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Kickass Couples Podcast

Together We Stand: Secrets to a Unified Marriage – Ep 96 SPECIAL – Pillar of Unity

By March 29, 2023No Comments



unity, relationship, kim, partner, unified, agree, demonstrating, support, couples, thought, pillar, talk, family, communication, important, understanding, means, prioritizing, spouse, synergy


Kimberly Hoffman, Matthew Hoffman


Matthew Hoffman  00:10

Welcome back to the Kickass Couples Podcast. We are excited to be with you again today in Phoenix on a beautiful sunshiny day. Still cool outside, a little deceptive. But we are going to dive into the pillar of unity today. If this is your first time listening to the Kickass Couples Podcast, we have 14 pillars, which represent qualities that we think are essential to any successful relationship. And but every four or five episodes, we dive into one of these pillars and talk about it and want to really give you the key concepts and hope that you are learning and practicing those things in your own number one relationship. So Kim, I’m gonna start off a little quote from JK Rowling. And she says we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. And I thought that was a good


Kimberly Hoffman  02:17

Yeah, it’s a great segue into our pillar of unity. You know, I really love these special episodes, because it really does give us a chance to dive in and go a little bit deeper on each pillar. And I love the pillar unity, I think it’s one of my favorites. And it didn’t start out that way. But the more research and the more that I’ve learned and the more couples we have actually interviewed, the more I see how important and how special, it really is in a relationship.


Matthew Hoffman  02:46

So is it your favorite because you think it’s critical? Tell me why it’s your favorite.


Kimberly Hoffman  02:50

It’s my favorite, because it’s essential to really having a deep, connected, intimate relationship.


Matthew Hoffman  03:01

I agree. And I want to kind of dissuade people of the fallacy or the rumor or the false statement. People are not unified when they’re living parallel lives, meaning two lines that are just kind of going their own way they say every once in a while and every once in a while they intersect. So if you’re cruising through life, and there’s not a lot of intersection with you and your spouse, your partner, the person that you said, I want to spend the rest of my life with, that is not unity, you know, seeing couples where the husband does everything he wants, the wife does everything she wants, and they just give each other their space. They’re out with their friends and doing their own thing. You know, some of that is certainly healthy in a relationship, but that is not nirvana. And that is not ideal. And that is certainly not unified. So Kim, in your own if you had to define unity, how would you do it? Like what would what would you say to someone said, What do you mean unity in a relationship? But what what does that mean to you?


Kimberly Hoffman  03:58

Well, to me, it means that we are always going to, we’re always going to come at everything with a united front. So not that we have to agree on everything. I’m not saying that at all. But I am saying that we’re going to approach everything in a unified way in a way that we to our children, to our family, to our friends come across as being unified.


Matthew Hoffman  04:27

I think that’s great. And I would maybe add to that a little bit. It’s it is a oneness of sentiment. It doesn’t mean that you’re identical and that you are perfectly a like one another. But it means that there’s uniformity of thought their doctrine and the biggest thing that you talked about and other years undivided, right, it doesn’t mean that if my partner Kim and I don’t agree on everything, and it’s not about agreeing on everything, however me understanding what she believes or her position on something and supporting it. Not belittling her because I disagree with it. or tearing her down or saying to the kids? Well, mom thinks this but I think that right or two friends, well, Kim believes this, but I don’t agree with that at all. That is not unity. So you can have differing beliefs, different interpretations, different understanding of something, we’re entitled to that. But we’re gonna support each other no matter what our belief systems, or feelings are on any particular issue.


Kimberly Hoffman  05:24

Yeah, we’re gonna understand it first. And then we’re gonna, we’re gonna stand behind them, and we’re gonna support it.


Matthew Hoffman  05:32

So let’s go a little bit deeper into that, Kim, what does unity look like? And what gets in the way of couples demonstrating it solidly? Like you think about our own relationship? Or other couples? What do you think gets in the way of really having that unified front on life as we go through it together?


Kimberly Hoffman  05:48

Well, I think some of the things that we just talked about really family, I think that we allow family to kind of sneak in and divide us up a little bit, or kids certainly, from little on or are going to try to divide us and go to you for something that maybe I’ve already told them, they’re not allowed or supposed to do. So I feel like our kids do that. And, you know, work can certainly get in the way of keeping us together. And, you know, they’re just sometimes life circumstances come up, right? And when we get those curveballs thrown at us, sometimes it can cause us to go in different directions.


Matthew Hoffman  06:29

Yeah, I think another one of our pillars, which is one of our three C’s is the second one communication, and being unified or expressing demonstrating unity in a relationship. Communication is such a critical role in that. And it’s not just communication about big issues, that’s certainly important, you know, life stages and issues, and what are we going to do about something, but it’s the little touch points throughout the day. It could be texting, it could be notes, it can be voicemails, and really continuing to connect with your partner, and making sure that you’re on the same page, it can be a hey, you and I do this all the time, just want to let you know this happened, or this is where this stands, or you asked me about that. So it’s a little bit of sharing strategic information, certainly. But really, more importantly, it’s about having connecting conversations, touching those emotional centers, or maybe a topic that’s highly charged you and I had a conversation recently a great catch up the other night about aging parents, you know, and, you know, making sure that you understand how to best approach it, you’re talking to your spouse’s, because we want to love and support your parents, and I want to do the same thing for my parents. But as they age, other challenges come up and really talking about how are we going to best approach that so it doesn’t become an issue in our relationship? Most importantly, but then secondarily, how do we love them the way they need to be loved? And so that we can communicate and have united front there?


Kimberly Hoffman  07:56

Yeah, like you said, it’s, it’s really about communicating those challenges so that we can be unified in how we’re going to move forward with them. So Matthew, tell me what are some ways that we can really build a strong unified relationship?


Matthew Hoffman  08:14

I think it’s important to have the culture of unity, right when you hear about company cultures, but there’s definitely family cultures. And I think that you and I have done a great job, we’ve worked very hard to have a culture of unity in our relationship in our family, that means we’re not independent contractors shooting off doing our own things. But you know, I mean, one of our kids came to me and asked me if they could do something. And they said, I talked to mom, and she told me to talk to you. And I thought, okay, I know how Kim probably responded to this. And I’m going to have a unified front here and say, you know, that mom felt this. And I feel that too. And we have the same position. So I think the culture is important. So it’s okay to talk about it and have conversations where you’re seeking understanding. But I love the concept of team you or we have team Hoffman, right? You and I are a team. And our family is a team. We’re all players in that team, we all have different roles. So I think creating that team approach on anything and it’s I’ve got your back, if you need support, I know that you’ve got mine unequivocally, or if a challenge faces up for the family or something comes up, we talk about what we’re going to do.


Kimberly Hoffman  09:22

I love that because a team, when you think about a team, the concept of a team, you think about, you know, the team practices together, right? The team works together, they plan together, they play together, and they win and lose together. And so when you’re looking at your relationship as a team, you’re gonna go through all those different facets of what a team actually does. All the while you’re gonna stay together, you’re gonna stay committed to the team.


Matthew Hoffman  09:50

And I think it’s important in that team that you have good communication about roles and responsibilities, because everybody doesn’t need to do everything and one person and certainly doesn’t need to do everything. So it’s getting agreement on how are we going to approach this? Are you gonna take the lead? Am I taking the lead? You know, is this totally your baby, and you just want me to listen to your concerns about what’s going forward, right? Because it’s really yours to handle. So if you communicate roles and responsibilities, then there’s no disappointment. There’s no letdown, and there’s no anger or frustration, because your partner’s not doing what you think they’re supposed to do. So you got to make sure you get agreement on that, right? And who’s got the ball? who’s doing what? And how are we going to work together to get there so you can avoid those disappointments and those angry conversations? And frustration? We both agree on kind of contracting, right, like, who’s going to do what and how are we going to get through this?


Kimberly Hoffman  10:46

What about really supporting each other? Cheering each other on giving each other affirmations? We all have our own hopes and dreams? Right? And we all aspire to do things individually, as well as collectively? And how do you feel about, you know, really that support in that ongoing, just sort of cheering each other on? 


Matthew Hoffman  11:11

We got to be cheerleaders. I mean, you, you know that I’m your number one fan, and you got to feel it. You can’t just say it, right words are fantastic. But action, really putting the rubber hit the road. And I love the whole idea, Kim of capable belief, you and I talked about that a lot with couples, I think every individual and every couple has the ability to demonstrate and be kick ass. And if we’re talking about unity, then they’ve got the ability to do it and just kind of laying on those steps out about what it looks like, you know? I think something Kim, what else do you think, you know, we have weekly family opportunities to be together, not just you and I in our relationship, we do the date nights and those kinds of things. So we have our own time. But I think kind of, you know, what do you think about family activities? And how does a family activity strengthen the unity of the couple of the two partners?


Kimberly Hoffman  12:05

Yeah, I think that it’s really important that we not only do things as a couple, but that we do things with our family that we take trips together as a family that maybe we go on bike rides together, you know that family unity is just as important as the couple unity that we have. I think that it’s also important that we establish fun traditions with our family as well. And you know, you and I have our own little kind of quirkiness, funky things, you know, we’ve been together so long that I can look at you a certain way. And you’ll know what I’m thinking right? Or know what I’m maybe about to say, maybe there we have this, you know, fun little thing just between the two of us that only each of us understand. And so I think those fun things really build unity as well.


Matthew Hoffman  12:58

Yeah. And don’t be afraid to be a little wacky. I think that you know, one of the things I remember as a child growing up, my parents and my sister, my parents were family kiss, and everybody came in lips and cheeks together, and it was a big muah, big family Kim, and we laughed, and the older we got we thought really we gotta, we got to still do this. But we still did and here I am, you know, 50 Somebody years later talking about it. So I think really having those, those things that you can laugh about, keep it light, but also create the memories together.


Kimberly Hoffman  13:33



Matthew Hoffman  13:33

 Because it’s really all about partnership, isn’t it, Kim, and, you know, the desire to have it and be in it with. You know, let’s talk a little bit about partnerships. Because you this is your lifetime partnership. I mean, you have business partnerships. You have people you work with, maybe at church, maybe you’re a volunteer, right. But this partnership is huge. Because it’s about we have feelings for each other. And we have emotions. And we’re really deeply tied up in those things together. But it’s not just words. It’s the act of we talked about this earlier. It’s the act of demonstration of those. And I think that’s a huge difference. And that’s really what Bond’s us and helps us maintain that unity with each other.


Kimberly Hoffman  14:12

Yeah, we are constantly really looking to help each other, to motivate each other, to care for each other. All throughout the day. We’re looking for opportunities to do that. And I know that some of you that are listening may say oh my gosh, that sounds like a lot. But it really is once it becomes a habit, it really is easy, and it’s a way to connect with each other.


Matthew Hoffman  14:38

Yeah, it’s almost like a competition where you’re thinking about, where’s the next opportunity 


Matthew Hoffman  14:43

for me to connect or bless or love or support my partner. And when you’re looking for that and your partner’s looking for that you’re unified in your approach to prioritizing your partner


Kimberly Hoffman  14:43



Kimberly Hoffman  14:48

Over everything else.


Matthew Hoffman  14:50

over yourself and that’s that’s where the magic, I think really starts to happen. You kind of see that synergy in your relationship. And I think Kim synergy is huge. And you know, people talk about synergy and the synergistic effect. And, you know, are we working together? But you know, you’ve heard the old adage, right, the whole is greater than the parts. And that’s not just a happy coincidence. We’ve shared this kind of analogy before. But if you think of a team working together and pulling the same direction, right, there’s the story of the Clydesdale Kim, do you know how much one Clydesdale can pull? You remember? 


Matthew Hoffman  15:32

Two tons. So two, Clydesdales could probably pull two plus two, four times, right?


Kimberly Hoffman  15:32

Tell me 


Kimberly Hoffman  15:37

 I heard it’s a lot more than that, though.


Matthew Hoffman  15:40

 It is when they work together, they can pull 10. That’s incredible. It was five times as much as they can do individually. And guys, it is no different in your relationship. You can only do so much of your self and you can burn yourself out trying to do more. It’s not about you doing more and more and more and giving and losing yourself. We’ll talk about that in a minute. But the synergy that occurs when you’re pulling in the same direction, share means you can magnify your impact by


Kimberly Hoffman  16:10

climbing hurdles together, right? You’re not alone. You have my support, I have your back. You know that kind of support and love for each other goes so far.


Matthew Hoffman  16:24

I think that one of the things that we get caught up in in relationships is feeling like one person may be taking on more doing more than the other person. And so I feel like really having a good understanding of what the division of the work is, what the expectations are. And again, not just rolls right back to where communication, right? So being able to have good communication, and then also being able to divide up those roles and really have a good understanding what those roles or what that work might look like.


Matthew Hoffman  18:10

It is that’s huge. I think too that, even though we each have our roles and responsibilities keeps talking about who’s going to do what right and understandings and stuff doesn’t fall through the cracks. If you are the one always doing a certain thing in your relationship that can get tiring. And you can get bored with it. And sometimes you feel like why am I the one right? Who’s always creating date time? You know, why am I the one that’s planning every day we’re doing? 


Kimberly Hoffman  18:35

That’s a great point.


Matthew Hoffman  18:36

And so you need to take turns or have rotation in office, right. And that’s something that should be fun and volunteering, because it’s nice, even though you normally might take on something, think about those roles and responsibilities. And what’s one thing that you could take on for your partner and say, hey, you know what, I don’t normally you do this on this day, or this week, or you think you’re going to do this. I’ve got it, yeah, take a break. And let me take control. And I’d love to do that for you. That’s a gift you can give to your partner, it keeps them fresh, and it keeps you fresh, I think it’s a good thing to do,


Kimberly Hoffman  19:09

I really fell into that trap myself of letting you be the one always figuring out where we were gonna go, what we’re gonna do on a date night. And I don’t know why it never really occurred to me that I just sort of let you take the lead on that, but that I should have a role in that as well. And so I was guilty of that for a very long time. And it wasn’t until I started planning those dates, and I could see how much you appreciate it and how much joy that it really brought you that. I said, Hey, on Tuesday night, don’t make any plans. I made some plans for us to have a fun night together. You would just light up and be so excited. And so I think it’s easy for us to fall in those traps of you know, taking on a responsibility and then the other partner just assuming that’s always going to be done by that person.


Matthew Hoffman  19:59

Yeah. And Kim, I think I agree with you. And I am grateful for that demonstration that change in our relationship was a positive one. And I think a really important thing is when we’re approaching what’s right to do, what should we do, I think the filter the focus that everybody needs to be looking through is, is it right for us? Meaning is it right for the relationship? Because if it’s right for me, and it’s not right for her, guess what? Not right for us, if Kim feels really strongly about it, hey, it’s right for me. But it’s not right. For me, that means it’s not right for us before you’re married, it’s I in you, but once you’re married, it’s us. So all your decisions that you think about, you have to put it through the filter of us, if it’s a win for the relationship, it’s a win for us, then it’s a good thing. And it’s got to be a win win or no deal, you can’t be willing to say, well, you know, they’ll understand or they might get angry, but they’ll get over it. You know, that’s just that’s just taking a huge withdrawal out of your relationship, bank account, your trust, your security, your respect, your unity. And you really want to damage the Unity you have with your spouse by forcing something that’s not good for them and great for the relationship. So a kind of a fun, I wouldn’t say it’s a test. But I always like to ask people, do you feel comfortable answering for your partner or your spouse on something? Like, Hey, would you guys like to nothing wrong? If it’s something really big or something crazy, you know, maybe doing that, but I feel pretty confident that I get the answer in most situations for my wife, because I know her well enough. And I know what’s important and not important to her. If it was something new or kind of crazy, I might ask her opinion on it and not just make that assumption. But are you comfortable answering for your spouse so that you know them well enough that you can have their best interests at heart and they trust you with that open? I think that’s a good, a good a good test to see how unified you might be in your relationship like that. So Kim, what behaviors do the most damage? You know, I think there’s we’ve got a little list here of things. And what’s one thing that you think does damage in restoring and hurting a relationship and really kind of decimating the idea of unity.


Kimberly Hoffman  22:19

I think that probably the biggest for me, is when we don’t prioritize each other, when we put other things first, such as work, which can get in the way a lot for probably most families. And I think family can get in the way as well, you know, when you’re when you have young kids, and you’ve got three of them, and they’re all, you know, say under the age of 12. It’s a full time job. And I think that that can get in the way of us prioritizing our spouse. So I think we have to be really careful. And we have to be really intentional about making sure that our partner comes first.


Matthew Hoffman  23:08

And that’s above everything else. And you know, the only thing I would say, you know, Kim and I say our priorities and our relationship, God first, this relationship, this relationship is second, then family and everybody else and doesn’t mean there aren’t emergencies or seasons where that could change. But typically, those are the priorities. And I agree with you mothers, I think refusal to accept influence, that means you know, better, you know, right? How could they possibly have the right idea on something but the success, full accepting of influence and accepting influence means valuing their opinion, as highly as you value your own, and being willing to follow their counsel and advice. And that’s one of the biggest indicators of success in relationships and in controversial and then contrarily. One of the biggest predictors of divorce is when a couple cannot accept influence from their partner. So if you’re not willing to follow their lead, except their influence, their suggestions, their support, that’s a scary sign that maybe you’ve got an opportunity to work on something so sure. What about another one, Kim?


Kimberly Hoffman  24:16

 I think really leaning into your partner turning towards your partner, whenever they’re kind of putting a bid out there for your attention? No, there’ll be times when we’ll be busy. Maybe it’ll be on your computer, maybe it’ll be on your phone, and your partner is trying to get your attention making a bid for connection. And you keep on doing what you’re doing. Rather than put the distractions away, and really lean into that moment where your partner is trying to have a conversation trying to connect with you.


Matthew Hoffman  24:50

Yeah, leaning in is huge. I would agree with that. And I think willingness to make course corrections. You know, sometimes you make a decision and you get agreement and say, Hey, we’re marching In this direction, but it’s not working, or the result that you thought you’re gonna get doesn’t have. Or maybe you just don’t feel comfortable with that decision. So a willingness and sometimes that you know what I was wrong, right guy, I thought this was the thing to do. But I don’t feel good about it. You’ve come to me recently with stuff and said, hey, you know, I know you said you want to do it this way. But I’ve really spent on my heart, I don’t feel good about it. And here’s why. And so we make a course correction. Because A, I gotta listen to her concerns. They’re valid, and they’re real. And then if we can do something to honor that, that’s making a course correction that wins for us.


Kimberly Hoffman  25:40

Right. But I think what, you just hit the nail on the head that, you know, I came to you and said, This is something that I really want to talk to you about, and that I’m uncomfortable with. I didn’t attack you. I didn’t come at you didn’t say, I don’t want to do that. That’s not that, I’m not good at that. No, I think the key is, again, really the approach and the way that we’re communicating with each other. 


Matthew Hoffman  26:06

Yeah, you know, and you didn’t come and say, You’re wrong, you screwed up, you made a mistake. So there wasn’t accusation. You’re just said, Hey, I’m, I’ve got some concerns, and I want to make you aware of them. That check in there’s that point, there’s communication going on. So you know, please know, Kim, we have for everybody. If you’re not aware, we have a Kickass Couples Assessment. And we go through every key pillar, and talk about the behaviors of what it looks like when it’s demonstrated well, and kind of what the watch outs are. And I want to kind of talk through that list quickly. 


Kimberly Hoffman  26:36



Matthew Hoffman  26:36

The first one is, you know that you’re demonstrating unity, if you have common goals, what’s another one?


Kimberly Hoffman  26:42

Yeah. Visioning together. Maybe you do a vision board, you set goals together, you have meetings on your goals.


Matthew Hoffman  26:48

Yeah, I think that we talked about some of this already making mutual decisions, like, hey, how should we do this together? Even if you have a feeling of how something should go, what else?


Kimberly Hoffman  27:01

Investing in each other, I think it’s really important.


Matthew Hoffman  27:04

Yeah, you’re investing, you’re making those deposits all the time.


Kimberly Hoffman  27:07

Looking for the opportunities too.


Matthew Hoffman  27:09

Having a strong marriage identity, and I you know, think about that people need to know you’re married, you’re in love, you’re committed to marriage, and that you love the institution and what it represents through the two of you. So having a strong marriage identity, like, why are you together? How do you feel about it, and that you’re a champion, not just for your marriage and relationship, but that concept of commitment, unity, and dedication.


Kimberly Hoffman  27:36

I love the vision of modeling that modeling unity. 


Kimberly Hoffman  27:40

Yeah, yeah, that’s huge. What about some of the qualities of lack of unity? You know, if you’re not demonstrating unity well, this is what it might look like in your relationship.


Kimberly Hoffman  27:54

Untrusting, I think is a big one. Not trusting your spouse, there’s definitely a lack of unity there. If you are worrying about what your partner may or may not be doing.


Matthew Hoffman  28:04

 Yeah, I think that’s good making decisions on your own, you know, if you’re an independent contractor, right, you’re thinking, Well, I gotta do what’s best for me, or I know, this might cause him some grief, but I’m gonna do it anyway, and not seek their counselor input.


Kimberly Hoffman  28:18

I think being in isolation, or being a little bit of a loner, can definitely have an issue with unity and your relationships.


Matthew Hoffman  28:28

I agree too. Being being untrusting you know, if you don’t have a high degree of trust in your relationship, you certainly aren’t going to be unified, because you’re always going to be wondering, second guessing. Did they really mean that? Is that what they’re going to do? And what if, you know, your create the stories up instead of focusing on having that trust no matter what, that they always have your interests, your best interest at heart? So those are some of the things or a lack of unity might look like? And I think we’ve kind of given everybody a good flavor of that, Kim. What do you think that was there anything that we’re missing, or that we didn’t cover that we should touch on?


Kimberly Hoffman  29:08

No, I think that we, I think we we did a pretty good job of talking about unity. And the importance, right, it means in a relationship, what it looks like. 


Matthew Hoffman  29:18



Kimberly Hoffman  29:19

 And it’s work. You know, we’re not saying that it is that it’s easy. I think any relationship that is going to make it it’s you’ve got to have intentionality. You’ve got to have communication. And you got to have the unity. 


Matthew Hoffman  29:36

No doubt, no doubt. You want to share that closing quote that we have with them today.


Kimberly Hoffman  29:40

Yes. Where there is unity, there is always victory.


Matthew Hoffman  29:45

That’s a great quote by Publilius Syrus, an old stoic Greek philosopher and I would agree you’re going to have victory when you’re unified. And so thinking about the ways you can strengthen those things and increase your commitment to them is just gonna pay you in spades and it might be difficult but it is definitely worth it. So we hope you guys have enjoyed this little deep dive on the pillar of unity today. We love talking to you about you can see we’re passionate about it. And we are striving daily to actively demonstrate a lot of these qualities and we’re not perfect, we make mistakes. We have feet of clay, I always say, but we’re better for it. And it is definitely part of the glue that’s strengthened our relationship and kept us smiling and strong and in love for almost 29 years. So


Kimberly Hoffman  30:35

Thanks for listening and in everyone and remember happily ever after doesn’t just happen,


Matthew Hoffman  30:43

It’s on purpose.