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Kickass Couples Podcast

How to Reduce and Eliminate Conflicts in Your Relationship – Ep.119 SPECIAL – Ft. Estrella Rogers & Natalie Southward

By September 6, 2023No Comments



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Matthew Hoffman, Kimberly Hoffman, Natalie Southward, Estrella Rogers


Matthew Hoffman  00:08

Welcome back, everybody to the Kickass Couples Podcast. We have a special episode today on how to reduce and eliminate conflicts in your relationships. When we started a relationship where we get married, everything seems rosy and hunky dory. We’re in love and we can’t possibly imagine what might go wrong. And the challenges and stressors of life seem to creep in. And we really are wondering what happened to that bliss we seem to have in the beginning. And this happens for some people when they just start a relationship. It happens to people when they’ve been in a relationship for 20 years. So to get into some of these issues and talk to you about what you can do to help eliminate conflict and arguing in your relationship. We have our panel today with Estrella Rogers and Natalie Southward. So welcome back to the Kickass Couples Podcast.


Natalie Southward  03:32

Thank you. 


Estrella Rogers  03:33

Thank you.


Matthew Hoffman  03:35

We’re glad. You know, Kim. These ladies are alumni. 


Kimberly Hoffman  03:38

They are.


Matthew Hoffman  03:39

We’re having a little alumni day here. And these are repeats because they were so kick ass the first time we said we gotta get these ladies back. Real fun  to dive in with this you guys today.


Kimberly Hoffman  03:53

Well, I want to start us off with a quote that Matthew found. And he found it from your tango. And it says if you want a relationship that looks and feels like the most amazing thing on earth, you need to treat it like it’s the most amazing thing on earth. And I couldn’t agree with that more. But we all know that life happens and stressors get added to our lives. And listen, conflict is a normal part of every relationship, right? It’s it’s gonna happen in any healthy relationship. But when it becomes a pattern or it becomes aggressive, then we’re really mismanaging it and we’re doing some harm to our relationship. So my first question and I’m going to address it to you Natalie is is it possible for couples to drastically eliminate conflict and their number one human relationship?


Natalie Southward  04:54

I think it’s possible for them to reduce it. I believe conflict is a part of really Shouldn’t we can grow through conflict. It’s when it turns to arguing and degrading one another is when it becomes an issue. I learned a lot about my husband through conflict, I’ve learned a lot about my best friends, co workers, but it’s how you handle it right? It’s the conflict resolution piece that we want to focus on. And if you focus on conflict resolution and fair fighting rules, that the conflict is not going to escalate. And it’s not going to feel like it’s a lose lose situation, right? So, but I believe couples can reduce it, based off of the skills that they really work on honing in, that’s going to speak to their partner’s heart versus speaking at them. So my goal as a clinician is to help reduce it and help them have healthy conflict resolution and to fight fair. 


Kimberly Hoffman  05:48

Right. And Estrella, would you have anything to add to that as well?


Estrella Rogers  05:54

Yeah, I mean, I would so one, everything Natalie said. But then also adding, you know, really understanding also like their triggers, understanding your person’s, their patterns, understanding just really who they are. And I think a lot of times when we talk about conflict, we don’t really look at the other person’s perspective, we don’t take the time to really see how are they seeing the situation. And a lot of times, if we’re able to do that, then you’re able to actually see the situation with more of an open mind. And you’re willing to really hear them and just be able to say, okay, so this is your experience, this is where you’re coming from, then now we can talk about this, and we can really just really form more of an understanding. So I think a big piece of it, is just really trying to understand your person, understand who they are, their experiences, where they’re coming from, even in the conflict. And I think that helps you to really, you know, just be able to manage it. Even better, you know, just like Natalie said, it’s gonna happen, but how are we managing it?


Kimberly Hoffman  06:51

Sure. So looking at it, I hear you both saying, you’re really looking at it as an opportunity to grow and learn more about that person.


Matthew Hoffman  06:59

And I think you each did two concepts. You know, I’m gonna come back at both of you because you gave us some great nuggets there. Natalie, I’ve heard the term and we’ve talked about it before fighting fair. So I love for you and Estrella give me same, okay. So we’re fighting is okay. As long as it’s not, I heard you say as long as it’s not nasty and degrading, we’re not trying to, if we’re trying to hurt the other person, that’s an issue, but conflicts and disagreements are going to come up. So how do you tell us? What do we need to do? What are the rules that need to be on the table so that fighting is fair, and loving, and it’s effective as opposed of destructive?


Natalie Southward  07:34

So first off, you have to ask yourself, Why am I upset? Not why is my partner upset? You know, is he not listening? If you’re not listening, it’s, well, first of all, why do I feel so upset? Right? What is it about the situation that’s triggering me? So I talked about being attuned to your body, we have the greatest alarm system in our body, our rapid heart rate, we might sweat, some people clench their teeth, or peace when they’re upset. But what is that about? Right? So first of all, why am I upset, and then addressing one issue at a time, versus just that snowball word vomit, I like to call it or just like word vomit this issue and that and now oh, now I have a reason to fight. And I’m gonna just unload everything at once versus there’s one issue, I’m going to address the one issue at a time, no degrading language, right? I always recommend if you have a term of endearment to your partner, or to your significant other, use a term of endearment even in conflict that works with families with coworkers, you know, words, if you’re on a friendly basis, you know, and we’ve talked about this before, my husband never says Natalie, the only time he ever says Natalie is if he’s upset, right, like Natalie, and I’m like what, Eric, you know, we because we always speak in terms of endearment. And so in conflict, that is something we are very conscientious about. So no degrading, no cursing at each other. Try to keep it at a at a lower level. Some people do have conflict and it’s elevated and it doesn’t affect them. But if it affects your partner, then it’s something to be aware of and to be in control and or walk away to have a timeout, which is a key phrase timeout, right? So a lot of times people think of it as punishment, but a timeout in sports so I played basketball my whole life. My husband still plays his day and timeout was a reset. Right? It was to get the team together the coach, hey, here’s our game plan, take a break here some water, it’s the same in a relationship. So fighting fair requires you to take a timeout if you continue to loop around the topic over and over again. Another way is you know, I always say attempt to compromise, right create a win win and have a heart of curiosity so that helps in fighting fair, but he is addressed one issue at a time attack the problem, not the person well Let’s attack this problem versus my partner. Because right there you already setting it up for a major argument.


Matthew Hoffman  10:07

Sure. Estrella, What kind of a rules would you think that we should throw into the fighting fair concept?


Estrella Rogers  10:13

Yeah, I think so it’s really interesting listening and just kind of really kind of looking at, like different perspectives. But I think really sitting down and really looking at when you are fighting again, you know, looking at their perspective, but asking why. So really asking the questions of why do you feel that way? You know, let me know, like, what do your values say about this situation? I’m really digging into the situation. And I know Natalie used the word attune. But really being able to do that in the middle of conflict, you know, and because when you’re having conflict, that means that we have two opposing views normally, and so why do you have the view that you have? Why is this important to you? And so again, just really taking the time to really understand and ask those deeper questions, understanding why your partner feels the way that they feel. Because again, if I can tune into that part, then number one, I’m willing to compromise with you a little more, if I know why you feel the way you feel. And I understand, you know, just where you’re coming from. And so I think a big piece of it is understanding. It’s when I when we do the, like the Gottman like the Rapaport intervention. And Natalie was saying, you know, really just focusing on one issue at a time, a lot of times, you know, we’ll have our clients, they’ll write down what the other person is saying while they’re speaking, or the other person is speaking. And I love that because it slows them down. Just enough so that way when they’re speaking, I’m not thinking of a rebuttal. I’m concentrating on what you’re saying in that moment, which really gives me the opportunity to just hone in and be able to focus and listen and hear what you’re saying. And so I think when we talk about conflict, it’s just in fighting fair, really listening and just trying to hear and understand your partner’s point of view and knowing that it’s just not all about you, but it’s about them as well. And so I think that’s a big piece of it. I think, that’s a 


Kimberly Hoffman  12:08

That active listening component, which is really hard. It’s something that we have to practice. We can’t just do it, and really learning how to do that correctly is important. 


Estrella Rogers  12:20



Kimberly Hoffman  12:23

 So in your practices, what have you seen as the top reasons that conflict arises? And Estrella, I am going to have you go first on that one.


Estrella Rogers  12:34

So I think the number one reason is communication. Most of our clients, you know, come in, and there’s always a communication issue. And it’s whether their inability to listen actively, whether it’s their inability to express themselves in a loving way. But there’s always some form of a communication issue that they have. And because they don’t know how to communicate, what happens is all aspects of their marriage normally are affected. So if I’m feeling lonely, instead of me saying, hey, you know, I’m feeling lonely right now. Instead, they say, Oh, you’re selfish, or you’re this or that, and they become critical of the other person in our fighting, you know, and so they don’t know how to really express what they’re feeling. And because of that, we now have conflict that arises in an unhealthy way. So now we’re not learning how to manage it, because we don’t know how to talk to each other. And I think for me, what I see in my practice, nine times out of 10, is there is a the core of it is they just never learned how to communicate, or how to communicate. And that’s the core of the issues that I see, for sure.


Kimberly Hoffman  13:47

And Natalie, do you have anything you’d like to add as well?


Natalie Southward  13:51

Yeah, so just very similar language. I talked about interactive styles. So exactly what you’re talking about in regards to communication. So they’re, they’re lacking awareness of their interactive styles, and how they’re triggering themselves, let alone their partners as well. So we’re familiar with being passive, being a passive aggressive, being aggressive or being assertive, and helping them really break down what each one of those mean, how they’re how you switch, just a small component, and you can quickly be passive aggressive, right? Versus assertive and really incorporating the communication styles, communication skills. I mean, I just have to piggyback off you. I mean, that’s perfect. You know, communication is the number one issue, because a lot of times people will say, Oh, it’s, you know, our money management or our parenting, or, you know, our sex life and it’s like, okay, but really, when, like, that’s up here, but when you go to the root of it, it’s the communication. And it’s, you know, knowing your personality style, it’s knowing what your needs are, what are your unmet needs, right? And so it goes back to the key of communication versus What’s your presenting problem? And people always have a one liner. And I just want to erase the input communication and everything else follows underneath that. So I agree 100%.


Kimberly Hoffman  15:10

Yeah, it all goes back to that. And that’s one of our three C’s, we have, we have commitment, communication and conflict resolution. And if you can learn how to communicate well, you can cut out so much of the conflict.


Natalie Southward  15:25



Estrella Rogers  15:25



Matthew Hoffman  15:25

 So I want to kind of do a follow up in the next step. So Natalie, when you think about you guys are talking about both about communication. And I totally agree with that concept. And most people, you know, we talk about mind reading, and it’s so impossible to know, or think, you know, unless you talk about it and ask those questions for understanding. Have you seen a lot of difference between men and women on friction points? Or do you think it’s like, we’re all people, we’re all the same? Or it could I mean, is it fair to categorize and say, I don’t believe in superlatives, like all men do this are all women that I don’t believe. But have you seen, in your experience? Are there some different friction points that as a man I can be aware of, or as a woman can can be aware of so that we can kind of get ahead of some of those things?


Natalie Southward  17:08

Yeah, so I agree with you. Not all men, or all women, excuse me, would align with each camp. However, I hear more oftentimes, and not from men, I don’t feel respected. And from women I often hear I don’t feel loved and cared about. So just from what I’ve heard, what I’ve seen in my practice, over the last 18 years, just I’ve heard that common theme, I don’t feel respected. I don’t feel loved, slash cared about. And so really chipping away, because it’s so broad. Oh, my word. I don’t feel love. Okay, how do I, how do I match that, or I don’t feel respected. It’s just so broad. So those are the two I would say that I see the most of. And of course, it can be different depending on the male or female, or the relationship dynamic. But those two, I would say, Matthew, are the most common I hear.


Matthew Hoffman  17:59

Okay. And Estrella, what about you? Anything different? Are you seeing some of the same themes and the people you’re working with?


Estrella Rogers  18:06

Yeah, I think so for a lot of them. And again, like we said, we can’t necessarily say all men, but I do believe that, especially culturally, a lot of men are taught, you know, not to express their feelings, you know, and so now, when you have conversation between a husband and a wife, a lot of times what happens is the man, you know, shuts down, or he doesn’t know what he wants to say, or how to say it. And you have a wife who was like, okay, but I want to talk about this now, or this is how I feel. And so she’s over expressive about her feelings and her emotions, and he’s shut down, which then in turns causes him of course, to be flooded and frustrated, and cause him to shut down. And, you know, she’s just kind of looking like, I want to have this conversation right now. And it just is not happening. And so now that I think those are friction points for both of them, because she feels unheard. She feels as if she’s being ignored in that moment. And he feels overwhelmed, because he also feels like, Hey, she’s not respecting my space. And she’s not respecting how I feel in this moment. And so, you know, I think that that piece of it, a lot of times between men and women can differ. Obviously, we know this, not all men and all women, but for the majority of it, I think that’s what I see a lot of in my practice.


Matthew Hoffman  19:21

And then kind of following up on that I’m gonna I’m gonna do a turn the table thing here. So Natalie, I’m going to ask you to the issues that Estrella brought up. So how do our listeners if the man is like, I just don’t want to talk about it? And the woman’s like, man, let’s go. Let’s get it out here. You’re not avoiding me again. What do we do so that that does not turn into conflict, but honors both people in that situation?


Natalie Southward  19:45

So I really like to lean into emotion focus therapy at times in regards to that, excuse me, and I challenge my couples, a lot of times they’ll start talking to me and I’m always like, Oh, I’m just here supporting you. I do. I always just put work. Or if it’s zoom, I literally will cover up the camera. And they’ll start talking towards one another. And a question I always ask is, what message? Are you taking away from this? Or what do you hear her saying, you know, what is the message that has been presented to help de escalate? Because if you genuinely believe your partner, has your best interest and your partner for a reason, what got you there? And so a lot of times, it’s been able to pause and reflect on why have we made it 15 years? Or what started this, this love interest with one another, you know, and just being able to pause and say, Wait, in this moment, there’s such passion between you two, can you describe what that passion is about, and I will literally like interject and shift it, right? Oh, well, like, this is my person, and I want them to get it. And also you desire them to know your heart, you desire them to truly know you as as 100% authentic and vulnerable. Oh, I just, I just need a minute i She’s my person. But you know, I’m just kind of coaching them through that. And so being able to just catch a nugget in session Estrella, I’m sure you do it all the time you catch those nuggets, and we call it catching the bullet, right, like I catch the Bullet for My client. And you know, and and I hold it, and I don’t allow it to penetrate their partner. And so you shift it to where it actually is a strength in a positive and it draws them in to a more unified element of communication in a more intimate level of communication.


Matthew Hoffman  21:34

Sure. So now, that’s awesome. Good goal there.


Kimberly Hoffman  21:36

I know I love that.


Matthew Hoffman  21:37

So Estrella, Natalie talked about, right, she talked about the man doesn’t feel respected, and the woman doesn’t feel valued, heard, understood, cherished. How do you when those two dynamics exist in the relationship Estrella, what can somebody do to address them both? And catch that bullet? Like Natalie was saying?


Estrella Rogers  21:55

Yeah, so I think one of the things is helping them to be able to talk about number one, the why, you know, so why don’t you feel respected? Why don’t you feel valued in this relationship? And so having them, of course, talk to each other about that, and teaching them how to do that. And then also, where does that come from? What is the idea of, I need to be valued in this way? I need to be respected in this way. Where does that come from for them. And so as they’re talking, and they’re getting to really understand the why of who they are, and understanding what it is that they need in regards to respect and just being valued as they’re talking? Number one, the hope is that they begin to see what the other person needs, because I love you, right. And as I love you, and you’re telling me that this is what you need. My hope is that number one in seeing that I’m going to respect that. But the other thing is that I’m also going to ask you, well, how do I meet that? You know, what is it that I need to do within even me to help respect that, you know, a lot of times, it could be, you know, independence, or it could be you know, you’re doing these actions, and these actions make me feel disrespected. So so as I learn, why this is this making you feel disrespected, then for me, I’m going to look at it, I’m going to say, Okay, well, what can I do, so you don’t have that feeling anymore. And it doesn’t mean that I have to completely change who I am or the core of who I am. But it may simply mean that I need to include you more, they may simply mean that I need to ask for your opinion, I may need to speak to you in a different way or in a different tone. But whatever that is, if that’s something that I can do to meet you where you are, in order for you to feel respected, then as your spouse, then I’m going to try to do that. So my aim would be or my goal would be really to just allow them to be able to hear each other and really be able to understand why the other person does not feel valued and respected and then see if we can find a way to meet that with want between the two.


Matthew Hoffman  23:48



Kimberly Hoffman  23:49

Yeah. So we know there’s going to be we know that there’s going to be conflict and sometimes arguing in a relationship, but Natalie, what are some things that we can do to be proactive, to avoid conflict, what are some things that we can be doing so we don’t even go down that road?


Natalie Southward  24:09

So I think it’s important to make sure that you are doing your self care, I mean, naturally, like having healthy time for you to just reflect in life and relationships, the highs, the lows, you know, what your high of the day, what your low of the day where the challenge is, kind of just do a self assessment, like a heart check. I call it a heart check. So just kind of a heart check what’s filling my cup, you know, I think of you know, our emotions. And if it’s too full, it’s going to overflow, overflow and like, burn those around me. And so what’s filling my cup, you know, Are they heavy emotions, are they lighter emotions? And if there’s a there’s tons of heavy emotion, and they say partner all around it. Well, what do I do? What do I need to do to sift through that? Right? And it’s having those healthy, proactive conversations. It doesn’t have to be in the midst of a conflict. It could be on a walk with my spouse and saying Hey babe, I was just thinking about this today or I felt some type of way, in this situation, or, you know, this conversation didn’t rest well with me, I just wanted to share a little bit more about it, we’re in a different posture in a position and sharing, and I’m not being aggressive in it, it’s not in the heat of the moment, it’s thought out, it’s intentional. There’s times where we just naturally do a check in, I encourage couples weekly, daily would be ideal. Just to do a relationship check in, you know, truly, where it’s like, Hey, how are we? How are we grieving? You know, how are we leaving? How are we checking in throughout the day, but then having at least one day during the week, where you’re, you’re really chiseling out some quality time with your partner, to just feel the temperature of the relationship to pour in to play to have fun. And I believe when you do those things, conflict just turns into conversations. You’re just having natural conversations. There’s times when I’m in the right space, I will say, hey, you know, what can I work on? What can I work on in this relationship? What could I do better? What would you like me to do differently, but I have to make sure that I am self aware and teaching clients how to be self aware to be in that posture in that position, to be open to what can come but I also have trust with my partner. And we’ve worked on communication skills to share that without an attack. Right. So those are some things I would recommend, but it has to start within you, and to be able to evaluate where you’re at. Because sometimes conflict happens, and it’s not even about our partner. It’s about something through our day, or it’s something a conversation we had with maybe a family member and it spills over into our relationship because we didn’t handle it well there, you know, so it’s important to evaluate yourself first, and then create healthy space to have free conversation without that pressure of having a resolution.


Kimberly Hoffman  26:53

So self care, proactive communication, and I heard you slide fun in there, which I believe is really important. Estrella, do you have anything you want to tack on to that?


Estrella Rogers  27:05

You know, honestly, I’m like, ditto, because that probably would have been my answer. But, no, I would say that, and then, you know, just coming back to any solutions that you came to before, so any compromises, but it’s really coming back again, saying, you know, how are we doing with this? Do I need to work on this anymore? being very mindful of not being defensive? Because a lot of times, even in those check ins, you know, when the other person says, hey, well, you kind of did this this week, you know, we have to be mindful of not being defensive. But again, being open minded and saying, Okay, well, tell me what you mean by that, you know, explain to me a little more, what that looked like, as opposed to No, I didn’t do that, you know, which is the first thing that we want to do, because in a way, shape or form, did we hurt our spouse’s feelings? Or, you know, did we not listen to what they had to say. So just really, I think being mindful during those check in times, of not being defensive, but being open to listening, and open to change, of course, if changes needed. So I think those are some of the things.


Kimberly Hoffman  28:08

I feel you on that because I know that we’ll start out with great intention, and then also these little hairs on the back. And you do the defensiveness starts to creep in. And so you have to work on it, you have to be aware.


Estrella Rogers  28:24



Matthew Hoffman  28:25

Curbing those negative desires to get back on Oh, you got me, I’m gonna get you back. Right. 


Natalie Southward  28:30



Matthew Hoffman  28:31

So it kind of leads me to another great question, I think. And so is it reasonable and Estrella, I’m gonna start with you on this one. Is it reasonable for one partner to expect or even hope for their partner to change their stance on issues they differ on? Is that a reasonable expectation? Or is it I just gotta accept them? You know, how do we how do we, because couples, right? I mean, some of us have long standing issues or something is so important to us. And can’t you just see something of what I see, is that an unreasonable or reasonable expectation? How do we navigate that in a relationship?


Estrella Rogers  29:10

So to be very honest, I think it depends on where the issue stems from. You know, if we’re talking about something materialistic or something where there is a solution to it, there’s a strong possibility that I can hope that you’re going to agree to get the car that I want, or you’re going to change your stance on, you know, the fact that maybe I want to go to a class on Tuesday nights as opposed to, you know, Fridays, but I think when we’re talking about something that’s really tied to the core of who a person is tied to their values, their beliefs, even especially when we’re talking about like religious beliefs, or you know, just I sometimes that’s a little harder when it comes to them actually changing their stance on it now, would they be willing to possibly still compromise maybe , but I don’t know if in those situations, it’s as easy to say that they’re going to change their stance, I always think we can hope, you know, there is hope. But there are some things that I believe that there are times where we just have to accept our partner’s differences. And there are things that, you know, there may be things that they can change. But again, I think it just depends on what the core of that is. And that’s what you have to find out, you have to find out what is tied to their stance. And if you can find that out, then I think you’ll get your answer to be very  honest.


Matthew Hoffman  30:35

How would you how would you add on that, Natalie, about the hope of change, and you’re passionate about but maybe your partner just isn’t?


Natalie Southward  30:44

So I believe, just with Gottman and his awesome research, where he talks about when you, when you basically paraphrasing, when you pick a partner, you’re you’re literally settling for a set of problems, right, like, so you’re picking a partner that naturally is different than you obviously there’s only one of us. And so you are you’re picking a set of problems, each person comes with that. And so some it’s yield to win, right? It’s like you can create a win, win or lose lose, or you know what I’m going to yield to when it’s it’s really not in my wheelhouse. It’s not a core, a core issue. For me, it might be something that my partner is passionate about. And I’m I’m either way, so I can just lean in and go with that direction. But I believe it’s important to recognize the core right, like, is it come from a core wound? It isn’t is a childhood unmet need meet? unmet need? Is it a trauma based response is just trying to have a deeper understanding, but to expect a partner to fully change and certain areas? Were not that person. And it’s understanding where it stems from? I agree 100%, I mean, I really don’t have much to add to it other than really having a heart of curiosity. And if we learn more about where it comes from, as a partner, we can be more understanding, right versus defensive in that so. 


Kimberly Hoffman  32:07

Yeah. so what I hear you both saying is the goal is to find the understanding of why not to find out what they believe and try to get them to change their belief. Because if it’s, if it’s the core of who they are, then you’re saying you got to change to make me happy who you are. And that’s, that’s an unreasonable request. It sounds funny when you even say it that way. But I think a lot of people are kind of falsely holding on to, you know, my daughter’s in a serious relationship and our sons and one too, and I say, You know what, it’s you are, you’re owning the set of problems you have, and you got to get comfortable with it, because you’re never gonna find something where there is no problem.


Estrella Rogers  32:45



Kimberly Hoffman  32:45



Kimberly Hoffman  32:46

I want to talk a little bit about stressors of relationships and one of the big ones and I think our listeners will appreciate this is parenting, you know, conflict that then within parenting? And maybe it’s because we have two different parenting styles. And so for couples that do have different parenting styles, how would you approach this with them in navigating that, Natalie,  go ahead. Yeah.


Natalie Southward  34:33

No, you’re good so, I believe it’s so important in relationships to accept influence from our partners, right? So we are all raised in you know, I have my experiences of how I was raised or disciplined my husband, my friends, everybody I know has their own experiences and so it’s so important to stay open to influence right versus I’m right because I’m me and I’m right you know and my partner’s right because As he’s always right, right, it’s accepting influence of one another. And to me, it’s when you are in such a gridlock of conflict, especially with parenting, being able to bring in a third party, bringing, bringing in a therapist bringing in a coach, like really, hey, help us navigate this. What are some great tools? What are some great resources? There’s so much out there, everybody has an opinion about everything. And it’s being able to say, hey, what, again, what is my core belief? What is my goal? You know, and what is discipline? What, there’s a big difference between discipline and punishment, right? So being able to talk about that, and what do we want to teach? And, and it’s, it’s different for every generation, but being able to say, hey, I want to learn, right, I was, I was a parent for 10 years prior, actually, I was a parent 15 years before Eric became a parent. And so I, in my mind, I’m like, I’ve done this before, you know, but man, I had so much to learn. And he added so much to a different parenting style. And I added so much to his belief system, because we stayed open influence, we were open to be influenced by the person that we partner with, because we trust them, right, because I know him. So I’m able to lean into that. So accepting influence is huge and bringing in a third party. Well, oftentimes, the knot is a part of the the system of support that’s created in parenting.


Kimberly Hoffman  36:32

I love hearing you say that, because I think that bringing in help is important. And many times we think that we’re weak, if we do that, when in essence, like you said, there’s so much information out there, we have so much to learn, and grow from by bringing in help and support, it can really take our relationship, our family dynamic in a different direction, if we’re open to that. Estrella, would have anything to to add any other suggestions for us?


Estrella Rogers  37:06

Yeah, I think and just a little bit about what Natalie said also, but really being able to understand again, you know, where the other person is coming from why they believe so strongly on their parenting skills. A lot of times, you know, what I’ve heard? A lot of my couples say, as well, you know, I turned out, okay, so the way that my parents, they parented me just fine. So So then I’ll say, Well, if you turned out okay, and she turned out, okay, is it possible that we can talk about how your parents parented and then maybe bring those two styles together? And so we’ll talk a lot about the fact that, I think, you know, when we talk about compromise, the fear is that I have to sacrifice everything. So I can’t have my parenting style in this at all. And you just want everything to be your way. And so we just take a moment, and I’ll say, you know, Hey, okay, well, what are the things that you absolutely have to have? What are the things that you have to be have to have? What are you not flexible on, and then let’s talk about how we compromise, let’s try some things. And then if they don’t work, then we go back to the drawing board, and we try again. So you know, just really taking a moment and just even being open to looking at the other person’s parenting styles? Because a lot of times they won’t do that, you know, they’ll just say, well, it’s not my way. So I don’t want to do it. And I’m like, well, have we even listened to what your spouse says, and the things that they want to do? So I think being open, definitely being open to podcasts being open to, you know, a lot of times I’ll have couples that will and I’ll say, why don’t you go listen to this? Why don’t you go take a parenting class over here together, and then see if you can take some of that, and then put that into what you’re doing at home. And so, again, agreeing with Natalie, third party, obviously, is always a great way to go as well. So but just really, just really listening and being able to find a way helping them to find ways I think to compromise can be helpful.


Kimberly Hoffman  39:00

Yeah. And I would even add to that I’m not a therapist. But I know what we did before even having children was we really talked about a philosophy. And we really worked together on finding a way that we could raise our kids in a way that we both agreed on. So we had this foundation already to start with that thing. It was perfect. But it really helped a lot. 


Matthew Hoffman  39:26

Yeah. I think I heard you, Estrella talking about it. And I think we both have mentioned the whole idea of compromise. And I think a challenge a lot of couples get into or I’ve heard as well, in some of the coaching I’ve done is, you know, I feel like I’m always the one compromising I’m always giving in i right. And so what do you do if there’s a couple out there that’s going okay, I feel like I’m rolling over and I’m a doormat and it’s they’re totally happy with me being the one that gives in or that leans in or agrees to yield as Natalie said earlier, so if there’s an imbalance I’m not talking about I feel there is but if there’s a genuine imbalance in a relationship, where one person is like, oh my gosh, I’m I’m always compromising, and it’s not coming the other way. What what steps can that person who feels that way do to kind of maybe turn the ship or get some give and take in that area? And  Natalie I’ll ask you to kind of go first on that.


Estrella Rogers  39:26



Natalie Southward  40:23

Okay. So I just make sure I heard you, right. So how to basically empower the other partner that is constantly giving in or feeling like they’re compromising more? 


Matthew Hoffman  40:35

Yeah, if I feel like I’m always compromising, I’m losing me. And I’m never getting it. The compromise the other way. So when it when there is a lopsided nature, in the relationship with the other partner either isn’t considering may not be that they’re not willing. It’s just they never think to because they’re happy, because all their needs are being met. And they’re always getting what they want when there’s discussion.


Natalie Southward  40:58

And so it’s really important to be able to check within yourself if you’re that partner that’s always giving in, what is that about? Is there a codependent dynamic there? Is there a fear of conflict? Are you lacking in some of those skills to be assertive to recognize that your rights and opinions are equal to others? Is what does that equality wheel look like in your relationship? If you’re feeling some type of way that you’re always the one giving in, and you’re always the one compromising and your partner’s just coasting, it’s important to reflect why is that? And do I feel responsible for my partner? And for their happiness? Or do I feel responsible to this relationship as unity as an equal half versus, well, he gets to carry it or she gets to carry it, and I’m always meeting their needs, you know, and so just a lot of self reflection, and then obviously, empowerment, being able to recognize, do I even carry my own opinion as equal to others? You know, is there a codependent style and again, that equality will is really important and relationship?


Matthew Hoffman  42:07

Love that concept. Estrella, what would you add to that?


Estrella Rogers  42:12

So one, I would definitely agree on that a lot of times when I have clients or couples that have come into the office, and, a lot of times one of the spouses will say, Well, we always end up doing what the other one wants to do. And I’ll say, Well, did you voice your opinion, you know, you’ve gotten to this place in your marriage, where you feel like, okay, everything is well, and I’m just gonna say in this example, where he wants, everything is what he wants, we always do what he wants, but then I’ll ask the husband, and I’ll say, Well, you know, tell me a little about that. And he’ll say, well, I’ll ask her, and she’ll say, whatever you want to do. You know, she’ll say, whatever, you know. And so, you know, so then I’m like, Okay, well, are you telling him what you want? You’ve been married for 20 years? And in 20 years, have you actually shared with him? what your dreams are, what your goals are? Have you shared with him what you want. So he can actually allow you to say what it is, or you know, so that you all can compromise. And so I think that’s one thing. And then the other thing is, it really makes me think of the art of compromise. And so, and looking at the art of compromise, being able in the beginning to ask each other again, what are you not flexible on? So when we talk about compromise, and we make this this compromise at the end? What is it that you actually have to have, so you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing everything. So if there’s something that you’re inflexible on we’ll talk about it, we’ll talk about why it’s important to you, we’ll talk about, you know, all of the reasons why it has to stay. If we’re buying a house and you say, I absolutely have to have a garage, well, why do you have to have this garage, let’s talk about it. Because if I can hear that, as your spouse and I understand why that’s inflexible, then there’s a very strong possibility, we’ll be able to keep those inflexible spaces in the compromise, and then maybe the other person won’t feel as if they’re always sacrificing everything. But I think you got to be able to share what you’re inflexible about.


Kimberly Hoffman  44:05

Alright, I’m going to spice it up a little bit. I’m going to ask,


Matthew Hoffman  44:11

 I like spicy.


Kimberly Hoffman  44:12

I’m gonna ask you to view in Estrella, I’m gonna have you go first. You know, conflict can arise when there are certain expectations around sex. Is it too much? Is it too little? You know, and I think that we even have friends who the wife has a husband on schedule. So, you know, you hear that you hear that? And, um, you know, how can we really minimize disagreement surrounding these expectations, and so that the conflict doesn’t arise and we’re not having? I mean, you know, this is an emotional, intimate time. We don’t want conflict seeping into these areas. So how do we minimize that?


Estrella Rogers  44:57

So I think I would say honestly, I think the biggest thing is that we don’t talk about it. You know, people do not talk about sex, they don’t talk about it before they get married, they don’t talk about it, when they get married, we have these expectations in our minds, and we don’t talk to the other person about it at all. And so then when our expectations are not met, then we become frustrated, we become irritated. And all of those things, and I can speak for, to say culturally, especially in, you know, religious veins, in a sense, people are told, you know, go get married, you know, you’re supposed to get married, but then they don’t tell them, you need to have conversation about the intimate part of your relationship, you need to have conversation about what your sexual expectations are with your spouse. And so when we don’t talk about it, somebody is going to be frustrated, somebody is going to feel like they’re not getting their needs met, because there is no conversation. And so how can I actually meet your needs, if I don’t truly know what they are. And I think that’s a big part of relationships, not sharing what the expectation is, I think sometimes people can even be a little shamed about what they want. And when it comes to sex and marriage and sex in their relationship, and so they hide, and they don’t tell the other person what it is that they truly want. They may feel like they don’t want the other person like, especially if the other person can’t meet their needs in a certain way, then now I don’t want, you know, my spouse to feel as if they’re not enough. And so I think there’s a lot of emotions that are tied to that as well. But I think again, the main thing is that you have to talk about it. And I will say, also, you got to know what you want. Because when the other person asks you and says, hey, well, what is it that you want, you have to know enough about yourself to be able to say, this is exactly what I need from you, and not be afraid to say that be okay with it. This is your spouse like this is you I tell people, this is your lifetime partner. So if you want to be pleased, if you want to get your expectations met, then you bet share it with them, because I can’t help you. So if you’re gonna share with somebody got away to have that conversation with your spouse, so each person needs can be met.


Kimberly Hoffman  47:22

Yeah, open vulnerable communication. Natalie, I’m sure you have more to add to that.


Natalie Southward  47:31

 I love what you said, conversation. That’s a great topic. It’s one of my favorite conversations. So to address with couples and being able to say knowing your body, right, knowing your body, your partner needs to know their body, and then you guys get to explore your bodies together. So it requires vulnerability, it requires safety and relationship. So it’s so important for couples to feel safe to be able to have these intimate, vulnerable exposed conversations. And so I’m big into play, I use that all the time, like being open to play outside the bedroom so that you can, you know, allow that to be strong so that your play in the bedroom is even stronger. Right? So where you can laugh together, you can, you know, laugh at that. Okay, that wasn’t the business position. I was thinking of her. That actually didn’t turn out the way that I was hoping and allowing couples to talk about that, and creating normalcy in your office. And there’s times where I mean, I can just see such shame or based off of some of the upbringings of my clients where, you know, they’re very uncomfortable, like, Oh, what are you doing to safeguard they’re like, Oh, we’re trying to, you know, have some healthy boundaries prior to marriage. We’re doing premarital counseling. And so I’m like, Alright, so what’s off limits? And I’m just like, straight up, like, what’s off limits and they’ll start kind of, like, tippy toeing around. I’m like, Okay, so are we saying no looking? No second, no. Nudity? No, no, like, like, so castable. And I’m like, you guys, like, this is what we’re talking about. We’re talking about intimacy on a sexual level, but then being able to explore intimacy on other levels, which I’m sure we’ll jump into a little bit later. But how to make it so solid, that you have these conversations in the bedroom, and everybody has a sexual threshold, right? For some couples, they might say, Okay, well, the husband wants to have sex five days a week and the wife’s like, I’m gonna have to, we’ll have these open conversations. Are you only wanting it two nights a week? Because you’re so exhausted? Like, oh, a partner will say, Oh, I love intimacy with my husband. I love sex with my husband. Okay, well, what’s the two days a week about what I’m drained? when the weekend comes? I feel carefree, but during the week, I have so much on my mind. So being able to have those conversations Wait, how do we how do we tag team in life so that we can take him in the bedroom and have fun? Right well, okay, well, let’s meet compromise in the husband’s exhausted or the white vice versa, it’s being able to understand each other’s needs their sexual thresholds, how to help meet those needs. Like where do you feel you get to at a breaking point where maybe you look twice at a female? Or maybe you’re looking twice at a guy? Oh, well, when we don’t have sex X, Y, and Z, you’re not responsible for your partner to keep him or her on track, to be faithful in the relationship. It’s just about knowing and having these authentic conversations. But again, it comes to exploration, exploring yourself, exploring your partner, allowing it to be fun and flirty, and playful, you know, where it’s more inviting, versus a duty, right to check off your list.


Matthew Hoffman  50:41

That’s a great concept.


Kimberly Hoffman  50:43

We’ve also talked about with you how that, you know, fulfilling the other kind of intimacies leads to I mean, you might be on a schedule of three times a week, but you know, you get this big, emotional, just thing going on. And just, you know, all of a sudden it leads to great sex, right? 


Natalie Southward  51:01



Kimberly Hoffman  51:02

Which is really special.


Matthew Hoffman  51:04

Yeah, I mean, we have, it’s funny, we’ve only tapped maybe half the question for this episode. And we can go,  I’d love to hang out with you guys all morning, but I know your days not 


Kimberly Hoffman  51:16

Yeah, this was incredible. 


Matthew Hoffman  51:18

So you guys have been incredible and so open and I just I get excited and I laugh and we have fun because it’s so much good ground covered and we want to be respecters as well. Estrella, if people want to learn more about you about your practice, and then get in touch with you or the work that you’re doing, where should they go? And what should they do?


Estrella Rogers  51:38

You can go to or And then I’m also by name on Instagram and Facebook.


Matthew Hoffman  51:50

That’s a great well, we’ll make sure we put those in the show notes and Natalie you know, we have some friends and people in your area in Florida and we’ve referred to you and  your dance card is full. And I know you know  the good ones always.


Natalie Southward  52:05



Matthew Hoffman  52:06

 But where can people get in touch with you and goodness that you got going on.


Natalie Southward  52:11

Yeah, and the the seven other therapists that our practice so I trained I trained therapists, I’m a clinical supervisor in the state of Florida. So I want to pour out into the next generation of counselors as well. So you can find me at And on Instagram, it’s the same Facebook, it’s the same


Matthew Hoffman  52:35

Great, well, so much fun to be with you today. This is an important topic. And we’ve gotten to some great issues and had some good discussion back and forth. Because we really want our listeners anybody that’s with us to understand what they can do to navigate some of the topics that we’ve gone through today. And and it’s been it’s been really fun. I’ve had a great time.


Kimberly Hoffman  52:54

Yes, thank you both so much.


Natalie Southward  52:56

Thank you so much. I’m always honored.


Matthew Hoffman  52:59

We look forward to coming across you guys again we are doing some fun stuff at Kickass Couples Nation. Estrella is one of our elite coaches and Natalie you know whether it’s my daughter 


Kimberly Hoffman  53:11

We wrangler her in when we can.


Matthew Hoffman  53:12

 Maybe squeeze in my daughter into your practice for some more good training behavioral therapist in Tampa. Yeah, we’re gonna call you up, but guys. We are so grateful. What a fantastic episode. We can’t wait to share it. And we just want you guys in closing and all of our listeners to remember one thing.


Kimberly Hoffman  53:30

happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose.


Matthew Hoffman  53:35

Thanks for being with us, guys. We’ll see you again soon.


Kimberly Hoffman  53:38

Bye. Bye. 


Natalie Southward  54:16



Estrella Rogers  54:16