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Welcome to the kick couples podcast. This is the place where we help committed couples who want to level up their marriage experience, newfound, clarity, hope, and confidence. We’re Matthew and Kim co-host and husband and
Wife in 26 years together, we’ve seen a lot and never thought it could be a as good as it is right now. We’re here to help you successfully navigate the messy, dirty, and wonderful world of marriage.
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The show, we are taking a deep dive kick as couple’s podcast into our second pillar today at our AC Ruland in the background, it’s a warm day inside this over bullet. It is Maynard. You’re treating us warm today, baby it’s summer. Oh my goodness. But we are gonna do a deep dive today on our second pillar of our 13, which we think is kind of the bedrock or one of the most important of relationships. And we’re talking about the pillar of communication today, and I wanna start off with a quote from George Bernard Shaw. The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place. And I’d say that’s incredibly true, especially in romantic relationships, wouldn’t you? Absolutely.
Um, things that go unsaid, right? Yeah.
We’re gonna talk a lot more about those unsaid things today. Aren’t
We? It exactly, exactly. Well, this is a big one. Um, it’s one of the three C’s and, um, it’s probably, um, second in importance, I think, um, at least in my opinion, it is. Um, and so I guess I would like to ask the question to, to you, to our listeners, what does good communication look like? What do you think it looks like?
Yeah. I mean, it’s important to know what, what it is, right. And when you see it, how do you know, is it good or is it bad? And how do you feel about it in your relationship? It’s definitely that cement and for those of who may not know the three CS, if you’re just tuning in for the first time, we have 13 pillars in kick couples nation, and our first pillar is commitment. And we covered that in a special episode. If you haven’t heard it yet, you can dial back in our list or wherever you hear our podcast, and you can hear us do a deep dive on commitment. And our normal practice is every fifth interview. Right? I think we agreed yes. That we’re gonna do a deep dive on one of our pillars. And so today we’re doing our second deep dive on communication and we’re talking right now about really what that looks like, right?
Yeah. I mean, it, it is definitely, um, a two way street when it comes to communication, right? Interpersonal relationships have an enormous impact on human life. And I really believe that communication is really at the heart of all of that communication. Again, it’s a two-way street. It works both ways. So what does good communication look like?
Sure. I think there’s a lot of qualities and skills, right? Things that if you see absolutely in a relationship that you’ll know that somebody has good communication, when you see ’em using these skills or these characteristics, when they communicate with somebody, right. Especially somebody they love and they care about.
Sure. So if you’re the listener, um, I think that one of the most important things is the nonverbal part, right. You’re really just truly attentively listening. You’re watching body language and you are expressing, um, maybe by nodding your head or, um, just showing emotion with, with your own body language, but you’re really listening. You’re not speaking.
Yeah. Do you, Kim, do you think like, we, you, I think you hit it in the nail in the head because there’s nonverbal communication. Right. Which is what is the body saying that, and then there’s the words that they say, what do you think is more important? Like when you look at those two in good communication, what do you think has got a greater preponderance or a greater weight in, in showing what that communication looks like in your experience?
Um, in my experience, I am grateful for the person who is just nonverbal and is just truly listening to what I have to say because so many times, and I think, especially for women, we just need to say it, we just need to put it out there. Um, and that’s a way of sort of dealing with it is by speaking it. And so if somebody’s speaking for you and really just, isn’t trying to attentively, listen, maybe they’re even trying to solve it for you. Right. Um, sure. And that’s a whole nother well,
Get there. Oh guys, we, we put our foot in it all the time. We’re trying to come up with a solution, right. Solve the problem, win the prize, get the goal. Instead of just being present in the moment. I think you hit it on the head when you said attentive and attentive doesn’t mean, uh, being a servant, it just means listening and acting and taking in right. What you’re hearing. Right. And what you’re feeling or what you’re seeing and, you know, being a good listener too means you gotta seek first to understand. Right. So Stephen Covey says, seek first to understand and then be understood. Right. So you’re not gonna be able to get your point across or communicate what you feel unless you really understand what that other person is saying and think and feeling right.
And if you’re the listener, you have to have an open mind as well. Right. Um, absolutely. You need to, to be respectful of the person that is speaking to you.
Yeah. And I think that good communication, like something, it has to be timely. Right. I mean, it has to be well timed. Absolutely.
Uh, there’s probably nothing worse for you when I get into bed at night and you’re exhausted and you’ve been talking all day long and you know, maybe you’ve been doing back to back podcasts or interviews and I will wanna have this really serious conversation with you and you’re, you’re wiped out. You just don’t have it left in you. Um, it’s not really smart on, on my part, knowing all that, to try to have that conversation at that time. So I think timing is really important.
It is. And I think I’ve learned too how to be what, when the timing isn’t great or when I might not have the bandwidth to be loving in my communication back. So I’m not nasty or short or cutting you off, but saying, golly, honey, it’s 10 30 quarter of 11, you know, I’m up at five, would it be all right if we had this conversation tomorrow or another time or at a better time? And I think timely too is important. Not just on what you’re saying when, but also when you see good things happen, I know being, communicating them right away, expressing that gratitude, communicating timely thoughts when they happen or when they come to you. And as opposed to, I I’ll tell later, I won’t bother now. Right. But really taking advantage of the time to share in the moment, especially goodness, and good things that you wanna share about or with your spouse.
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that, um, great communication is, um, when people are really are aware and that, um, they’re really taking in what their own contributions to the conversation is. Um, and that really just helps the flow of the dialogue. Right?
Absolutely. I think that there’s good. Communication is two sided. It’s not just some, if someone’s a good communicator, they convey to you what they’re trying to say and you get it, but good communication there’s giving and receiving. Absolutely. And, and everybody has a contribution to make or not make actively, uh, in, in a good relationship. And I think, uh, that it has to be frequent too and proactive, you know, you, can’t just reactive communication is the worst because you’re communicating out of necessity or man things have gotten so bad or something is exploded. Now you’ve gotta communicate to try to clear the air as opposed to when you’re given the subtle hints from body language or what someone is saying or not saying, and learning that you, don’t just, you’re not just responding when you have to, but you’re kind of diving deeper and trying to get specific. Like, what’s the, what what’s really going on here. This is a, I might be she’s saying this, but is that what, you know, is it about the curtains really? Or is it about that? She’s had a tough
Day, right? There’s really something else really deeper, right. Going on there and something behind that. And that’s why I think it’s so important to, um, really talk about those things, to have really great communication. We’re talking about patient as couples, right. To, um, really know each other’s inner world. And so really having that connection, I’m not saying you gotta talk 50 times a day, um, O on the phone. Um, but at least checking in with each other, Hey, how are you? Um, just letting that person know that you’re thinking about them and maybe they offer a little bit of, yeah, my day’s going, you know, it’s going really well so far. Some really great things are happening. And I can’t wait to share those with you later. It’s just that connection, right. That just builds those, I think. Um, well, it’s really love mapping, wouldn’t you say?
Sure. And when you say, tell me more about that love mapping is something you and I have talked about, or we’ve heard kind of the Gottman theory behind that, but what is, what is love mapping for our listeners? How would you describe
That? I would say that’s really knowing each other and, um, really making a point to periodically update each other on what’s going on, um, in our lives and, um, asking really great questions. Open-end questions of each other and just, it’s the connection that makes us closer when we, um, really are asking questions of our spouse that are a little deeper than just how is your day dear. Right?
and also, you know, in communication sometimes there’s, there’s like things that get in the way. And I know that we each, you and I each have our hot buttons right. Of things that if I know that it, if I do certain things, when we’re trying to have good communication is gonna derail it or have a negative impact, and I’ve had to learn that. But for my personal hot buttons, I know that one of them is if there’s yelling or raising a voice, I shut down, someone’s yelling at me or they’re talking loudly because they feel like they gotta get their point in it. It’s a, I, I turn off and that’s one of my hot buttons. Another one is if somebody’s talking over me and not listening, like if I’m trying to explain something and they’re speaking louder and getting on top of me, because they don’t want me to communicate, but they’re trying to get in what they’re saying. And then the third is, you know, too, is PFA. If someone uses profanity with me or directed at me or against me, or there’s any kind of really like disrespect if they’re being disrespectful or breaking me down, that doesn’t, that, that shuts me down. That’s another thing that shuts me down and makes me just not want to communicate. Do you have, what are some of your hot buttons, things that, uh, really you to go sideways in communication?
Well, I, I, I would first, um, like to say that this is an area where I have really grown in my communication. I have not always been a great communicator. I have been that person that can go from zero to 60 really quickly. Um, and all of a sudden my heart rate is up and I’m jumping in. And, um, I, I, I go down that rabbit hole, I can tend to be critical. Um, and then the communication just, it’s not so great, but I’ve really been working on that the last few years and, um, have really had an opportunity for growth in that area. I think for me, I would say that, um, sometimes when I’m being spoken to, um, in a condescending way, that’s just, that’s a really, that’s a really hot button for me. Um, or if I’m speaking and I’m talking and whoever I’m speaking to, I can tell they’re just half listening to me. Um, that’s definitely something that, that sort of sets me off. It makes me feel like I’m not important. Like I’m not being heard. And, um, it, if you’re halfway listening while I’m speaking and, and you, you can kind of tell when somebody’s kind of got one ear, um, listening to you, um, I, I would have to say that those, those two are, are, are some really hot spots for me. Okay.
So those are some of the things that set us off, and we’ve had to learn those about each other. So we’re aware of them, cause we don’t want to incorporate or hit those triggers. We’ll talk about that in a little bit. So what can people, if people want to improve their communication, let’s talk about specific things that we can do to get better at communicating, especially with someone that we’re intimate with and that we, that we love. Right. And I think that kind of love, I would say one of the golden keys, the things that I’ve learned, and this may not be new to some of you is that you really want to make sure you’re making eye statements, not you statements, it’s that old finger pointing adage, right? If it’s, if it’s you and you, you do this and you that’s really accusative yeah.
And critical and judgmental. And, but if you instead turn around saying, I, I feel this. When we had that conversation, I felt this way. Or when you, when, when I heard this, when I heard you say this, I felt this way when you’re talking about you feel and how you respond. And you’re using that first person, singular eye, it’s really a great way to communicate without being condemning. And there’s, I love the old example when you’re pointing at somebody and saying, you, right, you got one finger going at somebody, but you got three fingers coming back at you. So if you wanna think about finger pointing, anytime you’re accusing somebody, you’re forgetting that the lion share of responsibility probably relies on your shoulders, right. To change your viewpoint or your opinion on that, on that matter. Right.
And I love that. I feel I need, I appreciate just using I when you startup, um, I think is really important. Another thing is, um, what I would say is a, a soft or a gentle startup, um, would be important as well when you’re starting to speak to someone, um, about, uh, a situation, um, that might be a little bit challenging. How do you bring that up the right way? And so what I mean by a soft startup is I’ll give you an example. Uh, Matthew likes to shop for food, cuz he’s an incredible cook and um, makes a lot of prepares a lot of our food. And so Matthew goes through the grocery store and he home couple cans of, of black beans and he’s unpacking the black beans and I’m helping him and we’re putting food away and there’s already four cans of black beans in the cupboard.
And I look at it and this is something that happens often. we don’t have a lot of room in the cupboard here. We have extra cans of black beans. Um, so how do I, how do I, how do I kindly in, in a soft startup, say to Matthew, Hey sweetie. You know, we have a lot of black beans in the cupboard. And um, I would, I, I feel like, you know, we don’t have a lot of room. We really could, um, use the space for other things. So, um, next time, perhaps, maybe before you head to the store, you could maybe just take a quick look and see if we already have black beans in the pantry.
Yeah. Avoid guilty. I do. It never shop when you’re hungry. Right. That’s what they say. Cuz everything looks good and you think you need more of it. Uh, yeah. It’s learning how to, I think avoid the landmines and the triggers of, of what’s gonna set a conversation off and if it’s how you feel and it’s eye statements and I would appreciate it. It’s a loving way. And that soft startup, that general startup is a not being afraid to approach the things, but doing it out of a desire to have better communication on something yeah. For you and for the relationship.
And, and I think you can use humor in there as well. I think you can use some humor in there. Yeah.
We’re not cooking black beans for the block. at least I don’t think we are. Right. Exactly.
Exactly. Oh. And then, uh, so a third thing I think that people can do to improve their communication is to understand for yourself and for others that you have the right to feel, whatever emotion you’re feeling. So no matter what happens, somebody says something, doesn’t say something and man, you’re just triggered and you’re blown up and you’re flooded. You have the right to say, I feel threatened. I feel attacked when I feel there’s nothing you’re allowed to do all that. And uh, cuz you’re not saying anybody else is responsible, but you’re sharing with someone in the moment how you feel,
Right. The impact that, that their words are having on you at that moment.
Absolutely. There should be no shaming, Hey, you don’t have the right to feel that way. That’s dumb. That’s stupid. That doesn’t make sense. I disagree. You should feel this way or I don’t understand. But, and I think that it’s, you have the right as the speaker, right. Or even if you’re the listener, each person has to recognize that the other one has the right to feel that way. And the question is how can we better understand why, why are they feeling that way and what they need from you? It doesn’t mean there’s something to be solved or there’s an issue or a problem like Kim was saying earlier for communication. I gotta get it out there. She said, I just need to, I wanna talk about it. And um, you know, as a guy, we think we gotta solve everything. We think we gotta win the prize, make it go away, cross it off the task list. When really nine times outta 10, we’re just being asked to be a good listener, a good friend, a sounding board, and to sit there and be supportive and empathic in our listening. So those are kinda a few things that we think people can do to, um, to help with that. Right. Yeah. Those are helpful for what about roadblocks Kim? What are, what do you think some of the biggest roadblocks or what gets in the way of kind of reaching that better state of communication?
Well, I think that, um, like you said, um, trying to solve the problem, um, when you just need to listen, um, shaming, making your partner feel like, um, they shouldn’t think that way or, um, maybe speak what they’re saying. Sure. It’s really important that you listen and, um, not speak back or make that person feel ashamed of what they’re relaying to you.
Yeah. Really seeking first to understand that. I think something that, uh, gets to me a little bit, I think is a huge roadblock is kidding. You know, a lot of times sarcasm or kidding, you know, there’s when somebody says something that could be, be hurtful or damaging or disrespectful and then they tag on, Hey, just kidding. Right? Sure. Just kidding is not a get outta jail free card because it doesn’t take away the sting. It doesn’t mean you didn’t say it. And if you have to say that after something, you probably shouldn’t have made the statement. And so I think that that’s just really being aware and alert of what it comes out before it does. And do I want that to come out? Do I need to make that statement? Is it gonna add oxygen or is it gonna be gasoline on the fire? Right. Right. And I think you have to be really, uh, aware, uh, of how that’s of how that is. Sure.
Um, what about apologizing?
That’s huge when yeah. You gotta apologize learning how to do it and yeah. Taking responsibility. Right. And um, when you come to me and say, Hey, you know what, Matt, we got four cans of black beans in the cupboard and you just bought three more. Oh my gosh. Instead of me putting the defenses up and saying you’re wrong and we need ’em and we gotta have ’em they say, oh my gosh, you’re right. I totally didn’t look in the cabinet. I apologize. You know what? I can commit to being better about that next time and O owning up to it right away. Because we each have responsibility when there’s bad communication. It’s not one person’s great. And one person stinks. Each person has contributed something to get you to that point point. Sure. I think. Right. Yeah. And something else too is, uh, a roadblock I think is when you’re competing for your needs to be met.
Right. In other words, you think you need something and I wanna say, oh, you think you need that. I’m the one that really needs that. You know, you need a vacation. Oh, I need I’m. I need the vacation. I’m the one that’s been working more hours and I’ve worked her. So we’re competing right. For our needs to be fulfilled when the truth is, both of us need to have our needs fulfilled. It’s gotta be a win-win always. Cause if you get your needs met, I don’t get mine. I’m sour. My nose is outta joint. Right? I’m outta place. I’m not happy. So we both to find a way another alternative where both of our needs can, can get met when it comes to creating a kick marriage. Do you ever wonder how you’re doing? We found that there are 13 key components that make up a thriving relationship, which is why we’ve created the kick assessment in this powerful three tool.
You’ll learn what they are and how you and your spouse are ranking in each one. And you’ll get recommendations that will help you start improving today to get your results. Simply visit Matthew E hoffman.com. Again, that’s Matthew P hoffman.com. It’s time to start kicking. Let’s go, you know, Kim, I heard somebody say this one time, and I’m curious if you agree, or if you could maybe share your thoughts with me is somebody said like the death of a relationship, it occurs when a couple never has the conversations that they should have. Yeah. How’s that? What does that mean to you? Or how does that ring to you when you hear that?
When things go unsaid or unspoken that need to be addressed? I think that it really builds walls and I think it can really tear down a relationship and have a very negative impact on, on a couple. Right? Um, all of the, I mean the good communication and, and being open and vulnerable with each other, that’s what provides our emotional connect. Don’t speak and we don’t communicate. Um, and we don’t say the things that that need to be said, um, whether they’re difficult or not. Um, you know, we have to keep that two way street going always at all times. Yeah,
No, no doubt. It’s all about that under are standing and getting closer to your spouse. And you said this earlier to me and I loved it when Kim and I were talking about preparing for this episode, she said, you’ve gotta create a culture of appreciation and keeping an emotional contact with your spouse. Yeah. Right.
It’s what says to you, um, or to me, I see you, I’ve got your back. I hear you. It creates trust.
We all want to feel heard. Right. And seen mm-hmm and that our spouse has got our, got our back
I’m there, no matter what, I’m there for you, you, no matter what.
Yeah. And keeping an emotional contact and the only way that’s gonna happen, you can’t Intuit it. I mean, you might be able to see some nonverbal, but speaking it, having the conversation, sharing it good, bad or indifferent. And there’s kind of a couple of exercises that you and I have learned to do or done. And I’d like to talk about those. I’m gonna talk about one. This is actually a chapter in my book, the kick husband, winning at life, marriage and sex. And the title of the chapter is called taking out the trash and our co-author of this book. Chris cam shared, um, uh, a, a guy by the name of Dr. Richard Marks. And, uh, we took a video course with him and it was a great, uh, investment for Kim and I in our relationship to learn how to be better spouses and have better communication, be more intimate with each other.
He had an exercise called take out the trash. And this is, this is what that looks like. You sit, need and eat with your spouse. You hold hands, you look into CHIO into each other’s eyes and you take turns saying first, what is it that you’re mad about? If there’s something that’s making you angry or upset you sharing what that is and why. And then before I go to the other three, the listener’s job is to look into the eyes of the speaker and just listen. And the only questions you can ask is to make them say more about that. So if I said, I’m really mad about this, the listener might say, wow, I can really see that you’re upset about that, or that has made you angry. And then tell me more. You want open ended questions to get them to say more.
So first we’re gonna talk about what are you mad about? What are you sad about? If there’s anything that you’re afraid of, and then we’re gonna end with, what are you glad about? So we’re a quick dive, a quick tour into the inner world of our spouse by sharing. And now if I was the speaker first, it’s my turn to listen. So I’m gonna hold Kim’s hands, need an knee. I’m gonna stare right into her eyes. And she’s gonna share with me those four things. Cause there’s anything she’s mad about. And if things she’s sad about anything that she’s afraid of. And then what she’s glad about that simple exercise, five to 10 minutes is gonna take me through a walk of her inner world. She’s gonna have good communication. I’m gonna seek to understand, ask questions, to have her expound about those exact things, no judgment, and just let and allows you to clear the deck. So to speak of anything you might be harboring, angry, upset, happy. You know, we, we forget to share the, the good things sometimes too. And it’s nice to, nice to bring those out.
And that exercise does take a little bit longer. Um, but I would say that’s a, a great one to do once every other month, um, where you just really intentionally sit down, hold hands, look at each other and really work through those questions. Um, but I, another one that, that you could do that takes just maybe little bit of time, and this is something you can do on a daily basis is, and, and some of you have probably heard all this, heard this already. It’s the, um, what were your roses today and what were your thorns? So the roses obviously would be what was the best part of your day? What happened to you today? That was great. And then of course the thorns would be, what challenges did you have today? Um, what were some, some maybe sad or, um, things that happened today that upset you?
I like that rose and thorn quick and easy. It’s a good check-in and it’s a great tool, not just with your spouse, but right. We do it with our kids. Sure. Do it with our youngest son right now. Who’s about to be 12. Yes. Ask him what his rose and the thorn were for the day. And it’s, it’s a great check-in and, um, something that’s easy to do. And I, I wanna, I’m gonna add on to what Kim is saying too. We, I heard somebody say a doctor say that you should always be looking for ways that you can plant roses in somebody else’s garden. So for your spouse. So here’s an opportunity. I’m gonna look for ways that I can plant a rose in her garden. And that could be something physical. It could be a touch, a hug, a it could be a comment. And for, since we’re talking about communication, what can you say to your spouse to plant a rose in their garden? Something that you appreciate about that they just did, or they always do, or that you remember one of the reasons why you fell in love with them, but taking the time to plant that rose, that seed of kindness, gratitude in their garden. Everybody likes to have a beautiful garden in bloom and right.
Absolutely. Especially if that’s your love language as well, right? Yeah. Words, words of affirmation. No doubt.
No doubt. If we had to kind of do a little summary today, Kim of we’ve talked about what a good communication looks like. We’ve talked about what some of those elements are that represent it, what some of the roadblocks are, some of the things that people can do to improve their communications and even a couple of easy exercises, I think. And, um, we’ve taken a quick tour. This is,
It’s a big one we could go on for, uh, a lot longer, probably for a lot longer. Um, but I think that we hit some really valid points and, um, some key things that people can start working on right now.
Yeah. I mean, and, and one of the things Kim told me when we were talking about communication is she said, I really feel that great communication creates a deeper friendship and intimacy.
I think that really sums it up. I mean, all of this creates, um, definitely more intimacy and greater, um, connection with each other.
Absolutely. And guys, I, this is I’m speaking to of the men now. Not that women won’t
Speaker 3: (32:05)
Appreciate this as well, but I do want the book, but that’s not my sexism in there because sex is an important part of a healthy relationship. And it’s, and guys, if you don’t know this already on the, you know, the big secret, a great thriving sexual relationship with your spouse is the byproduct of excellent intimate, trusting communication. So if you wanna become a ninja at communication, guess what’s gonna happen guys, because for me to have a stronger intimate relat with my spouse, she needs to feel her respected, like listen to right. All the things that we were talking about in this session today about good communication. If you do, though, she’s gonna feel more trust, more respect. She’s gonna feel closer to you and your spouse when your wife feels that way, she’s gonna want to express it as many ways as she can. So guys, if you are looking for a way to have that better relationship and get that gray help, and that result communication is the way to get there.
Speaker 3: (33:35)
And, uh, I say that laughing with a smile on my face, but it’s, there’s a lot of it’s so, so true, right? It’s the byproduct of great committed relationship with fantastic communication. And I think that Kim and I are definitely a kick couple, and we have that because we communicate really well. And, uh, that’s at the heart of it, the three CS, one of the foundational pillars of the lens that we look through. And here’s the good news guys. If you keep listening to the kick couples podcasts, every couple we talk to, we’re gonna talk about communication and you’re gonna learn and more about what they do, how they do it, how they’ve gotten there, things they’ve run into and ways they’ve overcome it. And we’re gonna have a lot of fun learning a lot more about this pillar and we’ll circle back.
Speaker 3: (34:26)
We have 13 pillars. So every 13 months we repeat and we’ll make sure that we come at this in a different way. If you’ve got questions, we’d love to hear em. We’d love to hear em. So please go visit email@example.com and leave a com leave remark about this podcast, ask a question, Kim and I are gonna be doing every Monday T G WM and that’s thank God we’re married. And we’re gonna be sharing with you, something that you can put into application every week to raise the level of trust of commitment of communication, and really just happiness in your relationship. So we’ll go check it out. Thanks. Thanks to you for listening today and thanks for your wonderful ideas for you sharing. Absolutely happy to be here. All right, guys. So next time take
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