partner, relationship, marriage, couples, christy, people, intimacy, pillar, hear, commitment, love, husband, wife, feel, faith, work, life, talk, mindful, important
Kimberly Hoffman, Christy Primmer, Matthew Hoffman, Chris A. Matthews
Matthew Hoffman 00:17
Welcome back to the Kickass Couples Podcast. We are excited to be doing a special episode today on relationships, do’s and don’ts. And we’re gonna give you all a roadmap today of the fundamentals, the basics of everything that we think you can be doing in your relationship to make sure that it is a honeymoon hot, deep and meaningful. And joining us on our special panel today. We have two of our Kickass Couples Nation elite therapists. We have Christy Primmer, who specialized in 20 years of trauma counseling. She has a TV show in Canada. She has written books. She’s a national speaker and talks about women’s empowerment and strength. And we are just so grateful to have her. Welcome Christy!
Christy Primmer 03:28
Hello, thank you. I’m so grateful to be here.
Matthew Hoffman 03:31
We also have Chris A. Matthews, who hails way far north of us in Charlotte. We’re in Greenville, South Carolina. But he has established a large practice. He has a family practice. He has a certification in handling addiction. And he has been working with couples and loves the client of marriage and brings so much to the table. He too is one of our KCN elite therapists. We’re glad to have Chris with us today.
Chris A. Matthews 03:58
Glad to be here. Thanks for having me.
Matthew Hoffman 04:01
Our pleasure. Our pleasure. Now this special episode was actually the brainchild of my wife and better half sitting to my left. The woman that we get to host this podcast with, we really want to give people kind of the fundamentals of blocking and tackling on the 14 pillars that we have that we think are critical to all relationships. So we are going to dive right in. We’re going to talk about commitment first. And we believe that commitment really is the bedrock of any successful relationship. And a lot of the therapists that I’ve spoken with say You know what, if somebody comes to us and comes to me and they want to talk about counseling, if they don’t have commitment, if they’re not committed to the relationship, many people won’t take them because they say they’re going to waste their time and the therapist’s time. So we think this is the bedrock and I’d like to hear from both Christy and Chris. What do you think people can do to avoid it? Like, how can they avoid things that derail couples relative to commitment? What are the watch outs? What are the things that we want to look out for is we’re trying to work on commitment to make sure that we’re strengthening instead of weakening it in our relationship.
Christy Primmer 05:08
Yeah, I think first off, they have to be in it. In order to win it, I always say that the couples I work with, like, exiting isn’t an option. Of course, there’s other reasons for that, but they have to be focused on winning together and finding a solution.
Matthew Hoffman 05:22
So winning together, finding the solution.
Chris A. Matthews 05:27
I would add that couples have to know what they both want individually, a relationship is a shared space. So if you don’t know what you want, or what you’re bringing to the table, and if you can have more apart from your partner than with them, that you need to consider if that commitment needs to take place in that.
Matthew Hoffman 05:43
So what did individuals want? And then what do we want collectively in the relationship, knowing that and then being in it to win it? Yeah, Christy, I love we always say no Plan B, you can’t be in a relationship relative to commitment and thinking, you know, this doesn’t work out, I’ve always got something else, somebody else I can, you know, the grass is greener, I can just jump if it’s not working. And I think marriage is one of those few things in life, probably the only thing in life, that once you make that commitment you’re in, and it’s for the rest of your life. So really digging deep and trying to find out. So on the other side, are there absolutes? What are the things? Are there any things that you all can think of that we want to make sure that we’re making part of our dialogue with our partner relative to commitment? What things we want to include, when we’re having those discussions with him about the concept of commitment in our relationship?
Chris A. Matthews 06:35
I would start defining what commitment looks like in this day and age. You have different forms of marriage, different types of marriage. I always jump into using the verbiage of monogamy like what is monogamy to you? Does that look like having friends of the opposite sex? Does it look like? Just can? No does it look just from a physical sexual lens, because that can be a very obscure topic for a lot of couples. So make sure you’re defining what those boundaries are and what you feel you need to feel safe and secure within the commitment of the marriage.
Christy Primmer 07:07
Yeah, I like that. And I would also add, you know, being a team player and letting your partner know, even if you’re feeling some kind of way, or you’re upset, letting them know the reassurance that this is something we will work through. And I think that just sets the tone, to enhance the confidence in finding a solution, you know, personally, and then together as a couple as you’re moving forward.
Matthew Hoffman 07:32
Thank you guys. Good thoughts on commitment.
Kimberly Hoffman 07:34
Our second pillar is communication. And as we know, that plays a huge role in our relationship, and it can really shape the quality of our relationship. And so I would be really curious to know from both of you, what does a really good quality, communicative relationship look like?
Christy Primmer 07:57
Respect is what pops into my mind, respectful in how you verbally communicate, non verbally communicate, and always thinking before you speak, which is not easy to do. But respect sets the tone that no matter what you need to say, or physically want to say, you’re going to be showing up in the way that’s best for you and for your marriage.
Chris A. Matthews 08:25
I would say perspective taking, listening doesn’t necessarily mean consent. A lot of the couples that I work with, they’re afraid to hear their partner out, or they will cut them off or be defensive, because they believe that if they give that partner the opportunity to express themselves, then they’re confirming or committing to what the partner is saying. So I always say listening doesn’t necessarily mean consent, it just means that you’re taking time to hear your part.
Kimberly Hoffman 08:50
Sure. And then on the flip side of that, what are some pitfalls that we fall into when we are communicating with our spouse? What are some things we just should not do?
Christy Primmer 09:03
The you always and you never statements never get old for me. And I myself have had to work on that, you know, but the blanket statements really need to be removed from the dialogue and really being in the moment. So whether it’s positive communication or whether you need to have a difficult conversation, being in that moment, to say what you need to say, not pulling from 10 years ago, not futuristic thinking, just really being present.
Chris A. Matthews 09:31
Keeping your messages short and concise, being able to provide your partner a shot glass, not a picture. That’s what I usually will tell couples, something simple and digestible, and making sure the messages are very poignant and have a particular purpose to them, not just to be talking to be talking. Sure.
Matthew Hoffman 09:51
Right. Okay. Well, our third pillar is conflict and problem resolution. And I think everybody that’s in a relationship knows that it’s not always rainbows so and signs and unicorns right. And conflicts arise. So the question is, when there are misunderstandings when they creep in and try to wreak havoc, what approach can we take to solving conflicts that will always bear good fruit? Like, is there a method or practice or a way that people can always apply? Like, if they always go through these steps or do these things, they’ll be able to work through any conflict?
Chris A. Matthews 10:24
Yeah, I take a three prong approach, timing, tone and topic, those would be the three T’s, making sure that the timing is right, you approach a partner for uninviting tone, and then making sure that the topic is crafted out in a way where they’re going to be able to hear you and receive what you’re saying.
Christy Primmer 10:46
I love that. And it’s funny because I’ve always taught the three P’s pausing, processing and practicing. And so what that means is you’re pausing, you’re being present, and just pause, don’t just react and process, really think about what you’re hearing and then paraphrase it right? So is this what I’m hearing, and then practicing consistently trying to be a better partner. And starting with being a better person for yourself.
Matthew Hoffman 11:14
I love that! Man, we’re gonna, we’re gonna have to win, we got the three C’s. And now we got the three T’s and three keys, we got a lot of threes. And so but three’s a good number, and we’re gonna make sure we put those in the show notes so everybody can think about applying those, those principles there. Are there any specific behaviors that we want to stay away from when we’re trying to work through these inevitable conflicts that arise in every relationship? Like, what are the absolute don’ts?
Christy Primmer 11:42
I know for me, from my perspective, something that I’ve had to work on, and I see a lot, especially with my female clients not to generalize, but just saying, not being emotionally reactive to everything. We have a lot of different times throughout the month where our hormones are heightened. And we have to take that into consideration as much as people poop that we have to really be thinking through what message we want to say, what do we want to be expressing, and be able to emotionally, you know, with some intelligence, express that in a way that our partner is going to hear us, instead of going from zero to 60, because we feel unheard.
Kimberly Hoffman 12:24
Yeah, I really appreciate hearing that, because that’s something that I’ve really had to work on personally, that going from zero to 60 is easy to do for a woman, especially when you are dealing with those hormones and things that set you off that sometimes you feel like you don’t have control over. But really dialing it back and taking that breath and doing some self soothing in that moment has been so helpful for me. And for us as a couple obviously.
Chris A. Matthews 12:56
I’d say be mindful, you know, in the same vein of gender differences maintained to take a longer time coming down. So when our heart rates get higher, you know, Gottman talks a lot about heart rate. And when we get flooded, or just emotionally aroused, we don’t come down as quickly as women. So I tell a lot of my male clients, Hey, your, your wife can go up and down that emotional spectrum a lot faster than you can. So you start to find yourself going up, letting her know, giving some type of CO word or just something to let her know, hey, it’s starting to rise in me and I can’t move as fast to you. So I would always tell couples to be patient, because you know, When may you guys have a gift we don’t have.
Matthew Hoffman 13:41
Right, right. And I think that a reminder, I always like to talk about when I’m working with people is that if there’s a conflict, it doesn’t mean that you always have to have a resolution, you know, you’re never going to solve it or maybe get the answer you want or have them get the answer they want. But if you get understanding, if you’re able to understand why they feel the way they do and why it’s important to them, that successful resolution because and sometimes you have to agree to disagree. But being an empathetic and being in their shoes and understanding that as long as you understand why it’s important and where they’re coming from and you can honor how they feel that success and it doesn’t mean that you have a resolution where you’re both in perfect agreement on what the issue is.
Christy Primmer 14:27
Yeah, totally. I love that point. Matthew, it’s that’s bang on.
Kimberly Hoffman 14:32
Our next pillar is trust and honesty. And that as we know plays a really big role in our relationship. Tell me what is a way that we can establish really deep trust and honesty in our relationship?
Chris A. Matthews 14:46
Making sure No, doesn’t have to mean never know just may mean not right now. I think a lot of times, you know, from a male perspective, just speaking with in my own marriage, my wife asked me a question. I don’t know the answer? Or if there’s something I need to process, I’ll let her know, hey, give me time versus spitting out an answer, that may just be a lie, you’re not truthful, because I believe on our show yesterday, we talked about how the little small lies can erode the trust. So not using little lies thinking that they’re just going to, you know, have a small impact has actually have a large impact.
Christy Primmer 15:26
Oh, I love that. And I also believe in that with regards to I call it the accumulation theory of a marriage. If you’re upset about something, honor that and figure out how you need to express that and communicate that instead of piling up, you know, that saying it’s never about the mayonnaise. A lot of times people explode when there could have been a conversation hours or days or weeks or months even before that would have led to some kind of ease within the within the relationship. So being honest, in the moment, you know, the timing the three T’s of course, but being honest about how you’re feeling, and, and always celebrating and recognizing when you’re feeling really good with your, with your partner and with yourself and sharing those moments too. Right? We have to be communicating the great and the good as well as the not so good.
Kimberly Hoffman 16:19
Sure. And what if there’s been mistrust? What if someone has violated the trust within the relationship? What are some things that we can do to rebuild that trust?
Chris A. Matthews 16:31
Acceptance. Hands down. I do a lot of work with clients to come in treating the infidelity. And the hardest part is accepting the guilt. You don’t have to have shame, meaning you don’t have to consider yourself as bad, but we have to acknowledge the action was bad, and informing your partner that people really won’t forgive you until they acknowledge that you truly understand how you hurt them.
Christy Primmer 16:55
Yes. I also think to being able to take that moment by moment, I think too many couples setup catastrophic expectations, what’s going to be the new moving forward, you know, from this day forward, we’ll never bring it up. That’s not always going to be possible. I think there’s got to be again, boundaries in place. But taking that moment for a moment, and really connecting to the things that you love about your partner and that you love about your time and history together. Rather than pulling from the negative history that you have.
Kimberly Hoffman 17:32
Yeah, I love that.
Matthew Hoffman 17:35
Kind of leads naturally into our next pillar, which is patience. You know, when somebody is patient and understanding and unruffled in their approach, it’s easy to accept what they may have to say. So how can we best show up for our partner and be patient when we feel they’re just not on the same wavelength or they’re just not getting it? Or they’re not even willing to consider where we’re coming from? How can we maintain that patience? When it seems like we’re just, you know, coming, we’re just so diametrically opposed on an issue.
Christy Primmer 18:05
I’m giggling because this has been something that Anthony and I have in our 20 years together have been really mastering. And a lot of couples I’ve had the privilege of working with, I have a little saying that works for me. And it shifts me into into the moment and it’s I love you, and I don’t think you’re hearing me right now. So let’s regroup later. And that little statement has given us humor, it’s given us the recognition that we’re not going to let something destroy our day or destroy our weak or destroy our relationship.
Kimberly Hoffman 18:42
Yeah, it’s not gonna derail us, it’s just gonna give us a little space right now. That’s all.
Chris A. Matthews 18:47
I’d say just within my own relationship, being mindful of like my attachment needs, right? Like, when I was younger, in my marriage, I have a strong like anxious attachment style. So I needed everything right now. And then. And then as I’ve grown, and you know, going on 17 years together, I see now that I’m gonna be with you today, I’m gonna be with you tomorrow, the next day, the next day, the next day, so we don’t really have to rush it. I’m looking at more so the war not just the individual battle, right, being more strategic and that just came about when we develop our level of emotional intelligence. I would start there with that.
Matthew Hoffman 19:30
What are the things that you think get in the way are what eliminates our ability to be patient when you’re in when we’re talking about self like we’re gonna show up in the relationship and be patient, it comes down to right controlling self. So what is it that gets in the way? Do you all think or how can we better regulate ourselves? So that we have that patience like is because it really isn’t, isn’t being it’s not it’s not being patient is not about what the other person is or is not doing? It’s about what we ourselves are or are not doing? So how can people work on that practice? You guys talked a little bit about it. But can you give me some more thoughts and ideas on that?
Chris A. Matthews 20:07
Matthew, you talked about, you mentioned on another episode, we had that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And I would start with the physiological needs, are you fed? Are you rested? Are you taking care of yourself physiologically, before engaging in any type of conflict? It’s like easier to be patient, when your own physiological needs are met first.
Christy Primmer 20:28
Yeah, I’ve released the instant gratification syndrome that’s very prevalent in our society, and also take me out of it and put we into it. And when we can do that, you know, I have a very strong faith. So I pray a lot. I’m in communication with God a lot, because some things My husband doesn’t need to hear. I can sort that out somewhere else. But really taking the me factor out of it, we can have tantrums and we can feel that our needs aren’t being met. I love what Chris mentioned about the anxious attachments, so I think we all need to know our attachment styles. Because they exist, whether we are aware of them or not. And it helps us tremendously be able to show up better in our relationships.
Matthew Hoffman 21:18
No doubt. Oh, that’s, that’s good advice. Yeah, we can’t show them be our best self when we’re not taking care of ourselves. Or we’re running on a deficit of asleep, or hungry, you know, that good old halt, H A LT if you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Get those needs met, so you can be recharged and be ready. I love that.
Kimberly Hoffman 21:38
One of my favorite pillars is intimacy. And I love to talk about intimacy. Because there are several different kinds of intimacy. A lot of times when a woman brings up intimacy, I feel like the first thing a man thinks is thinking being sex acts. And so let’s talk about the other forms of intimacy. And how do we develop some of those intimate intimacy such as physical, emotional, spiritual? How do we develop that within the relationships so then we can get to the sex part.
Chris A. Matthews 22:43
I think it starts with being comfortable with you. And I say that because when you know what you desire and want to make yourself happy, then you can have those shared experiences with your partner. So creating, you know, you mentioned the different types of intimacy. Recreational intimacy is one of my favorites. Engaging in a new behavior or activity with your partner is exciting, because that’s a shared moment you both get to create together. And then the intellectual intimacy, you know, my wife, she’s an avid reader, so she’s always reading the book. And I do audiobooks. So I’ll figure out what book she’s reading and listen to it. And then we engage in that conversation. And then once you do get to the physical part, we have all these other types of connections that make that even greater.
Christy Primmer 23:48
Yeah, and I just want to preface this for anyone listening that’s like, confused or unsure. But monogamy is not dead. And for me, the better it gets, the better it gets, if you know what I’m saying. I really love physical touch. And so does my husband. So we’re aware of each other’s love languages, which which can change, you know, depending on what season of life you’re in, but I really love to be heard. And so we we’ve learned how I don’t my husband doesn’t have to agree with me or fix things for me. He is my lover and my and my man and my king, but he doesn’t have to fix everything and giving him the permission to be present to hear me without the expectation that I need him to solve something has created a tremendous boost in our in our intimacy. The intellectual intimacy is very important to me. I need to be stimulated and in a lot of places in the holistic approach, not just in the bedroom, and that connection of conversing. It leads to the emotional connection. So, being present and consistently improving yourself to be more interesting to your partner, right keep those sparks alive. I have really does wonders for you in your intimacy department.
Matthew Hoffman 25:04
I love that. And Christy, I’m gonna borrow, we had the pleasure of interviewing you and your husband on another episode. And I think that relative to intimacy, I think you need to share the King and Queen concept that you and Anthony have talked to us about how deep that commitment is how it’s expressed, even visible visibly in your relationship and how you guys work that model. I think it’s a fantastic model, and a recipe for intimacy.
Christy Primmer 25:29
Yeah, well, thank you, Matthew. So I have the queen tattoo here under my anniversary date. And he has the king tattoo in the same spot, and he designed them for husbands and artists, we wanted to make a commitment, that was a reminder for us as well, that we could look at, and we could see it. We have a very strong foundation in Christ, and we have a very faithful, dual commitment to our marriage. And we’ve we’ve explored what works for us and what doesn’t as far as our boundaries, and I honor him, because A, he’s incredible. And God blessed me with a man like him, but he honors me and, and I really want him to know all the time that he is my king in my world and, and he is the most important man in my life. And we demonstrate that through different acts of behavior. But the tattoos were symbolic for us, our anniversary wedding anniversary, where we were like, You know what, let’s figure out how we can honor each other even more in the next chapter of marriage, and then the next chapter of marriage, and we are just so deeply connected, and I love him so much, it makes me almost cry, because we have to honor great men. And when we do that, our kings, you know, honor us. And it’s incredible.
Matthew Hoffman 26:54
Yeah. great concept of King and Queen ship, I had to bring that up, because I think if people just adopted that philosophy, it would go a long ways to not just intimacy but also our next pillar, which is lasting love. And, you know, it’s seems like marriages, I mean, it well, it is it’s not doesn’t seem like it marriage is under attack. I mean, for so many reasons. You guys know the statistics that 50% of all marriages, and means you got a 50/50 chance you’re gonna stay together and have the relationships that that do. Seven years is the average tenure, right, of a marriage. And that’s a horrible record. So what can we do now in our relationships to ensure that we have lasting love? We’ve talked about some of the other pillars that relate to it, but specifically on the pillar of lasting love. What do we have to do to make sure it does last in our relationship?
Chris A. Matthews 27:50
So making sure the mindset is correct, right? Like the marriage or relationship is the journey, it’s not a destination. And when you think about a journey, it starts with the first step. So each step is important in understanding that every day you’re walking within those steps of marriage with your partner. And that looks like the excitement that monogamy brings to the table, your partner won’t be the same person, they are now 10 years from now, and they’re not the same person they are now 10 years ago, when you look at being with the same person, you’re not with the same person, you get to explore life. So looking at marriage, monogamy is this journey, where you get to explore so many different climates of life with the same person which gives you that security. And when you look at couples that have been together, you know, 50/60 years, all these large amounts of time. And you mentioned it just earlier, Christy gets sweeter as you grow in it. Because it’s like concrete, it’s continuing to harden over the course of its entire lifetime. It doesn’t just get to a destination. So being mindful of the journey of marriage.
Christy Primmer 28:58
I love that Chris, you are dropping some gold. I wanted to just add to that. For me, It’s choosing every morning. I literally am choosing my husband and that’s even when maybe we’ve been in a difficult season or something hasn’t been great. It’s the reassurance that I’m growing with this person. And he supports me and I support him. The other thing I want to add for lasting love something that’s really worked for us and for many couples I’ve worked with is forgive quickly. And it’s something it’s advice my grandmother gave me on my wedding night and I remember thinking What do you mean and then I learned you know, took me a few lessons. Forgive quickly. Don’t linger in what hasn’t worked or hurt that has happened. linger and love and the potential of love and just keep falling in love with your partner and like Chris said the different seasons that he or she is in.
Kimberly Hoffman 29:55
I love that. Well let’s talk a little bit about our next pillar which is selflessness, I believe that that’s a really huge pillar. And that it means really, we have to show up for our partner every single day. But what is the right balance of showing up and being there for our partner and committing to them, and even putting them above ourselves? What is the right balance of doing that, but also feeding ourselves and nourishing ourselves as well.
Christy Primmer 30:27
There’s times in a marriage where your partner is going to need more from you than then you need from them. And I think recognizing that it is very pertinent to the success and health of your relationship. I think we all need to know our own needs for self care or what we need. And being aware that giving to your partner and giving to your relationship is fulfilling. It’s it’s a self fulfilling prophecy in some ways, because the better it gets, the better it’s going to get. And just knowing that balance, 50/50 balance is never in my experience going to be be there, sometimes your husband needs more from you, your wife needs more from you, your children might need more from both of you. So being aware of what’s going on.
Chris A. Matthews 31:15
I’d say learning how to enjoy giving to your partner, when I give to my wife, whether it be my time, attention, what have you, I enjoy that I’m equally receptive to the gift of giving. And when you think about it, from an intimacy perspective, if we were to talk about sex, a lot of partners have stimulation when they’re providing some type of physical act toward their partner. The same can be in the middle stakes as well, when I’m, you know, making my wife that cup of coffee in the morning, or she’s a Bucha drinker, she loves fermented tea. So when I’m at the store, I’m excited about who she’s gonna love this, ooh, she’s gonna love that. So I’m actually given to myself when I give to my partner.
Kimberly Hoffman 32:03
Sure, I love that, because I feel like once we’ve learned how to become a joyful giver, and to give often, I see what happens is that your partner organically and just naturally does the same for you, which is it becomes a beautiful dance, I think within the relationship. What about those that are selfish? You know, what would you say to people out there who are takers and not givers and sort of get in the rut of that and forget to give back?
Chris A. Matthews 32:36
I think that’s the mentality of abundance. Right, Christine? I know, we’ve all spoken about our faith. You know, one of the things I love about the biblical principles, Christian faith, it’s an abundance type of faith. And when we have that mentality that it’s not going to run out, I think couples are partners that are unwilling to give, they have this fear that there’s some cap or limit on how much is going to be there, and they won’t have anything in return. But when you have an abundance mentality, you know that the more you give, the more you’re going to get, versus the more you give, the less that’s going to be there.
Christy Primmer 33:15
Yeah, I love that. And I always caution people to be aware of how they’re showing up and how they’re behaving. And I also caution people to be careful who they talk to about their spouse, when times aren’t good. It’s very selfish, in my opinion, to turn to social media or turn to so many friends or, or family members to share troubles or issues that you might be having with your partner. And I’m not talking about domestic violence, I’m talking about disagreements or things that might be happening that don’t need the public eye. And so I always remind people of that, because people forget that that’s actually very selfish, because it casts your partner in a very negative light. And the consequences of that are not good. But I love what Chris said, and being in abundance and being an abundance of the love that gets to be connected together with your partners. It’s incredible.
Matthew Hoffman 34:10
That kind of leads naturally into our next pillar, which is unity, you know, being unified and working on us is key for marriage and any relationship success. So once the vows are said, and we’re no longer those independent contractors, how do we keep working on ourselves without losing our own independence, right? There’s dependence, independence and interdependence. So what’s that right balance of making sure that we’re unified but not swallowed up and losing our sense of identity?
Christy Primmer 34:42
I married a man that loves that I’m an independent, strong woman and very smart and very well educated and a go-getter. So you know, I couldn’t have called in a better man. But I think that it’s really important that when we’re reviewing our vows or committing to our marriage or and not just once a year on our anniversary all the time, we’re asking our partner like, how are you feeling? Like are you feeling like you have enough time to golf or to go out or to be with your girlfriends or whatever it might be alone time, I think the communication is right, pulling from that pillar. And just checking in, you know, taking the temperature of your relationship is always really important and beneficial.
Chris A. Matthews 35:27
I would say learn how to look at your marriage outside of your marriage. So taking yourself outside of the marriage and looking at your partner as a friend in that moment, what does my friend need? What does this person need outside of what I need? And what you find is when your partner is, you know, golfing, and spending time with their girlfriends or doing whatever they need, they come back to you more fulfilled. So you have two tanks in a marriage, you have your joint tank, and then you have individual tanks, make sure both of them are stateful.
Matthew Hoffman 35:56
Good point, what are the things that you feel typically pull couples apart? and cause it to be at odds with one another? So what are the things? What are the wedges that want to get in and disrupt that sense of unity?
Chris A. Matthews 36:10
Matthew Hoffman 36:13
Everything and everyday.
Kimberly Hoffman 36:14
Chris A. Matthews 36:19
You know, I use the analogy about how, you know, there’s always this gravitational pool coming between you and your partner. There’s always something trying to get in the way. So you’re working against the gravitational pull of children, the gravitational pull of of work, the gravitational pull of just distractions, family, depending on what stage of life you are, you might have, you know, aging parents, is so many health issues, concerns, there’s so many things that are getting between you. So you have to fight through that gravity gravitational pool. And that’s simply just being intentional about spending time and being with your partner every single day.
Kimberly Hoffman 37:00
That’s a great visual, because I can just see that happening every day for each of us. Yeah, it’s always there. Something’s always pulling and tugging at the relationship in the opposite direction.
Matthew Hoffman 37:13
Yeah, I got to be reminded of that constant care.
Christy Primmer 37:17
Yeah, and I always like to highlight touch points. So I could have a crazy schedule, I travel a lot, you know. And so I’m not with my husband all the time right now in this season, which has been very interesting and difficult at times to navigate, but we’re pulling through. So I always have touch points, you know, ordering a favorite meal to have it delivered to him when I know he’s getting home from work, or just sending him a little message through the day or mailing him a card snail mail, like doing little things that keep us connected and demonstrate the empathy and the connection. Even if life is crazy, because like Chris, life will get in the way. And it’s up to us to put our armor on every morning and be able to get through it.
Kimberly Hoffman 38:02
I want to talk a little bit about servant leadership. I think serving, having a servant’s heart is really important in a relationship, serving your spouse, serving your family, serving your friends, how do we develop that muscle?
Christy Primmer 38:20
I grew up in an old school. So I grew up serving my dad first. And I love that I served my husband and my son before I eat, and I and people laugh at me, my girlfriend’s my age, you know, mid 40s, they laugh at me, but that feels good to me. I love to do those things, cooking for my family, serving them. And that’s just a minute example. But really, for me, it’s the power of prayer. I’m constantly praying for my husband, and I’m praying for his success and his wellness, not just that he’s a good man to me, but for him to be fulfilled and to connect deeper with Christ and, and that has changed the dynamic of our marriage. And that’s something I do and I don’t have to tell him I’m doing it. It’s just something I can do. And I can do it anytime.
Chris A. Matthews 39:08
Caution what I’m about to say, I use ego. And I use ego in the sense that we sometimes will hear ego is like this, this negative thing but it’s more so that inner voice that says I want to be seen as someone who is in a good light, right? So the ego of I want to make sure my partner knows that I value them. And when you think about those that are perfectionists or people that want to do a good job, people pleasers lean into some of that and be able to say to yourself that you’re without a doubt providing your spouse with no questions as to what they need. And I think about it from a score perspective of I want to win it marriage and winning looks like score In touchdowns, it looks like putting points on the board. And, you know, I’m very adamant about wanting to put the points on the board and my wife. She’ll joke with me, she’ll say, you know, it’s not the cooking you like, it’s the compliments after the cooking that you really like. And I’m like, yeah.
Kimberly Hoffman 40:21
So what does servant leadership not look like? What are some pitfalls that we can get into when it comes to servant leadership?
Christy Primmer 40:30
Being me focused, definitely not thinking at all about anyone else’s needs in your household, especially, you know, your partner’s being disconnected, being detached. Those are pitfalls that a lot of people can fall into when they have high demands at work. Maybe they have a child with special needs, and they’re, they’re drained, and they’re just not even available to be emotionally connected, not just physically. So those are things that I would keep an eye out for.
Chris A. Matthews 41:00
I think, you know, we tend to forget that leaders also know how to follow as well. So follow my wife’s lead when it comes to what the household might need, and the energy or the mood or just the environment itself. So being able and willing to engage the group, not just trying to impose your own viewpoint, so where things need to go.
Matthew Hoffman 41:24
So if we want to move on to faith in moral code, you know, I’m a firm believer, we’ve talked a lot about faith today. But having a belief and a power outside of ourselves, I think is critical. And knowing that it’s not just all about our personal efforts and having the right perspective. So how can we develop our own sense of faith and a moral code, while also doing it together with our spouse? So, you know, I think everybody has their own journey individually, but how do we continue our own journey, but then also wrap that into our partner, so that we are working on our own faith and moral code for the relationship.
Christy Primmer 42:01
Building your spiritual muscle, right? It’s a daily connection. And it can be as simple as literally saying, I surrender, I want to be, I want to be closer to you, I want to be a healthier woman, I want to be a healthier man. And being open to that, you know, my husband and I do a lot of devotion together, we have a lot of different conversations about our values together and why we value what we value. And, you know, when we aren’t together, we watch the Church Online together with the service. We just stay really connected in our spirituality, which is, yes, the Christian faith, but also the soul spiritual connection that we have, you know, I always say, I see. His soul sees my soul, and my soul sees his soul. And I know that gets deep, but it’s a beautiful thing.
Chris A. Matthews 42:53
My wife and I recently switched churches, and we transitioned to a church that’s really big on service. And we stay connected to serving together, we are part of different ministries that we attend together and, you know, our date night on Mondays are to go to the churches young. You know, we help lead the young marriage ministry, like so like a date night, so integrating the spiritual reality into the practice of faith. So it’s not some separate thing. It’s just a part of the marriage in itself. It’s an inner, inner woven piece of the fabric of the marriage. It’s like a quilt. That’s one thing that’s been stitched into who we are as a couple.
Matthew Hoffman 43:37
What are some of the faith killers that you’ve seen with or things that destroy the faith in relationships that you all have come across, or people that you’ve worked with? What are some of the watch outs and things that just destroy that pillar?
Christy Primmer 43:51
Excessive worry, excessive negativity, rehashing too many people, I’m talking to my ladies out there, especially rehashing things from years gone by not being aware of their own emotional triggers, because physical and emotional triggers are different. And a lot of times people are just crushing their faith together by being a negative influence in the relationship and not always mindful of that, right. So be aware of your behavior or your thoughts, because that will be demonstrated in your relationship.
Chris A. Matthews 44:33
Mentioned ego earlier from a positive perspective, but ego from a negative viewpoint can be when one partner believes that they’re doing it all by themselves and they don’t need another partner. I find that a lot in couples that I work with where one person is the primary breadwinner or financial provider, and there’s a level of respect or disrespect shown to the partner that doesn’t accumulate money or income as if they don’t have value. So when we look at ourselves, and we think we’re bigger than then our Creator, bigger than our spirituality, bigger than our partner, bigger than our marriage, bigger than our family, we can definitely see that in couples is something that can implode the marriage. So being able to pull yourself down and stay at a level of humility to acknowledge that you’re part of the system. And systems theory is the sum is greater than individual parts. So we always need the system to be greater than the individual pieces.
Kimberly Hoffman 45:30
I want to talk a little bit about appreciation. When we interview our podcast guests, that particular pillar comes up a lot, and it’s really important to a lot of our guests. And so how can we really work on and create a culture of appreciation? In our relationship? You know, you hear a lot of people say, Gosh, I’m just not appreciated enough where I don’t feel appreciated. How do we create that culture of appreciation?
Christy Primmer 46:00
I think I mentioned the love languages, Gary Chapman, earlier, I think people aren’t aware of how their partner wants to be, or needs to be appreciated. And so we have to do our due diligence to make sure that we’re expressing what we need. Words of Affirmation are my love language. And appreciation is an attitude, you know, the attitude of gratitude. And we can demonstrate that through verbal and nonverbal communication all the time. And really just being aware that it’s also the little things like, hey, you know, what, my husband takes the garbage out, everyone’s like, Guess what, thank you so much for taking the garbage out. And recognizing that even the menial tasks, why our partners do because too often people have the all or nothing. Experience of, I always do this, and you never do that. And I have to ask you 100 times to do that. So why would I appreciate you? Listen, appreciate them anyway, you know, there’s a lot more to be said about positive attention versus negative attention in your relationship.
Kimberly Hoffman 47:07
I love that. Don’t just point out the big things, but point out the really small everyday things.
Christy Primmer 47:12
Picking kids up from school, right?
Kimberly Hoffman 47:18
Christy Primmer 47:20
Whew, no one could pay a mother enough or other enough to do that, okay.
Kimberly Hoffman 47:29
Chris A. Matthews 47:31
I think just being mindful of the desire to like, there should be an internal desire to provide more to your partner than what they are independent of the relationship. So seeing the relationship as a tool, and that helps in terms of being able to look at it as a job role. And, you know, I think one of the best characteristics is to marry someone who decides, prior to even being with you, they want to do well for themselves. And you know, I was used to it, it’s not like math, two negatives will not make a positive. Like, if you have a negative spouse, or that mentality is not there, or if you feel like, too many people marry on hope, versus evidence, marry on evidence.
Kimberly Hoffman 48:22
i love that.
Matthew Hoffman 48:23
So I want to move on to security. And I think that, you know, when somebody doesn’t feel safe, secure and protected in their relationship, it’s really difficult to think about anything else. So what can we do to help our partner feel more secure in our relationship?
Christy Primmer 48:38
Be secure in yourself, firstly, like, let’s, let’s take some ownership and radical responsibility to fill our, our own cup and sort out our own insecurities. So we’re not projecting them onto our partner, you know, really being secure and who you are and whose you are, because that will change the dynamic of how you show up in every capacity of your life, not just your marriage.
Chris A. Matthews 49:06
Christy, you make a great point about being secure in yourself. And then once you identify what those securities look like within yourself, communicating those to your partner, a lot of couples come into counseling because of mind reading, and they will attempt to guess what their partner needs or feels or thinks versus just sharing. And in couples therapy. I have partners talk to each other, right? Like it’s an instinct for them to want to speak to me, the counselor but I’m constantly directing them to talk to each other. And just working those muscles. I know Christy mentioned the spiritual muscles, but their security muscles you can work together to and understanding that the marriage is like a trapeze artist. There is no net underneath. So be mindful that if you slip and fall a lot of times for certain personality types, there may not be a coming back from infidelity. So if your partner had an experience where they grew up in a household where infidelity decimated the family, or if substance use or abuse was there as an issue, then no going into that marriage, that partner may not be able to recover from that. So you have to be very honest and upfront about what you can and can’t take, and it doesn’t, you know, hold that person accountable for.
Kimberly Hoffman 50:26
Well, our last pillar that we have is fun and humor. And that’s a big one and an important one. And we get so bogged down by life that we forget to have fun with our partner and enjoy life with our partner. So what would you say to those people who are out there that are not having fun together? They’re forgetting to go out and play together? What would your advice be?
Chris A. Matthews 50:53
Be open to have fun. I think a lot of couples will close out so many amazing opportunities to do things that are fun, because they’re just not open to the new experiences. Being open to new experiences can create new doorways to fun and laughter and joy.
Christy Primmer 51:11
Oh, laughter, laughter is the most free antidepressant out there. Laughter will connect you. Having private jokes. I love that my husband, I have private jokes that we could giggle at all day long. And no one knows what’s going on. Connecting through fun, connecting through exploration, and honoring your inner child like no matter what your age is just being free. You know, it’s vital to your own mental wellness, let alone the health of your marriage.
Kimberly Hoffman 51:42
Sure. A lot of couples will say Oh, I’m too tired, or I’m too this, I’m too that. But you’re right. Just being open to it is huge. And then I feel like once you go down that path, when you are exploring, when you are having fun together, it just opens up all these new doors. And this new intimacy, I think in your relationship as well.
Matthew Hoffman 52:03
Yeah. I mean, I’m guys, you have been fantastic. We’ve kind of done a quick, pretty exhaustive, exhaustive scroll, though, through what we think are some of the most important things in a successful relationship. And I want to close out by doing something that we do with a lot of our guests and, and we’re Kim and I are going to answer these too, but we’re gonna put you guys on the spot to go first. I would like you all to fill in the blank to this one question and Christy, you’re gonna go first. And the question is the key to a successful marriage is blank. And I’d like you to fill in that blank for me with one word if you can.
Christy Primmer 52:44
What popped in my mind was a lot of sex. Connecting.
Matthew Hoffman 52:49
A lot of sex, connecting, connection. Beautiful. Alright, Chris, gonna ask you the same question. A key to a successful marriage is
Chris A. Matthews 53:02
Christy took mine.
Matthew Hoffman 53:06
Christy took, well, you can say we’ll let you do an A and B How about that?
Kimberly Hoffman 53:12
Chris A. Matthews 53:16
Matthew Hoffman 53:18
Showing up, Good. Be present. All right, my bride, I’m turning to my co-host.
Kimberly Hoffman 53:25
I just think, you think, you know, Christy again, but I will say on a little bit of a broader level intimacy.
Matthew Hoffman 53:33
Intimacy, yeah. Someone once said in a podcast that we interviewed, the couple said, into me is into me. Yeah, you see, and I love that. And I’m gonna answer the question by prioritizing. I think if you are prioritizing your spouse above anybody else, any other human relationship, then that means you’re putting them first and you’re thinking about all the ways you can fulfill support, energize, pour into love, adore, appreciate, have intimacy with them. So it’s all about prioritization. So that’s what I would say, well.
Kimberly Hoffman 54:05
You two are awesome. Thank you so so much. This has been fun and great for me. I’ve learned a lot.
Matthew Hoffman 54:13
You guys rock.
Matthew Hoffman 54:14
And we are so glad to have a special episode on relationship do’s and don’ts and what people can do and we love that you joined us today. We love that you are on our team at Kickass Couples Nation, everybody that’s listening out there. If you want more of this good stuff, you can join us and Kickass Couples Nation, go to Matthewphoffman.com. You will see the profiles if you want to work with or talk to Christy or Chris and learn about all the good things they’re doing or have them help you or somebody else that needs help in that number one human relationship. They are the people that can help do that. So go check them out. And thanks for joining us. We want everybody to remember one final thing,
Kimberly Hoffman 54:52
Happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose.
Matthew Hoffman 54:56
Christy Primmer 54:58
Yes, thank you.
Chris A. Matthews 54:59
Have a good one, thanks.
Kimberly Hoffman 55:00