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Shannan Labrador, Kimberly Hoffman, Matthew Hoffman, Javier Labrador
Matthew Hoffman 00:00
Welcome back to the Kickass Couples Podcast. We are excited to have another East Coast West Coast connection to another couple that is dedicated and living their life for the cause of marriage. We want to welcome Javier and Shannan Labrador to the Kickass Couples Podcast. So glad you guys could join us today.
Shannan Labrador 03:06
Thank you so much.
Javier Labrador 03:07
Yeah, Glad to be here. Thanks for having us.
Matthew Hoffman 03:08
Our pleasure, our pleasure. Well, we love to start off all of our time with our fantastic guests by asking a similar question we’d love to hear in your own words. And Shannan, I’m going to ask you to answer this one first. What do you think makes you and your husband kick ass?
Shannan Labrador 03:25
What makes us kickass? Well, so many things. Early on in our marriage, we did this workshop once. And part of the workshop was to decide what element you are. And of course, I identified as fire and Javi identified as Earth. He’s very nurturing, he’s an empath. And I can sometimes come in guns ablazing. So the first five years of our marriage were like the Earth got scorched. But we’ve used that for good. We’ve harnessed it for good. And I think that’s what makes us kickass.
Javier Labrador 04:06
Yeah, so definitely our story and where we’ve come from, but I believe we’ve had a resiliency through our marriage of understanding that we in time, like a model of what we do is that we get to do this. And I think that’s probably made the biggest difference for us. It’s not that we have to do this, but we actually get to do this together. And I think for us, that’s what made us a kickass couple is because we have the right mindset about marriage and what we’re committed to and the covenant that we’re in, and that has shifted things for us and, and plus, like she’s easy to love. I mean, she’s easy, right? And she’s easy to look at. She’s beautiful so yeah, it makes it really makes a big difference.
Kimberly Hoffman 04:53
Wow, it sounds like from the Earth and the fire just evolved this you know beautiful romance and dance, but you had to go through the fire to get there.
Shannan Labrador 05:04
I love what you said Kimberly about a dance because marriage is like a dance. And I would say early on that I was probably really bad at letting Javi lead you know how men lead in a certain dance or salsa, samba. And I’ve am still learning how to let them lead even when we’re on the dance floor at a wedding.
Javier Labrador 05:04
My toes were hurting.
Shannan Labrador 05:22
He’s like Shannan
Javier Labrador 05:26
My toes were hurting.
Shannan Labrador 05:28
Follow my hips, and I’m like, okay, okay.
Matthew Hoffman 05:31
I love it. That’s great.
Kimberly Hoffman 05:33
How do you work to prioritize each other while you’re doing that dance? I know you guys are, you’re together a lot. Right? So, but you’re working? Maybe you’re you know, traveling. But how do you really prioritize the relationship when you set aside all the other things?
Javier Labrador 05:51
Yeah, I think thats a great question. Because, you know, with the work that we do, we were blessed enough that we get to work together 24/7, consistently. And that’s kind of been really a rhythm of our lives for most of our marriage. But now with the work that we’re doing, and being with the Marriage Lab, on the road, across the US touring, you know, we’re in 38 feet together,
Shannan Labrador 06:09
It’s kind of like living in a shoebox.
Javier Labrador 06:10
All the time, all the time. And so what we’ve learned that even those moments where we’re together, it doesn’t mean that we’re actually present with one another, that we’re actually invested into one another. And so for us prioritizing is understanding like, what both of our needs are, that we both have? And they’re different in terms of her time for time alone, and what I need in that area as well. But we recognize that for us, we have to make, the first thing for us is God has a priority, and everything flows from there. And for us that then what happens is in proper order, my relationship with her is then Next. And that’s the most important thing. And ultimately, we make sure that we are connecting on a consistent basis that we’re doing things you’d like to sit and talk, I like to walk and talk. So we make sure that we do that with each other because it feeds different things for us. But we ensure that this comes first before our children before anything else, this is the important thing, because we have an opportunity to model to even those around us what it looks like to have a healthy God honoring relationship. And so for us, like, it’s really ensuring that we’re making time on a consistent basis daily for date nights. Sitting and actually having moments where we’re connecting, and not just talking about stuff that we have to do, but things that we want to do within our marriage.
Shannan Labrador 07:27
Yeah, that’s good.
Kimberly Hoffman 07:29
Sure. Well, I want to go back a little bit because I want to talk about your histories, I really believe that we are a product of the people who raised us. And we bring a lot of what was modeled to us to the next relationship. And so Shannan, I would love to know from you, what did love look like in your family when you were growing up? How was it expressed?
Shannan Labrador 07:55
My parents were married for 54 years before my mom passed away. So they had a great friendship. They were they always had each other’s back. They never spoke ill or negative of one another ever in front of my brother and I. They had disagreements. They they had their their squabbles, and we heard them, but they always made up, they always had each other’s back. And they were great friends. And they serve each other so well. Just daily, just daily practical things that they would do for one another and never complain. So that was the example that I saw, growing up.
Javier Labrador 08:41
Yeah, so very similar. So parents who, of course, are still married, have been married for 50 54- 55 years? So there is a legacy right of marriage in the history there. I saw an incredible example of how my father would love engage and serve my mom. Did he do it perfectly? No. But I think that was the foundation from which we both came from where I came from. And so for me, what I saw is this act of serving and giving of yourself sacrificially and really enjoying one another. And I would say that probably my parents didn’t always enjoy, like having time alone. In a Latin culture, my mom focused quite a bit on the children.
Shannan Labrador 09:29
Javier Labrador 09:30
And so dad wasn’t getting as much attention. So there’s some things that we recognize, and we shifted that as we came into marriage, recognizing what’s going to be different for us. But I agree with you, we all bring history and baggage in our marriage. Some of us carry you know bringing their carry on and some of us kind of backup a U haul into our marriage of stuff, but we all bring baggage. And so for us that’s kind of been having a legacy of marriage that we come from, it’s been a
Shannan Labrador 09:58
Javier Labrador 09:59
kind of foundational for us.
Matthew Hoffman 10:02
Well sounds like you both have a wonderful legacy to pull from. But I want to ask the question, Why dig a little deeper and say, How did you two determine from understanding each other’s pasts, and then making a decision how you’re going to go forward? Was it something that was intentional? Or did it just say, Did challenges pop up? And did you say, golly, this is a problem? We have to deal with it? Because I think a lot of people approach that differently. I’m curious, how did the two of you approach, you know, what are we going to do to make two, one from our backgrounds?
Shannan Labrador 10:34
I think ignorance is bliss. I think you go into something. And a lot of couples that we coach fall into this, our love is so special, our love is so different, that we’re just not going to encounter what the rest of the world encounters. And that’s a bunch of baloney. Like, that’s just so far from the truth. I remember, first of all we did we got premarital counseling, and it was about a 45 minute session one time, and it was super unhelpful. And it actually probably did more damage than it did good. I remember going to a Bible bookstore and looking for workbooks and things to read, because I wanted to do it well. I wanted to be a good wife. But we hit a lot of bumps on the road, there were a lot of bumps and bruises, mostly that I caused because of a lot of baggage that I brought into the marriage. making So we had the first five years, were really rough. And we had to lean in to our mentors and our pastors to coach us, to guide us, especially me, so that I could have people help me along the way in the mistakes I was and how to correct them. And really how to see Javier the way God sees him. And once I had a mind shift, I was like, oh, man, it’s all on because I saw him as somebody that this is my treasure. He is mine to protect, not to destroy. So once I got that mindset shift, everything started to change in our marriage after year five.
Javier Labrador 12:22
Yeah. And I would agree she was a problem the first five years, I mean, absolutely.
Kimberly Hoffman 12:29
Just flat out a problem.
Matthew Hoffman 12:30
The fire was hot.
Kimberly Hoffman 12:31
Javier Labrador 12:33
Matthew Hoffman 12:35
Did you guys sit down and say, All right, what are we going to do? What do we want? And what are we going to do to make sure the reality we want is going to happen? Or was it more? Was it intentional? Or was it reactionary to the circumstance where you’re thinking, Oh, my gosh, this has got to change, we can’t do this. So how did you approach that a lot of couples some approach it some never do. And some finally realize, hey, we until we go back and repair, get some understanding about our histories, we’re not going to be effective moving forward. So I was just curious how that unfolded for you. For the two of you.
Javier Labrador 13:08
Double clicking on what Shannan said is, you know, what we what we’ve learned and what we now get to do with couples and come alongside those especially that are young and getting married, and this is encouragement about, you know, how they begin is so important than setting that foundation. And in a lot of it again, you don’t really doesn’t really all click until you’re like in that marriage like, oh, okay, that’s how that’s going to work. And this is how that’s gonna come into play. I think we had a great example. And like she said our premarital wasn’t great. So walking into it. There are some things I think that we’re aware of, I was aware of that, you know, we want to shift that we don’t want to see that happen in our marriage. We want to do this differently. But we weren’t prepared for really what was going to be unfolding. In our first five years of marriage.
Shannan Labrador 13:55
If there was a game plan there was there wasn’t really a game plan.
Javier Labrador 13:58
No, there wasn’t a game plan. So I think because we got married young, I was 20. She was 19. We didn’t really sit down and say, Okay, these are the things that we want to shift and change. There is some things about you know, time spent there items are some things about like, ensuring that we are spending time together and committed to that. There are some things that we saw modeled well that we wanted to emulate, but there was a lot of it that we kind of just reacted to the current situation and where we’re at and had to respond to that. Blessed that I had a good example and I kind of as an empath, I understood, okay, I’m gonna move towards her. And I’m not sure how to respond to this. But I know one thing I know, I’m called to love her. And I know I’m onna do that really, really well. And I’m gonna do that regardless of what’s being done. And I saw that modeled. I emulated that early on in our marriage. I think that was a pivotal thing for us. But yeah, we encourage couples to really dig into understanding one another, having that premarital, starting with a good foundation.
Javier Labrador 15:00
And really unpacking where they’ve been and where they’re going. I think that’s a key thing as they launch out, you know, and I wish we had more of that. But here we are 30 years later, and I think we’re figuring it out. We’re still figuring it out.
Shannan Labrador 15:00
Shannan Labrador 15:13
Kimberly Hoffman 15:16
Yeah, we’re always a work in progress. And I think we can relate to not having figured that out too, a little bit later in life, not realizing that we needed to protect our marriage, we needed to enrich our marriage, we needed to really focus on the growth and the opportunity that we have in our marriage. And that came a little later.
Matthew Hoffman 15:35
It did we finally got there. And
Kimberly Hoffman 15:38
But we’re still working.
Matthew Hoffman 15:39
We’re still we’re still working. Yeah, I fail every day.
Javier Labrador 15:43
That’s the beauty of it, right? Just being a work in progress and recognizing like, we don’t never fully arrive. And that we always position ourselves in the place to be, there’s something more we can learn, to deepen our relationship, to deepen our intimacy with one another. And that’s a consistent thing. And so to stay in that place, we’re pliable, we’re moldable. And we’re, we really focus on being able to see the person or the problem of what’s happening. And so, you know, we have couples have asked us, what’s the hardest year of marriage? We’re like, what’s the one you’re in?
Kimberly Hoffman 16:15
Matthew Hoffman 16:16
Javier Labrador 16:18
Like, you know, we could say it’s year one or five, but like, because ultimately, and we don’t even in essence, believe that it’s necessarily hard. I believe we make it hard.
Shannan Labrador 16:29
Yes, people make it hard.
Javier Labrador 16:30
We make it difficult. But it has its struggles. And it’s difficult. That’s part of, you know, especially from our early years, what shaped us to where we’re at today. And we continue to allow the struggles and difficulties even the current season to shape us even when we don’t do it perfectly. Because there’s days I’m not her favorite person. And she’s not mine. And that’s okay,
Shannan Labrador 16:52
Kimberly Hoffman 16:53
Right. Because the next day, it’ll probably be different. So
Matthew Hoffman 16:56
Well, we have 14 pillars that we love to talk about. And speaking of foundations, it’s a nice segue. There are three pillars that we really think are foundational in any successful relationship. And those three we call the three C’s. And the first one of those is commitment. The second is communication. And the third is conflict and problem resolution. So Javier, I’d love to ask you tell me what commitment looks like in your relationship with Shannan?
Javier Labrador 17:23
Yeah, so for us commitment, first stems out of what we, you know, we believe in marriage is, you know, assume there might be different people that listen to this, but that we have a covenant. That we are mutually submitted to one another. First to God and mutually submitted to one another, that we’re not in a contractual relationship expecting, if you don’t perform, then I’m backing out. If you don’t give me this, and I’m not doing this. We get to do this, again, like I mentioned earlier together. So for, for me, the commitment stems out of knowing that I’m first committed to God and submitted to that, and then I’m able to be committed to her. commitment for me isAnd I’m committed in every facet of my life, not just in the areas that I’m comfortable with, or that I’m willing to give, but I’m committed right in, in her spiritually, emotionally, physically, sexually, financially in every area, that I’m giving myself to her completely. That I’m committed into serving her in such a way that allows her to fully become who she is intended to be. Committed in such a way that there’s no option right fr a backdoor, there’s no option, but to move towards her, to pursue her, and to serve her. So for me, I think commitment is not just also just, you know, of course, the words we’re speaking but also the actions that we’re taking and how we’re moving towards our spouse and how we’re pursuing them and how we’re loving them. So for me, that’s how I’m framing, I frame commitment for myself.
Matthew Hoffman 18:49
Sure, and Shannan, what would you add to that? How do you how do you see commitment show up in your relationship with Javier?
Shannan Labrador 18:57
That comes from family of origin. My parents. My grandparents were married for 70 years. My other set of grandparents 65 years. My parents 54 years. And I remember we were at a marriage workshop early on in our marriage, probably year two or three, and somebody that was teaching, had the statement that if your marriage is a house, there’s no backdoor on it. And of course, we’re not talking about neglect or abuse or anything like that. But there’s there’s no back door that when you bore me, I’m frustrated with you, I’m just not happy. Those aren’t options. So I built this marriage house and I’m sticking in it and I’m in it for forever. Like you’re stuck with me forever. And I’m gonna fight for you and I’m gonna fight for us. That’s what commitment looks like to me.
Matthew Hoffman 19:56
Great example, yeah. John Gottman uses the “Relationship House.” And we refer back to that a lot. And certainly the floor of that house is commitment. And if without that foundation, it doesn’t really matter what the walls and everything else is like. But I appreciate that those analogies.
Kimberly Hoffman 20:16
Yeah, our second C is communication. And we all know how important that is in a relationship. You know, over time, how we communicate with each other, how we stay emotionally connected with each other, that has a huge impact on our relationship. So talk to me a little bit about communication between the two of you, and how that works and how you create time for it?
Javier Labrador 20:41
She tells me what to do and they do it.
Shannan Labrador 20:42
There you go.
Javier Labrador 20:43
Very, very clear.
Shannan Labrador 20:45
Boom, moving on, next question.
Javier Labrador 20:47
As long as she uses the right tone, I’m okay with it.
Kimberly Hoffman 20:50
Matthew Hoffman 20:55
Kimberly Hoffman 20:59
If it were only that easy.
Javier Labrador 21:05
If it were only that easy, yeah.
Shannan Labrador 21:53
I remember learning through other workshops that we did about learning your spouse’s learning style, and how they receive information, and how they process information was such an eye opening moment for me, because I walked into marriage naive thinking, if I say something, he should understand, he should get it. Moving on. And that’s not the case. So I would say that the key to us communicating has been that we’ve learned each other’s communication language and styles. And to really lean into those, Javier told me many years ago, Shannan, if you have something really important to ask me, or something we need to talk about. After nine o’clock at night, I’m shut down my brain does not work. And I’ve always remembered that, like, even if it’s something that I’m like, going to sleep like, oh my gosh, I wish he could just answer this right now, we could talk about it. Like, no, wait till we’re in the morning, we’re having our tea, or we’re making breakfast and, and I can share this with them. Because he’s fresh, and he’s ready to process something with me.
Javier Labrador 23:12
Shannan Labrador 23:13
Maybe. So we really, I think it can time to really understand our learning styles in that so that we do communicate well, do we mess up? Do we miss it? Do I? Do I lose my temper? Did I say something that I should apologize for? Yeah, we’re human.
Javier Labrador 23:31
Yeah, let’s remember fire over here fire. So that’s still that’s still moves into our communication at time. But like she was sharing was saying like, we understand that about one another. So Stephen Covey, who said that, the habit of seeking first to understand and then be understood, and we practice that quite a bit like I need to actually not just hear what’s being said, but truly listen to what is being said, to seek to understand that to draw her out. So for us communication, and what it’s been for me is like, we actually spend time a lot in the empathic dialogue of understanding, you know, hey, I’m feeling this. So what I hear you saying, you know, and so we kind of unpack that so we get to a place of understanding of one another. And it’s not always easy to do that in the midst of a disagreement or an argument to say, Okay, what I feel right now, or what I hear you saying, Shannan is this, but I find when we come to the place and we we actually pause and we allow that to happen, then we can actually come into one other spaces and begin to really truly understand what we’re actually trying to communicate. Because absolutely, I don’t think there’s any men out there to say, oh, yeah, I totally understand everything that comes out of her mouth every time she says it, right?Just recently, we, you know, wife, may have been complaining about her husband going to golf again, and we said, hey, behind every complaint or criticism is a wish or want right? Now it’d be better to communicate that what that want is and to have the person guessing right? or to have it come out through frustration? And so, for us communication is something that we have to practice, you know, because I think the problem with communication at times is the fact that we think we have it. And it’s so much more than just words, right? It is how we express it. Body language is everything, it’s putting the phone down and focusing and paying attention.
Shannan Labrador 25:20
Javier Labrador 25:21
So until we’ve learned, like, we have to be present available to one another, we have to learn to understand, you know, again, what is being said, we use empathic dialogue quite a bit. But we really seek to kind of just understand one another. And to see past their in communication to see past what the actual problem is to see what’s really happening. And try to understand that with one another, recognizing that it may be coming out of somewhere that is not just surface level, a little bit more deeply rooted. And so for us, we really work on trying to communicate effectively. And in no way are we doing it perfectly. But yeah, we’re
Shannan Labrador 25:58
Javier Labrador 25:58
We’re always practicing it.
Shannan Labrador 26:00
Yeah. Most couples mistake talking or communicating. You just talked to your spouse, and they didn’t communicate. And that’s where we love to teach, and kind of have those eye opening moments with them. And how communication looks differently than just talking.
Javier Labrador 26:19
Kimberly Hoffman 26:20
I love that. You know, I hope our listeners are hearing that understanding your partner’s communication style, know how your spouse likes to communicate. That’s great advice. What about love languages? Do you know each other’s love languages?
Shannan Labrador 26:37
Javier Labrador 26:40
Yeah. Words of affirmation, guy. So you know, I say all the time, like, I’ll climb a mountain of razor blades to hear her say like, you’re the man like, You got what it takes like.
Shannan Labrador 26:51
I am physical touch.
Javier Labrador 26:53
Kimberly Hoffman 26:55
Matthew Hoffman 26:58
Yeah, those are high, those rank highly for us as well, both of those two things. And we are working to get those needs met. And so our third C is conflict and problem resolution. And you know, anyone that tells you Oh, we never argue, you know, we never have disagreement, then, you know, then they’re probably not married, or maybe haven’t been married for longer than a day or so. But so those things do come up. And so I’m curious when they do when you all have a disagreement? What, you know, how do you approach it? And what is what does conflict or problem resolution look like in your relationship? Shannan, love to hear from you in that?
Shannan Labrador 27:37
Conflict? We live in a cracker jack box. They come up, I believe that we that we have evolved into better versions of ourselves, I believe that every 10 years you evolved into, you know, we just we’re maturing, our bodies are aging, we’re changing, we’re getting healthier. So you know, 30 years ago, my conflict resolution was basically just to start a wildfire. And then somebody else can put it out, don’t tell me what to do. Don’t tell me what to do. Don’t talk to me. I am, I am the chief, I am the queen, I will decide who tells me what to do or anything like that. So a lot had to shift within me as far as conflict resolution, and really understanding that he is not my enemy. He is for me, he loves me. He’s for our marriage. So remembering that cognitively in the front of my mind, I have an issue with you, you’re irritating or something you did bothered me. But remembering that he’s for me, remembering, he probably didn’t do it intentionally. He’s not out to sabotage me. He’s, he’s really my partner. So whatever I’m irritated about, I put it through that filter first. Most of the time, sometimes, it’ll come right out. But most of the time I put it through that filter. So when I do ask him, hey, is there a reason why the toilet lid can’t like get like, I understand the middle of the night, but really couldn’t we just work on putting the toilet seat down? And it makes things better when I put it through the filter of understanding who I’m married to his heart, his character and that he’s really for us. And I believe that has helped how we resolve problems. We’ll do that.
Javier Labrador 29:45
You don’t want to put up walls don’t want to put up walls. Shannan, I want to just go back for two seconds, because I really love the visual of putting it through the filter. And I think that’s something that our listeners can really take advantage of. Put it through the filter. We’re Team Labrador. And then what’s next, what comes from that, right? I mean, just really given the chance to be to be filtered out and thought
Javier Labrador 29:45
Yeah, so it’s funny because you mentioned that like the toilet lid, which like the issue is not really the toilet, right? It’s like, you know, feeling sometimes maybe it is just as simple as that right? But yeah, so For us, like, like conflict resolution. I know for me, that has been something I like to resolve quickly. I like to have that conversation. I love to be able to unpack those things. I am quick to give forgiveness, I am quick to say, No, I see what’s going on there. But kind of how I’m wired is I always look beyond like what’s going on to see Oh, what was actually happening here. So for me, I’m putting on a dress that. Shannan’s not always wanting to do that at that moment. And we’ve learned in the midst of conflict, there’s times where I have to say, like, Hey, I can’t bring my best self to this conversation right now. Can we talk in a few minutes. And that’s helpful for me in resolving conflict. I recognize and conflict resolution for us as well, is that if it doesn’t it, this rarely rarely has ever happened in our 30 years. But when it has, if she leaves the room, if she’s a little frustrated, and it’s not like intentionally mad, but she leaves the room and go somewhere, I can sit in this other room and just stay there. Or I can move towards her and go after her. And I think for us in conflict resolution, that’s been a very key thing that I moved towards her. And I go after her. Because I think what happens is the narrative can be built in the mind that lets say, you know, Shannon, like, Why isn’t he coming after you. So you’re not worth fighting for? Or what’s actually really going on? It’s also the stories being unpacked in her mind, because now there’s silence. And so I’ve learned to actually move towards my spouse in those moments. And even saying, Hey, I know you, we’re going to talk later, I want you to know, I love you, I’m for you, we’re going to be okay. So for me in conflict resolution, I want to provide a reassurance that she knows it’s gonna be fine, we’re going to work it out, it’s going to be Oh, Kay. And this will actually form and shape is going to be fine. And that’s helped us quite a bit in that. Because again, I am pretty stable, and Shanaon will be a little more fiery. And so we’ve learned that that’s okay. And we don’t try to tell each other you can’t act that way. Now they own their feelings. They feel that way. That’s okay. But we just also, also the last thing with conflict resolutions, we understand that we might go to bed with it unresolved, but we’re not going to go to bed angry, but resolve that may not be. And that’s okay, we say hey, we’ll pick it up. We’re, we’re going to talk about it some more. I love you, we’re going to be okay. So we recognize that we don’t want to allow that to happen. And we don’t allow silence to sit beside them. Now, where we allow two three days without talking about it. That is not healthy conflict resolution, we feel that reads bitterness and resentment. And really, it’s starts building a case against the other person. So we don’t allow, like the day two, three to go by without talking or talking about it.
Shannan Labrador 33:19
Matthew Hoffman 33:21
Yeah, so I want to ask a question. Can either of you think of a time thinking and talking about conflict, where one of you screwed up and really stepped in it? And then when that happened, how did you guys confront it and work through it?
Shannan Labrador 33:34
Oh my gosh.
Javier Labrador 33:38
I’ll let you start. I mean, you’re step in it often so.
Matthew Hoffman 33:45
There’s those words
Shannan Labrador 33:51
I was thinking, the last big thing I did was, we we recorded three hours of audio. I deleted it off the computer.
Kimberly Hoffman 34:03
Matthew Hoffman 34:04
Kimberly Hoffman 34:06
That’s something I would probably do.
Shannan Labrador 34:16
And you know how our time is so precious. Like for us to find another three hours to record those podcasts again. I literally wanted to crawl under the fifth wheel and just like run me over like I’d rather be dead because to have to tell Javier that I just deleted these, he’s gonna lose his mind. But um
Kimberly Hoffman 34:42
Matthew Hoffman 34:43
So what happened? How did you guys work your way through that?
Shannan Labrador 34:46
Javier Labrador 34:47
And she came back three days later.
Kimberly Hoffman 34:51
It took three days?
Shannan Labrador 34:57
I checked into a hotel I, you know what I’ve learned to just own it right away. And I’m like, I’m just, I can’t him haul around this. So, Javier, this is what I did. I’m so sorry, I 100% own this mistake, like, this is 100% on me. It’s not my computer’s fault. It was my error. And he was he was frustrated in that we had to find time to record those again, because we tried to record in chunks. And then you know, we disperse them throughout the weeks, months. And within 20 minutes, he doesn’t stay mad at me. He lets things go. He doesn’t hold on to things. I was trying to think of the the thing that you did when he backed the fifth wheel into a tree and busted out the window in the master bedroom. He stay heated. Now I wasn’t I wasn’t mad at him. Because I knew the minute it happened, he was already going to be hard on himself. Like, he was already going to come down hard on himself. So I allowed him space. And I didn’t ask I just said, what is it that you need from me right now? Like, how can I help you because me getting on his face me berating him isn’t going to make him feel better or fix the situation. He made a mistake. And he is the most careful driver. So I was like, I don’t need to attack him. Am I upset that it happened? Yeah. Is another $600 window what we need right now? No, but it was like I am Team Labrador. So I just said, What do you need for me? And he’s like, I need to go on a walk for five minutes and repent for all the bad words that are about come out of my mouth. I was like, Okay, you do you. And I just created an environment for him to vent. It took him about a whole day to not be so upset and frustrated with himself. But I I feel like I did a good job of giving you space and not telling you like, yeah.
Matthew Hoffman 37:13
So Javier, in that first situation? Javier when when the deletions happened, looking on your side of the story? How did you respond to it? How did you work through it? So that it you know, what were you thinking? And how did you approach that to successfully navigate through?
Javier Labrador 37:31
Initially, like, because again, we’re walking through this and working through our marriage and these pieces. Yeah, absolutely frustrated, not happy in whatsoever. And, you know, we’re trying to resolve it initially trying to find it. And I said, Listen, like I like, I don’t want to do this again, I don’t have time to do this. So I expressed my frustration, and I think we both have done as well like, like, we allow ourselves to like not be okay in that moment. And to express how we’re feeling. But then for me at that moment, it was coming back to you. Okay, I had to remind myself, it’s not what she meant to do. It wasn’t intentional thing. Like, I’m for her. Like, we’ll have to do it. Again. It’s an inconvenience. So for me, I have to talk myself through those things, and recognize, okay, it’s going to be fine. It’s going to be okay. It wasn’t an intentional thing. And I think one thing for us in these big moments of things that have happened, I can name so many that I have done, where I may have led her the wrong way or made a bad choice or a wrong decision that have caused us whether it’s, you know, a financial struggle or difficulty, all these moments where I can be tough on myself. One of the things that we’ve learned is like how to at those moments, do we again, like Shannan is saying, not cast blame on anybody. Make sure that we’re there for one another. But same time that we’re just having ownership. So I’m learning in those moments for me, a, I have ownership of that. That’s me, I take responsibility. And that shifts things for us. And she does the same thing. And that’s been huge, and kind of resolving some of those big moments that have happened.
Shannan Labrador 39:03
Kimberly Hoffman 39:04
When we do life together, we’re going to have the small ones and we’re going to have the big ones, we’re going to have the ones that we’re going to step in. And I think that you know, taking a step back, and really looking at it and using it as an opportunity to grow and to learn and not to place blame. It’s huge because my this week it might be my mess but next week, it might be his And so no, can’t point fingers and be really hard on one another.
Javier Labrador 39:35
Yeah, I mean, I think the hardest we are hard on ourselves. You know, and that’s one thing Shannan’s done great supporting and encouraging and being my biggest fan and cheerleader, which as a man, I need that. And she recognized like she holds my heart in the palm of her hand. And so, like she breathes life into me in those moments where I can be hard on myself or have seasons of life or sometimes decisions and choices that we’ve made, like I mentioned earlier, we get to do that for each other. But she does that so well and breathing life into those moments in those situations to encourage me, because I already know what I did. I’m already tough on myself, you know, and is one of the we know that already. So to remind each other of our faults is not helpful in any way, shape, or form.
Kimberly Hoffman 40:21
Absolutely. Yeah, we have 14 Total pillars. So we have 11, more. And I think you we talked about this a little earlier, the form that has the list of all the pillars, I would love to hear from each of you, which other pillar resonates most with you, and why?
Shannan Labrador 40:44
Servant, servant leadership. What we do when we teach boot camps or workshops, we teach what we call the minimalist marriage. And in our curriculum, we talked about serving is key, it is core, it is foundation, to so many other areas of marriage, when you learn how to serve one another. It changes the trajectory of your marriage, it changes everyday life with your spouse. Jimmy Evans said, “the best marriages are two servants who are in love. And once I got a hold of what it meant to serve Javier, and he does the same. It’s like, it’s like a game around here who can out serve each other. Because I want to make his life easier. I want to bless him, I love him. So even if it’s something I have to do all the time, or it’s a task, I don’t enjoy doing, I want to be a blessing to him, I want to add value, I want to make his life easier. I want him to find joy, or find time to do other things. Because Shannan did this for me already, like serving just covers such an endless area in your marriage. And I believe that we’ve seen the most transformation and the couples we’ve coached that have really gotten a hold of this, and are practicing this consistently in their marriage.
Kimberly Hoffman 42:29
That’s a beautiful picture.
Javier Labrador 42:34
Yeah, and I would absolutely agree with her. And you know, in that as well as like this place of serving, and there’s not like, Hey, how can I make the day better for you? How can I serve you best today? Like what that does, and the walls that come down? And you’ll begin to do that and find ways to out serve one another? is, it’s pretty incredible and transformative. Yeah. For me, and actually the one that kind of stands out, I look at Unity, I look at appreciation, security, I look when you have all those things, I think they feed into your number six pillar of intimacy. Because we’re not talking about that about sex, we’re talking about intimacy, we’re talking about connection. We’re talking about intimacy, physically, emotionally, spiritually, in every area, and that our daily actions breed intimacy, the way we love, the way we serve the way we have patience and trust, and we build security and we enjoy one another. All that builds this foundational intimacy in our marriage, that everything kind of stems from that. Right. You know, oftentimes, of course, like, you know, when we first got married, we heard intimacy, like automatic, we thought sex great, but we didn’t recognize and early on and know that, like, it’s gonna be good in there, because it’s good outside of there. Because we have invested above the sheets first, before beneath the sheet, because we have built intimacy. So to me, that resonates, because I think all the others kind of speak to building that piece. That is this incredible connection between husband and wife, that if it’s not there, I think it allows other things to come into the marriage that kind of started to chip away. But when we spend time together, we go on the walk, when we’re making dinner together, having a meal together, when we’re enjoying each other or laughing, that’s building intimacy. And that’s the bank account that we can draw from in the future. So we want to invest that area heavily. So for me, that one’s picked up quite a bit.
Matthew Hoffman 44:24
And we talk about intimacy, you know, it brings up that important topic, and how was the level of intimacy changed over the years that you all have been married? And what have you been able to do to keep it strong and deep and at the forefront as opposed to fading in the background?
Javier Labrador 44:43
So I think I just mentioned a few other things. I think there’s an intentionality right, to consistently building intimacy. I think early on if we’re talking outside of the outside of the bedroom, right? I would say For us early on, I think we did quite a bit in terms of trying to invest each other. When we were raising our girls, we had dates consistently, I dated my girls like we had this, we had a consistency that we’re trying to invest in one another. And it just changed season to season because of kids and then work in different aspects of life. But for us, it was difficult early on to have a, you know, to suddenly build a consistency, but we got to a rhythm, where we understood like how that feeds all the other areas. So we’ve been consistent with that. I would say when it comes to the other side of it, actually, like, that’s been a roller coaster for us, because we have flopped back and forth in those roles in different in different seasons of our lives. So that has been interesting. It has grown, I think we’ve grown in both those areas. And I think it at times has been a struggle. Yeah, but that we have admitted to growing, you know, in both.
Shannan Labrador 45:54
I would say this is gonna sound like a weird answer. And I was trying to think of how to say it. But I’ve always known that Javi is, is proactively pursuing me, and I’m proactively serving him. So I don’t ever get to a place where I worry, like, is our marriage failing? are we falling apart? are we falling out of love? Because we’re proactively always pursuing things pertaining to the intimacy and the health and the communication of our marriage. And I understand that some couples don’t have that maybe one spouse has that more than the other. So it’s that intentionality of No, I’m gonna pursue you. And we even went through a season at year 18, where Javi went through a series a season of depression that lasted, I don’t know, upwards of two years. And even in that was a really, really dark season for us. We still found intentionality, we still found moments to connect. I can’t say that I can’t I look back on it. And I can’t say that we were just been we fell apart, or we spent a lot of time alone, or I didn’t feel invested into. He went through a really hard time. But yet there was still laughter. There were still date nights that happen.
Javier Labrador 47:22
I would be crying a lot, but we still had them.
Shannan Labrador 47:27
You know, we’d be eating pizza. And he’d be like, oh, you know, he’s like falling apart on the inside. But, yeah, so even though that crisis in our marriage, it created more intimacy. And I always say that, what creates for me because you know, we’re wired differently than men. Is that sacred history that we have? Javi and I have been married for 30 years. We met 34 years 35 years ago in a junior high school. And we there’s so much sacred history, and that is so special to me. Like you can’t replace that you can’t go into another relationship and microwave that. Like this. This is it. All the goods, the bads, the highs and the lows, I take it all.
Kimberly Hoffman 48:19
Well, intentionality means security. Right? It means as you said, intimacy, it’s so important that we be very intentional with our spouse.
Matthew Hoffman 48:29
Yeah, no doubt.
Kimberly Hoffman 48:33
All right, I have one final question. And that is we’re gonna go back a little bit, and put our hands on the shoulders of our unmarried selves. And ask the question, you know, what, what’s the one piece of advice that I would give myself knowing what you know now? So you’re going back to your unmarried self and saying, Shannan, you need to know this.
Shannan Labrador 49:02
I wish I could go back and tell myself what it really means to be a servant and love your spouse and conditionally and that he is not the enemy and he’s not against you. I think that would have broken a lot of walls down early on. Because I had so many walls that from from baggage that I brought into marriage, so if I could go back. I would get her in a headlock. And I would tell her that
Kimberly Hoffman 49:41
How about you Javier, what would you say to your unmarried self?
Shannan Labrador 49:47
Run, Run, Run, Javier, run!
Javier Labrador 49:51
The fire is coming, run.
Kimberly Hoffman 50:02
You need water you need water.
Javier Labrador 50:08
Give me water, I need water. I need to be at that point I need to be watered, not Earth.
Shannan Labrador 50:12
Yeah, you need to get a hose and just start running.
Javier Labrador 50:15
Yeah, I think this may sound it may be an interesting answer. Because I think it’s, it’s more about like preparing myself to be able to be resilient through the season that you face within marriage. And to understand, like I didn’t have that mentality early on, though, that I did somewhat that I get to do this with her. But this resiliency to like, no, regardless of what happens when I stand at that altar and then make those commitments, those vows, like, those aren’t ones that we’re taking lightly over throwing them out there. So I would tell myself, like ensuring that you have this resiliency, this strength that prevails as you move through your marriage, because of what we’re building, because of where you’re going. And not just to see the current moment and the current season you’ve may be in, but to recognize that that season is breeding something beautiful on the other side, that even though you’re going through a season that is a bit crappy, and it’s dark, but I think that point I recognized that time to hate No, it’s that way. Because there’s a seed in here in this marriage that will blossom into something pretty incredible. I needed to be reminded that consistently in our first number of years of marriage, but had I had somebody investing to me in that earlier, I think it would have shifted some things right early on. And thoughts of leaving or not being together wouldn’t have run through my mind. Because it was hard. And so I think we did embrace the difficulty. And learn that early on, I think is a key thing.
Matthew Hoffman 52:01
Well, you guys have been so generous with your time and your transparency. We really enjoyed spending time with you today. If people want to know where you are and connect with you in some of the various places, where should they go to find more about what good work you’re doing?
Javier Labrador 52:18
Shannan Labrador 52:19
For sure. Yes, thank you guys so much. This has been so fun. We’d love to banter back and forth in and talk about our own marriage and put into practice what we teach. But people can find us at 247 Marriage is our handler name on every social media platform from Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, YouTube, it’s @247marriage. Our website is 247marriage.org. Instagram is the easiest way to reach out to us. It’s the one we’re most socially engaged with. And we would love to meet you. We would love for you to follow us. And
Javier Labrador 53:02
And look for us on the road.
Shannan Labrador 53:02
And look for us on the road, yes, you can’t miss us.
Kimberly Hoffman 53:09
Well, this has been a terrific interview. Thank you both so much. And I want to acknowledge the great work that you’re doing in the area of marriage. I think there’s such a need for it out there. So thank you. Thank you for what you’re doing within that community to make it better.
Matthew Hoffman 53:23
Lots of fun to be with you guys today.
Javier Labrador 53:25
Yeah, thank you.
Shannan Labrador 53:26
Javier Labrador 53:30
Shannan Labrador 53:43
Thank you, bye.
Kimberly Hoffman 53:54