Podcast Transcriptions

Pursue What Matters

Episode 41: Have You Misplaced Your Marriage?

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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Do you know where your relationship is? If you’re like many couples, you’re buried under the demands of raising children busy careers and keeping the house afloat, and you may just have misplaced your most important relationship in the process. I hope that hasn’t happened to you. But if it has, I’ve got some solutions to help you track down your relationship and put it front and center in your life exactly where it belongs.

Dr. Melissa Smith 0:27
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So I’m going to make you really uncomfortable right from the get go by talking about intimacy, because, hey, I’m a psychologist. And it’s what we do. But also because it’s really an important topic. And so I hope you will listen up. But you know, we’re going to talk more than just about intimacy. Some of you will love that I’m talking about intimacy, but we’re going to talk about all the fields when it comes to marriage and you know, committed relationships. So there is a saying that when things are going well in the bedroom, everything else in that relationship operates more smoothly. But when life in the bedroom, right, so physical intimacy, when things in the bedroom are not going well, it impacts every other aspect of the marital relationship. So it undermines everything else. And boy, that is so true. So today, we’re going to talk about strengthening what for most of us is our most important relationship. And that is our marriage relationship. Of course, if you’re not married, but you’re in, you know, a very committed relationship, of course, that applies. So we’ll talk about intimacy, we’ll talk about communication. And, you know, we’ll talk about things that you definitely should never ever do in that relationship. And we’ll also talk about things you should always do, if you want a strong and healthy marriage for the long term. So you know, now listen up, I really try to avoid all or nothing language. So if I’m talking always, and never, you know, that what I’m going to say has got to be important. So I very rarely talk in absolutes, but there are some absolutes when it comes to your most important relationships. So let’s jump in and you know, get into the nitty gritty.

Dr. Melissa Smith 2:51
Okay, so first of all, let’s try and, you know, wrap our hands around this a little bit. So half of Americans aged 18 and older were married in 2017. So over half of Americans aged 18 and older were married in 2017. Not that they got married in 2017. But they were married, a share that has remained relatively stable in recent years, but is down 8% since 1990. So right, fewer Americans are getting married, which has been a trend we’ve definitely been seeing. We’re also seeing that divorce rates have increased among older Americans. So in 2015, for every 1000, married adults, ages 50 and older 10 had divorced. So that’s up from five in 1990. So that’s a pretty big jump, actually an older Americans. So among those ages, 65 and older, the divorce rate roughly tripled since 1990. Who that’s kind of crazy. So people are living longer, right? I think that’s one factor. And they’re kind of saying, like, Hey, I do not want to be stuck with you. for the long haul, right? Like, if you were if you were going to expire in, you know, a few years, I could maybe stick it out. But you might be here a couple more decades. And I cannot hack it out with you that long. So I do think though, I do think that the fact that we’re living longer is impacting this, right? I mean, it’s not that it’s not that marriages are suddenly so much worse than they used to be part of it is people are living longer and they’re like, I can’t, I can’t live longer with you. Right. So that’s part of what’s going on but also, you know, divorce certainly is much more acceptable. Divorce among older Americans is more acceptable. I think another way Really important factor to pay attention to? is older women, right? If we’re thinking about older Americans divorcing, older women have more options, right? So financially, they have more independence. And so divorce is more of an option. And that absolutely is a factor when it comes to this increase divorce rate, right. And so lots of factors that play into that. But it is very interesting to see how those numbers have been moving.

Dr. Melissa Smith 5:31
Okay, so let’s see, let’s let’s look at some other numbers here. So on average, the typical us marriage that ends in divorce last just seven years, but I’ll get to that stat, a little bit more in just a few minutes. And of course, you know, when it comes to divorce, you know, John Gottman, the world’s leading researcher on couples and couples therapy, he’s found that when looking at happy and successful marriages, it’s not whether couples argue, you know, most do, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it’s really how they argue that matters. And that is most predictive of divorce. So I’m going to have a lot more to say about this. And I’m going to have some really great solutions for you on how to fight fair, because the reality is that if you have two partners with brains in their heads, you’re going to have disagreements in a relationship. And that is totally not a bad thing. But how you fight really matters. So we’re really going to jump into that with solutions in just a few minutes.

Dr. Melissa Smith 6:36
Okay, so back to that seven year itch. Some say it’s a myth, but there’s definitely some truth to it. You know, right, as I just showed, with a typical US marriage ends in divorce at about year seven. So there’s definitely some truth to it. But the average length of marriage can still vary widely for so let’s look at some some other some other places in Italy, the typical couple stays together for 18 years, and the divorce rate is around 31. So they really do stay married in Italy. in Qatar, the divorce rate is closer to 40%. And they average 5.5 years of marriage. Wow. That’s that surprises me in Qatar. And then somewhat randomly, Oklahoma, in America, Oklahoma has the highest divorce rate of any state with 65.7%. So almost 66% of marriages ending in divorce. Ooh, that’s high, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, what’s happening? It also has one of the highest marriage rates too. So maybe they’re maybe they’re marrying impulsively? And then they’re like, Who? What? I don’t know, I don’t know about you. So who knows? Maybe there’s a seven year itch, a 12 year itch, a 22 Year Itch. Nothing to be paranoid about? Who knows? I don’t know.

Dr. Melissa Smith 8:06
But this is the thing. Part of what you can see with the research is that those growing years right when families are growing and couples have young children, right, especially if we think about this seven years, couples have young children and they are in the thick of child rearing. These can be some of the toughest years on couples. And this bears it out in the research. These are some of the years where couples are reporting the lowest marital dissatisfaction. Sorry, the lowest marital satisfaction, there we go. And it’s totally understandable because those dang kids require so much thinking attention. And so if you’re not really tending to your marriage in a very proactive way, it’s easy to misplace your marriage, it’s easy to lose sight of your relationship. And so this is where a lot of couples make a very fatal mistake. They give all of their attention to their children. So this may sound kind of harsh, but you should never give all of your attention to those needy little children. I know they seem to need it. I know that they’re crying and they’re hungry, and they are somewhat helpless. But you cannot afford to misplace your marriage. You just can’t. And the truth is that millions of couples misplaced their marriage every single day. And it’s a totally honest mistake. They have such good intentions. They are caring for their children, right the children they brought into the world with their spouse. But of course what happens is that once those demands eventually die down, and I promise they do because one day right, your children will not need you in the way that they need you now, you and your spouse may not be able to find your way to one another again. And at that point, it could be too late. And that would be so sad. I really don’t want that to happen to you. So first of all, right now moms, I’m talking to you, ladies, I’m talking to you. Moms tend to struggle with this one more than dads, but dad certainly can struggle with this as well. So moms tend to say my kids need me, my kids come first, above my husband, I can’t afford to take time for my husband, he’ll be fine. Or worse, they see their husband as just another child that you know, needs their attention needs tending to, don’t do that. Please, please, please don’t do that. That is really, really undermining of your, of your relationship with your spouse. So the bottom line, your marriage must come first above your children. And you heard me right, it’s got to come above your children, your first loyalty must be to your spouse. This does not make you selfish. And it does not make you a bad parent, it actually ensures that you are building a strong secure foundation for your children for years to come. So honestly, you owe that security to your children and to yourself and to your spouse. That’s what you signed up for. So don’t back down on that commitment. Just because you’ve got one of your little snowflakes crying for a juice cup. Okay, sorry. Now I’m just kind of teasing. Make sure you are keeping that perspective about the loyalty to your marriage first, because that is the foundation on which you can be a great parent. And I’ll have some solutions on this one in just a few. So stay tuned on that one. And I’m not saying to neglect your kiddos to neglect those little snowflakes. We love those little snowflakes I got I got my little snowflakes at home. They’re not so little they get their own juice cups these days, mostly, mostly. But right, like, the best thing that we can do for our kids is cultivate a strong marital relationship.

Dr. Melissa Smith 12:44
Okay, so now let’s talk about so this is where we kind of talk about some of the concerns when it comes to misplacing our relationship. So now let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about physical intimacy. So Newsweek magazine found in a poll that married couples have sex about 68.5 times a year, right? So you can you can round up to 69, if you’d like or stick with, 68 times a year. So about one or two times a week, compared to unmarried people, married couples have sex seven more times per year. Does that make sense? Did I say that right? I think I said that, right. So married couples are getting it on more often than unmarried people, which sometimes married people don’t feel that way. But that’s that’s what the what that’s what the research is showing anyway. But on average, married couples are getting on about once or twice a week. Newsweek also found in another survey that about 15 to 20% of couples are in a sexless marriage, which equates to having sex less than 10 times a year. Okay. Right. So that’s less than once a month. So that’s what counts as a sexless marriage. So let’s talk a little bit more about this. There’s often as we think about misplacing your marriage, right? There’s often a failure to appreciate the role of physical intimacy as central to the strength of a marriage. That’s one of the biggest issues that I see among couples when they come in for couples therapy, or certainly for sex therapy, right. That’s just a failure to appreciate the role of physical intimacy as central to the strength of our relationship. For one in the partner. physical intimacy may be seen as core to emotional connection and feeling loved while for the other partner. Maybe physical intimacy is totally disconnected. And just seen, as you know, quote unquote, one more theme on an endless task list. So you know, you really don’t want intimacy to turn into this in your relationship. So as I mentioned, with the same that I shared at the top of the podcast, physical intimacy can serve as a gel or connecting link in a marriage, that can really ease the relationship, right, it can kind of, it can make everything smoother, it can make everything easier in the relationship, or it can like if things are not going well there, it can make everything more challenging.

Dr. Melissa Smith 15:32
So when the physical intimacy connection is strong, communication is often easier intentions are less often misunderstood. We give good intent, and we are less likely to get defensive. So in a nutshell, there can be more love in the relationship. But if you only see physical intimacy in a utilitarian way, you know, it’s just something we do in a marriage, it’s not a unique bonding experience between the couple, then you run the risk of trampling underfoot, one of the greatest gifts, and one of the greatest bonds, and one of the greatest opportunities for strengthening the connection and the love in your relationship. And that would, that would be a serious loss, right? Like you’re really undermining and an opportunity to strengthen your relationship. So it can be a gift, in that it can ease tensions, it can cultivate love, it can bring pleasure, right Ain’t nothing wrong with that one. And it can strengthen closeness, making disagreements easier to manage, or at least, right because you’re not always going to agree, it can make the partners less disagreeable in their disagreements, right? So making partners less disagreeable in their disagreements. So physical intimacy can be seen as a gift that makes everything easier, or it can be a thorn in your side, that makes everything harder. And all of this is based on your view of it. So some of the things that I’ve certainly heard, as a clinician, it’s just a hassle. It’s just for my husband, I don’t have the energy, which, right like this, the idea of I don’t have the energy that may well be true, right. And on and on and on, right, we prioritize what we care about. So pay attention to that. And on and on and on. The net result is that both partners turn away from one another in hurt and anger and resentment. They don’t feel like they’re heard, they don’t feel like they get their needs met. And the right the net result, the ultimate result is that there is a loss of connection. And if they’re not careful, a loss of laps, right, and in a very real way, you can misplace your relationship. So of course, we don’t want that to happen to you.

Dr. Melissa Smith 18:16
Okay, so now that we’ve had a chance to look at some of the challenges when it comes to marriage and relationships, right, we think about the divorce rate and some of the challenges in in terms of, you know, disagreements and parenting, right, giving all that attention to those kiddos. We also think about the role of intimacy and how the couple views intimacy, let’s jump into solutions, because that’s what we’re all about here. And we really want to help you pursue what matters so that you can thrive in love and work. That’s what we’re all about.

Dr. Melissa Smith 18:56
So solution, one, fight fair. So instead of trying to rid ourselves of arguments, which can, you know, arguments and disagreements can actually be quite productive in a relationship, whether in marriage or otherwise? And I mean, that with all sincerity, like this expectation that you should always agree, hogwash, like that’s ridiculous. And instead, we really want to focus on learning to fight fair. And instead of focusing on conflict resolution, which, again, silly, it’s like, it’s not very helpful. Instead, aim for conflict transformation. And this really has the goal where both individuals can grow, and it can be transformed as a result of grappling with conflict. And so the goal of conflict transformation, is actually to seek understanding, right, it’s not to agree, it’s not to change your mind. It’s not to change your partner’s mind. But it’s really to seek understanding to really understand the perspective of your partner. Right? It doesn’t mean that you abandon your position, right? But it means I’m really trying to understand where you’re coming from. And that brings empathy that brings understanding, it doesn’t mean you agree, right. But that can make a really big difference. And so, like I said, before, it can make us more agreeable in our disagreements, right? Or less disagreeable in our disagreements, because, you know, you will probably carry some disagreements with your partner throughout your marriage. I mean, I’ve been married 25 years. And there are disagreements that my husband and I have had from day one. And there are some of those disagreements have gotten much bigger over the years, right. But what I would say is we’ve gotten much more agreeable in our disagreements. And that’s, I think, because mostly we have a lot of mutual respect, and love for one another. And I think we’ve also worked really hard to have understanding like, I totally understand where he’s coming from. I think he totally understands where I’m coming from. And it’s like, yeah, we still totally disagree on some of these issues. And it’s like, that’s okay. Like, I let him be him. And he lets me be me and it works.

Dr. Melissa Smith 21:28
Okay, let’s, let’s look at some specific ways to help you fight fair. So these come from john Gottman, and I mentioned him at the top of the podcast. So he is the world’s foremost researcher on couples. He’s done so much to help us understand what works when it comes to helping couples thrive. And I will link to his great work, he’s got a really excellent book that I would highly recommend, if you want to do a deeper dive on understanding what’s most effective when it comes to strengthening your relationship. But the first skill to help you to fight fair is called the repair attempt. And Gottman describes this as a secret weapon. He says this is so good. So when in conflict with another person, it’s really important to attempt a repair through small acts are statements that prevent negativity from escalating. So according to Gottman, the ability to send and receive these repair attempts, is a secret weapon of emotionally intelligent couples. So let me give you an example. So you might be in a really heated argument with your couple. But what is a simple repair attempt that communicates Hey, I still love you. Like I’m mad as a hornet right? Now you right? Like, you don’t have to communicate that because they already know. But you are also communicating, we’re in this together. I love you will see it through. So some examples of some repair attempts would be maybe being able to break the tension with a little bit of a joke. Like, oh, man, here we are arguing about the same thing again. So a little bit of a joke, not at, you know, not about your partner or not at your partner’s expense. So certainly not that. But a joke to lighten the tension. Another example, is to be able to sit side by side during a heated argument, right, which really communicates we’re in this together, we’re going to stick through this, right? Like, I’m really upset right now. But we’re gonna get through this together. Another repair attempt would be to hold hands during an argument, right? That also communicates Okay, I’m here. I still love you. I’m really not very happy with you right now. But I love you. Right? So Gottman describes these as a secret weapon. They prevent negativity from escalating. Another repair attempt is in the in the middle of these arguments to be able to say, I love you. Okay, that’s a really powerful one. Right to be able to say I love you. And that’s not in a dismissive way, or a way of trying to short circuit the argument or to try and make it all better. But it’s just acknowledging, okay, this is tough. This is hard. We’re gonna but we’re gonna make it through.

Dr. Melissa Smith 24:53
Okay. So that is the first skill to help you to fight fair. The second one, keep a purpose at the forefront. So when in conflict, it’s really essential to keep your larger purpose in mind. So this might be the purpose and meaning that you have in your marital relationship, for instance, we stick together, or we work hard and hold one another accountable. Or, you know, another one is we’re in it for the long haul, right? One is like, we’re in this together, like, we will get through this. So those simple statements that connect to you, and your partner to purpose and meaning can be really, really powerful. And those statements can actually be really powerful repair attempts, in those moments of disagreement, right to be able to say, we’re going to get through this, that could that actually could be a repair attempt, that also brings purpose to the forefront. So that could be really powerful.

Dr. Melissa Smith 26:02
Okay, the next tool, the third tool to help you to fight fair, and I’ve talked a little bit about this, but don’t try to resolve conflicts, sometimes. And I, I just hosted a baby shower, or not a baby shower, bridal shower not too long ago. And this advice inevitably always comes up, which is don’t go to bed mad. And I totally disagree with it. And thankfully, at that shower, one of my good friends, Dr. Anna Packard was there. And she actually countered this. And she said, Actually, I think sometimes it’s okay, and it’s actually better to go to bed mad. And I loved it, I loved what she had to say it was really brilliant. But it’s not always productive to try to resolve conflicts. So in marriage, and in life, actually, most conflicts will not be resolved. So don’t try to spend your time and energy attempting to do that most disagreements are based in fundamental differences of personality, and or values, right, just because you’re married to someone doesn’t mean, you share all the same values, right, you probably share some values. That’s probably one of the reasons you married, but you probably don’t share all of your values. And so according to Gottman, rather than trying to resolve conflicts, really strive to understand the fundamental difference, and then move forward productively from that point, with respect as your guiding star. And so I’ve already talked about that a little bit. Right, and this idea that let your spouse be your spouse, it’s not your job to control your spouse. Right. So relinquish control. Right, and I often so I’m a control freak. And I often have to remind myself, it’s not my job to control him. So relinquish control.

Dr. Melissa Smith 28:01
Okay, so now let’s move to solution two. So be aware of the four horsemen. This is also from John Gottman. And he he talks about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, right. So if you’ve read the book of Revelation, this should be familiar to you that Gottman his research on couples so clearly helps us understand what goes wrong during conflict, that it’s really essential learning for all communication. So he talks about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and identifies four signs or horsemen, that Harold in the end of a marriage if they are not addressed, and remedied swiftly. So this is, this is where I will talk about some of the always and never language, right. So I’m going to get pretty tough here because these four horsemen are really powerful. And garmins research has shown very clearly that they make a huge difference. So let’s take a look at the four horsemen and how they show up in communication patterns so that they don’t ride roughshod over your marriage.

Dr. Melissa Smith 29:14
So the first one, the first horseman is criticism. So criticism is a global complaint about the other person. So it’s, you know, adding negative words about the individuals character. So a complaint in contrast, is focused on a specific action. So complaints will come with the territory of any marriage and really, you know, absolutely do need to be addressed and remedied. But moving past complaint into criticism is the first death nail to a healthy productive relationship. So, don’t criticize. Right so criticism is all about you’re lazy. You never you know you you Never provide for our family, those sorts of things. a complaint is focused on a specific action. So the first horsemen of the apocalypse is criticism. You really have to be very careful about that.

Dr. Melissa Smith 30:14
Horseman two; contempt. contempt includes sarcasm, cynicism, eye rolling, sneering mockery, hustle humor. And this is the worst of the four horsemen. Because what it does is it conveys disgust for your partner, it’s so hard, it becomes virtually impossible to overcome a conflict if one individual is being devalued in such a way. And so I think that’s really the important thing to pay attention to with contempt is it is a de valuing of the other person. And so you might not think it’s a big deal, but eye rolling, not okay. Sarcasm, cynicism, mockery, hostile humor, not okay in a marriage never Okay, in a marriage. Never okay in a marriage.

Dr. Melissa Smith 31:08
Horsemen three defensiveness. So although you might believe it’s important to defend your behavior during an argument. defensiveness is actually about blaming the other person. And it does not have the intended effect of causing the other individual to take responsibility. defensiveness only escalates the conflict. So defensiveness isn’t about having the other person take responsibility, it’s all about blaming, all right, and it escalates the conflict. So we often, we often feel this urge to defend ourselves. But it is never productive. It’s never helpful. And it becomes a really powerful urge. So you’ve really got to resist that urge, especially in a marriage, right? So when you’re in conflict with your, with your spouse, with your partner, it is very vulnerable. And so the tendency is to start defending yourself. And a question that I find useful is to ask, What am I defending against? Right? So when we defend, there’s often an assumption that the other person is out to get us. But this is your partner, who, you know, probably loves you. Right? So just because you disagree on something, doesn’t mean your partner is out to get you. So I think it’s always good to have this reality check of you know, what are you defending against? And do you need to really be defending yourself and recognize that defensiveness only escalates the conflict.

Dr. Melissa Smith 33:01
Okay, and then finally, the fourth horseman, which is stonewalling. Stonewalling is the act of disengaging from conflict through stony silence, tuning out, or impassivity? So this horseman tends to be more common among men. And so while it may be understandable to attempt to avoid a fight, this horsemen so stonewalling also avoids the possibility of productive engagement. So ultimately, this is not helpful. So, you know, this, this sometimes can be kind of confusing for people, because while you definitely don’t want to get into a knockout, drag out, fight, knock down, drag out fight. And obviously, I’m not talking about physical violence. Definitely, there’s never any place for that. But there’s got to be room for some productive engagement. conflict in a relationship is not the end of the world. And if you’re so conflict avoidant that you can’t ever get to productive engagement. That is a problem. And that’s what happens with stonewalling. And so ultimately stonewalling is not helpful and it it undermines the relationship.

Dr. Melissa Smith 34:23
Okay, so that was solution two beware the four horsemen and of course there were four horsemen that we learned about. And now let’s move to solution three, which is to set your intention clearly, when communicating set your intention clearly so that there is no reading between the lines. So many of us are accustomed to unclear communication and so we think we’ve gotten good at mind reading and teasing apart intentions, in the words that others are communicating. But you know, this is really problematic for several reasons. So first of all, it requires a lot of emotional and cognitive bias. With second means we don’t hear what’s actually being said. And three, it’s disrespectful of the individual we are communicating with, because we’re right, like we’re actually busy interpreting rather than actually listening to them. And here’s the other thing, we suck at mind trading, we’re not good at it, it’s not a thing. We think we’re good at it, but we’re not good at it. So often, when we’re in conversation with another, we’re also in dialogue with our own heads. And so we’re good at responding to our own stories of the experience is unfolding in front of us, rather than the reality actually unfolding in front of us. So in a very real way, you can have two individuals talking to one another, who are actually talking to their own version of reality, not reality itself. So you know, you can totally see how this gets pretty problematic pretty quickly. So you know, this happens because as humans, we each have a unique perspective and take on reality. We’re always interpreting reality through the lens of our own filters, right. So if our filters negative, our stories tend to be filled with more blame, that dimerization resentment, whether they’re, in fact exists more anger and hostility in reality. So in this way, our perception becomes reality becomes our story. And, you know, it creates a self fulfilling prophecy and is the reality quote, unquote, that we respond to if we’re not careful. And so it’s really important to set your intention clearly, because it helps to minimize misunderstandings, and break through others assumptions about what you are saying, sort of allows you to clarify your point, and reiterate your intention, because this is the thing, others get caught in your filtered reality, and you get caught in their filtered reality. So it’s so important to set to state your intention clearly, to help avoid that.

Dr. Melissa Smith 37:15
Okay, solution four go on a weekly date with your spouse without kids, obviously, obviously, without kids, don’t talk about the kids don’t talk about the bills, don’t talk about the soccer schedule. Court, your partner, flirt with your spouse, try to get her to like you. Dress up a little, make it special. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but make it an event. This not only sets aside time for you as a couple to cultivate your connection as a couple, not just as parents, but it also communicates a powerful message to your kids, which is this. Not only do we love one another but we like each other. And we are important to one another and we’re leaving you Yahoo’s because our relationship is that important. And this is the thing your kids will be fine. Really, they will and most municipalities have a 911 system. So you know, there’s that.

Dr. Melissa Smith 38:17
Okay, solution five, go on regular couple trips, get away as a couple. So this serves the same function as the weekly dates, and can really strengthen and deepen the ties that bind. So save your pennies. The trips don’t have to be elaborate, even a quick weekend getaway will do if it’s all you can afford, although if you plan ahead and say, you might be able to steal away for a few more days, which I think is definitely preferred. Couple trips serve as a reset, where couples can step away from daily stressors and responsibilities and really reconnect to one another, and their memories of first falling in love. And also to create new memories of falling in love again. So if your lives are full of stress and responsibility, it may be hard to hold these memories on a daily basis. So travel also helps us to be more present and engaged which definitely helps to cultivate that connection.

Dr. Melissa Smith 39:27
Solution six, understand the central role of physical intimacy in marriage. Cultivate intimacy in your marriage, prioritize it, make room for it. How do you view physical intimacy? Is it a chore? Is it a gift that strengthens your relationship? How do you want to view it? Right? So we prioritize those things we value. Prioritize physical intimacy by making time for when you’re not talking. Totally depleted. Talk to your partner about this aspect of your relationship. The sad truth is that most couples don’t ever talk about it. You know, they might when they’re hurt or when they’re defensive, or when they’re angry, but actually like having a mature conversation about it, when it’s likely to be productive, like do that many of us grew up in a culture where it was taboo to talk about physical intimacy. And this is the other thing, it’s really vulnerable for most of us to talk about it. But talking about intimacy can really help you both get your needs met, while strengthening the relationship. And then of course, educate yourself on intimacy. Right? Because if, if you’re like most of us, you grew up in a culture where it was kind of taboo to talk about it. Like it wasn’t really comfortable to talk about. I mean, if you grew up in the US, for many of us, that was like, we have like such a schizophrenic relationship with intimacy. But two great places to start, would be the books Come As You Are by Emily Nagoskii, and then Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel, so I will include links to both of those books. So you can kind of preview those and see what you think. And then of course, I will also link to John Gottman’s, excellent book on strengthening marriages, it’s so great, such a great resource. So there you go, I have seven great solutions for you, so that you can find your way back to your relationship, because we do not want you to misplace your marriage, that would be so sad.

Dr. Melissa Smith 41:43
So of course, with all that I’ve said, I hope that I hope that you definitely will make time to really cultivate, you know, what, what probably is your most important relationship, and see how it really does help build this strong foundation so that you really can pursue what matters most. And that as you make time for one another, you know, this weekend is a perfect time to start with Valentine’s weekend, you can have a great conversation about why you want that to look like you know, so start this weekend with Valentine’s and then of course every week after that, and then I guess I’ll get off my soapbox, and send you on over to my website to check out the show notes with all the great resources for this episode. Then that is at www.drmelissasmith.com/episode-41 one more time, that’s www.drmelissasmith.com/episode-41 as a reminder, I’m on Spotify and iTunes or Apple podcasts, which let’s be honest, will always be iTunes to me. Thanks for being here. I’m also on Instagram, I’d love to hear from you there, hear what you would like to hear about on the podcast. I’m also excited to announce that I’ve got an ecourse that is launching later this year. It’s called Confidence to Lead so you can head on over to my website and join the waitlist. If you’d like to hear more about that course. It’s going to be focused on the skills and the mindset and the actions that you need to lead with confidence. And I’m so excited about that course it’s going to be coming at you later this year. So you can watch for that as well. I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai