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Kickass Couples Podcast

How To Tell The Truth With Love: Episode 22 – Jennings

By November 3, 2021September 9th, 2022No Comments


Matthew: (00:01)

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 


Kim: (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 


Matthew: (00:28)

Marriage. 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. 


Kim: (00:43)

And now let’s dive into today’s episode. 


Jessica: (00:47)

I want to communicate how important he is to me. I want to communicate the underlying needs that he has mattered to me. 


Jeff: (00:54)

That was one of the reasons why I was scared to get married. I like that. You know, it’s, this is gonna be forever. Nothing 


Jessica: (00:59)

Is gonna stand on our way when, and it does. We’re gonna conquer it together. 


Jeff: (01:03)

It was rough. It was really rough. And when I, when my father left, when I was six, 


Jessica: (01:08)

I have to continue to grow. We have to continue to grow. And so with the growth mindset, even 


Jeff: (01:13)

Violent at times, it was fighting and yelling and screaming and sometimes punching and throwing things. 


Kim: (01:20)

We’ll get started right after this message. If you wanna learn how to experience the best, most fulfilling year of your marriage, invite you to pre-order Matthew’s new book, kick husband, winning at life, marriage, and sex. You can get Again, that’s Matthew And now back to the show, 


Matthew: (01:45)

We want to know from each of you, what do you guys think makes each your relationship kick? Why are you guys a kick 


Jessica: (01:55)

Couple? That’s a great question. I think everyone needs to ask themselves that question. Um, one of the things that jumps out to me is that, um, Jeff and I, early on, we met in graduate school getting our master of arts and professional counseling. And then he went on to get a PhD. And I like to say that we found our purpose and our passion, and then we found each other and we both share in a very similar purpose and passion. And so what I see in that is that that leads us to challenge each other in our growth, because we have a common purpose and we’re both very passionate about helping people discover their true identity and then come together as a couple to be stronger in that. So our personal growth is involved with that. And that’s one of the things I love about therapy and counseling and coaching is that I have to continue to grow. 


Jessica: (02:41)

We have to continue to grow. And so it’s a growth mindset. The second thing is it leads to just that increased attraction to the other person because when you see them in their element, you watch them explore and just continue to grow. There’s that sense of magnetism. You’re just attracted to one another. Um, and then I think finally the work that we do emphasizes bonding. And so there’s a sense that when we have a common purpose and passion, we’re deepening in that bond together. And, and I awakened even just a few years ago and realize in the research that I don’t have to be this ever on I’m going more attractive. Like person, even all I have to do is recognize that our bond is ever deepening and that as we fulfill our purpose and passion, we will grow, we will have increased attraction and that bonding will be certain and sure. And the more I’m bonded to him, the more I want to come close and I want to connect and I don’t have to feel, or that we’re going to go apart or separate ways because we’re winding ever tighter in our purpose and passion together. 


Jeff: (03:49)

That’s a beautiful answer. I love that. I don’t have anything to add to that. wow. 


Kim: (03:55)

That was perfect. She said it well. Yeah, no doubt. Well, thank you for opening up with that. Um, and I know that our listeners are gonna hear that and really just take some good stuff from that. So, um, I wanna back up with you a little bit, because I believe that we are a product of the people who raise us. I think in many instances that can have been very harmonious and then there are sometimes that it is volatile and sometimes even traumatic. And we bring that to the next relationship that we have. And so I’m curious, I wanna hear from you Jeff first, I would love to hear a little bit about your upbringing and what love looked like for you when you were growing up with your family. 


Jeff: (04:48)

Well, that’s a, yeah, that’s a really good question. And we do come from an attachment perspective ourselves and the work that we do. So we believe those early relational experiences are very fundamental to how and navigate relationships later in life. So I grew up and you’ll hear from both of us, I’m sure we grew up in very different households. I grew up in, um, a fairly dysfunctional family. My dad left when I was six years old. My mom was th divorced. Um, my brother and sister had different fathers, you know? And so it was rough. It was really rough. And when I, when my father left, when I was six, my older brother and sister, they were about six and seven years apart from me. So there was a pretty big age gap there. And they were older. I was only six. They were like 12 and 13, you know, in the, the teen years. 


Jeff: (05:45)

And so they started getting into lots of trouble, especially my brother. Um, hopefully you won’t listen to this. no, that’d be fine if you did. Um, so, you know, he just, they got into lots of trouble in our house was, was pretty, um, it was just even violent at times there was fighting, there was yelling and screaming and sometimes punching and throwing things. And so it was a, it was a fairly rough, rough environment at times, but it, you know, my was also very loving and she worked very hard to take care of us. Um, she got remarried, so I had a stepfather growing up. So, um, but you know, it was had a lot of ups and downs for sure. 


Jessica: (06:29)

And my household was very calm. And so my father never raised his voice. There were three of us daughters. And so we just were very compliant. And so we just kind of did what we were told. And we were just in, that comes with its whole other bag of things about me learning later to be more assertive. But I think that in attachment work, what we do is is whatever wounds, whatever struggles we have are gonna come forward in the marriage. And that’s the point, the point is to be create a safe space so that you, each of you, regardless of where you’ve come from can, can face these things and, and see the obstacles as opportunities. Sure. 


Matthew: (07:09)

So I’d love for you guys each to think about, I mean, it sounds like, you know, we, I know that we do this and I was laughing with Kim, cause I know that our kids one day are gonna do this well with us where they’re gonna say, you know, how mom and dad did this. We’ll never do that. Right. Or we really liked it when mom and dad did this. So I’d love to hear maybe from each of you too, what, what are you bringing from your household that you liked and you, and, and has established in your relationship or maybe, you know, things like Jeff, I know you’re talking about things you to experience or didn’t care for. How did, how did those form, how the two of you brought these two different backgrounds together and make it one that has obviously lasted and been successful? 


Jeff: (07:50)

Right. So I would say one of the things I got from my upbringing that was very helpful was like my family, it was blue call our family, very hard workers. And so I’ve always been just a hard worker and just kind of given sort of some of the lack, you know, that I experienced growing up. It’s just created a drive in me to, to want to just be my best, to improve looking at my background. Kind of seeing things that, you know, I didn’t want to bring in, into my marriage that I didn’t want to repeat. Um, it took me a long time to actually get married. So I didn’t get, we didn’t, you know, I didn’t meet Jessica until I was 29 and we got married when I was 32. So I was a little late to the marriage game by some standards. So, but I had to, you know, I had to do a lot of work. 


Jeff: (08:38)

I felt like before I was even ready to get married and, and frankly, I was just scared of marriage to be true. Sure. So, yeah. Um, so there were a lot of things that I didn’t wanna bring into the relationship, but there were some good things there too. You know, there were, there was a commitment, um, to family and, um, even the amongst us and, uh, there was a hard work ethic. Um, and you know, so I think those things we, I brought in, it’s funny when we were, when we, um, were dating one of the things I didn’t wanna bring in, you know, well, I didn’t wanna bring in the yelling and things like that. And, um, but when we were dating, I told Jessica one time, I was like, you know, sometimes I just, I need a kick in the pants, you know, I need you to, I need you to just really like yell at me. And, uh, she’s like, well, I don’t come from that. You know, we didn’t yell in my family. And the funny thing was after where we got married, you know, we hadn’t been married very long, we’re driving to the airport and we got into an argument and, and Jessica raised her voice. And the first thing I did was I looked it up, looked at her and I said, don’t yell at me. 


Jessica: (09:48)

So we have a talk about that’s right. Well, I thought, but it’s a trigger, it’s a trigger, right? It’s a trigger. It’s really hard. It’s very hard. But I think on the same lines is that we didn’t really yell in, in my home, but I think one of the things I’ve had to work on is my assertiveness is rising up fully into the truth of who I am and stepping forward with my truth. And I think that’s one of the things that I’m really wanting to instill in our marriage and in our daughter is that we can and speak the truth in love. And that’s a, that is a disciplined practice that when we speak the truth alone, sometimes it can be really sharp and really cruel if we just do the love part, which was my, you know, expertise, sometimes the truth doesn’t come across. 


Jessica: (10:29)

It’s like way too sugar coated. And you don’t even hear the truth, cuz you’re so worried about offending someone. But when we do it both, when have that assertive language and that’s one of the things I’ve had to work on because coming from a family that didn’t yell, it was wonderful, but that meant meant sometimes we didn’t always go deep or dig into the real stuff. And that’s what a really amazing marriage does is sees obstacles and together looks at each other and we’re like, oh no, we’re going, we’re going toward this. We’re going toward this together. And that’s one of the things is coming together as a team, recognizing the obstacles outside of you or something you can conquer with a spirit of adventure together. And I think that’s something that we have really forged this willingness to say, nothing is gonna stand on our way when it does. We’re gonna conquer it together because we are gonna see each other as teammates, not enemies. And that takes a lot of courage and it takes a lot of, um, um, tenacity to do that. And I think that’s one of the things that we’ve, we’ve really worked to carry forward. And I wanna pass along to my own daughter is that assertiveness and communication. And I love how 


Kim: (11:36)

You said truth in love. That’s a great phrase. And it does take work and discipline every single 


Jessica: (11:42)

Day. Yep, absolutely. Because we all have our tendencies and I see people in therapy and coaching all the time where, um, they’re very good truth tellers, but they’re not, they, they struggle with the love part or they’re very loving, but they struggle to tell the truth. And so it is it’s, it’s what side of the spectrum do I find myself and how do I gently move towards balance in my marriage, in my relationships, because they are gonna thrive when you’re able to communicate effectively in those ways. So it’s definit truth and love. 


Kim: (12:14)

We have, um, 13 pillars that we believe are what is necessary for a very successful relationship. And the first of those three are, we are what we call three CS. And the three CS we believe are very foundational. The first of those is commitment. And so I’m gonna, um, ask you, Jessica, what does commitment look like to you in your marriage? 


Jessica: (12:39)

Hmm, that’s such a great question to me. Commitment looks like that I’m going to own my stuff and that I’m gonna show up fully in it. , um, a commitment not just to be in the marriage, but to be a vulnerable and real, um, because I’m really good at making things look nice. Like I want them to be so great and I want to present a, a United front that sometimes I won’t share my true feelings. And that’s part of, that’s part of that hesitancy to be truthful because I, I don’t want conflict. And so I’ve had to learn how to lean a conflict. I’ve had to learn to say, you know what, um, it’s messy and I’m gonna pull it out and we’re gonna talk about it. And we’re gonna look at this. And, um, one of the most powerful things we can do in commitment is commit to ourselves that we’re gonna see ourselves in love, know ourselves in love and then see each other in love and know each other in that love too. So to see, to know, and to love, it’s hard to do, but that’s part of commitment is yes, we’re gonna stay together. But in order to be bonded in that deepening way, we’ve gotta be committed to our own work and to showing up and showing love. 


Kim: (13:49)

How about you, Jeff? What does commitment, commitment look like 


Jeff: (13:53)

To you? First and foremost, for me given my background experience, you know, commitment means you stay right. You, you stick through it, um, hell or high water, whatever happens, you know? Yeah. No 


Kim: (14:05)

Plan B, right? , 


Jessica: (14:06)

That’s it, you 


Jeff: (14:07)

Know, you’re married. That was one of the reasons why I was scared to get married. So like, you know, it’s, this is gonna be forever, but that’s why, how I went into it, you know, was like, when I get married, that’s it, you know, I’m, I’m committed to this relationship. I’m committed to the long haul. I believe, you know, marriage is, is a, is a covenant relationship. And so that’s first and foremost, it means staying, you know, and, and, and hopefully not just staying, you know, and being miserable. Right, right. It’s, it’s, it’s working on your stuff, you know? So when things aren’t going well, you’re committed to working through it. You’re committed to talking through it. You know, I’m, we’re not gonna be satisfied with a relationship where, you know, we, we just don’t talk or, you know, we don’t have any kind of a connection or intimacy with one another. So staying isn’t, that’s where you start, but that’s not, you know, the end game. 


Matthew: (15:02)

Right. That’s great. And I think that you, that’s a great lead in, because you said you gotta talk about, you gotta work on it. So the commitment’s kind of the starting point, the fact foundation, cuz if you, if you’re committed, you’re gonna do whatever it takes to get there. And I think you both sound like the success of your relationship comes from that commitment. You have to each other. And then the next thing you said was talking about it and that leads right into our second sea, which is communication. So, um, so Jeff will start with you on this one. And what is, what does communication look like in your relationship and how do you feel about the way that you and, and Jessica communicate with one another? We 


Jeff: (15:37)

Generally communicate pretty good. it’s not always perfect. And uh, I don’t know of any relationship where the communication is perfect, but we really try to, we be honest, we try to be vulnerable. Um, we try to be transparent with one another. Um, we don’t, we don’t hide things from each other. We don’t keep secrets. You know, if something needs to be said, we say it. Um, sometimes I struggle like sharing, you know, sometimes like when I’m upset, you know, sometimes have trouble communicating that directly or have had problems, you know, with that out in the past. So we’ve grown in our communication over time where we, you know, share, you know, how we’re feeling, even if it’s, you know, even if I’m upset or, you know, or I’m I’m irritated or whatever. And Jessica has too, you know, so that that’s been an area that we both have had to work in on. Our communication is just being honest when they feelings, when, when they’re not good, you know, when, when things aren’t perfect. Um, and then being able to sorta work through that and talk through that and, and be able to receive that and, and know that, you know, our relationship itself is not threatened. So a big, you know, we, one of the things we really, really strive to work on, you know, we strive to stay away from like what John Gottman calls the poor horseman of the apocalypse. So like, you know, defensives, we’re very familiar 


Matthew: (16:59)

With, we know them well, not, not, we try to stay away from them personally, but we know about them. right. 


Jessica: (17:05)

It’s hard to stay away from defensive. Defensiveness is like my favorite one. So I have to really, I have, you know, a love, hate relationship with defensiveness. I’m working on that one 


Jeff: (17:16)

And I can be a stone Waller and, and uh, yeah. Sometimes, well, I can be critical. 


Jessica: (17:20)

So yeah, that’s his, he it’s criticism and defensiveness, you see how that works together and doesn’t work at the same time. So yeah. So it’s, it’s, it’s wonderful to be able to look at also the, a process and not just the content. So the content, again, we have this great article that’s called. It’s not about the fingernail Clippers. Um, because, um, my husband sometimes can’t find the fingernail Clippers, cuz I like to call myself, um, a creative, which really turns into like I’m a closet messy. So I don’t keep everything exactly where it belongs. Cuz I’m like a creative, I’m like, oh it should go here today. No, it should go there. And that drives him crazy. And so the, the, the content is he can’t find the fingernail Clippers, but the process is that he’s feeling out of controller UN pull in his own home because I’m not listening to him. 


Jessica: (18:11)

And so we, we are doing both listening to the content and the process, understanding that I want to communicate how important he is to me. I want to communicate the underlying needs that he has matter to me. And so if we can slow that down, instead of me being so defensive, when he says, where are the fingernail Clippers? And I say, I don’t, no, I put him right back there. And truth be told there were 4, 3, 3 fingernail Clippers there where there were supposed to be just the ones he wanted weren’t there but of course that’s what matters is, is right. It’s the ones he wants. He needs to feel that sense of safety. And so talking about the, the, the process is so important. It’s so elusive, it’s hard to do. And that’s where we have, um, you know, systems and programs and worksheets that help couples oftentimes get to that because it can feel so sticky and difficult to understand the process. 


Jessica: (19:02)

But once we do, we can slow it down and we can show care and love to the other person when we’re, we would once be showing and defensiveness or disinterests, or like I would dismiss him as like, you’re so critical to stop, but he then can’t communicate his need for order. And that matters too. He matters as well. And instead of feeling like this guy who just rants and raised, cuz not everything is perfect. He can feel like he has a place to come to me and say, Hey, this really bothers me. And I can say, you know what? It matters to me and I care about you and I want you to feel like you can define the things that matter in your own home. So how are we gonna do this? How are we gonna go about it? So to me, communication is, is all that Jeff said, but it’s also about understanding that that depth of process, um, the feelings underneath and being able to validate those feelings. 


Kim: (19:51)

Yeah. It’s never about the fingernail Clippers, right? It’s 


Jessica: (19:54)

Not, , it’s not, or the burn toast or whatever we get angry about. Right. 


Kim: (19:58)

It’s so speaking that and saying that and realizing that right, cuz most people don’t even realize it has nothing to do with whatever it is that they’re, um, arguing about or whatever they’re. Um, the issue may be at that point in time, but it really is a lot deeper and it’s more about order in your case. And so, um, thank you for sharing that. The, the, the next thing that I would love to talk to you a little bit about, and that’s the third of the three CS is conflict resolution. You’re both busy in, in working, um, you know, you have, and it it’s, it, it gets a little crazy. It gets a little crazy at home. And sometimes, um, when defensiveness rises and we are communicating poorly, um, it gets heated. So I’m wondering what conflict resolution, um, looks like for the two of you. And it may be very different. Um, but how, if you get into something that’s heated, how do you resolve it? How do you talk about it? Mm-hmm 


Jessica: (21:01)

that’s a great question. Um, I think first and foremost, we wanna stop blaming shaming name calling just that’s often can come up. So to stop that, um, allows us to, to practice more assertive communication mm-hmm 


Jeff: (21:16)

And we talked, you know, as we, as Jessica was talking about the understanding the process. So, you know, a lot of times conflict resolution has to do with sort of understanding what’s going on underneath. You know, it’s not the content necessarily. What am I feeling underneath if I’m angry, what’s underneath that anger, you know what usually, you know, we talk about a lot about with couples that we work with, you know, our self protection strategies, we all have this sort of self protection cycle. So when we’re feeling, um, when a core wound is sort of being touched upon, you know, and we’re feeling like we’re feeling rejected or inadequate or UN cared for we’re feeling alone in some way in our relationship, you know, that’s often getting triggered by something on the surface, on the, in the content, but it’s triggering msomething much deeper right. 


Jeff: (22:06)

Than, than what the content, this. And so it’s important to be able to recognize that within ourselves and then being able to communicate, Hey, you know, I’m, I’m really kind of feeling like I’m alone right now in this, you know, I really could use your support. Um, now again, we don’t do that perfectly. Right. You know, we, we, we fall into our dance or our self protection cycle, you know, like everyone else does. And, and it used to be, you know, earlier on in our marriage, you know, we could say stuck there for days, you know? Um, I would say something Jessica would get defensive, I would shut down, you know, and then it would just be like this icy cold, you know, kind of feeling in that home, you know, for, for two or three days, you know, where we’re are not really talking. Um, but we’ve learned, you know, to kind of recognize that cycle when it’s happening, you know, a lot sooner and you know, being able to call it out and then being able to, you know, communicate, you know, what we need from each other, what we’re feeling 


Matthew: (23:04)

Sure. And, um, yeah, I like that. So how I love when, so how do you, I want to step back. I wanna stop and pause you because I think you touched on something, you know, that INESS, right? Mm-hmm all right. So here you here, here’s the two of you in the ice and you both go to answer, this is how do you break that ice? So you’ve done some you’ve each contributed, right? Absolutely. We all contribute to getting there, but it’s cold and icy. It doesn’t feel good. You don’t wanna be close to that person cuz it’s cold. Right? Yeah. So what do you do? How, how does somebody, or how do you get out of that and break that ice so you can move through it. 


Jessica: (23:38)

Great question. So what we do is we go from the self protection cycle, which is trying to protect ourselves to a safety cycle, which is creating safety. So the other person can be real and honest about the hurt that’s going on because it’s very easy to go from being triggered, um, feeling hurt, feeling rejected. As Jeff said, then to really believing this lie, that the other person’s not there for me, the other person isn’t going to really care. I, I have to do this on my own. And so we don’t even realize we’re reinforcing those beliefs. And so it’s very, very important to recognize our part, as you said, what am I doing? What self protection strategy am I using? Um, you know, so in that strategy, Jeff might be withdrawing from me and I might be attempting to pursue him and trying to fix it and make it all just perfect. 


Jessica: (24:27)

So I’m trying to perfect instead of really showing my true self, I’m trying to perfect it. I’m trying to say, Hey, everything’s fine. Come back out. And he’s like, no, I’m not coming back out. So the way to do it is recognizing what you’re doing and recognizing that’s not working. And what’s really going to work is addressing and identifying like as Jeff said, the feeling underneath. So it’s coming to the other person seeking to understand what happened and to create that safety is to, is to speak messages that come against the lie. So you have to figure out what that lie is like. That my lie is I have to be perfect in order to be loved and accepted. And so obviously in that scenario, if he’s upset, I wasn’t perfect. So I better get to it and perfect, you know, myself and that’s not the answer. 


Jessica: (25:13)

Um, that is not the answer at all. And so in the, in the times when I believe that there’s work, I can do to say, no, I don’t have to be perfect. What I need to be is creating a safe place for him, which is come to him and saying, Hey, I notice this INESS between us. And I realize that I have done some of these things to protect myself. I don’t wanna do that anymore. I wanna connect with you. And then he can do the sink thing. He can begin to let down his guard and say, you know what? I have believed that I’m alone. And I’m really feeling threatened right now and my needs aren’t being. And my response to that can be, um, defensiveness or it probably more likely if he’s being vulnerable with me, it will be babe. I don’t want you to feel that way. 


Jessica: (25:56)

I’m really sorry. And even if I didn’t intend for it, that’s what’s happened and I want to change that cycle. And so the safety is that I love him and that I care. And then the mess that’s replaced is that very message between us of love and care so that I can remember. I don’t have to be perfect to be loved. I’m bonded to him. He cares. And when we miss each other, we can, we can come back and reconnect. Yeah. And it sounds like you came full circle with that, with an apology, a really meaningful apology. Yes, absolutely. I did. And I am so sorry. Yep. To own it and to recognize that each of us, cuz it’s easy to point out the bad guy and in, in, in the, the coaching work and the couple’s work, we do, there’s no bad guy. You’re both hurting and you’re needing to feel safe in order to reconnect. And so the cycle is really the, the bad guy. So to speak like the, the, the behaviors you’re engaging in are ineffective and we need to change them. 


Matthew: (26:54)

Great, wonderful answer and process. Cause I think a lot of people get caught and they don’t, they don’t it’s becomes a STAM mate. And so they choose flight, right? Yes. Uh, or fight, hopefully not. And uh, that, that’s a great to figure out what’s underneath and then address it and then make it 


Kim: (27:10)

Safe. Yeah. Rather than turn away from each other right away. That’s when, when you start to build wedges 


Jessica: (27:17)

And walls 


Jeff: (27:18)

Walls, and I would typically be the one that would, you know, I’m the one who’s who was retreating, you know, who’s moving away from and, and early on in our relationship, I would just kind of like be waiting for Jessica to break the ice, you know, for her to move toward me. Um, and over time, you know, we’ve, I’ve gotten better myself at, um, just being able to say usually just, I just have to communicate what I’m feeling. Right. I have to be vulnerable. And it that’s what it requires. It requires a level of vulnerability for me to just say, Hey, you know, this is what I’m experiencing right now. This is what upset me. Um, and to be able to communicate that, you know, because there was so much conflict in my background, I think, you know, I’m, I’m really a, a conflict avoider, you know, I tend to be a conflict of order, but then I just kind of shut down. Um, and I don’t say anything. Um, and I just kind of stew in it for day. So I’ve had to work on, you know, getting over that myself and being able to say, okay, this is a safe relationship. I can communicate, you know what I’m feeling to Jessica. And I know she’s gonna care for me. And I know, you know, that’s not, it’s not gonna create more conflict or dissonance in our relationship. 


Kim: (28:28)

Yeah. It sounds like you’re saying because of your background, it’s hard. It’s been hard to be vulnerable with her. Mm-hmm and to open up with her. Um, and, and I think that once you see that you can do that and it is a safe space that intimacy just really starts to take again, big 


Jessica: (28:45)

Time. It really does. Absolutely. And I would say one of the tips for couples is if you unveil what that belief is, you have your superpower because now when you know your spouse’s belief and it’s probably a lie because I don’t have to be perfect to be loved. And you know, he doesn’t have to be alone to make it a, in this world. Then I can speak truth over him when we’re not fighting, I can come to him and say, I want you to know that you’re not alone and I’m here and I care for you. And he can say to me, you know, I see how hard you’re working and I want you to know you don’t have to be perfect. And it’s just so beautiful because I can believe that truth and I can sink into it. I can be telling myself that truth and love. And the same thing is he can now know what to speak over me in those moments, um, when we’re not fighting and then even when we are. And so that’s where we’ll have couples write down some of these positive truth statements, this truth and love that we can just really continue to draw closer in that bond together, because that’s gonna heal those wounds in between those arguments and fights to make it a lot safer when we do tumble upon those wounds or when we do struggle with that. And it’s, it’s a much safer place 


Kim: (29:59)

And you become a ninja communicator, right? Jeff, you do 


Jessica: (30:05)

Absolutely. I, I liken it to, um, you you’re really, it’s like Jedi training, emotional Jedi training. You’ve gotta really train for this. It’s a 


Matthew: (30:14)

Lot, it’s a, it’s ongoing training, right? Never stops. Does it never stop? 


Kim: (30:18)

I feel like it’s learning a new language. I say that Matthew, all the time, I feel like I’m learning a new language now that I’m really in this and working at it every single day and trying to understand the intricacies. Cause there’s so much to it, right. There is, we’re all so different. 


Jessica: (30:34)

We are, and we’re made for connection, but there’s so many places in us that, that don’t still has fear. Yeah, yeah. That don’t connect. Right. That still have fear that still have uncertainties that we hold back. So yeah, 


Matthew: (30:47)

Absolutely. That’s a, that’s some great, good meaty stuff on conflict resolution. So that kind of, those are our three CS. We think those are foundational. We always talk about those, but we also have about 10 other things on that page that we sense you guys. And so I love you all took maybe peruse that list. If you have it in front of you and of the 13 pillars, I’d kind of like to know, and if you don’t have it, I can run through ’em if it’s easier for you guys, but of those 13, besides the three CS, which one speaks most to you and why do you think it’s important in a relationship? 


Jeff: (31:20)

So I did have it up. Hold on a, 


Jessica: (31:22)

It does have it up, but it’s, it’s not coming up right now, so, oh, no 


Kim: (31:26)

Worries. We can, we can there they’re 


Matthew: (31:28)

There got ’em okay. 


Jessica: (31:29)

Yes. Mm-hmm 


Matthew: (31:31)

All right. So yeah, just kind of per through four through 13 there and love to hear from each of you, which one pops out and, and why. 


Jessica: (31:39)

Yeah, for me, the thing that pops out is faith. I just feel like, um, that’s so important to us. Um, both of us were raised in a faith tradition that was very similar and, um, to us that’s so important. One of the things we do every day is we, we get up and meditate together and, um, share the sense of strength and stability. Um, in our faith, we practice by attending church and I feel like that’s a really grounding place for us and believing the truth about ourselves and each other. And, um, just being able to go out into the world in that sense of strength and faith together. And, um, I’ve really cherished that. And that’s so important to me. 


Jeff: (32:20)

So one of the ones that stands out to me is appreciation and really just, um, expressing our appreciation for one another and really highlighting, you know, being able to, you know, we’re, we do a lot of gratitude practices, um, kind of like the, the three things every day, you know, three things, um, that we appreciate. Um, and so sometimes, you know, I’m just writing those down. Sometimes I’m communicating them, but it’s important. It’s so easy. You know, when you’re in a relationship for a long time, just to take things for granted, um, to become unappreciative, you know, of all the things that your spouse is doing for you and, or you just don’t recognize ’em as much anymore. And that’s one of the first things we do with couples too, is just get them thinking about, you know, what are the things you really appreciate about one another and having them start sort of a gratitude practice in their relationship. So that’s a big one, I think, because it’s so easy to, to lose sight of those things when you’re married for years, or 


Kim: (33:20)

That sounds like it could be a love language of yours. Jeff 


Jessica: (33:24)

Absolutely. He’s really good at that. 


Matthew: (33:26)

He does a good job and well, and I heard, I heard somebody say too, I don’t know if it’s a quote or just a belief is that you can’t be grateful and fearful at the same time. You can’t be, you can’t be, you can’t be great and angry at the same time. Mm-hmm . So that gratitude is a great solve to, uh, you know, to get rid of that anxiety, that fear or, uh, tho those feelings. So I, I, I appreciate mm-hmm you, you sharing your, your thoughts on that. Yeah. It’s a great 


Kim: (33:56)

Practice, I think. 


Jeff: (33:59)

And I like, you know, what you said about being, um, you can’t be grateful and fearful. That’s where that, that security comes in. So that’s one of your pillars there, security, and you have to be, feel secure in the relationship and, and have to, you know, have that sense of security to be able to be vulnerable. 


Kim: (34:18)

What makes you feel secure? 


Jeff: (34:22)

What makes me feel secure? Um, I think, you know, it’s just, it’s really just knowing that, um, you know, it’s sort of that unconditional love piece, you know, knowing that Jessica is, is committed to me, that she loves me. Um, and she’s amazing when it comes to just being new, able to show a sense of unconditional love and compassion. She’s got one of the most compassionate hearts of anyone I think I’ve ever met. Um, and so I think that really helps me to feel very secure in our relationship. I know, like, no matter what, what idiotic thing I do, she’s gonna love me. 


Kim: (35:02)

Uh, it sounds like Jessica, you continue to show up time after time and that’s what makes him feel safe. 


Jessica: (35:10)

Mm-hmm yes. And, and definitely, um, you know, for me, it’s just that sense that Jeff is willing to just reassure me and, um, just reaffirm in this crazy world we live in. I think that that very important to me, um, if ever I am feeling, um, insecure and certain that I can go to him and just be really honest to say, you know, this is how I felt and, and he’s there to just reassure me and support me. And, um, I, I really am thankful for that 


Matthew: (35:39)

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 kickass assessment in this powerful free tool. You’ll learn what they are and how you, 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 Again, that’s Matthew E It’s time to start kicking. Let’s go. We’re gonna, we’re gonna kind of step away from our pillars for a minute and kind of change our gear a little bit. And a lot of people, Kim and I really are, are big proponents of, uh, in what we call spillover thinking. And, uh, we think that the success of our relationship we’re coming up on 27 years this year, and yeah, better than greatest than it’s ever been right now. That’s amazing. And what what’s so neat is that success in our relationship has led to success in every other area of our life. So it’s the nucleus of who we are. So I’m curious, what, how do you all feel about the success of your relationship? Where do, where and how do you see it affecting, are there areas of your lives outside of your relationship? How does it spill over? 


Jessica: (37:04)

Absolutely. I think that the grounding foundation of feeling secure and, and loved and feeling like you can be known is that you can go out into the world and, um, really discover more and more of who you are. And again, I always going to get my master’s degree in counseling when I met Jeff and he was as well. And so I knew the direction I was headed, but for example, um, I don’t know that it would’ve ever gone into private practice. Had I not had the support of my husband, had I not had him there as, um, just seeing me and, um, seeing this potential, cuz again, part of my, I struggle is I’m such an empath. I’m such tender heart that I tend to shy away from things that, that feel really overwhelming to me cuz I get overwhelmed easily cause I’m very tender and sensitive. 


Jessica: (37:49)

So I think there’s this sense that he in many ways is, is my, is, is, is a huge strength and shows me, um, how I can be strong too. And so that’s, there’s not a codependency there he’s, he’s helping me discover more of my strength by encouraging me to do these things on my own. So I went out and um, started private practice and it’s been very successful and he’s been so amazingly supportive. And so that’s one of the things that I see is just, um, me becoming who I was intended to be in part because I’m support and loved mm-hmm 


Jeff: (38:23)

Yeah, I think, uh, you know, another spillover area is what we started in the past year, you know, with greatest marriage ever. You know, we started, you know, the online coaching practice and you know, we’re both in the mental health profession, I’m a psychologist, he’s a licensed professional counselor and like you do things a certain way and you sort of operate inside this box, right. This certain box in that field and it’s safe and it’s secure and, and it’s what you know, and when, uh, I started, I kind of dragged her into it. um, in the beginning, when I, when we started this on online coaching, um, I was initially starting to do it myself, you know, I wanted to do something. Um, and then I was just like, I kind, it was all new stuff. And I had this panic moment and you’re like, I don’t know if I can do this. 


Jeff: (39:07)

And uh, you know, I remember like waking her up one morning, you know, I was up early working on something and I was like, I just, I need your help. You know, you and she came downstairs and, you know, started jumped in with me and we started working on some stuff together and then it wasn’t long before we just realized that our hearts were for serving people, especially serving marriages and relationships. And you know, I think the success of our relationship allowed us to enter into that work to together, um, and you know, to influence more people and have a bigger impact on, on couples and marriages. 


Kim: (39:44)

I think we all share the same desire. Um, you know, I think it’s wonderful that you are sort of struggling a little bit and you said, Hey, I need your help and look what that evolved to. Mm. So I think absolutely I think it, that that’s very special. 


Jessica: (40:00)

And when we ask for help, you know, as, as a individual, in a relationship when someone is deeply loving us, what they do is they see us and they reflect back what they see. And so that’s our time to fully see ourselves in love. And that’s something we need because there are parts of us we can’t see without a mirror. And that marriage again, can be that mirror to say, I want you to see what I see and it’s exquisite and it’s strong and it’s beautiful. And the world needs you just as you are. And as you move towards your passion, you’re gonna grow into what you are always intended to, to be. And that’s what I feel is so strong in healthy marriage relationships is that, that we are going to become who we were intended to be, and we’re gonna become it together. And there’s nothing more beautiful than being fulfilled and doing it as a team. Yeah. 


Kim: (40:54)

And as Matthew said, it just spills over into I, everything else that you do, it does to your family, to your friends. Yep. Um, to your congregation. 


Jessica: (41:06)

And I see that in parent beautiful as well. Yeah. Parenting is another area that I think we are modeling every single day, how to communicate in a way that our daughter is going to absorb it, it’s us to even she’ll learn it, but she’ll also absorb it on a level that she won’t even fully understand until she goes to do it. And it’s a little bit easier for her now. It’s still gonna be hard. We still don’t do everything perfectly. But the more we effectively communicate and work from that sense of vulnerability and open and honesty, she’s gonna learn how to do that in a way that is so much easier for her. And that’s another way I see that we are training the next generation and how to have deep, intimate relationship, whether it be through coaching or whether it be through just immediate contact with our own children in our own home. And that is something that is, is desperately needed. Yeah. 


Kim: (41:54)

I think modeling that behavior for your family is the best. One of the very best gifts you can give to them. Absolutely. Cause they see it. They, they hear it. They, they do see it. They know it, they feel it. They do. 


Jessica: (42:07)

So I important. And I find, I find this, that when we do our work and we have help one another heal those wounds, we don’t leave those wounds for our children to have to heal because we are doing our work. We hand them the blueprint for how to do their own work and they still have to do it. They still have to do their own work. Right. But they’re not doing our undone work. And that is such a gift we can give them. So we gotta dig deep. We gotta do our work. And that’s what marriage does. Marriage makes have the role models do the work. Yeah. Marriage, marriage does. It makes us see the mess. And um, if we’re willing, we can, we can work together to make it make a change. 


Matthew: (42:50)

So we’re gonna ask you guys to look back a little bit and uh, Jeff, I’ll ask you to go first. If you could put your hands on your shoulders of yourself before you got married and give yourself one piece of advice, what would that be? 


Jeff: (43:11)

You don’t have to be afraid. Hmm 


Matthew: (43:14)


Jeff: (43:15)

And why not be afraid? cause you’re gonna marry a, an incredible woman and it’s all gonna, you know, work out just fine, you know? Um, yeah. I think I, I mean, even right up until, you know, I was about to ask Jessica gonna marry me. I was like shaking in my shoes. You know, I was so nervous. And so, you know, I would just go back and say, Hey, you don’t have to fear this. It’s gonna be all right. 


Matthew: (43:43)

Good advice, 


Kim: (43:44)

Jessica, what would you tell your unmarried self? 


Jessica: (43:48)

Um, that marriage is about deep bonding and, um, not having to be something you’re not to impress someone that it’s going to be, um, a safe place you can rest and not a place you feel you have to please perform or perfect. And, um, just that piece that it, that it would bring. I had to learn that a lot of ways, the hard way. And I’m still learning it, but that’s what I would say. 


Kim: (44:14)

Yeah. I hear you saying you just be you, right? Yes. Just be you. Yeah. Just be real. Yeah. 


Matthew: (44:21)

Great advice from both of you guys and a lot of great pearls along the way. I did take a few notes. So I’ll, use definitely using some of those nuggets that you shared with us today. So, so we talked a little bit about what you guys are doing independent practice working together. If people wanna learn more about you or find you or reach out to you, how do they do that? What’s the best place for them to do that with you guys? 


Jeff: (44:43)

Best place is to go to our website, www dot greatest marriage, and a, you can do a free connection challenge. And we actually have a, we’ll have a, um, a special page just for the podcast that a link that we can send to people, um, for kickass couples podcasts, and they can jump on there and sign up for our free connection challenge. 


Matthew: (45:09)

And what, what is that connection challenge? Tell us what that is. 


Jeff: (45:12)

So it’s a five day, um, it’s a five day challenge. It, you can take it whenever you want to, um, you just sign up for it and it’s, it’s automated. So you’ll get material each day, little exercises to do. And we just say, you know, you just need to set aside 10 minutes a day. You know, if you’re feeling disconnected and you’re really, you want a greater connection set aside 10 minutes a day for five days, you know? So take the challenge and see what kind of a difference that can make in your relationship. 


Jessica: (45:43)

And a lot of couples say they didn’t realize that 10 minutes can make such a big difference. 


Kim: (45:47)

Yeah. It’s amazing. How little time we really give our spouses is when it comes down to it. And it’s just that 10 minutes of undivided attention. That means so much in a day. It does. And thank you both so much. You guys really showed up today and we’re so grateful. And I know that I took away from this a lot of great things, which I know are our listener have as well when Matthew said there were some great pearls, no doubt, 


Matthew: (46:16)

Absolutely look forward to sharing those. So thank you. And we’ll look forward to finding you and we’re gonna go take that challenge. We’re gonna get out there and get on your website. We encourage our listeners to do the same. Absolutely. And, uh, you know, and, and, and make this your number one relationship, cuz as you guys know, uh, happily he ever after or doesn’t just happen. Absolutely. They all get to work on it. So thanks for being on with us today. And we look forward to speaking with you guys soon. Thank you. 


Jeff: (46:42)

Bye guys. You so much for having us byebye. 


Kim: (46:46)

That’s all we’ve got for this episode of the kick couple’s podcast. If you like the content of this show, you’ll love Matthew’s upcoming book, kick husband, winning at life marriage insects 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 and apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you tune in to listen. Then email us a screenshot of your review at pod podcast at kick as couples, And we’ll get it over to you right away 


Matthew: (47:20)

Until next time. Remember happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose.