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Welcome to the kick-ass couples podcast. This is the place where we help committed couples who want to level up their marriage experience. New found, clarity, hope, and confidence. We’re Matthew and Kim cohos and husband and wife
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.
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We are coming to you live from Maynard today, Maynard in Maine. Can you believe it we’re in Maine or the Airstream sitting in Maine doing a little podcast, re recap from episode seven, with Chris and Laurie canvas. Chris is the co-author of our book, my book, kick husband, winning at life, marriage, and sex. That’s coming to a store near you, November 12th. You can buy that book and have it in your hands. You can also pre-purchase that book right now. Kim, if you go to Matthew P hoffman.com, you can pre-purchase that book, and you’re going to get all kinds of extra goodies. If you do that, not just the manuscript, you’re going to get a book club guide, a copy of our assessment. You’re going to get these incredible postcards, the love notes that we’ve designed for you all sorts of good stuff. So make sure you check that out and don’t miss out on that pre-sale opportunity for kick husband, but that’s not why we’re here today.
We are excited to recap this interview with Chris and Laurie. Chris has over, um, what 20 years of marriage therapy, uh, experience he is Gottman certified. So he’s the real deal when it comes to understanding and knowing relationships. And I know that Laurie has been right with him doing this. They have, um, national marriage seminars. They have both been invested in helping other therapists, um, learn this, uh, Gottman, uh, theory and, um, have put it into practice as well.
Yeah. Lori has sat through herself, even though Chris is a therapist. Lori is not, she sat through over 250 trainings on relationships at different levels of Gottman training. And so she understands it works, but there a normal couple, just like everybody else, they have the same issues that we all deal with and struggle and have to overcome in our number one relationship. And so we’re kind of excited to share Kevin. I had to just say, okay, stop, because there’s so many great, uh, rocks as we like to call them big rocks concepts that we can use and apply in our own relationships. But we’re going to bring some pretty good ones to you today. I think,
Yeah. Chris and Laurie had been together for 25 years. Um, and we asked them why Chris felt they were kick-ass. He just said, you know, we wanted to make this happen. We are emotionally invested, and this is, uh, my journey for life come, what may. And I love that quote. I love that. Um, there’s no open doors for anything else. This is my journey for life. Come, what may.
Yeah, that’s a great example of commitment. And I highlighted that and you know, what, what a great statement of how he is committed to Lori and to that relationship. And I think, uh, you know, there’s, he said, there’s no open doors. There’s no open windows and this is his journey for life and he’s accepted it and they’re committed to it. And that really has given Lori some incredible security and trust in that relationship. And, uh, you know, that really led into a discussion about commitment. And, you know, one of the things, Chris is a therapist and he said, you know what? Commitment as you all know, and I’m going to remind you, if you don’t remember, commitment is one of our 13 pillars at the kick-ass couples nation. And it’s also the first and most important, uh, we, we call the three CS that you’ve heard us talk about.
If you’ve listened to our podcast before, if you haven’t, I’ll introduce them to you. Now, the three C’s that we think are instrumental as the foundation for any successful relationship are commitment, communication and conflict resolution. And as a therapist, Chris said of a couple comes to me and I don’t think there’s commitment to the relationship. He said, then therapy will not do them any good, a will not help. And he said, I’m going to tell them they’re dumping their money down the drain. If they think they can therapize, you know, get therapy and work their way out of a relationship, if they’re not each equally committed to the relationship. And I thought that was really powerful. And it’s so true, uh, in commitment, we were talking to him about that, and there’s a great story. You know, Chris jumped into right away and Chris had some heart issues when he was very young and he had to get open-heart surgery.
And this came at a time in their relationship when they were just dating, they weren’t even married yet or committed to each other, uh, before God in marriage. And he said, Lori, at the time was the general manager of a hotel. She took a month off when he had his open-heart surgery and him get through that. She was there for them, risked her career. And he said, wow, if that’s not commitment, I thought that was just a beautiful example. She was so committed to him and their relationship. She put him first and that’s really, you’ve heard us talk about prioritization a lot. And I think that was a beautiful example of her showing her commitment to be there for him and work through a recovery in that surgery process. Yeah.
Chris said, think of commitment as a vast think of it as the size of the universe. So that’s, that’s how big it is. That’s how important it is.
Billions and trillions of stars in that doesn’t compare to the commitment that you have to have for your spouse, right. In that, uh, in that number one relationship. And, um, you know, I think he kind of talked about that a little bit too, Kim, you saying, you know, that, uh, w he mentioned the idea of conditional commitment. He goes, you know, when there’s failure in a relationship, right? It’s because there’s conditional commitment that there’s an open door, there’s other potential relationships, and there’s not complete emotional bonding and commitment to that relationship. And I think that, you know, in any given relationship, he said, he said, that’s how affairs occur. He said, affairs happen when someone is not completely, totally committed to a relationship. And he said, in an affair, when a person is speaking to somebody else, another person, and that other person knows more about you and your spouse, then your spouse knows about that person. He goes, that’s an affair. So if you’re concerned, if you’ve got a friendship, that’s the same sex or a different sex. And if that person knows more about you and your spouse, then your spouse knows about that person. That’s the definition of an affair. And that kind of caught me by surprise, but I think it’s quite accurate and true. Pretty powerful.
Yes. I think you get on a really slippery slope at that point. Yeah. Well, I love what, what, um, Laurie shared about Chris’s commitment and the example she gave of her suffering with depression and anxiety, and Chris made the, um, he made the decision to really lean in to her and stay firm, stay strong, stay reassuring. Um, he didn’t turn away and we have a choice when we’re hit with some really tough times. And our spouse is really dealing with some challenges. We can either lean in and be supportive and really ask that person, what do you need from me right now? What can I do for you? What can I give you? Um, and Chris chose to do that. He didn’t choose to turn away and say, oh, this is too much for me. I can’t handle this. Um, you know, you’re, you’re going to have to figure it out for yourself because this is just bringing me down. He did the opposite. And that said to Laurie, um, wow, he’s got me. He loves me. I have security in this relationship. He’s going to help me through. I mean, and, and she boiled it down to just helping her, um, it minute by minute, almost. And in times of depression and anger.
Absolutely. And I think that one of the things Laurie was talking about trust and she knew, she said, I trust in this relationship. And I feel the commitment because she knew that Chris was going to be her guy, that he was going to be there honestly, and committed to a matter what. And she said, because I have that, she said, you know what? I don’t even want to let a circumstance occur, where there might be an issue of trust. She said, you know what? I live next door to my mother-in-law. She goes via, got a Workman coming to the house. Right? She goes, I’m going to invite my mother-in-law over because I don’t even want to give this semblance of allowing. There’s a man in my house. It’s not my husband. My husband’s not there. She goes. I don’t want my mother-in-law thinking. I don’t want any of that neighborhood thinking. She goes, I’m not going to allow a circumstance to occur. That would put my relationship in jeopardy or would let my spouse think I was doing something that would allow that to occur. That’s how deep she feels and considers about that idea of commitment and trust in their relationship. And I thought that’s a great example. So are we, day-to-day going around saying, you know what, I’m not going to let a circumstance even occur where something might be allowed to happen. That could shake the bonds of trust.
She’s committed to protecting that relationship, which is huge.
It’s huge. I thought that was a great example, um, of, of Lori and, uh, they each great examples for each other about commitment, what they were willing to do to each other. 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-ass assessment in this powerful free tool. You’ll learn what they are and how you and your spouse are ranking in each one. Then you’ll get recommendations that will help you start moving today, get your results, simply visit Matthew hoffman.com. Again, that’s matthew.com. It’s time to start kicking. Let’s go. Chris brought something up in this interview, which is a huge concept that, uh, John Gottman talked about, about the four horsemen and the four horsemen, or what kind of get in the way, uh, or want to Gallop in, right. And are destructive in any relationship. And I’ll just review quickly for you. All the four horsemen are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. So when you see any of those four behaviors, those are the four horsemen that love to ride in and ride all over and trample their relationships. So if they occur, you also talked about Kim, what some of the responses are antidotes to those things. Are you remember that?
Um, yeah, he did. He said, you know, when, when that starts to happen, many times I’ll use the antidotes, which are, I will slow things down. I will try to have a soft start. Um, I’ll take responsibility when I need to, I will apologize when I need to. So, um, sometimes things get really superheated and sometimes he might say, I need to walk away. I need to self-sooth right now. Um, but it’s knowing what you need in that moment. And being able to slow things down, to try to understand where you are. Um, those are the things that Chris and Laurie do. Well, those are the tools that they have in their toolkit, um, after years of experience, no doubt. But, um, but they use them all the time and they work.
Yeah. And it’s great to be aware of what’s happening. And she said, you know, she’s even said, Hey, Chris, you know, don’t let that horsemen in. You know, they, they, they, they warn each other because they forget sometimes, or they get so emotionally tied or invested in something. And when they had conflict in their relationship, you know, Chris and Laurie talked about kind of two roles in most relationships, there’s either a pursuer and there’s a distance or the pursuer, Hey, I want to talk to you. Let’s figure this out. I want to get into it. I’m, I’m following, chasing, pursuing, trying to pull you back. And that’s kind of a role that I have in our relationship when there’s an issue, man, I want to talk about it. I want to do it right now. There’s also the distance or the distance or says, you know what?
I need time. I need to go think I need to get things sorted. I got to let it seep in. How do I really feel about it? I’m not sure. And the distance there says, give me a little distance. Right? I think that Kim, you do that probably more than I do. We each fulfill both of those roles in our relationship, but I’m more the pursuer cause man, I want to resolve it and get it taken care of. And Kim wants to process, she wants to think about it. How do I feel about it? What’s the right response, what would be acceptable solution? And so time away. And then we come back, both of those roles are used and it’s, and we’re each gonna fulfill that. So understand who’s doing it and why, and let them do it.
Another thing that I appreciated that they said is that we’re always in the process of learning. And, um, you know, sometimes it’s just that we might need to vent, right. Or sometimes we might need an ally. And I love that thought of sometimes we just need somebody to be on our side. Sometimes we just gotta get it out. We’ve got to just say it to, uh, to feel better and to process it in our own minds. It’s not that we’re creating conflict or not. We’re not trying to create conflict. We just got to get it out there, got to get it off.
And there’s a great concept that Kim and I have become aware of through a brand builders group, it’s called saying it ugly. So you don’t, you don’t have to worry about being a poet or saying it beautifully, but be willing to get it out there. And it might sound like you’re throwing up and it doesn’t make sense. But when you’re communicating about emotion, you really want to get it out there. So your spouse, your partner can know about it. So be willing to say it, however it comes out or whatever words come to mind because you want to get it on the table. So it can be massaged and turned into the right concept for you guys to work on together. And, um, always a safe, a space to do that. So Kim, are there ever any times in a relationship when you can’t talk it out when you can’t work on it? Like this, does anything ever get in the way?
Oh, definitely. I feel like, um, when things get especially heated, uh, what happens? We start to flood, right? Our main flood by flooding. I mean our heart rate rises. We, um, all of a sudden our frontal lobe isn’t working anymore. We’re not processing, we’re not understanding. We’re just, we’re not really able to, um, handle everything that’s going on at that moment.
And so when we do feel that when I, when I, I might know I’m flooded, but I may not know. And you might know that I am. So when one of us is flooded, what do you do? What, what, what, what should a couple do to move forward when that happens to one or both of them in a, in a situation?
Well, I think you want to, um, at that moment, that’s when you put into those practices of trying to, self-soothe trying to, um, not continue to fight it out. Um, you know, it’s important that, um, at the end of the day, there’s no winners and there’s no losers.
So it’s kinda like an adult timeout, right? Let’s take time out, might be 30 minutes, go read a magazine, read a book, go watch a soap, opera, whatever you need to do to get your mind off of it and have a reset. It may be half an hour, an hour. It might be the next day. But I loved that. Um, you know, Chris and Lori talked about winning and losing, like there’s no, there can’t be winners and losers. If there’s winners in your relationship, what does that mean? And there’s losers and there’s losers. And if you love your spouse, you don’t want them to lose. And it’s, you know, you’re not, you’re not, it’s not a scorecard, it’s not a competition. And I think it’s really important because there’s, there’s a loser and we don’t want to be winning, losing. But what I loved is what they said is we want to be looking for a better understanding of each other, right.
And, and, and understanding what’s going on. I think one of the things that Chris and I talk about in our book and we, they talked about in this full podcast, if you haven’t heard the full episode yet is in conflict, 69% of all issues in a relationship you cannot solve more than two thirds of the relationship issues that happen in a relationship. They’re not solvable, they’re perpetual, right? So only a third are solvable. So you’ve got, uh, you know, he used the example, right. Have taken out the trash. He goes, you know, Laurie says, I asked you three times, four times to take out the trash and Chris forgot. And he can certainly work on that, but it’s not about taking out the trash, is it?
Oh, not at all. When, when, when those things happen over and over and over again. And you’re just so exasperated that, you know, why can’t you take out the trash? It has, it really has nothing to do with the trash. It has everything to do with, um, Laurie feeling like you don’t hear me.
Yeah. He’s not listening to her. He doesn’t respect her enough to respond. She’s asking him to respond to something in a certain way. The act might be taken out the trash because she needs it to be done or it’s important to her. Right. And if he’s not doing it, it’s not about the trash it’s that he’s not responding and respecting to what’s most important to her in that moment.
It herself, you don’t care about
Me. Yeah. And Chris called that, he said, there’s the dream within the conflict. So the conflict is right. We think it’s about taking out the trash, but the dream is, what do you want out of this? All Lori wants to know or wanted to know is that Chris was hearing her and listening to her. That’s what she wanted out of it taking the trash man. He heard what she said, and he was willing to take action on it. So the dream within the conflict, that term is what do you really want out of this? And you can feel free to ask your spouse that, Hey, you know, say, what do you really want out of this? Why what’s it important for you to walk away with understanding or knowing about this situation? And I think that unsolvable problems exist because there are differences of personality and lifestyle in a relationship, the two of us have different personalities and we have different lifestyle choices that we like to make, or don’t like to make. That’s why there’s problems that can’t be resolved because, but those differences are what make us more beautiful, more attractive and more balanced in, in our lives together. So unresolved problems don’t mean that you’re not effective spouses, that you’re not a successful relationship. It means you’re able to recognize what’s unsolvable and you’re willing to seek understanding instead of a solution.
Most people don’t fall in love with somebody. That’s exactly like them.
Thank goodness. Thank goodness. We don’t, we don’t want to be duplicates and repeats. That’d be pretty boring. Wouldn’t it exactly happens a lot. And I think that, um, one of the things that they talked about a little bit is our triggers and we’ve, we’ve talked about that in other podcasts and other recaps and, you know, Laurie said,
Why would you want to bring something out of the past, forward, into your experience now, you know, do you want to live in the past? Do you want to recreate that? Or do you really want to be in the present saying, how can we go forward? And let’s, let’s live in the solution and in the understanding part and out of those triggers of the past, yeah. You can’t keep bringing your spouse back to that same place once you’ve moved on and you forgiven, you just can not keep coming back to that same space of, uh, arguing about something that you’ve, you know, just over and over and over again.
Yeah. And I think Kim, Chris had some good stuff to say about kind of perspective. Right. And if he was kind of at the beginning looking forward, or some of those, he had some great thoughts and ideas about kind of some overall perspective.
Yeah, he did. I mean, he really, he really summed up everything by just saying, um, don’t expect it to be easy. And I think if he had to give himself his young self unmarried self, some advice he would say to himself, don’t expect this to be easy, Chris, you’re going to have to work hard. Right. It’s going to have to be a commitment that you make and you’re going to have to work day in and day out. Um, and you know, he, he said that a lot of people, um, get married. They have children because this is just what we do. Right. They don’t have put any thought into it, no consideration into it. Um, and that’s just not wise.
No. He said people do those things because they expect it’s the next thing. Oh, well we get married. And then once we’re married, what’s the next thing. Oh, well we have kids and then we have kids, then what happens? Right. So all these things are happening in their experience. They’re not planned. They didn’t talk.
They didn’t. Absolutely. And so, um, you know, then when it happened, it’s sort of like deer in the headlights, right?
Yeah. And so I think one big takeaway that Chris and Laurie talked about is having the conversations now about what you want, what you don’t want, what you need, what’s your expectations. What’s your excited. We talked about love mapping, right? That’s a term that you’ve heard us use before. And I think he ended though, it’s going to be worth it. And he said, for us, for the last 25 years, it’s been worth it. It’s an investment. And when you want to see that investment grow and you’re taking those steps and you know, we’re, we’re prioritizing our spouses and we’re doing what we can to make this relationship kick. And they definitely had a kick relationship and so many great examples. So if you haven’t listened to the whole episode, I hope you will. And learn from Chris, our coauthor for kick husband and Laurie, who is just as effective and has been such a great support and part of their success together
Tools in their tool kit. And, um, they’ve shared a lot of them with our listeners. So I hope you will go back and listen to episode seven. And, um, really, I think there’s a lot of pearls there from Chris and Laura.
Yeah. Thanks for joining us today. If you haven’t heard the whole episode, go check it out and keep on listening. Kick-ass couples podcast. And remember that happily ever after doesn’t just happen. We’ll see you guys soon.
That’s all we’ve got for this episode of the kick-ass couples podcast. If you like the content of the 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 in apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you tune into. Listen, then email us a screenshot of your review at podcast at kick-ass couples podcast.com and we’ll get it over to you right away
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