Episode 32: How To Improve Your Relationship with the Opposite Sex: In Business, Love, and Life.
In this ground-breaking show, former Dr. Phil Guest and Relationship Coach shares with us simple strategies to improving your relationship with the opposite sex. In it, you will learn the ‘1 Thing All Women Want From Men’ and how to know if you’re giving it to them in way a guy can really understand. Also, for the ladies, Julie reveals why most women are getting it wrong and what your men really want from you.
Robert Harrison: Hi everyone. Welcome to Coaching by the Life Coach. This is Robert Harrison with PersonalLifeMedia.com. On today's show, we're going to be talking with Julie Nise. Now Julie Nise has a website on RelationshipAnswer.com and let me give you a little background on Julie. One of the really cool things about Julie is I've spent a lot of time with her at her beautiful home in Houston. I've had that pleasure of working with her and traveling with her throughout the U.S. for different conferences and things like that. When I first met Julie, she was teaching the marketing portion for a workshop of something called Smoke Free International where we teach people around the U.S. how to help clients stop smoking in one hour and the cool thing about that is, is that's a real result driven endeavor unlike a lot of other perhaps coaching themes where, you know, maybe the results aren't so tangible. A few things like weight loss and a few things like quitting smoking, you know if your getting results or not and through the course of doing that interestingly enough over, I would say, too much Saki several nights, Julie and I got to talking about relationships and it turns out she's been on Dr. Phil like at least three times and for those of you who don't know, when a person goes on Dr. Phil, quite often they need a lot of therapy afterwards and Dr. Phil, of course, doesn't have the time to do that for the guests so they send them to highly qualified, perhaps even, I dare say, more qualified people, like Julie, to do all the clean-up work. So, this is something that Julie has been particularly really good at for a long time and I know that we're really looking forward to relationshipanswer.com coming online and seeing what she has to offer the marketplace.
Julie Nise: ...efforts being undermined, the children are going to grow up with this notion that that sex should not be as respected or is not as powerful and, you know, in a parenting situation there should be no Top Dog. That should be a mutually powerful and a mutually controlled situation. Men really love us. They want to know whats going on with us to a certain level. They certainly want to provide and protect us but they don't want to know every gory little detail. It bores them to tears.
Robert Harrison: Well that's Julie, thank you for coming on the show.
Julie Nise: Well, thank you very much, Robert. That was a lovely introduction. I'm flattered.
Robert Harrison: Now, did I leave anything out there?
Julie Nise: Oh, besides being a great doggy mommy and a wonderful chef and all those others...no, you didn't leave anything out.
Robert Harrison: Oh, and an excellent cook. Julie is also a gourmet cook and I think that we're going to find out that the fact that Julie is a gourmet cook will actually tie into some of her relationship advice here very soon so...
Julie Nise: Absolutely correct.
Robert Harrison: Exactly. So, Julie, tell us what is relationshipanswer.com and you know, what does it do for those people out there who are out there and having maybe like relationship issues?
Julie Nise: Well, first of all, almost everyone I know has some kind of relationship issues or at least something they'd like to improve and the whole point of relationshipanswer is kind of be a one-stop shop for those people who need or want just a little improvement. Some tips, some suggestions, ideas, from professional licensed marriage and family therapists and licensed professional counselors and just one place they can go to get a quick answer a more in detailed answer, whatever they might need. So that we can really help them with their relationship improvements.
Robert Harrison: cool and what would you say like are like maybe like the three top relationship issues that you hear again and again and then we can talk about some solutions about like maybe how you handle that.
Julie Nise: You bet because in my practice clinically as well as relationshipanswers we are going to be highly focused on results. It's all about getting the outcome or the results that you want and then working towards that. So, the top three that typically I see in my office, and are going to be on relationshipanswer in depth are going to be communication, money and parenting. Those are the top three. And if you want to actually make a fourth one because it's all kind of throughout the top three would be a specific category of communication. That's a biggie.
Robert Harrison: So tell me more about communication, let's start with the first one and so communication, that obviously covers a very broad spectrum that...
Julie Nise: Because if you can't communicate on one topic you're probably not communicating on the other.
Robert Harrison: Ya. So in terms of communication, and I think the stereotypes are, you know, women talk and men don't. You know, like tell me more about that like what....a couple comes to your office. They're having communication problems, what does that look like and what are some of the common communication issues and then like what would maybe some coaching that you would offer our listeners on if they're having similar problems which I'm sure alot of them are and what they can do about it.
Julie Nise: Sure. Absolutely. Well, first of all, we have to cover some basics and one of the basics is that in fact, I think there's some studies done that show that we talk and use about seven times more words on average than a guy does. Which by the way, the dog barking is mine out in the backyard here barking at a crow. Anyway, I'll try to give some tried advice here, so because we use so many more words than guys, we become so frustrating to guys who don't use that many words to have to listen all the time and I think one of the biggest mistakes women make is they sort of start treating their significant others like a girlfriend and thats a big mistake. Big mistake. Men really love us. They want to know what's going on with us to a certain level. They certainly want to provide for and protect us. But they don't want to know every gory little detail. It bores them to tears. And it doesn't mean they don't love us it just that they're not THAT into listening. So if you want to talk, you know, to the minute detail, you need a girlfriend. And the husband or boyfriend person should really be there for the general overview. That will tend to work very well.
Robert Harrison: ok now let me ask you a question about that. Because, you know, as a guy and just from observing other guys and from coaching, it seems to me that one of the reasons maybe for that is like us, you know, we are trained to be problem solvers. And would you say that it's true and one of the biggest mistakes we as guys make, is that when one of our wives start to talk about an issue that maybe she doesn't want her problem solved. She just wants us to listen. Actively listen but we're trying to problem solve it and fix it so we're like...we got it, shutup. Let's move on. Here's the thing. And in reality we're shooting ourselves in the foot with that. Would you say that that's accurate?
Julie Nise: I think that that's not only accurate but extremely common. Even my own husband who, you know, by now should know all this stuff like the back of his hand, still I talk sometimes and he's trying to fix it and i'm saying no no no this is one of those just listen to it times. So two things to just accept. Number one, realize that it does not mean your boyfriend or husband doesn't love you if he doesn't want to listen to every last detail. Number two, guys, here is a very big, big clue for you. It really could be said that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach. But the way to a woman's heart or as the guy's are more interested in, to the bedroom, is actually through her ears. You will be alot better served by doing more listening than less, because women in general will view that as a corollary to how much you actually care about them, which of course isn't true. And I get that. But it will seem that you care more the more you listen. The more you seem to care, the more she might be predisposed to be nicer later. That's really a truism. However, the point is, men really need to step up, listen as much as they can. Women need to relax. Talk to their girlfriends more if necessary and understand that from the male brain, anytime women are talking about things, it pretty much is filtered through the "do I need to fix this?" Is there somebody I need to kill?
Robert Harrison: exactly
Julie Nise: some dragon I need to slay? I mean what do I need to do here? That's their natural default position and it's wonderful. It's wonderful that men are like that. But alot of times women don't see it from that perspective, you know, communication really has alot more to do about understanding the other one's position, than agreeing with it.
Robert Harrison: you know Ken Wilbur in his Sexuality and Spirituality. He said that you know when men first even meet a person, the internal deepest deepest instinct is F it or kill it...
Julie Nise: absolutely correct.
Robert Harrison: the first distinction we make. I think that one of the coolest things, Julie, that us guys can take out of what your kind of affirming here, what your telling us, is that like, men like you know what? Learn how to be an active listener and guess what? You don't have to fix everything, every problem that she ever complains about.
Julie Nise: right
Robert Harrison: which there's really no end to anyway. We don't have to fix it all. Alls we got to do sometimes is sit there and nod and listen and, you know, and feed back some of the information that is, that in and of itself is the solution from a guys point of view.
Julie Nise: that's correct and there again both sides can be benefitted by the "what is the outcome that you want to have" approach. If men want to make their women happy which of course is the number one thing on their mind ultimately is it going to make her more happy to just, you know, tell you a lot more detail than what you want to hear and then be done with it or is it going to make you happier to jump in on something that she doesn't need or want your particular help with on that particular subject and then get her annoyed. You know, you've got to look at it like from what's your outcome. Do what will get the outcome that you want and then again notice that both sides have to come off their default positions just a little bit and understand the other party in order to get the best result. Communication problems in relationships, Robert, happen alot when both men and women tend to stick to their default positions. And as I've said and I'll say it again because it's so true. Good communication is a whole lot more about understanding the other side. Agreement is not necessarily required.
Robert Harrison: ya. You know at NLP there's a saying that a map is not the territory and the meaning of your communication is the response that you get and it seems like one of the things we see in coaching all the time is that, you know, like either the man or the woman will try to love their mate in a way that would work for them without realizing that that may not be the way that works for the other person. For example, you know, us guys, we love to be touched, right? We love to be touched. You know, you touch us down the chest, you touch us down the sternum and we calm down. So we naturally, I think, try to do that with, you know, our wives or our girlfriends and of course, it doesn't work for them the same way quite often.
Julie Nise: That's exactly right. That's exactly right. Well and depending on if your bringing up the whole kinestetic visual or auditory way of communicating, everybody uses all of them to some extent typically but you have primary ones in love relationships as you well know. For an example, if you do have, just any couple, it doesn't even have to be the guy or the girl, it doesn't even matter, but one of them is kinesthetic or more, more responsive to touch and feeling and so forth and the other one like say might be visual, well if the visual partner kind of wants to make nice to the other one, that partner, let's say its the wife is going to be doing things. She's going to be tasks, she's going to be maybe leaving him little notes, she's going to be, maybe cleaning up the house, fixing dinner, whatever it is because this is the way in which she shows love. So she's demonstrating that to him. The problem is let's say in this case, the guy's you've noticed is more kinesthetic. Well, he's going to be sitting on the couch watching her running around doing all this stuff going, she's not paying attention to me at all. She's just running around. All I want her to do is sit down and hold hands and snuggle. So it really becomes kind of a conundrum because of course on the flip side, if the guys the one, the kinesthetic guys the one that wants to make things better with his wife and he goes to give her a big old hug which is the way he shows love and affection in his world view, she's visual, she's like get off me, why don't you take out the trash? you know, wash my car, do something.
Robert Harrison: exactly
Julie Nise: So it can be very very confusing. But again, you know, I keep coming back to this same theme, Robert, it's so important. You do not have to agree with your partner alot. You really don't. There's a shocking amount of stuff you don't have to agree on but you absolutely do need to understand it.
Robert Harrison: ahhh
Julie Nise: And that would be another example.
Robert Harrison: excellent. well, what we need to do right now is take a quick break for our sponsers. This is Robert Harrison of Coaching with the Lifecoach. We are blessed today with having the wonderful radiant presence of Julie Nise on the phone with us and we'll be right back.
Robert Harrison: Hey everyone. This is Robert Harrison with Coaching with the Life Coach. We're back with Julie Nise. We are talking about RelationshipAnswer.com. We're also talking about the differences between men and women and essentially some really practical tips and tools and tricks about how you can have a better relationship with your significant other. Now Julie, there's something that, you know, we were talking about communication. We're about to get into money. We're about to get into, what was the third one?
Julie Nise: Parenting.
Robert Harrison: Parenting. That's right. And I should know that one. I have an infant so...that's probably why I have the block. We kind of glossed over something there and I think you and I have talked about it before. I just think it's so vitally useful. Maybe just more so for men but...cuz we like, you know, like in my mind the perfect relationship book would be like this. It'd be about a 300 page book of everything a woman needs to know about how to keep a man happy. And then at the very back would be like a little one page cheat sheet for the man. Because realistically thats what we would actually read.
Julie Nise: exactly
Robert Harrison: weird right. So but you mentioned the one thing that a man really wants from a man more than anything else and of course, you and I have talked about before on the opposite side what a woman really wants from a man. Can you just briefly go over those before we move on to the money and parenting?
Julie Nise: I'd be happy to because boy is it so important and I'm so glad you asked, Robert. I am, this is a true story, I am absolutely shocked everyday. I have couples in my office and you know, these are couples, these are folks who, you know, knew each other for a couple of years when they were dating. Now their married 10, 12, 15 years. They have a couple or three kids, Whatever it might be. They have lived their lives intimately with each other for a very very long time. And when I first started asking these questions, and was getting the answers I got, I was, I mean you could literally, you could have picked me up off the floor like a feather. So the question is this. As I ask each side...to the men. What is the most important thing to your life? Actually interestingly, men tend to get it right or get closer to the right answer more often than women. They will usually say something like, you know, being affectionate or helping around the house, things like that. And that's pretty close. Then I ask the women and do you know almost to a person, I'm trying to think if I've ever, maybe once or twice, it's been extremely rare does the woman actually get the answer right. To her question which is What is the most important thing bar none to your husband? So, most important thing to men, we already spilled the beans on, is to make their women happy. That is the thing that drives them 100% of the time unless they are a very very immature male. Just kind of a little boy type person. And that kind of a guy's going to be so self-centered and so immature, he just doesn't get it that that's how things work so that's not the kind of guy that I'm talking about but I'm sure all of our listeners that are guys are men so this should apply to them. Now, as far as what the women want. That's very simple in essence. It is emotional connection. What gets a little bit more complicated because women are way more complicated than guys sadly. But what women are really looking for is that emotional connection and what that means could be so many things depending on the woman. But she will have a list guys. So you could actually ask her. She will have a list. What kinds of things mean the most to her to form an emotional connection? Well, there we go with the talking thing again. Probably listening to her would be high on the list. But it's also things like, you know, giving her nonsexual affection sometimes. Doing probably a little bit more around the house. You know that old joke about if a guy wants to get lucky on Saturday night, he needs to back it up to Tuesday. And Tuesday he takes out the trash without being asked and Wednesday he sweeps the carpets, Thursday he washes the car, you know, things like that. That typically will softens the woman's heart. And so again, based on the outcome, if the outcome is you want to have a very intimate relationship, then you need to do the things that create that.
Robert Harrison: Now would you say, Julie, that you just described the primary difference though that the majority of women are either going to sort by auditory or visual and that the majority of men are going to kinesthetic because of the activities you just described you know, cleaning the car, vacuuming the house to me would be visual. Whereas, clearly to me would be clearly auditory.
Julie Nise: exactly. Now it isn't that we don't non...remember nonsexual touching was in there too so it isn't that we don't like kinesthetic stuff. But that tends to get a little bit convoluted because out of desperation of not really knowing what else to do, men tend to be a little pushy in the sex department sometimes, some women say. And that kind of turns them off any physical touching which is unfortunate. But that's a negotiation, you know, like anything else. Marriage is just a very very long series of negotiations.
Robert Harrison: Now why...let me ask you a question now seriously because I mean I get it because it makes sense but why...why nonsexual touching versus, you know, what I would call the massage plus or touching plus? Why nonsexual...
Julie Nise: Well that's cute. We have touching then we have touching plus and then we have advanced, touching advanced ok.
Robert Harrison: exactly. Well that's on the anniversary.
Julie Nise: ya exactly. and the birthday. Alright so why do women like nonsexual touching? Well, the problem is, really, you know, I just think it's a matter of how women are socialized versus how men are socialized. It's very difficult for men to separate physical touching from being sexually aroused. I mean it certainly can be done and you know lots of guys that I know like the basic backrub and it doesn't have to lead to anything. But I think it's very difficult for men to separate touching from sex or being arroused. I think women are alot easier to make that separation.
Robert Harrison: yes
Julie Nise: I think its just a natural difference between the two. Women are also, we should note, very, usually more involved with nonsexual touching like with kids. You know, women very naturally do backrubs and physical affection and kisses and hugs and things like that with children. And I don't know, I don't know if anybody's done a study about it but I'm kind of thinking off the top of my head that maybe we would like, in general, we would like some of that kind of comforting ourselves without the sexual components.
Robert Harrison: Ah! Ok so to wrap up with this little segment here, how like, and again I need to keep this caveman simple for my male listeners. Caveman simple is what we're going for here ok? Like, how does a guy...
Julie Nise: Actually let me stop you. Let me make it...let's be, actually accurate about this. Let's be incredibly simple here for the women. Because it's the women who don't really get the beautiful, elegant simplicity on men. I think. Men are very very very easy to understand. They are beautifully elegantly explicitely simple and that's not in any way a slam. That's an admiration and a respect. I think the problem is that women don't really get that. And they...that's why they...really, who would you rather be? If you were going to have to figure out somebody wouldn't you rather figure out somebody that's really very simple and very easy straight forward and by simple I do mean straight forward. So would you rather have something that was terribly convoluted and difficult and complex? Women have it so easy. Ok, so that's my little soapbox sorry.
Robert Harrison: Ok so but for the guys saying ok Julie, that's great but my wife won't listen to this interview or you know my wife doesn't get that and all I know is that I want to please her and you know every time I try to do something to please her I you know, I get the door slammed in my face and I'm in the doghouse and I don't know why so to make it caveman simple for the guys that want to spice up their relationship starting tonight, go home, how will they know if they're actually getting that emotional connection with thier wives that their wives want or their girlfriends want. How will they, I mean what will they see or hear specifically that'll go ding ding ya ok wow i'm doing this right ok it's working.
Julie Nise: Well I think basically that the quality of the connection that they're going to observe is going to be the clue to whether or not they're making headway into getting through. You know when anyone is interested in what you're saying or doing they will show thoughts. You know, you're going to have alot of head nods, you're going to have eye contact, you're going to have alot of you know body language back and forth. Remember 93% of communication is nonverbal.
Robert Harrison: Ya
Julie Nise: So I think if the guys were just opening up their awareness a little bit, they would be able to relatively quickly see. Noticing like the look on her face, the tone of her voice, the word choice, the how she's positioned her body, whether she's close to you or far away from you. Whether she's got an opened posture or closed posture. All those things should be evident if he's just looking but you know this isn't just a one way street. I mean I appreciate that guys just want to rush home and do something wonderful but you know, their partners have to be involved in this too. So guys, if you're looking to make some points or do things a little bit better, what I would advice first is just do a little bit more active listening. And for those who are not certain about active listening that's just alot of "mmmhmm" "oh really?" "no kidding!" and then like "oh my gosh!" "uhhuh, really" "got it" "that's interesting" those kinds of things.
Robert Harrison: ok then, so and this is kind of like a David data way of explaining something this but for the guys, when you're doing the active listening, watch the ladies and Julie, coach them on this if I'm getting this wrong but watch the ladies and if they are smiling, if they are softening and opening, I know Richard Bairley used to talk about soft eyes, in other words the muscles around the eyes relaxed. But if their bodies relaxed, they're opening and literally you feel that connection with them then that's a good sign that you're getting a good connection with them. And I heard a really good metaphor about this recently, Julie about if you have two pianos on the other side of the room, they talk about, you know, kind of developing that harmony between a man and a woman. If you strike a chord on one piano it will actually resonate the exact same chord or note on the other piano.
Julie Nise: yes it will.
Robert Harrison: Actually play that note on the other piano, which means guys if we are like internally tight and anxious and pist off or just impatient and that is the note we're playing internally when we are trying to connect with our female counterpart, you know, guess what? They're going to pick up on that. So, like, classic example of this is the guy that lathers himself up in too much cologne and guys I've been there, I've done this. And goes out on Saturday night that he is determined to divide and conquer. You know, and like, suddenly wonders why you know, he's repelling everyone in the room like he's wearing, you know, mosquito repellent or something. It's not working and it's because that intensity and that anxiety. They feel that. Women feel that and Julie, wouldn't you say its true that this is and this has horrified me in my own personal relationship. My wife literally is as astute as I'd like to think I am. She will feel stuff in my so many times before I even realize I'm feeling it. Because that's how much women can feel the emotional state of a man. Would you say that's accurate?
Julie Nise: I would. In general even I really would. I think that the energy that will ever, of course both men and women pick up on each others energy but I think that women tend to do that a little bit better only because I think we are hardwired to be a little more noticing to finetuning and fine detail of nonverbal communication.
Robert Harrison: yah.
Julie Nise: Like I said before but, the point is that I really do think that it is important to consider the needs. This is one thing I tell people, if I had only one sentence to give you to make your marriage better or your relationship better, it would be this. At every opportunity, consider the needs, feelings, thoughts and emotional safety of your partner first before your own. Now that is a little piece of gold actually. And for your listeners I kid you not, that one piece, if you just walked around your relationship with that as your filter. In other words, everything you say and everything you do is through that little sentence, you would be shocked at how much more you can accomplish and how much happier you would be. Now of course, again it is a two way street and that assumes that both people are doing that or otherwise it can be somewhat usery. But that is something that can kind of set the tone so that the exchange of energy that happens later on as you're going through things becomes much more cooperative. Who does not like or enjoy or appreciate somebody looking out for what they want and need? I mean what human being on earth doesn't like that? So in a way this relationship stuff kind of is a no brainer if you think about it. Because I don't really believe that relationships are that complicated frankly. And that's why I think the whole coaching aspect, you know, in my opinion, you should not need to be in therapy for years and years and years or even months and months and months to fix the relationship. I just don't see it that way at all. I think the basic concept of relationships are very simple and straight forward. All of mine refer to what kind of outcome you want to produce and some of it's just so darn easy but you know we get busy. We get in our habits and our routines and we lose sight of what made it special in the beginning. I can guarentee you that any relationship you're thinking of, including the one you're in was a whole lot more appreciation based, respect based, fun based and OTHER centered in the beginning. That's true of almost everybody.
Robert Harrison: yah.
Julie Nise: And guess what? That was as most people recollect that was the most fun time. So then you get married, then you have kids and jobs and mortgages and life and all that. Well, it doesn't change the fact that if the quality of the relationship is something that's very important to you, you've got to continue to do what works. You know, I'm not all that smart, let's just do what works, you know?
Robert Harrison: yah.
Julie Nise: And what worked was being very in tune to the other one. Being very appreciative and being very generous.
Robert Harrison: yah and having that right that appropriate valve between the male and female energy and I'll tell you I've seen so many couples that come in for coaching and they look alike, they dress alike and they basically reduce their relationship down to sibling rivalry and they've forgotten all the things they did in the beginning of the relationship that actually worked and created that nice sexual tension and dynamic and fun, God forbid and...
Julie Nise: yes. yes. Well it is...you're right. It's not supposed to be a rivalry, it's suppose to be a romance. And there are different things that, you know, different things that make a romance work than make a friendship work. They're not the same. They're completely different. They have some similarities but they are not exactly the same. And the more you get into a friendship thing, you lose that tension that you spoke of and that's critical.
Robert Harrison: yah and hopefully no one out there wants to date their brother or their sister so with that said, perfect segway because I want to briefly talk about the money and the parenting when we get back. But we need to run and take another break. This is Robert Harrison with Coaching with the Life Coach. We are on the phone with the glorious Julie Nise of RelationshipAnswer.com. We are talking about how to improve your relationship and we will be right back.
Robert Harrison: Alright everyone. This is Robert Harrison of Coaching with the Life Coach. Today we are talking about relationships, communication, money, parenting and all about relationships with relationship expert and coach of RelationshipAnswer.com, Julie Nise. Julie has been on Dr. Phil several times and done cleanup work for him and Julie? Now that we're kind of back, let's move right into money. You said money is one of the biggest issues that couples come into your office with on a regular basis and tell us kind of about that and what that is and what we can do about that.
Julie Nise: Sure. Be happy to. Well, of course its dealing with money is alot about dealing with communication issues that we've already discussed so if you understand the framework that people come in with where they're not communicating well, they're not understand the different positions. They've got themselves over things like money and parenting, it seems to be real easy to get themselves backed into a corner. And they take a position like "we should do this" "we ought to do that" "we have to do something else" with money, or "we shouldn't do this" or "we shouldn't do that" and they stay firm in that position without really understanding even some real basic points about what the other person either needs or wants. You know it's very common, Robert, that in a relationship kind of one tends to be more of a spender and one tends to be more of a saver. Course, there are exceptions to that but that's pretty consistant. And that's fine because there's really nothing in a relationship that ends up being the same way all down the line you know from the food choices to music choices to movie choices to housing choices, color choices. These are all negotiations and money is no different. It's just that money has more importance than what color you paint the living room wall. And so it tends to get a lot more press. But essentially, it is, that the money problems are and they I think are number two in the thing that causes most divorce so this is serious. But I think the thing with money is again the failure to understand the other persons point of view and successfully negotiate thru it. If you don't understand the other persons point of view you're trapped in a never ending defense of your position. And the more you defend, the more the other person shuts down, and the more they shut down, the more you try to defend and it just gets to be a vicious circle. But, you know, money issues again, I believe, are very very simple, basically. If you have, and by the way, the money problems are not necessarily how much you earn or bring in. The money conflict tends to be over what people spend and how they spend it. No matter what the income. I have literally had millionaires in my office arguing about money. So again you...
Robert Harrison: How about multi-millionaires? No I'm just kidding.
Julie Nise: Yes multi-millionaires too! Which is pretty hysterical. Literally, they drive up in Mercedes and XI and you know, sit and complain about, you know, money stuff and I'm like whew ok. So...but it's the same, it really is, the point is, it really doesn't matter whether you have millions of dollars of an income or you have $30,000 a year of income. It's not necessarily about how much you bring in but how much you spend.
Robert Harrison: So what do you recommend for couples then that are caught up in that. Let's say one is more, you know, one is clearly the spender, the other the saver. How do you coach them to achieve some sort of harmony there so that they're not, you know, constantly at each other's throats with it?
Julie Nise: Well, sounding like a broken record, it all starts and ends with understanding the other person's position because I can guarentee you they don't. Secondly, we've got to have a little maturity in this, you know, maturity being the ability to manage and resolve frustrated desire on your own, alone. You really need to take a look at what's the solution. You know, the other thing that happens in therapy alot and I see alot of couples trapped in this is that they get so focused on the problems that they never really spend any time in counseling hearing out what a solution might be. I don't care about the arguing. I don't care about what's happened in the past. I don't care about who's position is what. My role is to help people figure out what the solution that would work best considering both sides. And that's really how coaching I think successfully deviates from therapy. But to answer your question. What you want to do is first of all is find out really what it is the other person really needs and wants. Then kind of prioritize it. What's most important in that list. Next take a look at what you actually do bring in and let's be realistic about what you can really do with that. And then create a plan together, mutually defined, mutually owned that accomplishes the objective that you want to, that you set out to accomplish. So if that's saving some, buying a new couch, going on a trip, whatever it might be. Because you can accomplish it all.
Robert Harrison: Let's say that one of the partners comes from like, you know, let's say they clearly have an issue from the past like some abject poverty where you know, they were on food stamps or whatever and so, you know, it seems that they're, that essentially they're position is, not to invalidate but is like slightly or massively irrational and...
Julie Nise: Well, because he's irrational is just colored by things that happened in the past. Ok well let's take that example because there, you know, people do come in like that. Ok, so the first thing is the other partner would have to understand that this is a true and geniune issue for this partner and you don't just dismiss it. What would probably have to happen in that event is I promise you, there is a number, there is some dollar amount that the highly anxious about money person has or could develop in their minds that would satisfy them. In other words, what is the number, what is the amount of money it would take to have in savings or have in a CD or have in the mattress or whatever it may be that would reduce your anxiety. That's the very first question that I would ask. I'm not going to debate whether or not it's reasonable or not to have that because in time it's really not going to matter alot. But I would also ask the person that's very anxious about money consider that they may be bringing in a whole lot of garbage from the past that really doesn't belong in the present situation. But it still could be accommodated somehow if both people are willing to work on it. So, if you have a partner that had a really tough upbringing and has issues with money then, you know, my first objective is let me get to whatever number it is, let me find out what the number is. How much do you need to have in the bank before you can relax? And just calm down. And that would be a very high priority as a partner of that person.
Robert Harrison: Cool. Cool. So what other quick tips before we move on to parenting would you say are like, you know, germaine for the average couple out there in terms of how to keep the finances from becoming an issue like in terms of like practical stuff that we can do?
Julie Nise: Sure. Well one of the best proactive things that people can do Robert is and I'm shocked that more people don't is to create some kind of literally like a financial plan. And I don't mean like a list of light bills, car payments, and mortgage. I mean beyond that. People will spend every single year. You're going to spend money on a whole bunch of things, like Christmas, like birthday presents, like vacations, like eating out, like going to the movies, whatever it might be and, you know, you buy clothes, you get haircuts, you buy furniture, or fix up the house. Whatever it is you're doing, but the problem is there's usually no agreement. In other words, people have not called out, ok well how much are we going to spend, how much are we willing to spend on birthday presents for everybody this year. Although you know extended family, kids, friends and everybody. How much are we going to spend on Christmas? How much do we want to spend on our vacation? How much this how much that? And to kind of categorize it, it's very basic. You know, really easy to do ways would be extremely helpful because then you both have a goal you can shoot for and there's some accountability. Because then it doesn't boil down to well I needed the couch, I felt we needed a couch. Well I think we needed more in a savings account. If you both agree, then you both keep working towards that then it's just a matter of every month when you have your income, so much goes towards this, so much goes towards that and pretty soon all the categories are getting filled and you're also not outrageously overbudget in some areas in which can cause alot of conflict. So just a basic budget is extremely helpful and most people do not do that.
Robert Harrison: Alright so Julie, so for the parents out there. Now I am, I have a beautiful 9 week year old boy at home and I can definately say that his presence in our life has radically changed our lives and so I'm already seeing alot of strategies that we're using to maintain kind of a harmony of the relationship just have to by proxy adjust. What can you tell me about parenting? What are some of the like most common issues that come up for parents in your coaching process and you know, what are some recommendations of what we can do about that?
Julie Nise: Sure. Well one of the real common things that happens in the coaching end of parenting topics is...and a failure to agree. It is very important that you as parents agree on what it is you're going to do in front of the children. Now, independently you may not completely agree but you have to have a couple, you know, a parental unit agreement for things like bedtimes and grades and cleaning up and chores and all that kind of stuff. When you don't, there tends to be a whole lot of division and typically what I see is the mother takes over the discipline and gets to really make the call on who does what. And when the dad has, you know, another opinion or wants to act spontaneously in some way, there's alot of undermining that can happen. Now, this, of course, can go both ways. But, you know, in front of the kids you should be in lock step agreement and to do that again. Some real simple ideas. Creating some household rules. There's a little form I use that has, you know, whatever the household rules need to be, you know, bedtimes are, chores are, you know don't hit your sister, you know things like that, whatever it is, whatever behaviors you're trying to get under control. And then a list on that same sheet of consequences. If you fail to live up to the house rules, here are your consequences. And they can be anything from early bedtimes to removal of priviledges or removal of electronics, extra chores, you know, my favorite is nose on the wall. But you know, things that kids will really not like and by the way, for those of you out there wondering what would be the most effective thing for your child in terms of the punishment, the answer to that is very simple, it's whatever they hate the most and that'll be different for each kid. But if you can present yourselves as a unified front in a very, you know, understandable, direct, straight forward set of assumptions and rules that everybody understands and everybody gets then it becomes alot simpler. And recognize too parents that one of the most damaging things you can do is not agree in front of the kids. That's really, really bad. And it also sets up a really bad dynamic so that the children, and its by the way, most often the father that is not paid attention to, unfortunately. You know, women have the idea alot of times that alot of times their men are too harsh or too hard on the kids. Well there's a purpose for that and I'm not talking about physically abusing them or anything like that but men are going to take a harder approach to most things than women do. They're supposed to. That's natural. And particularly with male children, men need to take a very very very active role actually about after age 7. So with your son, Robert, you are definately going to have to sort of take over, so to speak, in the majority of the parenting for your son because women cannot raise a boy to be a man.
Robert Harrison: ya you know it's funny because when you said the whole thing about the woman being the disciplinarian, I would have thought, definately in the way I was raised was the exact opposite. It was, you know, dad's job is, he is, almost like, if you have to have a division, you know, good cop, bad cop, dad is the disciplinarian. He is the one, you know, that you don't want to have to have mom go to dad.
Julie Nise: But that's the whole point...
Robert Harrison: ...the unified...
Julie Nise: Who sets the rules up usually it's the mom. The dad might impliment it but usually its the mom that actually decides, you know, how, what the punishment is and how bad it's going to be and then alot of times will allow the dad to give the punishment but I think the woman's in the point of, usually in the point of control. This is especially different in the step families. Typically in step families, whoever the biological child is that parent, gets to by default control most of the discipline and often the step parent is severely undermined and that's a huge problem in blended families.
Robert Harrison: ya it seems to me that the whole concept of the unified front, whatever the rules of the house may be, whatever the discipline may be, that the mother and the father figure being unified, being like the Rock of Gibraltar, solid with one another is of paramount importance and, you know, Julie, I don't know if this is something you'd agree on but it seems to me that alot of kind of like the social problems that a person tends to develop, lack of respect for authority and things like that later on in life come from that repeated pattern of undermining of you know, caregivers and things like that at a very early age. Would you agree?
Julie Nise: That's right, well, absolutely. Whoever is being undermined, the children are going to grow up with this notion that that sex should not be as respected or is not as powerful and you know, in a parenting situation there should be no top dog. That should be totally a mutually powerful and mutually controlled situation.
Robert Harrison: That's right. Excellent. Ok so, final thoughts on parenting and then we need to wrap up the show and try this stuff.
Julie Nise: Oh absolutely. Well, here's the thing. Again, just some simple straight forward easy things to do. Number one have some very very indepth, honest, open communication with your partner about what it is you, what the goal that you want. Do you well disciplined, well mannered children who get good grades and do their homework without being asked and their chores and all that or do you want to run around in chaos. Decide what it is that you want and then set up a plan to make that happen. That can be easily done with a real simple little house rules type of chart. Stick it up on the refrigerator that way everybody knows what's expected and then be absolutely consistent in the consistency for failure to comply with the rules. You know, I never see, Robert, anybody in my practice that has too much discipline. Only people and children who do not have enough.
Robert Harrison: Ahh. Interesting. Ok good.
Julie Nise: So that would be my comment on the parenting and just, you know, remember that you've got your job is to work yourself out of a job and put your kids out there at 18 capable, happy, responsible, mature and ready to roll.
Robert Harrison: Right on. Right on. Well, Julie, this has been like I, and I honestly think listeners this is one of those interviews that you should download, put on your ipod and you know, share it with everyone you know. Listen to it again and again because, this stuff that Julie's speaking of is, right, I mean it's just absolutely right on and you know, Julie, I had the pleasure of meeting you and meeting your husband, Jim, wonderful guy, you guys have such a beautiful relationship with one another so I see you like really walking and talking this stuff and I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time out, you know. For those of you who don't know, Julie just survived the hurricane in Houston. This interview was actually supposed to be last week and they were busy boarding up the windows when I called.
Julie Nise: My husband was doing a great job, I must say.
Robert Harrison: Exactly and so you know, he probably had a good weekend afterwards you know, because thats like even better than vacuuming the floor right? Right, if your boarding up the house.
Julie Nise: Exactly oh ya he got big points for boarding up the windows I'm telling you what. Big points.
Robert Harrison: For this stuff, I mean, relationships are one of those things it's like air, you can't live without it and it's everywhere so, you know, I hope everyone really, you know, I think the response to this show's going to be awesome so people please blog about this if you, you know, if you are looking for coaching on a particular subject, you might get to be a guest on the show so log on to PersonalLifeMedia.com go to the blog. You can send an email to Robert@personallifemedia.com if you would like to be on the show and get some coaching. If you want to, maybe you're a coach yourself, you want to be on the show as a host, you know, send us an email. Drop us a line and Julie thank you so much for taking time out of your day. I will definately be posting up on the blog when RelationshipAnswer.com goes live. So those of you, log in and save it in your bookmarks, check it out because I just know that Julie has a lot of really great stuff to share and I think there might be a book in the works and some other things so. Keep an eye on her folks. I think that this is going to be one of our soaring eagles here in the next couple years so....well thank you, Julie.
Julie Nise: Thank you so much Robert. It's been an absolute pleasure and a delight and to all of your listeners I wish you great relationships and good luck with the things that you try and hopefully you will and I really enjoyed it thoroughly so thanks so much for having me on.
Robert Harrison: Awesome. Alright everyone. This has been Robert Harrison with Coaching by the Life Coach and we encourage you to log on, download, share with your friends at personallifemedia.com. Stay tuned, we've got alot more great shows coming up and talk to you soon.