We have a special guest on our show today, on today’s show we go deep on how to apply play theory in relationships and processing trauma from a licensed therapist - Jennifer Lehr. Jennifer specializes in educating couples on the relationship skills they need to build a solid, connected and loving partnership. She has had advanced training in many couples modalities and uses her knowledge to help others. Jennifer has been helping couples for nearly 20 years. She is a regular contributor to her 3 blogs, which are designed to help people improve their lives and relationships: Healing Tips Blog, WeConcile’s Blog and Jennifer’s Blog, as well as other media. Jennifer Lehr also writes and talks about her journey from a difficult relational beginning to creating a beautiful relationship with her husband.

I’m so excited to welcome our guest today and dive deep into the principles of happiness and relationships. 

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Be curious about your partner! 

BONUS TIP: Do yoga!

Come join the conversation and play with us!

WEBSITE https://www.playtheory.org 

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Instagram https://www.instagram.com/playtheory4life/ 

Remember that Life is a team sport, so let's play together!

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TRANSCRIPT

Neal Hooper: [00:00:00] [00:00:00]We have a very special guest on our show today. On today's show, we're going to go deep on how to apply play theory in relationships. In processing trauma, and we have a licensed therapist today. Jennifer layer, Jennifer specializes in educating couples on the relationship skills. They need to build a solid. 

[00:00:54] Connected and loving partnership. 

[00:01:01] [00:01:00] She has had advanced training in many couples modalities and uses her knowledge to help others. Jennifer has been helping couples for nearly 20 years. She is a regular contributor to her three blogs, which are designed to help people improve their lives and relationships. And those are healing tips, blog. We can Siles blog and Jennifer's blog as well as other media. Jennifer layer also writes and talks about her journey from a difficult relational beginning to creating a beautiful relationship with her husband. 

[00:01:32]And I'm not sure what was going on with the audio when we recorded this on our platform, but it took a hit. So, uh, forgive me for the audio quality. And we're just going to let go of that and a play with it. And roll with it and accept them, build on that, but really excited for you to listen to this episode And with that, let's roll right in to the conversation.  I am very excited to [00:02:00] introduce you to our guests today. Jennifer layer. Has many qualifications as you heard in her bio, but really she is on a mission and we totally agree with the mission she is on.

[00:02:14] Let me pull up your one pager here. I love this says. Jennifer layer is on a mission to create a world filled with connection instead of conflict. That is awesome. And something here at the happiness playbook, we are very passionate about. I think everyone, these days could use a little more connection and less conflict.

[00:02:38] So we're very excited that Jennifer is joining us today to help us learn how to do that. Jennifer, welcome to the show.

[00:02:45] Jennifer Lehr: [00:02:45] Oh, thanks for having me. I'm happy to be here.

[00:02:49]Neal Hooper: [00:02:49] I just want to dive in here cause you have a lot of value to add and I'm excited for our audience to learn more about you and in what your message is in some of the [00:03:00] principles that you teach others. So maybe a great place to start is just with a little background. So what's your story, Jennifer?

[00:03:07] Jennifer Lehr: [00:03:07] Oh, I have a long story. So my story is I grew up in a family that was had a lot of conflict, a lot of anger and bad communication and connection skills. So I went out into the world not very developed in those areas and through the course of my life and relationships, I started working on all that because.

[00:03:30] I wanted a good life and it wasn't going to happen the way it, the way I came out. So, I eventually became a therapist and did a lot of my own personal work as well as worked with people, a lot of trainings. And then I also decided that realize that couples needed a lot more resources than they have.

[00:03:49] And I started, I created an educational system for couples called we concile, which we're now currently turning into an app.

[00:03:57] Neal Hooper: [00:03:57] Wow.

[00:03:59] Jennifer Lehr: [00:03:59] that's the short [00:04:00] version of the story.

[00:04:01] Neal Hooper: [00:04:01] That's awesome though. It's so interesting. Cause we all, if we look deep enough, we all have baggage. Right. And I love that you bring that up. And also, that there's hope for us to get tools to overcome that that natural tendency, I think, to. To fall back on the conflict.

[00:04:20] Right. Which is something we're really good at. I'm just curious. And I'm kinda, coming out of left field here with this question, but you've had 20 years of therapy and you have seen a lot of people you're on the front lines for this, a battle for emotional wellbeing and mental health.

[00:04:38] And I'm sure you have. So many stories, but I'm just curious, what are some of the most common forms of baggage that people are bringing in to their lives and relationships? What are the biggest perpetrators.

[00:04:52]Jennifer Lehr: [00:04:52] People have wounds, we all have wounds places where we didn't get what we needed. And so we come into a relationship with [00:05:00] another wounded person and we don't understand each other's wounds. We're usually hungry for connection, but we don't know what to do when there's.

[00:05:08] A conflict or disagreement or we come at things from different angles because we're hungry and we don't know, we often don't have the space for the other person to really listen to what's going on for them because of our own, we're filled up with our own stuff.

[00:05:25] Neal Hooper: [00:05:25] wow. Is such a good way to put it wounds. I love that visual because I think that is a great thing. We view it as that the person is hurting, when someone's acting out or even acting out in a inappropriate way or a malicious way, it's because they're hurting. And I think that's a great perspective to take going into that.

[00:05:48] So there's a lot of tie-ins to the play three principles that we talk about and your message. And we'll kind of sprinkle those throughout. But you have a great message and kind of [00:06:00] framework around attachment. Theory. And so I just want you to dive into that and help us understand a little bit more about attachment theory and really the process and system you've used there.

[00:06:13] Jennifer Lehr: [00:06:13] Okay. So there's attachment theory and then there's attachment types, but we're going to talk about attachment theory. The types are you can Google attachment types and you get, avoidant there's like disorganized secure anxious. But we're going to talk about attachment theory and attachment theory is the mammalian need to connect.

[00:06:31] So mammals need to connect, and that means translate it into human terms. Am I important to you? Am I valuable to you? Do you care about how I feel? Am I safe with you? Am I enough for you? W the deep feeling level of what we need is my partner accessible. Interested curious. So it's about the deep emotional need.

[00:06:56]The human attachment means that we feel safe. [00:07:00] If we're sick, we want to be safe and secure in our relationships. And that's what secure attachment is.

[00:07:08] Neal Hooper: [00:07:08] And that's helpful to understand because in any relationship and correct me if I'm Wrong here, but that could be in a marriage. Could that also apply to a parent child relationship? Is that any relationship?

[00:07:23] Jennifer Lehr: [00:07:23] All close relationships that re that have vulnerability and, intimacy, vulnerability, that kind of thing. Yeah.

[00:07:31] Neal Hooper: [00:07:31] Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So those are, and remind me again, what are the things we need to have that attachment? Within the relationship again, it's safety.

[00:07:41] Jennifer Lehr: [00:07:41] well, there's a whole, we want to feel safe. We want to know where we're at and we want to know where valued. We want to know that we're enough. There's it's the list could go on, but those primary, yeah.

[00:07:54] Neal Hooper: [00:07:54] that's so good. And we're a huge here in having this playbook about a [00:08:00] principal. Which is lookout word and everything you're saying there it's really easy to not feel those things in a relationship when we're looking inward and we're thinking of our needs. And it's always, you got to mention the caveat that you're only able to serve to the degree that you have, engaged in self care and maintain your own wellbeing.

[00:08:21]But really it's that looking outward and in those intimate relationships, Creating that, helping people answer that question affirmatively, I do feel safe. I do feel needed. I do feel important. So what are so style, a little deeper there and how, when you see a couple or any. Two people right there, their relationship is just in the dumps and how do you help them work through that and go from not having those things, to feeling that connection and attachment.

[00:08:55]Jennifer Lehr: [00:08:55] Every therapist would work somewhat differently and it also depends on what your [00:09:00] training is, what modality you're sort of drawing on, but you want to get the couple to first identify how they keep getting stuck. So, When you when your tone got sharp with me, I left the house and slammed the door and then you cried.

[00:09:16] And then I got mad and yelled. In other words, what's actually happening. What are the behaviors you want to identify that because people have to take responsibility for what they're doing, because you can't create safety with that kind of behavior going on, and you have to create safety to get down into the deep, vulnerable feelings.

[00:09:35] And that is. When you had that tone, it reminded me of how my mother used to talk to me and that made me bristle and I, made me feel like I wasn't important. So you have to get into the story and into the deep feelings and you can't communicate that with bad behavior going on.

[00:09:56] Neal Hooper: [00:09:56] Okay, this is so good because [00:10:00] you have to let go right of the bad behavior. You have to let go of  those disruptive emotions just long enough to then get present, right? Is that, am I hearing you correctly? Cause you have to play that observational role and kind of process, what's going on and what the causes are for those emotions.

[00:10:19] Is that fair to say?

[00:10:21] Jennifer Lehr: [00:10:21] Yes. So present being present moment to moment awareness is very important. Because you have to be in your body and in yourself to really even be able to connect with the deeper emotional feelings. And you also have to be clear in order to say, Oh, I did this and that. Wasn't okay. I did that it wasn't.

[00:10:40] Okay. So if you're not present you're you tend to be spinning. You could be caught and you're not, you could be in the past spinning. You could be, but you're spinning more with anxiety or something's going on. That's keeping you out of right here right now. What's going on. And I can think of an example.

[00:10:58] I can think of a couple. I worked within [00:11:00] the w the woman in the couple. Was just furious with her partner for good reason, but she was furious. And so she was coming at him like a train, but she wasn't aware of herself. She didn't even see that she was pushing him away with her velocity of anger.

[00:11:15] And so she had to be, or I had to stop her slower down, get her to breathe and get her to identify. I know you're really angry, but what's going on. And underneath was this horrible feeling that. He didn't care about her and that's what was driving the behavior, but she had to be put into the present helped into the present moment.

[00:11:35] So she could connect with that. Okay.

[00:11:37] Neal Hooper: [00:11:37] Oh, that's so good. And really hard to do. And so you mentioned a few things just now. Deep breaths obviously are helpful. What other approaches or tactics do you teach people to get present so that they can play that observational role?

[00:11:52]Jennifer Lehr: [00:11:52] Well, we can sell it. I use what's called the lenses. So there's a body awareness lens, a thinking lens, a feeling [00:12:00] lens sensation, image lens there's 12 lenses and these are portals into experience. So I'll give you an example. I've talked about this before about my husband and.

[00:12:11] We are in some kind of disagreement. And I asked him, what is going on for you right now? And he said, my stomach feels really tight and cold. And I said, Oh, what's that about? What does that remind you of? And he said, that reminds me when I was a little kid and my dad was having a temper tantrum. I said, Oh so that, that moment of tuning into the body opened up a story that informed him and me of how he was being impacted by our disagreement. So, which was useful.

[00:12:43]Neal Hooper: [00:12:43] I read and my wife actually has finished the book, but it's called the body keeps the score.

[00:12:50] Jennifer Lehr: [00:12:50] Yeah. I've heard, I've read it. I've heard of it

[00:12:52] Neal Hooper: [00:12:52] okay. And I think the concept, again, I, it didn't get very far into it, but is that you can actually tap into and [00:13:00] understand traumas or things from your past and how they've affected you, but you can actually feel those or identify those based on how it's manifest, even physically in your body.

[00:13:11] And so like the story you mentioned there is there any thoughts to that? Have you found that to be true?

[00:13:17] Jennifer Lehr: [00:13:17] Oh, yeah, the body it's all in the body. Cause we're physiological, being and all our experiences are stored in the body and in how we're wired. So here's another example. So I'm thinking of a person who goes into an altered state when big due to trauma and You can use EMDR eye movement desensitization. Which is a form of therapy where you start working with either a light or a pattern going back and forth, and you start integrating the memory from one side of the brain, into both sides of the brain, and that enables the body to metabolize. And that's one way there's other ways to metabolize trauma.

[00:13:55] So one way the body can start metabolizing trauma instead of having it be [00:14:00] caught somewhere. Where you have no control over it. And it just sort of jumps out and grabs your psyche and causes you to behave in ways that are destructive.

[00:14:10] Neal Hooper: [00:14:10] Wow. That is kind of the first step in play theory with the four principles they're actually in order. And we start with be present because if you're not present, it's kind of , a non-starter and it's hard to really. Except in build, let, go and play and look outward if you're not present.

[00:14:29] And if you're just distracted and giving into all these emotions inside, I love, it sounds similar that, that's the first step is let's get present. What's observed and learn

[00:14:39] Jennifer Lehr: [00:14:39] Yep. Yeah.

[00:14:41] Neal Hooper: [00:14:41] very cool. Now you have what you call the relationship roadmap. And I would love for you to share a little bit more about what that is and and the approach you take

[00:14:55]Jennifer Lehr: [00:14:55] If you're a couple and you want to sort of start Harmonizing [00:15:00] better together, that sort of rhymed you want to, so the first step would be, or the first question I would have is have you talked about your goals?

[00:15:10] What is each of your purposes and your purpose? Do you have a purpose for your relationship? Like if somebody wants to travel and the other person wants to live in a little house with a fence, in a yard those two goals in life might not fit together. So the first step is who are we together?

[00:15:28]Sometimes couples get together and they don't even go there. They just get together and they're married and all of a sudden they find out that one person wants to go to grad school and the other person wants that person to make money so they can buy a new, new thing. So.

[00:15:41]So that's the first step. Have you talked about your dreams, your goals, and are you on the same page? The second step is what we already talked about. When you get into a fight, what is your pattern, each of your patterns and start deconstructing that, Oh, you did that when I did that, then I did that [00:16:00] and that means you're also.

[00:16:03] Becoming a team against the pattern, which is called externalizing. The problem instead of you getting caught in the problem and you're BA I'm bad and you're pointing fingers at each other. You go, Oh, the pattern is the problem and we have to break it. So let's step two and that's not easy to do because we tend to blame

[00:16:20] Neal Hooper: [00:16:20] Well, and that's really hard because we're so used to pitting ourselves against each other, but what you're really doing is letting go of, that perspective and that that angle, I had a mentor, so I'm kind of jumping around here, but he had a disagreement.

[00:16:36]He had a disagreement with his wife and they were sitting across from each other on a table and they were having this disagreement and I'll never forget. He said after a while it was not dealing any fruit. It was not being very effective. And so he wrote the problem on a piece of paper, put it on the table and then went on and sat next to her.

[00:17:00] [00:17:00] And so they were looking at the problem. So I think that's a great visual of exactly what you're sharing.

[00:17:04] Jennifer Lehr: [00:17:04] Externalized it. So then the third step is getting into attachment language. Now we touched on this attachment language. Isn't, I'm so mad at you that you forgot my BR that you went to your mother's house when it was my birthday, whatever some issue, attachment language is.

[00:17:22] When you forgot my birthday, it made me feel like you didn't value me. And it really hurt me. And I love you. So I need you to value me and not forget my birthday. So it's getting down into what's really going on. So you have to develop an ability to talk about your attachment needs and your attachment fears.

[00:17:41] I'm afraid, blah, blah, blah. But, and I need to know that you will consider what I want to, I need to know that what I want is important to you. I'm afraid. You'll forget me. I'm afraid I'm not good enough. I'm afraid you don't value me. I need you to do these things. So you have to start developing language because when you're [00:18:00] in a disagreement of some kind, right.

[00:18:02] There's almost always a level of attachment language that could be spoken that would help the people connect better, and understand each other better. So that would be step three.

[00:18:14] Neal Hooper: [00:18:14] Awesome. And what role does validation play in? Step three.

[00:18:19]Jennifer Lehr: [00:18:19] It's really important to listen and tend means you're actually. Your health, helping the person express themselves. You're curious. You want to hear what they have to say? You're not like, okay, let's just move on. I got things to say, you're like, wait, I want to understand you, let me give, allow me the privilege of stepping into your world. So that's that's, really important to be able to do that.

[00:18:46] Neal Hooper: [00:18:46] That's great. And that ties in perfectly to accept and build. Which is another way people see that one in the improv community is yes. And right. But you're taking sounds like you're taking where they are and you're not [00:19:00] just validating and accepting them. You're building on it and you're helping them feel comfortable to extract more.

[00:19:07] Jennifer Lehr: [00:19:07] Right. Exactly. And there's specific steps that that you can learn in order to do that but that's what you're doing. You're, reassuring them. You're often repeating, you're asking, clarifying questions, all of that, to help them elicit, to help elicit a larger who are you in response?

[00:19:23] Yeah.

[00:19:24] Neal Hooper: [00:19:24] I love that. I love step three. That's a great one.

[00:19:27] Jennifer Lehr: [00:19:27] And then step four is what I talked about. The lenses. It is getting into understanding a moment to moment. Your experience. So let's suppose there's a couple and one of the, let's say the woman, cause I'll go, stereotypical says, well, what are you feeling, Neil? And Neil says I don't know.

[00:19:49] And 

[00:19:49] Neal Hooper: [00:19:49] Yeah, that sounds great.

[00:19:53] Jennifer Lehr: [00:19:53] the person into the feeling and the way you do that is through the lenses. What are your thoughts doing? What are your [00:20:00] emotions? What is your body doing? What's happening? Is your, where is your heart beating? Is your stomach tight? Do you feel, what is it starting to help people get into their direct experience to understand what's going on?

[00:20:12] So when someone says, what are you feeling? They don't say they don't shrug and say, I don't know. They could say. I'm having this image of my mom chasing my father with the knife. And that really scares me. And, they could have some, and then you're like, Oh, you're having a real, something is really happening here.

[00:20:28] So you're not feeling you just are, you're being hit by stuff and you don't even know how to verbalize it. It just gives dialogue and language to experience when people often just go, I don't know, because they haven't learned to scan the body, the mind, the emotions and figure out what's going on.

[00:20:46] Neal Hooper: [00:20:46] wow. That is awesome. Very clear framework. I love the steps and it's a very clear how that would help you come together. Really understand [00:21:00] what's going on and then move forward. So I love that there's tons of be present, accept, and build, and a lot of let, go and play too. 

[00:21:08] Jennifer Lehr: [00:21:08] And there are other steps too, but those are the first four.

[00:21:11] Neal Hooper: [00:21:11] I'm so sorry. I'm jumping the gun here, please. Oh, there's more. Let's keep going.

[00:21:16] Jennifer Lehr: [00:21:16] the next step for, and these are, at this point they can start, they can move around but you have to be aware of these different we'll call them building blocks of connection, areas where you actually need to have some professor proficiency, but one of the steps is.

[00:21:31]How you've been impacted by your past. And, I worked with many people and I asked him how he w you know, what was your childhood like? Oh, it was great. Big red flag. Maybe a big red flag and yeah, there are people with great childhoods, but there's also a lot of people who didn't have great childhoods and they don't know it because that memory has been pushed away.

[00:21:52]And I can think of a particular situation where I was in a parking lot and there was a mother and a little boy who was, [00:22:00] let's say he was. Four. He was little and she was screaming at the top of her lungs at him and he was wailing and I just thought, Oh God, this poor kid. So what's going to happen to him when he's older, when he's trying to have a relationship, where are what's?

[00:22:16] Where, what will he have done with his feelings? He might not have any feelings by then. He might have got rid of them, not safe to have feelings. I whale. And my mom just screams at me. I mean, who knows what his story would have been, but I call these survival skills, survival strategies. So if you're an adult and when you feel a certain way, you might act a certain way because you learned how to do that to survive as a kid, but you don't, there's no link.

[00:22:44] You don't know, Oh, I'm doing that because I learned that as a kid, because whenever I had a feeling that I got slapped or whatever, So you so unpacking the impact of the past can have a huge it can really help, people [00:23:00] understand, Oh, that's why I do this. And I don't have to do it this way.

[00:23:03] There are better ways of responding of being.

[00:23:07] Neal Hooper: [00:23:07] That is so good. And again, awareness and that presence and observations the first step. Cause you can't let go of something you're not aware of. And that's a big one. I imagine that's it was just, that takes a lot of work sometimes to get that out of people.

[00:23:21] Jennifer Lehr: [00:23:21] Well it's really? Yeah, because you can't just rip someone open. You have to slowly, build a relationship and start understanding who they are and start opening little doorways and having them start going, Oh, are little lights go on and eventually more and more opens and they get a clear picture of who they were, what they experienced, how it impacted them.

[00:23:44] And what they're so carrying around that doesn't work.

[00:23:48]And we could keep going, but that's the basic that's the basic, I mean, there's, you go deeper and you refine and refine as you go on and you do more connecting of. The surface feeling what's under it. How does it [00:24:00] affect your cycle changing, and learning how to communicate differently, because you become more aware of the nuances of your experience.

[00:24:09] Neal Hooper: [00:24:09] wow. Okay. That's huge. And I love the framework again. I think it's very thorough and again, really tying into the relationship piece, but also just being able to it's a function and move forward with confidence and feeling good about yourself. So I think there's a ton of value there and obviously as high level, and I'm sure there's a lot more that goes into each one of those steps, but thank you for sharing that.

[00:24:35]We would love for us to all just be experts right. At this relationship in life thing. And the truth is, especially in relationships, I'll take that angle because that's kind of what we're discussing here. But there is trauma that happens. There are mistakes that are made and trust is lost.

[00:24:56] And I know that's another area of expertise for you is actually [00:25:00] rebuilding trust and intimacy in your relationship after there's been an event of betrayal or some kind of loss of trust. And so I'd love for you to dive a little deeper into that and help us understand how we can do that.

[00:25:12]Jennifer Lehr: [00:25:12] Many kinds of betrayal. One of the common ones. Cost courses infidelity, but there are many kinds of betrayal, emotional betrayals just different kinds. So when you have two people and there's been a big betrayal and we'll use infidelity in this example, the party who, who will call the perpetrator, just for lack of a better word, the perpetrator needs to be able to.

[00:25:38] Have empathy and not just, I'm sorry I did that, but my heart is breaking because I broke your heart a very deep level of, Oh wow. I really hurt you. And that hurts me. They have to be able to get to that level of empathy. Often the person who cheated [00:26:00] or was the perpetrator.

[00:26:00] However we want to call it is defensive? And that's a roadblock you'll you won't get anywhere and it's not possible. So that's the first thing that has to happen 

[00:26:10]Neal Hooper: [00:26:10] And just real quick on that note, it's that looking inward that is preventing any progress from happening. And I love that you pointed that out because that level of empathy, that level of looking outward. Is incredibly humbling. And I would say, very rare even, is that fair to say

[00:26:32] Jennifer Lehr: [00:26:32] Yeah, it's hard if people don't get there right away generally. And there's a lot of shame when you've hurt someone it's shameful and there's a lot of defensiveness. People don't want to feel shame. They'll, it was your fault. I mean, people throw the blame around because who wants to feel shame and.

[00:26:48] It's a hard, it's the hardest feeling. So, yeah. So then you, so then the next thing the person who was betrayed, they're not going to forgive right away, but they would need to [00:27:00] have it as a goal. I would like to trust you again. I would like to forgive you someday.

[00:27:05] Obviously it's not going to happen in three seconds, but it has to be a goal. If they have no intention of ever forgiving or one trust person, again. That's also a game stopper. There's nowhere to get. So there's those two big pieces eventually, and this is way down the line. You have to look at the dynamics of the relationship.

[00:27:23] That allowed this to occur because I can think of a relationship I had years ago where my boyfriend cheated on me and I just wasn't tuned in enough to, I wasn't tuned in enough. And had I been, I might've said this guy really isn't fully there for me and I need to get rid of him, but I wasn't tuned in,  I was young.

[00:27:43] And so really knowing. That there's always a S a whole picture. It's not, I mean, someone might have an addiction, a sexual addiction that could cause it, but generally both parties have a role, but you can't get to that until way later, because first you have to deal with the [00:28:00] injury and rebuilding trust.

[00:28:02]Neal Hooper: [00:28:02] You kind of alluded to this and I just want to clarify. Obviously infidelity there's a whole spectrum there of what that could mean. And on one end you have, the act of going out and cheating on your significant other, and somewhere in between, there's probably online activities.

[00:28:22]Catching a partner, viewing pornography, for example could have a huge impact depending on their perspective. Is it is it the same process, even at those earlier stages?

[00:28:33]If there's that loss of trust or betrayal.

[00:28:36]Jennifer Lehr: [00:28:36] I think it is. I mean, obviously different people have different tolerances for many different things and different people have different wounds. And for some people, the partner using pornography is that non-issue and for other peoples it's devastating. But regardless if there is a wounded party who feels betrayed, the process has to be what I outlined earlier, because that person needs to know that [00:29:00] it won't happen again, that their feelings are valued, that they can, that, that they won't ever have to.

[00:29:06] Yet. Nobody wants to go through trauma more than once.

[00:29:09]Neal Hooper: [00:29:09] Yeah, that makes sense. Okay. Thank you for those those clarifying points. 

[00:29:13] Jennifer Lehr: [00:29:13] It's just to be aware that infidelity and betrayal is a tsunami in the relationship and you will have a new relationship. You will not be able to keep the same relationship if you repair it. You actually have to create a whole new relationship because the old one is over and it's that way it can be good because you could end up with something that is much better than what you started with, but it's not an easy process at all.

[00:29:40] Neal Hooper: [00:29:40] wow. And that's the ultimate, let go and play in my opinion, because that is. And we've chatted about this earlier in the conversation. That's going to be really hard to not hold onto what you had and to just kind of start over clean. But that's a very important part of the process.

[00:29:56]You mentioned something earlier and [00:30:00] that I thought was interesting about needing to and you might have to remind me the wording here, but yeah. Kind of your new identity as a couple versus your identity as an individual. And is that a fair way of putting it

[00:30:16]That, that when you come together, you gotta figure out what your new identity is.

[00:30:20]As a couple rather.

[00:30:21]Jennifer Lehr: [00:30:21] I would just send you that when you take two individuals and they let's suppose we're formed and we have ideas about ourselves in our lives. And you put them together that, so in that context you do have to figure out what, who are we as a couple? This is a little different than when I'm talking about repairing and fidelity, because in that case, the relationship and the ways you were is over, because it allowed something to happen.

[00:30:47]Neal Hooper: [00:30:47] When you mentioned it earlier, I was thinking when my wife and I got married, it was funny because. As a single person, you make friends and you're just factoring in how you and that individual gel, but then [00:31:00] after you get married and you're trying to make friends, it kind of creates this whole new dynamic and you have to think through, okay, us as a couple now are going to gel very differently than I did as an individual with certain people.

[00:31:11] And so I just thought that was a good thing to keep in mind. 

[00:31:14] Jennifer Lehr: [00:31:14] Yeah, well, I think to have a healthy relationship, you have to work out of, like, I have friends that  my husband knows them, but he's not really friends with them the way I are. And he has friends that I know, but I don't, I'm not really close to them the way he is. And then we have friends that we know together that work, and that just part of, there's no, what is it?

[00:31:31]The Venn diagram with the overlap

[00:31:34] Neal Hooper: [00:31:34] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:31:35] Jennifer Lehr: [00:31:35] and different people have different overlaps, according to what they need. And, you do run into a problem if one wants a complete overlap and the other one wants to circle to very barely touch, right? But that's that's part of figuring out how to be a couple, how to be the specific couple that you are to the best ability.

[00:31:53] Yeah.

[00:31:54] Neal Hooper: [00:31:54] wow. That is awesome. You've shared so many good nuggets and I [00:32:00] just so grateful for your expertise and. I would love to know in your experience again you've had a lot of experience. You've worked with a lot of people.

[00:32:08] What's like, what's been the. The best victory, I guess, for a couple that's come and worked with you or maybe that's come from that most dire circumstance and then had a big win. I don't know if you have any stories like that off the top of your head, you could share.

[00:32:22]Jennifer Lehr: [00:32:22] I would say my relationship is the best victory because my first marriage was extremely difficult and I'm in my second marriage. And we did in, I mean, we had, the first six months is generally bliss, which it was, and then you start hitting the, the problems. And we did some therapy together.

[00:32:40] I think I did every other week for a year or two with him, but I was writing, we can sell. So I was learning a lot and I was writing and he was reading and editing and we had a lot to talk about because of that process. And it enabled us to. Really work, understand each other work through huge like differences.

[00:32:58]Like I understand why he [00:33:00] reacts the way he reacts sometimes because of the conversations we've had and he understands why I get upset the way I, so there's a much it's like the weaving of the two cloth, the two cloths get woven together with understanding and story and a bit bility too.

[00:33:15] To connect in a deep hole, deep way where both people, their whole selves are coming in and that's, I'm just using me for an example because I think we have a particularly good relationship. And so that's why I'm bringing that up.

[00:33:30]Neal Hooper: [00:33:30] I like to brag about my marriage as well when I get the chance to, so that's awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of these wonderful concepts with our listeners. And we're so excited to to share this before we get to our last question, the pro tip that they can take and apply.

[00:33:50] I just want to know if our listeners want more Jennifer, they want they want to learn more about what you're doing. Where do we send them?

[00:34:00] [00:34:00] Jennifer Lehr: [00:34:00] You can sell.com w E C O N C I L E like reconcile, but we can style. That's the website. I have a blog with a lot of articles on relationship in different subjects. I also, Jennifer Lear mft.com where I do more personal writing. I have a free quiz or relationship quality quiz. We consult.com/quiz. I'm on Instagram and Facebook at wee concile.

[00:34:24]Those are. Yeah that's probably the best way to

[00:34:27] Neal Hooper: [00:34:27] That is awesome. Okay. So you heard it here. She's got a free quiz, so make sure you go check that out. We'll put it in the show notes, the link for that. So you can go and and again, for this quiz, what are they learning about themselves when they take this.

[00:34:41]Jennifer Lehr: [00:34:41] It's just 10 questions. So I made it short. But they're going to learn how they score. In a couple of different areas, including hope about the relationship, sexuality conflict understanding of each other, blah, blah. There's like, I think six, probably six categories. I'm not sure. And [00:35:00] yeah.

[00:35:00] And so then they get actually a score that says, okay, you're doing good or okay. You better jump on this before it's too late. So

[00:35:07] Neal Hooper: [00:35:07] Okay. Awesome. That sounds very valuable. Thank you so much for offering that to our listeners. And and again, thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. Now for the last question, what is one pro tip for applying and developing the skill of happiness that you would share with our audience?

[00:35:28] Jennifer Lehr: [00:35:28] Oh, my there's so many tips. So, I'm gonna, this is an odd tip, but I'm gonna throw it in there. Because it seems disconnected, but it's not. So I've practiced yoga for how many years. More approaching 30 years now which is a long time and what it taught me, you're on the mat and that's your little universe and you notice, Oh, I don't like this isn't fun.

[00:35:55] Or that person's doing it better than me or. Oh, I don't like that [00:36:00] teacher she's ganja yet. And you start witnessing a lot of yourself because you're stuck in this spot . And it's a really good way to to develop, present centered awareness which you need. If you're working on a relationship, now I could give other tips.

[00:36:16] That's a very sort of general how to develop presence, centered awareness. But it's a really good one, a good method to do that. In terms of relationships you want, if you're not curious about your partner, you want to look at the blocks to your curiosity. So your partner's upset and you're mad at them for being upset.

[00:36:36] Can you be curious? Why are they upset and why do I not want to be curious about this what's going on? So that would be a good thing to just take us. Self-inquiry.

[00:36:48] Neal Hooper: [00:36:48] wow. What a great question to ask, because that is huge and that applies to couples, but also if you're. On a date with someone I'm assuming [00:37:00] that applies as well there. So that is awesome. Jennifer, thank you so much. You've been so gracious with your time and your knowledge and we are so enlightened and better off for having had you with us.

[00:37:13] So thank you so much

[00:37:14]wow. That is good stuff. Whether you are in a relationship or marriage or you're in the dating scene. And you're just trying to find out how to connect with people. Today's show armed you with a lot of very concrete applications of play theory in relational setting. So I hope that this week you will move forward, that you will become introspective. And remember the pro tip that she shared. 

[00:37:40]To be curious about your partner. And again, that applies in friendships as well as relationships. 

[00:37:48]So take that one to the bank. 

[00:37:50]Thank you so much for joining us today on the happiness playbook. Remember to look outward, to let go and play this small stuff and accept and [00:38:00] build upon the hardships and become a better you and to build a better relationship. 

[00:38:06]Thanks for tuning in and as always, I just wanted to remind you 

[00:38:10] that happiness is a skill and life is a team sport and we are so glad to be on your team. Catch you next week. 

Calling all parents and caretakers! On today's show we sit down with Stephanie Whiting to discuss PLAY THEORY and parenting. We chat about parenting, marriage, anxiety, shyness, and performing and how PLAY THEORY positively impacts ALL of them! Such good content...

Stephanie is an amazing warrior momma of 6 kids (5 girls, 1 boy)…She loves spending time with her family. She’s a running, soccer, hiking, reading, and musical theater enthusiast. Her and her family recently bought a ranch and they love riding their horses into the sunset and caring for all 16 horses that are at their property. Stephanie is also the Momager for her her kid’s music group called Torch family music (see link below). 

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Take note of your day-to-day application of PLAY THEORY principles in a journal. Reflect on the experiences you’ve had and how you can better apply them in the future. This intentional reflection and application of the principles will help you exercise the muscle of happiness!

Life is a team sport! Come join the conversation and play with us!

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