ERP 327: How The Conflict With Your Partner Is Not Personal — An Interview With Dr. Michael and Dr. Barbara Grossman

By Posted in - Podcast July 5th, 2022 0 Comments

We all know that disagreements are an inevitable part of every relationship, but would you agree that they are not personal? According to Drs. Michael and Barbara Grossman, conflicts between partners are not personal but rather part of a healthy development process.

In this episode, they share their own experiences, struggles, and attempts to figure out how to keep their relationship thriving as well as the skills they learned from different mentors that ultimately inspired them to support couples going through these transitions in their relationships.

For over twenty-five years, Drs. Michael and Barbara Grossman have taught thousands of couples practical skills to create a fulfilling romantic partnership. They have made TV appearances on CBS, NBC, Fox, and CW. They share powerful secrets to having a fulfilling long-term romantic partnership with a genuine love that lasts forever through all the phases of life.

In this Episode

7:04 What Dr. Michael and Barbara learned in their 50 years of marriage.

11:32 Understanding why our developmental paths are not on the same timeline and how that relates to the power struggle stage.

23:59 The foundation of a healthy and long-lasting romantic relationship.

30:39 How marriage has evolved over the last 150 years, as well as some important relationship skills you can learn through ballroom dancing.

38:55 Final golden nuggets of advice.

Your Check List of Actions to Take

  • Set reasonable expectations in your relationship. Do not expect a smooth ride.
  • Communicate your thoughts, feelings, and goals with your partner and collaborate on how you can help each other.
  • Remember that disagreements with your partner are not personal, but rather part of a healthy development process.
  • Practice listening to each other without interrupting.
  • Join relationship workshops to learn more about the skills you need for a healthy relationship.
  • Talk to a specialist about replacing hormones with bioidentical hormones if necessary to keep your brain and sex functioning normally.

Mentioned

The Marriage Map: The Road to Transforming Your Marriage From Ordeal to Adventure (*Amazon Affiliate link) (book)

The Magic of Stem Cells: Activating Your Own Healing Power: How to Avoid Surgery and Rejuvenate Your Body (*Amazon Affiliate link) (book)

AGELESS LOVE: The Sexy Science of Falling in Love Forever – Prescriptions for Mind, Body and Spirit (*Amazon Affiliate link) (book)

Relationship Map To Happy, Lasting Love

Connect with Dr. Michael and Dr. Barbara Grossman

Website: fallinginloveforever.com

Facebook: facebook.com/themarriagemap

YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UCv5BQU8rcraNzjzsA4LxzKA

Affiliate Link: fallinginloveforever.idevaffiliate.com/signup.php

Connect with Dr. Jessica Higgins

Connect with Dr. Jessica Higgins

Facebook: facebook.com/EmpoweredRelationship 

Instagram: instagram.com/drjessicahiggins 

Podcast: drjessicahiggins.com/podcasts/

Pinterest: pinterest.com/EmpowerRelation 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/drjessicahiggins 

Twitter: @DrJessHiggins 

Website: drjessicahiggins.com  

Email: [email protected]

About Today’s Show

Dr. Michael and Dr. Barbara, it’s wonderful to have you both here today, and I’m excited about our conversation.

A pleasure to be here. 

Absolutely.

Great. Well, I know that you both come from different backgrounds, and I would love to hear what brought you to doing this work and really wanting to support people in couplehood.

Well, it really starts because my wife and I have had three different marriages. We’ve been married for 50 years. The first marriage, I was 21 and Barbara was 20. For 10 years, it was a lovely marriage where we did whatever I thought was the right thing, and I liked that marriage. Then Barbara went back to graduate school and started having her own ideas about how things should be and what was okay and what wasn’t okay, and we got into this really intense struggle. That was like seven years of real intense struggling to try to figure out how do you have a relationship where you have two kinds of independent thinking people, and that was really difficult. 

We did a lot of counseling, it didn’t help very much; counselors weren’t that helpful. Most counselors don’t know how to counsel couples, they’re good at counseling one-on-one. We found different mentors who helped us a lot, and then out of that mentoring process, we started saying, wow, we really learned a lot. Then we began teaching other people. We had classes from my patients and we set things up in my office, and we have a whole bunch of different classes we did. 

So over the last 35+ years, we’ve been running classes and courses from my patients and Dr. Barbara’s patients. We began writing books. We’ve written one book a few years ago called “The Marriage Map,” where you get to know Barbara and I really well and all the stuff we went through, and we’ve written a new book called “Ageless Love: Prescriptions for Mind, Body and Spirit.”

It’s called the sexy science of falling in love forever. The subtitle of Ageless Love is: The Sexy Science of Falling in Love Forever.

All the stuff that we’ve written, that’s really where it all came from. We combined the things that I do as an anti-ageing physician and a longevity physician to keep love, passion, and sexuality alive over a lifetime. It doesn’t have to end when you’re in menopause, it can go on until however long you live. Dr. Barbara has her things that she does, and we combined that. She’s the real expert. I like to be the ham and talk a lot about it, but she’s really the expert in counseling.

I want to hear from you, Dr. Barbara. I know you have your own thing to add here about the journey and how you both approach this work. As I’m listening to you, Dr. Michael, it sounds like the two of you workshopped and really went through the journey together, and then were helping your clients and providing the space and the experiential workshops for them to learn. You both have been in this work for a very long time, it sounds like really helping assist people in this way. So thank you so much. How about you, Dr. Barbara? Help me with where you’re coming from.

We do classes mainly because a lot of what we went through just isn’t personal. It’s predictable, especially in our advanced society where everyone feels entitled to grow a self and have their own intentional evolution of a life plan. In many ways, we come together as couples, and we have our affinity, and we connect, and we feel great love. Then within five to ten years, we are much more individuated. So what’s predictable is power struggle, and it’s not personal; we feel it’s personal. It feels very painful. We feel very lonely, and we attack our partner because they’re not supporting our unique journey. But it isn’t personal at all. When you see it in a group, you can relax and see the way life is, and how to be with it in a way that can grow your relationship as well as your own individual path. Then everyone wins, and it takes the pressure off that feeling that something’s wrong.

Thank you for speaking to that. I didn’t know if you wanted to say anything else personally. But before I ask that, it sounds as though you’re really saying there’re developmental stages in intimacy, which I couldn’t agree with more on, and one of those stages is really the power struggle. When we look at the inevitability of, you have two individuals that are responsible for their own unique life paths, and when we come together in a relationship, there’s a different way of relating. If we have a relational mindset, that can start to put a different lens on some of these power struggles of almost jockeying for position, if you will.

“Many of us meet and connect before we are clear about our path, so the power struggle is a shock to the system. There are skills that we have to learn, all of us, on how to share ourselves and walk through those differences, so that we don’t threaten the bond that’s so sweet and important for not only ourselves but our families.”

Absolutely, yes. I’m super excited to get into this conversation about what you’re both speaking to. Barbara, did you want to say anything about your journey as well?

Yeah. Michael’s referring to a time that was extraordinarily chaotic and painful. I suppose I’m romantic. I found the man in my dreams, we have so much affinity and our temperaments have great alignment. Then as I moved away from just being a nice partner, and I began to really strike out with my own interests and activities, it was a stunning shock that I wasn’t understood and appreciated and supported. Of course I didn’t see my own behavior and the ripples I put in our bond. Most of us talk the way and share the way we learned in our families, which is not very helpful. So we had our share of upsets. But the good part about it is I know what people live. Most of us go through it, very few of us have ideal upbringings and perfect role models. So I know how destructive just speaking unconsciously is. So I’ve made a point of learning myself how to speak in a way that’s effective, and that’s what I like teaching people how to do that, so that they can weave their way through these difficulties and reconnect.

Yes. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for bringing in the personal, because I think meeting at such a young age, and you’re saying sometimes we don’t know what our purpose or our path is, and then when we start to connect with that more, it can start to change the game a little bit. Like you were saying, Dr. Michael, I liked our first marriage, and that it seemed to flow really well. Then as you’re becoming more individuated or differentiated and you’re connected to your path, it just seemed assumed that he would be super supportive and get it and be aligned, and that it just would continue to evolve. Then when we feel threatened, we have certain strategies, like you’re saying, and ways that we might protest or want to be seen. But how we might raise our hand isn’t maybe perhaps as skillful, or that it might contribute to this disconnect pattern because of what we’ve known in our upbringing and how our tendency is. 

Okay, thank you for spelling that out. Where would you like to begin in the way of what you want people to know about what’s inevitable and predictable about the development of intimacy?

Well, I’d like to say that if we create our relationship in our 20s and we think we know where we’re headed, probably that’s not the final word. There is a volcano in your 30s where you really are clear about yourself, and the structure of the relationship that you formed in your 20s or even late 20s may not last. But what makes it more complicated is that since women have babies, our developmental paths are not at the same timetable. So it’s frequently the case, not in every case, but frequently the case that men can be on their road earlier and more consistently than a woman. So we’re not arriving at the same developmental accomplishments at the same time, so we’re not in a place to really understand each other. We think we’re adults, like, by 25 or 30, but there’s a long journey still ahead. It keeps going, by the way. It doesn’t end at 30. It continues into the 40s and 50s and 60s. There’s just a different mindset at different places, most people don’t know that. They think, well, I’ve arrived, I’m an adult; my driver’s license, I’ve gotten my degree, and I’ve gotten my job. But that’s just the beginning.

Well, I’m appreciating you naming this, Dr. Barbara, because I think a lot of times this isn’t public. I think this is changing in the last 10 to 15 years, where a lot of these practices and principles are being much more talked about and accessible, like on podcasts, and I know books and whatnot have been around for a while. To really name that there are a lot of life stages and there’s a developmental process, and sometimes we prioritize certain things, and that isn’t always the same when we look at relationships and what we’re negotiating. Also, you both have spoken that it is an ever-evolving process, that it’s not getting to a place where we’re done or that it stops. How about for you, Dr. Michael, do you want to chime in?

So what I would want to add in terms of a big picture is, as a medical doctor, I like to think of things analytically. 

“Human development has certain movements, where you’re feeling very close to the things you love or the people you love, and then you feel more independent or more separate from the people you love.”

So when you’re sucking on your mother’s breast, you’re feeling very, very close. You’re two years old, you’re saying: I don’t want that, this is mine. You’re feeling separate from your mother because you want it your way. You become five, six, seven, eight, you love being part of the family, you’re so close to everyone, you love it! You get to be 13, 14, 15, you don’t want to walk on the same side of the street as your parents; you want to be separate. You know everything, you want to be your own person! You get to be in your 20s, you’re married, you have your own family, you love being close, again. You get to be in your late 30s and early 40s, you’ve had enough of this family stuff, you want to have your own career, your own interests, your own hobbies, and you need a little space from everybody. You get to be in your 50s and 60s, you’re grandparents, you love being close to the grandkids, you’re feeling so good about being closed. 

This movement is not personal, it’s growth and development, and it keeps going. I teach meditation to people, there are ongoing paths to growth and development beyond what we just described. But you’ve got to realize it’s not personal. So when you realize it’s not personal, you stop thinking: Oh, you shouldn’t think that way, you shouldn’t look at it that way you. That has to drop off! You have no clue about the other person. Stop thinking you know about them, they’re doing their own thing. You’ve got to listen to them and vice versa.

Even being in a marriage where you’ve been together for a number of years.

They change, and you change.

Yes. The permission in the space, you’re acknowledging that this is healthy, you’re both saying it’s part of the development. It’s natural for us to go in between the intimacy and the separateness or the autonomy and the closeness, these differentiating. Like, the space between, we’re constantly going back and forth, and that is a normal part of living an individual life, and then also sharing it in a relationship. 

Yes, that is correct. That’s really what we teach as secret number one of falling in love forever, is don’t expect a smooth ride in a romantic partnership. 

Thank you. It’s dispelling a myth. Dr. Barbara, did you want to chime in with that?

If you think about it, you wouldn’t want to live in the same relationship with the same rules and roles forever. I mean, there’s an impulse in all of us to want to expand and grow and integrate our life at deeper and deeper levels. So if you stop and think about it, we have to be this way. It doesn’t mean that we’re totally out of control of life. If you learn how to share your feelings and thoughts and where you want to go and how you need to embroider the next step of your life, you can make requests and coordinate and share your growth with your partner. It doesn’t have to push you apart. The key is learning how to share it. So many of us are afraid, we feel fear when we see our partners moving in another direction, and that fear really is an obstacle in sharing and speaking and working things out so that we can walk our paths and be creative. 

Yes. I’m wondering if you both can speak to it, if this resonates with what you teach. But the way that we move through this—if we can understand it’s not personal, it’s part of the healthy developmental process—then if we do notice certain pains of like, where are you going, or when are you coming back, or these type of things, that we can then look at, what is in this for me to look at, perhaps. And also not to just jump to assumption and jump to projection that this is what this means, they don’t care about me anymore, they’re not into me, or whatever it is that we might fill in the blank. It just puts a whole different lens on what’s happening.

Plus, you can ask for what you need to make you feel safe and comfortable with these new developments. But you can’t have that conversation if it starts with upset and craziness and threat. 

Pointing the finger, yes. 

You can weave your lives together in a way that allows for this growth and enjoy the ride.

One of the key skills is learning to listen to each other. That’s something that doesn’t come naturally and automatically, you have to learn that. It’s like learning to ice skate, or ballroom dance, or play basketball. You don’t just do it. No, you’ve got to learn, it is a skill. So we teach the skills. You have to learn to listen to each other and not interrupt. And that’s hard to do because you’re always trying to say: “Well, no, you shouldn’t think like that. No, that didn’t happen that way. No, you’re misinterpreting it.” No, just listen to them. Your partner needs to be heard, and you have to learn to be quiet and really see how they see the world; it’s different from the way you see the world. That’s a skill process, and we teach that to people. It’s a very important skill. That’s what we call secret number two: if you’re not listening without interrupting, then you’re not really listening.

It’s almost as if you’re saying listening is not hearing. It’s not just hearing words. It’s a different presence, it’s a different stance, and there’s a real seeking to understand perhaps.

Right, and it feels uncomfortable, because you’re thinking they’ve got it all wrong. But you’ve got to listen to them.

So many people have found that they almost feel concerned or afraid that if they’re listening, I’m somehow conveying that I am endorsing or condoning or agreeing, when it’s just listening. 

That is exactly right. For your partner, it’s more important that they feel like you really can listen and hear their point of view, rather than coming up with a defense of why they shouldn’t be thinking that. They can get to that later, but that comes much later.

Right, it’s a slowing down. As you were saying, Dr. Barbara, when the power struggle is at play, there’s a sense of even threat or hyper-vigilance that sometimes goes into this and the quickness of it; the nervous systems might be activated. When you’re talking, Dr. Michael, I can just feel myself relaxing, that if there’s space and I know my partner wants to hear and they’re going to stay with me. Because sometimes it’s almost as if people feel like they know it, we were talking about assumptions just a moment ago, and it’s almost like they assume that they’ve got it. It’s almost like the first layer, they haven’t even dropped into deeper meaning of, how does this matter to you, and help me understand, and these types of things. But when there is a space that helps relax, perhaps, and then we do feel seen, and there is a little more openness and that nonverbal exchange, it helps perhaps settle, and then we feel the bondedness more. Would you agree? 

Absolutely. We teach people how to share, which is not obvious. Most of us don’t have an awareness, until we’re asked, how much of our behaviors, our interests, our desires come from inherited experiences from our families. To be able to reflect about that, and talk about some of our behaviors that are uncomfortable, and make requests of each other so that our behaviors get more refined and smoothed out. 

In fact, my personal belief is that committed relationships or marriages are the best place to develop; you can’t get feedback any better from anybody than your partner.

Nobody’s going to see you more clearly, perhaps even.

You really get to see the unfinished touches of your personality and reflect on where it comes from, and whether it really works for you or not, and you get to improve yourself over time. It’s also important, we teach couples how to get in touch with what they really want from each other in a very concrete way. I find that most couples know how to state their position, or argue, but they’re not in touch with the behaviors that would make a difference in their lives from their partner.

Dr. Barbara, you’re saying so much right here. You’re talking about the sharing, which might not be obvious. You’re talking about being able to understand where certain reactions and tendencies might have come from. It makes perfect sense when we look at the environment, but some of us maybe don’t always connect those dots or haven’t slowed down enough to really look at that. You’re also talking about how to ask for what we want in a more vulnerable way, a proactive way, rather than critical ways. Because sometimes we think we’re asking for what we want, but we’re really saying what we don’t want. That’s a lot there. Is there anything you want to say around sharing or how you help people? Because you both talked about skills. Is there anything you want to support people with here today? I know we’ll be directing people towards how they can learn more, but for today’s conversation.

Well, we have a structured approach where we teach behaviorally, how to become and how to be open. We take couples through that, and they learn by doing. It’s not automatic, it doesn’t come with our biological packaging. We have to learn, intentionally, how to participate in a conversation where we’re really sharing our hearts and souls. Couples love that! Then in a separate kind of exercise, we teach how to reflect on our experiences with our families and how it’s affected us, and how that has created certain wants and needs that we haven’t been able to articulate because it’s so embedded in our childhoods.

Yeah. The modeling and the shaping, and also perhaps what we didn’t get, sometimes we’re not conscious of that. It’s almost like we want to go back and nurture that part that didn’t get whatever that was. Is that right?

“That’s actually the purpose of being in a romantic relationship, is to heal what needs to be healed from your early childhood.”

In order to make that happen, you have to let your partner know what you need from them, and what they need from you can be very different from what you need from them. You’ve got to be able to ask for it in a way that your partner knows that you’re not doing it to punish them. I used to think that Barbara was just trying to punish me by making me come home at a certain time, or else she was going to be really upset. But really, she has a childhood where she lost her natural father at the age of two, and she just is in this needy stage. It has nothing to do with me being a bad person or nothing to do with me being mean to her. It’s just this is a need she has; she wants to feel secure. I don’t have that issue, I need a little space. I had a mother who was there all the time, my father was there all the time. I didn’t have any of these losses, so it doesn’t show up to me. 

But when she asked the right way, then I can understand: Oh, that’s why she’s like that, she’s not just trying to be mean and controlling and whatnot. So we all do that with each other, and we have to learn that. But we’ve got to be able to ask each other, and that’s a skill. So that’s what we focus on in all of our courses, whether they’re online, whether they’re in person, we teach skills. Because skills are what is the foundation for successful, ongoing romantic love.

Even as we’re talking about it right here, I’m so aware that a lot of this is happening so fast and so automatically. Perhaps this example where she might be getting on your case a little bit about being late, and you’re like, wow, why is it such a big deal, and really that pushback. But once you understood and she could share the deeper layer of what it meant to her. It wasn’t about you being good, bad, right or wrong. It was really about this is what happens for me and this is what it means to me, and you’re like: Oh, I love you, and I want to help, and that, even though it’s not a thing for me, I definitely want to show up more. 

Absolutely right. 

Okay, beautiful. I wondered just a moment ago, and it sounds like you have a lot online and work that you provide. But it almost sounded as if the experiential and like through workshops, that there could even be something in having the group or kind of a community or kind of a new experience in a relationship. Has that been a part of your work at all, or am I feeling that incorrectly?

It’s powerful in a group to see that we’re all in the same boat. There’s nothing wrong with us, it’s just part of developing; growing up goes on forever. It’s comforting to know that we all need to learn new skills, and the skills can transform our relationship. Couples that are in our in-person groups are very excited and satisfied by what they’re learning, and they get closer. It’s fun, and we top it off with an experience. 

Actually, we’re ballroom dancers, in addition to everything else. The actual experience of ballroom dancing, even the hold of a ballroom dance, is structured along the lines of the female-male relationship. And what’s interesting about it is that both partners in ballroom dance are very, very dynamic; nobody’s a slouch. It’s a metaphor that works for our age. We take our couples to a ballroom and we dance for them, and we also have a lesson for them. Our coach comes and they understand the dynamics of two partners, creating beauty in space and time. It’s a metaphor for their ordinary life together. It needs to be creative and partnered by two empowered people who want to create beauty in time and space.

The partners have different roles, and that’s one of the things that’s complicated about the current romantic relationship. In ballroom dance, it’s very clear: the man has a certain role, he creates the timing and the direction, and the woman is the one who then extends the movement and is the flower and looks beautiful with all these different movements. So each partner has different roles, it’s very clear, and you make the roles up ahead of time. In your own romantic relationship, you need to have different roles. The question is what will the roles be? It used to be really clear. 150 years ago, the roles were very clear; a man went out to work, and the woman was home with the kids. It was very clear what the roles were, and that was good. Now it’s not so clear, so you’ve got to make your own roles now. 

In terms of maintaining that falling in love feeling with your partner, you’ve got to create the different roles for each of you, and you’ve got to be able to thank your partner for what they do. That’s complicated nowadays, because there are no exact roles.

Well, you’re right. It’s asking for people to be more conscious or conscientious about what those roles are. I hear you around, it can be really relieving to be a part of a system that’s already designed, when you talk about previous structures, and that worked for a lot of people. And it didn’t work for a lot of other people that maybe didn’t resonate with those same roles, or it didn’t align with what was true for them. So part of what you’re suggesting here is, it’s not just done for us, this is something that there’s a power in the polarity, there’s a power in the structure, there’s a power in the roles, and we can be better served when there’s clarity around this.

Right. When you first fall in love, it’s automatic and unconscious. When you’re 20 years old or you’re 25, however old you were, when you fall in love, it’s so unconscious. You all have these different roles and you love them, strong one this and kind and soft one that, and it’s just automatic. But then when you go through some of those transitions, it’s not automatic at all, you’ve got to do it consciously.

No, and I would even argue that even if we have a heterosexual relationship, a man and a woman, there are feminine aspects. I think men and women both have both masculine and feminine. This is one of the things I got from you, Dr. Barbara, when you’re talking about the experiential of the ballroom, is there is a real embodiment of whatever the role or the structure that we’re embodying. I feel like we can’t hide. We can know something intellectually, but when we’re really in the practice of it and the embodiment of it, it’s so much more palpable and visible, and then that’s where we might be able to see: Oh, I’m afraid he doesn’t have me, or I’m afraid to be too strong, or whatever it is that might emerge. It’s using the body and the whole system. Am I hearing that embodiment part correctly?

Just like a dance, in life, we give each other feedback ongoingly, so we can make adjustments so that the dance and the life experience works. It’s a constant growth process.

So I have a thought to add here. In our last two books, we talk a little bit about fairy tales. When you look at the Cinderella story, the real Cinderella story is not Walt Disney. So Walt Disney has Cinderella falling in love with the prince and the prince runs after her, and everything is wonderful. The real story is that Cinderella works hard to get to the ball, it’s not easy for her to get there. Then when she gets there, the prince she danced with, the prince falls in love with her and says this is great. She runs away, and the prince can’t find her. That happens three times, and the prince is constantly looking for her. He finally figures it out because she runs away, and he kind of plans it all out ahead of time that okay, I’m going to put down sticky tar on the stairs, so that when she runs away, I’ll catch her shoe, and then I can figure out where she went and maybe she can’t run so far when. 

Anyway, it works really well, and he has her shoe, and then he figures out which house she went to. Then he goes to the house, and her sisters are there. They cut off their toes to try to fit in the shoe, but it bleeds and it becomes a big mess. He finally finds Cinderella, and they get married, and they fall in love. So the real story is that Cinderella is not like a wimp. She makes the prince run after her. She hides on him: “Hey, you’re going to find me? Go ahead. I’m not here for the easy-taking, you’ve got to look for me.” The prince has to really want it and do it. So Cinderella is not just this little wimpy thing, she really has a personality that makes him run after her. 

So when we look at modern life, you want women to know that just because you’re feminine and you’re sweet, and you’re like a bird and you can fly and run away and do all this stuff, but you have this energy. So women need to know they have that feminine energy. The feminine energy is not just wimpy, it’s intense. And so in a relationship, women can be soft, but it doesn’t mean they’re wimpy. That’s sort of like the big big picture of romance when we teach it to our couples.

Yeah. There’s a real honor for the masculine and the feminine, and I appreciate you speaking to that. Dr. Barbara?

I usually use the Cinderella story for dating advice, and that is to make sure that your guy wants you and you’re not just offering yourself to him. And we have other fairy tales. It’s amazing how the wise knowledge about the feminine and masculine has been around for thousands of years.

Well, the archetypal, the journeys and the stories are such a way of sharing wisdom. Well, is there anything else you want to speak to that we haven’t touched on, as far as the secrets that you guys help people understand, or the skills that you teach?

I would want couples to know if they feel stuck or trapped, that there is a growth process for them to move through this, and to have the relationship that they were inspired by the possibilities of, when they’ve met their partner. It’s not smart to needlessly stay stuck, there’s ways to learn and grow through this. It will be individual learning as well as partnership learning, and it’s a beautiful path. I want that for couples because not only does that ensure a wise culture of people who grow and grow up, but it also ensures that we raise our children in our families and not in separated households.

The ripple effect when we can cultivate this type of relating, that it models and it impacts the health of the greater system. How about for you, Dr. Michael, is there anything you want to add?

Well, there’s things that we can touch on. To maintain passion and romance, it takes both the skills that we’ve talked about here, and it also takes, as you get older, replacing hormones with natural bioidentical hormones, so that you can maintain brain functioning, youthful sexual functioning, and that energy and enjoyment of romantic passion. That’s something that I do a lot of, and it’s so easy to do. It’s something that a lot of doctors don’t get into, which is complicated. People who do the natural bioidentical hormones—human hormones, not synthetics—live longer and healthier than people who do nothing. Synthetics are not good, I don’t like synthetics at all. So that’s a whole area. 

In our new book, “Ageless Love,” we talk about the mind, which is the whole psychology thing that we focused on here. The second chapter is talking about the body and all these different hormonal things, and many other natural things we can do to stay healthy. Then the third chapter is the chapter on the spirit. On the spirit, we talk about meditation as a foundational tool to contact this area of life that is the basis of joy and fulfillment. So joy and fulfillment doesn’t come through getting a lot of money. Studies are very clear. 

“Once you have enough money to pay your rent and have enough to eat, there’s zero relationships between more money and happiness. Happiness comes from experiencing inside yourself, joy and peace, and creating the chemistry and the brainwaves and the physiology of peace. That comes through meditation.”

I’ve been teaching meditation for years, and I love teaching people meditation. So that is what you get in our book, “Ageless Love.” I urge people to look for that book. It’s in print now, it should be out in the next few weeks. It’s filled with a lot of prescriptions, a lot of things to do that are really, really life-changing.

I love how comprehensive it is, and holistic and integrative and just practical. Both of you are bringing such wisdom and perspective, and also making it really accessible and practical, and almost taking a lot of the charge or the mystery out of it. Like, it’s not personal, it’s practical, it’s predictable. So I really appreciate that.

What you’re saying is totally true, but we’re actually adding the mystery. We’re adding the mystery because we talk about fairy tales, we’re talking about meditation, and we talk about quantum mechanics and quantum physics. Science is filled with mystery. People think science is just set. No, if you really know science, the mystery just stares you in the face and you say: Oh my gosh, this is incredible! It’s science, but it’s all a mystery.

Love it. Dr. Barbara, were you going to say something?

I’m happy that Michael included taking care of your body and developing consciousness, because that’s the source of creativity.

I love the voice in this, thank you. So I’ll make sure to have the link for the book on today’s show notes. I love that you’ve given a brief outline of what people can get and expect from getting the book. What else might people find on your website?

The main link is FallingInLoveForever.com. It has connections both to the new book that’s coming out, and to our five online courses that are on those five topics for our focus with specific skills you need to learn. It has links for our course that we teach, both on Zoom and in-person, where we teach people “how to fall in love forever” skills. So there’s four different classes with four different skills; you learn a skill in each class, and we have you and the partner work on that. You should do it once a week so you learn the skill.

I want to just make sure everyone knows, we have a very, very powerful and important parenting course on it. Because that’s a huge challenge for couples, to get on the same page and parent together.

Then we have my meditation. I do it on a weekly basis, and you can go on there and get connected to the meditation classes. I have a book that is also in print, “Deep and Effortless Meditation.” So it’s lovely, that’ll come out and people can get the tape so you can actually listen to the audio tapes. So those are the things you get from our website.

Do we have our dance show on there?

No.

We do have a dance show we do live that actually tells the story of how relationships grow over time. We dance it.

Oh my goodness, how come it’s not on the website?

Yeah, maybe we should put it on the website. I haven’t thought about that. 

Where can people find it? 

Well, if you go to the FallingInLoveForever.com website, I’ll talk to my staff and see if we can do something there.

Well, and what I’ll do, if you’re open to it, I’ll ask for the link to make it easily accessible for today’s show notes. That way that link to that beautiful dance story of your relationship is there. It’ll also have the website where people can access the newest book, as well as your other book around meditation. It’ll also have all the courses and skills, as well as the parenting course, and there’s a whole host of things, as well as the workshops, maybe in-person as well. 

I recommend the parenting course so highly. Most people think that parenting is automatic. Well, it isn’t, and parenting can push a couple apart. So to parent together and have the structure, and how to automatize it so that it’s smooth and easy and it keeps the couple working together, and it keeps order and consistency in the home, and it allows for peace and real connection among the family. It’s so important to learn those skills. They just don’t come automatically, you’ve got to learn it.

No. It sounds like, in a lot of ways, it’s taking the skills that you’re both teaching, and it’s almost a new challenge that obviously has its own host of considerations and things that are different. It’s a curriculum for really developing and working together. So I love that you’ve both tailored a different course for those practices and what it can cultivate. It’s powerful, because a lot of people get really stuck. 

Well, Dr. Barbara and Dr. Michael, it’s been such a pleasure. I feel so grateful to just have some time with you both, and for you to share your insight and what you are offering people in the way of intimacy and development. It’s a huge gift.

Well, thank you. I’ve enjoyed this hour.

It’s been a pleasure.

Signing Off

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