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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk with relationship expert Jayson Gaddis about three styles of relationships… two often lead to divorce and one leads to incredible fulfillment.


In this podcast you’ll find:

Jayson Gaddis. Dad. Husband. Relationship expert. Host of Smart Couple podcast.

He helps people create amazing relationships.

Story: Initially a big failure at relationships. Grass was always greener. He made the woman he was dating wrong by finding some kind of fault. Any time she needed something and wanted to have an emotional talk, he would become uncomfortable. Then he would blame her for his discomfort.

“I thought relationships were supposed to feel comfortable all the time. Always stay in the honeymoon period.”

After seven failed relationships, he realized he was the common denominator.

“I realized I could do something. I went off to grad school and studied all I could on relationship psychology, and I started practicing Buddhism and meditation. I started studying with teachers that held a bigger view. The kind of view that includes challenge and support. Whatever we go through is important. Part of our journey. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’”

There is a view in Buddhism that everything is sacred – the dark and the light.

So much of what we do in a relationship is we abandon ourselves to maintain connection.

“I learned to be tough and have a shell even though underneath I was soft and fuzzy. My peers and family weren’t comfortable with me changing and growing. They wanted me to stay the way I had always been. So I needed to separate myself from everyone I had known.”

“Potential pushback was less important than what I wanted to achieve in life. So I was willing to create new relationships that were more in line with my vision.”

Supportive relationships include challenges. A lot of our old friends want to support us – they want to support us in staying  small. We need the kind of support that helps us grow.

We abandon ourselves to purchase connection. We purchase connection at the expense of who we are.

We all have two needs:

  1. The need to connect, and
  2. The need to express who we authentically are.

If you grow up in a family where parents have limitations you’re going to stop doing behaviors that they disapprove of and do more of what they approve of. We abandon what is actually genuine for us.

The dance is to come back to who we are through relationship.

How do I be myself and stay in a relationship with my partner?

It is always a work in progress to move closer and closer to who we are at our core. Our children may even trigger us to digress to a more undeveloped place.

In relationships, the more we tear down and build up the more intimate we become.

Secure Home Base – A Soft place to land where we know we are okay. We got each other’s back. Anything is possible. We are connected.

Be aware and notice when we are feeling disconnected from our partner.

Take space and be alone if necessary to determine why the struggle or disconnect has occurred.

Owning your responsibility in the relationship is important to its growth and stability.

Marriage Success Map. 3 paths you can go in marriage:

  1. Playful – like to have a good time. Want relationship to feel good, at all times. Perpetual honeymoon stage. Touchy feely. Sexually oriented.
  2. Comfortable – all about establishing comfort, security and safety.  
  3. Growth Oriented – The only path that is sustainable long term, and only path where two people can get stronger over time and weather any storm.

Long term relationship is a relationship based on growth. If you get stuck in 1 or 2 you are doomed when you encounter challenges you are not prepared for. The stuff just piles up. It festers and gets harder to deal with.

Comfort wants to go back to the comfortable place.

Pleasure wants to go back to the fun place. “Why does everything have to be such a struggle?”

The irony here is if you really want pleasure or comfort, the way to get there is through the third path – growth and development.

We all have strategies to avoid what becomes uncomfortable.

Co-dependent relationship: “I won’t call you on your shit if you don’t’ call me on mine.” Fun/comfortable relationships are not sustainable because they require codependence.  

Growth requires you to transcend that and call each other on your shit.

It’s human nature to find the path of least resistance. Easy way out. Least challenging thing to keep us feeling safe.

If you medicate your life away with all the distractions we have in this world, don’t expect to have a great relationship. You will have a relationship where the two of you will play together, or just check out, but checking in will get you to the next level.

You will outgrow your partner if you keep growing and they refuse to budge. They can come along or clamp down. Your partner has every right to stay where they are. Don’t try dragging your partner along. “Be the change you wish to see.” Then decide if your future includes that person who refuses to grow.

It’s easy to blame partners then bail on the relationship. Teach your partner what is important to you. Guys weren’t taught emotional IQ. They need help. You can’t make someone grow, they have to want it from deep inside.

More women seek emotional growth.

When man start to grow there is an unsettling that happens with the woman. She gets what she thought she wanted but now she realizes he isn’t as easy to manipulate.

Women complain they want closeness. Then when they get it they run the other direction. When the man starts to grow the woman has to experience another level of growth for herself, which is a challenge for someone who has become comfortable with how things are.

Like a 3 legged race – agree that no matter how far the road goes you keep traveling it together, even if we have to occasionally lift each other up.

We tend to attract what we need to heal. Soon after marriage you realize you are opposites. Different. This is designed to help us reclaim the disparate parts of ourselves.

You are getting what you need no matter what relationship you are in. You can take it or not.

“At every point along the way I have gotten what I needed.” The reason you attract something into your life is to deal with your stuff.

We have lessons to learn in a relationship. When we don’t learn them we repeat them like a broken record. You have to get your shit together and stop complaining. Then you get to move onto the next lesson, which is called growth.

Example: A guy with a needy woman. Why does that bother him so much? Chances are he grew up with a needy mom, so he developed a repulsion towards needy people. Your partner is trying to help you learn that you are as needy as your partner. Once you embrace that you are free. You now can love your partner as they are and you are no longer triggered to the same extent.

If you look closely enough you will see that you have attracted some version of your parents and it is because you are trying to work something out. Their annoying behavior is helping you heal something from the past. All the baggage from dad/mom.

We are learning to love parts of ourselves that we aren’t aware of or have rejected.

When we’re with someone long term we start to get triggered and upset and we don’t have rational thinking around it. Your partner’s tone of voice triggers you and suddenly you are furious. What is going on?

Our bodies are wired for threat not love. There were always threats going on in our family. Whatever the threat is it impacts the nervous system. If it doesn’t get repaired it leaves an injury. Then we attract an experience later in life to repair that injury.

Most people don’t know why the injury is there. Our nervous systems are the challenge. Meditation and mindfulness can help with that.

Become a safe person for the other party. Reparent your partner. Become the safe place for them to cry on.

That can be hard to do, but you have to learn to master your nervous system. Regulate your upsets.

The main reason people get divorced is because they can’t control their triggers.

We need to take full responsibility for our healing.

Have the mindset that you are going to be triggered by each other for the rest of your life. So how are you going to have each other’s back?

Touch is a wonderful hack. If you just sit down in a non-oppositional stance – like next to them instead of in front of them. When it feels right ask if it is okay if you touch them.

Stand next to them and say something really sweet. “I know you hate my guts right now, but I want you to know I love you.”

One of the partners usually needs space and they need to go away to cool off. It is usually perceived as a threat by the other person. The partner who needs to walk away can use their words and say I need a break. “I’ll be back” will prevent any abandonment triggers from being tripped.

Work with the knowledge that you will be triggered by one another. There will always be upsets. We all think we are the only ones that are sucking at relationship management. If we are honest we realize that everyone struggles.

Jayson Gaddis helps people be authentically who they are through the vehicle of relationship.

He teach people to embrace challenge in a marriage.

“We are designed to be together and my job is to teach you how to make that process less challenging.”



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Showing 11 comments
  • Christine Donahue

    Could you please send this to he is my husband and we are going threw a very bad separation and I know I have issues but he won’t own up to his. He is an alcoholic and beings I’m in NJ and he is with his mother in Fl. I know he is not getting the help he needs because his mother is the enabler and keeps getting people to give him beer instead of money and so does she. Now she is buying his truck and has bought the trailer we lived in. I tried paying her back but she wouldn’t except it. I know there are issues with many things but I need for him to see he is doing so many things wrong. And maybe coming from someone else other than me it just may work. He puts his mother before his wife. That’s not what it says in the bible. Thank you for your time and respect in this matter sincerely Christine donahue

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Christine. We like to encourage people to focus on their own growth. In hopes that their growth will either encourage their partner to grow too, or give them the clarity they need to end a toxic relationship.

      Focus on yourself. As you grow and heal you will draw the kind of relationship you want and need.

  • Christine donahue

    Sorry his email was wrong. It is thank you

  • Korey

    Ugh. You’ve given me the answer I’ve been looking for for a while now. I’m in a long term relationship with my boyfriend who is wonderful and willing to do the work. It’s me who’s been making excuses and looking for outs. It’s scary. I am terrified as an ENFP to commit even though we’ve been together for five years already. I thought the answer was to go out on my own and discover myself but nothing I’ve read or listened too (I’ve been looking EVERYWHERE) has hit home like this did. Thank you guys so much. I don’t have iTunes or apple products but this was so helpful I made it a point to figure out how I could rate it. Thank you all so much. Despite the wounded child who is very afraid the wise mind is at ease and gratitude for this wonderful podcast. I will be sharing this with anyone who will listen. Seriously, thank you.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment Korey! It sounds like you have a wonderful foundation upon which you can grow and rest into. There are a lot of people out there who would love to have a willing and patient partner like you have. I hope you have expressed your gratitude for him. That may even be a good exercise to remind yourself of the treasure you have already found.

      ENFPs also benefit from meditation. It forces them to slow down. Meditating on the things you are grateful for can help you laser focus your true needs. Also, journaling about your core values can help you focus on what is really important.

      Last but not least, Bravo for having the personal insight needed to acknowledge your own need to grow and change. You have just entered into the realm of conscious incompetence, which means you have already grown. Keep up the good work!

  • Cherie

    Loved this and am now listening to the Smart Couple podcasts. Super helpful and no bs. Thanks!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Cherie! I haven’t given his podcast a try, but you have made me want to check it out. Thanks!

  • Jackie

    This is a great conversation. Thanks

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Jackie!

  • Xandria

    Wow, did this make perfect sense or what?! And it’s come at THE MOST perfect time in my life…

    I just turned 50, am a divoree of 12 years. Have not had, nor wanted, the most meaningful relationships since then…

    But lately I’ve been wanting to find the one to spend the rest of my life with, and I want growth. I’ve never wanted this before. Never felt like wanting to commit this deeply…

    I’m ready for it now…

    What is it they say? “When the student is ready the teacher will come…”

    Thank you for this.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Xandria! Sounds like you are ready for a new adventure. I hope you can find a companion to learn and grow with. 🙂

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