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Kickass Couples Podcast

How to Foster Selflessness and Strengthen Your Relationship as a Couple – Ep.87-Pillar of Selflessness

By January 25, 2023No Comments



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Kimberly Hoffman, Matthew Hoffman


Matthew Hoffman  00:09

Welcome back to the Kickass Couples Podcast. We are excited to be with you today. On a special episode on selflessness, which is one of the 14 pillars that we have at Kickass couples nation, it’s one of the 14 key qualities that we really feel strongly are part of every successful relationship. And I want to read a quote to you that came out of the good book. And I think this does a wonderful job of kind of framing our conversation today. This is from Philippians, two chapters three through four, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves not looking to your own interest, but each of you to the interests of the others.”I thought that did a great job 


Kimberly Hoffman  02:14

I love that quote, that’s an awesome quote.


Matthew Hoffman  02:17

Why do you love it?


Kimberly Hoffman  02:18

Why I mean, putting others before yourself, I think is a difficult thing to do. But I believe that when we put it into practice, it makes us better people. And it makes us feel good about putting others first. So I think it really helps our well-being.


Matthew Hoffman  02:37

Oh, I think you’re right, and we’re gonna get some statistical empirical proof on that concept that you just shared a little later on in our discussion today. But so Kim, tell me why do you think this is one of our 14 pillars? Let’s get into the why. Why is selflessness so important in a thriving relationship?


Kimberly Hoffman  02:54

First of all, I think it’s one of the more difficult pillars, right? Because I believe by nature, we all tend to be a little selfish. You’ve seen that in your kids when they’re little, and they’re growing up. And I think even as adults, we carry some of that with us. So I think being selfless is challenging, but in a marriage in a relationship with our children, and business. being selfless is huge. And I again, think putting others before yourselves. It really does help us personally and professionally. And it really helps our relationship to thrive. And it shows we’re committed.


Matthew Hoffman  03:34

I would agree, I think one other pillar we have is servant leadership. And I think being selfless and really modeling. You know, I’m a firm believer that in your number one relationship, everything you do, you’re modeling to your partner, to your spouse, what it hopefully not always, but hopefully what a good, strong solid relationship should look like. So when you’re modeling servant leadership, and you are really being selfless and putting yourself out there for your partner again and again, not only are they getting the benefit Kim of whatever it is you do, but you’re modeling what that unconditional love looks like. What appreciation looks like. What selflessness looks like, and you’re showing them what it can be. And it really paves the way by the example of what you can expect to get back from your partner. Okay, great. So Kim, why should I strive to be more selfless in my relationship, kind of like what’s in it for me WIIFM? Why is that something that I would want to do in my relationship? Or how would I benefit when I am more selfless to others?


Kimberly Hoffman  04:39

Well, I think first of all, it’s going to confirm your commitment to the relationship and you are also going to feel valued, you’re going to feel heard and loved and seen. So I really think it validates the relationship and shows that we’re in it 100%


Matthew Hoffman  04:59

I agree, I think it ties directly back to commitment. It also helps me as an individual, when I’m acting out of self-interest, it kind of helps me tie into more of my heart and soul who I am. Because I’m doing it based on who I am as opposed to my own ego, or what am I going to get out of it? When I’m focusing on the service aspect of elders, I think that does go directly to demonstrating incredible commitment and relationship when you consistently selflessly pour into somebody else. So, you know, in thinking about kind of some synonyms and antonyms, or you know, what other people might think selflessness is or isn’t, I think we’ve got a little list here that we can talk about. I think a synonym of being selfless would be altruistic, in other words, someone who is looking for the good, inherently and the goodness in somebody else, as opposed to someone who is merciless in a relationship, like, you know, wants to get what they got and is willing to take their partner out if that’s necessary, as long as they win?


Kimberly Hoffman  06:05

 Yeah. I think somebody that’s loving and kind is another synonym.


Matthew Hoffman  06:12

Yeah, I think magnanimous. Someone who is, you know, if you think about the way you love, you don’t want to be stingy. And being selfless means that you are grand, and you’re giving magnanimous, giving more than you need to, because it’s who you are. But also, because that’s how much you love your partner or your spouse.


Kimberly Hoffman  06:30

Yeah. What about generosity? I feel like generosity is a big one, being generous with your love, with your affection, with yourself.


Matthew Hoffman  06:38

Yeah, I think you have to treat selflessness and generosity as this is if you have an inexhaustible supply or resource that you’ll never run out of. Because I think the more you give, the more you receive, and you get replenished by reflection, right? And in a relationship and you’re it’s gonna Think about if only one partner is giving and giving and giving magnanimously generously in a relationship, eventually, there’s gonna be a huge imbalance, it’d be pretty glaring. So it really calls the other partner to give in that same way. And so I think you truly do get back when you are sowing that yourself. 


Kimberly Hoffman  07:15

Sure. And, you know, we talked a little bit earlier about why we should be more selfless. And there is some scientific background as to why we should do that. And what happens when we do it? The Psychological Bulletin says that researchers explored communal motivation and that people who are higher in communal motivation tend to be especially concerned about other people. And this concern motivates them to care for others. So people who are concerned about others have a higher sense of well-being. But I think what it’s point important to point out is that you have to first respect your own needs. So we’re not saying or they’re not saying, you abandon yourself, but it’s important to take care of yourself so that you can have this higher sense of well-being to care for others.


Matthew Hoffman  08:16

Right, right. I think Kim, you tap on an important concept. I think that if you’re going to be the most effective and selfless for somebody else, you have to be a little selfish first, meaning you got to get your own needs met, being selfless is not about being a doormat, it’s not about squeezing every last bit of lifeblood out of yourself in service to somebody else. So you’re wrecked because that’s not sustainable. It’s not a win-win. And if it doesn’t win for both people in the relationship, then it’s not a win. So I think, you know, I think the same study also said in those with unmitigated care for others, they did not report higher states of well-being in satisfaction. So in that same study, where people just gave and gave and gave and gave, without any boundaries, it wasn’t good for them, they didn’t get the benefit, because they burned themselves out at the expense of trying to be that be all end all for their partner. I think


Kimberly Hoffman  09:09

 It’s sort of like that oxygen mask theory. Do you want to tell our listeners? 


Matthew Hoffman  09:15

Oh, yeah.


Kimberly Hoffman  09:15

You use that one a lot. 


Matthew Hoffman  09:16

I know, well, when you’re on the airplane. I mean, there’s a reason why they tell you to put your mask on first. Because if you don’t take care of yourself first, and you’re trying to help somebody else, you may not be around to do so. So take care of yourself first spend some time there investing. And you know, there’s kind of some myths, I think, and some things that people think they shouldn’t do or accept for themselves. And one of those, Kim is that everybody needs to understand and accept that they are worthy and deserving of putting themselves first. It doesn’t. If you do that, it doesn’t mean you’re not being selfless. You’re not being supportive. You’re not being a good spouse, but it means that you know, you have value and worth and you’re not going to violate yourself in an attempt to try to help somebody else. 


Matthew Hoffman  10:00

I think it’s also important that we are able to communicate with our spouse and establish really realistic expectations of the relationship. And what we’re going to, you know, give and take from each other.


Matthew Hoffman  11:04

Yeah, we have to be willing to put limitations. I mean, if your spouse is asking you to do something that you’re not comfortable with, what do you think there’s no way in heck that you could supply? Or do It futile to try to take that on? We’ve got to be realistic about our limitations, but not held back by them not say, Well, I can’t because but you know, really working to try to meet those expectations, as long as they’re communicated and agreed upon and good for both people in the relationship.


Kimberly Hoffman  11:31

Sure. I would love to talk a little bit with our listeners about what it means to be truly selfless in a relationship. I think that this is an area that I have grown in personally, a lot. I used to be somebody who was a little bit more quid pro quo, like, Okay, if I do this for him, what’s he going to do for me? I feel like it wasn’t until I was able to be truly joyous in my giving and truly selfless in my giving, that I was able to really reap the benefit of that, and really enjoy our relationship and enjoy taking time to do things for you, that I know that you would appreciate.


Matthew Hoffman  12:22

Yeah, I think that you have to be, you know, there’s no quid pro quo, right? It’s not 


Kimberly Hoffman  12:29

You can’t keep track.


Matthew Hoffman  12:30

 It’s not conditional. It’s not conditional. I think that in selfless relationships, there’s no tracking. And you’re not saying, well, I’ll do this, if or I’ll do this only when you. And I think that that’s a huge thing. And, you know, it’s also about convenience, I think that we all get a little irked sometimes when we’re asked, or we’re faced with something we have to do for our partner in our relationship. That might be inconvenient, oh, my gosh, I was gonna do that. I don’t have time, it’s gonna put undue pressure on me. And I think being willing to be an inconvenience for your partner is a good thing. Not a bad thing, because it means you’re there unconditionally, and that you’re going to get them no matter what. And what’s more important, unless it’s a health and wellness issue, or life safety for your kids or somebody else. There’s really no one else that should be coming first. And you should be prioritizing your partner, and joyfully giving, even when it’s not convenient.


Kimberly Hoffman  13:24

Well, I know that there are some times that you’re tired, and but you’re but you’re thinking to yourself, Okay, I know that my husband’s love language is touch and we’re going to sit down and we’re going to watch a football game, or maybe we’re going to watch this movie, you know, it’d be really nice if I probably rubbed his feet right now. Not that I’m like dying to rub his feet.


Matthew Hoffman  13:42

Oh come on, admit it it’s one of your favorite activities.


Kimberly Hoffman  13:46

I know how much you love it, and how much touch is important to you. And you know, I know what that does for you and your sense of well-being also. And so I do it, and I do it without expectation or without, you know, thinking that I need to get a foot rub in return because I feel like I’ve learned that when I joyously do this for you. You naturally will do it for me.


Matthew Hoffman  14:14



Kimberly Hoffman  14:14

 It just comes natural. The more you give to somebody and you pour into somebody, they just automatically pour back into you. 


Matthew Hoffman  14:20

And I love the fact Kim, that you don’t complain about it. You don’t do something for me that you’re saying you choose to do and then going oh my gosh, I just did this for you. How come you don’t do that for me? Or how come you couldn’t or or you get huffy or angry that you gave of yourself when it was your choice to do that. I think that another important point about being truly selfish is don’t do something for your partner and then hold resentment, that you either had to do it or did it or you don’t feel like they appreciated you enough for what you did. I think you’ve got to you’ve got to let go of that and just give because it’s right to give and it does come back. I mean, do you feel and in our relationship do you see me giving back to you when you do those things, and do you feel like you get that back?


Kimberly Hoffman  15:01

Oh yeah, I mean, one of the things that I just dislike doing is emptying a dishwasher. I don’t, it just is one of those things, but you will take on some of my chores or things that I would normally do, knowing that it is something that I dislike. And you do that because you are selfless. 


Matthew Hoffman  15:19

Well, I appreciate that.


Kimberly Hoffman  15:19

Well it’s an example of something that you do for me that Ireciate.


Matthew Hoffman  15:24

And I think another thing to remember about being selfless is that the company always Trump’s the activity. So even though I may not love to go listen to a certain person in concert, if I know my wife does, then I am glad to be there with her doing something that she likes, because it’s important to her. So it doesn’t matter so much what we do, and it’s my favorite activity, but that I’m doing something together with her and I know that activity brings her joy. And so I’m willing to let her shine and take the lead in an activity.


Kimberly Hoffman  15:59

Yeah and maybe a concert or a movie, but whatever it is, you know, we all have different things that we love, and that we like, and when our spouse is willing to sort of, you know, put our wife or husband first and their choice for that evening of what we’re going to do even a restaurant picking a restaurant, right, it’s as simple as that. And I think that the more we do that for each other, the more committed we are, the more we increase intimacy with with each other, we hit so many other pillars in our relationship when we do that.


Matthew Hoffman  16:35

We do, we do I think, you know, it’s all about love. And there’s a Steven Curtis Chapman song, it’s all about love, love, love. And it really is all about love. And we want to make sure that we’re being loving in a selfless way. And we talked about this earlier. But you know, giving love unconditionally, it’s love getting loved to be more about who you are. And that’s why you’re doing it as opposed to an obligation. You’re not doing it for somebody because right? And so for your partner to receive it and feel that way. If it is because it’s out of your genuine desire to express love, that is how it will be received. How a gift is given, is how it is received and there’s nothing worse than someone giving you a gift they don’t really want to give you or they’re having reservations, or they’re not authentic about it. And that does come true. So that’s kind of a watch out. When you’re loving your partner and doing things for them. If it’s not a genuine desire, it’s really a difficult thing to mask and it kind of taints the giving. It makes it pretty unauthentic I think.


Kimberly Hoffman  17:38

Well, convenient loving is pretty obvious, I think in a relationship and it’s sad. And so we want to make sure we’re not in the habit of convenient loving that we’re loving all the time and expressing that.


Matthew Hoffman  17:53

 And that can show up in a lot of ways, Kim. We talked about a couple earlier. Like you said, you know, emptying the dishwasher. If I did that for you, you giving, touch is important to both of us. Face rubs or tickles or foot rubs? What are some other ways? You know, like other thing, what are other ways that you see me or you giving love to me in our relationship? What are some of that we want to share some other things with our listeners about how they might do that I like to cook. And so one way I show love 


Kimberly Hoffman  18:19

Meals are 100%. 


Matthew Hoffman  18:20

And I mean foods important to me too. So it is a little self serving there, no doubt. But I think one of the most loving things you can do for somebody is share a meal with them because you have to eat. But when it’s a nice experience, and the table is set, and the lights are right, and there’s nice music, or maybe there’s a nice bottle of wine, or you’re kind of creating that experience, I think that’s a great love giving experience. And Kim and I entertain a lot and we love entertaining because we like opening up our home and expressing and sharing that love with others and they feel it. And you know, they enjoy the foods, certainly, but I think that’s a good example. Do you think of any other ways?


Kimberly Hoffman  18:57

Hospitality is such a gift. I you know, I think we hit on some of them really already just, you know you allowing me to pick the movie that we’re going to go to hey, I want you to pick tonight, you know, I don’t need to pick you. You decide what that’s going to be where do you want to go to dinner, you know, they’re, you know, even if it’s a fun activity that we’re going to do together. You know, maybe you don’t love ice skating. And I do and you say well, let’s go ice skating. I feel like we have to really put our spouses, favorites things and things that are important to them ahead of ourselves. Sometimes I’m not saying do it all the time, right? Gonna take care of you for sure. But being selfless in your relationship is it’s big. It really is.


Matthew Hoffman  19:48

And I want to give everybody a watch out for something that Kim and I ran up against a few years ago, five, six years ago in our relationship is and this is a watch out because it’s so easy life can seem to take over with kids, with careers, with volunteering, you know, people that need your help, could be your kids school could be other community organizations, your church even. And we feel that when we’re called or asked to do something and the cause is worthy, then if we don’t do it, then we are not living up to our highest potential, or we’re letting our partner down our spouse down. Or even, you know, we’re letting others down. And it’s not acceptable. And I think we have to be make sure that you’re giving to others is not at the expense of your number one relationship. I think our biggest mistake, Kim and I and one of the biggest mistakes we made is we had a false sense of responsibility for others and other organizations. They’re all worthy, and deserving. But they weren’t more worthy and deserving than our relationship. And we got to a point where we took away the time that we had together to relate to work to invest. And we kept giving of our first fruits to others. Instead of giving of our first fruits to each other.


Kimberly Hoffman  21:00

We were in the habit of really giving each other leftovers, honestly, we kind of each had our own little vortexes going in our own little worlds. But I know that once we realize that we really needed to protect that time, and to protect our relationship and be selfish about our relationship, that things really did change for us.


Matthew Hoffman  21:25

No doubt. That’s just a watch, as you’re thinking about all the ways you’re expressing love to your partner, your spouse, to and to others, is to make sure that you get your priorities straight and who gets the most and first. And that comes before your family, your extended family, your kids, you know, you don’t want to again, give your leftovers to your spouse, because you’ve given it all to your kids, or your siblings or your parents, grandparents, whatever, whatever it may be.


Kimberly Hoffman  21:50

And that’s what this podcast is all about. Right? We talked about prioritization, really prioritizing your number one commitment to your spouse.


Matthew Hoffman  21:59

eah, my mom had a quote that I want to share with you all. And she said that home is not a dock that you are tied to. But it is a harbor from which you sail and you think about your number one relationship at home, with your partner, your spouse, you’re not tied to it. It’s not keeping you in, you’re not losing. But you’re taking all that goodness and you’re sailing out, can you always have that home to come home to but you’re bringing the goodness with you, and using it to bless, love, share and enrich others. So it’s that number one human relationship that gives you the strength, and the ideas and the energy and the overflowing love that you can then take. It’s not a limiter. It’s not holding you back. It’s not keeping you from your purpose. But it’s where your purpose can start and emanate from.


Kimberly Hoffman  22:43

 I love that thought and that idea of your home being a protective harbor. I think that that is a beautiful demonstration.


Matthew Hoffman  22:52

Yeah, a lot of good stuff on selflessness.


Kimberly Hoffman  22:55

I agree.


Matthew Hoffman  22:56

 And it’s there’s opportunities, we have been working at it and our relationship for almost 29 years married 28. And we still have a lot to learn. And we catch I catch myself all the time. And I tell you what, I’m in the habit of catching my wife doing good. I see her demonstrate, I’m looking for the way she’s selfless in our relationship, and then recognizing it and expressing gratitude for it. And it just when I do that for her I know it makes her want to be more selfless to me. And it becomes a beautiful self fulfilling prophecy.


Kimberly Hoffman  23:26

It’s a beautiful dance, honestly, 


Matthew Hoffman  23:29

It is.


Kimberly Hoffman  23:29

I think that is a great point that you just brought up. When you’re see yourself, your spouse expressing that selflessness and actively doing those things. I think expressing gratitude is huge. We have to say thank you.


Matthew Hoffman  23:45

Yeah, it’s definitely more important to me, and I’m going to take the liberty I know it’s more important to Kim, about who we’re being for others and for each other than what we are getting earning or attaining for ourselves. You know, the victories of getting stuff are so shallow, and they don’t last long. But when you have a victory in a relationship, and you know that the strength of who you are is being recognized and magnified, it makes you want to show up more. And that’s where the rewards come from, the experiences and the beauty that lasts when the luster of all those other things money, possessions have, have faded or become tarnished. 


Kimberly Hoffman  24:23

That’s what really gives you a beautiful life together.


Matthew Hoffman  24:26

So we encourage you to think about maybe some of these things we’ve talked about today. How can you use it, sit down, have a discussion with your partner. And if you feel that you need help, or you’re not sure where to start or you want to look at more resources, please come visit us at Kickass Couples Nation. You go to, where you can access all our podcasts, our past episodes behind the scenes content. We’d love to talk to you and see how we can help you reach your dreams. overcome those obstacles and find your own relationship Nirvana.


Kimberly Hoffman  24:58

Thanks for listening everyone and remember happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose.