Episode 32: Fun Languages (“Santa Baby”)

How do we have fun as a couple when we don’t agree on what is fun??

Enter learning to speak each other’s fun language.

What is a fun language?

It’s like love languages, but it’s all about fun.

We all have fun in different ways in different stages, the key is to keep the conversation with our spouse open and frequent.

In this episode, we offer some therapy to the song “Santa Baby” (it could kinda use some, amiright?) and Rich makes a version that is MUCH improved and hilarious!


Episode 31: The Value of Fun (“We Are Young”)

Often when marriage problems rear their head, we think we have to be very serious about them.

But much of the time, what we need is not more seriousness in our relationship, what we need is MORE FUN!

Fun provides some BIG deposits in the emotional bank account of our relationships.

In this episode, we talk about how fun looks different in every stage of marriage as we give therapy to the song, “We Are Young.”  Which naturally, Rich changes to “We are fun.”  🙂


Show Notes

Come to our marriage retreat! Jan 24-25 on beautiful Diamond Lake, WA! Click here for more details! 




Episode 30: Best of Season 1 Show Notes

We’re back baby!

You can listen to first episode of season 2 of the Marriage Theraoke podcast right here folks (just press that green arrow down there, or listen in any podcast player of your choice).

For this episode, Rich and I both selected three of our favorite moments from Season 1 and we share them with you in the episode.

If you are a first time listener, this is the perfect introduction.

If you are a long time listener, this is a fun walk down memory lane/ reminder of solid relationship advice.

We’ve got interviews, re-written love songs and marriage tips.

From here on out, our podcast episodes will be dropping every Thursday!


Show Notes:

Former episodes mentioned in this episode:

 Episode 25: Honoring Your Partners Dreams (“A Million Dreams”) Featuring Laura Heck

Episode 5: Weekly Marriage Check In (“Say Something”) Featuring Jershon and Shelly Lopez

Episode 22: Shadow Work (“Baby One More Time”) Featuring Jana Spangler

Episode 12: Professional Partnership (“Shut Up and Dance”) Featuring Kyle and Allie Spinder

Episode 24: Theory Class (“Foundations of Love”)

Episode 17: Narcissism (“You’re So Vain”) Featuring Tony Overbay

Episode 18: The Drama Triangle (“Fix You”) Featuring Tammy Jones and Debbie Reid


The EPIDEMIC of Negative Emotion Intolerance (and how it’s wreaking havoc on your relationship)

In preparation for my shiny new blog plan (month long themes complete with corresponding love experiments, social media posts and podcast episodes), I surveyed you, my readers asking for what you are currently struggling with most in your marriages right now.

Responses ranged all over the gamut from stress with in-laws to finances to communication. But a common theme stood out among the responses: dealing with negative emotion.

Negative Emotion Intolerance. Click through to read how the epidemic is affecting your relationship and how to become immune!

Most of the responses talked about dealing with their spouse’s negative emotions:

  • Partner is frequently stressed and taking it out on others
  • Partner is depressed and emotionally unavailable
  • Partner gets upset when spouse tries to follow their dreams or conscience
  • Partner is mad at lack of sex

These are all very difficult circumstances, and I hope to give them their due diligence.

But I’ve noticed that an intolerance of OTHERS’ negative emotions is precluded by an intolerance of our own negative emotions.

This leads to a downward spiral in marriages: I can’t tolerate YOUR negative emotions, so I start attempting to CONTROL you and/or your environment so you won’t feel negative emotion. But these controlling efforts inevitably spark some resentment or other negative emotion in ME and I can’t tolerate my own negative emotions, so I take them out on YOU or hand them to you in the hopes that you can soothe/validate/love me enough to stifle my negative emotions (which they often can’t because they are dealing with their own, and the cycle continues).

It’s a downward spiral if ever there was one.

Example: Husband frequently comes home from work in a bad mood. Wife takes responsibility for husband’s emotions. She tries to have the house cleaned and dinner cooked before he gets home. She takes responsibility to offer him time to himself or other offerings. She feels stuck and frantic trying to control his environment and emotions and becomes resentful for trying to have everything perfect so he won’t be upset. She gets upset. She hopes her husband will notice and soothe HER, give HER more time and attention and affection. 

On and on it goes.

We can just as easily flip the role play: Wife is in a bad mood. Husband takes over dinner and bedtime with the kids in the hopes that wife will cheer up. When kids get whiny and bedtime runs long, husband starts to become resentful that wife doesn’t come and help HIM. Doesn’t validate how hard he works. He is in a bad mood, which only furthers the wife’s bad mood. 

The truth is that bad moods strike all of us. Some more than others, yes, but the problem in the above scenarios isn’t the bad moods, it’s the INTOLERANCE OF NEGATIVE EMOTION both in our partners and in ourselves!

If the husband came home in a bad mood and the wife thought, “Oh, he’s in a bad mood, bummer. I wonder why?” And then didn’t make it a problem, didn’t take responsibility for it, didn’t break her back trying to prevent it, then it wouldn’t have been a problem.

When we are intolerant of our spouse’s negative emotions, we will try to control them. We will try to prevent them. We will run ourselves haggard thinking, “I HAVE to do this (clean the house, manage our finances, have sex) or I HAVE to do that (say no to social experiences, put my dreams on hold, parent in their way) or else my spouse will be upset!” We will end up frustrated, feeling stuck and resentful.

A better way is to anticipate your spouse WILL have negative emotions, and they are not your responsibility to prevent or control.

Yes, you can (and should!) love your spouse DEEPLY without taking charge of their emotional regulation! You can sacrifice for them, but out of LOVE and desire, NOT obligation. You can feel empathy for their sadness, a desire to soothe their angst WITHOUT taking on that sadness and angst yourself.

Healthy relationships SHOULD involve sacrifice, but it should be out of love, not out of an intolerance for our spouse’s negative emotions. (how do you know which is your motivation? The presence of resentment is a BIG clue)

So, how do we increase our tolerance for others’ negative emotions?

So glad you asked!

We cannot forge tolerance of our spouse’s negative emotions until we are tolerant of OUR OWN!

How tolerant are you of your own negative emotions? What do you do when you feel lonely or stressed or anxious or frustrated or upset? Do you think it is a big problem? Do you seek something to take the edge off? 

If you find yourself running to food, your phone, others’ validation, shopping, Netflix or even alcohol or porn when you feel strong emotions of anxiety, anger or sadness, you probably have a pretty low tolerance for negative emotion (join the club- it includes most humans).

We are going to be talking more about more specific tactics for feeling our negative feelings later this month, but for now, let’s get started on our love experiment for the month, shall we?

When a negative emotion arises in us, we often don’t even notice it! We often just unconsciously reach for some brownies or our phone or whatever our numbing agent of choice is (for me its the internet and food) to quell the feeling without ever evening processing or naming what is happening.

So, the challenge of the month is to 

  1. Acknowledge what you turn to when you are feeling a negative emotion.
  2. Catch yourself before you reach for that thing and ask yourself “What am I feeling?” Give it a name and “What do I REALLY want?”

Negative Emotion Intolerance

For me, I’ll unconsciously run to the cupboard when I’m actually feeling concern that I’ve hurt someone’s feelings. What am I feeling? Concern. What do I really want? To talk to a friend.

Or at the end of a long day, I’ll want to numb all my feelings by distracting myself in front of a screen for an hour or more.  What am I feeling? Tired. What do I really want? Sleep.

Just because you acknowledge what you really want or need, doesn’t mean you always provide it, but it is an important exercise to notice and get curious.

Good luck lab mates! I’ll be back next week talking about how to take responsibility for our feelings. Yay!


Help Me Help You

It’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post that I literally forgot how to log in . . . yikes.

Hello! This summer we’ve been super busy moving and vacationing that we haven’t had much mental energy for blogging and podcasting. BUT school has started, routines are forming and we’re back baby!

The plan is to have a different marriage topic each month to delve into. Each topic will come with a new love experiment. Each week, there will be a new blog post, email and social media posts about the topic. And each month we’ll do 1-2 podcasts on the topic.

via BuzzFeed

Thanks Leslie.

Now, here’s what I need from YOU! I need to know what you are struggling with in marriage, so I can form monthly topics around the things you guys are struggling with most RIGHT NOW!

I did this on Instagram this summer and the most common struggle was wishing your spouse would help more with kids and house. I wrote 18 Instagram posts on the topic and I think it was a big success.

And one more thing I need from ya. For most of the past year, I’ve run a “Sex Question Wednesday” series on my Instagram stories where I answer your sex questions. I keep thinking I’ll be done with it, but every time I take a break, I get a bunch of DMs asking where it went and people saying that they miss it, so we’re bringing it back as well! Hit me with your sex questions and struggles and I’ll pick one each week to talk about on Sex Question Wednesday.

[powr-survey id=”da3336b5_1567708618″]  

Thanks guys! This is going to be good!