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How to have a difficult conversation

“In a world where great risks can bring extraordinary rewards, Tom Mullen has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams...” Now I hear it, I’ll never make it as a movie trailer voiceover guy, like that one guy, who’s done every movie trailer ever produced. Do you know his name? I looked it up and will tell you at the end of this intro. “But first, in a world where husbands and wives fight for control of the other, one couple takes a risk. They boldly enter into a difficult conversation.”

You’ll love this movie! Drama, comedy, suspense, and a happy, not that kind of happy ending! Pain is part of an intimate relationship but most of us can’t ever go there because we either avoid pain, or we turn pain into an unproductive hurt locker.

Today we learn how to have a difficult conversation. You’re going to learn about, wait for it, cue the dramatic music...the the soft start-up.

Welcome to the show, I’m your host, Michael Smalley, and you’re listening to Inspirational Comedy. Marriage education with a dash of humor.

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I bet you thought I forgot about the most famous voice in movies, the trailer guy. Well, I didn’t! His name is Don LaFontaine.

Gottman found he can predict if a couple is going to divorce based on the first three minutes of a conversation.  If you start up harshly, it will end harshly.
“You always do this!”
"You never…”
“I’m so sick of all of it!”
“If you do this one more time!”

A harsh startup is when one partner brings up an issue and uses criticism and contempt to get their point across. Using Harsh Startups is one of the indicators of a failing relationship, the more often you use them the more damaging they are, and the higher your probability of relationship demise. - Dr. John Gottman

Your marriage, if you want it to be great, takes work.

  • Self-control
  • Kindness
  • Forgiveness
  • Patience

The soft-startup is how you can have a difficult conversation.

“I might be wrong.”

“Help me understand.”

“I love you, I want our sex life to be amazing and I know how important it is for us to increase our frequency. For me, there are times I feel like a “no” is not allowed and I’d love for us to talk about why.”

Instead of, “OMG! Is sex the only thing on your mind!”

The six rules to a soft-startup

  1. Start gently
  2. Use “I” statements
  3. Describe, don’t judge or evaluate.
  4. Talk clearly about what you need in positive terms.
  5. Be polite.
  6. Give appreciations.

In other words:

  • Harsh: “You never touch me.”
  • Alternative: “I love it when you kissed me in the kitchen the other day. You’re such a great kisser. I would love it if we could do that more often.”

I’ll end today’s podcast with this, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ― Leo Tolstoy

Don’t forget you can join the VIP club, it’s like having a relationship expert in your front pocket! Live, personal, weekly coaching to help you experience the marriage you want.

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Are you struggling in your marriage with:

  • Difficulty communicating and asserting your needs?
  • Lack of intimacy and feeling disconnected?
  • Feeling stuck because you keep having the same fights over and over again?
  • Feeling easily triggered by built-up resentment?

THERE IS HOPE! Join The VIP Inner Circle today and allow me to help guide you making fine-tune adjustments or major overhauls needed for your relationship to succeed! After 25-years, there's nothing I haven't seen before and no hurt too big to overcome.


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