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The Transformative Power of Listening with Intention

By October 5, 2022No Comments

How often do you get to meet a dynamic, high-energy couple? Here is your opportunity!

In today’s blog post, we are pleased to share the highlights of our podcast interview with the  dynamic duo Marie-Claire and Nick Cates. This is a passion-driven couple who worked their way into being two incredibly successful entrepreneurs and one Kickass couple. 

As a teenager, Marie Claire immigrated to the US from Haiti. She’s the founder and CEO of a multimillion-dollar beauty business called Acne Experts Skincare located in Beverly Hills. She’s also become a sought-after beauty and lifestyle expert on social media. What’s made her most proud is being able to provide her son with the support he needed for stability and life success. Marie Claire has tackled fear and shame firsthand, learning to embrace challenges as stepping stones on the path to an amazing life with her husband, Nick Cates.

Nick dreamt of becoming an NBA or NFL star, but his teachers guided his unique talent for writing and storytelling, which landed him at BET and PBS where his TV career started. He’s had many successful production roles from the E Series Celebrity Homes, to developing specials for A&E Style, Vibe TV, and E entertainment. Nick launched the real estate company Showpads and has a production company called Minefield Productions. Nick thrives as a realtor, real estate investor, developer, and devoted husband. 

Now let’s dig in and break down the key relationship qualities they’ve used to build their rock-solid relationship.

We always ask our couples what makes them tick. One of our biggest takeaways from this interview with Marie Claire and Nick, was when they were talking about their families of origin. They talked about how they both received love and saw love demonstrated as they were growing up, and they were radically different. Nick shared that he grew up in a household with a mother and father, but he said he had additional family members (his grandmother and great-grandmother) that lived with him for a while. 

He used the phrase “layers of love” to describe his situation growing up. His dad was the disciplinarian and all about business and preparing him for life and his mom was more tender and loving. His grandmother and great-grandmother provided him with two more layers of love. 

Nick made a great point, there can be a lot of people, other than just your parents, that come in and provide love. In relationships, it’s not just the two people, but it’s all the other people that have an impact and influence as well. All of those layers build who we are. 

Not all of us grow up with both parents. We have so many different dynamics in our families and when we are able to get that mothering and that fathering from other influences, it’s a blessing to us. We’re sure many of you can resonate with the fact that we all experience love and receive love in different ways. 

A big theme throughout the entire interview was how much these two appreciate each other. Marie Claire and Nick have a fabulous appreciation of each other and communicate well with one another. They know what each other’s love languages are and they listen to each other when they speak. Many of us get caught in the trap of ‘ halfway listening’. Marie Claire confirmed that when she speaks, Nick’s always listening. Communication in a relationship is something we talk about a lot at Kickass Couples Nation. When a spouse is trying to get your attention or trying to communicate with you, it’s important to practice active listening. This is definitely a strength for this couple at this point of their marriage, but things weren’t always that way.

When they first got together before they were married, Nick said that Marie Claire had a habit of talking over him, finishing his sentences, and trying to anticipate where he was going in the conversation instead of giving him the space to share. Luckily, she was open to his influence and when Nick addressed this with her, she listened. This also allowed her to realize that not only was she doing this in her communication with him, but she was doing it with her family and the people she worked with as well. It was a big life lesson for her and an ‘aha moment’ that directly influenced her behavior.

The takeaway here is that it’s important to listen so that you can learn and understand where your partner is coming from. Starting with good communication as your motive means listening to understand how your spouse is feeling, what they want to relay to you, and what they want to give to you in the relationship. It does not mean blowing through what they have to say so that you get to your turn to speak. In the week ahead we invite you to observe your communication style with your partner and evaluate whether you are listening to respond, or listening to seek the all-important understanding.

Until next time. Remember, happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose.