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Kickass Couples Podcast

Imago Therapy Saved Their Marriage, Ep 52 Rabbi Shlomo & Rivka Slatkin

By May 24, 2022September 7th, 2022No Comments


Imago Therapy Saved Their Marriage, Ep 52 Rabbi Shlomo & Riv…

Sat, 5/14 3:34PM 45:27


shlomo, relationship, couples, kickass, hear, marriage, commitment, feel, conflict, important, learned, thought, people, imago, triggered, communication, committed, parents, home, share


Kimberly Hoffman, Rivka Slatkin, Matthew Hoffman, Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin

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Matthew Hoffman 00:02

Welcome to the Kickass Couples Podcast. This is the place where we help committed couples who want to level up their marriage experience newfound clarity, hope and confidence. We’re Matthew and Kim, co-hosts and husband and wife.

Kimberly Hoffman 00:16
in 26 years together, we’ve seen a lot and never thought it could be as good as it is right now.

We’re here to help you successfully navigate the messy, dirty and wonderful world of marriage.

Matthew Hoffman 00:28

We believe all couples deserve and are capable of experiencing an extraordinary and fulfilling marriage. And each week we’re bringing you life lessons from real-life successful couples to help you grow and strengthen your relationship.

Kimberly Hoffman 00:43

We’ll get started right after this message. If you want to learn how to experience the best, most fulfilling year of your marriage, we invite you to order Matthew’s new book, “Kickass Husband: Winning at Life, Marriage and Sex.†You can get it at or visit Matthew’s website, Again, that’s or And now back to the show.

Matthew Hoffman 01:18

Welcome back to the kick ass couples Podcast. Today we have a real treat for you. We’re being joined by Rabbi Shlomo Slotkin and his wife, Rivka. And they really walk their talk. Twenty years ago, they saved their marriage by going through Imago couples therapy. That experience transformed their relationship and led them to a higher calling. Today they lead thousands of couples through their No Blame/No Shame Marriage Restoration Project weekend retreats that help partners reignite their passion and commitment for one another. Join us as we look through our lens of prioritization and hear how Rabbi Shlomo and Rivka found their way back to each other through Imago couples therapy. And they’ve discovered how they were able to recognize their personality differences as proof of being each other’s perfect soulmates. So we are so excited to have you join us today, Shlomo and Rivka. And we’re excited that you’re agreed to become guests of the kickass Couples Podcast. And so we welcome you. And we’re excited to be speaking with you today from Maynard here in kind of overcast and chilly, South Carolina. How’s everything going? In Baltimore? Maryland, right?

Rivka Slatkin 02:32
Yes, we had pretty good wet weather yesterday. And I’m hoping today will end up being

somewhat similar because it was like a warm, beautiful spring day yesterday.

Matthew Hoffman 02:42

Oh, wow. The tease. Right? Because we know we got some more cold to come. But so we’d love to start off our podcast by asking everybody this question and Rivka I’m going to ask you to go first, if you don’t mind. I’d like to know our listeners have a burning desire to hear what makes you a Kickass couple?

Rivka Slatkin 03:00

Oh, my goodness. Okay, well, I can’t say that I didn’t listen to some of your other episodes. So I knew this question was coming. But Shlomo didn’t know, I don’t think so. I’m glad you asked me first. So I think for us, or for me, I’ll speak for myself is becoming more conscious, right, like becoming more aware of when I’m getting triggered? Or why just becoming more conscious as a person and also as a wife. And I can explain that a little bit more after afterwards, if you want, or I can go into it sort of what I mean now.

Matthew Hoffman 03:38
Tell me. Yeah, tell me what you mean, when you say more conscious. What does that mean to you?

Rivka Slatkin 03:41

Because, um, you know, before I guess I’m on I did work on our marriage, I would just, you know, lash out if I was angry, or dump if I wanted to talk without thinking, “Oh, well, what impact will my words have on my husband?” Or, “you know, how am I coming across?” “Am I just, you know, doing fight or flight and not really thinking things through accessing my full brain?” “Is it just reactive mode?” So I really strive to be a conscious way of where I’m aware of what is the impact of my emotions on other people. What’s really going on under the surface? Also, what needs are not getting met? And why am I feeling frustrated? It’s usually because there’s something deeper going on. And I want to know what that is, and be be conscious about it.

Matthew Hoffman 04:34

Sure. Well, I appreciate you sharing the meaning behind that. And it’s great because all of our interactions have impact. And you’re saying, what I hear you saying is, you know, there were times when you just spout off and said and did what you wanted to, and you didn’t really have any regard for what impact it would have on your husband or your relationship. And I think that is true. So you’re being intentional in your relationship. And Shlomo, what about for you? What is it that you think makes you two a Kickass couple?

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 04:59

I think one of the things that we learn in terms of goes in some of your principal, your three C’s is communication. You know, we thought we were pretty good communicators and everyone we were engaged with, like people said, we’re going to fight and like, you know, we’re not going to fight. I’m a good listener and everything but. And I realized that I may have been a good listener, but it was a good listener, not when it was about me, meaning when it was, if Rivka was upset about something, I was really great there to listen to her, to be there for her, when she would get upset about me, then that’ll be harder for me to listen to. So a lot of times, I think, because I like to help people and I’m in the helping profession, I thought, “well, you know, someone has a problem, I want to fix it.” And what I learned was, it was important for me to kind of step back and to be able to hear her, and to really just let her express her pain. Let her express her hurt without trying to solve the problem, just being able to mirror to validate her experience, to empathize with her. And, and that’s it. And that was all that was needed. So that was definitely a stretch for for me and something that I learned that I think that really made her relationship and to something nice, saved our relationship from going down a bad path, let’s say about more a path that endures more volatility. I love hearing you both say that you each learned something, and you are willing to grow and implement change in order to be Kickass, right?

Rivka Slatkin 06:36
Yeah, it sounds good at the end. But I guess in the journey, it didn’t always feel that great.

Kimberly Hoffman 06:44

Well, so I like to go back a little bit. And we talk about how are we our past and our history really does come into play in our relationships now. So we bring a lot of our history with us. And I like to say we have a little bit of grandpa in our bones. And so I’m just curious, Shlomo, how was love expressed when you were growing up? What did it look like in your family?

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 07:22

These are hard questions. I mean, I’m thinking but just in my immediate family, I mean, with my parents, I see, I came from a pretty, pretty stable home. You know, every family has their own challenges and with, you know, grandparent in-laws and outlaws, and definitely, you know, conflict could see happening with extended family members. But I never really saw my parents really fight with each other too much. Once in a blue moon was maybe when my mother would get upset. But my father was I was more like my father. He was very kind of calm, not very emotional. But I knew that my parents loved each other. And like, I saw them express physical affection. I knew that my mother was very fond of my father and I knew the opposite. And my father was fond of my mother as well. So I felt like I had a pretty healthy upbringing in terms of viewing that love the love that they had towards each other. And so for me, it wasn’t, I don’t feel like it was hard for me to go into the marriage in terms of expressing my feelings for Rivka. Because I felt like I had a pretty good model growing up.

Kimberly Hoffman 08:34

I love hearing that. And that’s not always the case, right with a lot of people. And so when you come from that kind of wonderful, stable background, tell me a little bit about were there things from that background that you said, I’m definitely going to do this in my next relationship? Or were there things that you said, you know, I really feeling that that probably isn’t a great idea. That’s something I definitely don’t want to do when I have a relationship.

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 09:07

I don’t think there was really anything like consciously that I thought of at least, growing up even even before we met that I thought, “oh, like I definitely don’t want to replicate my parents relationship.” I felt that I didn’t really see you know, I don’t I didn’t really see anything wrong, wrong with it. You know, maybe after we started doing our work together and learning more about Imago therapy that was I started maybe I could look back and say, see certain things in terms of the listening in terms of validating. But I didn’t feel like for example, I didn’t feel like my mother was overly critical of my father. Which is something that a lot of couples, you know, grow up witness in their home. So a lot of these things I don’t feel like I noticed. Again, there’s some like little things maybe that I would look back on now that I have more information about, you know what, what you’re supposed to do in a relationship. But I don’t think there’s anything significant that I really thought like, oh, yeah, I’m definitely not gonna repeat that.

Kimberly Hoffman 10:12
How ’bout you, Rivka? What does it look like?

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 10:17 There are both extremes here.


Kimberly Hoffman 10:20 Not unusual. It’s not unusual,

Rivka Slatkin 10:22

Right. Yes, everything. So everything in my home, I remember basically saying, “I’m never going to want to repeat this.” My parents absolutely despise each other, hated, hated each other. They got divorced when I was about 11. So I think they were married 14 years, but they absolutely hated each other. It was an extremely volatile and reactive home. Really from my earliest memory, I always shared our couples workshops is I remember playing with my sisters, and because my parents had forgotten to give us dinner, because they just were fighting for so many hours. So it was just very reactive. And I, as a teenager, I even wrote this little book, how I wanted to parent my own children, and how I wanted my marriage to look like so that was kind of like my mission. Growing up was I am going to create a successful home no matter what. And that’s why it was so shocking when we first got married, and we thought, okay, we’re gonna do this wonderfully. And then about a year, year and a half into our marriage, we were like, “Oh, my gosh, what is going on?” “How are we going to make it?” And that was so you know, devastating for us? Because we thought we really had the answers.

Kimberly Hoffman 11:42

Sure, well, that’s 11 years of, of volatile environment. So how did you? How did you come out of that? How were you able to even when you said you wrote a book? Or were there other things that sort of helped you make it through that?

Rivka Slatkin 11:58

Yes. So well, you know, and it didn’t stop at 11. Like, the divorce was the end of an era. But their interactions with each other continue until I was married, you know, till age, what was I always go through, I was 20. So their interactions, even to this day at family functions is very unpleasant. So I feel like it really, you know, so many kids experience divorce, and they say kids are resilient. And nowadays, it’s 50% of the population. But I think studies do show that it really defines the child, it really defines the person. And I do feel that it completely defined who I was. Thankfully, I went to a great high school with a lot of teachers support, principals, were very interested in me, and I had a lot of friends and their parents, I felt like I could turn to without those people, I really don’t know how I would have made it. So it was friends, and it was their parents, and it was teachers that were helpful.

Kimberly Hoffman 12:56
You had some great role models along the way is what I hear you saying,

Rivka Slatkin 13:00

Rivka Slatkin 13:00

Matthew Hoffman 13:04

Well, that’s, that’s neat. Well, it’s fun, you know, every relationship is a synthesis of coming together, right? And you figure that history out, either by hook or by crook. And it sounds like you two realized it. And we’re able to build on that. And that kind of leads naturally in to the first of our three C’s, which is commitment, and so Shlomo, I love to know, in your relationship with Revco. What does commitment look like to you?

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 13:30

So for me, I’m commitment is to say it’s easy, but it’s, it’s something that I pride myself in. And it really just means that I’ve committed to this relationship. And no matter whether it’s difficult, or it’s easy, I’m here for the long haul. So I’m going to like, just push, push through it and work on and if we’re having a bad day, tomorrow is going to be better. I’m not looking and even if even if I’ve had times over the years, where I just sometimes I have those like doubts or those thoughts about what would it look like if I weren’t in the relationship? I so kept pushing forward and realizing like, this is what I’m committed to if I’m committed to this relationship between the two, our family and you, no, I’m not going anywhere.

Matthew Hoffman 14:15
So sticking through no matter what thick and thin pushing through and commitment looks like

sticking around.

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 14:22

And I’ve noticed that this has been you know, it’s my work with couples that this is in my book I read this is the number one. Step number one because if you don’t have commitment, you can have them you don’t have anything if you have I’ve had couples with the worst and the worst scenarios and we’re able to work through it because they’re committed to each other but couples who just had have like little annoyances, bickering, they were not committed, they were not able to be successful. And that’s kind of like the litmus test for the more success. The more committed you are, the more likely you are to be able to succeed. Do the work because you’re not thinking about No, I’m not thinking about like this. “Well, maybe it would be better with somebody else.” Or maybe, you know, it’s like “this is this is the person I married. This is who I committed my life to, and I’m gonna make it work and do whatever it takes.”

Kimberly Hoffman 15:10

I love hearing that when you don’t have commitment, none of these other 13 pillars really matter. I mean, yeah without commitment, you can’t do anything with them. Yes, you got it. Absolutely. I had some really good role models.

Matthew Hoffman 15:21

Yeah, it’s the cornerstone, for sure. And yeah, if that cornerstone is crooked, or cracked, or not present, it’s really hard to have a foundation. And so I’d agree with you. Rifka. How about you? What does commitment look like to you? And your relationship?

Rivka Slatkin 15:34

Well, now, I mean, Shlomo taught me everything. I know, he’s such a good guide, because he really is steadfast and loyal. And that’s one of the things I fell in love with him for. Because coming from a home that was completely, you know, it could just end at any moment in time, I didn’t learn how to have that loyalty and that steadfastness. So, so now I really see why commitment is that cornerstone, like you guys said. So yeah, I think it’s just having the goal in mind of what you want the end product to look like, and realizing that we take our baggage with us into any relationship, so it’s not necessarily going to be better with someone else. So I just don’t even think about that. Because I know that, you know, I’m going to bring myself wherever I go. So, so why not make this relationship the most amazing that it can be? And I and I do know that, that that’s possible from seeing that.

Matthew Hoffman 16:38
There’s no such thing as a baggage-free relationship?

Rivka Slatkin 16:44

I guess not, you know, sometimes it looks maybe like there is, you know, you see neighbors or you seeing friends? Are you seeing Facebook pictures? And like, “wow, they’re going to Aruba. And they’re going here, and they look so happy.” And it’s so easy to compare, I remember those days in early years. Why are we doing that? But yeah, everyone’s got baggage. You figured it out, Matthew.

Kimberly Hoffman 17:09

What I think is also important to note is that the baggage is there, like you just said, whether I’m with who my current, you know, spouses or I’m looking to say, “oh, maybe the grass is greener on the other side, and maybe it’d be better when I get there, or that relationship, you know, is definitely going to be different or better. “But it’s not because it’s all about healing yourself, and all about you, and not about this relationship. So when this is healed, and you’re doing well, and you’re experiencing, and growing yourself, right, then this can I think, be a really good relationship. So

Rivka Slatkin 17:54

Well, that’ll bring us to the second of our three C’s, which is communication. And, Shlomo, you talked a little bit about that earlier. Is there something that you feel like you could maybe add talked a little bit about that earlier. Is there something that you feel like you could maybe add to your communication with Rivka? How do you make time to communicate? And what style do you communicate? Yeah, and commitment is, it can be a relief to people like maybe myself who’s more emotional, and we can we can catastrophize things and think, “Oh, my goodness, well, this isn’t good. And this isn’t good.” And this has been and, and once you’re committed, like we saw a great quote, once on a Starbucks mug, and we included it in, in all of our book work. It said “the irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating in work, in play, in love.” And I forget the rest of it, it removes the rational hesitation that mind to that likes to parade oh a removes that hesitation that likes to parade around. Anyway, it was a very good quote. But it’s very commitment is very freeing, because on the one hand, it can seem like, “Well, should I have one foot out the door? Or should I not” but when you decide, you know, what I’m committed, and all those other doubts and barriers just kind of melt away, because you’ve made your decision already to come in.

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 19:15

Sure. So it depends on what type of communication meaning we have a process that we learned as a couple in therapy, and that we teach couples in our workshops and our in terms of dealing with difficult topics, sensitive topics, ones that were concerned that if we talked about it in a normal way, one of us might get reactive. So we have a very structured process. And that’s kind of on demand whenever we need to do that. In general. I think that because of what we learned through that just we’ve learned to be respectful, respectful of each other’s time and space. careful about the way that we say things to each other. So it’s not to find each other. We’ve learned some things that might push each other’s buttons so we’re careful about that. And then a lot of it is more about just finding the time. Because especially if there’s kids around, it’s really just to check in and to see when the other person is available. But it’s really crucial to make the time because it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the day to day. And not really, you know, we communicate Of course, what do you want for dinner, but put the kids to bed, but to have like a meaningful conversation? You really have to make the time carve it out to do that, because it’s easy to just ignore it.

Matthew Hoffman 20:30
Is that something that you schedule, Shlomo? I mean, do you actually say, Hey, can we talk at

this time? Or is it something that happens organically for you?

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 20:37

It depends on what it is, can be a combination of both. I mean, definitely for the difficult topics. It’s something we schedule. But even for things that are not necessarily difficult topics. I usually I know that for Rifka like that, I need to make sure that she’s available. Because she doesn’t really like like long, long drawn out conversations to get sort of triggers her and she gets a little bit nervous. So you know, I’m always mindful that for the most part, like, if there’s anything more than just like a question about work, or what we need to do with the kids, if it’s a real want to share my feelings, that I need to make sure she’s available, even if it’s not a formal conversation, but just like, say, “If you have 10 minutes, we can sit down and talk, I have something I want to talk about.” Not just to kind of break into like, well, you know, I’m feeling a little down today.

Kimberly Hoffman 21:28
Or, how about for you Rivka? What is what is communication look like for you and your


Rivka Slatkin 21:37

Well, like Shlomo said, about any potential triggering or difficult topics, we will resort to having like a formal dialogue. But um, I’ve also learned that I really enjoy infusing positivity in our communication. So we’ll also share some things we appreciate about each other. And, you know, make sure we’re kind of looking into each other’s eyes, not just walking from one room to the next. And when we do that, it just, it feels so good. It calms me down, I feel like it just changes everything in the air, when we really can share something positive for just, I don’t know, even five seconds, and look into each other’s eyes and share those positive feelings. We have an appreciations.

Kimberly Hoffman 22:18

I love you sharing that because I think it’s so affirming and validating, when they will do that for each other. And it does really just sort of you pick your head up, and it makes you feel good. And it really kind of gets the day off to a really good start. If you can do it early on.

Rivka Slatkin 22:35

Yeah, it really shifts. It feels like I feel it in my body. And I’m not like one of those people that are so in tune with their body, but I could definitely feel it when we’re looking to each other sighs me that contact. It’s really nice.

Kimberly Hoffman 22:47

Yeah, the connection is so important. You know, even throughout the day, we hear a couple say, oh, we’ll text or we’ll just even just check in and say, hey, you know, quick phone call. But I think it is really important, like you said, Shlomo, to make sure that we’re connecting. It’s an intentional connection that we do every day.

Matthew Hoffman 23:08

When it comes to creating a Kickass marriage, do you ever wonder what you could be doing better? Have you ever thought how helpful it would be to be a part of a like-minded community of other imperfect couples who want to level up their number one relationship? Come visit Kickass Couples Nation, where you can talk with people just like you who are looking for ways to invest in and increase their joy, commitment and fulfillment and their most important human relationship. You’ll have access to a team of licensed marriage therapists, coaches, articles, podcasts, live webinars and more. Just visit so you can learn more about a community that’s ready to help you level up. That’s So we’re in our third season kind of going into that we’ve talked about commitment and communication, there’s conflict resolution. And I was reading a little bit about Imago therapy. And I know that that’s kind of a transformational thing. I think if I was understanding it, right, I wanted to ask you about that. And in Shlomo in conflicts that arise with you and Rivka, how do you guys deal when there is disagreement? Or there is conflict? And how do you take that potential explosive situation and make it into something positive?

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 24:30

Sure. So Imago therapy teaches that conflict is really an opportunity for connection, it’s almost a call to connection. And so we know that if we have conflict, that it’s important for us to have a structure in the imago dialogue process where we can hear each other out who can share what we’re feeling and the other person has to listen and mirror and not react. And what we find is that when we listen long enough the other person actually makes sense and the resistance that we have to what they have to say often goes down because we realize it’s, it’s usually not about anything that we did that they’re upset with. It’s more about their own story. So basically, we call it we see if it’s hysterical as its, its historical. So if something really bothers us about something, it’s usually more about our own issues that are being triggered. So we know that when we have conflict, and the more that we can realize that, and when we listen to it, like if RIF was upset with me, so me reacting and defending myself, I realized, okay, yes, I may have done, I may have triggered her. But maybe that’s like 10% of the issue. But it’s 9%, the childhood story that I triggered, and once I can understand that, and once you start sharing it, then it’s like, oh, I don’t even need to defend myself, I don’t even need to argue my side, a lot of times, the conflict dissipates, because we realize it’s not really about us, it’s more about what was triggered from the past. And then I can have compassion for her. And I can be more flexible, and trying to meet her needs. Because I don’t need to defend my honor, because it’s not really about me. So we’ve learned, it’s hard at the beginning. But you know, over time, we really learned that more and more, so that it’s much easier for us to kind of go go there. So we found that this, this process and theory about why couples have conflict, and how we see that our issues kind of play off of each other our childhood issues play off of each other, it gives us an opportunity that to view the conflict is really the vehicle to create growth and healing in the relationship.

Kimberly Hoffman 26:25

Such great information for our listeners to hear, in terms of creating dialogue, right, we’re gonna we’re gonna talk and we’re gonna try to understand why they’re really feeling the way they’re feeling. Because you’re right, it’s not we always joke around that it’s not just about taking out the trash, there’s something real going on inside of that other person. And it does stem from triggers his story. And so I love that you brought that up. And I think it’s really important for our listeners to, to hear those things.

Matthew Hoffman 26:57

I love because what I heard you say is conflict is opportunity. And it’s conflict opportunity to get close. And to get to know somebody so Rivka when you think about conflict resolution in your close. And to get to know somebody so Rivka when you think about conflict resolution in your relationship. So you guys are pros that does that mean, you’re able to resolve all the conflicts that arise?

Rivka Slatkin 27:13

Well, we can definitely work through it. And Matthew, I think what I heard you say when you said you were reading more about Imago therapy, were you saying what I think you were saying was that the change sort of happened, the resolution happens organically. I think you were alluding maybe to that. I don’t know if I heard that correctly. But what I mean is, and on this topic is you know, I’ll never forget the first time we went to a session, we had this closet rod that had been torn out of the wall. And every time I’d go upstairs, and I passed by the hallway, and I’d see this stupid hole in the wall, and I’d say, Shlomo, “I asked you to fix this, why hasn’t this been fixed?” And every single time I go upstairs, I would get more and more frustrated. So when we first you know, went to our very first session, I said why I was frustrated about the hole in the wall, and it hasn’t been fixed and blah, blah, blah. And then our therapist said, you know, and what does this remind you of from childhood, and I thought about it, and I thought about it, and I thought, You know what, I had to do everything for myself growing up, nobody did anything for me, I really never knew when, you know, if I was going to be enrolled in college or whatnot, like nothing was ever predictable. So that feeling was being I was being triggered of having to do everything myself. And then, so I shared that. And it was a very deep conversation. We had compassion for each other, we were both crying. But at the end, I said, Well, okay, but who how’s the closet rod actually going to get fixed? You know? And our therapist said, Come back next week, he didn’t give us an answer. And when I guess when we came back next week, I said, you know, you didn’t tell us how to resolve the conflict, but what came out of that conversation was because I truly felt heard and understood. It dawned on me that I could just open up the Yellow Pages, they have that back then and call a handyman, and it was the dumbest silliest thing. But in that whole period of time, where I kept complaining about the hole in the wall, it never once dawned on me to call a handyman. It was just “Shlomo, you haven’t done this, I asked you to do it, and you to get fixed.” And what he explained is when we are feeling, you know, under threat, we just really cannot access our full brain to be able to make logical, you know, knowledgeable decisions. And so I think Matthew, what you’re saying is like the conflict sort of goes away sometimes when this organic, natural way of being heard and understood and validated through the communication process.

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 29:43
So that’s communication that makes gets the brand be able to integrate and be more

resourceful and then resolve conflict.

Rivka Slatkin 29:51
Yeah, that kind of happens automatically. The conflict resolution

Matthew Hoffman 29:55
Have the two of you ever come to a time in your relationship where there’s been something that you haven’t been a able to quote unquote solve and or you see it one way Rivka and that you haven’t been a able to quote unquote solve and or you see it one way Rivka and Shlomo sees it the other. And so have you ever faced that? And if you have, how do you move forward in the relationship? When it seems like there’s something that’s okay, “we’re not clearing the deck so to speak.”

Rivka Slatkin 30:18

That’s a hard one. There are some things that we took years to that we shelved a topic or an argument for years, and we were like, “we’re not going there.” “We are not discussing that.” Like we both and I want to speak about it for years. For the most part, I think we’re on the same page. And I was thinking lately, like, there’s so much in the world nowadays, that really could be extremely difficult if we weren’t on the same page, let’s say politically or with the vaccines, like those are really hard. And and I appreciate that. Like, we do tend to have similar opinions on big topics like that. And I’m not quite sure how. I’m not quite sure how it is. I’m sure we would handle it. But I think it would be so much harder. But somewhere. Yeah,

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 31:00
Those things are really I mean, some of those things that are really like to give people a

visceral reaction. So yeah, I mean, that could be really difficult.

Rivka Slatkin 31:04 Like religion.

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 31:10

Yeah. I mean, we have it. But they’re talking about COVID. Specifically, maybe, at that point, anyway. But the main, the main point is that, yeah, I don’t think that we have any major things that we’re like kind of at odds with, there was this one issue that, that we talked about, I find personally, and that usually, if there’s something that bothers me, if I can talk to her about it, even if it takes me three years to feel safe to talk about it to make the time. But once she’s able to hear where I’m coming from, she’s, she’s pretty reasonable and can understand. It’s just in the heat of the moment. You know, when it happened, and when she was upset, like she understands now like looking back what happened. So I find that we’re able to probably resolve most most things. Eventually.

Kimberly Hoffman 32:07

So in addition to the three C’s, we have 11 other pillars, which you have your pillar list in front of you perfect. I’m gonna ask you Rivka of the additional 11 Is there one of them that really resonates with you, one that stands out to you? That’s important?

Rivka Slatkin 32:34

Rivka Slatkin 32:34

Well, uh, yeah, I mean, I for I guess the one that’s popping out is security. And I’d love to hear how you guys defined that. define that for your nation. And I want and I’d love to hear more about it. But you know, knowing my childhood and knowing that I really didn’t have any security, or it felt like that. That one pops out.

Matthew Hoffman 32:57
And tell me, tell me why we’ve got ways security important to you and your relationship and

feeling that way? Is it? Because I think you’re saying your childhood experience?

Rivka Slatkin 33:06
Well, is this referring just to like, can you just quickly defined security? It’s not just talking about

financial? Is it being safe? I

Matthew Hoffman 33:14

think, yeah, I mean, financial could be part of it is feeling safe. In other words, if you are in a relationship or in a place and you don’t feel secure, meaning you have to worry, can I be here? Can I be there? Is something going to happen to me? Are they going to do or not do something that’s going to put me at risk, or you know, oh, my gosh, you’re coming home in a bad mood, I’ve got to go hide because I don’t feel secure in the relationship. So it can it can really hit a lot of levels, financial security would be part of it. And I think it’s pretty broad. It’s feeling secure, safe, maybe another way of saying that, too. I feel safe, like safe that I can talk about these things safe. I don’t have to worry, I’m going to come home and my spouse isn’t going to be there. Because they’re not committed. Right. So or it could come to some of those other issues as well.

Rivka Slatkin 34:07

Yeah, I think that one pops out for me just because there was so much upheaval. I mean, I mean, the way my parents got divorced was one day, my father came home and the whole house was emptied, and we were gone. And he had no idea where we were. So everything could just be uprooted at any point in time. So when I fell in love with Shlomo, he just was so safe and so stable and had really a clear path in life, you know, a faith and everything and so that just felt so safe. And I really did feel like he was someone I could just bare my soul to and and feel secure. And when I do get triggered a times these days, especially with extended family, you know, we’re traveling and spending time with extended family. I he I definitely depend on Shlomo to be my secure security.

Kimberly Hoffman 34:59

Well, he provided did a sense of security that you had never had? Yeah, for sure. Yeah, very special. Yeah.

Matthew Hoffman 35:07
How about you Shlomo? As you look over that list, what, what else pops out to you as being

important and key in your relationship, your experience?

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 35:16

Gosh! They’re also I’d like to say, a bunch of them, because they’re all they are very important. I mean, Trust and Honesty is really important to me. I feel like if you don’t have trust and commitment is, a Foundation Trust is right, right there with it. Because if you don’t have trust in your whole relationship is going to be an illusion, you don’t even know what it was it based on. So for me, that’s really important. That we can be able to trust each other and be honest with each other, share what we’re feeling, and they’re gonna keep secrets from each other. So I think that’s, that’s really important.

Matthew Hoffman 35:59
For full disclosure, right? There’s transparent with one another. Sure

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 36:02

I and that feels, to me that feels safe. Because it feels like if I can be fully open, and we can be fully open with each other, we don’t have to hide things. And then we can feel safe, secure. So it kind of ties into that one, too.

Kimberly Hoffman 36:17

Sure, you can be vulnerable in a very safe space. And I think that’s really important. We were talking a little bit earlier about trust and honesty, and how important it is, to be honest over the very small things as well as the large things. It’s time not just some of the time,

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 36:37
because they can you know, when you tell a little, little lie. Oh, that wasn’t, that was such a big

deal, then I can, maybe this isn’t such a big deal, either. And then you

Kimberly Hoffman 36:48
You justify it, right? Yeah. And so it really becomes, honestly just a way of life.

Matthew Hoffman 36:55

Yeah. And that little trusted honesty is a thread that if you tug on it, it tends to unravel the whole garment with the whole relationship. And you know it, we were talking about the time it takes to build up trust, and honesty in a relationship, it takes a long time. But yet one lie, cannot do that work and make it really difficult to get back to that place of trust. If you if you if you had it. And that’s good. Well, I appreciate y’all sharing what’s important to you. We know we, we feel that success in one area of your life definitely spills over into the others. And Kim and I are big proponents of what we call spillover thinking. And so we’d love to hear from each of you and Rifka, maybe you can go first, how is the success in your marriage, your relationship spilled over into other areas of your life?

Rivka Slatkin 37:47

Hmm, that’s a great question, Matthew. Let’s see. Well, I think learning I learned I’ve learned so much from slomo. And then on our journey together towards improving our marriage, a lot of the communication with, you know, the imago process has helped me in other relationships. It’s also helped me have compassion and more understanding for people maybe with opposing viewpoints, people that, you know, don’t necessarily agree or maybe I would have been upset with years ago, I have compassion now, in ways that I really didn’t have before for other people’s stories, even if I don’t know what their other story, what their stories are, I just kind of, I guess, find it easier to give people the benefit of the doubt or maybe understand the opposing viewpoint in ways that I really didn’t before. So I guess that’s one example. of you know, just like being more understanding of others more forgiving. Of course, you know, parenting is something that’s right up there with my marriage, that’s, you know, very, very important. So I really work to incorporate a lot of what we do with our kids. And we have five so there’s a lot going on. And it’s it’s not always easy. We have teenagers, and then we have little ones. So that’s like a real that’s also a real job. So more than full time.

Matthew Hoffman 39:20
You guys got zones coverage, man, the man went out a long time ago.

Rivka Slatkin 39:25

spill over, definitely spill over into the kids and then in business also, you know, just I guess being an entrepreneur and then professionals. Yeah, professional values also, I would say very much spills over into

Matthew Hoffman 39:40
how about for you, Shlomo? Have you seen your success of your relationships spill over into

those other areas of your life?

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 39:47
Yeah, I mean, I would second a lot of what Rivka said. I think it has helped me be more more

understanding of others more patient being able to deal with potential conflict. Because I have understanding of others more patient being able to deal with potential conflict. Because I have the skills from what we use together to be able to do that with with others, and to be less reactive, more at peace, I think that that’s been really helpful. I’ve seen them in our relationship. So I’ve been able to apply that out elsewhere as well.

Kimberly Hoffman 40:18
Shlomo, if you could go back to your unmarried self, and give yourself one piece of advice,

what would that advice be? And Rivka, feel free to pop in. Yeah,

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 40:40

I would say thing that popped right up, I would say I mean, I would say one of the things that I tell people just tell myself even just the main thing in life in relationships is, is you have to be flexible, and have no expectations. Because you think you can control you know, have an idea of the way you want things to be. And it’s not going to be that way, necessarily. So the main thing is to be able to have that flexibility, and be able to just be present and be happy. And that’s, that’s the best way to to be successful and happy in your relationship, to be able to have that flexibility, and have the eliminated those expectations. Because expectations are just you’re just setting yourself up for repairs that nets there.

Kimberly Hoffman 41:27
So I hear you saying be present, and be flexible. And just let go of those expectations. Exactly.

About for you, rybka.

Rivka Slatkin 41:39
I have so many thoughts. It’s hard to pick one. Gosh, I guess. Well, you’re saying piece of

advice that I would like to know as a single about marriage or just in general,

Kimberly Hoffman 41:57
you could go back and give yourself advice, knowing what you know now. Okay, would that

piece of advice be?

Rivka Slatkin 42:05

I would say that to be more curious about people about anything, instead of like deciding that this is bad, or this is good, or this is going to be a disaster, or this is going to be beneficial, like just sort of being more curious, being more open to the journey of whatever comes forth. And just kind of like having wonder with whatever it is that’s being presented to just sort of go go forth with a little bit more curiosity and less judgment


Kimberly Hoffman 42:43
I love that. So take down that wall, and just be open and curious. And I love how you said that


Rivka Slatkin 42:51
Yeah. About not feel like you have to fight for everything. Just yeah, that’s good stuff.

Matthew Hoffman 42:59

Good. Good. Thanks, guys. Well, we are coming down to the end here. And we’re so grateful for you all taking the time and sharing with us if people want to learn more about you or the work that you’re doing or find you connect with you. Share with us where what’s the best place for people to find you all and learn more about what you’re doing?

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin 43:19

Sure, you can visit our website at www.the And you can read about what we do, how we help couples and we have a lot of free resources and blog and as well,

Rivka Slatkin 43:35
And in person events. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. In person.

Kimberly Hoffman 43:39

Yes, right. Ah, yeah, those connection, we’re so glad that you’re out there and that you’re doing some incredible work. So thank you for that. Kudos to both of you for all that you’re doing to help marriages because we believe the same thing that there’s so many marriages and relationships, people that are in relationships that are out there that can benefit from what we all have learned along the way. All right. So same to open and vulnerable and

Matthew Hoffman 44:09

We’re in this together. Absolutely. We recognize you and we’re grateful for the work that you’re doing and for the time you gave us today and we’ll be sharing this with other like-minded people that want to know how to improve those relationships and be happier, more fulfilled.

Rivka Slatkin 44:24

Thank you. It feels so good. I feel like I got like a little bit of some therapy work like some work



Thank you. It feels so good. I feel like I got like a little bit of some therapy work like some work like I feel like it did some really good.

Matthew Hoffman 44:33
Good deep work. Well, we’ll look forward to connecting with you all again soon. And thank you

so much. Take care, guys. Thank you.

Kimberly Hoffman 44:42

That’s all we’ve got for this episode of the Kickass couples podcast. If you liked the content of the show, then you’ll love Matthews newly released book, “Kickass Husband: Winning at Life, Marriage and Sex” To receive a digital mini book of quotes and images from the book all all you have to do is rate this show and leave a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you tune into. Then email us a screenshot of your review at And we’ll get it over to you right away. Until next time, remember happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose.