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America’s marriage coach, Dr. Jacquie Del Rosario, says nature and nurture affect our relationships.
Moms are concerned with a lot of things at once; Dads tend to focus on one thing at a time. Many moms derive a sense of security from planning ahead for all possible contingencies. Dads tend to react to life as it happens. Females generally process information more quickly than males as well because women have more language centers in the brain than men do. These differences can lead to conflict and confusion.
Learning to navigate these differences can help us build stronger relationships and families.
“If our relationship is strong, our ability to parent is also better,” Dr. Jacquie says. “Our ability to raise strong and whole children is better.”
Healthy Relationship Strategies
Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. A few strategies she recommends include:
- Using “I statements.” Don’t start with an accusation. Instead, calmly communicate your current mindset and needs with “I statements”: I’m feeling really overwhelmed right now. I need some help getting dinner on the table.
- Reflective listening. Repeat back what your partner is saying, to give them a chance to clarify. This technique can be especially helpful for busy parents because “when you are sleep-deprived or in a heightened emotional state, you tend to mis-hear or mis-process information,” Dr. Jacquie says.
- Asking for what you want. Avoiding this conversation because you’re afraid of the result isn’t helpful. You may avoid conflict in the near-term, but over time, resentment can build. Focus instead on what you need to express and then “choose your time and place,” Dr. Jacquie says.
- Scheduling regular time to connect. Build conversation time into your lifestyle. If you don’t, it’s too easy to get distracted by other priorities (& exhaustion!). Dr. Jacquie and her husband spend the 30 minutes before sleep with each other nightly. “We mostly talk,” she says. “We talk about our day, about our aspirations, about our children, whatever needs to be discussed.” Planning time to sexual connection is also helpful. (Pro tip: Keeping your children on a schedule makes it easier for you and your partner to have regular time together!)
Realistic expectations are important too.
“Marriage does not make you happy forever,” Dr. Jacquie says. “You will have ebbs and flows in your marriage. Marriage, like all relationships, is messy.”
In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Dr. Jacquie discuss:
- How biology affects our thinking & relationships
- Why you need to nurture your adult relationships
- Maternal gatekeeping
- The impact of fathers
- 7 pillars of compatibility
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
drjacquie.com — Dr. Jacquie’s website
Single Parenting w Wealthy Single Mommy Emma Johnson — ON BOYS episode
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