GRS Gaddis | Jayson Gaddis

My guest is a relationship teacher, creator of the Relationship School, host of the Smart Couple Podcast, and author of Getting to Zero, Jayson Gaddis. We talk all about ways to “do it better”. Relationships are unique and personal, and there are so many ways to “do relationships”. We talk about things that all couples can apply in their unique language to ask for what they need or want, resolve or avoid conflict, and spend more time loving and less time being combative.

There is no, one, right, way, but Jayson sheds light on helpful ideas and techniques for you to bring into your own methodology.

Why are we all suffering? Do we have to?

There are things we can practice and implement to navigate the hard times.

Listen to the episode here:

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Key Topics:

Jayson Gaddis – The Relationships Teacher

My guest is Jayson Gaddis. To put it simply, Jason is a relationship teacher. He’s even founded a podcast called The Smart Couple Podcast. His book is called Getting to Zero. Here you have somebody who cares immensely about working it out. You get the impression from Jayson that he’s shy. He doesn’t come across. He’s got it all figured out. It feels like it’s important.

For all of us, it’s the one class that none of us learned in school, how to be in a relationship. There are a million right ways to do it. It’s an incredibly personal quest. However, it is wonderful to get input, inspiration, and real tools to take away on how to do it better, maybe avoid conflict or pain or inflicting pain on your partner, and opportunities to make it easier any chance you get. I hope you enjoy it.

You talked about getting into your first fight in sixth grade. Everybody has trauma or perceived trauma. Tell me what got you to the place where you wanted to have this bigger conversation.

I was this sensitive and emotional kid. Like a lot of boys, it felt like I was conditioned to be tough and hide all that stuff. As I locked my emotions and my sensitivity behind this big wall, intimate relationships with women, I became a guarded, emotionally unavailable guy that would keep you or whoever I was dating at arm’s length. I did that pattern almost for a decade, short-term relationships.

I was suffering at the end of that. I was not happy. I was depressed, drinking, and using a lot of drugs. I was like, “I can’t do this anymore. Breaking up with another good woman, I realized that I was the problem. The one common denominator here is me and I want to fix this problem.” I went to graduate school and moved from Utah to Colorado and started attacking all my issues like a beast and learned everything I could about love, intimacy, connection, and psychology. My wife eventually became a teacher of the thing that was most painful for me.

Especially for men, what’s hard is you are sensitive. Some of the most masculine men I know have this side of real sensitivity or shyness. We talk to young men and boys about, “It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to feel shy.”

To feel insecure sometimes or nervous. We’re taught to posture over all that stuff. In a way, there is more permission out there for any young person to be themselves, a lot of self-expression going on which is cool. I still feel there’s this deep, boy-code, gender conditioning thing that’s still pretty pervasive, especially in young boys sports culture.

[bctt tweet=”Everybody’s experience is 100% valid.”]

In your book, Getting to Zero, you talk a lot about teaching people in a way how to do conflict. One of the things that you talked about and maybe you could expand on it is talking about being a relationship leader.

First of all, we got to take the view. I want to take the readers down this road. The view is not a conflict is not a problem, it’s going to go on the rest of your life. It’s an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself and the person you’re with. It’s this amazing place to learn even though it’s uncomfortable for most of us, including me.

You find conflict to be uncomfortable.

When I’m in a fight or a snag with my wife, it doesn’t feel good in my body. I don’t like how that feels. I want to get to the other side sooner than later. I know better and all that. This is in the book. If you remember, it’s this view of the sacred animal. Each of us, because we’re social mammals. We have a scared animal living in us that’s hypersensitive to the tone of voice, facial expression, criticism, you name it.

If you look at me a certain way, your tone goes up or down, you walk away, or you don’t text me back, my scared animal gets activated. On a scale from 0 to 10, zero being, “We’re good. Everything’s cool here. We’re in a good place. Ten is like, “I’m triggered.” It’s our job to try to get back to a good place so that we can play, have sex, have fun, live our life, meet our other challenges.

Even interpersonal conflict in a marriage of twenty years can activate that scared animal and it feels uncomfortable, it feels bad. A lot of people experience that but it’s different. Some people experience it as numbness. Other people, it’s like they get hijacked and they’re super angry. For other people, hormones are ripping through their body and feel alive and maybe good even to fight with someone.

You have to watch out for those people.

I’m trying to help people go, “That’s going on.” It’s normal. There’s nothing wrong with you no matter how you do it. There are four ways we disconnect. We posture, collapse, seek, or avoid. Most of us orient or gravitate towards one of those things under stress with another person. It’s normal. Given that, educate yourself and your partner about that or the person you’re with and then learn how to get back to a good place so you can calm that scared animal down and be like, “It’s not life-threatening here. It’s going to be okay.” Or an unresolved or even the mildest tension with another person in your life.

Every hand goes up when I’m in events speaking. This is a human problem. It’s normal. If you want that to be different, are you willing to admit that it’s an issue and do something about it? The third step is I always say, “What is your part in the dynamic?” They finish the sentence, “My part is…” That can be hard if we have it like, “It’s the other person and I have no part,” an affair or something. It’s like, “I have a part.” What’s your part? I challenge people to own their part and that usually goes well in a relationship. It’s non-threatening and relaxing to the other person to hear someone take responsibility, “I was the jerk here. My bad.” That’s nice to hear in a world where it’s easy to blame someone else.

GRS Gaddis | Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis – The repair after the inevitable disconnection is the most important part. That’s the part where we have to sink our teeth into and learn what works to get the connection back for both of us.

Maybe we could talk a little bit about the different types of blueprints.

Conflict style is how I’m relating to it. We have posture, collapse, seek, or avoid, and that’s what we do under stress with another person. We do one of those four things. Some of us do a couple. We usually don’t do all four at the same time. It’s too complicated. It’s chaos. Most of us gravitate and orient toward one or the other. Seek and avoid is the most common pattern. It does come from our attachment with our primary caregiver.

In other words, under stress as a little kid, if I got my feelings hurt and mom turned her back on me and went away, that created anxiety in me because I felt scared that I was going to lose my mom. I would be more of a seeker. Whereas someone who avoids conflict is like, “Things went down to my house. It was pretty bad. No one dealt with it. Everybody went to their room. No one repaired it. It somehow got better if we all went to our room and shut up.” That person learned to self-regulate or auto-regulate, getting on their TV, studying, going to books, going outside, doing something else, changing the channel. That person is more of an avoider.

Under stress, it’s like, “I’m going to back away slowly and get out of here.” Those are the primary two styles. Those are an attachment style, anxious ambivalent, and anxious-avoidant. There’s this posture or collapse thing, which stems off of those. The posture person is more of a porcupine. They get big, blamey, aggressive, intense energy, and that can be scary for the other person.

The collapse is more like a hermit crab and is like, “I’m going to hunker down, shut down, go into my shell, and not say a word because if I do, it’s going to get worse.” Also, they go offline. It’s hard for them to think and even talk. Most people identify with one of these styles. It’s useful to educate each other so that when you’re in conflict, you can be like, “You going away is what you do in your nervous system. You don’t want to leave me. You’re not going to leave me. I could make that up. This is what you do when you’re stressed.”

When we partner with someone, especially if we’re talking about intimate relationships, we look similar, “We’re similar. You’re amazing because you’re like me.” We fall in love with ourselves in a way. Over time, we start to polarize and we realize, “This person is different from me. They’re annoying and I don’t like them anymore.” We polarize in our opposites. You seek, I avoid. To me, that is perfect because it’s this amazing growth opportunity to not only learn about each other but heal what hasn’t been healed from your past. The relationship becomes this amazing path to transformation, growth, and healing.

As a parent, personally, how are you making adjustments as you go? You have a boy and a girl. I’m sure they’re different.

I’m going to have to talk about attachment briefly. It’s this constant dance between, “Are you okay? Are we okay?” There’s this amazing experiment that your readers can google called The Still Face Experiment. It’s cool. The researchers placed this mom and child and they videotaped this. They had the mom go still in her face, do a flat-out kind of thing. They’re in this nice play and the mom goes flat and the baby starts reaching for mom and starts wiggling and getting upset.

They have the mom look away, look to the side, or whatever, and the baby gets even more upset. The baby is saying, “Where are you? You’re not with me.” What all babies are saying is, “Are you with me? Are we okay?” When those connections happen a lot, the baby gets the message, “I’m okay. It’s trustworthy here.” If mom comes back and then the researchers had mom turn back and repair the mismatch or the disconnection, the baby was fine and snapped out of it. It’s upset, in seconds, it was okay again. Their amazing and playful connection resumed.

[bctt tweet=”We’re going to react the way we react. “]

Ed Tronick, who did The Still Face Experiment, said that those happen hundreds of times throughout the day. Especially as an infant, “Mom’s too busy. She’s looking at her phone.” Dad is holding the baby and then gets distracted and disconnected and doesn’t repair the insult. He raised his voice and the baby started crying. Dad forgets. It doesn’t repair well.

The secure attachment gets built through the process of disconnection and reconnection. It’s not about being a perfect parent. It’s not about getting it right all the time. It’s about, can the parent come back and attune to the dial and tune into the child and what it needs? Now we’re okay. Five minutes later or five hours later, there’s a disconnection, the parent has to come back. In a parent-child relationship, it’s the parent’s job to make sure that everything’s okay. In an adult partnership, it’s both people’s jobs to make sure that it’s okay because it’s mutual power dynamics.

What’s cool about learning this stuff is that is a secure attachment. Secure attachment is not about perfection. It’s not about you’re always there holding your kid. That’s not good. That would be an insecure attachment. That goes on here in Boulder a lot, by the way. I’m talking about attunement, disconnection, reconnection. What I’m trying to say in the book is that the repair after the inevitable disconnection is the most important part. That’s the part where we have to sink our teeth into and learn what works to get the connection back for both of us. Over time, enough times, secure attachment. We have a secure, badass, strong partnership.

You probably experienced it already as a parent and also as a partner where when you do keep at it in earnest and not in perfection, everyone cuts everybody a little more slack and also makes it easier. They look at you and they’re like, “There you are showing up and trying.” Kids will be pretty gracious to you.

Mom can own her stuff. Mom is willing to take responsibility. That’s enormous.

I want to remind parents that blowing it and then getting the opportunity to learn. Usually, things go down and then you go, “I can get new tools.” You also talk about that if we avoid these conflicts that do make us uncomfortable for the most part, the price on that side is high.

Reflect on the bad conflict you had that didn’t go well. My guess is you lost sleep, you had trouble eating well, you went to your habits and addictions, you tried to compartmentalize it. It created a little bit of tension and havoc in your life. Have you been able to find a way back to zero, back to a good place, my guess is you would have felt freer, more alive, and you could have focused your attention and energy on the things that matter most to you. The price tag on our health and our bodies is high. It’s this thing called allostatic load that is essentially a slow cortisol drip in our body that isn’t good for us long term.

That triangle of the victim, the villain, and the rescuer, maybe we can dive into that.

GRS Gaddis | Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis – It’s not about being a perfect parent. It’s not about getting it right all the time. It’s about, can the parent come back and attune to the dial.

Some people call it the trauma triangle. I call it the victim triangle. When we get hurt in a conflict or some issue with another person, most of us fall right into the victim position. That’s what we do and that’s normal. It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. A lot of us stay there for life. The smart ones of us find a way to not stay stuck in that position anymore.

What we do when we’re hurt is we look for someone to blame, that’s the villain, and then we look for a rescuer, someone to take our side. This is common in family dynamics, the family of origin, parents, or with your kids. You’re going to fight with this daughter of yours and you go to Laird and vent and you want Laird to take your side if you’re normal at that moment if you’re hurt.

In our bigger selves, we have this capacity to hold a non-triangle triangulation perspective, “I’m upset about this. What do you think my part is? How can I repair this with our daughter because I feel pretty bad about it?” That’s more of a mature non-triangulation stance. We can use the rescuer therapist to coach or a partner to help us see what we’re not seeing to help us get out of our victim seat. A lot of us, if we’re hurt, want someone to take our side and blame the villain. This becomes entrenched, especially in families when families can’t work this out.

In the book, I’m trying to say that by being a relational leader and taking responsibility, you can turn that triangle upside down so it’s right side up. That turns into an A. The V triangle is like an upside-down triangle for victim. We turn it upside down, A, for author. It’s like you’re on this mountain top and you can see better and you get out of the triangle and you’ve learned. The villains become challengers and the rescuers become supporters. You need challenge and support in your life to grow as a person.

Flipping it as you did and being able to see it that way. It’s that shift of perspective. With your kids, they can never be the villain. You care deeply about them and they can cause you a lot of pain, frustration, and worry. There’s something weird even energetically if we let them become the villain.

I’m with you. This is an important point. Parents who let their kids become the villain and parents who feel like the victim, you’re stuck in a dynamic where you’re asking your kid to be the adult here. You’re allowing them to hurt you in such a way that it feels a little lopsided. We do get hurt probably by our kids but we have to be the bigger person and work through that, be the adult, and navigate it.

We then go to a therapist, a coach, or someone else to work with our hurt if it’s there so we can keep showing up for our kid in a way that’s more neutral and balanced. Otherwise, that kid is going to keep seeing where they can hurt you and they’re going to put the knife there every time and turn it a little bit. That’s not a fun dynamic.

There are times where you think, “I’m cutting my losses.” Sometimes we experience where you take a few deep breaths and you go, “Our romantic partners are close friends. It means so much to us.” We’re there with an open heart so it makes us more vulnerable. You talk a lot in the book about being triggered.

I take the view that we’re going to get triggered by people, human beings, for the rest of our lives. It’s not a problem. Know yourself. Know which way you disconnect, posture, clap, seek, avoid. I find it helpful to put a number on it, 0 to 10, as a way to educate myself and my person whether it’s partner, business partner, or whoever.

[bctt tweet=”The price tag on our health and our bodies is high.”]

I’m activated. I’m like, “Five out of ten. This is pretty bad but it’s not an eight. I’m okay. We’re going to be okay.” Sometimes a scale ranking system can help people understand you and themselves better. Being triggered is normal. Another way to say that is we feel activated and it’s essentially our nervous system feeling threatened in some way. That scared animal is feeling threatened. It’s normal. How do we get that scared animal back to a good place?

Do you think there’s something to be said for being, “I’m in a twelve right now.” You’ve honored every ugly part of the whole thing and then you go, “How am I going to deal with this?”

Absolutely. Here’s the thing, a lot of people think they shouldn’t react. They get into conflict and they’re like, “I shouldn’t be reactive.” That’s going to be hard to change depending on where you came from. You can get traction on that. We’re going to react the way we react. We want to understand, “How quickly can I come back?”

When we’re that reactive, I call it moving from the front seat of our brain to the back seat of our brain. We’re incapacitated back there. We’re going to say and do stupid things when we’re way in the backseat. It’s your job and you’re going to do that. That’s the reaction because you’re scared and you’re feeling threatened so you say the mean thing or whatever. Your job is as soon as possible to get back in the front seat.

There are a number of ways we can do that. One of the things we want to understand is the empathy part, “What is the impact on the other person given that I did that scary thing or said the mean thing?” When we start to empathize and go, “That sucked that I raised my voice that loud and I scared you that much. I see that and I feel sad that you have to feel that way. Even right now looking at you, I can see that you’re trembling a bit and you’re worried that I’m going to hurt you or something.” That goes a long way.

I do that with my kids when I’ve raised my voice. I’m like, “Daddy got scary, didn’t he?” Owning that is relieving for their scared animal because I’m not defending myself. I’m saying, “I did it. It was intense. I see the impact.” There are things we can do to get back in a window of tolerance again where we’re online again and we can make sense, take responsibility, and work through the conflict.

When it first hits me, whoever it is, I lean into stuff. It’s Inside and nothing outside. I almost let myself internally go to twelve and all the things that I wish in that compulsive moment and I allow myself inside. It takes seconds. It goes back to, “Who am I trying to be?” You don’t want to do it to your kids or anyone. That takes so much time. I’m like, “I don’t want to blow stuff up.” I want to go towards a resolution but I don’t want to deny myself the irrational and true feelings.

That’s a good hack you figured out there too. In my experience, you’re never going to not judge people. You may as well judge and judge silently. In your mind, write down your judgments. Let it rip. Go to the twelve and let it rip to yourself. Here’s the caveat for me with you and your technique. If you did that every day and you kept hiding that from you, let’s pretend for a minute, that would suck for me because I feel like I wouldn’t know you. There’s a disclosure we can do later when we’re calm and let the person know, “I was off the rails in my head but I got myself back to a good place.” I wouldn’t want you to hide that from me is what I’m saying.

GRS Gaddis | Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis – You’re never going to not judge people. You may as well judge and judge silently.

In my partnership, I learned how to apologize for one because he taught me how to create a safe space like, “Sorry.” Let’s say you and I get into a disagreement and I’m 90% right. You had a couple of points in there, 10%, in that old thinking. Let’s say we have a discussion and let’s say I’m the transgressor. The great thing was when you could recognize even within that, the other person still has a valid point. You could say, “I see that point.”

There’s something interesting when you get into a conflict with a person to still keep hearing their side. Even when the obvious thing seems to have landed on there, they might say, “When you said it like this or this…” It’s like, “I could see that.” That has been something interesting because you get to a place when everybody goes, “It’s not about winning.” That’s true. There’s even another place where it’s like, “I can see their side.” When you were talking about empathy, for example, it’s like, “That makes a lot of sense.”

What I would add is everybody’s experience is 100% valid. It doesn’t mean they’re right. The way they see it through their lens and their filters is valid. I wanted to add that important point.

If you do it to your children, they get confused.

Kids start feeling seen too by you because they’re like, “I’m not wrong. Mom doesn’t think I’m wrong.”

What you said is genius. You talk about getting back to zero. You can de-escalate an entire thing with that. It’s better than winning because it’s like, “They’re confused now.”

There’s the true self and strategic self. I have a number of ways to talk about this. When you avoid a conflict, most people reading are going to set it up as two crappy choices. Choice A is, “If I say something and be my true self, it’s going to go bad and they might leave.” Choice B is, “If I don’t say anything, at least I’ll keep the relationship but I lose my relationship with myself.” It feels like two crappy choices to people. They stay stuck in the decision in a double bind.

For most people, that stuckness turns into choice B overtime where they keep avoiding. I call it B as in business as usual. They’re like, “Eh.” They betray themselves along the way. I’m advocating here for choice A, be your true self, speak up, and be willing to lose the relationship. This dynamic also got set up as kids. For example, I was a sensitive, emotional, and empathic boy. I got the message that I wasn’t welcome. I split off from my true self and created a strategy to keep love, connection, and not get rejected and abandoned. That gap between my true self and strategic self-created some suffering for me that lasted a long time until I could figure this out.

Because we value belonging more than we value our integrity, we will often betray ourselves to be in the peer group or accepted by a loved one even if the relationship isn’t great for us. We’d rather be with someone and compromise our integrity than be alone. This seems to be what I’ve noticed over time. Conflict becomes this amazing way back home because it’s this practice of being yourself over and over again. Be yourself, speak the truth, tell the truth, tell people what’s going on. To me, that’s amazing.

[bctt tweet=”The smart ones of us find a way to not stay stuck in the victim position anymore.”]

If I turn away from conflict, I’m creating, exemplifying, and exaggerating this inner conflict, which creates more suffering for me. This is the challenge of personal growth. When we start to wake up out of our patterns is we tend to notify the person we’re in partnership with or closest to us last sometimes. It’s like, “I’m doing my personal growth work over here in a bubble or whatever.” When I finally am like, “I want to be myself,” I come out swinging. If I’ve been depressed my whole life, I come out and I tell everybody how I feel.

I did this with my parents. When I first started going to therapy and personal growth, I got in this mindset where it’s my parent’s fault. I went there. I let them have it. I hurt their feelings. I did some damage to our relationship. It took me years to clean that up because I had swung to the other side, years of repression, not telling them how I feel. All of a sudden, I tell them how I feel and the gas was down and I was like, “Screw you.” It was super hard for them.

How can we do that differently? We can give people a heads up that we’re on the move, that we’re learning, we’re growing. We can try to let people know along the way, “I’m learning all this cool stuff about myself. Are you interested in hearing about it?” “No.” “Should I take that to my friends? Okay.” I’ve at least made attempts so I can refer back to that, “I tried to share with you what was happening for me.”

At a certain point, people reach this place where it’s like a threshold. It’s like, “I don’t think I can stand this relationship anymore.” Before you bail and make up your mind because you’re resentful, you got to go to the mat for this person and your relationship and say, “I’ve been unhappy. I’m finally realizing that I want this to be different. Will you fight for our relationship with me? I don’t want to end this relationship. There’s a part of me that does but I haven’t given us a chance. Will you go all-in on trying to make this better? Let’s reimagine this whole thing. Will you do that with me?”

It’s an invitation and not a threat. You’re inviting them into a new possibility. Not everybody’s going to say yes to that, “What does that look like? What does it cost? Does it involve me at all? Do I have to change?” It’s like, “Yeah, you do have to change. Our boat is leaky. We’ve been out in the ocean for years and it’s got patchy holes and I’m unsatisfied. Let’s do something different here.” We can invite people rather than threaten them.

You talked about the five most common fights and how to face them.

There are five most common types of fights that I seem to identify. We have surface fights, resentment, fights, projection fights. The surface fights probably show up the most and that’s the surface layer that some people get caught in. It’s about, “Who left the keys? Why didn’t you unload the dishwasher this way? Why are you late?” That’s surface-y but it has a lot of charge to it. Usually, it’s a deeper tributary into one of these other types of fights, “I have a resentment here that I’ve been harboring and I haven’t told you. I’m now getting aware of how intense it is for me.”

GRS Gaddis | Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis – Be yourself, speak the truth, tell the truth, tell people what’s going on.

We have a value difference where our values are starting to change as we age, “I’m starting to believe this and you’re starting to believe that,” or, “You want to do this and I want to do that.” It’s causing a rift and some fear in our connection. Security fight is more like when one person has one foot in and one foot out. With my wife, because I wasn’t committed for a long time, I had one foot in and one foot out. She was on edge more often. I was annoyed because she was on edge. I didn’t know that I had a hand in that. All I needed to do was put two feet in and then she’d relax.

It’s understanding sometimes too. If you can show up, it doesn’t have to be for a long period of time. When someone feels somebody there, it makes everything else so much easier.

To have a partner who’s two feet in and there, it’s like, “I can let down and relax.”

It doesn’t mean that the other person is making promises. They’re saying, “I’m here in this moment. By the way, if anything changes, I’ll let you know.” You talk about reconnection and things that you can do to help stay connected.

There are ten roadblocks I talked about that you don’t want to do. There are lots of things we could do to reconnect. The obvious examples are vaccines and no vaccines. That would be obvious. People who get polarized tend to get entrenched in their way of seeing it. It’s hard for them to be curious about the other person’s position.

Hopefully, in a marriage or business partnership, we’re not talking about that level of extreme difference. It’s usually more subtle things like, “I like nature and you don’t.” It’s like, “What are we going to do together in our free time?” If you want to go to Burning Man and I want to sit at home and we’re that different and we don’t have enough shared values, it can be problematic.

[bctt tweet=”You need challenge and support in your life to grow as a person.”]

The thing that couples need to focus on is what are your shared values that light you both up that you do together? That can be the glue for the relationship. If that’s small, a tiny little thing, that’s not enough glue to keep you guys together and your differences will drive you apart. We want to be different in a partnership. The differences make you stronger as long as you have some overlapping values.

Sometimes, through time, we grow. Maybe we can talk about the roadblocks and things that people can do instead of those roadblocks.

The roadblocks are things that we all do. We blame. We hope and pray it’s going to get better. We use time as a distraction. It’s like, “If I ignore this for another month, maybe it’ll disappear.” That’s time. There’s a lot we could do. Gaslighting and stonewalling, hopefully, that’s not happening in your relationship. These are all things that are human behaviors that destroy connection over time if done consistently. That’s why I call them roadblocks.

We all blame. Blame in your head quietly. If you’re going to blame, get underneath the blame and what’s driving it. In the book, I tried to unpack what you can do about each one of those. The solution, simple as it is, is to learn how to work through conflict, learn how to communicate more effectively under stress. That’s the answer.

In wrapping up, what is it that you’re working on? What is it that maybe can keep you up at night?

GRS Gaddis | Jayson Gaddis

Getting to Zero: How to Work Through Conflict in Your High-Stakes Relationships

Two things. When my wife and I are off, which isn’t that often but it happens, that keeps me up at night. I don’t like that. When we are not at zero, I don’t like how that feels and I’m motivated to change it. We’re in the process of upgrading how we repair as a couple. We got a little lazy for a few years. Now, we’re sharpening our own saw here of like, “How do we get even more efficient and effective here?” That’s something I’m working on. What keeps me up? Sometimes not sleeping is usually my business stuff. I get heady and stressed about my business and the next thing. I got to figure out this problem. There are many problems to solve.

One last thing about conflict, don’t you think you get to a place sometimes where you’re hovering where you go, “This week, our dancing, we’re stepping on each other’s toes a little more. If I keep at it, it’ll show back up that we’re moving fluidly.” Sometimes toe stepping is a part of life as long as we don’t let it too long.

You don’t want it to go on too long because it means you haven’t figured out the way to get to zero yet or back to your good baseline place. The toe step is normal. Sometimes it takes days. Given how busy we all are, it takes days to find time, space, and tools to work through the thing. That’s normal and it can feel crunchy for many days.

My wife and I have a rule, it’s like, “Let’s not let this go on longer than 24 hours without at least beginning to address it.” It doesn’t mean we have to be at zero within 24 hours but it means we’re not going to avoid the crunchiness. We’re going to turn toward it within 24 hours and deal. It might take us a couple of days or a couple of hours but we’re committed.

Tell everyone where they can find you.

You can go to That’s the main page where you can find the Instagram handles and the podcast. There’s a ton of Relationships School podcast episodes with amazing folks. The book is

Thank you for your time and thank you for your work because we all need it, Lord knows. I appreciate it.

Thanks so much for reading. If you’d like, rate, subscribe and leave us a review. All of my music was graciously done by Frank Zummo and Tom Thacker. If you want to see some of the behind-the-scenes action, follow me @GabbyReece. Remember, don’t miss new episodes every Monday.

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About Jayson Gaddis

GRS Gaddis | Jayson GaddisJayson Gaddis, relationship student & teacher and host of the Smart Couple Podcast, is on a mission to teach people the one class they didn’t get in school-“How to do Romantic Relationships.” That’s why he founded The Relationship School®. He was emotionally constipated for years before relationship failure forced him to turn his life over to learning about relationships. Now, he’s been married to his amazing wife since 2007 (after some brutal break ups) and has two beautiful kids. When he doesn’t live and breathe this stuff with his family, he pretty much gets his ass handed to him.