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Today I’m welcoming Dr. Sarah Rattray to the podcast.

We’re digging into how to improve our relationship during the fertility journey.

Dr. Sarah Rattray, leading Couples Psychologist for over 30 years, is founder and CEO of the Couples Communication Institute, which is dedicated to helping couples achieve lasting closeness and intimacy through effective communication

I can’t believe I’m about to celebrate 25 years of marriage in June. We met each other at our university bar called the – The Rat (yep it was a hole in the wall). I was wearing one of my super short skirts (cue 90’s fashion) plus a coat with a fur collar that he called my beaver pelt (yeah he made me laugh – score a point for him).

I remember how bloodshot his eyes were (nothing like cheap draft beer), what a very large school ring he was wearing on his finger (that’s ring has been replaced lol), and how cute he was!

Six years later we were married and then we started trying for kids. My husband is a very calm person – next to my excitable, always needs a plan (i.e. controlling nature). When I received my premature ovarian failure diagnosis he was right there by my side.

The only time I got angry with him was when I wanted to get a dog and he didn’t want one – (I’m not a big crier – but I broke down telling him I needed this dog – because we couldn’t have kids right now). Our dog Sadie came along 18 months before our daughter, Ava, and then our son Will was born 3 years later.

We’ve been through a lot together and no marriage is perfect – but we continue to work on ourselves and communicate with each other. And after all these years I still laugh at his jokes, he tolerates my crazy ideas and when our dog Sadie passed away – I wanted to get another dog – 4 years later he finally relented and little Rosie joined our family – and since my husband has been working at home – this dog is his constant companion and barely notices me!

The fertility journey can either make your relationship stronger or it can tear you apart.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

1) How to stop nagging and criticizing.

2) What to do when you feel contempt or not valuing your partner’s feelings or opinions.

3) How do we stop being defensive and take responsibility and apologies for our actions.

4) How to reconnect with our partner and start conversations about our dreams/goals for the future.

TIMESTAMPS:

  • 06:28- INTRO TO TODAY’S EPISODE AND DR. SARAH RATTRAY’S BIO

    07:02- DR. SARAH RATTRAY’S JOURNEY AND INTEREST IN THIS WORK

    “Couple actualization”

    09:00-  GOTTMAN THERAPY

    What makes the difference between the “masters” and the “disasters” of relationships?

    10:54-  INTRO TO THE GOTTMAN MODEL

    “The four horsemen to the apocalypse”

    Through struggles some people grow closer some grow apart- how come?

    “When something doesn’t sit well with you, you have to tell your partner.”

    “You need to share your feelings with your partner”

    12:28- CRITICISM AND ITS ANTIDOTE

    The difference between a complaint and criticism

    The importance of being objective and not blaming

    The cornerstone of a strong relationship: Thinking of what you appreciate

    Leading with criticism – a “harsh start-up”

    17:34- TWO KINDS OF AWARENESS (AND WHY THIS MATTERS)

    18:53- DEFENSIVENESS AND ITS ANTIDOTE

    Defensiveness usually follows criticism

    Being in a “state of defensiveness”

    Taking responsibility for what you do

    “Taking responsibility takes inner strength”

    23:15- CONTEMPT AND ITS ANTIDOTE

    The danger of contempt in a relationship

    An example of contempt in an everyday situation

    A “one-up” to a “one down” situation

    How to know if you are doing things contemptuously 

    The difference between “sharing your knowledge” and using contempt

    “A culture of appreciation.”

    Understanding that often the behavior is driven by our values

    How to find what you appreciate about your partner

    33:48- STONEWALLING AND ITS ANTIDOTE

    36:20- HOW TO STOP FIGHTING WITH YOUR PARTNER

    38:05- RECONNECTING WHEN YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A STRUGGLE

    Having a conversation with your partner about connecting

    We connect by “bringing it up”

    41:16- WHAT IF ONE PARTNER DOESN’T WANT TO TALK?

    Openly addressing objection and avoidance

    43:28- SHARING LIFE DREAMS WITH EACH OTHER (WHEN YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A STRUGGLE)

    When you want to connect with your partner make space for one person to speak and the other person to focus on listening to understand

    Why and how to truly listen to your partner

    Let your partner know your goal in your conversation

    What if a conversation about having fun is triggering?

    51:45- DETAILS ABOUT FREE COMMUNICATION QUIZ

    53:00- FINAL THOUGHTS FROM DR. RATTRAY

    “If you need support, reach out.”

    “Don’t struggle if you don’t have the skills to connect.”

    “Reaching out is an investment in your relationship.”

Resources:

 

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