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Pod Wisdom: Therapist Jenny Walters on Four Tools to Transform Your Marriage

In episode 25 of the Yes Collective Podcast, we spoke with Jenny Walters about relationships (our marriage and hers, especially!) and how we’ve all been wounded in relationships but heal through them as well. She dropped a lot of knowledge, so you should listen to the entire episode. But we pulled out four extra-powerful nuggets of wisdom that can truly transform your marriage.

**Important note: these tools and our podcast interview should be taken in the context of a non-violent relationship. If abuse has occurred or is occurring in the relationship then please seek professional counseling and resources, and contact us info@yescollective.app for more support.**

Tool #1: Inner Work

When we asked Jenny about what steps married parents can take to start transforming their marriage into a relationship that’s connected, healing, and empowering, she began by saying, “When you do your own work, [conflict] is not as threatening.” She recommended individual and couples therapy, as well as putting in a plug for premarital counseling.

But inner work can be done outside of therapy as well:

You can start by turning with curiosity toward yourself. And I get how hard this is to do. This is not easy.
You can do the old stuff like call your friends and bitch about your partner. Get it off your chest, you know. Vent, blame, blame, blame. Fine. But at a certain point, the only thing you really have any agency over is yourself. And so at a certain point, it's much more effective to turn toward yourself and get curious about what is going on here. What got activated? Get into a feeling place. Not a “They did that” place. And then do the inner work of finding out, what is actually getting hurt? How am I hurt?

Tool #2: Unilateral Disarmament

What is unilateral disarmament? It’s when one partner decides not to argue, defend, criticize, judge, or do anything that comes from a defensive or aggressive place or could be interpreted as defensive or aggressive. It might sound scary to unilaterally disarm, especially in a relationship where conflict and criticism have become commonplace.

But Jenny explains that it’s actually a major step toward not feeling scared and feeling safer and better understood.

I had a professor in school who was our couples therapist professor, and he was like, “Yeah, I just decided for a few months I was going to live by the adage: I shall not draw my sword in this marriage.” He just was like, “I'm just not going to draw my sword.” And he said, “I could feel myself reaching for it, but I just decided not to draw it.” And I thought that was a great image of trying to come out of that defensive place.

If you don't do the inner work, you just don't know what it is exactly that you're defending. You don't even understand yourself and what’s getting triggered in you.
Unilateral disarmament allows you to dial down the intensity so that conflicts start to feel more like a practice of getting to know each other and yourself rather than feeling like you’re being annihilated in that moment.

Tool #3: Give Your Partner What They Emotionally Want

In this part of the interview, Jenny talked about what happens when we give our partners emotionally whatever they want. We often withhold attention, acceptance, approval, and love because we have often unexamined judgments around what our partner emotionally wants.

But what happens when we start to do our own inner work and feel safe enough to simply give the emotional attention and energy that our partner wants? It can be transformative.

Give your partner what they want, which sounds easy, but when you are withholding it because you think what they want is bad, wrong or a threat to you.
But man, watch a person melt when you just give them what they want. But it requires trust. And I think that's where the individual work comes in.
It’s like when you do your own individual work, when you come into understanding of your own emotional reality and all of the parts inside, and the ways that they're hurting, the ways that they're scared and trying to stay safe, everything in you starts to settle down. You start to feel safe inside. Then you can feel safe with your partner.

Tool #4: Become Your Whole, Authentic Self

In this part of the interview, Jenny explains how a truly thriving marriage is NOT one where two people meld into one. It’s where two mature individuals connect in their unique individuality. This requires two people who are doing the inner work to discover and live out their full, authentic selves.

You're allowing for there to be a difference between you that you can be different. And that's the work of differentiation, which to me is what a lot of marriage is about and partnership is about is that you can be you and I can be me and we can be different, but we can still be close and connected.
And I think a lot of people, when they're in conflict are like, no, no, no, we need to see it exactly the same way. We need to do it this one way, and it's very frustrating.
I think there's grieving in marriage when we start to really realize that no one human can be our fantasy and that they are, you know, they bring their humanity to it and that there, I think there's so much we're fed about the fantasy of what marriage is or what it should be or how it should look. And I mean, I find the reality of it much better, I think, than that fantasy in the sense that it's much more real and deep.

Pod Wisdom: Therapist Jenny Walters on Four Tools to Transform Your Marriage

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Pod Wisdom: Therapist Jenny Walters on Four Tools to Transform Your Marriage

We pulled out four extra-powerful nuggets of wisdom that can truly transform your marriage from our chat with Jenny Walters, LMFT in Episode 25 of the Yes Collective Podcast.

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Key takeaways

1

“It starts with you”

2

Practice unilateral disarmament

3

Next level personal development happens in long-term, committed relationships

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In episode 25 of the Yes Collective Podcast, we spoke with Jenny Walters about relationships (our marriage and hers, especially!) and how we’ve all been wounded in relationships but heal through them as well. She dropped a lot of knowledge, so you should listen to the entire episode. But we pulled out four extra-powerful nuggets of wisdom that can truly transform your marriage.

**Important note: these tools and our podcast interview should be taken in the context of a non-violent relationship. If abuse has occurred or is occurring in the relationship then please seek professional counseling and resources, and contact us info@yescollective.app for more support.**

Tool #1: Inner Work

When we asked Jenny about what steps married parents can take to start transforming their marriage into a relationship that’s connected, healing, and empowering, she began by saying, “When you do your own work, [conflict] is not as threatening.” She recommended individual and couples therapy, as well as putting in a plug for premarital counseling.

But inner work can be done outside of therapy as well:

You can start by turning with curiosity toward yourself. And I get how hard this is to do. This is not easy.
You can do the old stuff like call your friends and bitch about your partner. Get it off your chest, you know. Vent, blame, blame, blame. Fine. But at a certain point, the only thing you really have any agency over is yourself. And so at a certain point, it's much more effective to turn toward yourself and get curious about what is going on here. What got activated? Get into a feeling place. Not a “They did that” place. And then do the inner work of finding out, what is actually getting hurt? How am I hurt?

Tool #2: Unilateral Disarmament

What is unilateral disarmament? It’s when one partner decides not to argue, defend, criticize, judge, or do anything that comes from a defensive or aggressive place or could be interpreted as defensive or aggressive. It might sound scary to unilaterally disarm, especially in a relationship where conflict and criticism have become commonplace.

But Jenny explains that it’s actually a major step toward not feeling scared and feeling safer and better understood.

I had a professor in school who was our couples therapist professor, and he was like, “Yeah, I just decided for a few months I was going to live by the adage: I shall not draw my sword in this marriage.” He just was like, “I'm just not going to draw my sword.” And he said, “I could feel myself reaching for it, but I just decided not to draw it.” And I thought that was a great image of trying to come out of that defensive place.

If you don't do the inner work, you just don't know what it is exactly that you're defending. You don't even understand yourself and what’s getting triggered in you.
Unilateral disarmament allows you to dial down the intensity so that conflicts start to feel more like a practice of getting to know each other and yourself rather than feeling like you’re being annihilated in that moment.

Tool #3: Give Your Partner What They Emotionally Want

In this part of the interview, Jenny talked about what happens when we give our partners emotionally whatever they want. We often withhold attention, acceptance, approval, and love because we have often unexamined judgments around what our partner emotionally wants.

But what happens when we start to do our own inner work and feel safe enough to simply give the emotional attention and energy that our partner wants? It can be transformative.

Give your partner what they want, which sounds easy, but when you are withholding it because you think what they want is bad, wrong or a threat to you.
But man, watch a person melt when you just give them what they want. But it requires trust. And I think that's where the individual work comes in.
It’s like when you do your own individual work, when you come into understanding of your own emotional reality and all of the parts inside, and the ways that they're hurting, the ways that they're scared and trying to stay safe, everything in you starts to settle down. You start to feel safe inside. Then you can feel safe with your partner.

Tool #4: Become Your Whole, Authentic Self

In this part of the interview, Jenny explains how a truly thriving marriage is NOT one where two people meld into one. It’s where two mature individuals connect in their unique individuality. This requires two people who are doing the inner work to discover and live out their full, authentic selves.

You're allowing for there to be a difference between you that you can be different. And that's the work of differentiation, which to me is what a lot of marriage is about and partnership is about is that you can be you and I can be me and we can be different, but we can still be close and connected.
And I think a lot of people, when they're in conflict are like, no, no, no, we need to see it exactly the same way. We need to do it this one way, and it's very frustrating.
I think there's grieving in marriage when we start to really realize that no one human can be our fantasy and that they are, you know, they bring their humanity to it and that there, I think there's so much we're fed about the fantasy of what marriage is or what it should be or how it should look. And I mean, I find the reality of it much better, I think, than that fantasy in the sense that it's much more real and deep.

In episode 25 of the Yes Collective Podcast, we spoke with Jenny Walters about relationships (our marriage and hers, especially!) and how we’ve all been wounded in relationships but heal through them as well. She dropped a lot of knowledge, so you should listen to the entire episode. But we pulled out four extra-powerful nuggets of wisdom that can truly transform your marriage.

**Important note: these tools and our podcast interview should be taken in the context of a non-violent relationship. If abuse has occurred or is occurring in the relationship then please seek professional counseling and resources, and contact us info@yescollective.app for more support.**

Tool #1: Inner Work

When we asked Jenny about what steps married parents can take to start transforming their marriage into a relationship that’s connected, healing, and empowering, she began by saying, “When you do your own work, [conflict] is not as threatening.” She recommended individual and couples therapy, as well as putting in a plug for premarital counseling.

But inner work can be done outside of therapy as well:

You can start by turning with curiosity toward yourself. And I get how hard this is to do. This is not easy.
You can do the old stuff like call your friends and bitch about your partner. Get it off your chest, you know. Vent, blame, blame, blame. Fine. But at a certain point, the only thing you really have any agency over is yourself. And so at a certain point, it's much more effective to turn toward yourself and get curious about what is going on here. What got activated? Get into a feeling place. Not a “They did that” place. And then do the inner work of finding out, what is actually getting hurt? How am I hurt?

Tool #2: Unilateral Disarmament

What is unilateral disarmament? It’s when one partner decides not to argue, defend, criticize, judge, or do anything that comes from a defensive or aggressive place or could be interpreted as defensive or aggressive. It might sound scary to unilaterally disarm, especially in a relationship where conflict and criticism have become commonplace.

But Jenny explains that it’s actually a major step toward not feeling scared and feeling safer and better understood.

I had a professor in school who was our couples therapist professor, and he was like, “Yeah, I just decided for a few months I was going to live by the adage: I shall not draw my sword in this marriage.” He just was like, “I'm just not going to draw my sword.” And he said, “I could feel myself reaching for it, but I just decided not to draw it.” And I thought that was a great image of trying to come out of that defensive place.

If you don't do the inner work, you just don't know what it is exactly that you're defending. You don't even understand yourself and what’s getting triggered in you.
Unilateral disarmament allows you to dial down the intensity so that conflicts start to feel more like a practice of getting to know each other and yourself rather than feeling like you’re being annihilated in that moment.

Tool #3: Give Your Partner What They Emotionally Want

In this part of the interview, Jenny talked about what happens when we give our partners emotionally whatever they want. We often withhold attention, acceptance, approval, and love because we have often unexamined judgments around what our partner emotionally wants.

But what happens when we start to do our own inner work and feel safe enough to simply give the emotional attention and energy that our partner wants? It can be transformative.

Give your partner what they want, which sounds easy, but when you are withholding it because you think what they want is bad, wrong or a threat to you.
But man, watch a person melt when you just give them what they want. But it requires trust. And I think that's where the individual work comes in.
It’s like when you do your own individual work, when you come into understanding of your own emotional reality and all of the parts inside, and the ways that they're hurting, the ways that they're scared and trying to stay safe, everything in you starts to settle down. You start to feel safe inside. Then you can feel safe with your partner.

Tool #4: Become Your Whole, Authentic Self

In this part of the interview, Jenny explains how a truly thriving marriage is NOT one where two people meld into one. It’s where two mature individuals connect in their unique individuality. This requires two people who are doing the inner work to discover and live out their full, authentic selves.

You're allowing for there to be a difference between you that you can be different. And that's the work of differentiation, which to me is what a lot of marriage is about and partnership is about is that you can be you and I can be me and we can be different, but we can still be close and connected.
And I think a lot of people, when they're in conflict are like, no, no, no, we need to see it exactly the same way. We need to do it this one way, and it's very frustrating.
I think there's grieving in marriage when we start to really realize that no one human can be our fantasy and that they are, you know, they bring their humanity to it and that there, I think there's so much we're fed about the fantasy of what marriage is or what it should be or how it should look. And I mean, I find the reality of it much better, I think, than that fantasy in the sense that it's much more real and deep.

In episode 25 of the Yes Collective Podcast, we spoke with Jenny Walters about relationships (our marriage and hers, especially!) and how we’ve all been wounded in relationships but heal through them as well. She dropped a lot of knowledge, so you should listen to the entire episode. But we pulled out four extra-powerful nuggets of wisdom that can truly transform your marriage.

**Important note: these tools and our podcast interview should be taken in the context of a non-violent relationship. If abuse has occurred or is occurring in the relationship then please seek professional counseling and resources, and contact us info@yescollective.app for more support.**

Tool #1: Inner Work

When we asked Jenny about what steps married parents can take to start transforming their marriage into a relationship that’s connected, healing, and empowering, she began by saying, “When you do your own work, [conflict] is not as threatening.” She recommended individual and couples therapy, as well as putting in a plug for premarital counseling.

But inner work can be done outside of therapy as well:

You can start by turning with curiosity toward yourself. And I get how hard this is to do. This is not easy.
You can do the old stuff like call your friends and bitch about your partner. Get it off your chest, you know. Vent, blame, blame, blame. Fine. But at a certain point, the only thing you really have any agency over is yourself. And so at a certain point, it's much more effective to turn toward yourself and get curious about what is going on here. What got activated? Get into a feeling place. Not a “They did that” place. And then do the inner work of finding out, what is actually getting hurt? How am I hurt?

Tool #2: Unilateral Disarmament

What is unilateral disarmament? It’s when one partner decides not to argue, defend, criticize, judge, or do anything that comes from a defensive or aggressive place or could be interpreted as defensive or aggressive. It might sound scary to unilaterally disarm, especially in a relationship where conflict and criticism have become commonplace.

But Jenny explains that it’s actually a major step toward not feeling scared and feeling safer and better understood.

I had a professor in school who was our couples therapist professor, and he was like, “Yeah, I just decided for a few months I was going to live by the adage: I shall not draw my sword in this marriage.” He just was like, “I'm just not going to draw my sword.” And he said, “I could feel myself reaching for it, but I just decided not to draw it.” And I thought that was a great image of trying to come out of that defensive place.

If you don't do the inner work, you just don't know what it is exactly that you're defending. You don't even understand yourself and what’s getting triggered in you.
Unilateral disarmament allows you to dial down the intensity so that conflicts start to feel more like a practice of getting to know each other and yourself rather than feeling like you’re being annihilated in that moment.

Tool #3: Give Your Partner What They Emotionally Want

In this part of the interview, Jenny talked about what happens when we give our partners emotionally whatever they want. We often withhold attention, acceptance, approval, and love because we have often unexamined judgments around what our partner emotionally wants.

But what happens when we start to do our own inner work and feel safe enough to simply give the emotional attention and energy that our partner wants? It can be transformative.

Give your partner what they want, which sounds easy, but when you are withholding it because you think what they want is bad, wrong or a threat to you.
But man, watch a person melt when you just give them what they want. But it requires trust. And I think that's where the individual work comes in.
It’s like when you do your own individual work, when you come into understanding of your own emotional reality and all of the parts inside, and the ways that they're hurting, the ways that they're scared and trying to stay safe, everything in you starts to settle down. You start to feel safe inside. Then you can feel safe with your partner.

Tool #4: Become Your Whole, Authentic Self

In this part of the interview, Jenny explains how a truly thriving marriage is NOT one where two people meld into one. It’s where two mature individuals connect in their unique individuality. This requires two people who are doing the inner work to discover and live out their full, authentic selves.

You're allowing for there to be a difference between you that you can be different. And that's the work of differentiation, which to me is what a lot of marriage is about and partnership is about is that you can be you and I can be me and we can be different, but we can still be close and connected.
And I think a lot of people, when they're in conflict are like, no, no, no, we need to see it exactly the same way. We need to do it this one way, and it's very frustrating.
I think there's grieving in marriage when we start to really realize that no one human can be our fantasy and that they are, you know, they bring their humanity to it and that there, I think there's so much we're fed about the fantasy of what marriage is or what it should be or how it should look. And I mean, I find the reality of it much better, I think, than that fantasy in the sense that it's much more real and deep.

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