. He's the High desire and they created this kind of negative relationship with sex and intimacy in general.

[00:38:03] Yeah, because I first of all, I think if a husband starts out in that framing, he's toast.

[00:38:11] It's not that there's a quote. There's the quote for the book. Yes. Right there.

[00:38:15] Yeah, I get it. My husband serves on everything. He's screwed. Yes. Not screwed.

[00:38:22] Yeah. I like toast. Toast.

[00:38:24] Yeah. Toast is better. OK, but you know, he's in the sense that he's happy because it's setting it up that you need to take care of my emotional world through putting out. Yeah. Now if the two of them buy into that idea she may put out, but she won't desire him. She is not going to choose him because she's got a job to do, which is propping up his sense of self. And so if she feels like she's got to handle his feelings so she doesn't pout and punish. Exactly. And so on, it's just like having another kid that you've got to take care of. And then he's like, why don't you want me? What's your problem? Maybe you need to go to the Finlayson-fife workshop again.

[00:39:11] I have had those conversations in here.

[00:39:15] You don't desire me. And he's not seeing that. He's setting up a framing of sexuality things is going to get in more like get more sex, but it's not going to get him wanted. And and if a woman sees sex as something she gives to a man and a man needs, quote unquote, it's it's going to go that way. Yeah. Because I don't see it that way. I mean, I see it as men and women, don't need sex. I mean, they both can survive without it. It's not it is not a need capital and need. It's not a survival reality. It is part of thriving. It's part of living. A good life and desiring and being desired is really part of a good marriage. But then the question is not how do I just get this guy off my back? Right. How do we create a marriage where sex is a good part of it, that sex would be desirable for me? And how would my higher desire spouse need to handle him or herself differently to make themselves more choosable? Right. Or to get it out of this framing that I have to do this to manage your sense of yourself. So it's this need idea is the one that a lot of people buy into, but actually then infects the marriage, especially the idea that men need it.

[00:40:47] Yeah, no, I like that because I do feel like it when I am. I love everything you said there. When I turn to the guy and say, all right, she now feels like she's in charge of that. And so you've created this unhealthy dynamic. Basically what I'm trying to start the process of is letting the guy and he will say, OK, so if I do this for a little while, I don't make her feel like she always has to have sex with me. Then will we eventually have more sex? I do feel like that's basically he's looking at me and it's no, but I feel like the guy is telling me that, no, I don't get it. But it's really you work with people long enough to see that they do feel that they can have a connection without it having to be with sex or the wife can lay in their lap. And if he gets aroused, it doesn't mean we have to have sex or the hug. And if the if she if it's open mouth kiss, it doesn't mean, OK, I'm having sex tonight. And that's where. How far some of the I feel like some of the spouses pull away because they don't even want to give any indication of that. Absolutely right.

[00:41:37] Yeah, well, there's a lot of that where women feel like if he gets aroused, then I don't have any choice. Exactly. Which I think is crazy. Yeah, I mean, that's crazy. I mean, I don't mean I'm not trying to say women are great, but I'm just trying to say that that's that's a framing also in a marriage that will undermine intimacy, because I think a good marriage is you're going to feel arousal oftentimes where no sex happens. It's just part of being in a marriage where you desire and feel desire. Yeah, and that's even a good part of the foreplay, even if it's a few days before sex, that there's this kind of ability to touch and be with one another and feel arousal and not have to have it mean that now you have you're going to get well, it gets good. You know, that that idea makes people just try to stay away from the high desire person. And and so I think, you know, when the guy is asking you, well, if I stop pressuring or pouting, does that mean I'm going to have more? I'm trying to think how to that. I mean, I think on the one hand, I would say this is not a tactic. Exactly. No, this it's not about how to manipulate. OK, this is this is about the fact that you are making your spouse responsible for something that is not her responsibility. She's not responsible for your sense of desirability. responsible for your sense of self. Yeah. And are responsible for having respect for yourself and seeing yourself as a desirable human being. If she gets to decide if she's going to choose you, she gets to decide if she has sex with you. She's going to decide if she's going to confront her own anxieties, limitations, but that's her responsibility. And when you're trying to make sex about something, she has to do so you can handle yourself. Yeah, but you have made yourself a very undesirable partner.

[00:43:34] Absolutely. And then this is a part where I feel like you guys listening. Well, I'm sorry, but they will resonate with this part. So if it didn't happen that night, if they were if they. OK, fine, we'll cuddle. But I had it. I was aroused and nothing happened. And and then they go to bed angry and they still try to poke a little bit at her. She wakes up, then they wake up the next morning and they and now they're ruminating about it and they're in the shower. It's like, what's wrong with this? I'm not get. And then they go to work and they're just thinking. But then you're teaching someone instead of like exactly what you just said of love. When a guy gets to the point where and I will teach mindfulness and they're going to go to bed and they're going to have this thought and it's not really productive because they're going to breathe through it. They're going to be present. They're going to be grateful that they are coming closer together. And then they wake up the next morning and now they don't ruminate in the shower. They don't they're thinking of other thoughts and productive things. They go to work and they're happy and they're not doing what's wrong with this marriage. If she just had more sex, we'd be happy. And it's a look at all that unproductive time and mental energy that now is gone. And then over time, I feel like you're right. Then the guy realizes, oh, wow, I don't have to have sex three point six times a week to be happy or whatever it is that he's come up with.

[00:44:37] Yeah, right. Well, and exactly. And I need to handle myself. I mean, this is all we have control over in marriage is ourselves. Yeah. And the more confused we get about that, the more unhappy the marriage. Yeah, exactly. So so I think, you know, I can't make anyone desire me. I can't make anyone choose me. That's what makes it so beautiful, is that if it really is freely offered and you know, there's no coercion and someone chooses you or brings their best to you, you know what a gift it is when you're always coercing, even if they comply, you never get you never have the sense of feeling really chosen. And I think for those of us who struggle with our sense of self, we're many of us are going to feel tempted to coerce because we don't want to know the answer of whether or not this person chooses us. Well, that's good. And so I see it not just as managing your thoughts, but a very important process and growing into adulthood is being able to handle your own sense of self in the face of invalidation. Yeah, in the face of not being wanted or reinforced in the way that we would most like. Not having this throw us into that kind of disorganized emotional state, that's important work and it's not work you're doing because you're defective partner, right? Yes, it's a work you're doing that's a part of becoming an adult. Yeah. This is like what they think Christ was quintessentially was a nonreactive, purposeful being who could tolerate invalidation, could tolerate the disagreement, or that people would see him as someone other than who he really was because he had enough sense of self to sustain it, to not get vindictive or cruel, and to stay invested in creating goodness in the face of that invalidation.

[00:46:42] Wow. That's that's really a hallmark of goodness. Yeah. And it's a hallmark of strength. And if you don't learn how to do that in a marriage, you're going to have a hard time creating a good marriage because it's so fundamental to creating something better. You know, just the other day I was having a conversation with my husband, I was telling him something invalidating of himself, it was giving him some thoughts that were a criticism, I suppose, saying I wasn't being mean. I was just saying honestly something that was hard for me. And he just honestly absorbed the conversation and responded to it and was thoughtful about it. And, you know, what's interesting is even that was not a really easy conversation. I was just afterwards, I just felt so much traction to him because I just said to him, I'm so grateful. You're the kind of person that can handle that kind of conversation without being punitive or mean or saying things back to me. And I just really respect it. And that's the, That's sort of the ability to kind of deal with hard things and walk towards them and look at your role in them. It's a really fundamental to creating, to being a good parent, to being a good partner, to being a good human being. And so that's fundamental to learning how to be a desirable person. So I think a lot of us get a lot more fixated on whether or not our spouse desires us than whether or not we genuinely see ourselves as choosable, as worthy. And that's the part we have control over.

[00:48:33] It does. And it does take work. I mean, do you feel like your husband is a natural at that or is that been something that is evolved over time?

[00:48:41] I think it's evolved over time, but he's probably more natural at it than I have been. You know, the first year of marriage, I'm like that. Now, why is that? That's what I'm

[00:48:53] Just thinking through a couple of difficult couple of sessions yesterday where I feel like we're making some point that is that we want. But don't you want your partner to be able to come to you and share their feelings and emotions? And somebody will say, yeah. And then they'll say, then there's that. You wait for this, but they need to be, but they need to be nice about it or but they can't be it. It's all OK. You can't put the rules around it, though, because you're then telling your partner, no, I want you to do that as long as you do it the way I would like for you to, because that's what makes me comfortable.

[00:49:21] Yeah. Yeah. And I think you can be honest about things and still respect. Absolutely. Yeah. You can't. But I also agree that basically are you going to deal with what's true about you, whether or not it gets said nicely. Yeah, I mean that's really the measure in the question. Yeah.

[00:49:40] That's beautiful. That is. I love that we went there. I do. I am so grateful for your time, Jennifer. And again, I realize you've been traveling for months and months and so you were so kind when I reached out and just made yourself available. I really appreciate that. Hey, I would love to I would love to do another episode again. I almost felt guilty. I was grateful that my nephew did that. You're being talked about. There's my in. But I appreciate your generosity with your time and your again, your podcast is my most downloaded by far. And the video on YouTube of our first interview is the most viewed video. So you're doing so much good and I really appreciate that and appreciate the taking the time. So. OK, I got to ask you one more quick question. The chart when we were on before, one of the things that people tell me and they laugh about is I think we both joked about there was some Wi-Fi issues at your home because your son may be playing for a fortnight. And I say, so how is the fortnight overseas? I mean, is he giving it up?

[00:50:38] Hey, yeah. That yeah. Yeah, that's not happening.

[00:50:41] So that's that's the key. As long as all you do is move your family, become a pack of nomads for about nine months and the four year addiction

[00:50:48] Will be exactly I mean that is actually part of what our thinking was taking this trip is just actually having a little less time online, a little bit more time actually out in the real world. And he is actually currently studying in China for a couple of months doing language immersion program. So the Wi-Fi is so bad there is no there's no foreplay.

[00:51:10] So there's the breaking news. The real reason that the doctor five left was the fortnite. You're in a fortnight. There's no way. Thanks so much for your time. I hope you have a great rest of your trip. And then and I can't wait to talk to you again in the future.

[00:51:24] Great.

[00:51:24] Thanks so much. All right. Bye bye.

In part 3 of their 3 part series, Tony and Magnetic Marriage co-creator Preston Pugmire, give the final “ingredients” to creating a truly Magnetic Marriage...Presence and Radiance, Yin and Yang, or how to step into your core, confident self and show up, be there for your partner, and, in turn, for yourself. In part 1 of 3, they talked about the 4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation. The 4 Pillars, along with truly understanding the importance of personal accountability in a relationship set the stage for success. In part 2 of 3, they discussed the “Connected Conversation Script” or CCS which then gives a literal script, or blueprint of how to put the 4 Pillars into action. Today’s episode puts the finishing touches on how to stay present when having conversations, how to stay present, how to embrace positive “tension” when we’re too often afraid of negative “contention.”

We’re only a couple of weeks away from the launch of the next round of the Magnetic Marriage course. You can sign up now to get in the queue for round 2 by heading to http://tonyoverbay.com/magentic. The course is scheduled to open for sign-ups in late April.Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

----- TRANSCRIPT -----

positive tension.mp3
[00:00:05] Hey, everybody, welcome to

[00:00:06] Episode two hundred and fifty nine on the virtual couch, I'm your host, Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified my beloved coach, writer, speaker, husband, mother for ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back and online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from harmful effects and pornography. The reason I pause is because it really is it's a strength based model and I'm starting a whole separate podcast based on the Path Back program. It is going to deal specifically with the concept of pornography as a coping mechanism, and I can go on and on about that. But stay tuned for that. Coming soon to your podcast player near you. But please go check it out, Pathbackrecovery.com. And there's an e-book there about myths that people succumb to when trying to put pornography behind them. But really, it is more of a it is a coping mechanism. So the key is living your best life dialing in. Are you are you feeling confident or connected in your relationships with your spouse or your kids or your faith or your health or your job? And really, as you work toward getting rid of the shame and turning toward those voids, I like to call them in your life that you really can start to put that behind you and just live your best life. It's pretty darn amazing. Life's pretty, pretty amazing. And there are a lot of good things to live when you figure out what your own values are, what your own goals are, and not the things that people tell you that you're supposed to do.

[00:01:20] And that's a whole separate episode. And here I am trying to just introduce the concept of episode two hundred fifty nine. So go check out the virtual catch on Instagram or find me on Facebook. But let's get to today's content. Today is is episode three or part three of three of a three part series on the reviews of the magnetic marriage course. And if you're tired of hearing about the magnetic marriage course, bless your heart. But it has been an amazing, amazing course. And the feedback we we went and just lovingly grilled and got feedback and testimonials from the people that took the first round of the course. And so we're going through those and really, really putting the pieces together of what the experience was on the other side of the course, because we're launching the next round, round two, which is coming up in just a couple of weeks. And you can go to Tonyoverbay.com/magnetic to sign up and you will be one of the first people. Well, you will be the first people to find out the drop dead date when everything opens up and you can jump in there and you get the it's six modules in six weeks of coaching calls with Preston Pugliesi.

[00:02:22] We talk about all that in the course today. But what's fun about today's episode is we're kind of getting into the things that were pretty, pretty new and exciting for me as I was working with Preston and putting the course together. The last two, part one in part two, we talked about four pillars of a connected conversation, which again, is probably the thing I get the most feedback out of anything that I've done on the Virtual Couch podcast. The second the second round, we did the connected conversation scripts, which are really how to have these conversations about difficult, difficult things, even how to have conversations about not so difficult things, because you take that same framework of where do you want to go to eat? And you apply it into the highly charged topics of intimacy, of of politics, of religion, of parenting, of finances. Those things that people get stuck on so much. It's no wonder we get stuck on those because we really have a difficult time talking about even low charge topics about what do you want to do when you grow up or where do you want to retire or where you want to eat, or how do you like the the the clothes that I'm wearing, or do you like these frames of my glasses or my hairstyle? And when people are just become so on edge or walking on eggshells around their their spouse because they're trying to figure out what can to say the right thing or I don't want them to react or I don't want them to be angry or when things are going well, I certainly don't want to bring anything up.

[00:03:36] So the course really addresses all of those things. So in part three today, we really talk about something that was unique and exciting to me as we were putting the modules together. But it's something that the feedback backs this up, that it's been a really important concept and it's this concept of these energies. And I'm telling you, a couple of years ago, I was familiar with this concept, but I didn't put it into practice in my practice. But president and I are going to talk about the concept of presence, the concept of radiance, how they're there is one type of, in essence, core energy that's going to continue to just push and push and push, because that's who they are. And oftentimes when their spouse is someone who doesn't have the tools or the skills to kind of stand there in a calm, confident kind of energetic presence, then their partner will oftentimes not feel safe or not feel secure. So the concepts we're going to talk about today are are pretty amazing. And I have to tell you, I got an email pretty recently that was talking about my favorite marriage concept and modality, which is F.T.

[00:04:39] emotionally focused therapy. And again, I love the comments and feedback I get from the podcast. And I get a lot about people who have said they are grateful to have found emotionally focused therapy or therapists who practices F.T. because it is a an absolute game changing framework of a way to communicate with your spouse. That's what my entire magnetic marriage course is based off of. But there is a point where you once you have this new framework in place and you can. Communicate and go to your partner with anything, in essence, that doesn't mean that your partner is going to always, even when they're curious, doesn't mean that they're always going to say, holy cow, it's amazing. Tell me more about that. I want to hear all of the things that you're telling me right now, because we still bring our own baggage, our own struggles or challenges, our own perceptions, our own assumptions into the relationship. So if our partner and I gave this example a week or two ago, all of a sudden out of nowhere says, I think I want to buy a motorcycle. We are pretty good at when we hear that from our spouse of somehow making it about me, like, well, what am I not doing? That's enough? Or You've never said that before.

[00:05:39] That must mean that you're something you're struggling, going through a mid-life crisis, or I know you better than you know yourself. So if you've ever found yourself thinking that or feeling that way or even saying those things out loud, then do you really know your spouse? And I don't mean that in a negative way, but in a way of where has your spouse had to feel like they can't really be open or honest because they might get this or you don't want to do that? Or do you know how that that that makes me feel like? So today we're going to talk a little bit more about this concept of presence, this concept of radiance. We're going to talk about pushing boundaries. We're going to talk about how to hold hold a boundary. And at the end of the interview with Preston today, I just started talking a little bit about a concept that I, I do I talk a lot about things like trauma bonds and things that where people feel like they may be in an emotionally abusive or not an emotionally safe relationship. And and I want you to know that I hear you and I do a lot of episodes on the concepts around things like narcissistic personality disorder or even people that have destines or traits of narcissism. And I feel like there are a couple of key differences where and we talk about this toward the end of this podcast, where there are times where someone just literally will not take ownership or accountability of anything.

[00:06:51] That's where maybe some of that gaslighting comes from, where people will feel like they are made to feel crazy when they bring things up. And that is an entirely different beast or component. And a lot of the emails I get are from people that are saying, how do I know? How do I know if my spouse is able to communicate more effectively? And often I feel like they they may not have the tools or they may not even know that there are tools available to help them take ownership or accountability of their actions and still stay safe in a marriage. And today we talk about the concept of tension versus tension. And that's been a whole game changing principle or philosophy that is has grown out of this magnetic marriage core. So if you are listening, you listening to the first two parts of this three part episode, I really feel like today is it really is the final pieces, the missing link, the final puzzle pieces to how now to have these four pillars of a connected conversation, how to actually have the conversation. And I feel like these are those final pieces of how to really show up and stay present and allow your spouse to to exude radiance and to maybe be creative and fun and playful and not have the not.

[00:07:57] Have you feel offended if you are all of a sudden watching your spouse out of nowhere start to feel more of this confident energy or energetic and instead of making it about, oh, that makes me feel insecure if my spouse is suddenly acting different, we're going to talk about that and how to how to stay present and how important that presence is. So enjoy part three of three, go to Tony over Buy.com, slash magnetic and you will be able to be one of the first people to know is the course opens up, which is going to open up again in about a week and a half, two weeks. And and it's it's pretty amazing to think that there are people listening to this right now that are going to go sign up. They're going to take the course and I'll see you on these group coaching calls. And it's just an amazing experience. So let me get to today's episode. It's part three of three with Preston, and we're going to talk more about the feedback from the magnetic marriage course with the key components of presence and radiance in some of these really kind of cool concepts around the way you show up energetically. So I will hopefully see some of you on the magnetic marriage course. Let's get to the interview.

[00:09:19] Come on, take a seat.

[00:09:26] Welcome back to week three. Thanks, man. Three of three. I've never done a mini series before, so I'm really grateful that you're my first ever miniseries guest. How you feel.

[00:09:36] Oh, so good, man. This is fun. Let's get into it, bro.

[00:09:39] And I'm curious. I've had many, many good things said emails received clients in my office, people that have been hearing our last two episodes we're talking about. There is a way there's a connected conversation script. There are these amazing pillars. I don't know you hearing some feedback on your in yet.

[00:09:55] So, yes, the thing is, people. They want to know how to do these things and they feel like they should know them. That's the thing that that I've found as I've talked to people, is that they have this idea that I've been married for 12 years or something like that. Therefore, I should know how to be married. And just like children, marriage doesn't come with a manual. And so I think that people get frustrated by people. I mean me, I, I was like, why can't I just have this be smooth and simple? And I feel like I'm an adult and I got a mortgage and I got kids and I'm like, I'm in this. It would be nice to know how to do it. And yeah, it's this is the thing that I think is really, really fun, is that what you and I have pieced together is just this specific step by step way to allow yourself to have the tools, to have communication, to be able to take that emotional accountability so that you can level up, be more emotionally mature in life, in your relationships. And then what we're going to talk about today is stand in your core energy. We'll talk more about what that means. But to stand in this so that you can show up as the best version of yourself and it's not a one and done thing, it's not all of a sudden I did it once or I learned or I went to a course or I did whatever, and now I just know how to do it. But it gives you the tools to be able to redirect when you get off course.

[00:11:26] And I love it and I we continue. So three weeks, four weeks since we finished round one of the magnetic marriage course. So we're continuing to get the feedback from the participants. And I really feel like there was a mind mindset shift from, OK, I'll take the course and I'm done to the feedback we're getting, which has been mind blowing, has been a lot of OK, now we're able to get back on course faster. We're able to communicate about things that we weren't able to communicate about before. And real quick, before we move too far past this, I had a conversation with someone last week and it reminded me of when I was a brand new shiny therapist and people would approach me at a party and they would end up saying, well, I don't need therapy. Do you think I need therapy? Do you think everybody needs therapy? And I would say that I don't know. What do you think? And by the end, they're thinking, I think I should find a therapist. And I feel like with this marriage course, the more people have heard about the things that we've talked about on the podcast, I'm getting that same vibe where people are saying, well, my marriage is fine. I mean, it's not bad. It's not. It's not. I mean, sure, it could be better, but everybody's could be better. And then by the end of it, they're saying, so tell me more about these four pillars. And I like what you're saying, where it's the I know I shouldn't need a script, but and I say, yeah, I mean, that would be great to not need one, but I still need one guy who creates it with me. Preston, we need one and nothing wrong with that. And I feel like once you accept that this is going to be a continued effort, it's no longer this. Why is it a continued effort? It's all right. What do we do to continue this effort?

[00:12:45] Yeah, I mean, life is going to life marriages. It's going to marriage. It's just if you have kids, it's OK. If you are in a marriage and you deal with children or if you deal with in-laws or if you deal with money or if you deal with intimacy, like if I just described you and you're listening to this, if any one of those four things you deal with in life, then this is for you straight up, because there's going to be two different humans coming at different situations with different backgrounds and different viewpoints. And it's not like everybody. Everything is a knockdown, drag out fight. It's just it turns into, oh, man, people get defensive or people get hurt feelings or people have different ideas about how something should be like approached. And it makes it when both people are on board with the magnetic marriage formula and the four pillars, then it ends up it ends up creating a situation where you. Can have it just be smoother and it can just be easier, like marriage and relationships can be easy, I just can.

[00:13:55] It can. So, all right, let's jump into this, too. So several weeks ago, I did an episode, and it's one of those where it's a few thousand downloads ahead of the rest. And it was on a concept called differentiation and differentiation. And this is what I love about Preston, is Preston was able to say, all right, differentiation sounds like a great psychology word. And let's talk about how to apply that into your relationship. So in a nutshell, I mean, differentiation really is about accepting that you are the adult now and whether or not you're in a marriage, whether you're talking with the boss at work or you're demanding your demanding parents or at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, all of the cliches, you are ultimately captain of the ownership. And you can be that without being a jerk or without being mean. And I feel like that's one of those things. The president in our meetings that we were talking about on a weekly basis, we kind of narrowed into this. We're so afraid of tension that we we pretty much avoid it altogether because we're afraid that it will move into contention. So instead of being able to show up and stay present and this is what I love about you mentioned a minute ago, we're going to talk about what that means to stand in your core energy.

[00:14:57] But there are some really particular or intentional skills that we teach you in the course of how to show up and how to be calm and confident. And just this whole concept of a differentiated self which allows you to be in these more highly charged conversations and stay present and also be able to just have a connection, because I feel like we're so afraid of contention that we just tiptoe around anything that we think might be difficult, and especially when things are going OK. We never want to rock the boat. But then when things do get a little bit bumpy or the water does get a little bit rough, now all of a sudden we don't have the tools to communicate. And so then when when the seas do flatten out again and we don't want to we don't want to say anything to mess up the moment. So we get stuck in this endless cycle of just avoiding tension and fear of contention and then not really talking about anything. So then what do we do about it?

[00:15:51] But what do we do about we've got to fix that. So, I mean, do you want to feel comfortable in your own skin? You want to really know who you are in the relationship and really step into your purpose? Because what often happens is people will get into a relationship in a marriage and they end up even subtly, even if it's not intentional, they end up suddenly having their world revolve around the their spouse. And that sounds great on paper because it's well, why would I be so selfish as to not have I mean, they're my world. They're my everything. OK, that that ends up being a lot of pressure on them subconsciously, for reals. And so. Well, you're talking about differentiation. It's having a deep connection with yourself without losing that connection to others, specifically with your spouse. So you can bring your whole complete confident self to the marriage and then not need the relationship. But you choose the relationship. And that is a space of power and a space of like, true giving. You're giving yourself to that to your spouse, your partner. And when two people are both differentiated, meaning they have a connection with themselves and they're bringing their whole complete confident self to the relationship and both choosing the other person, that is where the brilliant, brilliant, thriving magnetism occurs because there's no games.

[00:17:29] Yeah. And I think I love how you put that and some of the things that you might hear that sound like they aren't a very big deal. But I think a lot of people listening will resonate as if somebody said if your spouse says, oh, I didn't know you really thought that or, you know, really that you like that. And if you've ever been in a situation where you thought, well, I mean, no, I don't really like that or I mean, I don't not really, that is not being differentiated because that is being afraid of tension. What if I do like a particular kind of movie? What if I do like a particular type of car or food or or and it can get more intense if I have a particular belief that might be different that I've been afraid to talk about. Those are those things that if you've ever felt like that in your marriage, where you've been afraid to bring up something because you are worried that your spouse may react a certain way, that is a lack of differentiation. So that is what we have we talk about in the course as a way to approach those moments and those conversations in a way to stay in your in your in your confidence, in your core energy and press that you've taught me a lot about the core energy. Talk about that.

[00:18:29] So what? Yeah, as far as energy goes, like, it's kind of difficult to kind of explain initially, but just stay with me for a second. Yeah. Think about a yin and yang, OK? You have the circle and you have things that are there inverted. And there they fit perfectly, OK, so think of them as two different energies, and I know maybe this doesn't make a lot of sense, especially if you're listening to an audio podcast. But like, we have two different energies and we're going to just talk about them in the context of yin and yang, because we do talk about them in the course as masculine and feminine. But it ends up being people have a hard time with that because of the male female connection that they they associate with us. So imagine two different energies that complement each other very, very well. One is more rigid and one is more Slowey picture. Like you have a beautiful piece of art, beautiful piece of art, and it's very flowing and it's very like a radiance in inside of the art of the canvas is just beautiful. And then. There's a frame, the frame is around the art, and it ends up creating a context and it holds the space for the art to be itself. If you see a piece of art and it ends up just flowing out of the frame, I mean, that could be a piece of art. That's that's fine. But it it feels a little bit unfinished, right. If you have a direct frame around it. That's the these core energies, the yin and the yang one is radiant and flowing and the other one is more rigid and sturdy, the frame versus the art.

[00:20:16] Another way to describe it is that the flowing water of a river versus the Sturdee, the sturdiness of the banks, the river bank, and it's holding the holding the place for the water. So if you think about it in those two context, we have the energy of those two energies complement each other. And in a marriage, one of the partners will most often have the the sturdy, rigid, protective energy and the other one will have the radiant, flowing energy. OK, so we talk about it in the context of radiance and presents and. More often than not, nine times out of 10 in a hetero normative relationship, that the man is the the the frame, the sturdiness, the rigid, the protection, the masculine energy and the the woman is the feminine energy and she is the the complimentary radiant, flowing energy. And so think think about this in your relationship. If you are and again, there's so many other options for this, we're just going to talk about it in this context. So think about it in your relationship. If you're a woman and do you want your do you want your husband to, like, show up and be present and have an opinion and be like the sturdy leader who you can trust? You want that, OK? And also think about if you're the man, do you want your wife to show up as like radiant, floaty and fun and open with her energy and just those kind of things? Do you want to feel trusted? Right.

[00:22:01] Are those the type of energies that you want? Because most often when there is and I'm going to say misalignment, things that are out of alignment, that is where one of the people in the relationship will step out of their core energy, the complementary yin yang energy, the complementary, masculine, feminine energy. And if this is the first time you're hearing about this and you're like, why is he talking about I, I get it. I understand it. So I'll say it like in two sentences. What I want you to notice is that if something feels off, there is a way to get it back into alignment. That's all it is. And it's there are ways that you can think, feel and act that we go through in the course that get people back into alignment. Have you ever driven a car, Tony? Where the the car. The wheel. You need to turn the wheel three degrees to the left to make the car go straight and you feel like you're constantly, like, just fighting the wheel to get back onto the straight highway road. I mean, that's what it feels like when you're out of alignment with your core energy and something just feels off and you can't really have you ever just not me and my wife are just not meshing right now. We're just not on track. I'm sure that everybody listening. This has had periods of time where you felt that in your in your marriage. There is a way to be able to get back on track, and it's easier than you think.

[00:23:36] Well, and let me tell you, Preston, there's a and you're right, the primarily I like where you're going with the yin and the yang. And for the sake, of course, we do talk more about that masculine feminine energy, but it can be the male can step into feminine energy and the female into masculine energy. And I was thinking about this a lot. I was talking with my wife and I am more of a dreamer. I am more of a creative type. And there are times where I have been expressing eight hundred ideas and and I was sharing with my wife that at times where she's kind of like, I don't know, what are you going to do? And I haven't necessarily felt like there was that connection or that that, that trust. Yeah. And so we talked about this and I love it because I feel like that is when when I'm in that I'm almost in my radiant energy and and when she then now steps in with that more present energy where it's like, man, I hear you, I believe in you. And what are you going to do about it? Like, let's take some action. And I feel like that was one of these kind of game changing moments, even for me, because when that's out of alignment, I'm feeling like I'm sharing all this, all these ideas. But it's being met with a, hey, what do you want me to do about it? Like you come up with ideas all the time. And we were processing this when we were first creating the course. And that was one of the first things I clicked to me was the way that I did. I wanted that person to just kind of stay right there and say, man, that sounds great and I believe in you.

[00:24:52] So. So do something. Let's do something about it. And that's where you just feel that maybe it is tension, it's not contention. And that's when I feel alive and I have to share. I was talking with this with someone in corporate America. And I remember I think I texted you right after I said prescient stuff is gold, where the person had talked about when they were with a boss and they knew that the boss really, really was worried about what this person, this this employee thought about them to the point of where the employee could just push and push and push and the boss would finally say, hey, whatever. I don't whatever you do, I don't care. I mean, I can't contain you anyway. And this person had this moment where they said it was at that moment, I realized I didn't really have a lot of respect for my my boss. And so then I kind of felt like, you know, I can kind of do whatever I want. It doesn't really matter. And so we identified boss as he had had in the past of ones who who did stand pretty strong with their boundaries. They were firm. They were so supportive, but they were able to to really put a frame together for this person's rate of energy. So that those are a couple of the examples that I thought of that really helped me understand what that feels like. And it does feel a little bit like tension. But, man, you feel alive, too, and you feel like, OK, I can go and do big things because I've got this person there.

[00:26:07] Yeah. So exactly when you're talking about with is it ends up that you're talking about compliance. OK, I just do it. Yeah. And often compliance is seen as like being, being selfless and you're like being a good person. I'm doing this for the better man of the relationship. Now I am not saying push back and push back on every single thing, but if you comply with everything and you don't express your desires and be willing to tolerate invalidation, if you don't do that, then your spouse will not respect you. Yeah, and that's what happens like so often in a marriage, like, we will want to just please the other person. Yeah. Because that's what we're supposed to do. Now, there's a difference between like I want to please that person versus like I want to just like I want I want their love. I want their validation. I want them to think I'm OK. So we'll do things like choose a restaurant or just pretend we don't have an opinion. Totally. Have you ever pretended you don't have an opinion? When you really do, then you're selling out on yourself. So one of the things I've learned so, so much from you, Tony, and that I've implemented in the magnetic marriage program and with our students is this idea that you've mentioned it briefly of tension like tension. Positive tension is so healthy for a relationship because that's when two people are whole and complete and confident and they bring their themselves to the relationship to choose into it. They're going to have differences and those differences are going to create tension. Now, we have created this negative stigma around the word tension. Yeah, it doesn't have to be negative.

[00:27:54] Contention is negative when there's disagreements and butting heads and fighting. But when you're just talking about two different ideas, like how boring would it be to agree with your spouse on everything? Oh, that would be so boring. Yeah, there's there's no healthy, like liveliness. And this is what I've learned from you, is you don't have to fix or solve more resolve every difference. There can be and should be, yeah, differences that you tolerate in an emotionally mature way. Things like parenting differences, things like religious differences, things like intimacy differences, things like the food and movie differences, like entertainment differences, like what do you what do you want? What are you willing to? Are you willing to stand up for what you desire? Not in a I'm standing up for myself and I've been confrontational. No, you're just like saying now this is what I like and and it's OK. I am not threatened by you not liking the same thing as me. So what would it feel like if you're listening to this? What would it feel like to, like I said, be comfortable in your own skin to really own your desires and to be confident in expressing them in a healthy way? That might lead to some tension, but it's positive tension. Imagine what positive tension might feel like in your relationship. And if you can't imagine that right now, that's OK. But what I'm saying to you is be open to learning the difference between positive tension and contention and then implementing it in a way that allows you to show up as yourself while choosing into the relationship. And everything will change if you open yourself up to that.

[00:29:51] And I feel that I really did. And in the differentiation episode, I believe it was. And I want to almost give the and the rest of the story I talked about, it was while we were talking about a lot of this stuff over the break. It was November, December time frame. And there was a movie on in the background. And it was a movie that was really silly. It really was. And I love it. I love everything about it. And it came on and we had the whole family there. We're playing a game. And I said, Oh, I love this movie. And it was like record scratch, quiet people. A couple. And one of my kids said, wow, they really like you think that's funny. And I felt in that moment was when in the past I would have retreated and said, no. I mean, I know it's kind of dumb. I just said, yeah, I think it's super funny and it makes me laugh a lot. And I paused everybody and and I said, OK, sorry, group therapy. That's what you get for having a dad as therapist here. But what are you feeling right now? And people kind of did say they're like, oh, I feel like you're being a little defensive, dad.

[00:30:40] And I said, OK, I'm not. And I said, this is what is the challenge is that if I express a different opinion right now, then what you you all assume from me then then I feel like I'm doing something wrong. And so and I feel like that is what you've helped me with preston with this the presence, the radiant, the radiance, the polarity is. And I said, OK, so I'm going to stand and be confident. And then that is a really funny movie. And and I said, so let's just kind of keep playing the game. And it was really funny. And over the next two or three days, there were other things where I came home at one point and just express something I was going to do. Actually, one of the times I said, Hey, Wendy, are you OK? If, like, maybe I do this thing, go do this thing. And I felt like that is not no, I want to do the thing. So I was like, hey, I'm going to do this thing, you know, is that and I still felt like I want to say, is that OK? Please. And she gives them permission.

[00:31:32] Yes.

[00:31:32] And again, I love how we're saying and people hearing this this isn't this is why you can see how hard this is is. I was so worried about contention. I was so worried about sounding like a jerk that I wanted to just say, hey, what do you think about if you don't mind? It would be cool if and I wasn't saying, look, I'm doing whatever the heck I want, but I just said, like, hey, I'm going go do this thing. Because knowing that if my wife said, oh, would you mind helping me with this, then I want her to express that, too. And it was just a nice it just fell. And we've been doing that ever since. And it really has just added this just a little bit of a spark in that into the relationship.

[00:32:06] So there was a moment in the previous magnetic marriage course we did where one of the people was talking about he he realized that in his effort to please he had been overly compliant and he had just sought permission for everything. Yeah. And what that did is it put too much pressure on her to be the decision keeper. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And. And so in an effort to be kind, he had been shown up, showing up as weak. And so there's a huge difference. The picture, a pendulum, if you pull a pendulum up here and it's up here and one against one side and that side is permissive compliance, but always that. OK, and then you if you let go and the pendulum swings all the way to the other side and that's the other side, which is I'm doing this and you have to be OK with it. And those are two extremes that are not necessary. Neither of those are necessary. It's not either or. It's not binary on whatever swing into the middle, which is like, OK, I want to do this. Let's figure out a way for this to work, because I know that we're in this relationship together and we have kids, we have homes, we have schedules.

[00:33:26] We have that in all these different things that we got to do with. I'm going to do this. Let's figure out a way that works. Let's create a win win and you're coming to it with this. I want this. You're expressing your desires as a differentiated person and you're choosing into the relationship by working in concert with them. You're collaborating with them in an emotionally mature way and it can create tension. And if you're scared of that, then it means, OK, I'll say this. If you ever want to say something to your spouse and you pull back or you feel anxiety around it, it means that you're letting fear run your decisions around your relationship. And fear should not be a part of a healthy relationship. It should be collaborative, so tension and fear don't have to be there together, they just don't you can lean into positive tension, you can lean into productive anxiety. You can. And I didn't realize that until recently. But recently I've been married. I've been married for 12 years. So in the last probably two years is where I've really started to lean into this. And it's changed the way that we operate together. Because when it comes down to what you want, say, oh,

[00:34:33] Gosh, no preston. I was just going to say I felt like this was the the best part of the coaching calls that we did, because in putting the course together, it was almost like when you said, OK, what night are we doing the coaching calls? I remember thinking, oh, I'd like to do it every week. And the coaching calls have been where this part of the magic has happened. And that's been just amazing to watch. That's where I really feel like there's a lot of that transformation. Are people bringing these things up in in a safe place and we're able to guide them through exactly what you're talking about.

[00:35:01] So more often than not, the woman wants to feel seen and acknowledged. Understood and really safe. Really just safe and more often than not, the man wants to really feel. Like, appreciated. Like genuine, they want sincere praise, they want to be able to show up as the hero, they want their their spouse to be open and vulnerable and playful with their energy. And they want to feel trusted. They want to have this feeling of that they're allowed to, like, operate with that trust in their life and. So if you're listening to this and you want and you feel unsign or not understood or you feel unsafe, there's a way to shift that. If you're listening to this and you feel criticized, you feel like your spouse is closed off and cold or you feel like a little bit controlled, there is a way out of that. And it has to do with the thing that we're talking about right now with presence and radiance. And you can get to a spot where you feel seen, you feel acknowledged, you feel understood, you feel safe. And on the other side, you really feel like you're getting sincere praise and you feel like you're there open and vulnerable and playful with their energy. And you're allowed to you're not allowed. But they they give their love freely and they they create a situation where you can just operate in your life with trust. That is possible. And I. I know it.

[00:36:44] Absolutely, and I appreciate you sharing that and I want to address one quick thing. I know a lot of my audience that is going to be listening to this. They are sometimes almost feeling like they're locked in this type of a relationship where they they they almost feel this this bond that they can't escape. Well, I mean, I might as well be as authentic and vulnerable as I can. But often the phrase there's a concept called a trauma bond that it will be thrown around a lot. And I want to tell you that one of the things that this has been the biggest aha moment for me is recognizing sometimes in that trauma bond. The and we'll just give the scenario where the the feminine or the wife will feel that security because but they won't feel those other parts. They won't feel seen or understood. And so and so I want you to know that a lot of what is some of the epiphanies that I've had while we've been going throughout the course, I knew when we were put the course together, we were giving people the tools to be able to communicate about these things.

[00:37:39] But those coaching calls and some of the things and the feedback that we've read have been phenomenal, because I think a lot of times people do go to this all or nothing feeling or statement where they feel like, OK, if my husband is. Yes, sure. He provides this this physical or financial security. But but I don't feel seen or heard, these tools I really feel like have been. It's pretty phenomenal to watch. Sometimes that guy just doesn't understand how to do this or. Right. And so I really feel like that was one of those big takeaways from the feedback we've gotten from the first round, a couple of people that felt like, OK, I wonder if I'm in this trauma bond. I wonder if my spouse even can embrace these tools or use them. And so that's been some of the stuff that it's just been amazing to to read is how sometimes the people we don't know, what we don't know and we don't know how to have the conversations. We don't know the importance of that calm, confident energy.

[00:38:38] Yeah, that's one of the things that I, I love. You said one of the things that I have really started to understand over the last couple of years is like I kind of led with this at the beginning of the podcast, like. I shouldn't already know this stuff. Yeah, that's OK. If you don't know how to do that for your spouse, it's OK. It's not too late. You can always choose to show up differently. You can always do that. And it doesn't work to judge yourself for actions you took when you didn't have this information. So just compassion for yourself. Make a choice, invest in your relationship and invest in yourself and join the magnetic match program.

[00:39:25] Yeah. So right now, go to TonyOverbay.com/magnetic. We're less than two weeks out from right from from opening up the window, the cart. And we're getting a lot of good response. This is going to be a pretty amazing group, I think, of individuals or couples that I think is going to be amazing as well.

[00:39:42] Yeah, if you are if this stuff has resonated with you and you want to do this, this, then that is your answer. That is like, should I do this? Like, that is your answer right there. So Tonyoverbay.com/magnetic. Yeah. So put yourself on the wait list. We will you will be first to be notified when we open it. And I'm very excited about it

[00:40:06] To and I can't wait to see you on the group cos I mean I. Let's do this.

[00:40:11] Let's do this man. All right. All right, all right.

[00:40:13] Thanks I. See you later. Bye bye.

Are you ready to take your marriage from mediocre to magnetic? Even if you don’t feel like your marriage is suffering, Tony believes that there is always room for improvement and there is no time like the present. Tony and his friend, podcast host (Next Level Life), life coach, and Magnetic Marriage course co-creator Preston Pugmire, talk about what they’ve learned after completing the first round of their highly-anticipated Magnetic Marriage course (which initially sold out in less than 24 hours) as they prepare for the launch of round two. You can sign up now to get in the queue for round 2 by heading to http://tonyoverbay.com/magentic. The course is scheduled to open for sign-ups in the third week of April. In today’s episode, they cover the 4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation as well as how accountability plays a major role in a more connected relationship.Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

----- TRANSCRIPT -----

EP 255 Marriage Course part 1 of 3 -2021-03-30
[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, I have my friend and cocreator of the magnetic marriage course, Preston Pommier, joining me for Episode one of a three part series recap in the first round of the magnetic marriage course. And as we prepare to open up the registration on the second round of the course in late April, we wanted to give you a rundown on how things went in the course. We're going to talk about experiences from the magnetic marriage course, things we've learned about creating and running a marriage course. And in this episode in particular, we're going to spend some time once again talking about the four pillars of a connected conversation, which is truly, truly, in my opinion, the fundamentals of the course and how it creates a more magnetic marriage. And we're also going to spend some time talking at the end of this episode about the role of accountability and relationships. That and so much more coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:56] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two.

[00:00:58] Fifty five of the virtual couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified lab coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back Online Pornography Recovery Program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. If you are anybody that you know is trying to put pornography behind you once and for all, and trust me, it can be done in a strength based hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be way, then head over to Pathbackrecovery.com and there you'll find out more information about how to do this. I'm talking more and more about these Wednesday night group calls, which have been phenomenal, where we have a lot of people that are coming together, sharing some stories, successes, victories, and I open it up to questions and answers each and every week. So if you want more information on that, you you get it as part of the course taking the pathbackrecovery.com or the path that course. But also you can contact me through the Pathbackrecovery.com website or through the Tony Overbay dot com website, and I will give you more information about that. But there every week on Wednesdays and you can follow me on Instagram or at Richwood, virtual couch, Facebook, YouTube. And quickly, speaking of emails, I really wanted to talk about this real briefly.

[00:02:08] I get a lot of emails. I really do. And I read each and every one that I that I get. And I do my absolute best at the very least to reply and think somebody for sending me an email. A lot of the people are looking for advice or free therapy. And that's the part that is really difficult because I wish I could provide that to everyone. I truly do. And I only mention this because I got a really interesting email just yesterday in the subject line. The person called me, not a very nice name right there in the subject line. I'm kind of surprised that my spam filter didn't grab that. But the reason I wanted to talk about it is the person said that I needed to take the contact section of my website, that I was dismissive of, that I ignored the person. And I know you'll see where I'm going here in a minute, but I know that a lot of people would say, well, excuse me, you don't even you don't even talk about this. You know, you shouldn't give any any what energy to people that are sending you the negative comments, because I really don't get a lot of negative comments, which I'm grateful for. I get a lot of feedback, but not a lot of negative comments. But I wanted to frame this. I wanted to bring this up because it truly does break my heart when somebody feels the need that they have to call call me something really bad in the subject line, because I know that that means that they're going through a lot.

[00:03:20] And so I sent a quick reply. I said that I was sorry that the person was so upset, but that I checked through my emails. I didn't see anything from this particular sender. But what I thought was interesting is while I do have just such a tremendous amount of empathy for somebody that is in this position, I kind of turn to my very own four pillars that could have helped a great deal in this situation. Pillar one is assuming good intentions. So in this case, me not getting back to someone would I would hope that someone would assume that I didn't maniacally decide not to reply, that there must have been a reason why. Pillar two with me saying he's sorry, I truly didn't get the email that you're talking about. I really do try to get back to everyone, at least say, hey, thanks for writing me. I wish I could help more. If there is a quick resource I can point them to, I like I try to do that. But so with pillar two is the person and doesn't help to put off the message of well I don't buy that. I don't believe you. And because what do I say to that. OK, well I can't manufacture something that I didn't receive or I never ran across pillar three.

[00:04:19] If they so choose for me to ask questions before making comments. These were pretty negative comments truly and I swear word in the subject matter and pillar four would be the person staying present, not going into the bunker, not toss them more insults, maybe even taking some accountability, which we'll talk about on the episode today, that perhaps their response was maybe a bit harsh. And I don't say this to criticize the person because honestly, I don't know what the person was initially writing about, but I'm sure it was something big that's going on in that person's life. So none of this is meant to say how dare they do this? But just I wanted to bring this up because this is why I feel so passionate about these four pillars of a connected conversation that that I talk a lot about on my podcast. But again, I don't say this to be harsh because I can do the same thing. I could go pillar one, assume good intentions, meaning that if they felt that they had to call me what they did, that they must truly be frustrated that if their first response to me instead of saying, hey, just following up to see if you received my previous message, which is honestly what I get on occasion from people, that if I didn't get a chance to get back to them, but instead for them to say, hey, asshole, you didn't respond, then they must feel frustrated or they must feel like that is the only way they feel heard.

[00:05:26] So again, I have a tremendous amount of empathy. Then me going into pillar two, I can't put across the message that I don't believe them or that they're wrong and I don't. I can. I feel that frustration. Pillar three I did reply asking questions. Hey, what was the original email about? Because I really do want to I do want to know and therefore I'm not going to go into victim mode and say, oh, I guess I'm just a terrible human being and I might as well give up the whole therapy and podcasting thing, which is part of what they had suggested in their email. So it's unfortunate that people that are going through so much that they feel the need to react or. In this type of manner, but I did think it was pretty interesting to get something like that, just as I was putting together this intro for this episode today where Christine and I are, in fact, going to talk about these four pillars of a connected conversation. So, again, none of that was meant to call out the person, but more to say, I couldn't remember the cliche. Is it that you get more flies with honey than something else? I get really bad about the cliches at times, but I just felt it was one of these examples where it broke my heart and it certainly did get my attention.

[00:06:26] I don't I don't think I really ever get called that name, at least not to my face or something that I can read. So that breaks my heart. But I really feel like there's there's just these four pillars of a connected conversation can even work when it comes to email. Somebody sends you an email that's just you feel like they're blasting you. I mean, I have to assume the good intentions that that can be hard calling that good intentions. But what I mean by that is that if that person feels like that's the only way that they're going to be heard, then bless their heart. That would be a really difficult way to go through life. And that really does cause me to feel a tremendous amount of empathy for them. And I can't say, hey, you can't do that. And but there's also a part of this that I that I can talk about, which would be have done episodes on differentiation of where, hey, I know I'm not a horrible person that's trying to do people wrong. And so, again, it doesn't do me any good to get my dander up or get really frustrated. And I'm not again, it breaks my heart that somebody feels like that's the way that they have to present themselves in order to be heard.

[00:07:23] But I thought that was just a good example to lead into what we're going to talk about today. So let's get to this episode. Preston Buckmeier, podcast, host of Next Level Life, cocreator of the Magnetic Marriage Course, joins me in both audio and video. Again, if you haven't subscribe to the YouTube channel, that would be great to talk about our first round of the magnetic marriage course. One round is in the books, and it really was phenomenal is everything that I hoped it would be. And we talk about the way we talk about the course. We talk about that first round. And yes, of course, I want you all to take the course. I feel like this is something that is it's everything that I want it to be, especially now that we have one round under under our under our belt, in our belt, under our belt. There's a belt involved somewhere there, but we're open up the cart, the window, etc. to the next round and you can go there right now, the Tony Overbay dotcoms magnetic and find out more about the course and when the cart opens, what to do next. So go there now. Go and sign up. Come back and listen. And super quick, I am coming to Salt Lake City to speak at a mental health conference on Monday, May 3rd. And the topic just to anybody that's curious is faith, crisis and mental health, which is something I love talking about.

[00:08:26] I'll be talking about fouler stages of faith and truth, beauty and goodness and and how to communicate with people that are that are going through a faith transition crisis, that sort of thing. And the Sunday before, I believe, on May 2nd, I will most likely be speaking somewhere in that Salt Lake Valley. Some more on that to come. If you're in that area, I would love to meet you on Sunday night. Wherever I end up speaking. The last thing I did, I think, before the pandemic was came into Salt Lake to speak at a podcast festival and I did a fireside on the Sunday night. It was so amazing to see so many people that at that time we didn't know what was coming next. I had a lot of plans to go on the road and do some more workshops and seminars and speaking somebody fun to get out there and do something like this, of course, all safe and socially distanced and that sort of thing. So if you want to hear more about that, go follow me on Instagram. I'll give you more info as the days get closer. So. All right, let's get to this is episode one of a three part series, one coming each week with my buddy Preston, with my buddy Preston Buckmeier, cocreator of The Magnetic Marriage Course.

[00:09:40] Come on in, take a seat on.

[00:09:45] Carl, did you get to see that look like a professional recording? OK, so I probably just went on and on about my amazing guest in the introduction, but reunited and it feels so good. Press and Buckmeier, welcome back to the virtual couch.

[00:10:01] Hey, brother, it's good to be here.

[00:10:02] How you doing?

[00:10:03] Very well. Very well. Excited about today.

[00:10:07] Me too. And we are going to talk about we have gone through our first what are we calling it, by the way, President? Can we address the word cohort?

[00:10:17] We're not first round. We've gone through our first. Yes, we've run our first just group of people that are now graduates of the magnetic marriage program.

[00:10:27] Yeah, yeah. And so we are getting ready to go through the second round, the second group. And I have been saying over and over the last few weeks, go to Tony Overbay, dot com slash magnetic and there you can sign up to be one of the first ones to to jump on board with our second group. And the waiting list is it's starting to grow, which is indicative, Preston, of the success of the first round it.

[00:10:50] And we had an amazing time with it. We had 12 couples come through and we saw some really, really just incredible things. It's a relatively short time frame, you know, six or seven weeks. And it's not like you're going to fix the marriage and all the problems. That's never even the goal, which we'll talk about later. But to have progress and to have a set of tools to to be set up with a foundation of how to move forward with the trajectory of your marriage and your relationship, that's the goal. And we've given everybody that and we've had some incredible experiences and incredible feedback from the people who have gone through the course already.

[00:11:30] We really have. And I'm curious and we're going to talk about a couple of things today where we're going to go through those four pillars of a connected conversation, which I really feel are our game changers. And we're going to talk about accountability, which was just that was an incredible exercise for me. And in the course, actually, Preston takes me through an accountability exercise about a topic that I have never talked about out in the wild. And it was literally life changing. So we can talk a little bit about accountability today as well. But first, I'm curious, was the course and I'm really not just trying to get you to say all these amazing, wonderful things, but was it what you had hoped it would be? Because when we started talking, what, nine months? Ten months ago. Yeah. Was it where you thought it would be? You put the courses together before?

[00:12:14] Yeah, I have. And this is something we've talked about on the podcast and everywhere like it is everything and more about what I wanted it to be, what you wanted it to be. I feel like we have created this amazing, amazing project and program where it's super, super beneficial. It's laid out in a very clear way with actionable steps that allow people to talk about things with guidelines and that allow people to feel heard in the relationship and allow people to look at things from a different perspective so that you can have a more connected, passionate, thriving what we call magnetic marriage. And so when you said initially when I was talking to you about this communication principles with within the relationship, I was like, is there a PDF or a script or some sort of worksheet that I could look at? And you sent me one and it was lacking, to say the least. And it's just because you hadn't. Had a need for it, everything that you had done had been just one on one. This is the coolest thing about this course is everything you had been doing was one on one in your office. And you are an expert at that. And I have been the beneficiary of that expertize. But there wasn't a like a structured way to take that and scale it to where you could influence multiple people at the same time. And what we have done, what you and I have done is taken your understanding, your experience, your brilliance, and been able to put it in a consumable framework for multiple people at the same time. And it's just been absolutely incredible.

[00:14:11] You were being very kind. And I wanted to say and we're going to talk about the four pillars, but what I got to week one and we have these group calls that I just hadn't thought through that. And the group calls were incredible. I didn't anticipate how powerful the group calls would be. And that's where we have all the couples on the the Zoome call. And and they were all there. They were all there. They were all there.

[00:14:33] We back up a little bit. You don't know exactly what we're talking about. So we have a program called the Magnetic Marriage Program. It's a way for you to take your relationship from mediocre to magnetic if you were having any sort of communication issues around some of the hot topics, in-laws, intimacy, finances at

[00:14:56] Parents, politics, religion, parenting, everything.

[00:15:00] So if you're having these and if you're having small disagreements about scheduling and groceries and laundry and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, because we are humans with our own problems and perspectives. And when you bring a relationship dynamic to that, it maybe your relationship isn't about to fall apart, but you would like it to just be a little bit easier. We give you the tools to do that. And so what we've done is created this course. That's a six, six week course where we go through the fundamentals of how to have the foundational conversation tools, what we're going to talk about with the four pillars today. And we talk about a connected conversation, script or sex, which enables you to feel heard, be heard and hear the other person in a way they eat. Dude, I've been married for 11, 12 years, and I was learning things about my wife and the way she thinks that I had never even understood or considered. And she did the same thing about me. And I was like, wow, this this framework in this method allows me to be more connected to her and allows me to have more empathy. And and then we go into accountability. We go into how to live in your core energy, which we'll talk about on the third episode of this this podcast series. But all these things lead to you are there's no guidebook for how to be in a relationship, how to be a marriage. Should we assume that just because we're adults or just because we've been married for ten years and just because we've had kids together, just because we bought a house together, we should know this stuff. And there's no should you shouldn't already know this stuff. I thought I should know this stuff and I didn't. And then me and Tony got together and created this thing. I was like, oh, now I feel like I have an understanding about how to apply things.

[00:16:51] What I like what you said to when you were talking about. So we've got those high charged topics, but the people come into my office and they will talk about being frustrated and and they say, OK, what was the argument about or what was the disagreement about? And most of the time I'm not even talking about sometimes. Most of the time it's I don't even really remember because it's really not about the the argument. It's not it's people are frustrated because they don't know how to communicate. And ultimately, we want to be heard. We want to know our partner cares about us. And so that was where when Preston said, can you give me a document? Can you can you kind of give me these steps that the way to do this? And and I said, well, there are just just hear me out, Preston. Here they are. And then I tried to just create them. And so that's what's been pretty amazing, is that we do have the document. We do have the steps. And people still wanted to. Yeah, but the framework I mean, it's our human nature to say, well, yeah, but and boy, you know, Preston, talk about that where and again, I keep saying we're going to get to the four pillars and we really are. But I feel like even if you're about to listen to the four pillars and if you find yourself saying, well, yeah, but if these guys heard what my wife does, I mean, they would they would scrap these four pillars. And that's why I keep saying, no, this isn't optional. The four pillars aren't optional.

[00:18:02] Yes. It's not all a cart. It's not. Yeah. You know, I'll do this on, but not this one. But basically what it comes down to is everybody, including me, thinks that there are special flower things, that their relationships are different. And I was like, I would do the. Yeah, but no, but she said this now. But we're dealing with this thing in our relationship and stuff. And so this doesn't a. Someone have set this aside, and Tony is they go at no, you actually have to lean in more in in this situation. And so let's just get into it instead of talking about. We'll still get into.

[00:18:36] Yeah, right. So first pillar is pillar number one is it is the assumption of good intentions. This one is is this one alone. I mean, each one of these is it's not like we just had a bunch of a bunch of them and we just figured out these ones sound good. The four pillars are very intentional. First one is assuming good intentions. And what does that look like or what does that mean? It means to give somebody the benefit of the doubt or we were talking about this before we started recording. There's a reason why people say the things they do or why, whether it's why they withdraw, whether it's why they get angry, whether it's why they give somebody the silent treatment or whether it's why they come out, you know, kind of front loading. Well, you need to listen to this. And and there's a reason why and I think that can be so hard for people to understand in the especially in the current dynamic of, well, how could that how could there be a reason? How can I assume good intentions? And what was that what was that like for you?

[00:19:25] So for me, I think it's so important what a lot of people do in a relationship is don't even do it intentionally. It's subconscious. It's it's genuinely something that is on autopilot. Kind of like think about how you're driving a car. If you drove a car today or if you're driving a car right now, how much mental energy are you putting into, like shifting gears or pushing the blinker signal or, you know, adjusting the the air conditioner or something like that? You're not putting any energy or effort into that. It's just background noise. It's something that happens automatically because you've been doing it for so long in a relationship. What we do subconsciously is more often than not, we run everything to the filter of. Defensiveness, how do I protect my emotions in this in this moment, how do I make sure that I don't get further hurt or my my fragile ego doesn't get hurt? How do I make sure that I don't feel criticized? How do I make sure that I don't or that I do feel safe or something like this? And if you do that, which everybody does, what you are doing is you are saying, OK, we need to have a resolution in this conversation. You go first, you go ahead and lay all your cards on the table. I'm not going to show my cards. That's what's happening. Yes. When you and that leads to resentment. It leads to distance. It leads to cold energy in the relationship and and just or even just neutral energy in the relationship, which is.

[00:21:01] Works straight up because I say this like what's worse than getting divorced? Running a day care with somebody that you used to date. If you're just in a relationship and you're just you got kids and you're just kind of managing the household and we just we used to date and it was awesome. But now we're just like running this daycare together. That's worse than divorce. And so when you get to that point, it's because of these things that where you're not assuming good attention. So what does it mean to assume good intentions? It means just like what Tony said, man, give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that there's a reason now might not be a reason you agree with it might not be a reason that you feel that is valid to you, but it's a reason. And so if you start from that foundation or that pillar, then you allow yourself the opportunity to get connected and know this is a story. This happened yesterday. I was standing behind my wife in the kitchen. She was sitting on a stool and I was standing behind my wife and I was talking to my brother and my mom as we were having dinner. And I gestured toward the window to talk about how it was sunny out. It was weather. And I just I moved my hands toward the window, say, oh, look how sunny it is. And my finger caught her hair. The back of her hair caught a little snag and just curled. And I and I pulled her hair when I moved my fingers toward the Wynnum of my hand toward the window.

[00:22:30] Obviously, I didn't mean to do that, but. Our brains immediately go into this subconscious fight or flight mode, and she turned around and she looked at me with this look that said, why would you do that? Why would you hurt me? It was like that look like what the heck? But it only lasted for half a second, half a second because she saw my face and my face was like, oh, oh, man, look, I'm so sorry about that. I didn't mean to I didn't mean to clip your clip, your hair there. Are you OK? I'm sorry about that. And and she immediately kind of softened. She's like, oh man. Oops. And but what a small moment. It doesn't even register on anybody's, you know, like Horizon, so it doesn't register on anybody's radar as the word. But yeah, what it illustrates is that our initial reaction, initial subconscious immediate reaction is very often defensiveness and what the heck? And you shouldn't have done that. And that hurt my feelings or my hair, you know, and she's not a bad person. She's an amazing person. But that half a second we do this I do this so often in my life and in my relationship and in my everything. And it takes intentional, conscious effort. To shift it to man. Benefit of the doubt, there's a reason that they did that or set that and assume good intentions and let me at least explore that first before making a judgment so that. Yeah, so

[00:24:14] That's what no, that's I love that person. I got to tell you and I appreciate you sharing that. It's ironic yesterday. This is where I love that you're talking about. This happened yesterday. And here I've been married 30 years and and I had a similar thing happen as well. These are happening all the time. And that's why this framework is so important. I'm on to walk with my wife and she gives me, which we can talk about down the road. But she gave me a wonderful transparency statement where she said, Man, I want to say something. I worry that this might be hard for you to hear already. I'm you know, I appreciated the way she approached that because I'm thinking, oh, what what what big thing are we about to talk about it? That I do. And then she went on to talk about how we have a couple of kids that are graduating from things and kids that, you know, now the is kind of open and back up, that people are going to be traveling to places and doing things. And there's a lot of things that are about to happen and these things cost money. And so my wife wanted to bring up some additional things that would cost even more money. And and so then I just my first thought was, OK, I'm the most generous guy in the world, like, why would she be worrying about this? And so had I not assumed good intentions, I could have shut down right there and thought, really, am I not the nicest? I mean, do I not try to help everybody I can or that sort of thing? And though once I felt that once I heard her and I did have that assumption of good intentions and we'll talk about down the road a little bit here, asking more questions.

[00:25:29] She was worried about, you know, me overworking to take care of all the things that we needed to take care of. So, I mean, if I would have shut that thing down right away and said, OK, I don't even know why you brought this up. I mean, I'm a very generous person. And all of a sudden, like you say, that energy is off. All of a sudden, here comes the wedge in the relationship. But just by leading with that assumption of good intentions, then, you know, it just left me in this position to want to move on to the second pillar, which is absolutely you know, I couldn't tell her that she's wrong. She's putting out this because she lets me know, you know, she said, well, I just worried that you this might be stressful for you because we're talking about finances and you're working more and, you know, you already work a lot and this sort of thing. And so I couldn't jump in and say, OK, that's ridiculous. Really. That's what you're worried about, you know? And so that that one sets us perfectly up for two, which is not putting off the the message that you're wrong or I don't believe you need to talk more about that.

[00:26:26] So it's a really, really good story and illustration as well. The second pillar of the foundation, when you assume good attention, the second one is don't send the message you're wrong or I don't believe you. And we can do this again. It's just it's our initial reaction. Um, if somebody gives us a either a criticism or says something, that is it could be an observation. If it's incorrect, we want to inform them that it's incorrect. For example, your spouse says, man, you look tired. It's so easy to go. I'm not tired. Yeah, right. But what if you said, huh? Why do you think why do you think that? What is it? What do you see as what is in what do you see in. And it's harder to do man. It's harder. But it again, these four pillars set you up for connection and magnetism in your marriage. Magnetism is when you are both attracted to each other like a magnet, emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. All those elements are in place and you're you're drawn toward each other rather than if you flip a magnet around what happens, they are repelled away from each other.

[00:27:44] So, yeah, this person I love the eyes and say the so the example that that I'm given or it can be pretty obvious at times when we want to just say you're wrong or I disagree. But there's a subtle way that we say that you are wrong as well, which can even be through what feels like positive feedback, which I think that one is one that we saw in the course. You and I have talked a lot about this, but where people were surprised, I mean, I feel like,

[00:28:10] Yes, it's hard for us to have our spouse be feeling down or nervous or anxious. It's difficult for us as as a loving spouse because we're like, I don't want to see my or children to this works and championship to you don't want to see them in, quote unquote, negative emotions. And so it makes it uncomfortable for you. So somebody if your spouses and I'm really nervous about this, it's so easy to immediately say, no, man, you got this. Like, you can do this and you just immediately start bullying them up, which sounds great, but they don't feel heard. They don't feel hurt at all. So if this is so, here's the deal. Two and three, pillar two and three are very, very tied together. It's don't send the message you're wrong, because if I say I'm nervous about something, she says, you've got this. She immediately sends the message unintentionally, but the. You know, you're wrong, and so even though she's still telling me nice things, I feel like this little bit of defensiveness because I feel like it's our subconscious brain wants to defend our position, even if our position is something that is negatively impacting us. So if you're listening to this, do you ever do this? Do you ever want to feel sorry for yourself or do you want to feel that know this is difficult for me. Don't tell me this. I can do this because it is difficult and you defend that kind of victimhood position if you do that. But we this course is so helpful because it allows you a structure and a framework to get to the point where you can look at it from a different perspective and come out of it empowered. And the way you do this is by following pillar number three, which is questions before comments.

[00:30:03] So back to that one. That person gives the great example where somebody says, I'm nervous, I'm nervous about, I don't know, giving a talk. I'm nervous about speaking in front of a crowd. And your partner wants to say, no, you've got this. You've done it before. I've seen you. You're an amazing speaker again that is literally saying, hey, you're wrong. You in essence, they're here and you know what you're talking about. You'll do fine. So then it leads to that question for comment. So then it's, hey, tell me what you're nervous about. Tell me why you're nervous. There it is. Right. And it's and it really can be that simple to then get to those questions because it might be I have a I have a horrific stomachache. I didn't sleep all night last night. I don't know my subject material. And that's going to be a lot easier for somebody to empathize with and say, oh, man, OK, that would be hard. You know that I'm here for you, though. Yeah.

[00:30:49] So you have these these two that work in concert with each other. Don't send the message of your song after you've assumed good intentions and then ask questions. And now here's the cool thing. What do I ask? What do I say? This is a cool thing. This is a cool thing. Yes, of course. This is what I said to Tony. I said, I want to do this. I want to list this is what to say. This is what not to say. And so we over the last nine months have come up with a specific list of these are the things that you do not say. They are called lant landmine statements because you don't want to step on that landmine is going to blow the whole conversation up. And then here's some empathy questions. These are things that empathy questions and empathy statements that are going to show that you hear them and you're going to allow the conversation to move forward in a connected way. So so if you're asking yourself, cool story, President and Tony, how do I implement these things? Well, we have a 30 minute podcast here. But bottom line is, we have specific. Yeah. Like actionable structured frameworks for you inside the course that allow you to take these principles and implement them in your everyday life with your spouse when not if when there is a little bit of tension around finances, when there's a little bit of tension around holiday planning, when there is, you know, all these different types of things, it gives you these actionable things inside the course.

[00:32:26] And that's the value of investing in yourself and investing in your relationships so that you can put these things into practice. And so we created all these questions, all these statements about what to say, what not to say and order. There's literally an order of say this than say this or this. And I know that it might seem robotic, but it's not robotic. It's a framework. It it felt a little awkward when I did it with my wife. The very first time to have this conversation with literally with a piece of paper in front of us. And now it's something that we can do. Yeah, we did it the first couple of times with the paper in front of us. And now when we have these conversations and ask these questions in this way, it becomes a communication style and it feels fluid. And I really am grateful that we have implemented these type of communication principles and frameworks in our relationship, because now I feel like I have the tools to be able to do this. And that's what everybody in the course has been saying as well.

[00:33:35] Yeah, I have to tell you, I laughed a little bit, too, because when I can think of I'm going to gender stereotype here, but there was one guy in the course in particular, and I hear this all the time in my office where the guy will get really good at saying, tell me more about that, tell me more about that. And they'll look over and say, I don't have anything else, you know, so we've got the list of the things to say, the other things and say, oh, then tell me more about that. And I love what Preston say and where people will also say, well, I don't want to I don't want to have to rely on a paper. And and that's where we just say, oh, bless your heart. Like, that's OK. You know, you pull out the paper, do you want the marriage or do you want the. You want the connection, you want communication, or do you want to not have to pull out the paper? Well, will acknowledge that you may not want to pull out the paper, and that's OK. And then also, the thing that I think has been really fun about the course is I think you touched on this. I was speaking at an event just two or three weeks ago, and I was laying out the four pillars in a completely different concept. It was around people that were having really challenging conversations around particular one particular topic. And there was a couple in the audience that were saying, hey, I have used these four pillars and they really work. And they said, you know, I think that these could actually even be used just in your marriage in general.

[00:34:41] And I thought it was you are talking about something completely. Something else.

[00:34:44] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then I had and I've had a client just last week, another one that said, you know, I've been I've been doing this at home. And they said, what would that look like? Can I use these with my kids? And I thought, oh, my gosh, it's what you just said. It's a communication style. By all means. Please use these. You know, when people graduate from the magnetic marriage course, that does not mean that they are limited to only use the four pillars when having a conversation with their spouse. I mean, I find that I've already gotten some feedback from a participant of a course that said that they're implementing this in the workplace and that and and there was another one that I thought was one of the best comments of all was they said, hey, is it annoying to you now to see people not using the four pillars out in the wild? And I said and I just said, welcome to the club. You know, now that you are now that you have this information, it can really be frustrating to not use this. You are so aware of it. Would you agree? Yeah.

[00:35:33] I mean, I would never get annoyed at somebody else's behavior. So this is yes, it can be implemented in all these different areas. But we in this court specifically, we have geared it toward and kind of really put the language in the videos in the workplace and in the coaching calls to be able to have people use it specifically in their primary relationship. And it is so fascinating what transformations occur when you do tiny foundational tweaks, because it would be so easy for us to be like, OK, here's what to do, here's what to do, here's what to do, here's what to do. But what we're instead doing is we're saying, here's how to think. Here's how to think. Here's how to think. And if you think a different way, you end up acting a different way. And so we're offering people an opportunity to. If your relationship is working really, really, really, really, really well and you guys are on fire, then this course is not for you. This course is for people who are having a good relationship, but they want to make it great or they're, you know, just not clicking. They're just not clicking. And we want to be able to click that this is who it's for. And I know that there's a lot of people out there who are listening right now and they're thinking it's I don't want to admit to myself that my relationship is not the best it can be. But I also. It's not awful. Yeah, that's the sweet spot right there. Yeah. It's not awful, you know, like, you know, separated on the brink of everything falling apart. Right. And if you are in that position, my heart hurts for you. My parents got divorced and I know like that has affected my life a lot. And so I'm so sorry that that's where you're at. But if you're on this path. Where things have just kind of drifting and everybody knows what that means, drifting instead of being focused, and this is a really, really good place to start. And it's about and appreciate you sharing that you and your relationship

[00:37:49] Know it is. And I feel like I often see people the phrase kick the can down the road. I guess I've learned that not as many of the younger folks are knowing where I'm going with that one. But I feel like so many times people are kicking the can down the road and they're going to they'll work on the they'll work on their communication when they get a better job or when the kids are out of the house or when they have more time and don't. I mean, because you're missing just an incredible opportunity to connect right now, along along the way, throughout these things that are happening in life. Yeah, it's don't punt.

[00:38:18] Don't punt. Don't know. Don't say I'll deal with this later. Later. If this is something that. OK, I'll tell you this straight up there will never, ever be a time when things slow down. That's a lie that you're telling yourself? Yes, unless you are planning a wedding for your children, that is happening in three weeks. Yes, things will slow down in three weeks. But if you're not in that situation, things are not going to slow down straight up. Yeah, this is an opportunity for you to invest in yourself.

[00:38:51] So let's cover it. We didn't we didn't say we say we didn't have a fourth pillar. So it's fascinating. You can you can assume the good intentions. You can then not put out the vibe that you're wrong. You can even ask all the questions in the world and stay present and avoid landmines and be empathetic and all of these things. But then if the if your spouse maybe even says something that maybe isn't quite exactly what you want to hear, you can watch this fourth of the four pillars to stay present, to lean. Don't resort don't run back to your bunker because you will watch people get through the three pillars and all of a sudden pull the. You know what? No, you're right. I guess I'm just the world's worst husband, you know? And then all that work of those first three pillars comes crumbling down when we go into victim mode. And we want our partner to now go and rescue us and say, no, no, no, it's not a big deal. You're fine. I shouldn't I shouldn't have brought it up,

[00:39:36] You know, are they you do the first three pillars and you're being genuine about it. And they say something cutting or they literally turn away from you and that cold, cold. And then it's so easy to be like. Well, didn't work, yeah, I'm not going to keep, like, putting my heart out there and being vulnerable and leaning in if they're not. And so now shows they retreated to their bunker, so to speak. They got defensive emotionally, energetically. And so you're like, well, why would I stay out in the middle of the field if they're in their bunker? And so you retreat to yours as well. And now you're both in this situation where you're got walls up and defensiveness and you're waiting for the other person to. Exactly. To be vulnerable first. Good luck with that. And I'm saying I'm talking to myself. But what you've got to do is and it is difficult, you've got to lean in and be vulnerable, stay present in the conversation and in the relationship, even when and especially if they have gone to their defensive bunker. And and so how do you do that? Well, we have specific ways about going through this process emotionally. There's questions that you ask yourself and there's ways that you speak and say and talk to yourself and to them that set you up for a foundation of success. So these four pillars, which are assume good intentions, don't send the message the wrong questions before comments and and lean in, stay present and lean in. Those four things are the foundational pillars that hold up your relationship and the communication inside of it and. If you are asking yourself how those sound, good, but I don't understand how to implement them, which is where I was at for a long time. Yeah, then we have created a step by step process for you to implement those things inside of magnetic marriage.

[00:41:41] I want to commit to well well, I want to say real quick, a couple of weeks before I think it was the second of the last group coaching call. I mean, what I loved about interacting with people are people taking the course. I mean, we watched all kinds of vulnerability. I mean, that was fantastic to watch that literally happened on these calls. But I remember one thing in particular where we watched somebody kind of caught up and you could you could watch them wanting to run back to their bunker and they were struggling to stay present. And in essence, they were saying, hey, how do I stay present when my my reptilian brain, my amygdala is in fight or flight mode? How do I do this? And we had a we had a nice group conversation, and Preston and I go back and we break down some game film and and I just feel like there was there was no what am I trying to say? There was no you couldn't replace that moment. I feel like everybody on that call kind of felt that that couples' emotion and what this person was going through. And we had all these comments over on the side of everybody just saying thank you so much. And this is where I'm at in my relationship. And and I just felt like that that group unity that we had was it was it was doing a lot of the teaching in that moment, because I feel like if somebody one on one in their room are in their living room, it would be really easy to run back into the bunker. And I felt like that was just such a powerful moment, if you remember what I'm talking about.

[00:42:59] Do I do? Yeah. You talk about implementing this in the wild. This is what I always say. Like when people watch the videos and do the worksheets and then they're on the coaching calls with you and I inside of the course. Or if somebody in your office like or I mean, I'm a coach, I work with people. And so when people are talking to me about their relationships and their businesses and stuff like that and they're just life, it's so easy to do it in that moment. So I always say this is practice. This is not real life. Real life is when the call ends and you have to go into your house and there's your spouse and there's all this baggage, and what would it feel like guys would feel like to leave a call and then feel empowered walking into your house rather than defeated? That's what we're giving people, the opportunity to have tools and to have structure and to have a specific game plan. Emotional game plan, verbal plan, energetic game plan. So that so that you can have a connection with your spouse in conversations, in activities, in planning and just experiences, because you deserve to have a relationship that you look forward to every single day.

[00:44:30] Can you talk real quickly and then we'll hit accountability and then we'll get out of here? This is I feel like we could talk for days, but the value of the incremental growth, what was talk about that? Because I think this is important for people to hear.

[00:44:43] The incremental growth means small, small pieces, one percent movement instead of 100 percent movement, like hitting a single instead of hitting a home run, that kind of a deal and. I didn't see the value of that when I first began working with you and when we first began working together, and now I really understand that the goal is not to fix and solve everything with one conversation or with at the end of the course. It's like everything's not going to be like perfectly working out. Perfect, perfectly working out, probably, but. I mean, I had a I had a disagreement with my wife while we were traveling last just a couple of days ago, like for three or four days ago and. We were in the car for 10 hours and it was really interesting because in the past I would have like either gone into resentment or felt like we need to fix this now. And I realized that, oh, my gosh, what if I don't have to leave the conversation with everything fixed or solved or or I don't have to go into my bunker and be resentful about things. But what I did is I just said, OK, in this moment, it doesn't make any sense for me to harbor any judgment, harbor any resentment. And I'm talking about little minuscule things where you're like there's just cold energy left over. You know, when you wake up the next morning, there's, you know, everybody everybody knows what that feels like. And I didn't feel that because. Because I decided that I was going to take accountability and not blame this disagreement on her as I was like, oh, I, I had a huge role in this. And and then it turned into like, man, I want connection instead of being right.

[00:46:40] And I don't want to solve this right now. I want to have incremental growth. And the incremental growth right now for me is. At least not going to resentment, at least not going to judgment and going into accountability. And I said, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. Like that was as I mean, please forgive me. This is what I'm committed to moving forward. And it turned into an opportunity for me to act like. And it didn't solve everything. We weren't like. Right. Happy forever at the end of a Hallmark movie like in that moment. But it just turned into I don't have to harbor any resentment. And it's just like we're we're at a great level. And that was incremental growth for me because. Now, it sets me up for moving forward and getting into happiness and magnetism over the next couple of days, and that's also another thing that is really important, is that it's it's not about getting into a happy state and then staying there forever. Relationship is going to have these ups and downs and these moments of connection and moments of disconnection. It's just this part of being in a relationship. And so the ability to navigate that with emotional maturity, that is what this course offers. And it's it's fun. It's hard. It's exciting. It's depressing. It's all the things at the same time, which is good news because it means that you're above ground, anybody above ground, you experience those things. And so we're alive. We're in relationships and we're human and we're moving forward and and yay, happy fun go time. Everything's great. And come on in. Come on into the magnetic marriage course, because these are some of the things that we teach inside.

[00:48:26] Yeah, absolutely. You want to give a quick we talked about accountability. You want to talk about that. I know I didn't give it enough time here. Preston. But the accountability piece was huge when we got the feedback after the course, there were there were a number of people that talked about that was a difficult part, but just something they didn't anticipate being a part of the course, but then was a huge part of the course.

[00:48:46] So bottom line is. If you are blaming people. In your life, you are disempowered. And one of the people that we blame the most besides ourselves is our spouse. And I'm not talking about taking the blame, I'm talking about removing the word blame from your vocabulary, removing the word fault from your vocabulary and going into. Taking accountability for your role and allowing them to have accountability for theirs, which empowers you and empowers me to be able to take more control of my emotions and how I choose to show up in the relationship. So we have a whole process about the four steps of accountability, which isn't fun, but oh my goodness, it was a game changer for me, a game changer for you, game changer for a lot of the people in our course, because it's about empowerment, emotional empowerment. What would it feel like for you to be able to have a conversation, have a disagreement, or even have a circumstance that had nothing to do with you, nothing to do with you? You just happened to be there and that circumstance happened, right. And then all of a sudden you're able to process it in in an emotionally mature and accountable way that that leaves you empowered instead of resentful and complaining. It releases it removes complaining from your life and replaces it with perspective. And so if you're ready to stop complaining and you're ready to shift your perspective into empowerment, this is one of the most difficult and most effective ways to do it. And in a relationship, it is probably the number one thing that that I use to be able to create magnetism in my marriage. And when I do it successfully, I mean, I've been working this specific method for 10 years. And when I do it successfully, things work when I do it unsuccessfully, or what that means is I get prideful and don't do it. When I do that, then things move into the downward part of the roller coaster. And so. It's a it really is phenomenal to have access to tools.

[00:51:13] And and I appreciate the way you just said that to you were very open when we would joke about the Yabut, you know, you get a couple of Yabut down the road. Yeah, but this. Yeah, but that and I feel like you would always find a way to kind of get into your core energy and just say, you know what, I'm this isn't I'm I need to get into accountability mode or whatever, how you would put that right. And there's a part in the course that I won't give away. But Preston had me bring something that I was I've been harboring a lot of resentment around for. It's a it's been a few years and I am not I'm not belittling this. I'm not I'm this is my honest truth is that Preston had me walk through this situation that I've been involved in, that I was harboring a lot of resentment for and just even being able to talk about it. It it made my blood boil. It got me frustrated and angry. I mean, I wanted to write a whole book about how I had been the injustice of the situation. I haven't talked about it at all. I guess I was I and I did. I want to do a whole I haven't done a podcast on it because I was worried that I would just get too angry and within, I don't know, 10, 15 minutes of the exercise.

[00:52:19] Then it really was odd how the it's gone. And I really mean that. I can recall it right this very second. And I it's whatever it's no big deal. It isn't. And it was so nice to kind of let that go and to see that happen in people's relationships and marriages, because there are so many times where people bring the thing, whatever that thing is, here it comes again, rearing its ugly head. And this is I'm going on a little tangent, but, hey, this is my show right here. Preston, I got to tell you what I loved about having the the therapist and the the the life coach duo, which was so fun about this is I could I could sit there and try to, you know, psychology around the oh, it's coming up right now because, you know, the person's afraid of we're getting into this new territory or they're you know, something comes up from the past because but wait, this was never dealt with or those sort of things. And I felt like that accountability module, Preston was able to come in and just really put a nice framework around that as well.

[00:53:16] And and for the sake of our course, which at first I just thought it was going to be for the sake of the course. But it's for the sake of your marriage being able to really get past some things that are very, very difficult and then be able to now use these four pillars to communicate about anything. So, you know, if you're listening right now and you're saying, OK, I would love to have this framework, but there's been a lot of damage that's been done in the relationship. And and I worry that we won't get to some of that. And I feel like this accountability module really does address a lot of the a lot of the big hurts that that we were that we experience in marriage that we don't even know. You know, a lot of us are kids. We don't know what to do in certain situations, and we don't handle it. Right. We'll acknowledge that. But then when we bring it up or weaponize it or use it against our partner, a lot of times that is the core of why we're stuck and can't even get to these conversations. That would be. Yeah.

[00:54:04] So what it does is it allows you to go like putting bumpers on a bowling lane. Right. Like it it gives you this framework and structure to be able to have the conversation without having a gutter ball. It doesn't mean you're going to get a strike. Every time I love analogies, I say sometimes

[00:54:26] Know it's good.

[00:54:28] But what it does is it allows you an opportunity to process painful things. And it doesn't mean that they weren't painful, but it means that you are an emotionally mature person in a relationship who is going to, as Jennifer Finlayson says, metabolize the discomfort. You process it rather than avoid it. And it's freeing. Oh, my gosh. It's freeing.

[00:54:56] It really is they love that you brought up Jennifer's comment there, too, I feel like we really got we touched a lot in the course about the concept of tension versus contention. And that one that one taught me a lot, Preston, from the course itself, of being able to recognize that Now, I almost look forward to OK, hey, tell me your thoughts around this to my wife. That might bring some tension.

[00:55:33] Tension happens when there's two different people having two different brains and two different life experiences, two different families of origin, two different personalities. As far as like if you're into Enneagram or Myers, Briggs or some like that, two different people who choose to be together. If you agree with everything that your spouse says that is boring, I mean, does it have positive tension that leads to, yeah, differentiation where you're two different people who are not obligated to be together, but you choose to be together and that's the goal. And, yeah, it's all right.

[00:56:13] It's a simple up and then go go right now, go to Tony Overbay, dotcom magnetic and and you will be hearing so much more about the second round of the magnetic marriage course. And I hope you can sense the excitement that Preston and I have on our voices. It really did go better than anything I ever anticipated we would talk about at the end of these group calls. And I would say, Tony, anything to add. And sometimes I just felt like over overcome with emotion. I really felt like I can't believe that this we had this course that we put together and people are communicating about things they never had communicated about before. And we're getting this feedback that people are now feeling more connected in their relationships than their marriages and implement it with their kids. And I mean, just from from putting this course together. So if you are resonating with anything that we're saying today, the very at the very least go to Tony Overbay dot com slash magnetic and sign up to find out more about this second launch.

[00:57:06] Preston, beautiful. All right. We're doing this in April. Hop on, hop on and stay tuned for next week and the week after that for part two and part three of this series where we give you more insight into how you can show up to create a Magnequench

[00:57:22] Perfect pregnancy and part two of three.

The term codependent is often used incorrectly in relationships. Yes, codependency, or needing external sources, things, or even people to give one a feeling of self-worth, is not the healthiest way to navigate a relationship, but often, with just a few tweaks, we can move a codependent relationship into an interdependent relationship. Tony refers to the article, “How To Build a Relationship Based on Interdependence” by Jodi Clarke, LPC (https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-build-a-relationship-based-on-interdependence-4161249) where she shares: Interdependence involves a balance of self and others within the relationship, recognizing that both partners are working to be present and meet each other's physical and emotional needs in appropriate and meaningful ways.Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

------ TRANSCRIPT ------

One of the most frustrating things for me as a therapist is misinformation, and some of it comes from a cute, fun place. It's good. It's well-meaning. Take one of my favorite pop psychology myths, for example. It's one I like to challenge whenever I go speak out on the road. It's the old how many days does it take to create a new habit? And this is not a habit change podcast, but bear with me for a second. So what pops into your mind if you're like most people, you think twenty one days. But the truth, according to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, takes anywhere from 18 to two hundred and fifty four days for a person to form a new habit, depending on the habit, depending on the person. The study also concluded that on average, it takes sixty six days for a new behavior to become automatic. But again, this is not a podcast about habit change. So let me get back on track. In my work as a couples therapist in particular, I run into the word codependency on a regular basis. Now let me just break down the definition of codependent codependency, the definition excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one to require support on account of an illness or addiction, quote, the tie that binds most of us together in this trap called codependency. So I've spoken often about codependency. And when codependency goes south, when it turns bad, we're talking about self-worth coming from external sources.

[00:01:22] Codependent people need external sources or things or other people to give them feelings of self-worth, often following destructive parental relationships, abusive past or self-destructive partners, codependents, learn to react to others, worry about others, and depend on others to help them feel useful or alive. Simply put, they put other people's needs, wants and experiences above their own. And in fact, codependence is a relationship with one's self. They can be so painful that a person no longer trust his or her own experiences. And it perpetuates a continual cycle of shame and blame and sometimes self-abuse. Codependent people might feel brutally abused by the mildest criticism, or even I ran into people that are suicidal when a relationship ends. And his 1999 book, Codependents The Dance of the Wounded Souls, author Robert Burney says the battle cry of the codependent is I'll show you, I'll get me. But where things get interesting or when I read on social media posts or I have people quote to me in sessions or people that come up and just ask for advice about relationships where they say that you can't expect your partner to be there for you, that if you do that, you're somehow setting yourself up to be disappointed or let down or you're going to be codependent, to which I have people say just so many times, then why even get married? So Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy and the author of Hold Me Tight, had a follow up book called Love Sense, where she quoted another psychologist and saying the message touted by popular media and therapists has been that we're supposed to be in total control of our emotions before we turn to others, love yourself first and then another will love you.

[00:02:58] But our new knowledge stands that message on its head for humans, says psychologist Ed Tronic of the University of Massachusetts. The maintenance of emotional balance is a dyadic collaborative process. In other words, we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another person, not by ourselves. So today we're going to learn hopefully a new word interdependence and how interdependence differs from codependency, what that looks like and why learning this difference, the difference between codependency and interdependency has the ability to change your relationships faster than you knew was possible. So we're going to cover that and so much more coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch. Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two hundred and forty eight of the virtual couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified my coach writer goes by the for ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back and Online Pornography Recovery Program that is helping people reclaim their lives from turning to pornography as a coping mechanism and doing so in a strength based hold the shame, become the person you always want it to be.

[00:04:07] We head over to Pathbackrecovery.com. There are weekly group calls that are just phenomenal and you can find out more there at pathbackrecovery.com. And you can also download a short e-book that describes five myths that people make when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. It can only be done. And it's a strength based again, hold the shame and all those good things pathbackrecovery.com. And I'm not going to I'm not going to keep going on and on about my magnetic marriage course that has started now with Preston Buckmeier. But it's everything I wanted to be. I've never been more excited about something. We're in week three of the The Maiden Voyage, the initial group that are in there, and weekly group calls and modules and then all kinds of stuff. I mean, I didn't press in. We put this program together and it's just amazing. We had another call last night and I just I can't say enough, but I will suggest that you go to Tony over Match.com, slash magnetic and go and get yourself on the wait list and then we will let you know when the window opens up, the next cohort begins and all those good things, because it's again, it is everything, everything that I wanted it to be. If you listen to episodes based on the four pillars of a magnetic marriage and that just all the things that I talk about as a couples therapist, I wasn't going to talk about this.

[00:05:19] So go to Tony Overbay, dot com magnetic and get yourself on the wait list and sign up to find out more about all kinds of fun, exciting things. And follow me on Instagram, a virtual Kotzer on Facebook, Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist. Let's get to today's topic. This is one that I have wanted to tackle for a very long time. I've done presentations on codependency versus interdependency, and I really do have a good excuse on why I have not covered this before. But I'm going to be referring to an incredibly good article and I will link to this found on very well Mindcrime. It's by Jody Clark, who is a licensed professional counselor. And I just I think there's so much gold here and just as I mentioned in the intro. So I'm not going to I'm not going to go over that again or over and over. But I run into this concept of codependency often. And I have to tell you, one of the very first one of the very first books I remember buying in grad school was a book called Codependent No More by an author named Melody Beattie. And it's a great book. I can literally look and see it on my bookshelf right now. And that was a long time ago. And it's the codependent Bible, so to speak. But I also believe, and this is going to be my opinion, that the phrase codependent gets tossed around a little bit too liberally.

[00:06:32] And I find that there are often times where I have people give me all kinds of experiences where people are literally, literally crying for their partner to be there, for them to be somebody that that is there for them that they can count on, has their back, loves them. All of these foundational principles of emotionally focused therapy. And the person says, man, I can't because that would be codependent. You have to figure this one out on your own. And that's why I I read that quote at the beginning that talked about we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. And I've been going so big on all of my attachment and abandonment, that speech on probably five or six of the last seven or eight podcasts that I've done, that we come forth from from the factory, from the womb as a baby that is expressing our needs. And we are crying because we cry to get our needs met, to be held, to be picked up, to be loved, to be clean, to be fed. And that that is something that is innate within us, that we are designed to to need another person to take care of us early on. So we are wired to feel like abandonment is death. And now I'm not saying that that leads to everybody lives happily ever after.

[00:07:40] And I'll do the speech again very, very quickly here. That in that preoperative or that stage one of life kind of situations. So zero to two years old that we are programed to express ourselves and we get our needs met. We get picked up, we get fed, we get love, we get cuddled. But I had had somebody tell me the other day, they said, but as cute as babies are, they're pretty annoying because if you don't if you don't go address their needs, they just keep going on and on. And so, again, we are just programed to get our needs met by expression. But we hit that next phase of life two to seven, where I say welcome to the world of abandonment, where all of the sudden anything that we want as a kid that I want to wear mismatched clothes, I want to not shower for a week. I want to just eat candy all the time. And when we're told no, we think, what the heck? I'm expressing myself from the first two years of life. When I express myself, you meet my needs. So what is going on here? And that leads this. I say there's two different tracks that happen at that point. There's an abandonment track that leads to the when someone isn't meeting our needs, we go throughout our life than thinking, well, wait a minute, people met my needs from the factory.

[00:08:44] That's my factory setting. That's the wiring in my brain. So when people aren't meeting my needs into adolescence or into adulthood or in my marriage, when my spouse isn't responding the way I want them to respond, that it must be me because remember this two to seven and on that little kids are these little little bless their heart, narcissists. They have they have no empathy. They have no sense of of compassion for the plight of others. They don't really care what's going on with their caregiver. And this isn't meant in a bad way. It's just the way that things are. They also don't know how to self advocate or they so they are coming forward as little egocentric people that are center of the universe. So everything revolves around them. So then that moving forward into adulthood, then if people are not meeting their needs, something must be wrong with them. They must be broken. They must be unlovable. And so that leads to this whole abandonment path where people then try to figure out how do I get my needs met? And from that, what's wrong with me? People chase after all kinds of things. If I get the six pack abs, if I get the nice house, if I get the nice car, if I have the six figure job, then people will respond to my needs. But that's not what it's about. And on the other side of the coin, we have what I call the attachment track.

[00:09:55] And that attachment track is then people have grown up trying to present themselves in a way to get people to like them, to get their needs met. Do they present themselves as the athlete or is the scholar as the peacemaker, as the rebel, as whatever that is, that that comes from a place of if I do not get my needs met, I will die. Something is wrong with me. So we then enter into relationships, teenage relationships, adult relationships, marriages. And now we've got this baggage we bring into the relationship where we worry that if that person doesn't respond the way I would like them to respond, that it's not because this is an imperfect world and they're imperfect people and everybody has their problems or challenges. Our minds tell us that it's me, something's up with me, or people would be responding to me differently. So then we go down. Then here comes this attachment track as an adult. And now we figure out how do I maneuver in this situation? How do I present myself so that my needs will get met. And so often it is done subconsciously. So it's not something that people necessarily calculatedly do, but it's something that we are doing is trying to figure out how to present myself to my spouse or to my boss or to my kids or to my church leader or to the my buddies at the gym so that I will be cool, that I will be loved.

[00:11:09] I will be like that will be included part of the tribe, part of the pack, because then I won't be abandoned because I still have this wiring in me. This is that abandonment equals death. This is what can lead a lot of times to this feeling of codependence. And so most of us value this connection with others. Now, I'm going to jump into this very well mind article again. This is going to be something I'm going to be reading a lot of and then commenting on by Jody Clark, who's a licensed professional counselor. But she says most of us value connection with others, especially in our romantic relationships. And as I just went over, we're wired for connection and connection allows us to create bonds and intimacy with our partner. And the successes of long term relationships depend heavily on the quality of our emotional connection with each other, are not our emotional codependency, but our emotional connection with that we to each other. So when we think of our ideal relationships, we often think of of a wonderful, close, lifelong relationship with our most important person. Our person is what you hear often today, that cozy, safe, long term bond with somebody who we know has our back for the long haul. Again, in the world of emotionally focused therapy, somebody that we can count on, somebody that has our back, somebody that loves us, somebody that that cares about us, that we can turn to.

[00:12:23] So that is a relationship that gives us this freedom to be ourselves, that supports our growth and allows us to have flexibility with each other. Now, I want you to start getting picked up on a vibe here when we're going to be talking about interdependence. We're talking about being in a relationship that gives us freedom to be ourselves. It isn't saying that you have to go figure yourself out first before you enter the relationship. No, it's a relationship that gives you the freedom to be yourself, that supports growth and allows flexibility. So one of the key elements that Jody talks about is understanding the difference between interdependence and codependence. So what is interdependence? That might be the your new favorite word for today? Interdependence suggests that partners recognize and value the importance of the emotional bond they share while maintaining a solid sense of self within the relationship dynamic. That's huge. So it's that you recognize that each other has value and importance as an individual mean. So you're maintaining this solid sense of self within the relationship and interdependent person is. Jody Clark says an interdependent person recognizes the value of vulnerability, of being able to turn to their partner in meaningful ways to create emotional intimacy. They also value a sense of self that allows them and their partner to be themselves without any need to compromise who they are.

[00:13:45] Or their value system. Now, this concept of interdependence, this is why I almost feel guilty that I haven't talked about this up until now, is if you listen to the work that I do with my four pillars of a connected conversation, if you have heard the episodes that anything to do with emotionally focused therapy or F.T. or when I'm talking about my favorite individual type of therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, that acceptance and commitment therapy says, again, you are not broken. You can't just replace a thought. You can't just say your brain is not a mechanistic model where you just change a thought and it just naturally leads to a different emotion and different behavior. This is my challenge or my struggle with the concept of of cognitive behavioral therapy, which I was a trained cognitive behavioral therapist, and I'm not pooh poohing it. There are situations where it works well. But when I go back to some of the things that I feel can be a real challenge as a therapist, I can literally tell you that I get dozens and dozens, if not 100 emails or more, and people that sit on my couch and say, what is wrong with me? I read posts from people on social media or people that therapists, coaches, motivational speakers, that they just choose to be happy, just wake up and be happy and make it happen. And man, I hear you. And for people that can do that, that is fantastic.

[00:15:00] But for most I have run into that. That's that mechanistic view of the brain that I can just replace a thought and then it mechanistically that you replace this part in the machine and the rest of the machine just rolls on in this methodical, mechanistic way. So the thought and cognitive therapy could change this thought. Your thoughts are automatic, negative thoughts and or you're thinking thinking you just change that thought and it's going to lead to a different emotion and a different behavior. But I have sat with people for years, literally for years, and continued to hammer home these concepts of just make the choice, just choose to be happy. You wake up in the morning and be happy and make it happen. And it can they can get some some momentum with that. But then when life happens, when things go the way that they don't necessarily plan or they don't want them to go, then they think, OK, now I'm not happy. What's wrong with why I tried the thing? What's wrong with me now and again? Nothing. Nothing's wrong with you. You're a human being. And this is why I love acceptance and commitment therapy. You are made up of all the things that make you you all of your private experiences, your nature and nurture and birth order and DNA and abandonment and rejection and hopes and dreams and fears and all the things that make you you.

[00:16:09] That's why you feel or think the way that you do. So it isn't as simple as just changing a thought and then going the rest of your day, the rest of your life and feeling completely different. It's actually a little bit of the opposite of being able to recognize thoughts, normalize thoughts, being able to then point yourself toward your own personal values and start to work more toward those values. And then there's all kinds of things within acceptance and commitment therapy that occur. You you learn to you can't push away the thought. If you say I shouldn't be thinking this, your brain says, oh, I'll think whatever I want. That's the old think of the white polar bear concept. But you can learn to recognize the thought. No, I see you thought I know you mean well. And I'm going to expand. I'm going to make room for that thought. I'm going to write that thought to come along with me while I start working more toward my own value-based goals. So why I digress on this tangent, other than the fact that I absolutely love this concept, is that you are an individual that is coming into a relationship and you are an individual who has spent your life trying to navigate relationships so that you won't be abandoned, so that you will be part of the tribe, so you'll be liked. And that's normal. That's part of growing up. That's part of the maturation process.

[00:17:17] When I work with people that struggle with things like personality disorders, there's this belief, this concept where, again, go back to we are all these little, self-centered, egotistical, the life revolves around us people when we are in our adolescence. And so the difference, the challenge, the goal is to go from self-centered to self-confident. But oftentimes when people don't have that modeled as a kid, then they never make that jump from self-centered to self-confident. So they stay in this self centered mode. So that's why, especially with things excuse me, such as narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, any of those types of behaviors or disorders where someone can it can feel like you're arguing with a little 10 year old child. There's even a concept. I'm not sure if I've covered this one on very many podcasts. Excuse me, but the thought is that gaslighting, for example, is a childhood defense mechanism. If you are coming forward from this place of abandonment equals death. If you're coming forward from zero to two years old, where you express yourself, you get your needs met now two to seven, and you express yourself and your needs are not being met. Now, think of when you make a mistake because you're human, you're a kid and you're big, gigantic parent comes up to you and says, hey, buddy, did you did you break the base? And to you at that moment, it's oh, my gosh, I can't I don't know what's going to happen here.

[00:18:35] If I admit that I broke that base, I'm probably booted out of the family. I'm going to be left to live in the woods and raised by wild animals. So that's where gaslighting as a child. The defense mechanism comes in the kids like I didn't break the base or you see those adorable videos and I don't know, tick tock, YouTube, where you got a little kid has chocolate all over their mouth and they're like they. Did you eat the brownie, buddy? I don't need it. And they literally have the brownie in their mouth. It's so cute. But that just shows that our survival mechanism of gaslighting as a defense mechanism. So when it's a little kid in the brownie is cute, when it's an adult and they're caught in something, it's your husband. And then they say, I didn't do that. You must be crazy. You can see how then all of a sudden that becomes pretty destructive. So Boyd aggressed on that one. But so we are our own individual people. But then we come into relationships and so done correctly done in an interdependent way, not in a codependent way. Your partner is now the safe place for you to actually learn to really take accountability and ownership and be able to explore why I react the way I do, why I have these challenges or struggles I love.

[00:19:40] Given the example of meeting with a couple one time where the guy and the well-meaning guy said, I don't know what to do with her anxiety when she gets really, really anxious and starts to talk a million miles an hour ago in circles, I've told her, hey, I need you to go figure that out. When you do, then you come to me. And that's the kind of thing that I understand and bless his heart. But that is where we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. So here's somebody, this woman in this particular case, who had this anxiety because of the fear of abandonment, because of relationship issues as a child, because of parenting situations, because of previous unhealthy relationships. So being able to plug her experience into my four pillars of a magnetic marriage, of being able to if she is starting to get feel anxious and starting to walk in peson circles and starting to talk really fast. If her husband says, hey, I feel like you're noticing that you might be a bit anxious. And my four pillars pillar one's to assume good intentions. So if I'm working with her, it's OK. He's saying this not to hurt me. I have to assume good intentions. He didn't wake up this morning and think I will wait till she is having a really anxious experience and then I will point it out to hurt her feelings. No. So I'm going assume good intentions.

[00:20:55] No. Two Pillar No. Two of my four pillars is she then can't say, no, I'm not. You're wrong. So pillar three is to ask questions and before making comments. So it's for her to say, OK, I may not be recognizing that helped me see my blind spots. What are you noticing. And the pillar for us did not go into victim mode to not say, okay, fine, I'm the world's worst wife and I guess I'm just an anxious ball of a mess and I will never get any better. No. So if you adhere to those four pillars where the husband at that points the speaker, she's the listener. And then once he feels heard now she can express herself. And at that point, the same pillars apply if she expresses I don't know why I do that. I was even aware that I did that then. Now he has to assume the same good intentions that she's not doing that to hurt him. And then he can't say, I don't believe you to the fact that she doesn't notice that maybe she's starting to get anxious or she's starting to say some maybe negative things are starting to pace around or starting to really get get amped up. And then the third pillar is then he can ask questions. Hey, what's that like then? If that's something that you're not aware of, do you are there triggers other emotional cues? Do you feel that coming on? And then the fourth pillars, he can't then say, OK, I'm fine, I'll never say a word, I won't say anything.

[00:22:05] He can't go into victim mode and expect her to jump in and rescue. So in that scenario, and I think you can plug in a lot of those, you can see how in a healthy, secure, attached, interdependent relationship we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. When somebody looks at that example I just gave and they say, I can't I can't jump in their rescue, that's I would be codependent. We're missing the entire point. The point is, that is why we married. That's why we couple. So there are ways to do that better than others. I'll admit that. So if I go back to this interdependence, I want to read this again. And I want you to think in terms of that example that I just gave. So interdependence suggests that partners recognize and value the importance of the emotional bond they share while maintaining a solid sense of self within the relationship. Dynamic and interdependent person recognizes the value of vulnerability. There we go of being able to turn to their partner in meaningful ways to create emotional intimacy. But they also value a sense of self that allows them and their partner to be themselves without any need to compromise who they are or their value system. So if I go back to this example of the anxious wife, then the husband can clearly say, I don't I'm not familiar with what to do.

[00:23:14] I'm not sure because that's him being vulnerable and the wife is being vulnerable by saying, I didn't even know I'm doing that or yes, sometimes I'm not even aware and I don't know what to do with that. So being dependent on another person and this is again, back to the article by Jody Clark, being dependent on another person can sound scary or even unhealthy. But growing up, we're often taught an overinflated value of independence that to be somewhat self-contained with a high value placed on not needing others for emotional support. And I love how Clark says as value. Was having a sense of independence is, but when taken to an extreme, this can actually get in the way of us being able to connect emotionally with others in a meaningful way. Emotional intimacy with a partner can be difficult to achieve. Even scary are not seen as a particularly valuable in a relationship for those who have an extraordinary sense of independence, Clark says interdependence is not codependents. Interdependence is not the same thing as being codependent. A codependent person tends to rely heavily on others for their sense of self and well-being. There is no ability for that person to distinguish where they end and their partner begins. There's an enormous sense of responsibility to another person to meet their needs and or for their partner to meet all of their needs to feel OK about who they are.

[00:24:30] So I love she listed traits of a codependent relationship include things like poor or no boundaries, people pleasing behaviors, reactivity, unhealthy and ineffective communication, manipulation, difficulty with emotional intimacy, controlling behaviors, blaming each other, low self-esteem from one or both of the partners, and no personal interests or goals outside of the relationship. So codependent relationships aren't healthy. They don't allow partners a room to be themselves and to grow and be autonomous. And you can see why it can be scary to then give up that control to, quote, let someone find themselves to let someone figure out what is important to them. Because when we are coming from this abandonment equals death mentality from our childhood, the fear is that if I try to let go of my control on my partner, if I try to if I tell them that, hey, you can be whoever you you want to be, that can be threatening to ourselves if we really dig deeper, if we really own up to that or take accountability. But so these unhealthy relationships involve one partner, both relying heavily on the other and the relationship for their sense of self, their feelings of worthiness and overall emotional well-being. And there are often feelings of guilt and shame for one or both partners when the relationship isn't going well. Darlene Lanser, who is in MFT, also an attorney, she says she's a codependency specialist.

[00:25:50] She explains that codependency involves someone who has lost their core sense of self so that his or her thinking and behavior revolves around someone or something external, including a person or a substance or an activity such as sex or gambling, or I'll add in my neck of the woods somebody turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. And that's why I so go big on turning to pornography as a coping mechanism when someone doesn't feel a deep sense of self, when they don't feel like they are connected to their partner in marriage, when they don't feel that they are a good parent, when they don't feel connected in their spiritual life, when they don't feel connected with their health or in their relationships or their jobs. That's what I call those voids, and that is when people turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. And that's why, in a strength based way, what my entire Path Back program is about, quite frankly, is helping people figure out who they are, who they want to be. And strength based says we're not just going to keep hammering home these, but when you're triggered, you do this. When you do these things, here's this list, because that's that mechanistic view. That's that just change this thought. Just do this thing and then everything will work out better. No, this is about finding oneself. This is about becoming interdependent and figuring out who you are as a person so that you don't feel that need to turn to these unhealthy coping mechanisms.

[00:27:05] So why interdependence is healthy for a relationship. Interdependence involves a balance of self and others within the relationship. Clark says that you are recognizing that both partners are working to be present and meet each other's physical and emotional needs in appropriate and meaningful ways. Partners are not demanding of one another, and they do not look to their partner for feelings of worthiness. This gives each partner space to maintain a sense of self room to move toward each other in times of need and the freedom to make these decisions without fear of what will happen in the relationship. And my whole magnetic marriage course I often talk about our goal is to have you be able to go to your partner and say, check out my train of thought, look where I'm coming from. And your spouse doesn't look at that and say, oh, that threatens me. When you say that you thought these things. No, it's for them to say, man, tell me more about that. And then once you feel heard, they can share. That must be hard. I don't have those same feelings or here's my experience. But it's that you can be two different people that that have been this this this bond that helps since then. And I know this one sounds a little bit cliched, but it's the one plus one is three.

[00:28:08] It really is that you edify and help each other become a different person. So a healthy and interdependent relationship has several features. Clark goes on to say, here are a few things to look for in a healthy relationship that is not codependent, healthy boundaries, some active listening, but time for personal interests, clear communication, that clear communication is very difficult. And that's where I feel like the four pillars come in, or Stu Johnson's emotionally focused therapy, because it is difficult to express oneself when they are being criticized. It's incredibly difficult to express oneself when they are worried about how the other person will take what they share. This goes back to that attachment, those attachment wounds as a kid. Of trying to figure out how do I present myself so that I won't make the other person mad, we have to be able to get to this place of I call it calm, confident energy where I can express myself. And if the other person says, I can't believe he said that, I I didn't know you felt that way. Instead of saying, well, you aren't always perfect either or to say, well, I don't know, maybe I really don't think that it's to be able to say, oh, no, I do. That is the way I think. And I'm grateful that I can express that to you. So clear communication, taking personal responsibility for behaviors, creating safety for each other to be vulnerable, engaging and responding to each other, healthy self-esteem, being open and approachable with each other.

[00:29:21] So when partners feel cherished and valued, Clark goes on to say the relationship becomes a safe haven. It's a place where the couple can be interdependent. They understand that they are not alone in the relationship. They can turn toward each other for safety in times of need and feel secure that their partner will be present. It doesn't mean that they have to always agree. It doesn't mean that the goal of a healthy relationship is to be heard, not to resolve on our group call for the magnetic marriage. Last night, that point was just being we were making that so beautifully and the people were responding so well that that was a game changer to be heard and not to resolve, because we don't like to leave things unresolved, because we worry that if I don't leave something, if I don't button something up, then all of a sudden my partner is going to be upset with me and they may abandon me. And again, abandonment equals death. So how to build an interdependent relationship? Clark said the key to building an interdependent relationship is to be mindful of who you are from the beginning. Many times people are looking or entering relationships simply to avoid feeling alone without any personal reflection of who they are. And that goes back to those, in my opinion, the abandonment and attachment wounds, because that is how do I show up? Because if I am not accepted, then something's wrong with me.

[00:30:30] And those two things are completely the opposite. It's here's how I am showing up. And if someone doesn't appreciate that, then bless their heart, I'm just grateful that I can express myself in a calm, confident manner. So taking time for this kind of a personal reflection allows you to enter a new relationship with an awareness of self that is critical for the establishment of an independent of interdependent relationship. You can work this into your current relationship. Licensed therapist Sharon Martin suggests it's important to maintain a sense of self in your intimate relationships. She gives these these suggestions on how to do so, knowing what you like and what matters to you, not being afraid to ask for what you would like. Spending time with friends and family, continuing pursuing your personal goals, being mindful of your values, make time for hobbies and interests. Don't be afraid to say no and don't keep yourself small or hidden just to please others. So allowing your partner room an opportunity to do the same things, the same things will be the key to establishing a healthy, interdependent relationship. And yes, it can feel scary. It can you can you will feel like this innate feeling within you that says, wait a minute, if they have a completely different opinion or thought they're going to leave me. No, that's your childhood defense mechanisms and childhood protections that are trying to come forth into adulthood.

[00:31:46] We can thank them for their help in helping us grow up. But now you're the adult. And now we want to explore these relationships with a sense of curiosity, a sense of tell me more, what's that like for you so that we can then have this shared experience or connection. And we don't have to feel like we have to have the same experience or something's wrong with us. Interdependent relationships do not leave people feeling guilty or scared of their partner or their relationship, but as Clark says, rather leaves them feeling safe with their partner. So I just want to challenge you to take a look at your own relationship. Is it codependent or is it interdependent? Are there times where you want to be there for your partner? But you feel like if I do so, I guess I'm I'm being codependent. No, take a look. There's a way you can. It's a quick reframe to find interdependence rather than codependents. Let me let me wrap this up and talk specifically about marriage. And this is some precedent. And I one day or sitting around and and I just sort of John down some notes as we were talking. And and here's our takeaway. It's that if you want a connected marriage, being defensive or trying to control your partner just doesn't work. What do you want? If you want to have the six pack abs of a marriage, you have to do the work.

[00:32:57] And this type of a relationship, this interdependency isn't always easy. And press and I were talking and we said it's simple, but it's not easy, simple meaning that once you get the concepts down that your partner, your spouse has their own experiences and you have yours, then it does become simple. Just by way of now. My job is to try to understand. Tell me more about my spouse. Not I can't believe you said that. Why would you say that? Do you know how that affects me? You don't really believe that none of those things lead to an interdependent relationship. So if you want to learn how to be interdependent or how to have that type of marriage, it takes work. And blaming your partner doesn't work. And it's it doesn't you can't automats. Quickly get to cloud nine next week, and there are steps that need to be taken to achieve interdependence again over some of those there today, I feel like those four pillars of a magnetic marriage that are part of my magnetic marriage course and this is not an ad, are assuming good intentions from your partner. No one wakes up and thinks I'm going to try to hurt the other person. And and even if it feels like that is something that just makes no sense, the way that your spouse is presenting, if they're angry, if they're withdrawn, if they are saying hurtful things, still with that assumption of good intentions, even if you look at that as man, that's the way that they feel like they can.

[00:34:20] The only way they can be heard then that breaks my heart and that does lead me to have more empathy. And so, again, blaming them doesn't work. We're so used to walking on the path of least resistance that our brain develops these deep neural pathways, patterns of behavior, patterns of defensiveness, patterns of front loading, conversations of I know you're not going to like to hear this, even though we meanwell in saying something like that. No one likes to be told what to do, no one likes to be should on. And so when you're telling somebody what they are feeling or I know you're feeling this way or you always do this or you never do that, then you're you're already making the conversation or the conversation is already headed out into the weeds. It just is. So now we're going to feel like in this journey to interdependence, it's going to feel like you are walking out in the weeds. And when you walk out, the weeds are snakes and stickers, maybe some mud. Your brain wants to go back to this path of least resistance, of telling them they're wrong or defending ourselves. And you can go back to that, but is sometimes doing difficult things is what creates those new neural pathways, those new pathways in the field.

[00:35:29] And you are going to get stickers and you are going to step in some mud, that sort of thing. And this often this goal of interdependence is going to require a lot of work. And the hard part is sometimes it will. No, not sometimes it requires more of you. You listening. This isn't something to be heard, as is my buddy Preston likes to say with your elbows. If you're hearing this and you think, yeah, my spouse really needs to hear this or do this, you can only control the things that you are experiencing. If they're telling you that they you're wrong, that you don't really think the things that you're thinking, then this is a bless their heart moment. I don't need to defend myself anymore if I am just expressing something that I feel passionate about or something, that's my truth and that's OK. And they can have their own opinion as well. And so it often does require more of you. It's like learning a new language or a new instrument, and it doesn't happen overnight. You're going to play the wrong notes. You're going to use the wrong grammar when learning the new language. I remember learning German. I never got the articles correct and I would put words in the wrong order. But sometimes when you lean in, it's uncomfortable. But that healthy tension is the way to create connection or create these new neural pathways.

[00:36:38] And again, it can be uncomfortable. Viktor Frankl and Man Search for meaning talked about separating the stimulus from the response that it's very important to learn, to not react, to sometimes be able to take a breath, put distance between space and action. And I am now officially rambling. So I will wrap this podcast up and just say, hey, I appreciate you taking the time to be here. Please share this episode or take a screenshot of it and post it on social media tag at Virtual Couche. If there was something here that you enjoyed, because I really feel like this goal of becoming interdependent instead of this fear of codependency really is the way to go. It's scary, but it is the way to form a truly magnetic marriage. It's a way to have a secure attachment with your partner because we are designed to process emotion in concert with another human being. Hey, thanks for taking the time to join me on today's episode. The Virtual Catch Them have a special bonus episode coming up this week. I'm all lined up to be on a couple of shows and interviewed some new guests coming up here over the next two or three weeks as well. And can't I can't wait to get some of the content out that I have had ready to record for quite some time. So I hope you're well. I hope you're safe. And if you have questions, feel free to send them to Contact@tonyoverbay.com. And taking us out, as always, is the wonderful, the talented Aurora Florence. It's wonderful. And I'll see you next time.

Tony shows how putting the 4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation, one of the key components of his Magnetic Marriage Course (http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic) together with your abandonment and attachment programming from childhood can create a pretty incredible conversation, relationship...and birthday! And did you realize that returning Christmas presents could actually be a way to connect?Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

---- TRANSCRIPT ----


[00:00:00] So did you know that you can actually return Christmas presents? Let me set the stage. It's a couple of months before Christmas 2020 and I really wanted to get my wife something good, something that I think that she has always wanted a Mrs Pacman game. Now, my wife, Wendy, is not a big gamer. We've been married 30 years. We did play some Mario games early in our marriage. And I remember coming home from classes in college. We were newlyweds. This would have been in nineteen ninety or nineteen ninety one and we were playing one of the Mario games, probably on the original Nintendo. I don't really remember the exact console. She was working to put me through school and sometimes we would have just a few minutes between me getting home from school and her heading off to manage a women's clothing store in the mall. So we check in, see how far one of us got on Mario and pass along any tips or tricks that we thought the other might need to know that because we were starting to head our separate ways and I continued, as many males do, to really enjoy playing video games. But as the consoles became more complex, the game's more intense. Wendy didn't seem as excited about gaming over the years and having a shared experience around a video game all but disappeared.

[00:01:04] That is, except when we found ourselves maybe playing tennis later on in life or even today or Mario Kart. But that's not the point of the intro when we're out and about. Wendy has been known to routinely defeat me on a game called Mrs Pacman. Like to the point of frustration, I don't understand why I cannot beat her in this game. Mrs Pacman, regular Pacman. I've got a chance at Mrs Pacman. I don't know. She holds some power over me. So when I started seeing in the stand up arcade games go on sale for just a fraction of what their coin operated ancestors went for. I knew I had to buy her one. I knew that she wanted one. I assume she wanted one. So I had chased a few down over the years, but I had never pulled the trigger. But this year I started looking early. I made a purchase and the game arrived a few weeks early and I could not wait to unveil it on Christmas. I think I'd already told all my kids, probably clients, anybody that would listen except for Wendy, that she was going to be thrilled with the Mrs Pacman game at Christmas. So fast forward to December. Twenty fourth. Our kids are older, so there wasn't really much to set up for the big day.

[00:02:06] But the night before, sure enough, as was the case in so many houses across the world, the kids could open one gift and surprise it was pajamas. And they typically come with some sort of slipper house slipper and I have some house shoes that I already like. So Wendy said that I need to keep the ones that she bought. And I said, Are you sure that won't hurt your feelings? And she said, no. And she set them aside and was all set to return them. No big deal. So is everybody got the PJs on? We took a family picture, too, and then she said, hey, so speaking of returns, I noticed the big box out in the garage. I noticed it's a Mrs Pacman game, and that's so nice. But would you be offended if I wanted to return that? That one hurt, that one stung a bit, didn't she know that I've been trying to track this thing down for years? I had spent probably hours trying to find a Mrs Pacman game and finally finding one and pulling the trigger. And it came and she realized she was going to be able to beat me routinely and talk trash and rub it in my face, all the things that were fun and and this competition. And then I realized I had to practice what I preach as if as a marriage and family therapist, as a as a creator of the magnetic marriage course.

[00:03:13] Of course, for better marriage communication. A few weeks ago, I put out an episode about the four pillars of a connected conversation. We're all human. We have our own experiences that we bring to the table. And the goal of a connected marriage is to be heard, not to be right, not to necessarily have to resolve anything, but really is to be heard. So I had to mentally bust out my own four pillars of a connected conversation. Pillar one, assume good intentions. Nobody wakes up and thinks, you know, I want to hurt my partner. You don't have to get defensive, go into your emotional bunker or to protect yourself, even if you have a hard time believing that the that there are good intentions behind a message that your spouse is giving you. So when my wife said, I don't really think I would like Mrs. Pakman Pillar, no one assume good intentions. She's not trying to hurt me. Pillar number two, I cannot send the message you're wrong. So when she says that she wasn't really excited about Mrs. Pakman, as I probably thought, I can't say no, no, no. You always beat me. You like it? I couldn't put across that message.

[00:04:11] Pillar three ask questions. So I had to say, hey, tell me more about that kind of fill me in, bring me up to speed. And she let me know that that really wasn't something that she was necessarily excited about. If we were going to buy a big console or arcade game for the game room, said something that the kids would like, my youngest son is still in the home. Maybe he saw some antique NBA jam or one of those kind of games. So she said, I'm happy to return mine and we get something that the kids would want to play. And number four, pillar four. I can't go into my bunker. I have to stay present. I have to lean into the conversation. I can't say fine. I guess I'll never try to buy you a gift again, as so often is the case. So not not often necessarily the case that I do. But I think we all do that where we get our feelings hurt. We say, fine, I was just trying to do something nice, but I guess it doesn't matter. Know, I had to lean in and tell her I appreciate that I was then able to share with her my train of thought where I was coming from. I felt heard. She felt heard. And it was time to return the game now a day or two past.

[00:05:14] And when he started the return process, only to find out that in my naivety I saw that there was a return policy from where I purchased the game, but I didn't read it. So we were responsible for the return shipping of this incredibly heavy, large device and a restocking fee. So I believe that I have actually actually cost us money to return the game. So, yeah, if you're ever in our neck of the woods and you're hankering for some Mrs Pacman, well, we're the place to go. So today I'm going to lay out a couple of real world scenarios with the four pillars of a connected conversation. I have received an insane amount of emails after releasing this episode about the four pillars of a connected conversation. So many that people are saying that even just the concept of four pillars of knowing that there is a better way to communicate has been a game changer, no pun intended. So today we're going to take a look at what that looks like to put these four pillars into action, how difficult it can be to have a goal of being heard instead of trying to resolve. So we're going to cover that and so much more coming up on today's episode, the original.

[00:06:25] Episode two hundred and forty seven of the virtual couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay, I'm a licensed marriage family therapist, a certified mycoplasma coach, writer, speaker, husband, father for ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back and online pornography recovery program that is helping people stop turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. It is a strength based on the shame, become the person you always wanted to be program. And if you head over to Pathbackrecovery.com, where you go over to Tony Overbay dot com, you can find a link to go to my courses.

[00:06:52] You will have access to download a book, a little e-book, five myths that people make with trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. Again, that's Pathbackrecovery.com and the new the revamped Pathbackrecovery.com program features a weekly group call Wednesday evenings and has been an incredible thing as it continues to grow. There is quite a community and it is a strength based model. I am telling you, if you have tried to to stop turn into porn when you're feeling hungry, angry, lonely, tired, when you're feeling less than if that has been something that's been deeply rooted into your neural pathways for a long time. Give this a shot. I'm telling you, the strength based model is is the way to go. And I when I was promoting my book, he's a porn addict now. What an expert and a former addict. Answer all your questions. I think at that time I was done the math and I was letting people know about fifteen hundred sixteen hundred individuals and working with them one on one and helping them put pornography behind them as a coping mechanism. And I am over fifteen hundred are over sixteen hundred and having shame be a component of recovery. So give it a shot and let's get to this. The magnetic marriage course. I mentioned this last week, it sold out in just a few hours and I was incredibly humbly grateful for the support.

[00:08:09] And one of the biggest components of the magnetic marriage course is these four pillars of a connected conversation. And these are based off of the emotionally focused therapy model by Sue Johnson. EFT., as I've mentioned so many times on my podcast has been an absolute game changer. I would not be a couples therapist had I not learned the skills and tools of emotionally focused therapy. But then with the help of my friend Preston Pugmeier, we took these principles and then put them in very tangible homework situations where you can apply these four pillars and a lot of other things in this magnetic marriage course and to be able to communicate more effectively, to be able to have a more magnetic marriage. So I've gotten a lot of emails and people have wanted to know more about what this looks like out in the wild. So I had a couple of things today. And one of them, the first thing I want to open up with is the story of the birthday party. And I really feel like this was going to resonate. When I talk about receiving emails, I still feel very fortunate and blessed that I get a lot of emails about podcast episodes and the particularly around Christmas, I received a handful of emails around. It was primarily women who felt a bit underappreciated that they had put themselves out there a lot with Christmas preparation, Christmas planning, and maybe had not felt as appreciated.

[00:09:29] And even to the point where Saturday Night Live had a really funny skit, I have to put the link in my show notes. That was about how much Mom does for Christmas. And then she I think it says she gets a robe. But then the kids have all these amazing things. Even the dog got a bunch of things and mom is forgotten, even though she's the orchestrator of all things Christmas. And so a lot of times people can feel an unappreciated. So I want to lay out the here's the first scenario where I want to put the four pillars of a connected conversation into play. But why I love this example is because this one also speaks to something that I have been so passionate about the last few weeks, and that is the concepts of what abandonment and attachment issues look like moving forward in your life as an adult. So forgive me, but I am going to lay out the speech now that I feel like I give anyone and everyone almost on a daily basis. I swear my one on one counseling, my one on one therapy. When somebody says, hey, so what's what's on tap? What we can talk about today, I say, let me give you the abandonment attachment speech. And because that will frame a lot of the things that we're going to talk about.

[00:10:30] And if somebody stops me the store and says we're going to help you, I can say, have you heard about how your abandonment and attachment issues affect you and your adult life? This is how passionate I am about this. So let me go as I'm sitting up in my chair. Matter of fact, if you haven't done so yet, I would be very honored if you would go find the virtual couch YouTube channel and subscribe and I just to get out of my chair because I'm ready to give the speech. Here we go. So we are born as little pink, squishy babies from the factory. We are programed to cry, to emote, to express our needs. Because if we do not express our needs, if someone doesn't feed us, clean us, hold us, then we will die. So in our wiring of our brain is this concept of abandonment equals death. Now, if we go into the stages of development, psychologists like to talk about them. If we're going into this, maybe. Zero to two years old, and you can see that factory setting baby emotes. Baby cries and then their needs are met and needs are met because if needs are not met, that is abandonment and abandonment equals death. So let's move into the next stage of life. Next stage of development, a two to seven years old.

[00:11:42] This is where I start to say welcome to the world of abandonment. Sounds dramatic, but what is abandonment look like at that point? Abandonment looks, hey, you can't stay up past your bedtime, can't have candy before dinner. We're not going to go to Disneyland every weekend. You can't have that toy that you see on TV. And so that looks like abandonment. And why I love talking about this now so much is we're looking at this moving forward. So from zero to two with the wiring set of abandonment equals death. Now, when we move into two to seven now, we can see that for a kid brain, we're moving through the stages of development. So as we come from zero to two with abandonment equals death and then we get into two to seven and now everything starts to feel like abandonment, because now for a kid, I am now emoting better emoting a lot better. I can actually use these words that I one moment will get praise for. And the next minute I'm saying Candy before dinner, please. And on that one, people say nobody, no candy before dinner. So all of a sudden, just wait a minute. I don't understand. When I emote, then my needs get met. So what this two to seven year old doesn't realize or even seven to 12 or those kind of in fact, some adults, is that when you're in that two to seven year old kid brain, every kid is a little narcissist, they're egocentric.

[00:12:59] They think the world revolves around them because it has it literally has revolved around them. And they don't have a way to express themselves. They have a way to self advocate. And then they also don't have empathy, no judgment there. But you don't have empathy if the world is revolved around you so deep. Right. So then from this two to seven, welcome to the world of abandonment. All of a sudden, the kids are thinking, I don't understand why people are not meeting my needs. It doesn't make any sense. So here's where I then like to say there's two tracks if you're watching on the video. I got my hands going crazy here. I talk about the abandonment track. What does that look like? So now? Slowly but surely, people then throughout my life are going to start not meeting my needs. We're talking about through childhood, throughout adolescence, as a kid, my friends, people that I date, then eventually my spouse, people at work, why are people not doing what I need them to do? And even as adults, even though we know, OK, everybody is at their own lives to get their own stuff, why does it still hurt us when people aren't doing the things we want? It's because of this wiring from the brain zero to two. Abandonment equals death. When I emote, people meet my needs. So what that abandonment track starts to look like is this concept of if people aren't meeting my needs, it's got to be me.

[00:14:11] So I must be unlovable, I must be broken. There's got to be something I can do to get people to meet my needs, because, again, we're moving forward from childhood with this thought of the people jump when I ask as a baby. And so I just don't understand this. Now there's the abandonment. And that's where I'd like to say if you jump into any of my podcast, go search for a virtual couch and acceptance and commitment therapy, because this is where I say, no, you are not broken, you're not unlovable, you're human. You've got all the experiences that have led you up to that moment. And so, of course, it's going to feel frustrating. But we're coming at this adult life, often bringing forth our childhood coping mechanisms and our childhood solutions, problem solving skills. But now we bring them into adulthood. We wonder why we aren't getting our needs met. So that abandonment track, again, we feel like it must be us. And here's what this can look like as an adult. It can look like, OK, my wife isn't meeting my needs, it's got to be me. So maybe if I can get the six pack abs, maybe I can start making a six figure salary. Maybe we can get a cooler house. I don't know if I can wear nicer clothes, then she'll dig me.

[00:15:15] Then my needs will be met. So do you see where that's coming? It's coming still from this childhood abandonment track. Now, over on the other track, we've got attachment. What does that look like? This one makes so much sense now to me is the more I study this abandonment and attachment patterns. So for there, if abandonment equals death coming forward from this zero to two year old, then from that day forward, here's where we see and this kid has got to figure out how to get their needs met. How do they show up? How do they maneuver certain situations so that people will like them? Because if people like them, then they will meet their needs. The people like them, they won't put them out of the tribe. They won't leave them out on their own. And this is this preprogramed evolutionary biology piece of the brain that says, if I am not a part of the tribe, if I am booted out of the tribe, then some saber tooth tiger is going to devour me. So I've got to do what's right to not be abandoned because remember, abandonment equals death. So in this attachment track, how do I show up and I get more attention if I'm the smart kid? Well, I get more attention. If I'm the peacemaker, I'll get more attention. If I'm the quiet one will get more attention. Actually, if I am the scholar, the athlete, or what if I'm the rebel and I feel.

[00:16:22] And I have to. Be really vulnerable therapists, vulnerable, raw, authentic, those sort of things. I know that the therapist in me knows the right thing to say at times where you say we all crave attention via positive or negative. And I can come up with slight examples as an adult where I come home, nobody's really paying attention to me and I pick things out of a pan that my wife's cooking on, or maybe even spanker a bottom a little bit in a playful way. And all sudden she reacts, which is what? And I say, OK, I guess I just want attention. And I used to think there is positive or negative attention, but where does that originate? Go back to this. Abandonment equals death. If I am the rebellious kid or the rebellious teenager, and that's the only way that my parents react, that reaction, even though it's negative, means they they recognize me, they notice me, and that means I am not abandoned because abandonment equals death. That was all just a warm up to talk about this scenario. Now we go to the scenario of the birthday party, and this one is so common I will often get emails or process in a session where let's just take in the scenario. It's a wife who says, my husband didn't do anything for my birthday. They forgot my birthday.

[00:17:31] Maybe it's been again. And so that hurts. That can hurt a spouse. And I understand that. And this is the part where because of we all have our own private experiences, all of our nature and nurture, birth, order, DNA, abandonment, rejection, all the things that make us human. So if we feel hurt or we feel let down because our husband forgot her birthday and maybe forgot her birthday again, it's going to hurt. We're human. There's nothing wrong. But we can't just not just choose to not have it hurt. That's that doesn't always work. And it does. That's great. But again, we're human beings, but here's where things get interesting. So first we can apply these four pillars of a connected conversation. That would be the first thing that I recommend. And I process many of these conversations with couples in session. So if the wife says, hey, it hurt my feelings that you forgot my birthday, then often the husband will immediately go into defense mode. Well, you forget things, too. Or you know what? You're not very appreciative of the things I do. And so we can already see that conversation is going nowhere. And that typically is the pattern that couples fall into. That's the tit for tat. There's also pursue withdrawal where then the wife may get very aggressive and say, I cannot believe that you forgot my birthday again. And I said, well, this retreat withdrawal, don't say a word because soon it'll be over, hunker down in my bunker or then there's again, there's these unhealthy patterns of negative communication.

[00:18:51] So put this birthday scenario through the four pillars of a connected conversation. The wife is hurt, but then if she goes to her husband and says, OK, I have to assume good intentions, I have to assume that he did not wake up and think, oh, it's her birthday. I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to forget it or I'm going to show her that I won't pretend I'm forgetting it is that will show her we have to remove the concept of assuming bad intentions, even if you don't necessarily believe that's the case. That's why the word assume is they're assuming good intentions, because it is. If you want to just go ahead and say no, I think that you are trying to hurt me. That conversation is done and we already know what that conversation is going to look like. For many couples, that's the way that they communicate. Then they argue and they fight. Then it goes a couple of days, things get a little bit calmer and then they don't know how to address the topic that just the thing that just happened and they move forward. And that's not the way to grow closer. That's why the paradigm shift, the goal is to be heard, not to resolve. So here we go. So if she assumes good intentions, he didn't mean to hurt me.

[00:19:52] And then if he said, OK, I, I forgot or if he says, I just really feel like you really don't care what I do, it doesn't matter. It's never enough. She can't put this vibe across. Don't send the message pillar number two that I don't believe you are. You're wrong again. Even if she in her mind feels like I don't believe what he's saying right there. Number three, it's pillar three. Ask questions before making comments. So your job for both partners is to listen and ask questions because remember the goal, the connected conversation is to be heard, not to resolve. And this will feel let me I will go big honest. It will feel counterintuitive at first, but this is a big trust the process concept. This is an opportunity for you to explore and learn about your spouse, what makes them tick, how do they arrive at their conclusions? This is where you'll go. You'll learn how to go on their train of thought. So I'm going to ask questions. Hey, tell me about forgetting my birthday. And this is one way of you get this these four pillars down and you start to feel safe and emotionally vulnerable. You're still allowed to have your emotions and feelings. You can be frustrated, you can be hurt. But know that if you bring that to your partner, then when we're on this pillar three.

[00:20:55] So I've assumed good intentions. He didn't forget on purpose or to try to hurt me. I can't tell him. I don't believe what you're telling me. And I need to ask questions and say, hey, tell me about that. What was this morning like? Did you remember a few days ago? You tell me about that. And here's where. If the guy really does say, I don't know, I don't know why I do that, I just get so caught up in things or if it's a I, I put it on my calendar, then I forgot to get you something. I feel shame and embarrassment. I want I go to the office and I feel I got to find a gift. You fast, because I can't acknowledge it if I don't have anything for you, even if you feel like that's not true, but if that's his experience, then OK, hey, I appreciate you sharing that. And then pillar number four, stay present. Lean in. This is the wife delivering this. She if she's the the listener right now, then she may want to say, you know, it doesn't matter. I guess am apparently I don't matter enough, so don't even worry about it. No, because at that point you can do the first three pillars of assuming good intentions, not sending the message if you're wrong or I don't believe you asking questions before making comments and have that all go wonderfully and then forget to do the fourth pillar and go into this victim mode of it doesn't I guess I don't matter.

[00:22:04] Don't worry. I don't ever you don't need to do anything again because at that point you as when one falls into kind of that victim mode, what they're saying is, OK, come rescue me. I'm obviously not worth your attention. I'm a bad person, so come rescue me. So stay for a killer for stay present. Lean in. Even if it's the. Hey, I appreciate you sharing that again. You're allowed to have your emotions and now you become speaker and he becomes listener. So for you now it's the roles are reversed in a very positive way. Now I'm going to help him assume good intentions. So when you say that hurt my feelings, you are not trying to hurt him. You are expressing your feelings. That hurt my feelings. I feel like I do a lot for the family, but yet I feel like people don't they don't care, now he can't jump into he has to stay in pillar two. He can't say that's ridiculous or I don't believe you, because if he does, that's going to shut the conversation down as well. Because a lot of times if the wife emotes that she feels like nobody cares or she nobody pays attention or she's not appreciated, he can easily pull a lot of. No, we do. We appreciate you and all the things you do.

[00:23:08] And I'll tell you all these wonderful things that you do. But that's telling her you're wrong, that failure. I don't believe what you're saying. I am not validating your thoughts or opinions or emotions so that Pillar two becomes important to not tell her you're wrong. You're wrong about that. Which then leads into his pillar three of asking questions. Hey, tell me what how you feel about that. And that can be hard. This is where I've been on a guy. So this is really I think that guys have a hard time. They don't know a lot of empathetic statements or questions to ask them in the magnetic marriage course. We've got a whole bunch of those sort of things. Tell me more about that. What's that like? How long have you felt this way? Give me some more examples. Have you felt this way? What was this a pattern in your childhood or tell me more? Not trying to fix, not trying to judge, but just trying to understand, which is, again, a paradigm shift. It's hard. The male brain, when we go super nerdy for two seconds, there's two places where we process emotion in the brain. There's the mirror neurons system, the immense and the temporal parietal junction. TPG and the temporal parietal junction is responsible for cognitive empathy of what do we do about that? The mirror neurons system is responsible for emotional empathy of tell me more about that.

[00:24:18] And when I go speak in front of crowds and I've got men and women present, I often say, you know, that males and females both have the mirror neurons system in the temporal parietal junction. And there's data that shows that a man emotions for men or thoughts for men make a quick pass through this mirror neurons system. But then when they don't feel like the tell me more about that or that emotional empathy is very helpful. They jump right into cognitive empathy of what can I do about it? So men, we are capable of understand sitting present and understanding and listening and and even having this magical empathy that we hear so much about. So in this scenario, then having the person ask questions and then staying present and and I think that's where I was going. That pillar for can be really difficult because when a guy when he's feeling like, wow, no, that isn't true. I do appreciate you. I just I forget I get caught up in things or and notice that this is all absent with the four pillars are amazing. Four is this is absent of the. You don't appreciate me. I don't see you doing much on my birthday. And so in that scenario, staying present, leaning and not going into victim mode, not saying fine, I'm the world's worst husband because that's where a lot of guys go.

[00:25:26] So they want the wife saying, no, no, I appreciate all you do. And and I shouldn't have even brought it up, because after a conversation like this, we both feel hurt. The wife can feel like, OK, I don't feel appreciated. And it would be nice if you did more for around my birthday, remember me. And but then the guy, if he's not being attacked, he doesn't go into that reactive mode, that psychological reactance, that instant negative reaction to being told what to do. And so we're going to walk away from that conversation, not only not arguing, but I think what couples don't even realize when they don't have this model in place is that the absence of not arguing is not or the absence of when you don't argue, it doesn't mean you just didn't argue. It means now you walk away from a conversation, not feeling defensive, not feeling shut down, and you now start to think of, oh, wow, OK, that I didn't realize that or I didn't know that she cared that much about something that she just shared because we're so used to being in fight flight or freeze mode after argument that we walk away saying, I can't believe she said that. Or next to. I'm going to say this or I'll show her I'm going to give her the silent treatment for a while or any of those kind of things. So in this scenario, in in this birthday scenario. Now, I want to go back to abandon an attachment, because those four pillars, I think are a way to have the conversation. But what dawned on me a few days ago while I was processing a session somewhat like this is now.

[00:26:46] Let's go back to even that. Hey, my birthday's coming up in a week. Is anybody going to do anything about it? I'm not going to say anything. Is anybody going to do anything about it? It hit me. That is one of those examples of our childhood abandonment and attachment wounds, coping mechanisms, defense mechanisms coming forth into adulthood. So when we realize that when people aren't meeting our needs, it's not because we're bad, it's not because we're broken. It's not because we're unlovable. It's because we're human. And people we are in this imperfect world with imperfect people and everyone is trying to just do what they feel is the best way to do life. And that attachment piece where it's how do I show up in certain scenarios? Who do I need to be in order to not be abandoned to get my needs met? And so in that scenario, now we're adults. Guess what? You and I'm saying this in a very positive, very empowering strength based way. As an adult, you now get to be in charge of getting your needs met. You now get to be in charge of what you want to happen with your life. You're now an adult. You are our captain of your own ship. I know it's not that easy when you even get these concepts down, but this is where I said to this person, so if you want something done about your birthday, then you get to say, hey, everybody its seven days till mom's birthday.

[00:28:04] You've got to start getting. Yes, I get ready. I there's a big one for me. I want something big happened and I'm going to Hawaii whether you guys are going or not or five days left, please. Someone check a little box on the dry erase marker in the kitchen. A cake has been purchased. If not, I am buying a cake. I will have cake on my birthday or and I feel like that causes us to feel like I but that I shouldn't have to do that or that doesn't feel genuine. And those are these stories our brain is telling us because that is vulnerable. That is scary. Because what if I does that mean that no one loves me? Does that mean that I don't matter? Does that mean that I'm unlovable? No, that's that stuff that you're bringing forth from childhood. Again, it's not that you're unlovable. It's not that you're broken. It's you're human. And so are the people around you. So if you want something to happen, then it's OK to express your needs. And this is where I think that a lot of times we're so worried about expressing that in a very negative or emotionally toxic way that we just stay away from even trying to express our needs or our emotions. I feel like there is if you're looking on the YouTube channel now, I feel like there's this pendulum where we are so almost program for this passivity because we just want to be nice and we just want to be because we feel like if I show up nice, I'm going to get my needs met.

[00:29:19] If I show up nice, then people are going to care about me and they're going to do all the things that that I desire. But at no fault to humans in general, a part of the human experience, the human existence. We can be as nice as we want to be. And that doesn't mean that people are going to say, oh, my gosh, that person is so nice. I want to go meet their needs. As a matter of fact, at times when people are being this, there's a book called Human Magnet Syndrome that says pathological kindness. So people are being pathologically nice or kind, then that can often leave them feeling like something is wrong with them when people don't reciprocate. But often in the process of being pathologically nice or pathologically kind, we almost make it so easy for others that they aren't even aware of the efforts that you put in. They aren't even aware of the efforts of the pathologically kind person. So they don't know how much effort that took.

[00:30:10] And so they often don't reciprocate or even express gratitude for what someone has done. One of these pathologically nice or kind people. My wife legitimately is the nicest person that I know and I often watch her. And I'm not just saying that, but I often watch her put herself out there and just spend hours thinking about others and and she doesn't complain about people aren't meeting her needs. But I often feel like, man, why aren't more people appreciative? Or maybe the kids at times that don't know all that she does behind the scenes, why don't they let her know or express that gratitude? I think at times it's because they don't even know because she does make it look so easy. We if we want those needs met, then we can now ask for those needs to be met. This birthday example, I when I run into a lot with men, if I'm being honest as well, is if let's say the guys love languages, physical touch, and he likes holding his wife's hand, but then he starts to feel like, man, I'm the only one that's reaching out to hold my wife's hand and this has been me. And so then if she's not the one now reaching out and a man, I feel like guys listening to this are going to identify maybe even women if the roles have been reversed, where there were times when I almost feel like in my emotional immaturity where I would think I'll show her, I'm not going to I'm not going to hold her hand for a week and I'll see if she then reaches out and holds my hand.

[00:31:28] Well, she's failing a test. You don't even know she was taken. She could just be cruising on along, having a great time. We're driving somewhere and I'm not holding their hand. I bet she's boy, she's probably upset. No, she didn't know she was even failed that test. But who's upset me? If I want to hold her hand, I can reach out and hold her hand. That's what getting our own needs met. That's what it looks like. It's not this toxic. I will demand my needs met and say, hey, I matter enough. I'm human. I'm an adult. I am no longer going to use these childhood coping mechanisms in childhood defense mechanisms in my adulthood. If I want to hold her hand, I hold her hand and I'll do it with kindness and confidence and gentleness and love. So I just wanted to take you through that scenario. I actually have a part B and I'll hold this one for a future episode of A, and it has to do with another birthday party and a situation where assumptions were not assumed to be good.

[00:32:18] And I am making no sense. I may even edit this part out, but I realize that this this episode is starting to do. I will do a bonus episode coming up in a week or two where I'm going to share another example, a very solid example of putting the four pillars in action. So I wish you the best this week. I hope that that if you have thoughts, questions, comments, examples or these four pillars are starting to work for you, feel free to shoot me an email and let me know at Contact@tonyoverbay.com. And the next round of preston and my magnetic marriage courses is coming. It's going to be in a few weeks. And so if you go to Tony overate, sign up to find out more about that. You'll be the first to learn. When the next window opens, the cart opens and you can get in on this thing or two or three weeks into the current magnetic marriage course. And the group calls of an amazing the modules have been amazing. It's just it's been incredible. And it's founded on these four pillars of a connected conversation. I didn't do my betterhelp.com ad this week.

[00:33:12] I didn't know if anybody still sticking around. But if you are looking for a counselor and you are having a hard time finding one in real life, then head over to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch and you can find a therapist that will help you in a variety of ways with anxiety, depression, OCD, even just processing some of the last year of 2020, or maybe even getting you in alignment with some future goals now that hopefully the world starting open back up again. There's a lot that people have gone through over this last year. And so maybe now is the time to reach out, find some help, talk to a therapist. I don't think there's anything negative that can happen from that Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch to ten, ten percent off your first months services. And they have very a really impressive way to fill out some information and be matched up with a counselor in your area. It's a licensed counselor in your state. And you can communicate through video, through text, email, all kinds of things. So if you haven't taken the time to to do some emotional self care, then give Betterhelp.com says Virtual Couch a chance.

[00:34:15] All right. I will see you next time on the virtual.

Do you want to know what's worse than divorce? How about running a daycare with someone you used to date and calling that a marriage? Do you feel like you and your spouse are more ROOMMATES instead of lovers! Have you ever thought: "Is the spark fading?", "It's getting harder to talk to them...", or "All we do is talk about the kids, schedules, and chores (daycare stuff)?" If so, it's time to take your marriage from mediocre to magnetic! Tony Overbay welcomes Magnetic Marriage co-creator Preston Pugmire (http://prestonpugmire.com) to the Virtual Couch. Preston is an award-winning inspirational speaker, podcaster, and Life Coach. Preston has presented in front of over 1300 audiences and his podcast, Next Level Life, debuted at #1 in the world on iTunes in the personal development category. Like peanut butter and chocolate, like cookies and milk, bacon and eggs, the list goes on, Tony, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and Preston, a successful life coach, bring the perfect mix of psychology, and motivation to the world of marriage communication to provide students of the Magnetic Marriage course with specific tools to help their marriages go from mediocre, to magnetic.

To take advantage of the special limited time offer Tony and Preston share at the end of the episode, or to find out more about the Magnetic Marriage course in general, head immediately to http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic and sign up today to learn how to make your marriage the envy of all of those around.

Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

-------- TRANSCRIPT ---------

EP 245 Marriage with Preston Pugmire-2021-01-26
[00:00:00] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two hundred and forty five of the virtual couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified mine will have a coach. All of those things that I talk about in previous episodes are still there. They're still in effect. But let's get right to today's episode. And yes, please follow me on Instagram and Facebook and all the places and subscribe and like and share and review and do all the things that would be amazing. But today's episode is a little bit different, which is why I want to get right to it. If you've been listening to any of my episodes over the last few months, you have no doubt heard me talk a ton about my upcoming magnetic marriage course that I put together with my friend and accomplished podcast for himself in a very well known, successful, positive, upbeat life coach named Preston Puglia. He is host of The Next Level Life podcast. And this is the first time that Preston and I have recorded a podcast together. But we have spent hundreds. And that is that is no exaggeration, hundreds of hours together over the past several months, creating the magnetic marriage course.

[00:01:00] And this is my first foray into creating a major course. I have the free parenting course that I firmly stand behind. But admittedly, I went into that the first weekend that the pandemic shut the world down. I just want to give people some hope with regard to parenting. I knew that they were going to be shut in with all of their kids for I mean, now we're going to probably hit a year before we know it. But it's informational, the solid, but it's non-magnetic marriage course, I will tell you that. And I could not have done this course without precedent. He helps people create courses, but a lot, of course, of successful courses. And he went all in on this course, not just helping me create the course, but Preston and I created this course. And there is honestly the perfect mix of what I feel is is my therapist clinical. A thousand couples later in the chair, experience with Prestons, get stuff done. You need structure, you need homework, accountability, how to create courses, how to run successful courses, all of that. So I wanted to create something like this literally years ago and I had tried to do so, but I know that it would not be a fraction of what this course offers had I tried to do this on my own.

[00:02:08] And I should just stop here right now and go right to the interview because we cover so much about what the course will do for your marriage. But let me just say that the timing of this episode is not purely by chance. The course is getting ready to launch soon. And at the end of the episode, there are some very exciting, very specific details that you will want to pay attention to and take action on. And I'm going to leave it there. But taking action on them. So I would I would listen to this episode. And then if you if you like what you hear, which I feel like you will, then there's there are some things to do to take action. So the video this episode is available on the virtual couch YouTube channel, and you'll find a link to the in the show notes. And I truly would appreciate you liking and subscribing on that YouTube channel for sure. But without any further ado, let me get to this interview with Preston Buckmeier, host of The Next Level Life podcast, cocreator of The Magnetic Marriage Course.

[00:03:12] Come on now, we're both just laughing hilariously because this has been a long time in the making. Preston Hagmaier, welcome to the virtual couch. Oh, man, thank you so much. Feels good to be here. I've been waiting for this moment for so long. I thought about you often so much that I just assume all of my listeners already know who you are, because I've been talking about the magnetic marriage course for months now because as you well know, I feel like we we have I don't know, we solved some riddles and puzzles here. We do. We cracked the code.

[00:03:42] Man let's get into it. We have. We have. And I want to tell you, I even asked Preston if he's going to be OK if I throw the video of this as well up on my virtual couch YouTube channel. But I want you just to go go there just to gaze at how amazing Prestons video setup is, because he has taught me much, literally. And I want to give you credit for this, Preston, even the background now. I have a couch. I have a plant. Thanks to Preston. I have a wall. I don't know if I can remember this. It says something cool under flat matte finish with cool undertones.

[00:04:13] So it's great, great information for somebody who cannot see us right now.

[00:04:19] That's OK. There's my way of saying, oh, wow, he has a YouTube channel. I'll go sign up so then I can be a YouTube star. And then finally the teenagers will take me seriously who don't listen to a podcast so.

[00:04:28] Well, teenagers are not the target demographic for this episode, talking about couples who are married and how good this guy is. Yeah. So I'm excited to be here. It's like the thing that I want to share with people is there's hope, like for reals. This is the thing that is so amazing about Tony Overbay. Like I heard his podcast, I didn't know him from Adam and I heard his podcast and he was talking about these amazing principles. And I was like, I got to get more of this. And so I messaged him and became a client of his like a year ago and started out as a client. And he was telling me stuff about my marriage. With what it's called a F.T., which is just a modality, the blah, blah, stuff like that, but bottom line is I was like, I want to have a more connected, thriving, passionate, like, emotionally exciting marriage. And this is how I feel. I feel like divorce is not the worst option. I feel like being married in a situation where you feel like you're just roommates and running a daycare with somebody you used to date. I think that that is the worst case scenario where you just kind of like not just tolerating each other, but just like living together is like, OK, we're friends and we're doing this and it's great and stuff. And occasionally we'll have sex. But like, it's not there's no like drawing connection and passion in the actual relationship. And that's the thing that shifts it from a friendship to a marriage.

[00:06:11] And I feel like people are just waiting well to get better at some point, better when the kids are a little older and I'll get a cool car or maybe after I run this marathon or maybe the right, just kick the can down the road for me.

[00:06:25] I would think that, like, OK, maybe it'll get better when I start exercising and I look better or when I make more money or when love it or a lot of it was when she changes her attitude or when she finally goes, when she finally goes to this seminar, takes this course with me or like and I've said stuff, I've said all this to her and I feel really foolish about it now.

[00:06:45] But I was in a real space of blaming her. And we weren't we didn't have a terrible marriage. We just had a regular one. And it was great and it was fine. And but it wasn't what either of us really wanted, because, like I said, you're not in that relationship just to be friends and just to run the household together.

[00:07:07] I love that you shared that. I appreciate your vulnerability there that. Yeah. When you reached out, it was funny because I had this experience where I was on the podcast with Jennifer Finless and five, and she said, what did I tell you this before? And you said, wait, that was pressed. Buckmeier and I first of all, how dare you on my podcast talk about this person, Pugliesi immediately Googled you. So I was aware of Presson. So when he reached out, I like this guy admits some of your podcasts as well. And what I really loved and I know we can go back to some of the things that you were sharing earlier, too, but I felt like I could put out all this F.T. material and I would get a tremendous amount of feedback and I could do it in my office with clients. And the feedback would be, man, that that sounds so good. That feels right now. What and then I would say, well, you just start you start doing it, you start practicing it. And then what was that like for you? Would have you'd be like, OK, that makes so much sense. Now what do I do? And I'm like, I know, right? Like, you start doing it and then tell me how goes what. Well I have for you.

[00:08:02] Well, for me it was frustrating because I couldn't figure out how to implement it. I was like, okay, I'm talking to him and was good and stuff. And then I was like, oh yeah, I understand it. And then when it comes time to actually. Implement in my house, it's like I feel like I'm a little bit lost with this and so I felt a little bit foolish and so I was like, bro, we got to help me, help you, help me. Kind of like what? I would like to create a specific like literals script. Like I want to script. What do I say? What do I not say? How do I say it? What are some things that I can specifically do? Because until you are an expert and you have a lot of practice, it's you need to be able to have a specific kind of recipe, so to speak. If you're an experienced baker, then you can just pull the stuff out of the cupboards and just to make something amazing. But if it's if you're relatively new at it, you're constantly going back to the recipe book and checking it and hope this comes before this this amount of this. And you're looking at the book and it doesn't make you stupid.

[00:09:10] It makes you actually smart because it's what I love about it. Oh, well, I you say that in this way.

[00:09:14] I thought again, the way the how the fate's aligned and that whole Jennifer mentioning your name, me googling you, you're looking at me, me knowing that you have a podcast that you create courses. You've done this before. I honestly because I've had people push back before and say, tell me what to do, give me a worksheet or whatever. And there really aren't any out there for F.T. which we found out.

[00:09:35] I mean. Oh, and so I really felt like I honestly, I'm so used to people saying that me to say, look and remember these cheesy phrases, trust the process, Presson and it's about flow and you just have to put it into action, says the person who and I remember when we were in your office, we were doing the recording. And you remember when I said, person, all it takes is fifteen years of being a therapist practicing this and seven years of mindfulness and it flows. And you stopped and you went and you wrote it down. And I need to find that picture. You're like, oh, is that all it takes. Oh ok. OK, so yeah, I don't need a worksheet, I don't need a script.

[00:10:08] Right. I don't need to work. All I need is fifteen years of experience and a degree in psychology. That's right.

[00:10:14] That's all I need. So that's how I appreciated what you brought to the table. And I remember the first time you said, hey, just do me a favor and write it out for me. And man, I almost feel like I should share that Google document at some point because it was a it was a train wreck. And I was nervous about it because I don't think I confess this to you first. And this is why our course is so amazing, is that I thought, man, I've got all this knowledge. But Preston, he's going to get it done. And I know if I shared that with you, but I thought if I don't do this right now, then Preston is going to create his own course and he doesn't know F.T. And I can help. And he's cool and I better do this. And I create this just crud document. And there was the beginnings of a beautiful friendship.

[00:10:54] I agree, man. So this is why it works really well, because there's some things that people are doing with well-intentioned but incorrectly, incorrectly. And as a result, they are not getting the results that they want, which is a thriving, connected, passionate marriage where they feel like excited and. When you when you don't know exactly how to do this, you can end up trying things the wrong way and then just kind of given up. And so the things that people are doing wrong are like the number one thing that people are doing wrong is waiting for their spouse to change. Yeah. So right now, if you're listening to this and you're like, dude, I want to if you have ever thought if she would do this better or if he would do this differently, we would be doing better as a couple. Yeah. Right there. It's such a seductive thought. It really is. We can get lured into this energy of the other person needs to do something in order for this to change. But I'll tell you this, even if it's true. Because it might be even if it's true, it is not the answer to your problems, that's a hard pill to swallow.

[00:12:14] It is. And I remember even when we sat down, I think we were recording one of the first modules. And you I don't remember how you phrased it, but it was I don't even take this course with you. Say Elbow.

[00:12:24] What was it? It's called Don't Listen with your elbows. So think about it. This is obviously a pre covid reference, but you've all been there, right? You're like sitting in an audience with somebody listening to somebody talk. So pretend that you're there with your spouse and you're listening to some cancer. Tony Prestons, somebody else up on the stage revealing the secrets of the universe as it relates to a relationship. And you hear something and you're like, oh, my gosh, that is perfect for them to implement. That is perfect for them to do. And so you just kind of nudge them with your elbow. You're like, hey, hey, hey, hey, did you hear that? Hey, hey, hey, dude, check that out.

[00:13:02] That was a really good and it comes off as hidden agendas man, which is one of the other things that we're going to talk about. But like when you listen with your elbows to life or to any feedback or to anything and you say, I'm going to wait for them to change, because when they change, I'll be happier. And what you have done is you have immediately sealed your fate. Because very rarely are they going to have the flash of light that you want them to have while you're sitting there with the energy of you needed to change. You need a change. You need a change. You need change.

[00:13:41] That's just what I love. And death now in the court.

[00:13:44] And what you've helped, I feel like help me with is I would have that phrase of, OK, you both go running into your bunkers. Now, one of you needs to come out first. And I feel like what we're doing now in this course is saying, OK, and literally here is how you come out of the bunker first. Here's the things that you say. And that is the part where I did I pushed against that press then, you know, I did because I felt like it needs to just be flow. It needs to just work. And that's what I feel like. That's part of this. We've cracked the code. We've solved the riddle.

[00:14:11] Yeah, well, this thing is I would ask you how and what we've done is through months and months and months of work and back and forth and two full weekends together, you and I have come up with specific steps like this is how you get back on track. These are the things to do. These are the things to say. These are the things to not say. Here's what you can lean into energetically. Here's what you can lean into physically. Here's what you can lean into verbally. And I used to just say, OK, cool, that's a great principle.

[00:14:46] How and with the magnetic marriage course, I feel like we've created a system of there. It's a two part system and there are subsections of each part, but there's connected conversation scripts and then energetic, like energetic alignment. And we'll talk about that in just a moment, what those mean. But when you can get those two pieces of the puzzle really together, just like a magnet, you create the attraction and then it is drawn together. If you want to be in a relationship with somebody where both of you, not just one of you, is really drawn to the other person, emotionally, energetically, spiritually, physically, if you want to be really drawn to them and them drawn to you, then these are the things that you get to do and say and not do and not say. And it is a it is a formula. And it's something that we have outlined over the last year. And I've worked with several clients in my coaching groups. And then you work with several clients in your office as a therapist, and we come at it from a coaching perspective and then in clinical scientific based therapy perspective and the two, just when they marry themselves together so well, those to apply to.

[00:16:06] And that's what I did. And I that's again, had it not been I know it's going to sound a tiny bit at times like a love fest, but that was the part where if it hadn't have been Preston and we did, we never we were so respectful and wonderfully lovely, lovable what we were having these conversations. But I felt I would say to Preston president, OK, I trust you. I want you to just push hard against these things that I think make perfect sense or are reasons why I feel like we wouldn't need to have this script or module or whatever and man and we had to give and take there. And you're absolutely right. I would sometimes text you after we get out of a session and say I was a bit more prescriptive or I gave this exercise or and it works. It works so well. And so I really do appreciate now that mix of coaching and then the the therapy. I really feel like that's something that is not out there. It really isn't.

[00:16:55] And it works so well because what I did is you would present a principle and I would. Yeah, but it to death I would be neba from a space of love like it was something where it was, it was like the scientific process. OK, let's explore this. It's kind of like I in it to if somebody creates a security system for their building and then they hire somebody to break into that building and then the person finds, they find a weakness in the security system on purpose, in a controlled environment so that they can bulk up and that's that section and make the security system more robust.

[00:17:33] And then they hire them to try to break in again. And then they find another way. And after five ways of breaking in, then they get to the point where I can't break in anymore. And I know the system really well. So what we have done is I. Yeah, but yeah but yeah but and with my marketing my and my coaching mind and in your therapy mind and your like, your clinical experience and all those things, we created a system that really is the most robust version of the quote unquote security system of the marriage.

[00:18:03] And so it really is amazing. It is an even we were talking about script, even if you feel like I shouldn't need a script, OK, we'll note that.

[00:18:14] But here is the script and it works. And I feel like there are a lot of those when we shouldn't need a script or or he shouldn't be to have to be told what to say or. You know what? We're we're kind of. And with those, how have those gotten us so far where those gotten you and I love that we would have those moments right where it would be. OK, I will note that this may be difficult. This will note that this might be unfair. So, anyway, back to the script right back.

[00:18:39] So I would say stuff that Tony, I'll tell you about this. And there were times when he just said that, OK, what do you want, Preston? Because the thing that you are doing right now isn't giving you the results that you want in your life. So you can keep doing that.

[00:18:57] Yeah, I tried to get a tiny bit frustrated and it grew into a tremendous amount of love or be like and I hear you and we'll note that and but you know, this I this I know this works. This formula, this script, this where I would do the whole thousand couples later, blah, blah, blah. But how did that feel when you hear that it didn't feel like, oh OK, then all my problems are solved.

[00:19:23] No, what what it took from me is to finally really trust. And so after there came a time where I I stopped pushing and pushing and. Yeah, but yeah, but because I was like, oh, oh, I don't need to do that anymore because we actually figured this, that this out. And sometimes the answer is, well you get to do it for the next three to six months. Yeah. And it's not going to work immediately. Nothing is. So if you do these things one like one time, if you have a very connected conversation using the script, if you do that one time and your marriage doesn't immediately turn around, that's the equivalent of lifting weights one time and getting frustrated that you don't have a six pack or you haven't lost ten pounds like on day one. And so just when we say trust a process like it is a process and it doesn't happen overnight. But I'll tell you what doesn't work is the things that you're currently doing. So, yeah, you got to do this to try something different. So the first people are going, yeah, you know, you go, I was going do the same thing.

[00:20:37] First thing people are doing, you go.

[00:20:38] First thing people are doing wrong is they're waiting for their spouse to change. So the antidote to that is that you get to actually lead and it doesn't matter if you're the husband or the wife. It takes one of you to actually lead and you have to come out of the gate or come out of your bunker, so to speak, to come out of your bunker with accountability. That's hard and straight up. It is vulnerable and it is hard, but it is the way to take control of your own emotions. That accountability module. You go on, go, go, go. If you want to. If you want to have control over your own emotions, then we teach the four steps of accountability inside the magnetic marriage course and we teach the we teach you specifically how to reframe the story that is running on loop inside your head, reframe that story in a way that is useful to you and actually gets you to where you want to go.

[00:21:41] Because if you basically if you are sitting there blaming and blaming and blaming somebody else and you're sitting there being in victimhood, energy, it's like dropping an anchor in in the ocean and then turning the motor on on your boat. And it's going in a circle around the anchor and then getting frustrated that you're not making it to shore.

[00:22:03] Yeah, you're like and I was going to say.

[00:22:06] No, I apologize for some of that, I don't remember when we did that accountability module, you said, hey, I want you to come up with something real and let's do it live. And the thing that we processed for me, I, I was holding on to a lot of emotion. I've never talked about it on a podcast. I just it was something I've been carrying with me for a long time. And I was I again, I don't know if I shared this much with you. I was very skeptical that it was going to be and I'm not trying to make it sound like it was the easiest thing in the world, but it was shockingly easy when you laid out I remember this, the two sides of this board, I won't give away more, but the way that we laid out the energy that I was putting out and who I really wanted to be and how that story fit into each one of those sides of this board, I'm probably not making any sense.

[00:22:50] But trust me, I feel like that module alone for me personally was a game changer.

[00:22:56] Thank you. It was for me as well when I had my mentor teach it to me. So what are you talking about? There's two sides of the board and there's basically there's a victimhood energy. I'm not talking about being like an actual victim, like victimhood, energy versus conscious creative energy, where you're actually moving forward and allowing yourself to take control of your own situation and focusing on what you can control and. Bottom line is. We will teach you how to reframe any story in your entire life that you could tell inside your head or to your friends or to your therapist any story that you could tell the ends with. Can you believe it or I don't know what to do or anything like that. You can reframe any story with these four very, very specific and simple steps so that you can take control of your emotions and create. The emotional situation with another person that you want to have, and I I use it every single day, every single day in my work and with my parenting, with my spouse, with my friends, with my finances, like every single day. The four steps of accountability. It's absolutely a game changer. Yeah.

[00:24:13] So the second thing that people do that we were really noticing is that they really they didn't rely on this concept of just simply reflective listening. I feel like that is something that every as a therapist and grad school, you learn that I feel like most just self-help books is preach. This is a good time to talk, I'm sure. And now one of the people displaced as well may be saying, I really think that you're mean and that you never listen to me and you don't appreciate me. And then the wife is OK. Reflective listening. I'm hearing that you think I mean, I'm hearing that you think I don't support you and then they're saying, OK, that's well done. So that sounds like you heard him. And then you have the other side do that. And then it's like the therapist or the book or the whatever sits back and says, hey, now you've heard each other, now work it out. And I feel like that is this underlying model and method that is in so many communication or marriage seminars. And that's the thing that I was shocked even to see that there wasn't something that was as I just had the tools of no, you can't just listen to each other.

[00:25:16] You have to be able to express yourself. You have to be able to listen empathetically. You have to not be going to the. Yeah, but you can't go into victimhood. You can't just tell this person that is a bunch of crap. I don't believe you. And which is all the things that can come from just purely empathetic or reflective listening.

[00:25:34] You make that sound pretty. Presson So it's beautiful. Beautiful. So what happens is people that put their guards up and then they run everything through a filter. This is what I think that they're saying. And so if you say, oh, this is what I'm hearing you say and then you say it, it's an easy way to just regurgitate the actual words that they're saying without getting into the energy. I'm huge on the energy. Think about I mean, literally, my friends put up on her Instagram yesterday. It was so funny, her and her husband, it was called they did this thing called arguing with compliments. And it was meant to be a joke. But, dude, we should use it. We should use it. It's so good because it's it's them sitting there like the video and there's next to each other in the kitchen. And he turns to her and he goes, you know what?

[00:26:27] Oh, you're so good at being a mom. I can't believe it. And you're so sexy. And I oh, I'm so glad I married you. And she turns to him and she goes, are we are we doing this right now in front of the kids? Are you kidding me? Because when you come home and tell me that my hair looks good, it makes me want to kiss and I just can't believe it. And then I see you and I see your muscles and it just it turns me on and then I watch you with the kids and it just makes me so happy. And they're just arguing with compliments to be a joke.

[00:27:01] But it's the energy of things is so important. And you can sit there and you can be like, man, you know what, you really are the worst. Like, I just every time talk, I just feel like just a little bit of gagging in my throat. And I just I just really don't like looking at you and being around you.

[00:27:24] And so it's the tone of voice. It's the energy. It's not just the words. And when you combine the two and when they are in alignment, then it creates a situation where you can actually have a connection. So I talk about that just briefly to say what we've created is a script. It's a it's the connected conversation script. And in this, when you have the correct energy and correct motivations behind it, then you what I asked you, what do I say? And then you say here is exactly what you say, and it's like a template. You plug in the things that relate to you and then there's a speaker and then there's a listener and there's specific questions that you can ask.

[00:28:11] And when I've done this with my wife, oh my gosh, I've learned of been married to it for 12 years and I've learned so much about her and her motivations and her just the things that that drive her, the things that light her up, the things that shut her down in every aspect and her reasonings for things and just how she thinks like her world view when I've learned more about her world view, helps me understand her. And I really love her and appreciate more. And also, it allows me to show up in such a way where I know that I'm delighting her and I love to love to deliver because I really everybody wants to matter.

[00:28:47] Everybody everyone's the care. They want to be heard. They want to matter. And I had a I was. With a couple just just yesterday, and I get this one often where the person says, OK, but what if you already know all of those things and I think bless your heart, you don't. The reason that you think you do is because we don't without this script, we most likely probably shut that conversation down enough where the person giving the information at some point, it's like, yep, you got it all figured out, right?

[00:29:13] That's exactly how I feel. And so they don't feel safe enough to just open and share. And the script literally lays out how to do it, what to say. And it is a safe way to just tell me more. Tell me how long you've thought that way. Where does that come from? What's that like for you instead of the. No, I've heard that already. I already know. Well, how do you think that affects me? All those things are gone.

[00:29:34] They are. And one of the things is because we've created something called the four pillars, and they are foundational. The foundational principles that it's the pillars. Think about a pillar of that, like a platform is built on like that. It's everything relies on these four pillars. Maybe we should have led with this, but straight up these four pillars, when you use them and when you actually follow them, then it creates a situation where. You can't help but be more connected after the conversation is over. So when you ask the questions and when you answer the questions and you use these, we call them empathy statements and also land, when you don't use the landline statements, then what happens is you end up being connected. So the four pillars are we'll just go first.

[00:30:21] Let me tell you, this is where as we're going through and I think we were talking a little bit before on one of our calls a week or so ago and planning. So I did a quick version of, hey, here are these four pillars. I gave a couple of examples. And I think I was telling you, I don't think I've ever received more feedback from people that literally just saying give me a handout or something so I can fix my whole marriage. And that's the part where I say, bless your heart. I wish it was that easy. But the four pillars are an old principle. You do. And with these four pillars of it, we're going to talk about, we also within the course and I thought this was significant when I have people in my office and maybe it's that they're paying for it, I lay out these pillars in my office and and it feels right. And then they want to jump right up to the OK, we talk about sex, parenting, politics, finances and religion, please, because these are the and you realize, oh, we've got a lot of emotional baggage that we're carrying with us. We're going to lay out these pillars. But I want you to think in terms of because you're immediately going to say, OK, then we can finally have this conversation about whatever these highly charged topics and press. And I thought, well, OK, slow down. When we've got low charge, we've got four levels of these charged topics. And what's fascinating is you can do a warm up exercise in a therapy session where you say, hey, give me your thoughts about where you always wanted to retire. And all of a sudden somebody says the beach and the husband says, seriously, like you hate sand, you never even use sunscreen. And it's, oh, if we can't even have a conversation about this thing that is not for years, that is just just supposed to be kinda laid back on the grass and tell me more thing. And we certainly can't dove right into the highly charged topic. So lay out these four pillars and let's talk about this.

[00:31:56] The first one is assume good intentions.

[00:32:00] And it sounds cool. Like why say can you go through what these are like? Is as I was laying these out with you and I want to know what was their initial feedback or thoughts or reaction or that sort of thing.

[00:32:11] So assuming good intentions so that one of the things that's interesting is when I was in. Yeah, but mode, I would say what if they're what if they don't have good intentions and.

[00:32:27] That's.

[00:32:29] It's really an interesting place to be, because if you're operating from this, you're operating from this place of my spouse is trying to hurt me right then. Then you're that then that's maybe not this course. It's just not this course. So that's where you deserve to actually have a real assistance. What I mean is like just different assistance, as this course is for people who are ready to move forward or they're in a stagnant place or they're just like arguing like you're on the brink of divorce and you're at each other's throats as might not be the best way for you to start. Right. Like, go work with a professional.

[00:33:09] So let me tell you, this is what I love about this. And that's why I love the coaching piece and the therapy pieces, because I and I you are so right. If it's already so emotionally charged, we're talking about divorce. It can be really hard to get into this sympathetic mode of I have to assume these good intentions they are not trying to hurt me. And what that looks like is if your spouse is withdrawn, it's not that man. They wake up and say, oh, I don't hug, I know how to get at Preston and I'm going to I'm going to withdraw for a couple of days. That'll show him. No, it's if they're withdrawn, the assuming good intentions. It really the way you frame that is that man, I have to assume that they are so they are so hurt or are not feeling connected that they feel like by withdrawing. That's the really the only way that they feel like maybe that I'll see, recognize or notice. So even if somebody shows up in their angry then I feel like that's the one where I'll hear often. I'm supposed to assume that good intentions there and that's what we have to do. That is pillar one. So if somebody is like frustrated and they're saying, look, I'm tired of this and I just got to get something off my chest, you can assume good intentions a bit like, man, bless their heart, they don't know how else to share this message with me because we have been in the space that we haven't felt so connected. So I have to assume that this wasn't a wait till seven thirty at night when the kids are at bed and I'm just going to blast them. It's oh, she just feels like this is the only way she can be heard right now. So assuming good intentions, that's what it would look like.

[00:34:27] And I mean, in the magnetic marriage course, we talk about how to go and how to do these things. So I'm just going to give you the basics of them that, like number one assume intention. Number two, don't send the message of you're wrong. Now, the way that you send that message is when you immediately contradict somebody's statements or feelings. It might look like saying something like, well, that doesn't make sense or no, I'm not or I already know that. Or to answer that, that didn't happen. You can't do this again or something like that, or even it can come up in the positive way where somebody says, I feel nervous, like, no, no, man, you can do it.

[00:35:09] You can do hard things. Like you're immediately contradicting themselves. You're contradicting them. Excuse me. And so if you immediately send the message of you're wrong or I don't believe you, then it puts them on the defense. And so we teach you how to like even if you don't agree with them or even if you do have things that are contradictory, like feelings or statements, or even if the reality of the situation is contradictory to what they're currently saying, we teach you how to approach and navigate that so that it does not send the message of you're wrong.

[00:35:44] It actually allows them to see, like, something that could be helpful to them and it creates a connected energy instead of a confrontational energy.

[00:35:56] And I know we're going to get to this and we'll talk about this over and over. The four pillars are not pick and choose. And this is the importance of the framework. And this is why in the course, we we have every bit of this buttoned up from landmine statements. But these statements to and the reason I say that is quick example.

[00:36:11] I'm married 30 years. I'm a pro Preston. I'm a marriage therapist. Right. The all the stuff. And I'm on a run with my wife over the weekend and I could tell that she was maybe felt a little bit that I missed the ball and something and so say, hey, tell me about what you were going to do this thing. And I was like, oh, no, no, remember, I was going to do this. And she could have easily right then said, no, we talked about this and you're wrong. And so I would have been defensive. And she's like, oh, OK. All right. So if you don't remember this other conversation, I can totally understand why you went this other went and did this other thing. And then so right there she assumed good intentions. It turns out she knew she was right. She knew I was wrong, but she was like, I can understand that. And then it's OK. And I just remembered when we were walking by this one particular house and having this conversation about one of our kids in this event. And I was like, OK, yep, nope. I totally remember that. My bad and I know that sounds simplistic, but that's the importance of the framework that we're teaching because and that's why I feel like people will often say, OK, I'll do that for the most part. But if I know he's wrong, then sorry, I got to let him know. And it's no, trust this framework. And that's why we've laid the course out with so many things to build up to this. This will work. This is the way that you go every time.

[00:37:25] And that's where it comes down to. What do you want? You want to be right or do you want to be connected? and in a marriage, you get to choose? So here's the thing. Are you in a marriage? Cool. Do you want to stay in that marriage? Cool if you're not in a marriage. This isn't for you. If you don't want to stay in your marriage, this isn't for you. But if you are and you want to stay cool, you get to choose, do you want to be right all the time or do you want to be connected? And it is you just get to choose.

[00:37:59] And so what I love about that is it doesn't have to be. We're on the brink of divorce. This is where I truly believe at my core that these skills that we teach are not natural. They're not factory settings, because I could get out on how we come into relationships with abandonment and attachment, all that stuff. But we are already so protective and we're so ready to run back into that bunker and start hurling insults and that sort of thing because of this not going well. This is for this is this part where it will improve anyone's communication.

[00:38:28] I it really anyone. Anyone. And so when you utilize that second principle, the second pillar, you get to the third pillar, which is questions before comments. So it's very easy to just say what you think and tell your opinion. Here's the deal. Stephen Covey talks about seek first to understand, then seek to be understood. And so you just ask questions.

[00:38:53] Now, here's the deal. What questions do you ask? Empathetic questions. And we have a whole list of them that I kept asking. I kept on the list of things. I mean, the list of things to choose from because these things are not innate and they're not taught and they don't it's not a factory setting kind of deal. I'll tell you this right now, like when people don't have a really thriving, connected, passionate magnetic marriage, it's not your fault, honestly, like you haven't been taught how to do it. people, Marriages don't come with a handbook. And just like children don't come with a handbook. And if you think I should already know how to do this because I'm an adult now. No, no, no, no, no, nobody does. People confuse physical development and maturity with emotional development, emotional maturity, physical maturity happens to us. You don't have to do anything. You grow, you start getting hair, really all the things like that. And and you're like, oh, now I'm an adult. OK, that happens to you. Emotional growth and emotional maturity. It doesn't just happen. It's not a package deal. You have to seek it out. And I have spent years and years and ten thousand hours and thousands of dollars like really working on these things. And so have you Tony. And now we are creating a situation where other people can expedite that process and learn from the things that we have learned over the last years. You can take years with the knowledge and put it into six to eight weeks, like honestly, and then you get to learn how to implement it.

[00:40:31] But that's. Yeah, yeah. Because and say that pillar three, I think that when we were talking earlier, when I say that, somebody says, what if you already know everything about your spouse or you know what they're going to say.

[00:40:41] This is where things we're going to find out things you never knew before because if you've assumed the good intentions, you haven't said they're wrong. And now you start asking questions. That person feels safe. And when they feel safe, this is where they go. They get to go deep. They get to go. Well, actually, here's how I feel about this situation and this this example I gave earlier about where do you want to retire when we finally got that one in this CCS, we put it in this framework.

[00:41:03] The woman, yeah, she doesn't like sand and she gets sunburn. But the beach represented freedom. And in a childhood where there was a lot of challenge and struggle. And so I was like, why didn't you tell me that?

[00:41:12] And I wanted to say I did say because you already said that the thing about the sand and the sun. And so at some point somebody said, forget it. And so then if you don't have this framework, she's never going to feel heard about really what her deepest goals and desires and experiences are and what a gift that he got at that point.

[00:41:32] And they left that conversation feeling connected.

[00:41:36] Beautiful. Which brings us perfectly to the fourth pillar, which is stay present and lean in.

[00:41:41] Now, here's the thing. Leaning in is not intuitive, because leaning in includes the potential of getting hurt because it's vulnerable and our brain is not wired for growth and connection. Our brain is immediately out the gate, wired for survival, survival and protection just is and it is survival. You get to survive and you get to protect yourself when you wall yourself up and when you go into your bunker and you get defensive and you start blaming, that is survival. You are protecting yourself. You just are. Yeah. And that's why I say, what do you want? Do you want to be right, which is the protection or do you want to be connected? And I guarantee that when you do this. There will be times where it will not go super smoothly and where you might get a little bit hurt emotionally. OK, welcome to being in a marriage. I'm just saying, like you, if you want to actually create this thriving, passionate, connected, beautiful, exciting magnetic relationship that you deserve.

[00:42:55] It comes with a little bit of risk.

[00:42:57] And that's why we guide you through the process so that you can avoid all the things where you will get really, really hurt and you're going to fall and skin your knees, so to speak, because that's just part of the process of anything you've got to learn. And if you're willing to do that because you realize that there's amazing things on the other side, then, boy, this is for you.

[00:43:23] It really isn't that fourth that fourth pillar too. And I feel like this is one that honestly, even as we were starting to talk about these pillars, I admittedly felt like one, two and three were so important in this. Four was good until I realized here's how it manifests. And I feel like anyone listening to this, I've gotten so much feedback from this piller when what it can look like. Yeah, we say lean in. But what what the opposite of that looks like is something can still assume good intentions. They can not tell the person that wrong. They can ask the questions. And then when it gets uncomfortable, like Preston says, they go to the OK, I guess I'm just a crummy dad or I guess I'm just a bad husband. No, that is not leaning in. That's going into victimhood and that is wanting your partner to now rescue you. And so that's why and I remember, Preston, when when we were talking about this earlier, when we were where you were saying, OK, these aren't you can't say, OK, I'll do one and three. If you look at any conversation that devolves, I guarantee you that it will be because of one of these four pillars. And you must and we talk about this so much of how to stay in those four pillars and what to watch out for. And I feel people will really resonate with the man I do that or I didn't even know that was a bad thing.

[00:44:33] When me and my wife started implementing this, she in her infinite wisdom, dude she, We got into an argument even after we did one of these conversations. And then she came back to me the next day and she said, oh, my gosh, I was looking at this list. And I, I didn't do pillare No. Two. And that's where it went off the rails and it was a light bulb in my head was like, oh wow, she's so smart. And she figured out a piece of this where any time you have a difficult conversation or an argument or a confrontation or anything like that, or even if it's just a cold shoulder avoiding like it doesn't have to be explosive, which is like just cold, you can go back and go over the conversation in your head and you can say, oh, I didn't do pillar one or or I didn't do pillar four in this situation. And that's where it went off the rails straight up. You can always, always identify one of the pillars that didn't get adhered to. And that's four pieces. That's what four pillars take one of them out of the platform is going to fall, it just will. yeah. And so it ends up being really, really important to do those. And like said, we guide you through it. That's what the course is for. That's what this training, this marriage training experience is for so that you can have the third thing.

[00:45:58] I want you to really take the reins or consider again, my vulnerability was I felt like we hit the accountability. We got the conversation scripts. We got. We've got some personality things in there. We've got some ways to figure out your partner. We've got all that stuff. I loved all of that. And Preston would say, OK, I'm big energy guy. And that is kind of like this concept of masculine and feminine energy. It's not about gender. It's about this energy roles. And I don't know why, I had heard of that.

[00:46:25] And I think that with this kind of goes back to my own experiences in a session where I would feel like someone would come in and and say, oh, are you familiar with this? Or this would be some concept that I felt like someone had read just online. And I realize now I would feel this. No, no, I'm the therapist, you know that. I don't know all of those things. Let me tell you the things I know. And and so that was a challenge for me to really lean into this concept of energy. And now I can't tell you how much I use this. I use this literally every day in multiple sessions. And it's also really helped me in my own marriage, in my own the way I show up with my parenting. And I kind of want you to drive this one Preston because I just want to be very open and vulnerable. Say I'm a I'm a I'm a neophyte when it comes to this energy portion.

[00:47:09] However, you have implemented it and you have learned it and you have taught it like so, so well. So, yeah, it's it's relatively new to you, but you're a pro and you get this stuff. And I've seen you in our sessions when we've created the content and you've told me about the way that you've approached it with your clients and stuff like that. So stop selling yourself short. So check this out. You're very kind in in a relationship that is typical, where the man in the relationship has more of a core masculine energy and the woman has more of a core feminine energy. Now, that is not every relationship. I totally understand that. Bottom line is in a relationship, there are energies. It's like yin and yang. You can think about it in terms of that, because when I say masculine, feminine, I am not talking about male and female. I'm not talking about gender, even though that's how we often apply it in our brain. And so I'm just going to ask you to turn off that old filter of your brain, because what I'm talking about is. Creating two things that are in there, they are there in their opposites, I guess, so that they can attract think about it as a magnet like North and South and North Pole. And a magnet will attract, if you have to South's, then they're going to repel each other.

[00:48:36] And you can have really, really good friends that you both have to feminine energies or both have to masculine energies. That's awesome.

[00:48:46] That's not what we're talking about here, because the difference between a friendship and a marriage is a physical sexual relationship. That's one of the main differences. Right. So what we're doing is we're creating this piece of the relationship that that creates attraction. And so think about this. If I've lost you a little bit, think about this. If you are a woman in a relationship, what happens when you feel like you're not noticed or you feel like you're dismissed or if you feel like you're not understood or if you feel like you're not safe?

[00:49:25] And I'm not talking about necessarily physical safety, but if you feel like you're not safe to express your emotions or you're not, you don't feel secure even if he has a good job, like I just don't feel secure in our state of the world and of our brand and stuff like that. There's a lot of things happening outside of our control and I don't feel safe.

[00:49:44] What happens when you don't feel seen, don't feel acknowledged, don't feel understood and don't feel safe? My guess is that you shut down. And so what we've done in this course is we've outlined a very specific way for you to feel like you can create a situation where you feel seen, acknowledged, understood, safe and secure so that you can relax, so that you can enjoy the relationship and so that you can be radiant, you can just be radiant and you can trust your spouse and you can really, like, celebrate him.

[00:50:31] And really look to him as just your hero, honestly.

[00:50:37] And now, well, before you move on from that, because this was some stuff that I really enjoy and I've got some notes that I pulled up that I will bring up in session. Now, there's some real key things I think that you've but you've touched on to that that need to feel safe and secure according to them. And that's where I recognized and again, this is where these things can plug into that four pillars, connected conversation script to have this conversation so that then she feels heard to say, here is how I feel safe. And that the person the guy hearing it doesn't hear that is a you are a pile of garbage because you're not doing this because he wants to say, no, I am I am providing safety to you. Here's how. But it has to be according to them. And so that's the part where they need to be men and women.

[00:51:19] Yeah, men and women. Idea of what makes them feel safe and secure is just wildly different because we're different creatures.

[00:51:27] But you're totally right. And so I talk to the men for a second. Think about think about when you feel criticized.

[00:51:35] Think about when you feel picked, think about think about when your spouse feels like your energy is closed off and cold.

[00:51:44] And if you think about if you are in a situation where you feel like a little bit controlled or things are just like enforced and you feel like you don't have some freedom, OK? Well, we can teach you the things that you can do, think, feel, say all those things so that you can actually create a situation where your spouse wants to give you sincere praise. Where you're showing up in such a way where they feel safe to be open, vulnerable and playful with their energy. And where they allow you the opportunity, they allow you to operate with trust because you are showing up in such a way where you are trustworthy and it creates the situation, think about men right now. If you listen and think about what would it feel like to be able to get sincere praise? And to be able to have a spouse with open, vulnerable and playful with their energy that you can you can feel secure with.

[00:52:46] And also. You feel like they trust you. And you're allowed to.

[00:52:54] Just operate free. It's just a really, really creates this open, open situation energetically. One of the things that I have really, really started to learn and implement in my own marriage and my coaching and you and yours is that this is the missing piece, when you take obviously accountability, you're taking control of your emotional situation, which we can show you how when you implement the CCS or the connected conversation script where you're using the four pillars to be able to unlock the connection energetically and emotionally and physically between you and your spouse so that you know them, you really understand them, and they know and understand you.

[00:53:42] And you're excited to actually have conversations, even if that conversation in the past would have been a third rail, no go. And then when you take that and you couple it with. This energetic piece of masculine and feminine, what is called polarity, polarity, is the state of being at two different poles. Think North South Pole on the globe. There are they are opposites, right, than the north in the South Pole on the globe create a magnetic field that allows things to be magnetically attracted to each other. So when you step into your core energy, we show you how, when you step into that, it creates a situation that allows your spouse to step into their core energy. And then you are like a north and South Pole of a magnet, and then you become magnetic and then you become attracted and you have a thriving passion, connected, exciting, fulfilling relationship. And these are the things that work. And we've seen them work in our own marriages and we've seen them work in so many other marriages. So if this is something that you want, then what we've done is we are actually releasing this course limited, like we're only opening it up to 10 couples right now. Later on, we're going to open it up to more. But right now, we're only opening it up to 10 couples. We're going to take you through a really it's like a Founders'. You get to be the founding member of this program, the STRAIN program, and we're offering it to people for a discounted price because it's just the first opening of it. And so you want to be one of these 10 people, ten couples. And first question that you're going to ask is, can I do it without my spouse?

[00:55:29] Yes, yes, yes, yes. If you feel pulled to do this, we will teach you we have a like a solo contract you can track, like, basically if you feel told to do this. I know from personal experience that you can change your marriage, by yourself. it sounds counterintuitive, I know, because you're like it takes two to tango. Yes, it does. However, you can create a situation where you do it by yourself and by do it by yourself. What I mean is shift your behavior, shift your paradigm, shift your energy. And that allows the situation to create an opportunity for the whole thing to shift. It really does work.

[00:56:14] So if this is what I love that you're saying that because that is something that I have and we talked about this earlier, we weren't even sure if we how we would implement this. And we put a lot of work and effort into that, because I do feel that there is a message kind of being touted out there by media, by psychologists. That is, you have to get yourself together in order to then show up in a marriage. And this is where this whole thing is based off of this concept. Again, we're designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. I feel like we bridge that gap of I can hold myself accountable, but then I can also use these skills, these everything from this confident energy, the way to have a connected conversation using the formula, even if there's only one person using the formula and that it will shift and change your marriage. And it's not in a I'm going to work on me and I don't care about you. And I feel like that's the message that's often out there, that if your spouse is not wanting a part of a program like this or they aren't wanting to work on self-improvement, that I know I share this with you so many times Preston where I think I just get so frustrated by that because I'll get that see that message out there. Look, you just got to do you and I hear you and I understand when people see that, but I feel like that is missing such a huge opportunity to. Yes. Accountability and figure yourself out. But then here's how you now show up so that you can still get this connection with you spouse.

[00:57:32] It's not either or. It's not either or. I just do it by myself or we do it like it's so it's a new way of looking at it, which I am working on myself and I'm choosing the version of me that is going to show up. And now I have a specific way to do that and achieving that. And I'm creating a situation where I'm standing up for things that I desire and and holding myself accountable, holding myself to a higher standard and saying, well, this is what I would like in return. But it's not from a hidden agenda perspective. There's no hidden agendas and you're not demanding.

[00:58:06] And so it creates an invitation. And rarely is that turned down. Because my guess is your spouse wants this, too, even if they don't understand what it is that they want.

[00:58:17] So this is the thing. If you want to be one of these foundational foundation sounding like 10 couples to be able to go through this course, this magnetic marriage course, then go to TonyOverbay.com/magnetic. Tony Overbay, magnetic, and there's a special rate for people who are founding members of this, we're going to open up the ten spots and we're so excited because when you invest in your relationship, think about think about this. What does your relationship look like one year from now if you don't do anything?

[00:58:57] Just think about that. Does it look the same? Does it look worse? If it looks the same.

[00:59:04] Are you OK with that? If you are, this is not for you. If you are not OK with it, this is for you.

[00:59:12] So here's what we want you to do. Go to TonyOverbay.com/magnetic. And enroll as one of the founding members of the magnetic merge course and we are going to take you through it has six lessons, 6 training experiences and you get to watch these videos. There is actually scripts and worksheets that we've created for you. There are the training videos. It's all held within a program. And then you get to work with us in a group setting every single week. We're going to come on and we're going to do live like coaching and Q&A videos with you so that you can have ways to implement these things in your specific experience. It's like your specific relationships and your specific marriages, because every marriage is kind of different. The principles work. They do. If you want to understand how to navigate these things with your spouse and say, well, this happens and then get specific coaching and therapy from Tony and I, then this is one of your best chances to do it. And you get it straight up. You get at a fraction of the price. It's about it because it's in a group setting. It gets a tenth of what it would look like to work with us one on one. And so this is going to be a way for you to create the relationship that you want.

[01:00:29] So make this happen. So right now, you are in one of three categories. You are a yes, in which case can go click, do it enroll right now. Or the second category is you are. I know. In which case don't do it. Like how does it feel to trust yourself and know that this isn't the timing for me is the, Most likely you're in a third category where you're saying yes, but. Yes, I want this, but, man, I don't know if he's going to do this or yes, but I don't know if we have the money for this right now. Yes, but there's a lot of things happening with the kids in sports right now, I don't have time. And so I'm going to tell you this, whatever comes after that. But for you. Yes, but then you have this excuse. If you're using an excuse for this, I guarantee you using that excuse for other areas of your life and you're not actually living life on your terms. So what I'm going to challenge you to do is to prove to yourself that you're no longer going to use that excuse.

[01:01:34] You're going to say, I'm done with that excuse, here is me showing that I am not going to use that excuse because I know that this is something that I want that I deserve in my life. And so you put that excuse, excuse aside, money, time blaming, things, and then you actually show up for yourself, show up for your marriage, show up for your relationship and invest, create this opportunity for you to make a change.

[01:02:02] Be done with that excuse. Go from the. Yes, but to a straight up Yes, because I'll tell you this. Things are not going to change on their own, that's not how life works and we want you to be able to have this in your life. That's why we created this, because it's changed my life. And so that's why I'm so excited about it and bold about telling people this is something that you deserve. And I'm so excited to be working with Tony and I'm so grateful for you, Tony, because you really have changed my life and you changed my marriage. And the things that we've done together have been so impactful. And I'm so excited to impact other people as well.

[01:02:45] So I got the chills. Whoo hoo hoo! Who's cutting onions in my office now? It's been the same. Like, say, no one else could have pushed me the way you did. And it has been an enjoyable push. And and so that's where Preston is really helping me, because there's that part of me that still has such a hard time. As much as I love doing podcasts and it may appear that I want to put myself out there, it's still really difficult for me. But I could not agree more with what Preston is saying, because this is why I got into this business. I did a whole career shift. I never wanted to work with couples until I found this model. And here we are, 15 years, a thousand plus couples later, thousands of hours in the office. And so there's no part of me that even worries that this might not work. I've said that to Preston so many times. And Preston is the one that's helped us put this in a tangible format. So I one hundred percent do feel like I'm giddy about I would I will still I will confess depressing. Sometimes I'm Googling things late at night.

[01:03:41] Somebody's got to have something out there like this. I mean, we can't but is not. And so I really am just I can't even wait. I can't. So we could go on and on with this. But yeah. TonyOverbay.com/magnetic. Preston Pugmire, holy cow. Chocolate peanut butter. They go together. So well here we are. I can't wait in the beginning of many things. Some day we're doing retreats. We got the tigers jump down on a stage. Preston will perform. He's a ten year traveling performance. Let's get all that stuff. And it starts right now.

[01:04:08] So yes, Preston, I can't wait to have you back on the couch. All right. Thanks a lot. We'll talk to you later, OK

Tony talks about how to get to the deeper parts of a conversation with your spouse using his 4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation. Without the right communication skills, and techniques, you’re not simply having an unproductive conversation, you’re missing out on an opportunity to truly connect, and grow closer to your spouse. And these techniques are not as difficult to put into practice, they just don’t come naturally.-Sign up at http://tonyoverbay.com to learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!-This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.
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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ
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Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!
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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.
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Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo
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Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.
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You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.-
Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals https://www.betrayedaddictedexpert.com/podcast/episode/25d19bf1/is-narcissism-nature-or-nurture and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t https://www.buzzsprout.com/1072564/6209683-tony-overbay-pornography-and-recovery

TRANSCRIPT


[00:00:00] On today's episode of The Virtual Couch, we're talking about communication, specifically what happens when couples or when people in general don't know how to communicate effectively because without the tools to communicate effectively, you are not only having a bad experience in that very moment that you're trying to communicate, but you're missing out on so much more primarily the opportunity to truly connect with somebody that you care about that that is so much more coming up on this episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:39] Welcome to episode 237 of the virtual couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay, and I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and I'm grateful that you're here. I am going to try to get to the topic a little quicker today. I'm going to try things a bit different. I want to talk about communication. So just a heads up. I'll probably slip in an ad or two at some point, honestly. But if you just want to stop by Tony Overbay Dotcom and sign up there to find out more about some upcoming projects I'm working on, or better yet, go follow me on Instagram, a virtual couch. That would be fantastic. Wonderful. And honestly, if I really get on a roll, I may in fact, forget the ads. Thank you, ADHD. But let me start with a story and then I'm going to dig more into today's topic of communication. So in the intro that I've used over the last I don't know what two hundred and thirty six episodes, I like to call out the fact that I am an ultra marathon runner and probably a year and a half maybe actually pushing. Two years ago, I sustained a bit of an injury playing basketball with my son, of all things, and it wasn't the twenty five years of ultra running that kind of did me. And it was a quick pivot in a basketball game. So, you know, I actually first took a hit trying to defend somebody and I separated a rib from some cartilage and that put me out for a little while. And then I come back and I plan funny one time.

[00:01:57] And I can't say that I felt anything necessarily wrong in my knee right then, but it hurt and I ignored it and I kept running, but I was not able to put the miles on it would get sore and tender and I would ignore it and I would ignore it again, assuming that it would just go away until there was one day I was running along a trail in Washington State. And I think at that point it was probably it was several months after this initial injury it occurred and I was doing some consulting for a very large software company. And I just I just couldn't take it any longer. It just hurt. And and I the pain was just excruciating, excruciating. And I remember in that consulting meeting, I was there for about three days. And this happened, I want to say on day two. And I remember propping my leg up underneath the table and just trying to walk. I just couldn't plant. It was just crazy and it really, really hurt. So then fast forward to an X-ray and an MRI.

[00:02:52] And I had what my doctor basically said was a shredded meniscus. I still remember he said that it looked a bit, I think, like some shredded chicken, which has never allowed me to look at chicken in the same way. But he said that he could operate. But he first suggested that I take off some weight and see if that would help with the pain. And that was hard to hear because I was sitting there and I had ever since the rib cartilage injury, I really had not been able to run. But I was still eating like an ultra runner. And all of a sudden I was that guy. You know, I was the one that was telling this doctor, you know, I've run one hundred and fifty marathons and ultramarathons and over a dozen races of 100 miles. And I used to do this fundraiser and and I felt like he was just looking at me, sitting there probably wearing sweat pants because I couldn't fit into my regular pants anymore, just thinking. Right, I've heard this one a time or two. And so I was that guy. I had been unable to really run as I had literally for twenty five years, but still eating. And again, my pants are shrinking and I feel like the scale had kind of gone haywire at my house, haywire at my house and it added an extra twenty something pounds. And what was wild was that the scale worked fine for everybody else, so something was definitely up.

[00:04:04] So I just say, OK, sure doc, I will lose the weight and then fast forward another year. And I had still tried to run a little bit off and on. I tried to do some elliptical machines. I tried to ride a bike, that sort of thing. And I just wasn't able to just exercise like like I valued. So I said enough. And I reached out to the surgeon and I said, forget it. Let's remove that meniscus. I will take a little bit of running to no running. And he said, how's that weight loss coming to which I owned it. I fessed up and I said, I'm about another five pounds. So then I just thought I got to do something about the weight. And I went on my first serious diet for it was a couple of months. I lost about seventeen pounds. The knee started to feel better. And now I can tell you as of December, whatever, today is seventh, eighth, something like that. Then I'm eight months into a comeback where I can now run daily and I don't have much of the pain. I actually don't really know if I have much of the pain at all. And I bought a peloton and I love it. And if you're a fellow peloton rider, then come find me.

[00:05:03] My username is Virtual Couch Pod and there is some hope that even as I just turned 51 a few weeks ago, that while I probably won't get back to where I was and I'm not saying that from pity, I don't know if I want to get back to, you know, multiple ultramarathons a year. At one point I thought, man, if I could just get back to run a few miles at a time, I would be happy. So now I am back to running. Many miles at a time all be it slower. And I absolutely I just I love it. But so a few days ago I had put on a little a few extra miles on Saturday and I had a pain and it could be pinpointed. Right, right in my right side, gluteus maximus, the derrière, the fanny, and specifically where it attaches to my pelvic bone, and that reminded me of a story that is going to tie in to communication, I promise you. So it reminded me of when I used to do a lot of ultra running, and especially when I would do a race of over a 50K distance. So 32 miles I did a 50 mile or 100 K or 100 miler. And man, you hit sore after. I mean it's a nice sore but boy you get sore and I would go get this deep tissue massage. There was a wonderful older gentleman named Viloice who owns a local deep tissue massage place called Monsters of Massage that focused on athletes and specifically runners.

[00:06:20] And when he would work on your IT band or your sciatic nerve or your glutes, he would leave you bruised. He would always say this is no princess massage and he would bury his elbow into your butt cheek and you would immediately tense up. And I'm talking tense up, you know, fight for dear life to keep that elbow from not getting digging deep into your butt cheek. So and I promise this is going to make sense. So you get defensive and then he would say relax and loosen up. And I would think I was, I really would think I was. But you had to really focus. You had to be present. You had to honestly turn to your breathing. You had to let your defenses down. And then when you'd relax, all of a sudden his elbow would kind of go just it would just dig in there deep and it would hit the right spot and it would hurt. But, man, it was a good hurt. And then he could get in there and dig and dig. And when he was done, it would honestly feel amazing. But every time and I'm talking every time, even though I knew that he was about to do that, I would still tense up and I would feel the elbow and I would have to really focus and be present and loosen up.

[00:07:21] And he would get to that area sooner and more relief would follow. So why that story? So now go to a session I recently had with a wonderful couple. And we are trying to implement my connected conversation, scrimps my connected conversation method, which is based entirely on Sue Johnson's emotionally focused therapy or E F.T.. And again, it's a game changer. This is why I now do couples therapy, and it is what my upcoming magnetic marriage course is founded on. And over the past few years, I've come up with some rules to follow to ensure that you have a more connected conversation. And with the help of my buddy and magnetic marriage course cocreator Preston Pugmeier, who happens to host his own podcast called Next Level Life. We came up with what I like to refer to as the four pillars of a connected conversation. Now, the four pillars are absolutely essential. They are imperative to a healthy conversation. And when a conversation in marriage or in general goes south when it devolves, it is undoubtedly because you or your spouse or your kid or your co-worker broke one of these four pillars. And that is not an indictment. They honestly mean well. And you may be the only person who is hearing about these four pillars. You may be the only one that's trying to work on the relationship.

[00:08:29] But even if you are the only one knowing and understanding, these four pillars will help you communicate more effectively and can help change the entire dynamic of your family, of your marriage, of your relationship. OK, but first and I will make this so quick, let me tell you a little bit about betterhelp.com. Here's the ad now. As a therapist myself, I, of course, recommend that everybody give therapy to try and truly we are hanging on to some things that would be helpful to process. We're going to talk about that
a little bit more in this episode or there are things in our life that we maybe thought we'd achieve by now, or there's things that we desperately want to achieve so that we won't live a life full of regrets. Or there are people listening right now who may be noticing that their anxiety or their depression is is getting a tiny bit more or it's getting quite amplified. The longer that we are in this state of ambiguity, the the shelter in place, orders are cropping back up again. We've got a worldwide pandemic. I mean, there's still a lot of things going on in the world. So you owe it to yourself or to those around you, your spouse, your kids actually, you know, owe it to you at the very least to give therapy a try. So if you're nervous about finding the right fit, if you're worried about bumping into somebody in therapy, waiting room, or if you have any worries about therapy, might I recommend that you go immediately to betterhelp.com/virtualcouch again? That's betterhelp.com/virtual couch and all one word.

[00:09:45] And take a look at the world of online therapy. Go check out what over a million people now than before you signing up. Betterhelp.com/virtualcouch, get the help that you need, help you didn't know you need. There's a broad range of expertise and their counselor network, which might not even be locally available in many areas. It's available worldwide. It is real licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapist. It's not just motivational speakers or that or that sort of thing. You will get timely and thoughtful responses. You can schedule weekly video or phone sessions. You won't have to sit in an uncomfortable waiting room, as with traditional therapy, although I like to say that my waiting room is very nice. They will assess your needs, match with your own therapist. You can start communicating in twenty four to forty eight hours and if you don't like the fit of your therapist, they make it really easy to switch. So if you do go right now to betterhelp.com/virtualcouch, you'll receive ten percent off your first month services. So what are you waiting for? You owe it to yourself at the very least to check it out.

[00:10:37] So go ahead. Pause the podcast. Do it right now. I'm not going anywhere. OK, so back to the topic at hand. So I'm talking with this couple and we're making some progress. And remember, it's hard to be vulnerable because we have so much baggage that we bring along with us. Just thinking about this over the Thanksgiving break, if it's it's like if you've ever been going on vacation and you just overpack, I mean, what if we're going to be able to exercise, are going to run or what if they have a gym or should we bring our own boogie boards if we go to the beach because that's cheaper than renting them and buying food there is expensive. So shouldn't we just load up with groceries now? Well, you can bring an entire semi truck full of experiences, both positive and negative into a conversation. And that is going to affect how you show up. And that's OK. Acceptance that it is going to that's how you how you interpret the things that somebody says. Words can mean something different to one person versus another. And so one of the people in the session just looks at me and just says, so when are you able to either really look introspectively at what role your previous relationships or your childhood experiences may be affecting you in that moment? And I feel like maybe even what this person was also wondering and if this person wasn't wondering, I sure was, was, hey, what if I feel like my spouse often is projecting some of their own childhood or previous relationship wounding onto me? Because if you have ever felt like that in your relationship, trying to say, hey, look, I'm not your mom or look, I'm not your dad has not led to.

[00:12:08] Oh, well, tell me more about that. You know, it leads to defense and it leads to people jumping down into their bunkers. And so this was one of those light bulb or kind of aha moments for me as a therapist, because it was truly an amazing question. The key, the way to have one of these deep accountable own your own stuff conversations is only if the conversation is set up to encourage open "tell me more" kind of dialogue. If we can stay away from the. Well you do this? You make me feel this way. You're always telling me this. Those are all what I'm starting to develop. This concept I'm calling a reactance hook. You know, again, reactance that instant negative reaction to being told what to do. And I can watch it in a session. If somebody says you you always say that, you know, you always say this. You always tell me that I'm not doing enough. Well, then the person doesn't listen.

[00:12:59] At that point, the person that was just was accused of always saying that you're not enough is you can watch them right there. I'm looking at a couple. You can watch that person start looking for times in their head where they haven't said that. Now they're going to defend that this reactance hook. Or if somebody says, you know, you're supposed to do 50 percent of the yard work and I feel like you only do 25 percent. Well, now that's a reactance hook. The person that is now doing the math is saying, you know what, I actually OK, I'm out of fifty. I think I'm doing forty percent of the work. And all of a sudden and we're off and we're talking about something that's completely unproductive. So again, the key to having one of these deep and accountable own your own stuff conversations is to have this encouraging opening, "tell me more" kind of dialogue, because I believe that by default, by programming, by previous experiences, the reason we don't get to productive conversations sooner is the same reason that I couldn't let Lavoice get to my sciatic nerve, because we go into conversations with our butt cheeks so tensed up that we rarely and and I wanted to say never, but I'm trying not to do an all or nothing statement. But we rarely get to the area that truly needs healing. The part where, as Sue Johnson said, we are designed to process emotion in concert with another human being.

[00:14:08] We are not supposed to just figure out on our own all the stuff that we got to figure out and then come back to the marriage and then tell her spouse, hey, I figured out all my own stuff. So now we can go have a shared, meaningful experience without getting triggered or finding ourselves taking offense to something that your spouse said or that they didn't even know that you took offense to. No. If you take offense to something, there's a reason. And it's because of what your spouse said or how they reacted to you means something to them. It means that they are trying to be heard and they don't know how or they are communicating in a language style that works for them or that they think works for them or that they saw modeled growing up. If they saw their parents yell and scream, but then work things out, they might bring that into your marriage. And if you grew up not dealing with any emotion around the home and then those intense emotions can feel overwhelming and you tense up those butt cheeks and say, oh, no, there is no elbow making its way to my sciatic, man. I hope you're still following my analogy or that one out of context is going to make absolutely zero sense. So let me give you a real life example.

[00:15:11] And this is one that admittedly I did not quite get permission from my wife to share. So I hope that she will forgive me. But this is one where I truly am being the difficult one in the story. But having an epiphany that day in the session that I'm talking about, when this couple ask the question of how do you get to the real core of an issue, the childhood wounds or the projection or the unrealistic expectations that we place on our spouse based on our own experiences, not on what their experience as a human being is. So we were running recently in a new neighborhood, it was behind where we currently live, we just discovered this neighborhood. The streets are paved. The cars can not get to the neighborhood. So there and there are no houses. So it's just a perfect place to run. So we're running down the middle of the road and my wife is telling me a story and and she just veers slightly and I'm talking slightly over toward me. And I jump out of the way like she's about to take me out at the knees. And I honestly really didn't even think about it. It was somewhat impulsive. And then she moves back over to where she was running. And I could tell the energy and our conversation dissipated. I ask a question or two about the story that she was telling and she seems a bit more flat in her response.

[00:16:19] So now my anxious attachment style kicks in big time. And if you're not familiar with the anxious attachment style, it's oh, my gosh, I did something wrong. I blew it. I'm going to check in. You know, this is on me. I'm getting anxious and I and I need a real OK, did I do anything wrong, are we OK? So I'm really starting to worry that I blew it, that I messed something up, that I ruined this conversation, that I ruined the run. Most likely I'm off to ruin the day. And so I ask her, hey, is is everything OK? Did I say or do anything that offended you? And at first she just said, no, I'm fine. And so I stated that I feel statements because again, if that was where I said, well, you're acting different, you're you're acting cold, you're you withdrew, you retreated, then that's again, I call a reactance hook. And I just made that one up a couple of weeks ago. But I feel like now she's going to be looking for ways that she is has not withdrawn or that she is present and not necessarily being fully engaged in the content that I'm talking about. So I stay in those I feel statements. I feel like the energy shifted. I feel like I just offended you. I worry that I did something wrong and that you may not feel like you can share with me.

[00:17:24] Funtime is married to the therapist, right? They believe she shared with me that my reaction did seem to her a bit extreme, that nobody else was on the street, that she didn't fall into me or jump in front of me, and that she felt like I was trying to show her that she wasn't paying attention when she runs or that I'm more aware. I'm more aware runner. I don't remember all the specifics, but it was in that vein. So while my first reaction wanted to be to tense up those butt cheeks, to get defensive, to say that's ridiculous or well, I mean, you do need to be more aware. I mean, if I would have done one of those. We're off we are off into just an unproductive conversation. And so I turn to my four pillars and let me be very clear. I say often in my practice, these work with a bit of an asterisks for a personality disorder. If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, then I understand how difficult it can be to be vulnerable because it can and often will be used against you. And a quick example. I shared this on the Betrayed the Addicted and the expert podcast recently, and I've been leaving the link to that podcast in the show notes of the last handful of episodes, because I've just gotten a lot of feedback from that episode.

[00:18:37] And that's the episode where I announced that I am putting together a group for women who are finding themselves in relationships with narcissistic men or people that might be struggling with narcissistic personality disorder, narcissistic traits. But where the women who have heard these these episodes, I've done a narcissism or emotional abuse or gaslighting and have had these oh my gosh, I didn't know it was a thing. I thought it was just me, that I got a group that started. So you can reach out to me through my website or contact@TonyOverbay.com and I can give you some more information on that group. But I shared this story again on the Betrayed the Addicted in the expert podcast, where they had me talk in depth about what personality disorders, narcissism in particular, can look like in couples therapy. Because when I've seen over a thousand couples in my office, it becomes obvious. I mean, we're talking night and day. And so here's the here's the story I gave. And I don't think I've done this on another podcast if I have forgive me, but I remember at one point I was talking to my wife about E F.T. about emotionally focused therapy. In essence, it was the precursor to these four pillars of a connected conversation. And I was sharing with her that, you know, if there are things that she has kept inside, things that I have maybe offended her, then I really wanted her to tell me more when I was really begging for her vulnerability and she shared with me.

[00:19:56] And this is this shows you how powerful but yet simple this can be. She would go to the dentist and need dental work and sounds kind of can sounds benign. Right. But we all need dental work at times, I'm sure. But I would make this joke because she loved eating candy corn. I'm not a huge fan of candy corn. And I would say to others, yeah, her teeth are made of candy corn. And I would laugh and people would maybe give it a good laugh. And I didn't really think about what that was like for her. So when I was expressing this EFT emotionally focused therapy kind of concepts, she said, hey, you know, I know it sounds silly, but when you say my teeth are made of candy corn, it hurts because I grew up not liking my teeth. I'm I when I smile or I'm so aware of them, and so when you say that it really hurts and I just remember thinking, oh my gosh, I am so sorry, that is the last thing I want to do is offend you or make you feel less than. And so from that day forward, other than giving an example like this, I haven't talked about it.

[00:20:57] I haven't used it. I haven't said yeah. But it was really funny. Or, you know what? You need to just relax or you just need to lighten up. That's not, she can't. I mean, if somebody if it really bothers you, then you need to be able to have a voice and express because she took me on her train of thought and it was a lot deeper than me just making an impulsive joke or thing that I thought was funny. And at that time, I was working with a couple and the spouse that had shared that she, I think it was, didn't care for her extremely curly hair. It was something like that. And the husband said, oh, my gosh, thank you for sharing that. And I'm grateful you did. And I always thought I was just being funny and I'll never do it again. And I remember they came in about three or four weeks later and had been on a on a vacation. And the first thing that came up was, well, he he made fun of my hair again in front of a couple. And the guy said, yeah, but we didn't really know the couple. We just met him on the vacation. So it wasn't a big deal. And I just told her, don't worry about it, like, I won't do that again. And I remember just thinking that that right there is the difference. And I know it sounds simple, but when you've watched that with a thousand couples and eight hundred of them hear oh my gosh, thank you for sharing with me.

[00:22:10] I'll never do that again. And two hundred of them say I'll never do it again until they do it again, because now they know it is a button that they can press when the conversation is not being productive, then then that's something that we need to be really aware of. So that is a long way for me to say that. I understand that all the things I'm about to share, I always say there's an Asterix here. If you're working with somebody who may have a personality disorder because they may take this information that you put out vulnerably and use it against you. If that's the case, man, I would encourage you to go seek some help because that no one wants to continue to put themselves out there and be vulnerable if it's going to be used against them. So back to these four pillars of a connected conversation. Number 1 is to assume good intentions. Again, nobody and this is going under under the guise of nobody wakes up and thinks of themselves, how can I hurt my spouse? So in this scenario, I know I know that Wendy didn't wake up today and just lay out her day and just think, OK, this I might have an opportunity to get to him today if we go running and if I just veer off into the middle of the street and he reacts, oh, I got him.

[00:23:15] So of course, of course you do that. I'm going to assume good intentions that if she you know, if she veered a little bit and then if she started sharing with me that that hurt her, that hurt her feelings, then I need to assume that she's not trying to hurt me, that that she is showing up, that I'm grateful that she's willing to express this to me, because if she wouldn't, then I might end up failing a test that I never knew I was taking. The whole day could be off. And as you're going to see, we were able to not only communicate about it, but I feel like grow closer. So pillar number two, you cannot convey the message that I don't believe you or that you're wrong, because that will absolutely take a conversation down a negative, unproductive path so quickly. Even if you don't believe the person, honestly make room for that in your brain, set it to the side. But if you're following pillar number one in this case, when he did not set out to make me feel bad. So she says she feels like I was trying to show her that she wasn't paying attention. When she runs, then I need to lean in, be curious. It helps me turn to empathy to tell me more and then too if I would have just said, look, that's ridiculous. Seriously, that's what you think I was doing. Then she's off to her bunker to defend her position.

[00:24:27] I'm off to mine and nothing productive is going to happen. So that leads to pillar number three, ask questions before making comments. So in this scenario, I asked her a lot of questions. Tell me more about that. Have I done that before or what? Or other times it may maybe come to mind? Or is it just more of a general vibe or energy that I put off? And, you know, so in doing this, I'm starting to loosen up those glutes and that elbow is starting to find my sciatic. So she goes on to give me a few other examples or similar types of interactions or things that I've done in the past. And now I'm really hearing her. I am not shutting her down. I'm being present. I sure I can make room for those. I don't know. I don't know if I believe that or I can make room for that in my head. But that doesn't mean that I need to just blurt it out and shut the conversation down and questions before comments. The way that this can show up in a negative way at times or people that are going to make the comments before asking the questions. So if I would have said to her, OK, I want to hear you, but first I just got to say, I cannot believe that you think that that's what I would do. But go ahead. I mean, do you see the difference there, the shift in energy? If I put it out there, if I'm going to make my comment before I ask questions, that shuts her down.

[00:25:28] So, you know, set that those I don't, This is hard for me to believe. Set it aside, ask questions and pillar for stay in the conversation. What? Does that mean and I love the fact of having a podcast where I can say this, because this can be hard to say in a session, honestly, don't become the victim. Don't withdraw and become an energy vampire and in turn, the empathy and the attention back to you. I mean, that victim mentality and I have seen this happen so many times, you're having a good conversation. You get through three of those pillars and pillar 4 the guy who says, OK, well, I guess I'm just a horrible husband, I'm a bad father. I never get it right. Because now what now? There now he goes into the the victim role and now the spouse is required to go be the rescuer. No, no, no. I'm not saying that you do a lot for the family. I'm grateful for all that you do, because then we just we just lost the conversation because now it just went from her feeling heard to now her having to rescue. So stay in the moment. Wait until she feels heard and then you repeat. But now you're the speaker. She's the listener. So then thank you. I appreciate you sharing that.

[00:26:35] That helps me so much. And I'm sorry that I put out that vibe or that energy, but I'm grateful for what you shared. So now this is me saying to Wendy, let me take you on my train of thought. And now it was her, wendys turn to assume the good intentions, which can be really hard when you're new to these four pillars to assume that my jumping out of the way had a purpose or a reason. And this is the key. We're only going to get to it now because of the work that we just did minutes before. Nobody's in their bunker. Nobody's playing the tit for tat game. Oh yeah, we said this or I never do that. So then I started to share with her. And I'm telling you this, this was something that was just incredible for me. I do. I literally had this epiphany in this session with the couple when they gave this example. And and while I had shared with Wendy, I appreciated her sharing with me her her feelings and that I had jumped out of the way. And I really apologized. But we I didn't really get too much deeper, but it went well. So that's what I was saying at the beginning. It went well. So now I could think about it. Now, your job, when that conversation goes well, to think about where she's coming from and I'm hoping she'll do the same and think about where I'm coming from. Instead of when conversations devolve, we find ourselves just constantly thinking, I should've said this or Oh yeah, I should have told you this, or next time I'm going to use this analogy instead of I just I kept thinking, what was that all about for me? And so I had this epiphany, thanks to this couple of saying, when do you dig into the deep stuff? And because the four pillars have been used in this conversation about running on the streets with my wife, Wendy, I thought about it and I haven't even shared this with her yet, but I thought about where does that come from and why did I jump out of the way? And it really is because I realized and this is coming from good intentions for me, but it's because I care about her.

[00:28:20] It's because I'm worried about her. It's because for twenty over twenty years and and I've shared this with her before. I've said this to a lot of people. My running has always been I have a zero impact on the family policy. So my running is just gotten earlier. And earlier in the morning I used to teach an early morning gospel study class for my church for seven years. And when I did that, I didn't give up running. I actually started running at four or five in the morning. And there are days like today where I got up in the threes so that I could get a get a run in before coming to work because it's it's that important. Makes me feel like a better husband, father, a therapist, all those kind of things that it raises my emotional baseline. It's my self care is my mindfulness. That's my meditation. I love it.

[00:29:01] But when you are running at 3:30, 4, 4:30, 5 in the morning, it's dark. I've been running with a headlamp. I've often joked ninety five percent of my entire life when I do races that are all day and I'm running out in the sunlight, it's kind of amazing. It almost is a really cool thing because I don't ever do it. So then it makes the race stay even better. Or on Saturdays when I get to run with my wife, it's just so great to be running in the daylight and to be talking with somebody. But so for over two decades, I have been running with a light, a headlamp, a flashlight and and I see cars blow through stop signs. Oh my gosh. At 4:00 in the morning, cars don't even stop at stop signs. I mean, I'm talking I've lost track of the number of cars that do that. So I'll be darned if I'm going across at a crosswalk or if I'm going to assume that a car sees me or my headlamp or anything. And it's to the point where even when I do run in the daytime, I still I don't I, forgive me, but I don't I don't wait on crosswalks. I go run as far away down the road to get behind the cars as I can, because I've not only witnessed these cars blowing through stop signs, but my sainted beloved wife is shared with me on numerous occasions of times where she's almost been hit while she's running or on her bike by motorists that are on their phones or they're not looking or and I have witnessed that on the few times that I do run in the daylight.

[00:30:15] So as as we had this connected conversation, as we follow these four pillars, as I felt safe and I and I heard her and I felt heard that was where I was able to not be defensive and not try to, you know, break down her reality. But I was able to really dig deep and I realized, wow, that that reactive jumping out of the way of mine is not from a, you know, a negative, you need to pay attention, but I really do feel like it's from a man I want you to be aware I subconsciously didn't even realize how bad I want you to be aware because I worry I worry that you are going to not be paying attention and a car is going to run through a stop sign or it's going to run through a crosswalk. And and I am planning on being with her for another 50 years plus and throughout eternity. So I would rather be around. So I would never have been able to get to that had we not had a healthy, productive conversation.

[00:31:06] And that's what I'm grateful for. So following these four pillars is the way to have a productive, connected conversation. And if you don't have a productive, connected conversation, then you can't get to the good stuff.

[00:31:20] You can't get to the hey, I wonder if I'm projecting some of my childhood issues onto my spouse or I can't get to the holy cow. I did not even know I was doing that. I got to own that and I feel safe enough to own that. So, I mean, obviously, I'm grateful for my wife to hang in there with me and be the wife of a therapist who's going to be trying these things out all the time. But I'm also just grateful for people that continually go after these four pillars of a connected conversation. If there's something that I will sound like a broken record about it Is this, because as I mentioned earlier, when a conversation goes south, you can you can regularly say always kind of do feel like always go back and look at, OK, I did not assume good intentions or I didn't believe her and I told her so or I put myself I put my thoughts out there before I started asking questions or I turned into a victim mode. And I just got I hung my head and said, well, I'm just a big piece of garbage, so I guess, I don't know we're going to do about it. You can't. So if you break any of those four pillars, you can see how the conversation is going to devolve. All right. That's all I have for you today. Thanks for taking the time. Don't forget, if you're looking to overcome turning to pornography as a coping mechanism visit pathbackrecovery.com. You'll find a ebook that is describes five myths that people fall prey to and trying to get pornography out of their lives once and for all. And there's group calls. Now, the group calls have been amazing once a week. And you can reach out to me if you want to be a part of this group of women that are in relationships with emotionally abusive, maybe even narcissistic tendencies or traits men in their lives. And that group is starting to grow. And it's I want it to become a real thriving community. There's a free parenting course at TonyOverbay.com.

[00:32:58] And if you sign up there, you're going to hear more and more about my magmatic marriage course featuring the four pillars of a connected conversation. All right. Hey, thanks so much again for taking the time to join me. I hope you have a fantastic week. I'm hoping to have another bonus episode out at the end of this week and just be safe and we'll see you next time on the Virtual Couch.

For most of us, when we think of our marital relationships our minds don’t immediately go to the second law of thermodynamics, or entropy, but according to some marriage researchers, there is definitely a correlation. According to Stephen F. Duncan, entropy suggests that “starting on your wedding day, your marriage will begin a slow downward slide--that is unless you take action. Entropy is caused by inattention to the emotionally soft underbelly of a marriage, which needs constant attention. We have to do something active to counteract the erosion processes that are a natural and normal part of most marriages.” In today’s episode, we’ll talk about what that action looks like, and Tony will give a sneak peek of sorts to his upcoming Magnetic Marriage course on marriage communication. Tony references the article Resisting Marital Entropy by Sue Bergin https://magazine.byu.edu/article/resisting-marital-entropy/ 
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This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

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Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals https://www.betrayedaddictedexpert.com/podcast/episode/25d19bf1/is-narcissism-nature-or-nurture and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t https://www.buzzsprout.com/1072564/6209683-tony-overbay-pornography-and-recovery
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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ
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Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!
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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.
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Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo
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Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.
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You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

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Ep233 MaritalEntropy POST Descript.mp3
[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, what if you just simply leave your marriage to just happen? What if you don't actively or intentionally look for ways or tools or things to improve your marriage? According to some researchers, you are at risk of marital entropy, meaning that starting on your wedding day, your marriage will begin a slow downward slide unless you take action. We'll talk about that, what kind of action to take. And so much more on today's episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:42] Come on, take a seat.

[00:00:49] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 233 of the Virtual Couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist certified by Malevich coach, writers, speakers and father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back, which is now a path back 2.0. The Path Back is a pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of pornography. If you are anybody that you know is trying to put pornography behind them once and for all and trust me, it can be done and I'm not kidding. And a strength based hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be way then head over to pathbackrecovery.com. And there you will find a short ebook that describes five myths that people overlook when trying to remove pornography from their lives once and for all. Again, that's path back recovery. Dotcom and path back 2.0 is just exciting. So every Wednesday now is part of the path back 2.0. I actually do an hour long Q&A and we're getting a pretty good group together that is showing up week after week. There's the forum now that is active and flourishing. So if you're interested in even just checking out the Q&A, call Goulden email me at contact at TonyOverbay.com and I will give you access to that Q&A call and you can take a look at what the Path Back 2.0 is really about.

[00:02:02] And speaking of groups, I mentioned this on a few different episodes and I have started a group, and it is for women who are in relationships with or have gotten out of relationships with men who have narcissistic tendencies or even full blown narcissistic personality disorder. So if you're interested in that, please email me again, contact@TonyOverbay.com and I can give you more information on that. And I'm just grateful to be able to even have a group like that. There's just a lot of good that's taking place there. I wanted to read a quick review that came in this week, and this is one of those things where I love when I listen to a podcast and they read the reviews and I forget I neglect to do this constantly. But there's a funny part in here that seems like a setup. The review says this is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to and says I wait for this podcast to come out each week. I am so thankful that Tony would share his wisdom and expertise with everybody for FREE. All capital letters. I feel like I've learned so much and love the personal growth from his podcasts. Thank you, Tony, for making a difference in the world and says Tony needs to sell merchandise.

[00:03:06] If he isn't already, I would totally wear it. And that just made my day because I'm literally sitting here with a virtual couch, blue puffy jacket on and a virtual couch beanie. And last night on my run had my virtual couch tech fabric running shirts. And I have not made those available to anyone yet. But man, my family is inundated with virtual couch beanies and virtual couch hoodies and virtual couch jackets. And I'm just having a lot of fun with that. So I probably will start posting a little bit, maybe some pictures of the merchandise on Instagram so you can go over to @virtualcouch. And if I can figure out how to do what with all the cool kids do on Instagram as far as doing contests and that sort of thing, I have a lot of extra merchandise that I've been making and having made and just really enjoying that I and I. So I appreciate Kathy who wrote that review. So if you feel so inclined, nothing warms my heart more than anybody taking the time to rate and review the podcast wherever you find your podcast. So I want to get to today's episode. There's a real quick caveat. I believe that's the right use of the word. I did a video, so the video is up on my virtual couch YouTube channel, and I would love for you to go check it out there and subscribe.

[00:04:19] If you think about it, subscribe on the YouTube, the YouTube, the YouTube's these days, the YouTube button, if you could subscribe, that would be great. And the reason I'm bringing that up right now is the audio I feel like is a little bit tinny, a little bit hollow once I get over to the audio that accompanies the YouTube video and the recording is great. Did it in a nice 4K webcam that I love using, but the audio was maybe not as strong as I would have enjoyed. So I'm going to try to to polish that up with the audio filter. But I feel like you're going to hear a slight decrease or degradation in audio, which is hard for me because I've tried to ever since it was like episode nine. I think I had a guest on my buddy Eric shranz, who runs the Ultra Runner podcast, talking about being a stay at home dad. And right when we were done, he gave me a couple of tips and a program that I could sweeten the audio. And so I've done that since. So I really hope that that will take care of the audio because it's definitely a different sound. So I just wanted to make you aware that I was aware of that and I mentioned that a minute ago.

[00:05:24] But head over to a virtual couch, the Instagram account, and also you can go to TonyOverbay.com. And there's a lot there. Now, I have to tell you, there's the free parenting course. There's links to the Path Back recovery program. And there's a way to sign up for my. Marriage course, that is coming up, and I know I've talked a lot about it, but I'm just giddy. I can't wait. It's very good. We've been editing it, getting the workbook ready, the videos, and it is going to be really good. And yesterday, I'm recording this on a Tuesday morning. I did do my interview with Dr. Jennifer Finless and five that'll come out probably in about a week or so. And man, we covered some ground. I was so grateful for her time and for I know there's a lot of Jennifer Finlayson, some fans, and we boy, we did good. She's that's her third appearance on the virtual couch. And that is coming up. And again, hopefully that's by next week. So stay tuned for that. OK, we're going to be talking a lot about marriage, marriage therapy, marital entropy, how to intentionally do good things for your marriage. So let's get to today's episode on marital entropy.

[00:06:26] Today's topic is one that I almost I want to take you on my train of thought on why I wanted to record this episode and why I almost recorded this episode and then why I didn't. And now I am again. So the concept is on marital entropy. And this is something that Preston had mentioned to me when we were just prepping some of the materials for the course while we're now editing the videos and getting the workbook ready to go. And he just mentioned off hand this concept of marital entropy. And I have studied the concept of entropy in the past without much success, because I have never been one that is very solid in the ways of science. And and so I thought marital entropy tell me more. And he went on to talk about this concept where in marital entropy, if one is not working on something, that it will eventually fall into chaos or disregard. And apparently there is and I found this, but I don't have it up in front of me now. But there's an example that is well known or well used. And it talks about, I believe, a teenager in their room that if they are just left and not working on cleaning the room, that the room will eventually fall into discord, that it will that it is the second law of thermodynamics known also known as entropy, kind of kicks in and it says that energy degrades over time.

[00:07:42] So that teenager and if anybody has a teenager, you'll recognize this. The bed continues to not be made. Dishes are left around, dirty clothes. All of those sort of things are left all over the room. And it degrades it definitely does degrade over time. And so in layman's terms, then, entropy, which is absent of any kind of skill set or intervention that naturally moves toward disorder. So how does that apply to marriage? I felt like this kind of summed up everything that I have learned over the last decade plus of seeing couples in my office for therapy that people naturally mean well, that they go into a relationship wanting the best out of their marriage. But over time, if they aren't actively working on the relationship and that can mean a variety of things, that it will start to fall toward more chaos or more disorder. And a lot of times there are so many reasons why people don't necessarily have the skills or the tools. They maybe were never modeled a very successful relationship growing up, or they just don't know what to even do. They don't even know what those interventions would look like.

[00:08:47] And so they start to have this wedge that's driven in between the couple. And you get 20 years down the road, the kids are almost out of the home. And then the parents often realize, I don't even know who my my spouse is. And so a lot of times I feel like that is maybe what this marital entropy can look like. So I don't have a lot of data. I normally and here's why. Here's why I didn't I was about to record this a week or two ago, and then I didn't because I really like to find evidence based studies or models or that sort of thing to base my podcast episodes off of I'm such a anti pop psychology guy drives me crazy almost maybe to a default where I will default. I will be honest and say I meant to say almost to a fault where I feel like if I don't have a nice evidence based study to work off of that I am in danger of falling or succumbing to a pop psychology myth. And I'll give you one of my favorite pop psychology, MTT, to bust. And I do this every chance I can. And so if you listen to several episodes of the virtual couch, you'll see where I'm going here.

[00:09:47] But take that example of how many days it takes or weeks to create a new habit. If you are like most people. If I asked you right now, how long does it take to create a new habit, your first response might be twenty one days, three weeks it takes to create a new habit. And that data is out there. Google it right now. If you've never heard that and you will find that in droves, you will find that all over the place. And that is based off of a plastic surgeon who was traveling with the troops in World War one or two. I can't remember right now. And he was working with people that had limbs or blown off in combat. And he observed that I think his name was Maxwell Moss. But after about three weeks, 21 days, he noticed that people stopped feeling that phantom pain. And so he published some sort of report on that. And then every every motivational speaker, every psychologist, therapist took that and ran with it and said, OK, it must take. 21 days for the brain to come up with a new these new neural pathways or these new habits in essence, and so people move forward and it takes 21 days to create a new habit.

[00:10:52] Now, be a therapist and have that, you know, circulating around and have somebody that says, I'm going to exercise or I'm going to eat better and have them than do that pretty religiously for three weeks. And then if it doesn't work, they come into your office and they say, what's wrong with me? I read everywhere that it takes three weeks to create a new habit. And I don't like running yet or I'm not eating better just for the sake of it's not a new habit. And that's where I started looking at, OK, what's the real data? And there's a lot there's so much data now and people that have taken different measures or different tests to figure out how long it takes to create a new habit.

[00:11:27] And it's more like anywhere from three months on certain habits. It's depending upon the habit to I think on average it was like 180 or 182 days. So it could take up to six months. So things are going to feel like they aren't coming naturally to somebody after three weeks. And that's perfectly normal.

[00:11:43] So I have things like that stuck in the back of my mind so that when I want to record a podcast, I wanted to just be based on all this data and I want to regurgitate it in my own language and talk about things that I've seen in the chair. So marital entropy sounds amazing. And then when I actually started to dig deeper and Google it, I found a couple of articles that are good. But I also found a lot of people that are debunking that concept of marital entropy and talking about how it doesn't necessarily even fall in line with the what is it, the second law of thermodynamics, which is entropy, which again, the law states that energy degrades over time. So I want you to know that as I recorded the rest of this episode, that I'm very aware that marital entropy sounds like an amazing concept. And I believe that there is a lot of truth there, but I do not have the scientific data to necessarily back it up. So let's talk about this. I was on a walk over the weekend with my wife and just put it out there.

[00:12:39] I had a son, I have a son, and he's 16, almost 17. And he parked in and he was spending the night with a friend and he parked in the friend's neighborhood. And it's a neighborhood full of these townhomes that all share a driveway. And he comes home the next morning and he has a big sticker across the side of his window and says, you were almost towed. So we say, oh, man, that is really frustrating. And what if he would have gotten it towed and it would have been very expensive. And so we are on a walk. We actually walk by the neighborhood and see that there are some spots that seem to be available to park. So we my wife and I have this discussion and my wife says, so I don't want to come across as offensive to our son, but I really want him to know or understand that, hey, can you do me a favor and just park across the street park in a different neighborhood and walk over there because this could cost a lot of money.

[00:13:30] And she said, hey, is there anything wrong with that? And I said, no, absolutely not anything wrong with it. But I feel like this is one of those situations where there's almost a good, better best scenario with ways to communicate. And let me tell you, it is so difficult. The last thing I want to do is make it sound like I am doing therapy on my wife. That is, no one likes for their spouse to say, here's what I think you need to do or you need to do it this way or you're doing it wrong because they immediately have. I mean, we're married 30 years. She has so many examples of things that I don't do very well that she could have just pulled them at random and said, oh, really? So I don't communicate well, how about the way that you say this or this or that sort of thing?

[00:14:07] So in this scenario, I said, let me just share with you what I would say to someone that's coming into my office. And here's where I would go with that. There's several layers here. And this is where I feel like that marital entropy or communication related entropy kicks in, that if we just over time aren't necessarily actively trying to work on new skills, then what that scenario might look like is one of us just telling our spouse, hey, can you not do that next time? Can you do it this other way instead? And that might land the person might then. Sure. In this scenario, my son may park across the street the next time, but he's it's not that he's going to necessarily think that, oh, we just increased our communication skills or the relationship was just built in this moment. And I know that might sound dramatic at times. I mean, is the goal that we can really take every single scenario, every single communication opportunity and turn that into something where I know I can go to my spouse and say, hey, I've got something I want to bring up. And at the end of this this conversation, it's going to go so well that I just learned more about my spouse and they learned more about me.

[00:15:13] And now we're even closer together. And now that just further shows that the next time we have anything to talk about, that will even be closer. And that's where I want to say, yeah, actually with the right skills and tools, that can be the experience. So I know it sounds like I'm probably jumping around a little bit here, going from this experience of my son to what that would look like in a marriage. But bear with me. So we go back to the scenario. And she said, OK. She said, I would love to not just say you need to do this. To our son, but I would love to say, hey, can you do me a favor and just do this next time? And that's where I said that's that's good. I mean, that's even better. And I feel like the tools that I've learned through emotionally focused therapy, the tools I've learned through acceptance and commitment therapy, and the tools that I've learned in one of my favorite words, psychological reactance. Now, when you put all those together and let me explain the different ways that this could go. So, first of all, psychological reactions. No one likes being told what to do. Reactance is that instant negative reaction of being told what to do.

[00:16:13] So when someone comes to you and says, hey, can you not do that anymore? Keep parked somewhere else next time. Our first response, and it's innate, is born within us. There is a lot of data here that shows that our first response is I'll do whatever I want. And it's a way to protect ourselves from not being just run through by some alpha male or dominant society. So there's one of the first things now, will the person now from that day forward park across the street? They might they might park across the street. If you say, hey, can you park across the street next time and never park in that neighborhood again because you're going to get a ticket. And that's going to take me off because I'm ultimately going to be the one that's going to pay for the ticket. All those things may be true, but is that going to be best for the relationship?

[00:16:53] Hey, excuse me. Pardon the interruption. Just going to take care of a little bit of business. I'm going to make this as fast. Honestly, this can be the world's fastest, betterhelp.com ad. If you are looking for help, you are not sure where to go, not sure where to go to find a licensed therapist in your area. Go to better help dotcom slash virtual couch. You'll get 10 percent off of your first month's counseling services. They have programs available if you need a sliding scale, if you need a lower rate and they can get you in within a matter of sometimes 24 to 48 hours. And trust me, that is that is phenomenal right now because there are so many people that are seeking help with all of the things that are going on in the world. So you owe it to yourself, your family, everyone, to get a little bit of help if you're struggling, a little bit of anxiety, maybe depression, a little bit of OCD, or you just want to check in and just see if there's anything that you're missing, your blindspots, being able to talk to somebody. And now somebody that talks to people for a living every day knows some of the things to look for of ways that might be putting you in a position where you can you're not being your best self. Go to betterhelp.com, less virtual couch, get ten percent off your first month services. Over a million people have done that now. And I highly encourage needless to say, I'm a big fan of therapy. So if you if you would rather not go wait in a waiting room and if you're looking for online services and we're talking email, we're talking text, we're talking video therapy, any or all of the above, again, head to better help dotcom slash virtual couch. OK, back to the podcast.

[00:18:22] Now, here's where I say that. What is your goal? If your goal is just to put things out there, to be brutally honest, then you just met your goal. And that's great. And that works. If your goal is to develop the relationship, if that's something where you're looking for a relationship instead of not just spouting out rules, then there's a better way to do it. And so you've also you start off with that psychological reactants in mind. Do you go to your spouse or do you go to your kid and say, do this or don't do this? Because if you're doing that right away, there's where the reactance is going to be built in. So how does one do it differently, you may ask? This is where you ask questions. So in that scenario I just laid out to my wife, so and again, it's so difficult because I'm not trying to say I know how to do everything perfectly because she could sit there and talk about 100 hundred different ways and probably the last few months where I have not communicated as effectively as I like to think that I have. In the scenario, though, it would be a, hey, bud, tell me about getting that ticket. Like, what is that like? Where did you park and were there any spots available, you know, what their rules are in that and that in that complex, that compound.

[00:19:30] Have you seen those stickers elsewhere? Have you heard lots of stories about it? Tell me more. Tell me more about this whole situation and maybe you can see where we're going here. But that person says, my son in the scenario says, oh, yeah. And people get all the time. Or if he says, you know, no one's ever gotten a ticket, they'll get the sticker, they'll put the sticker on their window. It's super annoying. But in the grand scheme of things, I think they're just there to scare, to warn, or if he has this data, this is where I want to seek first to understand I want to ask questions before I make my comments. If he has all this data that says it really isn't a problem, then I'm probably going to change my approach. I might say, hey, I really appreciate that. And I can share my I feel statements, you know, OK, I appreciate that. But, man, I feel like I if that does, if there is a chance that you might get a ticket and especially knowing that I'm the one that is going to end up paying for it, then I would just love it. I would really appreciate it if you could maybe park across the street in this other neighborhood.

[00:20:25] I mean, I hear you and it sounds like that is not a scenario that I need to worry about. But I so appreciate you sharing what you know about parking in this complex. And I just feel like it would do me well if you could just park across the street. But I hear you again. I understand that. You aren't aware of anybody that's gotten a ticket, but that would just make me make me feel a lot more at ease as the one who's going to pay this ticket. And I hope you can kind of sense the whole energy shift there that the shift goes from. I'm not saying, look, do what I'm telling you to do. You don't know what you're talking about, because in reality, I really don't know. I've got a good idea of what I'm talking about. But ultimately, I've never parked there. I've never talked to his friends. I've never talked to his friend's parents about parking in that complex. So the good better the best way. If my goal is a relationship with my son, then I want to be aware of that reactance. And I want to ask questions. I want to say, hey, tell me more and I'm going to share my thoughts, my man. I feel like this might be the best way to go. So the reason I start there is in developing this course with Preston, there have been some things that I've done, has an emotionally focused therapist and F.T.

[00:21:31] based practitioner in working with couples for years, years and years. Now, where I say that one of the first key principles of working with your spouse in communication is to assume that they did not wake up in the morning and think, how can I hurt my partner? So that is a big one. And so we call these four pillars of a connected conversation. The first one is assuming good intentions, know that we're on the same team. So even if my son in the scenario and I hope you're following why I'm going back and forth, because this was a scenario that was just this weekend. And whether it's my son or whether it's a spouse, it's a way to have a connected conversation. And I feel like this best was best exemplified how this could work well and how this could fall into entropy or chaos if there weren't the skills or tools to have this conversation effectively. So the first thing is I have to assume that him getting the ticket and that he assumed good intentions. He didn't wake up that morning and think, oh, I totally know a way to tick off mom and dad. I'm getting a ticket parking wherever I can.

[00:22:32] I'm getting a ticket. So there's the second one. The first one assume good intentions. The second pillar of a connected conversation is I cannot put out the vibe. I can't literally say, hey, you're wrong.

[00:22:44] You don't know what's going on. Because if I do that now, all of a sudden this conversation devolves into him explaining something that I don't really have the data on, or all of a sudden he's going to and we do this in our couples communication. So often if our spouse if I said, hey, I parked on the street, I thought it was fine. You know, I parked in this neighborhood. I wasn't aware if my spouse comes right at me and says, I don't buy that you driven there. You parked there are a lot of times I don't believe you. Then what's the energy that I go from there? I mean, what do I say? Well, it's true. At that point, the conversation shut down or all of a sudden you have to defend myself. Or worse yet, when we are accused or when we're told that we're wrong, oftentimes we say, OK, well, it's not like you're perfect either. Here's all these things that you've done before that I don't I don't necessarily believe you either. So you can see where at that point the conversation is off the mark, it's off the rails, and now we're going in some direction where we're just in our bunkers and we're hurling insults.

[00:23:40] We're trying to come up with better analogies and none of those things are going to be productive. So you must stick to these four pillars of a connected conversation, one, assuming good intentions that no one wakes up and thinks I'm going to hurt my partner today.

[00:23:51] I'm don't need a ticket. I'm going to start yelling, I'm going to withdraw whatever that is. The second model. Then the second pillar is to say, OK, I can't just say I don't believe you or you're wrong. So I want to say, all right, tell me more. Tell me, here's what I want that tell me your experiences in parking there. Tell me the rules that you know, tell me the conversations you've had with people who have parked there as well. Tell me, have you ever heard about anyone else getting tickets? Tell me what that is like. Tell me what that would feel like if you were to leave that sticker on your window. Do you worry at all the next time somebody comes around to enforce parking that that will be the the big red flag of saying, hey, I've already done this before, so give me a ticket. Tell me more than the third pillar is that seek first to understand before being understood or ask questions before comments. So this is that scenario where a lot of times in relationships are in couples that are in my office, they they wanted to say, well, let me just tell you really quick that I can't believe you said that. I mean, that really hurts my feelings. And it basically makes me feel like you don't care about how hard I work because I'm going to be the one paying for this ticket. But now that I've said that, let me listen. Tell me more. Tell me more about that. Because at that point, the person that you're talking to in the scenario would be, my teenager is shut down.

[00:25:01] I mean, they're defensive. So that is not putting them in a space where they want to communicate or want to open up more. So that third pillar then is again ask questions before making comments. If I just go in and blast out with my comments and then ask questions, I could even be doing the first two pillars. Fine. And we've already taken that conversation off on a bad place, it down a rocky path. And then the fourth pillar of a connected conversation is to stay in there. Don't go run into your bunker and retreat. You've made it this far. You've assumed good intentions. You haven't told the person that they're wrong. You've asked questions before making comments and then stay in there because conversations are going to get uncomfortable. We're going to feel a whole range of human emotion and one of the parts that people do so often that stops a connected conversation is they violate this fourth pillar. They don't hang in there and have the uncomfortable parts of the conversation. There's a big concept that we have. It's called primary and secondary emotions. The primary emotion is that immediate feeling. We have got reaction that we might have. And if somebody is telling us something that we don't want to hear, we may have this immediate feeling of embarrassment or this feeling of insecurity or any of these primary emotions, and we don't want to sit with them.

[00:26:12] So we quickly jump to this secondary emotion. One of the most popular secondary emotions is anger. So if we feel if I feel all of a sudden like I'm being taken advantage of, that my son doesn't care about getting a parking ticket. And I feel like, oh, my gosh, they don't care about me, I'm being taken advantage of. I'm not going to sit there with it and feel that, oh, man. OK, I appreciate what they're sharing and I need to sit here with my own primary emotions and they're going to pass.

[00:26:35] I'm there. It's I got lots of other emotions or experiences that are coming up next. But if I immediately go to anger, I can't believe you're doing that. I mean, do you how that makes him feel. Then we jump to that secondary emotion. And again, we could have been the first three pillars. Well, and then that fourth one, we just derailed the conversation. And Preston and I in the more field work that we did and in this magnetic marriage course, using these four pillars of a connected conversation, the more we saw that not almost any conversation that goes south and evolves breaks up. You can go look and see where which one of those pillars did things devolve. And some of the most common examples are people that just they tell the person they're wrong and they just want them to know, I don't believe you. I'm willing to hear you, but I don't believe you. And when you tell someone I don't believe you, then that person now goes more into this defense mode. Or oftentimes we hear all of these responses like, OK, well, I know there's nothing I'm going to say that's going to make you believe me. So I don't know what the point is of having this conversation. So I often say that somebody can of course, you're human. You may not believe the person. You may have all the evidence or data that's contrary to what they're saying. And I ask you right now to if you're engaging in a conversation, I would say put the fixing in the judgment brain over here, turn it off, or set those feelings or emotions over here to the side.

[00:27:55] They're right there. You're human. But right now, we're going to just leave those. We're going to leave those over here. And I have so many examples of this. One of the ones that I give so often is a conversation that a couple had in my office where the husband comes home. They'd had a bit of a verbal agreement on household duties or chores, and nothing had happened to have gotten done that day. Husband comes home, kind of gets really angry, throws a fit what you do all day. And the wife's friend had passed away and she was looking in on her phone pictures for memorial. And so had he gone in and assumed good intentions, she didn't wake up and not do anything just to hurt him. And then the second one is he's not going to say, hey, you're wrong. If she says, man, I had a really bad day, I haven't really been able to get a lot done. If you were just jumped in and said, hey, don't buy it, how many times have you said this? The third one is he needed to ask questions before making comments. He jumped right into comic mode. And if it would have been. Tell me more. Tell me about your day, what's your day been like? And put a put onto the side here. The fixing and judgment part of I thought we had an agreement. I thought you would have dinner ready. I thought the house would be clean. I thought the kids have done their homework. Put that aside while you follow these steps of this connected conversation script.

[00:29:02] So at that point, if he would have been heard my friend passed away, then is he going to say, OK, I mean, fine, but I thought we had this agreement. No, he's going to say, I am so sorry. What can I do to help? And that's going to be a moment where people become more connected. And then the fourth one is the stay in there and have those difficult conversations. So the reason I wanted to bring this up back to this concept of marital entropy is I feel like we don't have these skills built in. We typically do see our spouse after years. That can be a few years, many years. And if our spouse wakes up and they're withdrawn their turn to their phone, they're putting all their energy toward the kids, we assume kind of bad intentions. So pillar number one, I need to assume good intentions. I need to assume that they again, they didn't wake up and say, man, I don't want to be connected to my spouse or I don't want to come out with these other things. And then that would lead to a it would lead to this. I'm not going to say that they're wrong either. If I say, hey, how are you feeling today? And they're saying, I'm fine, it's we've probably all been in a spot where we said, I don't believe you. You don't seem fine. And so I don't buy it.

[00:30:10] Then in that person at that time, the person that is being accused in that scenario is most likely going to feel like they have to go into defense mode. Either say you wouldn't understand anyway, or it's not like you've been the the the pillar of happy conversations yourself or any of those things. So and then the third pillar that comes into play then is ask questions. Hey, tell me what's going on here. Tell me why you feel like maybe you you feel a little bit down and tell me why you don't feel like you can share that with me. And then the fourth one is because I'm here for you. I'm going to hang in. Here, I'm going to I'm going to be here for you, I want to change this dynamic and that is not trying to develop some codependent relationship that is saying that I want to change this dynamic and I want to avoid this marital entropy that happens over time. And people will discover that there are rifts in the the relationship or that their struggles or challenges and communication a few years into the marriage or could be decades into the marriage. But that doesn't mean that, well, this is what it is or this is what happens with all couples are now we're stuck. That's not the way it works. So there's some pretty cool data. If I do go and look back up to this concept of marital entropy, I found an article called Resisting Marital Entropy, and it's by IMSA Berghain Fall of 2005 issue, which is a really old issue of BYU magazine.

[00:31:27] And that was really fascinating to find out was abused Google marital entropy. That's the first one that came up. And so they talk about entropy is caused by inattention to the emotionally soft underbelly of a marriage which needs constant attention, says Stephen Duncan, a professor at that time. And that's a long time ago. I know BYU School of Family Life. So entophy suggests that starting on your wedding day, your marriage will begin a slow downward slide unless you take action. And so, again, I'm not trying to make this sound dramatic, but I feel like this is just something that happens. And the reason I brought up that example earlier about ways to communicate about my son getting this this morning at this parking complex or this home housing complex is we fall into these patterns of entropy or where we the conversations that tend to devolve over time. And we aren't even aware that there are better ways to have those conversations. So we just fall into these patterns of just saying, just don't do it anymore to my son or to a couple. We might often feel like I don't want to have this conversation. I've tried to have this conversation a million times, whether it's about parenting, finances, intimacy, any of those things. And so we fall into this pattern or as Stephen H says, it's caused by this inattention to the emotionally soft underbelly of a marriage which needs constant attention, goes on to say that a powerful countermeasure is marriage enrichment. And that's a subject that's been researched by a lot of people.

[00:32:50] And there's a lot of good data out there. And that includes any anything that has been done under the marriage enrichment umbrella, any deliberate activity that works that change an individual or couples attitudes or skills or behavior, whether it's going on dates or reading books or visiting websites of ways to strengthen marriage. And again, this is 2005 research, and I'm sure there's more updated data here. But couples that want to improve their marriage, they go on to talk about theirs, they have many options, workshops and seminars. And they said several long term studies have shown that a prevention and relationship enhancement program or prep can be effective in helping couples improve their marriages and prevent divorce. Develop at the University of Denver and teaches communication and conflict management skills and six to 12 hour workshops on a they are split into several days. And this is one of those areas where long term studies show that and again, that is being spinning and making it intentional to work on one's relationship. There's another example. It's a couples communications, a research based program from the diversity of Minnesota teachers, 11 skills that effectively strengthen marriages. And there's another example that talks about a relationship enrichment, one of the oldest and most studied marriage enrichment programs. They say it essentially teaches couples to be therapists for each other. There's a really questionnaire. There's various books, websites. And that's what led me to want to record this this podcast, because it does need you need to put effort to avoid this marital entropy, to avoid the marriage, to just kind of regress to this place where we're just kicking the can down the road and thinking it'll get better when the kids are out of the house and get better when we're out of debt.

[00:34:25] It'll get better when. And we need to look at that as well. We can make it better now. And so this magnetic marriage course, the person I have put together that will be launching in a couple of months, it's we're going to give you some very specific things that will help you enrich your marriage and will help you based on these four pillars have connected conversations that will allow you to just find out more about your spouse. This is going to be the goal. The goal is going to be to learn how to communicate and connect again with your spouse and maybe not even again, maybe connect in a way that I feel like people have never they're not natural ways to communicate and by natural ways to communicate. I just mean that by the time we get married, typically we have put ourselves out there. We've been vulnerable. We've had opportunities where that has not gone so well. So we become a bit reserved or a bit guarded. And it's hard for us to go ahead and put our full emotion and heart into relationships at times, if we can't trust that our partner is going to treat our emotions with respect. Sue Johnson, who is founder of emotionally focused therapy, says it best where she says that we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being.

[00:35:35] Simply put, processing emotion or being in a relationship is a dyadic collaborative process. We are designed to work together with emotion. I had an example not long ago where a couple was talking about the spouses, the wife and the scenarios, anxiety that when she was feeling particularly anxious or stressed, she would withdraw a little bit in the relationship. And there were a couple of things that could have happened. One is that I often hear people in the scenario where the husband would say something like that once and they'll bring something like this into therapy and the husband will say, I need her to go figure that out. I need her to work on that because I can't be a party to that or I can't develop some codependent relationship about that. She needs to work on that and then come back into the marriage. And when she's worked on that, then we can move forward. And this is that part where I feel like man emotionally focused therapy or this magnetic marriage course that I'm working on based on these EFT principles, we are designed to process emotion in concert with another human being. In that scenario, someone that is not even fully aware of what that anxiety looks like when they are getting stressed, they start to withdraw. If someone is just telling them, hey, I don't like that, you go figure that out and you're in a committed relationship, that is the opportunity, if you feel safe to know that that person is withdrawing or having this the stress or anxiety, that is they have good intentions.

[00:36:55] They didn't wake up in the morning and think, here is how I will hurt my partner, I will withdraw and I will have some crippling anxiety or this overwhelming amount of stress. So if that is my wife and I notice that and then again, it's maybe feels like it's a stretch to say I have to assume good intentions. I have to assume that they didn't wake up and think, how can I hurt my spouse, how could my wife hurt me? I have to know. I have to know that is not the intent. So then the second part is I can't say if in this scenario, this wife said, I'm sometimes not even aware of it and I'm not even exactly sure what I'm doing or what I need to do. If the husband said I don't buy it because you're not being very nice when you're going through this stress or anxiety period, what is she supposed to do with that? So #1, if he says, OK, assuming good intentions are on the same team because she's not doing that intentionally to hurt me. Number two excuse me. #2 is I can't say I don't believe you. I don't buy that. Then a number leads to #3, ask questions. Hey, so tell me what you're feeling or tell me what you're you know, when that's happening. Can you identify any triggers or patterns that is at a certain time of the month? This is a certain time of year, certain time of the day.

[00:37:59] Do you have pressures on at work or with kids or any of those things? Let's try to figure this out. I'm here for you. I care about you. You can count on me. I have your back. And so in that scenario, now, if the person, if the spouse, if the wife in the scenario truly is not aware of what is happening, I hope you can feel that shift of energy right there where we're designed to deal with that emotion in collaboration with another human being. So then I want now and this did happen with this particular couple. I want that husband to shift his whole mindset from I can't deal with this. I don't know what to do with it, to man, I'm here for you. And so now that we've identified that this is something that happens, the stress or anxiety happens, and I'm not going to tell you. I don't believe you. I'm not going to assume that you are doing it to hurt me. And I'm not going to just throw my stuff out there and say, look, I can't deal with this. Then I'm going to and I'm there for you to hang in here for this conversation. What is that going to lead to? It's going to lead to her feeling safe. So if he now goes up to her and says, hey, I'm noticing this is one of those times where I feel like you're a little bit disconnected from me, now she's got to do the same thing, right? I assume that he didn't wake up and say, I know how I will hurt my wife.

[00:39:02] I will tell her that she's distracted or detached, and then she's going to ask questions. She can't say he's wrong again. Right. That's pillar #2, which leads to that pillar #3, where now he's she gets to say, help me, help me understand what am I do and help me see my blind spots, because I'm not even aware that that's what I'm doing right now. And so I hope you can see that now, if we just clean these four pillars of a connected conversation and we're aware that if we are not doing something intentional, that there is this concept of marital entropy where things just naturally erode or devolve or degrade. And it's not by intention, it's not by design, it's not by any malicious ill will that that's just the way things happen. And then we fall into these patterns where then we just assume or think that this is the way that marriage goes, that every marriage is the same, that this is what I have to look forward to, and that I just have to slog it through and get through the rest of my life. And that is not a way to live. So in in a connected magnetic marriage, a connected conversation. If you adhere to these four pillars, which we are going to go so big on in this marriage course and give you so many examples of the ways to put this into play in conversation topics and styles and ways to avoid these landmines that pop up all over the place and ways to have more empathetic statements than just tell me more about that, that when you are intentional about that process or that concept, you can truly make this marriage be something that you never dreamed of or maybe you always dreamt of it.

[00:40:29] And now here you are, five years in, ten years in, thirty years in. And you realize that's not how my marriage is. That does not mean that you have now. The world of marital entropy, and it will never, ever be good, it means that now you have some information and data and you can do something intentional to avoid that marital entropy and to start to charge your marriage again and put it in a position where now you actually do want to communicate with your spouse. You want to go to them as the husband in the scenario that you can go to your spouse and say, hey, I noticed that there are times where you seem a little distracted or detached and you know that your spouse is going to say, OK, he didn't do this to hurt me. I'm not going to tell him he's wrong. I'm going to ask questions that I can say. Then she would say, oh, my gosh, tell me I'm missing this. I must have some blindspots. Tell me what I'm missing.

[00:41:19] Or in that scenario where you can take the same concept into that situation with my son and what a world this is going to be when we get these kind of concepts in in our communication as parents or in the workplace where he's going to know or I know that he doesn't mean ill will or he's not trying to hurt me by getting a parking sticker on his window.

[00:41:40] Then I can go in there and say, and he knows I'm not going to say, I don't buy it bud, I don't believe you. And I'm going to ask questions. Hey, tell me more about that, because that is the way to have him most likely say, yeah, it is. It is dumb, but OK, fine, I'll park across the street if I can't find a spot to park because he feels hurt. He doesn't feel shut down. I didn't just throw that. I need you to do this or you better do this or you're a horrible person, kind of a vibe that we often put off. So there are ways to improve communication with your spouse. Absolutely. With your family. You bet. Colleagues, coworkers. This this concept, these concepts work incredibly well and they avoid that whole concept of marital entropy. All right. Hey, I appreciate you taking the time. I appreciate you. Let me kind of go a little bit on my train of thought here that there wasn't as much data, evidence based data perhaps around this idea of marital entropy. But I believe this is one of those where even the anecdotal data will support the concept that our marriage is if we aren't more intentional about them or our communication with our family or friends, that they will tend to devolve or it can become a little bit fallen into disorder if we don't intentionally work on it. And I know that these skills that I talked about today are ones that will help you in your relationship. And so I cannot wait to get this magnetic marriage course out to you. Go to TonyOverbay.com right now and just sign up to find out more about this program, because it's coming soon and it is literally going to just change marriages for the better. So with that said, I hope you have an amazing, wonderful day and I will see you next time on the virtual couch.

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-fife (www.finlayson-fife.com) a popular relationship and sexuality counselor, joins Tony on the podcast to talk about the challenges around sexuality that women face growing up in a faith-based culture. Dr. Finlayson-fife is a licensed psychotherapist with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. She wrote her dissertation on LDS women and sexuality, has taught college-level courses on human sexuality, and she currently teaches online and community-based relationship and sexuality courses to LDS couples. She is a frequent contributor on the subjects of sexuality, mental health, and spirituality to LDS-themed blogs, magazines, and podcasts. She also maintains a private practice in Chicago where she lives with her husband and three children. You can find out more about her programs, including the one discussed on the podcast, the Art of Desire, on her website https://www.finlayson-fife.com/

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Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals https://www.betrayedaddictedexpert.com/podcast/episode/25d19bf1/is-narcissism-nature-or-nurture and The Melinneal Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t https://www.buzzsprout.com/1072564/6209683-tony-overbay-pornography-and-recovery

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Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

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Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!

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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

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This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

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Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

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Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

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You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

TRANSCRIPT

Finlayson-Fife, Roles of Sexuality EP 231 on Nov 4 2020
[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, I'm going back into the archives to bring you my most downloaded episode of all time, my first interview with Dr. Jennifer Findlay's invite. Jennifer teaches couples and individuals how to strengthen their relationships over relational and sexual roadblocks and increase their capacity for intimacy, love, sexual expression and so much more. And we cover all of these topics and more coming up on the virtual couch. OK, first, let me cover a tiny bit of business. Recently, I received a funny email. This is a true story. I said, Hey, Tony, I love the podcast, especially the free therapy. But your podcast has led me to want to seek out my own therapy. And in this time of worldwide chaos and pandemic, I thought it only made sense to go through better help dotcom. But I no longer hear your better help dotcom ads. Did you guys break up? OK, so this is a funny one. No, we did not break up. We aren't seeing other people right now, although admittedly, whenever I do hear a better help dotcom ad on another podcast, I do think weight doesn't better help Dotcom still care about me. And yes, they do. You can still go to better help dotcom virtual couch and get 10 percent off of your first month's worth of services. And yes, doing so will help take care of some behind the scenes cost to produce and host the Virtual Couch podcast. So why haven't I been running better health outcomes? Virtual couch ads, you may ask. And here's why I love being an honest, raw, vulnerable therapist. Key the dramatic music we don't actually have that worked into the budget, but I get giddy recording and getting these podcasts out the door and sometimes I forget to pop an ad in for better help.

[00:01:30] Dotcoms, less virtual couch. Forget as it has been many, many episodes, but they are still offering real one on one therapy with a licensed therapist and better help. Dotcom's network of therapists continues to grow and you can find help for everything from anxiety, depression, OCD, as well as grief and loss, help with parenting challenges. And while it can honestly be darn near impossible to get in with an in-person therapist right now because, a, the stigma behind therapy is finally softening. So people are running to therapy as well as be there's a lot going on in the world and people need help, but better help. Dotcoms, less virtual couch can have you speaking or texting or emailing with a therapist, sometimes within 24 to 48 hours. So what are you waiting for? They make it easy to change therapist if you don't like the fit. So go to better help dotcom slash virtual couch today and join now the over one million others who have decided that they need to be their best selves in order to deal with all that life is throwing their way. Trust me, life is throwing us a lot. So you owe it to yourself, your family, your kids, your spouse, your pets, you name it. To be at the very least, take a look at what you can do to put you in a position to succeed in life. So go to better help dotcom slash virtual couch today and receive ten percent off your first month services. OK, lets virtual couch Zawi.

[00:02:58] Come on in. Take a seat.

[00:03:05] Ok, honestly, that theme song grows on me when it was first submitted to me, sent over to me by a good friend who had put that together, I just wasn't sure. But I just kind of get into it. And when it ends, I just want to take a big breath and just, oh, here we go. I'm ready. So kind of skipping the intro because it's story time. A little bit of a vulnerability story I actually recorded in episode two thirty one a couple of days ago. And it's Wednesday today, day after Election Day. And I normally release on Tuesday, but I just didn't like the episode that I recorded and I sent it to a couple of people that are helping me out with things behind the scenes. And I said, please be honest. Let me know, what do you think? And I was so grateful for their honesty and kind of said, yeah, one was maybe a little bit hard to follow. It was about accountability. And someday maybe I'll make that one of the hidden tracks. But it was based off of the acceptance and commitment therapy book, The Confidence Gap, which I absolutely love. And I feel like the message I believe in wholeheartedly, but I just didn't feel like I was delivering the goods. So I came in this morning. I was going to do one on marital entropy, which is kind of a very fascinating concept.

[00:04:12] And then it just kind of hit me that I am getting closer. A couple of weeks away from a very big interview with one of my favorites, Dr. Jennifer Finlayson, VIFF and I presented her and her team with some thoughts and theories that I came up with, along with my friend Preston Buckmeier while we were developing my our magnetic marriage course. And I really think it's some things that I just saw come out. The more we kind of beta tested the course in the differences between male and female, the differences in attachment styles between avoidant and anxious attachment and the differences in love language from people who are maybe anxious attachment and physical touch or words of affirmation people and how they typically end up in relationships with people that are more avoidant attachment and maybe acts of service or quality time people. And I just presented something to Jennifer and said, hey, let's talk through this. Let's figure this out. So that's a little bit of a sneak preview that'll be coming up later this month. We're going to be recording fairly soon. So this morning, I just came in and I just had a little epiphany on my run this morning and just thought, I mean, I've never done bonus episodes or recent episodes of Jennifer's appearances on the virtual couch. And so when I looked at the stats this morning, this episode that I'm about to play, which was my initial episode 45, so almost 200 episodes ago, is still by far the most downloaded episode of the Virtual Couch podcast.

[00:05:40] So I think that you're going to get a lot from this today. It's going to start setting the table for my magnetic marriage course, which, yes, I am going to promote the heck out of. So if you want to hear more, go to Tony Overbay Dotcom and sign up to find out more. We'll really start promoting the magnetic marriage course in the next probably two to three weeks. And we'll talk about the release date and a lot more details around that. And just while I have you, yesterday two podcasts were released that I was a guest on. One was The Betrayed, the Addicted and the expert with Kobe and Ashlynn and my good buddy Brant and Patrick. And they had me come on and talk about narcissism. And that is a topic that I am passionate about. And so if you're a fan of that podcast or if you've never heard that podcast, we went over an hour. It was a Facebook live at the time. And they released that episode yesterday. And I really do feel like we talked about some things that I've never really shared before about people coping with dealing with relationships with narcissistic personality disorder, people that have tendencies, narcissistic tendencies.

[00:06:42] And I talked about and I mentioned this in the past, that I do have a group and it is ready to go. I've mentioned this in the past. I know. But if it's for women who may find themselves in relationships with people with narcissistic tendencies, narcissistic personality disorder, if they're going through marital challenges, a divorce, if they've already been through that and they're dealing with challenges through the trauma bond, can you please reach out to me? Contact contacted Tony over Match.com. And I will I will give you some information about this group that is beginning and it's completely anonymous behind the scenes. But I do would love for you to contact me and let me know if you're interested. And I was also on a podcast called The Millenium Member podcast with Emily Insigne, and she released that episode yesterday as well. And I'll put links to this in the show notes. But we we went deep into pornography and guilt and shame and how a lot of times well-meaning ecclesiastical leaders can kind of get in the way, bless their hearts of recovery when they are wanting people to recover a certain way. And if they don't particularly have experience in working with people that struggle with addiction, whether it's compulsive sexual behavior or impulse control disorder. So those two episodes that I was a guest on came out yesterday.

[00:07:54] And while we're here on the topic of pornography, I have rereleased or updated the path back online pornography recovery program Path Back. 2.0. So just go stop by pat back recovery dotcom, and there you'll still find a short e-book that talks about five common myths that people fall into when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. And I've started some weekly Q&A group calls so you can find out more information, their path back, recovery, dotcom.

[00:08:21] All right. So as usual, please go stop by Instagram at Virtual Couch and there's a lot more content there. Some quotes from previous episodes are going up on a regular basis. And I would love it if you had a second and you follow or you share this episode with a friend or anything like that. But today we're going to talk about sexuality, sexuality and relationships. And I feel like I don't need to give any other further introduction. If you haven't heard of Jennifer Finlayson five, I think you're going to absolutely love her conversational style. And again, this is leading up to an episode that I can't wait to record, which will come up later this month. OK, so without any further ado, let's get to my interview with Dr. Jennifer Finless and Faith.

[00:09:12] That has a little feature that says and it says like, sharpen my appearance.

[00:09:18] So I did it and it made me look like an anime character. So I uncheck that box. So I go, OK. Am I sharp and or not very sharp. OK, but not anime. No, not animated. Sharp. Very sharp. OK. All right. I want to welcome Dr. Jennifer Finlayson life to the virtual couch.

[00:09:36] Welcome, Jennifer. Yeah. Thank you for having me.

[00:09:38] I'm really I really am grateful that you're willing to take the time. And I was going to jump right out of the gate.

[00:09:43] This is I know that I want your background. I want to get into a very solid interview. But I just had a client. I've been dropping your name for a little while. I'm not going to lie. If you would have had to cancel today, I would have just I would have been wracked with guilt and shame. The last time I left, they just said, do you think that when people want to talk to her because you specialize in sexuality and sexuality, do you typically get the. So my friend wanted me to ask you, is that the way most conversations start with you?

[00:10:10] That's a good question. Sometimes at parties that, you know, we don't end up having this issue. And where do you think about that right now?

[00:10:20] You know, right away that is their issue.

[00:10:26] Sometimes, but not always. Sometimes it is a friend, you know, sometimes some friend is going through something, but sometimes you wonder if they're just trying to cover that. They have a question. Yes.

[00:10:37] Yes. OK, I have to I so want to just launch into my next question, but we need your background first because it will make more sense to the question I want to ask. So talk a little bit about your background.

[00:10:48] So I have a Ph.D. in counseling psychology and I studied at BYU, Brigham Young University. I did my undergrad in psychology and women's studies. And then as a grad student, I was asked to teach an undergrad course on human sexuality. That was at the same time that I was trying to figure out a dissertation topic. And I could spend a lot of time talking about how I came to my topic. But I decided to write my dissertation on Mormon women and sexuality and looking at Mormon women, the sense of agency in their lives, both premarital and within marriage. And so now focus of my research.

[00:11:28] Ok, you got a funny story about the teaching the classes, too. I heard on one of the Warren Jeffs. What was that?

[00:11:32] Yeah. So I was not yet married and I was asked to teach two courses. One was human sexuality and the other was drugs and alcohol. OK, I was a Mormon who had no experience with either in between.

[00:11:45] So yeah, I ended up saying no to the drugs and alcohol and just the sexuality, but yeah. So it opened up lots of questions.

[00:11:53] Look, I was teaching Catholic students because I was a Jesuit college. OK, so it was helping me sort of look at sexuality through the lens of Catholicism and then thinking about Mormonism as well as feminism, which I had studied a lot of.

[00:12:06] And so that led me to my topic dissertation and OK.

[00:12:11] And I am maybe going to go a little bit out of order, because I have to tell you, as I was dropping your name, so I had a woman who was sending me an email about one of the podcasts that she heard me on. And it was in particular about why is it so difficult to get men into counseling, which I'm sure we could talk about.

[00:12:24] And so but she then said I then I told her that you were coming on the podcast again, dropping the name I could. And I actually wrote this was her exact quote. She said she said, I love and that's all in caps. So she was screaming this Jennifer. Her dissertation was fascinating. So I'm talking about your dissertation and she has a great question I want to get to in a little bit. But I didn't realize you had worked with the Catholics. You worked as well as with Mormon because you're primarily focused with LDS women. Now, is that. Yes, definitely. OK, so then my question and I don't want you to think that everything I'm going to say is going to be a joke today, but I do find that I so I do a lot of couples therapy and I find that. And I work with a pretty heavy LDS population as well. And kind of my joke is that with with most couples I see the sexual piece comes in usually in session one and the LDS couple is usually at some session four or five. And it's as they're walking out the door and it's by the way, have you ever heard of. Do you find that to be the case or when people know that's what you specialize in, do they come in ready?

[00:13:24] I mean, one thing I would say is that many times it is men. I would say probably 50 percent of the time it's men reaching out for therapy. May couples therapy around sexual issues. OK, so, you know, men do initiate counseling, but often sex is what gets them through the door.

[00:13:43] Well, I love that because that does make more sense. I mean, I'm usually getting women will initiate with me because I'm a male therapist and so the guy will only go to a man therapist if I think that if she's saying, you know, you don't communicate.

[00:13:55] So I've never thought of that. So for you, you have the specialty of, you know, working with sex issues around sexuality. Yes. So so, OK, we can go in a whole direction. So when men then come in, is it almost like, hey, tell her tell her she needs to have more sex with me?

[00:14:12] Yeah. That's often people's position. Would you please fix her? Yes, it's broken. Maybe you as a Mormon woman can enlighten her about how to claim her sexuality. Wow. There is some legitimacy to that on his part. But oftentimes what it's mask's or it doesn't isn't exposed yet within their own minds is their own participation in a role in the sexual dysfunction.

[00:14:39] Ok, so how do you address that? This is I love that you're getting here because one of the things I hope to get to is this view that I get where I am a man coming in and letting me know in front of her that, hey, hey, man, you know, I came into counseling.

[00:14:52] Male therapists now tell her that if we just had more sex, I'm a better husband, father, employee, church service, all of those very typical script, which I basically do your duty and then I'll be a nicer guy.

[00:15:03] Right. And so then that's the part where now I almost feel like it's OK, I'll let them get through the speech and that sort of thing, and then it's OK to the wife and what's going on with you right now.

[00:15:11] And then she feels like, yeah, it's all on me.

[00:15:14] So if he isn't all on her, yeah. He's also setting up the marriage dynamic to be about mercy sex as opposed to intimate sex.

[00:15:24] I love it. Yes.

[00:15:25] Ok, so he's setting up the very thing that he then complains about, which is she just does it mechanically, she just does it because she feels like she should.

[00:15:35] But where's all the passion? But when you set it up, the sex is a drive or a need. And you woman, if you're a good woman, give it to me now. Set up the thing that you then makes you miserable because you never feel wanted.

[00:15:48] Absolutely. OK, and I apologize. And it's probably isn't the typical interview, but I work I work so much with that male component. And at that point then I try to introduce the concept of objectification, or at that point she feels like an object.

[00:16:01] And then in that's yeah. Like you say, that script is that if we only had more sex and then that like like the I always feel like the guy turns into if I am angry enough or if I am almost sad enough or down enough, then I will maybe get sex. Now fast forward later on in couples therapy where that's not the person that she says, that's the guy I want to be intimate with is the guy in my way into it.

[00:16:26] And yeah. OK, exactly. Yeah. Very undesirable. Yeah. And then and then he's scratching his head about why doesn't she desire me.

[00:16:34] Oh OK. And you fix it. All right. What do you do with that Jennifer.

[00:16:39] Ok, well I mean I guess what I would say is there's often at least two, maybe three things going on there.

[00:16:47] First of all, it's all been a co construction. It's not just the man is pressuring this idea that if you take care of my sexual needs, I'll be a much nicer guy.

[00:16:57] And it's also that women first of all, it's a cultural artifact. And so women have bought into this frame, too. And when women who can often have a lot of anxiety about their sexuality, given the way that we change sexuality culturally and and make it a difficult thing for women not to integrate men as well, but in a different way. And so it's often a way for women to not develop themselves as people and as sexual beings is to use the same frame that they're being handed, which is do me a favor and have sex with me. OK, so it's a way of not being intimate. It's a way of not being as exposed if you're just taking care of your husband in that virtuous, self sacrificing wife by putting up with his hedonism, you know.

[00:17:50] Yeah.

[00:17:50] Until finally, he says it's a way for the woman to also hide. It's a way for men and women to hide, which is just take care of me this way. She will give him the mercy sex. But no one really is showing up. It's not very intimate on either side. Yeah, well, a lot of times both parties in a marriage want lower exposure marriages. They want lower exposure sex. And so couples are good at having sex without being very intimate. Yeah, both. And this is a way to do it. So I know that you asked me the question.

[00:18:28] I said there's three things and I can't remember what the question was.

[00:18:30] I can't either. So we're on the same page. So then I just I love that because that is the dynamic I see as well. And I feel like a couple. So now here I'll lay out I have three thoughts and I bet I'll only get the one as well. Right. So my first thought was that it's that what I like to do is. And if though if the woman felt like that wasn't all he cared about, I mean, because I get this concept or maybe I wonder if you see this where she doesn't want to hug him close, she doesn't want to kiss him, she doesn't want to lay in his lap or they're watching a movie because then he's sizing up the moment to say, OK, looks like I got a good shot tonight. Right.

[00:19:06] And so then I find that then at some point then couples just had a woman say that she won't even look at her husband when they're at the dinner table because she feels like I get many ideas.

[00:19:17] Yeah, exactly. So and so. And then I do remember my second one. So do you feel like this concept of intimacy then is when you were trying to sell that to your clients? Do you feel at times that they don't even know what that looks like? But we're trying to sell this idea that they don't even but they're like, OK, sure, fine, but just tell her to have more sex with me.

[00:19:38] That's when I think people often don't know what it looks like, but they do know what I mean when I'm talking about hiding and avoidance. Yeah, ok. OK, so it's like maybe they haven't thought about it, but people do know how to manage how much of themselves they show to another person and they can usually see that they are masking or managing. One of themselves shows up in a relationship whether that's at the dinner table or in bed. So I think that yeah, people are good at keeping relationships at the level that they know how to handle the level of exposure, even though they have maybe never experienced what it is to really have an open hearted more. Intimate marriage.

[00:20:25] Ok, so I want to go back even to OK, I do have to interject one more quick question to you.

[00:20:29] I know on your website you work on you, you work with spirituality, women's issues, parenting, depression, couples issues.

[00:20:37] Do you feel. What's the percentage of your work that is around sexual issues? Is that the bulk of it?

[00:20:45] It is. I mean, I put all that on my website of when I first started. And I mean, I do deal with all those issues. There's absolutely no question. I would say relationship issues and sexuality issues is really primarily what my focus is. OK, but it touches on all those things. Sure. I mean, you know, going back to I think the question you asked me earlier, when that couple comes in and they're complaining about that, I mean, what my strategy is often is, is to basically understand why she doesn't desire I'm going to do it in the stereotypical way right now, which is the low desire woman in the higher desire man. And so why does she not desire him? And oftentimes there there's two things too broad categories to think about. One is the issue of her self and sexual development. OK, that's also true for the men. I just specialize a lot and working with Mormon women and their own relationship to desire to sexuality, to self development, because I think culturally we are pretty compromising of women in this way. And so that's often a factor that women, in their effort to be good women, desirable women, have sort of suppressed a fundamental part of being a woman and a fundamental part of being human. So that's sometimes a factor. You have people that are sexually immature and it sounds insulting when I say it that way. But I mean, in a literal developmental sense here, there isn't a deep integration of their sexuality that's happened yet. So that's often a piece that's going on. And then there is the issue of what's going on in the relationship. Now, some people who haven't developed themselves sexually very much and don't want to, yeah, they can do things in the relationship to basically shame his sexuality, to basically never offer him desire to never really validate who he is as a person, as a way of keeping control, keeping him coming towards her for validation and her having a sense of control in the marriage so she doesn't have to really develop who she is.

[00:22:52] Sure. Or do you feel like that's typically subconscious, not something that she's even aware she's doing?

[00:22:58] Well, I hesitate to use the word subconscious because I it's not just happening to you. It's purposeful action. But that's very different than saying it's premeditated. Sure. OK, what I'm saying. Yeah, you purposeful. You know how to do it. You know, for example, in one case, she's doing what her mother did. Her mother would never ask her dad acceptance, love, physical validation. The mother ran the family out of her kind of contempt and and judgment. OK, and then the daughter, who is now an adult then has done the same thing in the marriage. OK, the husband's always sort of feeling that he's ostracized. They can't ever get her approval or acceptance, but she gives enough to kind of keep him tethered to. OK, yeah. So that's one version of it. In other cases, there's the man who is like, you owe it to me. I'm the man, I do everything, you know, what's your problem?

[00:23:58] And so she will kind of manage him through being sexual, trying to keep his criticism and his anger and aggression at bay. OK, but it's not about desire. It's about managing.

[00:24:10] So she may be sexual quite a bit, but that's very different than she's really someone who is integrated with her sexuality and is really expressing love to him through her body. OK, very different. So I'm I'm usually looking at both the level of sexual development in both people, OK, how integrated they are with their sexuality. And then then I'm looking at what is the dynamic of this marriage and and what is happening. That sexual desire is not likely. You're OK.

[00:24:39] And so and I do want to tap into what your your expertise is. So in that moment, do you continue doing couples work or is that where you need to kind of step back and explore with the woman her her relationship with sexuality?

[00:24:52] I usually just keep doing couples work, even if she's working on some of these things. You know, within the context of couples work, sometimes I'll do individual sessions and oftentimes they'll have people do my online course for the day.

[00:25:09] We never thought about that at the heart of desire.

[00:25:12] Yes, yes. Yeah.

[00:25:14] And so that really but so much of the work of sexual development, which is also in this course, is around your relationship to your own sense of self, your relationship.

[00:25:23] Desire in your life, generally, your development as a person who is capable of really loving and being loved, is capable of really knowing and being known how your development of sexuality is integral to that process of becoming a whole woman and a whole person. Yeah, it is teaching women about women's sexuality, which is an amazing women's sexuality, is amazing, really.

[00:25:50] I mean, I think our culture does it short shrift in a crazy way because we reference male sexuality to understand female sexuality. So we female sexuality looks broken by comparison because it's different than than sexuality.

[00:26:03] But so part of the course is helping women. And part of the work I do with women is helping them understand what women's sexuality is really about. But, Mike, the course is not so much about helping women become sexually competent so that they can, you know, help their poor husband. It's really about how to be more integrated with yourself, to be more of a whole solid human being who can be a force for good in your life, in your marriage, with your children, you know, whatever capacity. And that is a fundamental aspect of that is being integrated with your desires and your sexual nature.

[00:26:41] So where do you mind stepping back in and take the LDS woman? And maybe from the time you kind of work that through linear from the time they are young, this is the story we hear. And so here's where is it the shame or the guilt that kind of drives the narrative. And then all of a sudden now we're married and there you go.

[00:26:59] And then so, yes, I think for both LDS men and women, there is a narrative that sex is Satan's pathway and that sex will take you down. And so there's a there's a deep anxiety. And it's is not just specific to Mormonism. I mean, cultural anxiety around sexuality for a good reason, which is because sexuality is a very intimate and powerful way to be in connection with other people. But oftentimes the way the anxiety around sexuality gets handled, and particularly because in our faith, we have a, you know, a fairly restrictive set of norms around how we should handle our sexuality. And so sometimes how we how we teach that, given that we have high expectations around sexual behavior, is to frighten people around their sexuality, is fear based teaching rather than goal based teaching. And so when your fear based, then there is this anxiety that sex will take you down, sex will turn you into a bad person, sex will distance you from God and from the people that you love. And what we do, we teach men and women both that both men and women get taught that idea. But I think the difference between men and women is that we teach women that sex is something sexuality. Sorry, men are naturally sexual. Women are not.

[00:28:21] That's that's what we teach.

[00:28:22] Or that's the that's the narrative. That's the message within the message is that women are sexual only to accommodate and manage the sexuality and sexual nature of men. Men are naturally sexual and so women should therefore dress modestly, you know, cover their bodies up because men sexuality is present and normal for being a man. But if you tempt them, that not only is it dangerous for you, it's dangerous for them. They're implicit in that idea is that sex is something you give a man. Virginity is something you give a man. But men are the sexual actors. You are in response to this so many Mormon women that I work with, what they do is they because they see sexuality as something that makes you bad, and particularly so for women.

[00:29:12] For example, many of the women that I know, I first ever frozen podcast. I'm going to hang on here for a second and hopefully Jennifer will come right back. This is the first on the virtual couch. She doesn't bounce back. I will pause the video. Let me pause that right now.

[00:29:34] Sorry about that. OK, I lost Internet. That was my my problem.

[00:29:38] No, the kids are playing for tonight. Is that what it was? No, no.

[00:29:42] My husband I was on the on the big computer and somebody did something with Wi-Fi network not knowing that I was on my laptop.

[00:29:49] Oh, OK. I'm so glad you're back. No, that was OK. Good. We were you remember what I was just saying? You were about to solve everyone's problems around sexuality in the entire world. You're about to give us it was kind of talking about that where women are. You were talking about how they give the sexuality they give their virginity that.

[00:30:08] Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's right. That's right. So I think what I was saying was just so I think, for example, women in my research felt.

[00:30:19] More guilty if they had engaged in some behavior, premarital, then meaning they thought it was more acceptable if a man had done the same thing. And so that is the idea that women are worse if they are sexual.

[00:30:34] So what many women in my research and in my office clinically have done is they just shut this whole enterprise down, like if this is going to make me undesirable, which is an idea that we teach. And if this is going to make Satan have some grip on me, I just won't develop this at all. Wait till I get married and then my husband will awake this week in this whole part of me and he will teach me about how to be sexual because men are naturally sexual.

[00:31:01] And so what happens, of course, is people get married and then they're waiting in a sort of passive stance for something to be awoken within them.

[00:31:10] And it never works that way.

[00:31:13] Right. OK, so what's your then what's your advice? And it is funny, though, when I was telling the sushis she wants to become she wants to be the next you the student that was emailing me this morning, who wants to be LDS female sex therapist, which I love that she talked about or the question was around, how do LDS women prepare for their sexual lives and marriage?

[00:31:33] And she said, because I have so many friends that have gotten married, struggled in their sex lives because they either felt bad about having sex or they didn't know their body as well.

[00:31:40] So I think I think we have to really reconsider how we teach men, young men and women in the church or earlier age, how we teach our children about sexuality, because if we do it in the frame that sex is inherently dangerous and bad, you are going to have all the problems you see in adulthood in the church now, which is issues with pornography and issues with sexual repression.

[00:32:06] Ok, because we what we need to do is to talk to boys and girls and men and women about sex as though sexuality is a fundamental part of being human.

[00:32:17] It's God given that our parents and having our own body just as we are, and that sexuality is not good or bad, it just is it's just fundamental to being embodied.

[00:32:29] What you do with your sexuality will determine whether or not sex is good or bad. What you do with your sexuality matters because what your choices have make a difference. They impact both you and they impact others. Whether those are choices of indulgent behavior or repressive behavior. Right. Repressing your sexuality is bad for your psychological and sexual and spiritual development, in my opinion, because that leads to your question is, OK, pure repression is because you're basically suppressing a fundamental part of being embodied. And we in our faith believe that embodiment is fundamental to our spiritual development. You're really going to love and be loved deeply in marriage, which is the gift of marriage, right?

[00:33:17] Yes. I have to be able to really be integrated with your body, meaning to to love and be loved and to be able to love through your whole body.

[00:33:27] That's probably like the most wonderful part of life is to be fully accepted by what someone and to be fully accepting of them.

[00:33:37] But if you can't really be at peace with your whole body, your sexuality included, you cannot know that kind of peace both with yourself or with another person.

[00:33:48] And so we are teaching sexuality in a way that makes it impossible to be at peace because we teach men also that sexuality is fundamental to being male or masculine, but that it's dangerous, you know, that it's it's something that will take you down. And it's it's a privilege on some level. It's a privilege of a marriage.

[00:34:08] We teach men that idea. So that's why you get a lot of entitlements and then once they get married. But also it's something that you do to a woman. It's not something that you really share that. It's about how can we be together and be sexual and enjoy each other.

[00:34:25] It's and so when you have it in the frame of it, something you do to another person, well, it fosters either entitlement or in men. It can foster a sense of anxiety because at least more sensitive men don't want to be inflicting their sexuality onto their spouse all the time. Sure. And so a lot of times it creates more anxiety and fear around sexuality for many men.

[00:34:50] So what's your when you talk about we need to do a better job younger in teaching that now, what does that look like?

[00:34:57] Well, I think you need to from the very first of all, you have to deal with your anxieties about sexuality as a person and as a parents, because your anxieties, your kids will track them and pick up on them whether or not you want them to.

[00:35:09] Sure. And so you it's going to include doing some work around the false traditions or messages that you've internalized around sexuality.

[00:35:19] But I think what it is, is a basic embracing and celebration of the body from a very young age so that you're not afraid of your child's nudity.

[00:35:29] Yeah, you actually chamber. I can't believe you're go get. Yeah.

[00:35:35] Yeah. And a lot of kids are going to touch themselves when they're very young and be exploring their bodies. This is one hundred percent normal because your child is just trying to understand where they end in the world begins. They want to kind of know who they are. And of course, areas of their body that give them pleasure are going to be interesting to them. And that does not mean there seem to be a pervert. It just means they're human. OK, so to be very normalizing of this is very important because you're giving your child the message that the body is good.

[00:36:06] And I like you, I like your concept, too, around dealing with our own issues, because I and spoke to a school recently of how to talk to your kids about sex. And I felt like there were a lot of people there that were just so you could see the just anxiety and nervousness on their face.

[00:36:21] And it was like, OK, we are coming here. We got to just we're going to get, like, serious and angry and battle and ready and great.

[00:36:28] Exactly. So I think absolutely we we have a hard time seeing our children as sexual beings or accepting that they are if we want to control them, if we're afraid of what they might do with their sexuality. And so many of us almost instinctively want to shame it out of them. But I promise you, you will create many more troubles for them. And you, if you do that to your children, is when it's put in a frame of shame.

[00:36:53] You inhibit your child from being able to integrate this with their sense of self and be able to make clearheaded choices with their sexuality.

[00:37:02] Ok, even for example, the more women were shamed of some research and the less educated they were about their sexuality as adolescents, the more likely they were to have sex and not good sex, right sex where they felt exploited, sex, where they felt taken off guard sex, or they were more likely to get pregnant because they they had no opportunity to kind of integrated enough with their sense of self to be able to proactively make decisions.

[00:37:27] I think that is that the biggest takeaway is the so the more it is a shame, the more it's repressed, the more guilt that is around it.

[00:37:36] Then the more you say that, the more active that someone is or they have an unhealthy relationship with some of the more unhealthy there's their relationship to sexuality is whether it's through indulgence, if you want to use that word or through repression.

[00:37:51] Ok, so it's like you you know, it's a little bit like they use a food metaphor, which is if you basically, you know, the desire to have food is normal desire to have sugar or even normal, because from a survival perspective, sugar is the surefire way for the body to get the calories it needs to stay alive, cook energy. Right. OK, right. But if you tell people that if you tell someone that eating sugar is bad, even wanting it as bad, if you want brownies, it means you're bad. What you are going to do is either create an anorexic or bulimic. You're going to either create someone who just says, I will I will not let myself have any pleasure, OK? Or you have someone who is trying to not want it, but become obsessed with it because that's not allowed. And so they will be excessive either. Position is bad for the psychological and physical development of a human being in the food metaphor.

[00:38:52] So first of all, I love brownies, but then you also we're going to. That's what I was I loved in one of the podcasts you talked about the candy store analogy with with regard to pornography and sexuality. You might share in that.

[00:39:02] Sure. And I don't exactly remember how I talked about that. But I think the idea is basically it's normal for adolescents to be drawn, to be curious about sexuality, to be curious about nudity. I sometimes tell the story like my dad had a book on his top of his bookshelf called The Naked Communist. And the Naked Communist is only on Scows. And it's like it's like a political philosophy. Yes, I have to think about nudity, but I scaled my father's bookshelf of books and was disappointed to see there were no naked communists in it. OK, that is normal behavior. I mean, you know, you're curious. You're trying to understand sexuality. So if you shame that if you say that the fact that you have sexual feelings or you're curious or you want to see a naked woman or whatever, that there's something wrong with you. First of all, you're being dishonest with your family and shaming something that's normal and necessary for becoming capable of sexual intimacy in an integrated way down the road. Yeah, so you want to normalize it. And I think the candy store metaphor I used is like porn is everywhere, OK? It's just it just pornographic images are everywhere. It's the culture that we live in. If you make it forbidden, you increase its desirability. Yes. Yeah. And so I can't remember how I reference the candy store exactly. But I think what I'm saying is the same idea that if you basically say you can't have it, you can't have it, you're going to forge an obsession with eating candy.

[00:40:37] Yes. You know, I had a client who not a client, a friend who would throw herself in front of the magazine racks in the grocery store line so that her kids, who were three and five, would not see the bear or the low cut dresses and the bikinis and so on of the women in the magazines. And because she was so terrified of her kids becoming porn addicts and I said to her, you are making you are turning them into porn at. Because you are you are meshing both fear and the forbidden together. Yeah, OK. Right. And so it's like this anxiety and then this curiosity and what is Mom so afraid of? It just drives a kind of obsessiveness rather than. Yeah, it's normal. People sell stuff. They try to sell stuff by showing more of their bodies, like, isn't that silly? Yes. And just kind of normal. Allow your kids to make sense of it, allow them to see that you're not terrified of it, that you yourself are comfortable with a better version of sexuality than that kind of objectifying or commodifying of sexuality. And so, you know, you're you're role modeling a kind of moderation and clarity that is really needed to navigate through a very sexualized world.

[00:41:59] And one of my big soapboxes and I love you in there is I say that parents always say you can come and talk to me about anything, but then if you come and say, hey, how about that sex? And then they're like, we don't talk about that.

[00:42:10] And so now the teen or the youth is they they know now I need to control the flow of information, which is definitely right.

[00:42:17] And so kids are always tracking can really handle this conversation.

[00:42:22] Yes. I want that conversation about hey. So I when I remember when we had the talk with our kids, my oldest after proudest dad moment, she circles back around at a store a few days after we had the talk. And then when she sees the whatever the magazine and there's a teenage girl and she's some star and she's pregnant and my daughter saying she's like, before I thought, I don't understand. She's not married and she's pregnant. How does that work? And I just love the fact that we talked about it then right before. I don't want that she's trying to figure out the world. And she's I can't ask mom or dad because. Right. Lip, you know.

[00:42:57] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And when they see that you can really handle it and that you, you know, things you know, they will use you as a resource. They really will.

[00:43:08] And then there is also a certain you know, a 15 year old I was talking my husband in front of my 15 year old the other day, and I was saying something like someone wrote an email and they were asking, you know, how do you talk to your kids about masturbation? And I think that they're like, you don't know.

[00:43:29] I mean, there's a certain point at which they no longer want you talking to them. And so, you know, the prime age to really download information and your values and so on is about age eight to about age 12. OK, and you know, it's not that you can't still write or talk about or be aware, but they're less open as they get older.

[00:43:50] I love that this was going to be my last question, but I've got another one that I want to ask after this. But I was going to say with the three kids as a therapist myself, and we all share Cloud Kindle cloud and I think they see all the pornography addiction recovery, that sort of thing.

[00:44:05] So any family night, I almost feel like they're all ready to say, are we talking pornography? And tonight and we're OK. But since you mentioned it and then what have you seen? What's the last thing you saw? So I do. And I don't know if this was going to be too ambiguous of a question, but so what I do see a lot and I'm just curious what your thoughts are when there are some women who have they have been it was never talked about in their home and it was probably heavily guilt and shame. And so then they get in a marriage and it's sort of the just the husband. I work with a lot of men and sometimes it is because now they turn to addiction, they turn to pornography as a coping mechanism or whatever, that sort of thing. But it's they just they're there. They feel like their wife just has zero interest in sexuality and to the point where she doesn't even want to talk about it. So do you have some thoughts on that?

[00:44:59] I mean, I think that is can be true that people who have a lot of it and I would say both the man and the woman in this example have anxiety about sexuality is absolutely being handled in different ways.

[00:45:12] Yeah. Yeah. What advice? I guess what I would say is that.

[00:45:18] Yeah, I mean, one of my big messages is trying to just normalize and normalize is quite the right word thing to talk about it. I wonder if sexuality is so fundamental to being human and so fundamental to having a good marriage.

[00:45:35] The thing that's different about marriage than any other relationship is it's both chosen and that it is a sexual contract. And that's not me saying you have to have sex with your spouse. I'm saying that the understanding and unless there's some explicit other agreement, is that when you get married, there's this idea that we are bringing our sexuality to one another. And then what happens is because this is higher anxiety or there's things that are not working or there are things that are being exposed to the sexual relationship or the lack of.

[00:46:07] That is overwhelming for the couple, that oftentimes they will handle it by not handling it, you know, just try to distance from it. And so and then what often can happen for the man in this particular kind of scenario is that he feels like if I bring it up, she gets really upset, she gets really distressed. I just better start bringing it up and she maybe thinks, well, he's not bringing it up. So maybe he said, yeah, right, OK. Yeah. Or he brings it up and she says, this is all you ever think about. Why are you such a natural man and as opposed to. You know, really being willing to address and deal with how corrosive it is in the marriage, that the sexual sexual relationship is not really being dealt with, sometimes it's about the woman's repression, that sometimes she's also getting really bad sex.

[00:46:59] I mean, she doesn't necessarily understand enough what she wants to know, how to ask for better sex. Sometimes she does know what she wants, but her husband is not that interested in learning about her or knowing what to or willing to really give her what she wants.

[00:47:14] Many couples kind of construct the sexually broken woman because the man prefers that idea. Yeah, in a sense, I know it sounds strange, but he prefers that you're broken and you just sort of accommodate me then that she could really access her sexual interest, right? Yeah. So for people to really address why why did sex not work for us? I asked somebody today, why do you think your wife doesn't desire you? How do you make sense of that?

[00:47:43] And I had been giving him lots of data about how he's not trustworthy, how he does self serve so much in the marriage, how he basically mind twists her around things like.

[00:47:55] He doesn't he sort of acknowledging I'm right about that, but doesn't really want to acknowledge that when I said, how do you make sense of it? He spent all of his energy talking about how she's broken, about how he functions like somebody that a woman with good judgment would not desire. OK, so it's often very hard. We want to just say, what's the matter with you? That you don't want me to lose her other than how do I make it hard for someone to want to really be close to me, open up to me? They're her soul to me. A lot of times we don't want to deal with who we really are.

[00:48:28] Ok, I love that you do a lot of couple's work. I do a lot of a lot of couple's work.

[00:48:33] And that really does boil down to that empathy and awareness and understanding. And I need to take my fixing a judgment hat off and I need to understand where my partner is coming from. And that's more important to me than can't we just have more sex?

[00:48:46] Yes, right. Right, exactly. And kind of because what's been happening in couples is the meanings that are happening around their marriage and their sexual relationship is what's killing desire. He didn't even notice if I'm here, meaning OK, maybe I don't want to touch him or hug him because then he'll take it as a signal that I want to have sex. But what she's also saying is I don't want to touch him and hug him because he said he will bulldoze. Then he doesn't track or he he refuses. He does track, but he refuses to acknowledge that. I'm not continuing to give signals yet. I want it. So he takes it is like, OK, I've gotten the bit of data that I can now justify my.

[00:49:29] Oh yeah. Now we're on right now we're on.

[00:49:32] I can justify myself and she knows he doesn't even care that I'm not here.

[00:49:36] Right. OK, and we want that, that's not being present. That's like, you know, ok.

[00:49:42] Yeah. And maybe a little bit darker version of it is it's it's that I don't care if you're here, I feel entitled to X and I'm going to have it with you. And I can use the fact that you made eyes at me at dinner to justify moving forward or going blind to the fact that you are not present and don't want it. Yeah. Wow.

[00:50:02] Ok, hey, any other kind of final thoughts? There's a couple of other I feel like I got a couple other deep dive topics maybe I could touch base with again down the road.

[00:50:11] Sure. Yeah. Yeah, no problem. Yeah. I don't know if I have other thoughts other than I think what I maybe would say is that working out what's not working in your sexual relationship is. Fundamental to developing as people and to developing into people more capable of love and spirituality. So one of the things that's really amazing about our theology is that we really do believe that the body is fundamental to our spiritual development. But then around sex, we sort of forget that idea. Yeah. Rather than really confronting who you are as a person who you are in your own development, who you are in your relationship is really fundamental to becoming someone more capable of really loving and caring for another person and being cared for.

[00:51:00] And like you said earlier, if you can't tap into that, then how do we expect to have this ultimately connected marriage and relationship and a different view of intimacy and living happily ever after, right?

[00:51:11] Yes, that's right. Yes, that's right.

[00:51:14] So what are the what are the courses that you recommend? You have some nice online programs, I think. Great. Sure.

[00:51:21] So I have the one I reference the heart of Desire, which is a course for sex, for women's health and sexual development, LDS women, self and sexual development.

[00:51:30] Then I have two couples courses. One is called strengthening a relationship, which really helps you look at the dynamics of your relationship, what's happening and how you can develop skills and capacities to to forge a better relationship. And then I have a couple of sexual intimacy course that's called enhancing sexual intimacy. And I really help people to understand the way I think about sexuality, the way I think about sexual development and then what's happening in this partnership, that sexual desire breaks down or sexual connection breaks down and how you can create something deeper, more meaningful and more inclusive of the female because many of us are trying to operate under a very male model. Yeah. And then I do how to talk to your kids about sex course.

[00:52:14] I love that. I didn't I wasn't aware that when I was a website. That's a that's a good one. Yeah.

[00:52:18] So I'm really trying to help parents teach their children sexual integrity and by that, an integration of their body, but also integration with their morality and what it is they want to create through their sexuality and through sexual decision making.

[00:52:34] That is to say, what you don't do is as much as important as what you do choose around your sexuality to forge the kind of ability to be in an intimate relationship down the road.

[00:52:44] Ok, so I forgot. OK, you said you spent time in Massachusetts.

[00:52:49] I did, yeah. That's where I got my PhD, so I know the stomping grounds.

[00:52:54] Well, I just want to hear. Can you do a nice Boston accent.

[00:52:58] Oh gosh. Let's see.

[00:53:00] I'm trying to remember, you know, they dropped their Rs and they put them where they don't belong. But see, I wasn't in South Boston very much. So I don't have that. I'm not that South Boston accent, OK?

[00:53:12] I just I used to in my previous life, I was in technology when we did a computer trade show in Boston all the time.

[00:53:17] And after a few days there, you know, everything's wicked, wicked cool and park in my car. And, you know, I love Wicked.

[00:53:24] I grew up in Vermont. So wicked was the basic word of normal.

[00:53:30] I really enjoyed this. I really appreciate you taking the time. Yeah.

[00:53:34] Yeah, this is fantastic. So hopefully we can catch up again down the road.

[00:53:37] Ok, thanks, Tony. Thank you so much. Investor emotion signed by. Starting out the other and the pressures of the daily grind it wonderful, and that's the place to rub elbows and push aside things that matter most.

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