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Kickass Couples Podcast

Maximizing Your Returns: Why Investing in Your Relationship is Key- Ep. 93 RECAP – Robert & Kay Lee Fukui

By March 8, 2023No Comments



relationship, counseling, robert, couples, business, kay, trauma, kim, commitment, understand, lee, committed, love, quarterly, deal, couple, important, modeled, communication, marriage


Kimberly Hoffman, Matthew Hoffman


Matthew Hoffman  00:02

Welcome back to the Kickass Couples Podcast. We are excited to be back with you on this sunny beautiful day in Greenville, South Carolina to do a recap episode of Robert and Kay Lee Fukui. What a fun couple they were in another Kim, I think we’ve interviewed several couples that are relationship coaches in through business. So teaching couples how to do business well, in tandem together. 


Kimberly Hoffman  03:32

Yes, that seems to be a new trend that a lot of couples are working together, starting businesses together. And learning how to navigate marriage and a business at the same time has sort of become a thing. And we’ve had the privilege of being able to interview several couples who are doing just that. 


Matthew Hoffman  03:54

We did and what I thought was most unique Kim, my biggest takeaway right out of the box with this couple is they’ve done something that I think not many couples we’ve interviewed have done is they said, you know we said why are they a kick ass couple and I think Kay Lee said and Robert echoed it. They went to relationship counseling and therapy before that, not just before they got married, but I think Robert said only after their fourth or fifth date. And I think Kay Lee had some really good insight as to why they needed to do that. And


Kimberly Hoffman  04:27

I love it because I think what it did was just really point out how necessary it is to do premarital counseling before you get married and I’m not just talking about meeting with your pastor a few times before you get married to get some good advice. I really think that going in and actually having some intentional counseling can make a huge difference in your relationship. 


Matthew Hoffman  04:56

No doubt. I mean, we don’t know what we don’t know. We think that we’re going to get married as can be honeymoon hot forever. And I think that we’ll get into some more of that particulars with this couple. But I think the idea of, like you said, counseling before marriage is so good because it gives you the expectation that we’re going to invest in this relationship, we’re going to get outside help. And we’re going to always keep tweaking and working and putting the time in. So we can have the relationship that we would like to and I think one of the things that Robert said about Kay Lee that he loved is that she does not accept the status quo. She’s always pushing for more in the relationship, more in the business. And she’s always got her sights set with that positive trajectory going forward. And I thought that was a great attribute that he ascribed to her. 


Kimberly Hoffman  05:44

Yeah, I would agree, I think that always trying to grow and do a better job in your marriage is huge. And she had the foresight to, to definitely seek that out and to say, hey, we need to learn, we need to grow. And she was committed to that, and sort of brought him along into that same role. 


Matthew Hoffman  06:07

And one of the things that Robert brought up that also really resonated with me came is he said, we seem to take things for granted. And you know, in other words, in our partner, that they’re going to be there, they’re going to do the things they do, and we should just expect it. And she said that Kay Lee is also really good at not taking things for granted, meaning giving the recognition and having great communication, and really pushing to celebrate, and to keep things moving forward with their relationship and intentionality. And I thought that that was a great mindset.


Kimberly Hoffman  06:38

 Yeah, you know, and that’s one thing I really appreciate about you is that that is something that you have always done personally. And with us as well, I remember when you came to me with “The Love Languages Book” by Gary Chapman and said here, I think we should read this and talk about this. And so I think having the intentionality of growing and really working on your marriage is huge. And not all couples have that right. You were in that space. I wasn’t, but you brought me along into that space. And you can see how it really has enriched our marriage. 


Matthew Hoffman  07:18

Yeah. And it was also fun. I think my next big takeaway is to look kind of back on this couple. I appreciate that compliment, by the way. And just so everyone out there knows that Kim is a growth mindset person. And she has embraced that, and that she’s pulling me along. And it’s fun, because we kind of have a competition of how we can each keep each other accountable. And that investment in that ongoing love affair that we have. And so I love that. And we always like to look back with couples and say, you know, grandpa’s in your bones. And what did love look like growing up? And I think Robert had the interesting position of being a PKS and a pastor’s kid. And his dad was intense, and certainly loving and modeled commitment. He said, That was really modeled well, but what wasn’t modeled was communication and conflict resolution. So he didn’t know what that was like. And I think that Kay Lee recognized that and that was another thing that they kind of dumped into some of the therapy and counseling that they got before they got married.


Kimberly Hoffman  08:20

 Yeah, I think you would, you know, I think it was surprising to him that as a pastor,  his father did not model communication and conflict resolution well, and so that is something that he had to learn from her, and learn from his therapist, as well. And so I just again, you know, being able to say, Hey, this is lacking in our relationship, and how can we fix it? How can we make it better? That’s huge. 


Matthew Hoffman  08:53

It is. I think Kay Lee came from an entrepreneurial family, and she said, you know, dad worked six days a week. And she kind of gave a great watch out, which I think I have fallen in the trap of and maybe a lot of our listeners have as well. She said that the business became the mistress, because it wasn’t an individual, but was his love and dedication or manic focus on work that really took him away from the family. And I think that’s really dangerous. We think, you know, especially I think men fall into this probably a little more than women, that we think we’re supposed to be the provider. We’re the gatherer that we have that sole responsibility instead of a shared responsibility with our spouse, even if the spouse is working full time in the home. It’s hard not to take that on and think that you’ve got to do this. So I’ve got to watch the answer, work more, work harder, and you begin to lose those connections with your spouse. I think she saw that model and said, This is not going to happen in our relationship and she too, I think, was a little bereft of communication. She said people in my family walked along with all these emotions held inside and then it just kind of exploded out. 


Kimberly Hoffman  10:07

Yeah, definitely. What else did you? 


Matthew Hoffman  10:11

Well, I’ve been sharing what’s your next takeaway? I want to hear from you, sister.


Kimberly Hoffman  10:17

So, well, I think my biggest takeaway was that


Kimberly Hoffman  10:24

part of Robert’s history was that he was in a previous relationship, he was married prior to Kay Lee. And when I guess his wife was out one day, she ended up having a car accident, and she died in the accident. And so he came to this relationship with some past trauma. And Kay Lee noted that right away, and I think that was really the catalyst for her saying, hey, you need to get counseling after for, you know, dates. I think that there’s some potential here in our relationship. But I want to make sure that you have dealt with this past trauma, and you have been able to work through it. Because after we, I don’t want to get a year down the road and invest all this time and energy into the relationship. And, you know, or I don’t even want to be competing with a ghost, right? Or get down this far down the line and really realize that you don’t have room in your heart for me.


Matthew Hoffman  11:34

 Yeah, I think that was huge. And that’s, I think, the driving reason that they got into counseling and therapy together. And it kind of brings up the point, we’ve talked about this before, but how critical it is to handle any past traumas that you may have. In your growing up, it may not be in your relationship, it might be abuse, emotional or physical, sexual abuse, it could be loss, you know, severe loss of somebody, but those experiences really form us. And if you’re not upfront with yourself, and your partner, you don’t want that past trauma, to creep in and become a divisor or to make you impotent in your relationship because you can’t handle certain things because you’ve not recovered or discussed or confronted those traumas. And so I my hat goes off to them, and anybody that looks in their past and says I’ve got baggage, and we got to deal with it, and being upfront and open about it, because everybody’s got baggage, you know, there’s a kind of a phrase people throw around, oh, my family is so messed up. Well, everybody’s family is messed up, right. And there’s always some junk that we have to deal with. And it’s not being ashamed of it, but getting it out in the open, because you want your partner to be aware of it to understand your triggers understand your past, and if you haven’t been able to address it to work through it. So it’s a non issue moving forward. 


Kimberly Hoffman  12:57

I also think a lot of us think that we don’t have it. You know, there are a lot of people that come to a second marriage. There are a lot of people who have had trauma in their lives, but they’ve say, oh, you know, I’m okay with that. Or I don’t need to deal with that. That never affected me. And I don’t think that always range true. I don’t think we realize how much it really does affect us, and how important it is that we work through and deal with whatever past baggage, we might have.


Matthew Hoffman  14:15

 No doubt, no doubt. I mean, kind of moving on to commitment in that Kim, I think, you know, one of I think I remember Kay Lee sharing that she was so impressed with Robert. She’s like I put him through the wringer. You know, I mean, the counseling and the questions. And he’s like, gosh, this is just after a few days. She’s saying we’re going to counseling. So she said I put a lot of demands on him. And he really demonstrated his commitment to the relationship because he was willing to go through and do whatever she needed to feel he was in it for the long haul. And that was kind of a really nice demonstration, not just of the counseling, but in the other conversations and the things that I had to go through. She said he stuck around and so she said I knew he was committed without a doubt. So he kind of passed that early test and demonstrated his commitment to her and their relationship in a lot of ways.


Kimberly Hoffman  15:03

 He definitely did and I think that, you know, they were able to work through some of the challenges that she had as well with commitment, which was, you know, what was modeled to her early on in her young life was that people just kind of yelled at each other left, right, or there were issues that went unresolved and, or things got pushed under a rug. And, no one dealt with conflict. And she said that he was willing to work through a lot of these things with her. And in, he said, you know, he demonstrated his commitment by saying, I’m not going to go anywhere, right here. I’m here to resolve and we’re going to work through this no matter what.


Matthew Hoffman  15:50

I think, another issue about commitment, can you and I dealt with this, and I’ll get to that in a minute. But when you’re thinking about commitment, or your commitment, there’s not just commitment in the relationship, I’m committed to you. That’s huge. And your partner should unequivocally know that you are committed, you’re not going anywhere. No, Plan B, we’ve talked about that a lot. But then there’s the idea of other commitments, like what are you committing to? Is it a church is that a social organization is your kids school or another activity, or something else, and you have to be Robert kind of touched on the point that the commitment outside of the relationships outside the home, if it’s volunteer work, or board of directors that can interfere with the US, and you got to make sure that you’re not allowing other commitments to get in the way of your number one, human commitment. I think, you know, Kim, you and I, in our relationship, we had a point in our lives, three kids, working hard community organizations, all kinds of volunteering, we were giving our best and first fruits to others, and not to each other. And I think that that really hurt us. And we kind of caught us up short, because we began to get short with each other and impatient. There wasn’t a lot of love. We were breaking each other down and zapping each other. And we had to really wake up and realize that we were over committed to other things that were damaging us. 


Kimberly Hoffman  17:07

Yeah. And it all goes back to our number one focus, which is prioritization. It was when we started prioritizing each other, that there was a huge shift in our relationship. 


Matthew Hoffman  17:18

Yeah, no doubt, prioritization. That’s what that’s our we think that’s what’s unique about you guys, couples nation. This podcast is if you really think about it, Kim, I don’t know if there’s, I mean, certainly there’s there’s infidelity, and there’s, you know, any kind of trauma, trauma, but those are prioritization issues as well, if you’re not prioritizing your spouse is your number one commitment. That’s what the problems are. And that’s when other stuff creeps in and takes focus and time and effort away from the relationship.


Kimberly Hoffman  17:48

 Sure. How about communication? Let’s talk a little bit about that. I think one of the things that I appreciate about this couple is that they make time to communicate, and they are very intentional about weekly meetings. And during those weekly meetings, they talk about business, but they also set a time aside to talk about their personal relationship as well and schedule things to do together, which I love. 


Matthew Hoffman  18:19

That’s huge communication, it has to be scheduled. And another thing I loved that they did, they said there’s time when they say we’re not going to have because they’re in business together. It’s not business communication time. Not going to text, not gonna pick up our phones, you know, dinner time was, I think one of those things that they protected with each other. So the danger of when you’re in business together, or you only have a limited time, is she goes, I didn’t want our time together, they get junked up with talking about business. And so we put it away. And we focus on the US, I love that it’s not just having dedicated time, but protecting time and saying, You know what, this is not business time. This is us time. And we’re gonna make sure we keep our focus in the right area. 


Kimberly Hoffman  19:00

I love that. They also schedule quarterly trips with each other. So those were overnighters. And they just make sure they put those on the calendar because they said if they don’t, they will not happen. business and life will get in the way. And they are committed to having that weekend time. together once a quarter and I love that I think it’s really important. 


Matthew Hoffman  19:26

You know, everybody says, oh, date night date night. You know, I’ve heard some people say once a month, once a week is best. But in addition to those date nights, those are brief connections, you need deeper connection time and quarterly. You know, you and I have been pretty good about spending those times together. Getting away we’re with family and others, but we also have some alone time and those are some of the RE anchoring, right? You’re kind of getting reconnected in a deeper way and having those times to share together. So if you’re not having those quarterly times, you know, if you don’t have kids, it’s easier to do at home, like getting away from responsibility. Having a weekend or even a staycation doesn’t really matter, it doesn’t have to be extravagant, but something you both look forward to, and outside influences and changing of scenery, because then you tend to get out of those habits and really focus on working, developing the relationship. And we love, we’ve got one coming up, coming up soon. And so I’m really looking forward to that time with you as well.


Kimberly Hoffman  20:23

How about conflict?


Kimberly Hoffman  20:26

They had a funny story regarding dinner, they were going to be cooking. And there was some confusion over a green chili.


Matthew Hoffman  20:36

Green chile, he was talking about the vegetable whose color is green, and she’s talking about the finished product actually being green. And, you know, it was talked about kind of, I think he said, we’re arguing over the same words, but different opinions, different opinions and perspectives. And, you know, we always like to say there’s two opinions in every situation. And they’re both right. 


Kimberly Hoffman  20:58

And valid. 


Matthew Hoffman  20:59

Yeah, it’s not that I’m right, and you’re wrong, or you just don’t get it and I do or right? And I think it’s really understanding that empathy and getting in the other person’s shoes. And I said, you know, Robert said he talked about, he said, he identified this chilly story as one of the experiences where he kind of screwed up because he was adamant in his viewpoint and understanding. And he said, he didn’t know if it was kind of, you know, the Asian culture that’s typical, but also being a man, you know, not wanting to admit you’re wrong on his heels, digging his heels in, but so important, doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, but willing to be wrong. Or say, Hey, I screwed up. Or maybe I messed up there and was a little bit more self-effacing. But he said at that moment, he in a funny way, realized, and it’s now a joke in their house about the green chili. Because it came about because she said, you know, you never tell me what you want for dinner. And I tried to plan and so this was his idea to say I want green chili, but that sparked a disagreement for them. And I think that the important thing about conflict, and they demonstrated really well, Kim is that it’s not about being right or wrong. It’s really about finding understanding. 


Kimberly Hoffman  22:11



Matthew Hoffman  22:11

And if you’re if we’re talking about something or arguing, having a lively discussion, as I call it, right, we don’t argue we just have lively discussions. It’s for me to understand why it is so important to you? What’s the dream within the conflict? Why are you so heated about this? And then secondarily, what do you need to get out of this to feel heard? Or satisfied, or that we can either get agreement or agree to disagree and validate each other’s feelings?


Kimberly Hoffman  22:39

 Yeah. And that’s what most of us just want. We want our feelings to be validated. We want to be understood. We want to be heard. 


Matthew Hoffman  22:45

Yeah. That’s huge. 


Kimberly Hoffman  22:46

Okay, so favorite pillar, they both had the same one. 


Matthew Hoffman  22:50

And what was it?


Kimberly Hoffman  22:51

 Appreciation. Yeah. Appreciation.You know, they both want to really feel like they are validated, like we just said and appreciated. Even the not just the not just a small things are not just the big things, but the small things as well, the everyday things.


Matthew Hoffman  23:16

 Yeah. Not taking your partner for grant. You know, if you’re always looking for a way to show appreciation, it’s just expressing gratitude for it could be just the little teeny things.


Kimberly Hoffman  23:26



Matthew Hoffman  23:27

Not always the big ones. And that builds such a bond and creates trust when you express that. 


Kimberly Hoffman  23:32

Yeah. And I think one of the things that Robert said was that, you know, one time they were in the middle of a disagreement, and Kay Lee just stopped and said, You know, I think that you’ll make the best decision for us. And I think that really blew me away, because that empowered him to know that she trusted him. And that she felt like he would make the very true and best decision for the relationship. 


Matthew Hoffman  24:02



Kimberly Hoffman  24:02

For the us.


Matthew Hoffman  24:03

Yeah, she said, Hey, as long as you make the best decision for us, you’ll do it. I feel confident. And I did catch them off guard. And I love that because she just dropped the rope. She stopped pulling, diffused it. Hey, I trust you and I know you’ll take care of it. Set the expectation and really made it easy. You know, I think they have such a great example of somebody that works together. They live together and you know anything else Kim?  I mean, no, we don’t want to talk about all the goodies like this couple. We want you to listen to the whole episode.


Kimberly Hoffman  24:35

There is a lot of fruit in this particular episode, especially if you have dealt with some past traumas. You’ll hear a little bit more about why they did their counseling and sort of what led them to that. And so yeah, I would highly recommend this full interview to any of you listeners out there. 


Matthew Hoffman  24:59

Hope you get back in and enjoy it, take the risk, learn about the risks they took, and how it paid off for them and their relationship. And if you are thinking everybody we are excited in Kickass Couples Nation. We are now offering relationship coaching for couples and individuals. If you need help and want someone to come alongside you and help you reach your own relationship Nirvana, hope you’ll go to “” And check out our kick ass couples coaching. We’d love to work with you and help you get to that place where you are the most excited and happy and fulfilled and your number one human relationship.


Kimberly Hoffman  25:34

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