Episode 55 of the Hope4Med podcast features Dr. George “Jeep” Naum and Vanessa Naum, who have been marriage coaches for over 25 years and specializing in physician marriage since 2018. Dr. George and Vanessa talk about the challenges in physician marriages and how they navigated them during their 30 years of marriage. They discuss the importance of communication in marriage and recognizing equality and respect for individual contributions to a marriage.
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Check out What’s Forever For?: A Physician’s Guide for Everlasting Love and Success in Marriage on Amazon.
[00:00:00] Dr. JB: Welcome to Hope4Med.
[00:00:04] Hi everyone, welcome back to the Hope4Med podcast. I am your host, Dr. JB, and today’s featured guest is Dr. George and Vanessa. Dr. George and Vanessa have been marriage coaches for over 25 years and have been specializing in physician marriage coaching since 2018. Welcome to the show!
[00:00:26] Dr. George: Thanks for having us, Dr. JB, you do great work and we’re just happy to be a small part of it.
[00:00:32] Vanessa: Absolutely. Thanks so much.
[00:00:34] Dr. JB: Well, I am very excited to learn about your guys’ story, so let’s start from the beginning. How did you guys meet and how did you guys get into marriage coaching?
[00:00:46] Vanessa: Okay. How we met, which is interesting, I was relocating to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was–
[00:00:56] Dr. George: we live in wheeling West Virginia, by the way.
[00:00:59] Vanessa: I’m sorry.
[00:01:00] Dr. George: Pittsburgh is about an hour east of us.
[00:01:04] Dr. JB: Okay.
[00:01:04] Vanessa: I was relocating to Pittsburgh and I was leaving a marriage that was broken. It was not working and my partner was unwilling to put the work into it, so I moved to Pittsburgh and was working there and was introduced to Jeep, and we– I’m sorry, his nickname’s Jeep.
[00:01:32] Dr. JB: I was like, a.k.a Dr. George, but yes.
[00:01:36] Vanessa: Yeah, all of the above, right? And we met and the rest is history, right?
[00:01:44] Dr. George: Yeah, just to give you a little bit about my background, I, and what makes us a little bit different, I think, from other coaches is that I had background in physician marriage dating back to the sixties. I was born into one. And it was it wasn’t a good marriage. It was a marriage that was fraught with a lot of disrespect, a lot of emotional, verbal, and occasionally physical abuse, and subsequent to that, unfortunately, there are came infidelity. So I, I learned how these marriages were from an early age and he, my dad, was somebody who thought, I’m a doctor, I’m, I’m the man in the house. I’m the one that says– I’m the one that whatever I say goes and my mother really never had much of a of a saying things and he never really felt that what she contributed to the marriage was of any significance, despite the fact that she was raising five kids and taking care of the house. And so it, it just was a very dysfunctional relationship. And my grandfather was a physician and so just raised around that and when I was aware really of what marriage was about, I was determined to make it so when I came of age that I would not be part of something like that. I would not disrespect my partner and I would I give my partner all the credibility in the world for her contribution, and so that, I was in training and Vanessa thankfully came by, came by my pathway and we had a lot of the same interests and beliefs in that, and really shortly after we were married, we got involved in marriage coaching and it’s been going on from there now, through training and practice, I’ve seen what our brothers and our colleagues go through, and we kind of thought, really we need to head down this path and be there for our colleagues. And so that’s what we’ve done, incredibly fulfilled in doing so since 2018.
[00:04:25] Vanessa: And especially because of COVID, there’s a lot of pain out there. A lot of pain.
[00:04:34] Dr. JB: That’s so true. So, speak more to that, what have you guys been seeing in terms of pain?
[00:04:41] Vanessa: In terms of the pain is docs being so ingrained and involved with their work that they’re having trouble disconnecting from that at home. And because they’re having trouble disconnecting from work at home, they are not connecting with their spouses. So there in lies, there in lies the pain. They’re feeling very much alone, not feeling that they could talk to their spouse about what, what they go through on a daily basis because some are feeling, they don’t want to burden them, they don’t want to appear to be dumping on them. And some just, are just holding it all in.
[00:05:24] Dr. George: I’ll give you a little, for instance, now this hasn’t happened during COVID, but I think this type of thing has magnified a hundred-fold problem. When, when I was at practice, and I’m not right now, we’re doing this full time. I would come home for a 12-hour day, 7 to 7, walk through the door. And it had been a oftentimes very chaotic, stressful day with a variety of different issues that had happened. And so, my brain was numb to say the least. So I would walk through Vanessa would be in the kitchen– and early on, she also was the office manager. So she not only had the responsibilities of running my office, but you had the responsibilities of coming home, taking care of the kids, keeping the house, but me, I was just interested in what I was dealing with at work. So I would come home, take off my coat, sit in my chair, look at the TV and I was oblivious to anything else was going on.
[00:06:32] So after a while, Vanessa, fortunately she spoke up to me and basically said, what gives? I understand that you’re stressed, but so am I. I only take, I only take care of the office, but I leave, go pick up our kids, come home, make dinner, they’re clawing on me while I’m making dinner, and you come in and act like you’re not a part of any of this. And so, after a while, and it took her to figuratively knock on my head and say, Hey, wake up, and understand that I can’t do all of this alone nor should I, so I made it a point to come home, take a little bit of time, then eat, and oftentimes meals are on the fly with, with our relationship, especially when kids are involved, and so we would do that. Then I would go upstairs and she’d be downstairs taking care of the kitchen or whatever else, phone calls, and I would go up and bathe the kids and take them and tuck him in and read a bedtime story. And re thinking back on that, had she not called that to my attention that I had continued to be disconnected from home because of the office, I would’ve missed out on some of the most amazing times in my kids’ lives. And I, and I, I, I tingled thinking about that, that that could have been an issue. And so then after that, then we would sit down and I said, okay, honey, tell me about your, what’s been going on with you? And give her equal time. And coming to that, just that realization made all the differences.
[00:08:22] Vanessa: Yeah. This took some time and effort and I didn’t just snap my fingers and it happened, it was a major conflict between both of us. I would say it probably lasted a few years. And as a result of that, resentment was building on a daily basis. And when resentment enters the marital picture, it’s the exact opposite of connection, and I, I didn’t feel like I was cared for. I didn’t feel like he was listening to me. I felt that that was a by-product of his watching his parents, and he just caught that, subconsciously caught that, he did not realize what he was doing. And um, but it, we used the tools that we teach and he heard. And…
[00:09:19] Dr. George: yeah, you, I kind of– and let’s face it as physicians, to be able to go through what we get through to become physicians with training and everything, there’s got to be a little bit of an ego fair to be able to do that. So, and I’m thinking I’m doing everything right, and she rightfully brings up and says, remember your dad? He thought that too. And my dad, God love him, he’s still alive at 89, but he’s, he’s was it a narcissist when I was growing up and he’s still a narcissist now.
[00:09:54] Vanessa: Nothing has changed.
[00:09:55] Dr. George: Nothing’s changed there, but it was, I was deluded and thinking that none of that was rubbing off on me and. And she called that to my attention and we communicated through it. We talked through it, and we got through it. So, and she was, she took a decision in love to have patience with me. And that was, that was huge.
[00:10:24] Dr. JB: So there’s a couple of words that you guys use that I wanted to explore a little bit more. This resentment that you, Vanessa, were feeling towards your husband, towards Jeep– can I call you that?
[00:10:38] Vanessa: Yes.
[00:10:40] Dr. George: Absolutely.
[00:10:42] Dr. JB: So, yeah, so this resentment that you were feeling, how did you overcome that?
[00:10:51] Vanessa: I knew that he was working hard every day. And because we worked together, I knew what he was going through, so I could empathize with that, but still I needed what I needed, right? So it was a juggling act of empathy for what he did and then me saying, you know, I really need help and, and I’m struggling too, and we’re a team here. But it was, I mean, it was a struggle because with resentment comes anger and some, oh, sometimes the anger would be so intense that it was very, very hard not to throw things.
[00:11:35] Dr. George: She never got even close to that.
[00:11:37] Vanessa: No, I didn’t, but I’m telling you it was inside myself. I had to talk myself out of it, but yeah, I mean the anger and the resentment was real. And how did that show up? It showed up in our relationship. It showed up in the bedroom and, and that’s what we bring to the table. How now to effectively talk to one another so that you can be on each other’s level and be teammates through life.
[00:12:15] Dr. George: Basically talking the talk, but I wasn’t walking the walk and, but through it all, I mean, our relationship’s always been number one. And like she said, it took some figurative knocking on my head to really understand that, but, but you also, when you when it reaches the bedroom and that becomes an issue, and I’m continually saying, what’s a matter, what’s the matter? What, what did I do? What’s wrong? And I guess after hearing what she was telling, then I, you know, the wall started coming down and I made time to understand and listen. And so, that’s how it started to get better, at least from my perspective.
[00:13:09] Vanessa: And to your–
[00:13:10] Dr. JB: Oh, go ahead.
[00:13:11] Vanessa: To your listeners, this might sound very, like sound to them that this was a simple process for us, the steps through it, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t, but we, we kept at it.
[00:13:26] Dr. JB: You mentioned it’s been a couple years.
[00:13:28] Vanessa: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:13:30] Dr. JB: So it seems like one of the key components was communication.
[00:13:36] Vanessa: Yes. And the right type, and the right type of communication.
[00:13:41] Dr. JB: Okay, right type of communication. What do you mean by that?
[00:13:46] Vanessa: What I mean by that are the words that we use to communicate with each other and, and creatively choosing not to step on land mines by throwing the “you” out there. Like you don’t listen to me, you don’t do this, and putting our spouses on the defensive. That is a surefire way to having an argument, not really resolve anything. So we just overcame that.
[00:14:22] Dr. George: Throwing words besides you, you know, hurtful words, and one word that you and I for lack of a better word, I really preach this, is when you’re having a discussion and it’s a, in its argument, never used the word but because what the word but does, is it basically removes every positive thing that you’ve said up to that point. Like for instance, yeah, I understand what you’re saying, I was wrong for thinking that I should have come home earlier like I promise, but… so you’d never– or it’s corollary, you don’t use however, you say if you want to go in and explain it a little bit further, you can say and. And this is what was going on at the time, and I should have thought better, I should have texted you. I should have given you notice. I know the kids were disappointed because we weren’t able to make it to dinner. We, and so, that’s what you use. And at least with us and the people that we’ve coached, that works a whole lot better because you’d be surprised how often the word but is used, it’s used a lot and it’s very disrespectful when you think about it. When you’re talking, it basically doesn’t give any credibility to the person that you’re talking to. Least of all, the person you love the most.
[00:16:07] Dr. JB: And so three words to not use during a conversation with your significant other you, but, and however, did I hear that correctly?
[00:16:17] Dr. George: Yeah.
[00:16:20] Dr. JB: So, what is the significance about the bedroom? So when you said, it was showing up in the bedroom, were you talking about like intimacy or were you talking about when those doors close and it’s just you and your significant other in the bedroom, that’s where the tension is really felt, like emotional-wise?
[00:16:37] Vanessa: Actually both, but specifically within intimacy because for me, and what I’m finding for women, is if there’s resentment and anger there over an unresolved problem, it’s very hard to get our desire for our spouse into gear. It’s just super difficult. So it was showing up as a desire issue. And also, sometimes we would take our arguments to the bedroom, and that’s something that we advise to our coachees to really stay away from. I, there should be two reasons for the bedroom sleeping, and intimacy and sex. And, and that should be a positive haven for the couple to go to.
[00:17:34] Dr. George: And really what I have noticed with, with spouses, with the wife or that partner, is oftentimes it’s things are thought about before going into the bedroom, brought into the bedroom. So if feelings of desire aren’t there prior to coming into the bedroom, they certainly aren’t going to be there when you’re in the bedroom. And it’s when they’re not there and they’re repeatedly not there, as I’ve told a lot of clients, you have the wonder why it’s there. And if it’s bothering you, it’s incumbent upon you to find out why. And oftentimes it’s like, oh, well just turn over and just– we, like Vanessa said, we try not to have a, have a argument in the bedroom. I will, she will tell me what’s going on, and then I will say, okay, so we’ll talk about this tomorrow. And then, so it continues to be the space that it’s supposed to be, not an area to have arguments, especially arguments that can that, that can potentially become heated. So we keep that space free.
[00:18:58] Vanessa: And think about it, docs are coming home late, right? They’re having dinner, connecting with their spouses, connecting with their children and doing whatever they want to do socially to enjoy that part of not working. Sometimes the only time they get a chance to speak to each other is in the bedroom. And so therefore where we’re really teaching that, let’s start engaging before you get there.
[00:19:36] Dr. George: Imagine, and we’re of that age group, Vanessa is post-menopausal, I’m early sixties. And so the, the aging changes that happen. So Vanessa’s, post-menopausal, I’m in my early sixties, and so I think it’s changed from a desire point of view for, you know, lack of a problem that she’s having. So imagine taking resentment into the bedroom on top of being at a point in your life where desire doesn’t come like that. So that just compounds the problem and telling on myself. I, as a doctor, I completely understand the changes, but sometimes my own wants are, they creep their head and I’m not being as understanding as, as I should be, which is a no, which is not good on me at all. And so what does that do is if she’s taking resentment into the bedroom before then, then resenment gets even bigger. And this is something that we all, from an aging point of view, have to deal with as we get older, so…
[00:20:59] Vanessa: Definitely. Physical and psychological desire, definitely changes through our lives and as we age, it’s like, it’s really a huge topic.
[00:21:14] Dr. George: Yeah, it is. And you were talking about intimacy, there’s more than just physical intimacy and all, and all are important. And I’ll just mention a couple of other ones, intellectual intimacy, meaning do you, could you sit and have a discussion and have an engaging discussion, not on your marriage or, but on particular topics that you’re interested in and can, can you relate? Or somebody, well, no, I don’t want to talk about this, I’m more interested in that. And occasionally that’s okay, but when that happens repetitively, one or each of you start to think, well, What are we going to talk about that, for whatever reason, we, we have we’re not engaging or connecting on that level. So that leads into other problems, like, causes an issue with emotional intimacy. And if you don’t have good emotional intimacy, physical intimacy is just not going to happen as we’ve been, as we’ve talked about. If we’re not emotionally connected in there with each other, before we go into the bedroom, certainly we’re not going to be ready for any kind of physical contact. As I tell a lot of our clients, I say intimacy starts when you wake up in the morning. It’s not just, and it’s throughout the day.
[00:22:42] Vanessa: The little things, the little things that you do that mean a lot.
[00:22:47] Dr. George: And some of us just think we’re going to go in there and it’s that, and really don’t concentrate or focus on what’s happened throughout the day, so it’s huge.
[00:23:02] Dr. JB: Interesting. So, does this have to go along the lines of like the love languages when you say things are throughout the day, is that incorporating that or not?
[00:23:12] Vanessa: Absolutely, that’s part of it. Absolutely.
[00:23:16] Dr. George: What I would say, little things like doing something around the house, say it’s on a weekend, say we’re, we’re not working. And I decide that I’m going to do the laundry. I hate doing it, but I’m going to do it because she I’m giving her time to do something else that she wants to do. So, she doesn’t have to focus on. Or one of the kids needs to go to dinner, and she’s the one who usually goes, but I’m going to give her a break and I’m going to take make a habit decision to love and say, honey, I’m going to take kids to dance. I will stop out, sit there, I’ll be with them till they’re done, take care of getting them dressed and undressed. Then I’ll be back home. It’s those, those kinds of things that draws your connection even closer. And then that you’re having good feelings, desire oftentimes will start to increase in your intimacy starts to spark and that, believe me, that it works.
[00:24:36] Dr. JB: And so do you communicate that I’m doing this so that you can have a break or do you do it, and then, the, the, the significant other should hopefully we’ll realize, oh, you want to give me a break?
[00:24:50] Vanessa: Absolutely. Yeah, like, thank you for doing that. Thank you for taking trash out of the can and taking it to the garage. Yeah, because when he does that and helps me out, it makes me feel like he cares, and because he cares, it increases the connection that we have. So, it’s just another thing that builds upon itself through the day. Certainly love languages definitely are part of that. And the kiss in the morning, the kiss when he walks through the door.
[00:25:30] Dr. George: Saying I love you.
[00:25:32] Vanessa: Yeah. The texts, like thinking about you, can’t wait to see you tonight, really, really mean a lot.
[00:25:42] Dr. George: And in addition to that kind of dovetails with this is Vanessa lives with a chronic illness. And so as a result of her chronic illness, she has days where she has extreme fatigue and she has, she said severe pain. And this has been ongoing throughout our marriage and as a physician I’ve understood where this comes from sometimes. Was it frustrating coming home from the office and things that were going to be done weren’t done? It was frustrating, yeah, but I also knew that she didn’t choose to feel this way. So I make a step in a decision in love to understand and take more consciously when I would get home in doing things and same thing on the weekend. So if you don’t have that kind of an attitude, especially in somebody who has really bad days, you’re, it’s really going to cause communication issues.
[00:26:46] I could take it, had I not understood, I could have been resentful about that, but definitely who chooses to be that way? No, people don’t. And so I, it has just drawn us closer, especially on those bad days because there’s this understanding and there’s this willingness to say, okay, I can only give 30% to our relationship today, but that 30% is my hundred percent, ‘cause that’s all I can give. So you’re going to have to take– and it’s understood, not stated. You’re going to have to take that 70% and that will be your hundred percent. Is that going to happen all the time? No, it it’s going to. It’s going to be different for each of us at different times. And because as long as you know that and there this willingness to understand it during those times, again, it makes you stronger. It connects you deeper.
[00:27:55] Dr. JB: And so far during our conversation, we’ve been putting it in the context of the male being the physician and the female not being in healthcare and not being a physician. So what have you guys seen when the roles are reversed, when the female is the physician and the male is maybe stay-at-home dad or when there’s two physicians?
[00:28:21] Dr. George: What, what I would say, and I apologize for putting it in that, in those words prior, I believe me, our clients there’s, we’ve had two physician marriages and the wife who’s the physician and the other spouse is doing another job. So, in a case like that we would say– okay, and the problem is that the husband, despite the fact that the wife who’s a physician has what she has to deal with at work, there’s still this expectation that when she gets home, she’s going to pick off, pick up where she left off from work, she’s still going to cook dinner. She’s going to be the one who’s going to be picking up the kids. She’s going to be the one that’s goes to the store. She’s going to be the one that still is going to do all this stuff, which at one time stereotypically was okay, you’re the husband, you have this job. You’re the wife, you have this job. Well, that’s still, unfortunately, we still see that, which shouldn’t happen, but especially in a situation like that happens. And so when they come, what I’m going to do is say, okay what, what do you see the problem is? And I’ll be talking to the husband, she’s the– you don’t have a problem with the fact that, not only is she doing everything that she’s doing and then she’s coming home and doing what you expect for her to do and she’s getting likely has been getting burned out at work, but now she’s getting burned out at home, right? How fair do you think that is?
[00:30:15] Vanessa: I think what really helps us to have a conversation around division of outside of the job and really focused on, okay. Here’s what all needs to be done. And how are we going to divide this up so that we both feel that it’s fair and we can agree on it and try to get out of the stereotypical patterns of female working, female coming home, doing the dinner, taking care of the kids and the husband contributing a little, but you know, what have you, you may not. So I think a conversation around division of labor is important.
[00:31:03] Dr. George: And I’ve seen a lot of resentment from, from women physicians because if you, if the decision is made to have children, who’s going to have the, who’s going to have to deal with that? Yes. She is. She’s going to be, she’s going to be pregnant. She’s going to be working up to a certain point and she’s going to go through labor. She’s going to go through all of that. She’s, and then she’s going to come home and probably will have some time off her job. And it varies according to each physician what their, what they want or what they’re allowed to have, and if the husband with whatever he does is not, like Vanessa said, if there’s not been this division of labor and he’s not willing to pitch in step in and help, then her resentment it gets a lot more intense.
[00:32:03] And then talking about dual physician household, it’s again, we still have the he’s a physician, she’s a physician, but if there’s going to be the wanting to have kids and there’s an ability to have kids or adopt or what or surrogate or whatever you have, you may be, there is still going to be the wife physician who’s going to have to deal with the majority of this. And if there isn’t this division of labor, and what’s really important with that division of labor, there’s, you have to have a discussion. Are you– do you think that I’m doing enough? Do you think I’m being fair? Do you think I’m being understanding? Am I, am I contributing equally to this relationship? And if you don’t have that, then resentment is huge. And we see it time and time again.
[00:33:03] Vanessa: I think what’s important also to talk about is because we also do pre-marital coaching and that is getting some of these concepts and topics ironed out before you get married, because if you wait until after you get married, it’s just so much harder. It’s so much harder.
[00:33:27] Dr. George: Unfortunately, there’s a, when you make that commitment that you’re going to get engaged. That’s when real substantive conversations should take place. Unfortunately, if there are substantive discussions that you disagree with, you tend to skate over them and say, well, it’s too hard to talk about is too uncomfortable to talk about, let’s just–
[00:33:51] Vanessa: and we did that on a certain topic and that was having children and we really didn’t fully get that ironed out before we got married. And I thought, well, that’ll just take care of itself when we’re married. And it did not. And the conflict was, I wanted one child, I didn’t think with my physical limitations and my chronic illness, that I would be able to take care of more than one child and so there was a lot of fear there. And Jeep just really couldn’t connect with at all and of course, wanted more than one child. He came, uh, his mother was a single child and she always wished that she would have brothers and sisters, and so, he said we don’t want our daughter to be an only child.
[00:34:44] Dr. George: So I was like, she said, I, I’ve two brothers and two sisters, she’s got one brother. And so I had always had a playmate growing up, always had somebody to talk to, and constantly hearing from my mom how she regretted not being able to have, and it wasn’t that she couldn’t have my, my grandmother couldn’t have any more kids after she was born, it was just always my thought that it wasn’t fair to have a child be an only child, if there was a, there was an ability. Sometimes if, because of infertility or a lot of different reasons, that can’t happen. And so I was obstinate, I was not nearly as understanding as I could be. And we ignored this prior to marriage because it always caused a fight. It was she would cry then I would feel bad and I made this stupid assumption that okay, once the rings are on, we’re going to be able to work through this. And that’s a mistake. It, one of the, one of the worst mistakes that is so common that I see with couples, physician couples, you need to talk about things like, okay, I’m still in training.
[00:36:08] But okay, I’m, I mean, residency I don’t think I want to stay here. Is that okay with you? Where I’m looking for a fellowship at this hospital that is on the other side of the country. Are you okay with going? Because your family is here, you have a good relationship with your family. Is this going to be a real problem if we move? How many kids do we want to have? Those are substantive things that need to be talked to, uh, talked about ahead, but they’re not. And part of that issue is that premarital preparation is, yeah, it’s just not what it should be. It’s not encouraged. And what we end up seeing is marriages that had there been adequate preparation and a decision made to say, we defer too much here, we really shouldn’t be getting married.
[00:37:04] Vanessa: Or if you can’t work out your unsolvable problems, because there will be some that you have a struggle solving, and it just takes negotiation and a decision.
[00:37:16] Dr. George: Yes, definitely. But some things need not happen if there’s been a lot of preparation and that so often just it’s almost an epidemic that it seems so.
[00:37:31] Dr. JB: So, do you guys find that a lot of physicians, they’re just, just not prepared for the rigors of physician married life and is it just because of the, you know, counseling and prenatal– premarital counseling, or is there more to it than that?
[00:37:51] Vanessa: I think it’s more to it than that. The F the physicians that that’s an occupation, right. But it’s also, it’s also an identity. I mean, there it’s, it encapsulates a life and, but the reasons why folks get married and, the reason why they go to marriage is the same. It doesn’t differ. It’s not different with physicians. So it’s really about communicating what’s important to you, whether you’re a physician or not, their concepts are the same.
[00:38:31] Dr. George: Yeah. And I, I would expound on that a little bit inside. If you’re not in a dual physician marriage, certainly. And if you’re in training or even if you’ve become one, the person you are marrying has to have a, a good idea of what they’re in for, whether it be rounding, whether it be, and so I can–
[00:38:56] Vanessa: I’ll give you a good example. I was not prepared for the amount of time that he spent away from our home because of the amount of time he was spending training. However, my situation was a little different because I grew up in a home business. So. I watched my parents manage that business and it was, it encounter– it encapsulated our lives and we had the, the saying whatever it takes, do whatever it takes, so that was something that I was used to, and it was just so interesting that I was able to understand more adequately, understand what he had to do because it came with the territory and I could understand it and I can empathize with him because of it.
[00:39:53] Dr. George: Like I will, I’ll give you an example. As we all do as physicians, when we come out of training, we have student loans that we have to pay off, and so, really I started moonlighting when I was a resident, I was able to, after a year in residency, I was able to get my license. So I moonlighted and that was so we could get not only live so we could get our uh, my, my student loans paid off. So, I would, in addition to my practice and when I started my practice and family medicine, I was going to five different hospitals in order to build my practice. On Tuesdays I would work night shift in ER, and so I would go to work and then shift started at 7 and went until 7. And so, some nights weren’t busy, but other nights were very busy. So, that is where you have this thought, okay, I’m doing this and I’m doing this to help us financially to help get these loans paid off so we can start to look at achieving these goals that we have. But at the same time, you also have to keep in mind, I’m putting my spouse out because I’m staying away. Yes, there’s this understanding that you’re doing this thing for us, but you are also you’re also away and that is something that you, that that could be an internal conflict and you have to get settled.
[00:41:30] Vanessa: You know, Jeep had goals, individual goals. I had individual goals and then we had couple goals and that’s where that decision for him to work extra in order to pay the loans down. We had, we had a plan, so effectively we agreed on the plan. It was a couple plan. And that plan was to, for me, us to sacrifice spending a little time with each other to get those loans paid down so that we could live a little more comfortably afterwards. And I come from a financial background, so it was very important for me in our security to not have that debt on our back.
[00:42:15] Dr. George: Thank God she came from funding.
[00:42:20] Vanessa: So sometimes that can be stressful too, too worried about it. But anyway, so that was that, that was our plan. So I think also discussing what’s your plan for life? You know, and revisit that plan. And that’s where we come in to help coach couples through that.
[00:42:46] Dr. JB: So with that with that being said, my question for you is if my listener wanted to find out more about you, how can they do so?
[00:42:57] Dr. George: Well, you can go to our website and we’ve got it all on there. And it’s been such a great and fruitful discussion and you’re so easy to talk to. We’ve really enjoyed this, but we’ve not talked about our program, which I’m just going to gloss over a little bit and you can find out more about our 90 day program on our website, which is www.bestfriendsagain.com, and we go into some detail about what our program includes. And just to go over it quickly through, is the first month is about clarity, getting good with that. Second is challenges. And the third is regarding connection and they’re, they’re specifically built that way and, because they, they feed on each other. That the first is the foundation and then it’s the other building blocks to get to where you want to be, which is better connected.
[00:43:57] Vanessa: And to be a little bit more specific for each stage. The first stage is getting clarity independently as individuals and then getting clarity on what you want as a couple. So what are a couple of goals? What, why did we get married and what do we really want through our lifetime? And that’s also where we do a deep dive into teaching our love huddle, which is a technique used to communicate. And we really dig down deep into that. The tools that we share during that part really get the couples connected to knowing the difference between thoughts and feelings, and really taking a deep dive into feelings and in connecting on a level that he can understand what I’m feeling because I’m painting the pictures for him, so we teach how to do that. The second stage is dealing with the challenges, like he said, and we’re getting into vulnerabilities, like, what are my vulnerabilities that sometimes I have a hard time sharing with you? But when I share that with you, like the walls come down because then you really get me, you’re understanding me more deeply which in turn connects us. And then the third phase or stage is sexuality, so we really take a deep dive into sexuality. I am a trained sex and relationship coach.
[00:45:36] Dr. George: So, so you can find out more about that on our website. I also have a book that is very easy to understand, written in a way that is it gets across a lot of the tools that we use, it’s called “What’s Forever For? A Physician’s Guide to Everlasting Love and Happiness in Marriage,” and so, so you can get a copy of that. And we even, there’s a section where you could go and get a free, it’s actually the chapter on the love huddle.
[00:46:09] Vanessa: If you go to our website, you can click and opt in and get the free download of chapter nine.
[00:46:18] Dr. George: We’re on social media, we’re on LinkedIn, pretty significant presence on LinkedIn. And there is a, on my page, there’s a significant discussion written on the phases of marriage, the five phases of marriage, you go into pretty significant detail there. We’re on Facebook. We’re on Twitter, we’re on, I think Instagram and I think that’s, I think that’s it. So probably number one, the website, but you can also check us out on the other ones too.
[00:46:51] Dr. JB: And can you say your website address again?
[00:46:54] Dr. George: Sure. It’s a www.bestfriendsagain.com because you really need to be each other’s best friends.
[00:47:05] Dr. JB: I love it. And in closing, how long have you guys been married?
[00:47:10] Dr. George: It will be, in November, it’ll be 30 years. And she’s my best friend. I cherish every second of every minute, every hour of every day. And I don’t take it for granted.
[00:47:29] Vanessa: And we both want that and we both work at it.
[00:47:32] Dr. George: Absolutely. Yeah. It can happen, can happen.
[00:47:37] Dr. JB: So some of the things mentioned during our conversation was doing things in love, like patience in love and that was really beautiful. When your behavior, whatever behavior it is that you are it’s because you are in love. You’re doing this for the love and to grow that love in your relationships. So I really wanted to make sure I highlighted that because that was really something that really rang in my ear every time you guys mentioned it.
[00:48:06] Dr. George: Good.
[00:48:07] Vanessa: Good.
[00:48:07] Dr. George: Good. I’m glad.
[00:48:08] Vanessa: We, as human beings, we want to connect to each other, and we want to be understood. When I feel he, he really gets me, that makes me feel good. And then, of course as human beings, there’s also parts of us that we’re not happy with. And being able to share that with him and, and just talk through it is me being able to vent with him and then just having a discussion and feeling a whole lot more accepted because of it.
[00:48:45] Dr. JB: So with that, do you guys have any pearls of wisdom that you would like to share with my listeners and closing?
[00:48:54] Dr. George: Absolutely.
[00:48:55] Vanessa: Yeah, the pearl of wisdom is go get that free copy of chapter nine.
[00:49:03] Dr. George: My, my pearl of wisdom is to, if you’re having an issue, if you’re having a problem, understand. And not only understand, believe that you’re not alone. Yeah. And we are here and there are others just like you. The biggest, I think issue sometimes is just it is admitting it and trying to do something about it. And please, do not suffer in silence. Doesn’t need to happen, it really doesn’t, because you can be helped even if you think you’re at your, you’re on your last leg or you’re going down for the third time. If there’s willingness there, you can get through it.
[00:49:55] Vanessa: Absolutely.
[00:49:56] Dr. George: You really can, and you don’t have to suffer in silence.
[00:50:02] Dr. JB: Who says a doc can’t rap? D O C T O R J B. The greatest doctor to ever touch the mic. The greatest podcast ever broadcasted or prerecorded. Come learn some. Each one, teach one. I’m done.