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Kickass Couples Podcast

Conflict Can Deepen Your Relationship Ep 55 RECAP Rabbi Shlomo & Rivka Slatkin

By June 15, 2022September 7th, 2022No Comments


Conflict Can Deepen Your Relationship Ep 55 RECAP Rabbi Shlo…

Sun, 5/15 8:06AM 24:57


relationship, shlomo, conflict, kickass, marriage, therapy, couples, commitment, kim, learn, thought, feel, important, married, interview, people, person, trigger, imago, giving


Kimberly Hoffman, Matthew Hoffman

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Matthew Hoffman 00:02

Welcome to the Kickass Couples Podcast. This is the place where we help many couples who want to level up their marriage experience newfound clarity, hope and confidence. We’re Matthew and Kim, co-hosts and husband and wife.

Kimberly Hoffman 00:16
in 26 years together, we’ve seen a lot and never thought it could be as good as it is right now.

We’re here to help you successfully navigate the messy, dirty and wonderful world of marriage.

Matthew Hoffman 00:28

We believe all couples deserve and are capable of experiencing an extraordinary and fulfilling marriage. And each week we’re bringing you life lessons from real life successful couples to help you grow and strengthen your relationship.

Kimberly Hoffman 00:43

We’ll get started right after this message. If you want to learn how to experience the best, most fulfilling year of your marriage, we invite you to order Matthew’s new book, “Kickass Husband: Winning at Life, Marriage and Sex.†You can get it at or visit Matthew’s website, Again, that’s or And now back to the show.

Matthew Hoffman 01:19

Welcome back to the Kickass Couples Podcast. Today we have a real treat for you. We’re being joined by Rabbi Shlomo Slotkin and his wife, Rivka and they really walk their talk. Twenty years ago, they saved their marriage by going through Imago couples therapy. That experience transformed their relationship and led them to a higher calling. Today they lead 1000s of couples through their no blame no shame, marriage restoration project weekend retreats that help partners reignite their passion and commitment. In today’s recap edition episode Kim and I will share our key takeaways from our interview with this dynamic couple will break down concepts, relationship qualities and key pillar points that they’ve used to build their rock solid relationship that will stand the test of time. We’re excited to be back with you today here on the Kickass Couples Podcast where Kim and I have the pleasure of talking about a really fun and interesting couple Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin. He’s a rabbi. And they are married in the middle of it with five kids and what a what a fun time we had with him and learned just a ton.

Kimberly Hoffman 02:27
I really enjoyed speaking with this couple, I thought that they had a lot of great pearls to share

with all of us and can’t wait to get to dive into really kind of breaking down that episode.

Matthew Hoffman 02:41

So much good stuff there. And so humble and giving with their own journey and what they went through. And I think Kim, do you want to go ahead and set us up like there’s some some interesting background here with their relationship and where they came from.

Kimberly Hoffman 02:55

I agree. I think that what’s really important to note with this couple is that they both realized after about a year into their marriage, that they weren’t sure if they were going to make it they were struggling and recognize that they really needed some help. And so they sought outside help and actually went to someone who was able to help them with a therapy called Imago therapy. And they use this Imago therapy to help save their marriage, they recognize they needed the help, they sought the help. And then they were ready and willing to do the work that it was going to take to bring about healing and really growth in their relationship.

Matthew Hoffman 03:44

And if you listen to the whole interview, and we’ll address it a little bit later, and we get deeper into our recap today a Mago therapy, one of the tenants or main principles in Imago Therapy is that conflict in a relationship, no matter what kind of a relationship is an opportunity. It’s not a bad thing. And so it embraces that and teaches you how to navigate that, and use those opportunities to strengthen the relationship and deepen the bonds as opposed to getting around to not dealing with it. And so it was we learned a lot and we’ll address that as we get deeper into this game. But what was kind of your first takeaway or what what was something that was meaningful to you from our time with Shlomo and Rivka?

Kimberly Hoffman 04:23

Well, I think one of the things that that really hit me hard was talking about history in their relationship. I recognize that Rivka really had a tough upbringing that she grew up in a family where mom and dad actually hated each other couldn’t stand each other. And, you know, there was a lot of volatile things that were going on a lot of yelling and screaming and fighting and she said they would fight for hours and just on and on so much as that they would just forget about their kids. And a lot of the needs of their kids weren’t being met, because they were just so busy arguing and fighting. And I can only imagine as a young person, how destructive that could be, to, to you and to, you know, just your family to see that ongoing, an unpleasant situation that you find yourself in day after day. So I think bringing that history to her relationship where she is now really had an impact on on their marriage,

Matthew Hoffman 05:42

a lot of baggage, for sure. She said, and I think, you know, we all have baggage, and we all bring different things to the relationship. And it’s really important to unpack that as early as possible, ideally, before you’re married. And I think that probably what they shared with us was that they hadn’t unpacked a lot of that. And then they got married, and boy, did it come up on the surface. And they had to learn how to deal with it.

Kimberly Hoffman 06:04

And especially since he had the complete opposite, he can’t really remember a lot of arguing in his family. His father was very calm. And his his parents expressed physical affection with one another. And so I feel like he came from a much healthier background. And so when you put those two backgrounds together, I think that’s when the conflict can arise. And it gets rocky and it gets hard to navigate. It

Matthew Hoffman 06:36

It does. It does, I think one of the that kind of leads into our first pillar. And the first point I wanted to make Kim was that Rivka said and I thought this was so dear and sweet and endearing that she learned about commitment from Shlomo because it wasn’t modeled in her family growing up. And she said, she knew what to expect, she felt it expressed from him. And she really got to see it modeled in their relationship, and she didn’t have it. And it was so important for her to have that with him. And that she kind of felt like the reason their their commitment was so strong, is because he was that calm, consistent influence, always being there, and present, giving her what she needed in the moment.

Kimberly Hoffman 07:22

Sure. And I think through Imago Therapy, she really learned how to take those things that he was modeling for her, and put them to work in her own life, and in the relationship as well. So I love and we’re willing to accept influence, what can happen in our relationship.

Matthew Hoffman 07:47

And I think it was really cool. She said, you know, a lot of people hit the tough times in your relationship. And you may have those thoughts of like, why am I here? I don’t think I want to go through this, this is hard, are we doing it, you know, you start to go, Well, maybe the grass is greener over there. She said, You know what she goes, you’re gonna have baggage, no matter where you are, and where you go, why not just deal with it where you are, and invest in make what you have, the best it can be, she said, you know, the grass is greener, where it’s watered and cared for. So instead of wandering and thinking, you know, it’s hopium, if you think that relationships going to be better, or if you’ll be able to find it easier someplace else. So if you take care of it, and nurture and address and have those discussions, you can have a relationship where you are right now, that is meaningful and rewarding. And that’s what they were working towards. And you know, further speaking about commitment, she said, it’s kind of an irony, that commitment is freeing because you think when you commit to something, you’re being limited or locked down. She said, But when you commit to the relationship, you’re free, because you don’t have to worry about the doubts of is this person going somewhere? Are they not going to be here for me if you know, they’re generally committed, and you are, you can just start working without that fear. Because you know, you’re

Kimberly Hoffman 09:04
Sure how you just shifted that thought from, you know, commitment sometimes being

perceived as being very negative, how it really is positive and super freeing and safe. Right.

Matthew Hoffman 09:18

Yeah. And that was, you know, and I think one of the dangerous things that come about in a relationship, and this came up and we talked about commitment, and she said, you know, she would look at other Rivka said, I look at other couples, and man, they’re on vacation, and you’ll have Facebook and everybody’s relationship from afar, it looks perfect or better, because we miss the warts and the bruises and the scars, right. And that’s why comparisons. I think that’s not a subtle thing. comparisons are dangerous and really unhealthy because your relationship is your relationship and it’s not going to look or feel like anybody else’s. But it’s your best and what you have and what you’re getting, you know, someone else’s good wasn’t made for you. So you got to really focus on what you have in your own One relationship and stop the comparisons because you, your relationship will not measure the same look or feel the same as somebody else’s. But it’s yours. And it’s unique to you and learning how to be happy

Kimberly Hoffman 10:11

in that relationship. Yeah, I think that one thing that we have learned through this whole process and all of the interviews that we’ve done in our own relationship, as well as that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, no way that it takes work on a daily basis. But if you’re committed to doing the work, then there can be such beautiful things that can unfold from a committed relationship.

Matthew Hoffman 10:40

And that’s why it kind of feels hard to sometimes, right, because you’re always on, you know, there’s never, especially like with a term of commitment, you can’t be committed most of the time, and just decide not to be other times, it’s not okay. And I think it’s just getting used to that idea that it’s a work in progress. And it’s, it’s more of the journey than the destination, right? We don’t reach that mountaintop and go, Oh, I’ve made it. I’m here. Let’s kick back stop working. Because that’s when the back slides happen are those subtle changes in the rudder of the relationship, right, and but then over time, as you and I felt in our own relationship, it’s those subtle changes over time that just turn into big issues when they’re not dealt with. Yeah. For sure. When it comes to creating a kick ass marriage. Do you ever wonder what you could be doing better? Have you ever thought how helpful would be to be a part of a like minded community of other imperfect couples who want to level up and their number one relationship? Come visit Kickass Couples Nation, where you can talk with people just like you who are looking for ways to invest in and increase their joy, commitment and fulfillment and their most important human relationship. You’ll have access to a team of licensed marriage therapists, coaches, articles, podcasts, live webinars and more. Just visit so you can learn more about a community that’s ready to help you level up. That’s

Kimberly Hoffman 12:08

I think another thing that really stood out to me in in this particular interview was, again, kind of going back to Imago therapy is the conflict resolution. I think that, you know, one of the things that Shlomo said that he actually quoted is that conflict is the vehicle in which can create healing and growth in a relationship. And I think that when it’s done in the right way, when it’s handled in the right manner, that conflict is really such an opportunity, wouldn’t you agree?

Matthew Hoffman 12:53

It is? And it doesn’t always feel or look that way, though, right? Because it’s kind of I mean, it’s uncomfortable. Most people I don’t know. I mean, there’s not many people who go, I love conflict, or I just want to embrace it and step into it, you just like, ooh, get me out of here. It’s uncomfortable. And people mostly want to step to it. And I think it he also said that conflict is a call to connection. And I just think that’s if you you’re, you know, the whole idea of a paradigm, right, your paradigm is how you think and feel about something. And if we can all change our paradigm relative to conflict, that it’s a call, it’s your spouse’s way of saying, I got to connect with you. We’re not on the same page, we haven’t reached understanding, right. And that’s why there’s conflict. So it’s really conflict is an opportunity for us to lean in to our spouse, and get better understanding about them, and learn how to

Kimberly Hoffman 13:46

work through it. And I love that Shlomo said, when we actually listen, when we really truly listen to each other. That the other person actually many times makes perfect sense. That is, when you’re really listening. And then then whatever resistance or whatever conflict we’re having, it seems to kind of go down a little bit. Yeah. And that a lot of times, it’s not even about what we did. It’s just a deeper issue being triggered. And we talk about that a lot, that it’s usually not about taking out the trash. It’s that I haven’t been I haven’t been heard or maybe I haven’t been seen, or you’re not listening to me very well, in this moment.

Matthew Hoffman 14:30

And I think, you know, we’ve This is a Gottman principle. Chris Cambas talks about a lot. John Gottman does too. He says, when we’re in the conflict, what are we pursuing? What is the dream within the conflict? In other words, the conflict and we’ll we’ll talk about Rivka and Shlomo had kind of a funny one in her experience in a minute, but it’s not usually what’s on the surface or what’s presenting right as the issue. It’s usually something out of the past and I think that I think it was Shlomo that said it. He said, If it’s hysterical, its historical. So if one of one of you is just off the handle and off the chain and going, Yes, I will, boy, something’s unresolved here. Let’s go back so we can go forward. And and it’s about understanding right conflict is not about did you win the day? Did your opinion prevail? Did my opinion prevail? what’s it really about?

Kimberly Hoffman 15:25

I mean, we’ve got to really get deeper. And we have to figure out what is going on and what the trigger is. And, again, it’s an opportunity to grow and an opportunity to become closer to really understand each other at a really intimate level. And what I thought they used a really great example Rivka had a there was a hole in their closet wall, I guess from a rod, a closet rod that had come out and had walked by the rod, or the actually now the hole in the wall many times over the course of months, and kept saying to Shlomo, I really would like us to get that hole in the wall fix, can we please get the hole in the wall fixed? And she’d walked by it again, a few days later. Shlomo, what are we doing about the hole in the wall? Have you made you know, what, what, what what, what are we doing? How are you going to fix it? What’s happening? And I think a lot of time went by. And at this point, they’re getting therapy. And they brought it up in therapy, what are we doing about the hole in the wall, the hole in the wall still exists. And I think it really was, at the end of the day, they realize is that it had nothing to do with a hole in the wall that she wasn’t being seen or heard. And it really was blocking her ability. And this was from past triggers, right, not being seen and heard. As a child now is coming into play here. Shlomo isn’t listening. He’s He’s not hearing me, this hole in the wall is still there. And so it was really bugging her, it was really triggering things from her past. And I think that what’s so funny is that, you know, they ended up calling a handy person to come and fix it. But she said I was so paralyzed by, he’s not doing this. He’s not doing this. He’s not doing this, that I wasn’t even able to figure out for my own self that all we really needed to do is call a handy person to come in.

Matthew Hoffman 17:27

Right. And I think she shared too, she said, you know, the issue why that was so important to her she figured out in some of the therapy is that as a child, she had to do everything for herself, ever she was on her own. So if it was going to happen, she had to do it. And she just wanted to be taken care of, in the moment to prove to herself, that she had someone that cared enough for her, that led to something that was important to her. And that’s a I think, when she realized what that was, and related to Shlomo, he became aware, right, it’s not about the rod, it’s not about the hole in the wall. It’s about, it’s important to me to her, that she has someone that cares for her and can take care of things for her because she didn’t receive that. And so when he learns through understanding that that’s a landmine and a trigger for her, he can actively work to meet her where she is and give her what she needs. And they both learned a lot from that experience, even though it’s kind of a funny, funny story. It comes

Kimberly Hoffman 18:23
back to safe communication, right? Being able to tell your partner in that moment, what you

really need what’s really going on underneath.

Matthew Hoffman 18:31

Yeah, absolutely. And one of the kind of close out points for me, Kim, in this interview with them, one thing I loved, is, you know, we always ask the question, what would you say to your pre married self like you okay with your experience and knowledge you have right now. And Shlomo said, be flexible and have no expectations. Be present, be happy if you can. And if you do those things, you’ll have success in your relationship. And I think that’s great flexibility means not my way or the highway, no expectations, meaning you’re unconditionally loving and giving to your spouse, and so you’re not doing it because hey, if I do this for her, then she’s going to owe me or be her turn to give to me. And that is a beautiful dance in a relationship. Kim and I have a tradition that we started way back when we got married of giving each other foot rubs. And it is the coolest thing. We both love it right? I don’t know who loves it more. I would say that I do. But she would probably say she does. But it’s so cool when she’ll come and say, Hey, we’re gonna watch a show tonight. And I’m going to rub your feet. And the other one. I always say no, no, no, you don’t have to do it tonight. Or if I say to her, she was no no, no, you just relax. But it’s we’re doing something because we both know physical touches away we’d like to be loved. So we’re both consistently working on giving each other what we know we need and what our love language is and that is being flexible and there’s no expectation that the next day the other spouse is going to do it for the other person but it’s just a great, reminder, it’s one of the many ways that we can fill the love tank and give to our spouse. Yeah.

Kimberly Hoffman 20:05

And I wanted to I wanted to bring up one more point before we close, because I thought it was really sweet. And it was Rivka talking about spillover of their success of the success of their relationships spilling over into other parts of their lives. And one of the things that she said that through all this therapy, and through the healing and growth of her relationship, is that she’s really learned how to relate and understand other people better, as well. And so I thought that was a beautiful thing, and that she may not necessarily agree with other people’s thoughts, opinions, or whatever. But she’s really learning how to understand their stories and how to respect differences. And it has really brought about a lot more compassion, and again, understanding for others, and then of course, that’s spilling into their children, as well. And they have five children, like you said, they’re very busy.

Matthew Hoffman 21:09 Um, coverage, baby. Exactly.

Kimberly Hoffman 21:11
But and then also, you know, that goes into relationships as well as as business. So I thought

that that was an important thing to point out as well.

Matthew Hoffman 21:19

It was a beautiful concept. And I think Kim, she kind of built on it a little more and talked about being open. Yeah. And having a sense of wonder, without judgment. Hey, that’s not what I think. But what can I learn from that? And what can I take away from it? And why would someone feel that way? And how can she learn more to relate to others who may have a similar feeling,

Kimberly Hoffman 21:38
The world would be a better place if we all had more of a sense of wonder. I feel

Matthew Hoffman 21:44

I agree. And I think that, you know, Kim is so interesting. And this couple is a couple we’ve had a few stories of redemption in the people that we’ve had the privilege of speaking with. And what I loved about about Shlomo and Rivka, is that they showed they didn’t have all the tools, they thought they were going to be so different than their parents and take the best and leave the worst behind. But it required them going through some of the serious therapy, which they now give, they have Imago therapy. And they do that for other

Kimberly Hoffman 22:15
painful circle for them. I love that they are actually training. And they are therapists


Matthew Hoffman 22:22

They are and they’re out there doing it and giving back and I think it’s so important. This episode, when this episode comes out, we’re gonna be officially launching Kickass Couples Nation. And Kim and I have used in search and look for a lot of resources that couples can use. And there’s some great counseling out there. And there’s some things here and there. But we’ve really developed Kickass Couples Nation to be that community to be that team where there are licensed marriage therapist, there’s articles, there’s podcasts, there’s blogs, there’s exclusive content, there’s posts, there’s things you can do right now, and we’re creating a community. So you can build your team because it does take a village and a team of people to keep investing in keeping it fresh, good ideas and prioritizing that number one relationships. So if you haven’t checked it out, please go to Look at Kickass Couples Nation. We’ve got some great promotions going on right now. And we are doing webinars twice a month and having some fantastic deep dives

Kimberly Hoffman 23:23
so much resource there. I hope that our community of followers really go and check this out

because there’s such valuable resources at this website.

Matthew Hoffman 23:34

We look forward to sharing it with you as we grow and learn together. And thanks for joining us this time. If you haven’t heard the full interview, please go back and check out Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin, a fun couple with great things to share. Absolutely, and how you can prioritize your spouse and thanks for joining us. If you liked this episode, please like us and let us know you did and share it with somebody else. We want to grow and help more people. And we hope you remember that happily ever after does not just happen. It’s on purpose. It is we’ll see you next time.

Kimberly Hoffman 24:11

That’s all we’ve got for this episode of the Kickass Couples Podcast. If you liked the content of the show, then you’ll love Matthew’s newly released book, Kickass Husband: Winning At Life, Marriage and Sex.” To receive a digital mini book of quotes and images from the book. All you have to do is rate this show and leave a review in Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you tune into. Then email us a screenshot of your review at podcast at And we’ll get it over to you right away. Until next time, remember happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose.