GEtting Good at Resolving Conflict with Jayson Gaddis
Want to resolve conflict more easily in your relationship? Conflict in relationships is unavoidable, but there are healthy ways to move through it to emerge stronger and more connected.
Today on the pod I’m thrilled to be talking with Jayson Gaddis, relationship expert, founder of the Relationship School and host of the Relationship school podcast. He is the author of the book, Getting To Zero, How to Work through conflict in your High stakes relationships. He shares how the fastest way to indestructible relationships is to become good at working through conflict, together.
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(full transcript below)
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Jayson Gaddis is a relationship expert and sought-after coach, as well as the Founder of The Relationship School and host of the successful Relationship School podcast. Jayson leads the most comprehensive relationship training in the world of intimate relationships and partnership, as well as trains and certifies relationship coaches. He has a master’s in psychology and lives with his wife and two children in Boulder, Colorado. Keep reading about Jayson here.
Get his book, Getting To Zero, HERE.
Follow Jayson on instagram HERE.
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EPISODE 217: Jayson Gaddis
[Fun, Empowering Music]
Amanda Testa: Hello, and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. I am your host, Amanda Testa. I am a sex, love, and relationship coach, and in this podcast, my guests and I talk sex, love, and relationships, and everything that lights you up from the inside out. Welcome!
Hello, and welcome! If you are wanting to resolve conflict more easily in your relationship, then you are going to be in for a treat today because, as you are well aware, conflict in relationships is unavoidable, but there are ways to move through it to emerge stronger and more connected. So, today, I'm thrilled to be talking with Jayson Gaddis. He's a relationship expert, founder of The Relationship School and host of The Relationship School Podcast. He's also the author of the book Getting to Zero: How to Work Through Conflict in Your High-Stakes Relationships. So welcome, Jayson. Thank you for being here.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, thank you for having me, Amanda.
Amanda Testa: I'd love if you wouldn’t mind just sharing a little bit about why this topic is so near and dear to your heart or why you're so passionate about this work.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, well, it's something we all struggle with (including me), and it's just the uncomfortable part of relationships, and there's a tremendous amount of opportunity with any uncomfortable thing in relationships. So I love it as a personal-growth vehicle, and also I have a history of being difficult and struggling with conflict in my family and also growing up and then as a young man. So it's just a complicated thing that I want to figure out.
Amanda Testa: Yes. I feel like it's unavoidable and, often, we aren't giving good models of how to resolve conflict or how to -- I mean, some people are, but many of us are not. I fall into that category, and so, I know there are so many different ways people react when they're triggered or when their partner triggers them or someone at work or a friend. Specifically today, I'd like to talk about this in romantic relationship and long-term relationship because I think we can fall into these patterns that we repeat again and again, and I'm wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing a little bit about some of the main ways people typically respond when they're triggered and why.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, yeah, I say there's four ways we disconnect with our, what I call, The Scared Animal, 'cause we're social mammals. We love being together even though we're difficult with each other sometimes. So the worst thing we can do is be cast out or rejected from the herd, so we react, and it's really understandable. Some of us get big. Some of us get small. So I call them the four disconnectors: we posture, we collapse, we seek, we avoid, or we might have a hybrid of several of those.
Amanda Testa: And would you mind going into a little more detail about what each one of those means?
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, so posture is like we kind of puff up and get loud, maybe a little aggressive. We yell. We raise our voice. We get intense and pursue the person, and that falls under the seeking person which is also the person who feels anxious, and they want to get the connection back, and they might not posture so much but they usually are using words, and their energy, it feels -- their partner might judge them as needy or clingy or desperate or sensitive or whatever.
Then there's the collapsers, and they typically shut down and get really quiet, and they might stay in the room, but they sort of freeze and don’t say anything. Then the avoiders are another version of collapsing but they typically run away (either literally or in their mind they'll dissociate) or they will leave the room. If anything gets hard, they slowly walk out of the room, and they just keep avoiding having the conversation, and they often have a really hard time coming back to get back to a good place.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and I'm curious, too, because I know I'm definitely -- I hate to say it, but it's true -- I'm one of the puffers. My immediate response, typically, is to get real loud and work on it and, of course, even after all the years of work on it I still am a human.
Jayson Gaddis: Oh yeah, very normal.
Amanda Testa: I have tough work still to do, but I laugh -- and my husband is the same way, so we laugh 'cause we both are very similar in how we respond (my daughter, too, in little ways). So we laugh a lot about that in our house because we are very aware, but it still will happen, and so, I'm wondering if people are listening and they're like ooh, I can maybe resonate with this style -- and, oftentimes, the way we respond might be with someone who's very different than we are.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And so, there can be a lot of that or else, you know, also like passive-aggressive type of things where maybe they never speak up that they are upset but their partner walks by and, like, mutters things and they kind of wish they could just talk about it.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And so, there are so many ways to (and why) our brains act the way they do, but I'm wondering when it comes to maybe if you recognize yourself in any of these, what would be some of the itty baby steps you could take to start to bring awareness to what you're doing and how you can work towards coming back to a place of balance or less charge, so to speak -- coming back to zero, as you say it. I love that.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, I call it zero, right? All of us want to get back to a good place with other people, and it just feels better in life to sleep and just go about our day when we're in a good place with the people we care most about. Yeah, so what you're describing with your family, for example, again, it's normal.
We all have our flavor, our style, and I find that, over the years, it doesn’t change all that much. Sometimes it can change in terms of if we talk about attachment styles (seek and avoid being the two main ones) that can flip depending on the level of commitment we have in a relationship, but the first thing we have to do is to understand and have compassion toward ourselves and our partner that they grew up for 18 years in a certain family system in a culture where conflict and stress was done a certain way, and to sort of just change that with a snap of a finger because you read a book is unlikely gonna happen. So we need to just be kind to ourselves, and when we understand the human body and the nervous system and the brain, I think it's really helpful 'cause then we stop judging ourselves so intently, and then the next thing is we want to have a commitment (as a family or as partnerships) to get back to a good place. We always return and repair no matter what. That should be one of the number one agreements in a partnership is that when things get hard we always stay with it, and we get to a good place, and if we need outside help we'll hire it 'cause we just want to live our lives in a good place.
It's amazing that most couples don’t have that agreement in place, and there is no talk of that even at the wedding or anywhere near that, sadly.
So once we have awareness and then we have an agreement like that, then it's really less about the raising of the voice or the shutting down, and it's more about how quickly you can come back and repair whatever was hurt, and you want to both apply effort, and I like to start with listening first to the other person. You know, I often say the most resourced person listens. It doesn’t have to be the most resources, it's just the person who's willing to listen first and without scorekeeping like, "I've listened first the last 100 times, and you’ve never initiated." We don’t want to do that 'cause, again, we're asking our nervous system partner that's wired a certain way to be more like us, and that's not gonna work. So if we have to lead for the rest of our lives, then we lead, and we agree that this person is more of the champion for the repair, and we -- listening first is a big one.
If we're gonna speak, the first thing out of our mouth needs to be what our part is, like, "My part is…" is my favorite sentence. Finish that sentence: "My part is…," and "I raised my voice." "I was a jerk." "I didn’t text you back." You know, that kind of thing.
Amanda Testa: Mm-hmm.
Jayson Gaddis: So those are a few pointers.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and you just mentioned something that made me think of -- I love in your book how you talk about personhood and you talk about how you can't expect someone to change who they fundamentally are, right? Behaviors, you can work on, but how it's really unfair to ask that of someone.
Jayson Gaddis: Yes.
Amanda Testa: I wouldn't mind if you went and talked a little bit more about that because I see that happening so much with couples.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah. Yeah, completely. We do, and it's, again, kind of a dumb move for us in partnership but we do tend to ask our partners to be different because we really have a belief that if they would just change then things would be smooth sailing or better, right? And so, it's understandable why we do it, but it's not a good enough reason to do it or continue doing it. I call that, as you probably saw, reasonable request for behavior change. You get to ask for behavior change if it's reasonable, and I think it's very reasonable to ask your partner to return and repair and work on it and work on becoming a better listener and communicator.
That's a reasonable request. What's not reasonable is to say, "Hey, you need to come to my church and the things I believe in." "Hey, you're a messy person, and you are disorganized, and you are dissociated, and you have a short attention span, and all that needs to be different for me to be in a relationship with you." It's like, no, they're a work-in-progress like you. They're probably not gonna change that kind of stuff much, but they could respect and not leave their socks on the floor. That's something they could probably do, but to ask them to be more like you (OCD or whatever) then I just don’t think that's a good idea.
Amanda Testa: What would you say to someone that's finding themselves asking that of someone? How can they take a step back and say, "All right, well, what am I willing to put up with and what am I willing not to," right?
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: That's kind of a question that I would have them come back to, but you know what else about that or even just agreeing to be where they are.
Like, I agree to be here in this situation. I'm not gonna do anything about it or I am gonna do something about it or --
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, I mean, I like kind of edgy experiments. So here's one (it's a little edgy). Look your partner in the eye, and just say, "I really want you to change who you are, and I don’t accept you as you are." Just notice what it's like, what the impact of saying that is like on them. They probably might cry or feel defensive. 'Cause that's essentially what you're saying with your actions when you keep trying to change people. It's like then be direct. Just tell them, "Hey, I'd love you to be different, and I would love you more if you were different." That's honest, as you're saying that with all your other kind of sideways comments. So we could start there.
If that feels a little too risky, then we need to ask ourselves, "Look, can I live with and grow old with or be in a relationship with someone who is kind of fundamentally like this?" They're just slovenly or they have a hard time -- they have an addiction. Can I live with that or do I have some non-negotiables where I'm like I'm unwilling and unable to and I will not live with a person who blank.
That's fine. We get to have our preferences, but sadly, a lot of people stay in these tension-filled marriages trying to change each other for years on end, and I just think that's a recipe for a lot of heartache and resentment and burnout, and it just sucks.
Amanda Testa: I mean, I think if people had more skills around communicating more clearly or being more direct, there's so much that can be done there. I think that's a hard thing for a lot of people.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: I'm wondering, too, because one of the things that -- I am sure you hear this a lot -- but I hear a lot of women who come to me and they really want to make some changes or they want to do work on their relationship but their partner's not necessarily always on board.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: I'm wondering what maybe you would share around having more of a buy-in from your partner to kind of work together on things and work together on resolving conflict more peacefully. How can you go about those conversations and bringing them onboard?
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, great. I mean, this is really common, right? I like to call them Enrollment Conversations.
Amanda Testa: [Laughs] Yeah.
Jayson Gaddis: Enrolling our partner into how we want to do our partnership, and let's just use the classic kind of traditional male-female-gendered conversation where the woman is listening to your podcast, she's reading my book, and the man is, you know, just for whatever reason not interested. It's not a value of his, but men will come around. I always think, is this kind of an asshole kind of a guy or is this a good man in hiding? A good man in hiding will come around if he's enrolled in a way that works for his values and he sees that by putting attention on you and your feelings and the relationship, he actually will improve his life 'cause so often a man sees that as a threat. He interprets an ask for, "Hey, can we connect more," or, "Hey, I'd love to spend more time, and you're always going out with the guys, but you won't spend time with me," or whatever, he sees that as a threat, and it's understandable given his values and probably if we knew his history and what he grew up with and his relationship to the feminine or his mother, and guys are kind of asleep to that 'cause personal growth is not as sexy.
I mean, it's getting sexier for young men, especially, to be into self-reflection and personal development. So we just have to help a man see how considering feelings, connecting, and prioritizing his female partner is gonna help him. So I always tell women, "Look, you’ve got to understand his highest value (and let's say it's work, that's a lot of men's' highest value), you’ve got to help him see how having a better connection and spending time and energy and going to therapy or coaching and reading books together on the relationship is actually gonna help him make more money. It's gonna help him get a raise. It's gonna help him be a better leader. It's gonna help him be a better boss. It's gonna help him be a better friend to his people because, look, we're living in a world where relational intelligence is really needed right now more than ever.
Amanda Testa: Yes.
Jayson Gaddis: And thanks to people like Brené Brown, a lot of men are starting to wake up to the fact that, shit, if I'm a male leader in this culture and this time, I've got to be way more tuned-in relationally, I've got to be more sensitive, I've got to consider feelings, I've got to slow down, and it's not my natural thing 'cause I grew up as a boy who my father told me to shut my feelings down, and I got made fun of on the playground.
So men are up against all their conditioning.
Amanda Testa: Yeah. Yeah.
Jayson Gaddis: But, again, a good man in hiding, he's gonna come forward if enrolled in the right way, and then if not -- if it turns out he's not a good man in hiding, and he continues to stonewall or gaslight or whatever, it's like why in the hell would you want to be in that relationship, you know? Don't settle for that shit.
Amanda Testa: Yeah. [Laughs] It's true. I like that, and I really do love how just taking that reflection of what are you willing to put up with and what are you not, and putting yourself -- having that, I think, self-awareness and self-honoring to stand up for what's important to you and your values and speaking those to one another versus being afraid to and living in misery. It's easier to -- sometimes there's that fear of having the conversation of doing some work around it, but actually on the other side, it can be so much more connected and so much better (like you say) for all areas of your life because how you do anything bleeds over into all the different areas of your life.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: It really does. Yeah, and I really love how you talk about getting to zero because that's just a skill that can serve you in so many areas, right, whether it's your partner that triggers you or someone that pulls out in front of you in the road or whatever it is.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: So I'd love it if you'd share a little bit more about how you can go about doing that from a physiological perspective too, but I know there's a lot of aspects involved with that if you'd share a little bit more about that if you don’t mind.
Jayson Gaddis: Sure. I mean, to be in an adult partnership these days there's so much stress and demand from our external world, and then there's stress from what's going on in the world and the news we watch, and some of us are numbed out to that, and some of us are ultra-sensitive to that. Regardless, we have to, I think, look at how becoming more relationally focused and sensitive to how our nervous system operates in relationship with others and how the other person operates in relationship to others, I think we can set ourselves up for success. So I talk about self-regulation and interactive co-regulation.
So self-regulation is when I get triggered by you, it's my ability to be with all the discomfort that arises when I'm triggered by you or triggered by the person that cut me off or whoever. I'm gonna be a stronger human, a stronger parent, a stronger leader if I can not react and instead, I can just be with. Ooh, this is really hot and fiery and uncomfortable, and ooh, I feel rage, or I feel sad, and just be with it without needing to do anything. That's self-regulation, and a lot of mindfulness these days is about self-regulation.
Amanda Testa: Mm-hmm.
Jayson Gaddis: Which I love the mindfulness movement. And then there's interactive regulation or being there for our partner's nervous system 'cause often they can't regulate themselves (they don’t know how 'cause they grew up in a family where that wasn't on the menu) so it's a big ask to help them regulate their feelings, but we can help, and how we can help is by looking at them in the eyes 'cause then we don’t go into memory (negative memories and associations).
So eye contact is actually really important. Even though it can feel threatening, it's often a really good move. Not a staring contest, I'm just talking about looking at the eyes and occasionally looking away. It's like titrating. Then there's physical touch which is huge. Moving our body and the position of our body -- so if you're sitting down and I'm standing up, I look intimidating, so I don’t want to do that, especially if you get scared around me and my voice. So I'm gonna sit down next to you and not face square-off with you. I might sit next to you to be less threatening. I might put my hand on your shoulder or hand on your leg and say, "Honey, is this okay? I know I'm mad at you, and you're mad at me, but I want to see if we can cross this chasm of this connection by just physically being close. How would that be for you?"
Some of us would rather move away from the scary person, and that's really understandable, but if we can do an experiment and push ourselves to move toward the person physically and have some kind of agreement ahead of time that physically we're gonna just make contact -- like we're gonna hug even though we kind of feel like enemies right now.
We're gonna hug and take three breaths, and we're gonna see if our bellies can touch and if we can start to let down and let go because we're usually gripped in this moment. So there are a number of things we can do to try to do this, and then there's obviously things we can say such as, "I raised my voice," like, owning stuff. "I was kind of mean there," or we can say, "Tell me about how you're feeling and how what I did made you feel. I'm really interested." All these gestures are basically us saying, "I care about you, and I want to get to zero. I want to get back to a good place."
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and I think, oftentimes, they're not that difficult to do when you can remember to do them, right?
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: So, oftentimes, I think practicing some of these tools, if you have that agreement -- like, we really want to work on having better conflict resolution and to be on the same page with repairing, so can we practice some of these things when we're not in a state of crisis or chaos so that we could remember them when we need to, right?
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, totally. Yeah, and if you have a partner who's anti-tools like, "Oh, you're just telling me all these tools," 'cause some people are like that --
Amanda Testa: Yes.
Jayson Gaddis: -- it's like cool, all I care about is the end result, honey, which is I need my nervous system to relax, and I need to feel connected again, and so, I don’t care how we get there. I care about the destination, which is getting there, and if we can be respectful in the process, and if you can be creative, great, but it's gotta work, and this is where people get really annoyed with how difficult the other person is. We get so mad because it's like god, no one ever did this for me as a kid, and now I've got to somehow learn about your nervous system and what makes you tick and what helps you calm and soothe, and it's like yeah, if you want to be in a good marriage, yeah, that's kind of required I think. If you want a mediocre marriage or if you want to just be roommates, no, you don’t have to do that. You can do whatever you want but seriously, a good, secure relationship is built on conflict repair, conflict repair, conflict repair, over and over. That actually builds security. It's the same in parent-child relationships.
Amanda Testa: Yes, I mean, all of those things that you shared about regulating your own self and your nervous system so you can be there for your partner or your kid, I mean, it's the exact same thing. It benefits so many relationships, and I think if you do have kids, having this kind of skill is even more important, oftentimes, so then they can witness it and learn from it as well.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, and sadly, so many kids now are going to their phones to regulate, and it's good that they know how to calm down with their phone. I'm always bummed when I see parents hand their two-year-old a phone when they're crying or something 'cause I'm like you're actually teaching your kid to not regulate and regulate through a screen, and so, now, anytime they're uncomfortable or dysregulated, they're gonna want the phone because that's what soothes them the most, and being social mammals, we want to be able to soothe through other humans. It's way more long-lasting, it's way more fulfilling, it sets you up for successful adult partnerships, so I feel it's kinda dicey these days with kids and their phones and the lack of eye contact.
There's a lot of downsides, right, that I perceive, especially for their adult relationship life. I can just see where that's going.
Amanda Testa: Yes, I'm with you there, and also, too, you know, in adult relationships there are a lot of problems with the phone there as well.
Jayson Gaddis: That's true.
Amanda Testa: You know, we're just waiting to shut -- you know, so addicted to the phone or whatever, using it way too much.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, right, and totally. I would say to the listener, if that's you -- let's say you have a partner who's -- you guys fight and talk and connect while someone's constantly looking at their phone or they're multitasking on their phone, you’ve been tolerating that so you’ve got to stop tolerating that. You can make requests (again, reasonable requests) which is, "Honey, will you set the phone down just while we're talking about this subject? It would mean a lot to me. I'm starting to feel like you're not as interested, and I think you are, but it would help me to feel more of your presence here." Again, a good partner is gonna understand that kind of request. Wow, this is gonna help us. This is gonna help the relationship.
Amanda Testa: And I really appreciate you, and when you say that you're always kind of mentioning why it's important, like, the reasoning and here's why it's important to me.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah,
Amanda Testa: I think that helps a lot with getting enrollments in whatever you're asking, right?
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, that's right.
Amanda Testa: And so, I'm wondering, too, kind of in that same vein of making these reasonable requests, if it's something that you've not done before and you're not very good a maybe setting boundaries for yourself or asking for what you need, how could you encourage someone to start doing that? What are some baby steps they could take or some movements in that direction to make those reasonable requests more often?
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, well, get in touch with what you want, and most of us want a secure long-term relationship. So if that's true, notice how your behavior, your daily actions are not lining up with that desire, and then start taking off your behaviors that you're colluding with an old strategy of yours or you've agreed unconsciously or implicitly with your partner that we just talk and fight and we're both on the phone and somehow we just figure it out and we wait for five days and it gets better and then we're good again.
It's like look, you've trained this person for so many years that it's okay to kind of walk all over you or to treat you this way, and they've basically trained you that it's okay for you to treat them this way, and so, you’ve got to put your foot in the sand here and say, "Look, I'm not gonna do that anymore," and I think the first boundary, really, is with ourselves -- like what we will and will not do ourselves. Okay, I'm not gonna blame anymore. I'm gonna lead every conversation with a personal responsibility statement. "My part is…," for example, instead of, "You always, you never." That could be one little thing that we can start to work on to change, and that goes a long way, and whenever we put attention on something like that, we start noticing everywhere how many people do it, and then we start to get irritated by it, and we're like, "Wow, I can't believe so many people are just in blame, and that was me. Whoa," and it's really enlightening. This is an amazing thing to model to children because children need to see the big people change and transform too and get interested in this kind of stuff 'cause it's good for their relational health and mental health.
So yeah, it's sort of like what do you want, and start looking at what's in the way, and start setting some limits around that, but here's the thing with boundaries (which you probably know about) is it's one thing to set a boundary and say it; it's a whole other thing to follow through consistently.
Amanda Testa: Yeah.
Jayson Gaddis: Like I have a friend who's parenting a 14-year-old girl, and it's around her phone, and he just won't take away the phone, and he keeps threatening to take away the phone, and he keeps not doing it because he's afraid of more conflict, right, and that she'll rage on him which is what she does when he sets boundaries. It's like yeah, well, you're gonna have to tolerate some of her rage when you finally take away the phone, but that's ultimately what's gonna be better for her in the long run is you being consistent with your boundary, because every time you set a boundary and you don’t follow through with it, you're untrustworthy, and young people learn to not trust big people because they say one thing and do another. That's everywhere. This is why I love teenagers when they're rebelling 'cause I'm like yeah, you're so tired of fucking adults being hypocrites.
Amanda Testa: [Laughs] Yes, that's so true, oh, my goodness. I can relate to that myself, too. I was a very rebellious kid.
Jayson Gaddis: [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: [Laughs] And so, you know, I think, too, like you say, making that commitment to yourself again and again, so that when you show up through each interaction, you can say, "Am I upholding my values? Am I sticking to what I'm asking? Am I sticking to my boundaries? If not, using the tools like you teach, that's so important. So many of us teach around regulating your own nervous system (being with yourself, being able to be with the hard emotions), and I love that you have some really amazing tools that you have in your book and in your toolkit that goes along with the book to really practice that -- like the meditations, too. What does that look like? How do you do it, right? People might be listening, "Yeah, that all sounds good, but how do you do it," you know?
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, having a hammer's one thing; using it's a whole other thing, right?
Amanda Testa: Yes. I think that's -- I don’t know. I find the practice of these things is the most important thing 'cause it can just be one little thing that you practice again and again that is a huge change.
Jayson Gaddis: I mean, it's unbelievable what I see in our students through -- we have a nine-month course, for example, and people come into that course scared and skeptical, of course, and then nine months later, they're an altered human being because they know how to listen differently, and it's a permanent life-upgrade, and to see a person go from kind of being a blamer to an extremely good listener is really powerful, but it takes practice just like you're saying. That's why we make our students practice. Like, look, between classes you have to do a practice call with a peer and actually flex that muscle over and over for the game (when it counts) which is under stress with your partner at home. That's when the rubber meets the road, right? But if you’ve been getting your reps in, in the meantime, you're more likely to be successful when it counts.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and would you be willing to share a little more about where people can learn more about you and find out some of these programs that you are offering? Also, I know you have a coaching program as well. I do feel like there's a good amount of coaches that are listening to the podcast as well, maybe you can share a little bit about that 'cause I think it's an amazing program.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, thanks. Yeah, so relationshipschool.com is our main website, and you can find the podcast and blog and lots of courses there. That's probably the easiest place to go. I'm active on Instagram @jaysongaddis. Once a year now we train people to become relationship coaches, and these are people that are brand new that have never been a coach before as well as people who are life coaches already as well as nurses, doctors, and we seem to be getting more and more psychotherapists and counselors and social workers come into our trainings because they -- like me, I did a three-year master's degree in psychology, and I didn’t have one class on relationships. So I've got that coupled with I didn’t learn this ever in undergrad or high school or elementary school or middle school, so I was like okay, I'm gonna create a school where we do this. This is all we do. So I'm trying to educate the planet to get better, here, at relationships, and that's my mission, of course.
Amanda Testa: Yes, yes.
Jayson Gaddis: So I'm training people to become relationship coaches in nine months and be a certified relationship coach that can charge money and actually start to work with clients 'cause you're always gonna have job security, right? There are plenty of people who need help here.
Amanda Testa: Yes, yes. I love, too, what you're doing with kind of trying to get this information to people younger and younger.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, absolutely.
Amanda Testa: Because how amazing it would have been to learn this all along in school, right? I'm trying to get better with the social-emotional learning these days, but definitely not when we came along or when I came along, that was not something we were taught.
Jayson Gaddis: Me neither, yeah. Yeah, I mean, my health class was one class on sex ed, and it was so bad, and I grew up in Utah, so it was really censored, and there was one class. I mean, just there was nothing about relationships in health class, I was like are you -- that's so vital now. We know this through neuroscience and research that the quality of our relationships is really paramount to the quality of our health and wellbeing --
Amanda Testa: Yes.
Jayson Gaddis: -- over the lifespan.
Amanda Testa: Yes. Well, I so appreciate your time, and thank you for being here. I'm wondering maybe if there's a question that I didn’t ask that you wished I would have asked or maybe anything else that you wanted to share?
Jayson Gaddis: I would just share this. We sort of covered it, Amanda, but I would just say it again in a different way which is let's say you read my book, and you're like, "Okay, cool, what do I focus on? There's so much here," or you listen to this podcast, I would say if you only had to do one thing, it would be repair. If you just focus on how to get back to a good place with your family members, your friends, or, specifically, your partner or your ex-spouse (who you're co-parenting with or whatever) or your kids, it's so vital for relationship health and security that, I mean, really, what my whole book is about is how do we get back to a good place, how do we get to zero, and I just think it's a great kind of focus if someone's struggling in a relationship or wants to work on something in the next relationship. A lot of people say, "Communication! We need to communicate better."
Well, that's probably true, but you already communicate fine; it's that you don’t communicate very well under stress --
Amanda Testa: Yes.
Jayson Gaddis: -- and you don’t know how to clean up the mess after you create one or they create one. That's where you should put your attention -- how to clean up the mess effectively, and plan on it being for life, not, "Oh, it's a stage. We're just in the kind of challenging stage of our relationship." No, for the rest of your life you're gonna experience conflict with a spouse and kids and family, so get good at it. Get good at the repair part, and you will change your life.
Amanda Testa: Yes, I can attest. It's an amazing thing when you can do that and have that experience that you can share with the people that you love, too, that they can learn from because there's always gonna be something, right?
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, that's right.
Amanda Testa: There's always gonna be something.
Jayson Gaddis: There's always gonna be something.
Amanda Testa: So, you know, one other last thing that I just had a question about is because, you know, you mentioned when people are doing this work and they want to practice, and maybe they are having a hard time getting their partner on board to practice, I love how you mentioned, like, is there a friend that you can practice with.
Just finding someone who is open because it doesn't really matter as long as you do the reps of learning it, and then you can more easily bring it to whatever conflict you're dealing with. So…
Jayson Gaddis: Exactly. You could be one of Amanda's podcast listeners or maybe you’ve done a course with her. Find someone in that community and start practicing, 'cause, let's face it, some of our, quote, "friends" think it's weird or they don’t want to do this 'cause they don’t see the value in it yet, but find a willing person who's like, "Yeah, I could use that too," and then you become practice partners.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, I love that. Well, thank you so much, again. I'll make sure to share in the show notes with everyone where you can find more about The Relationship School and all the wonderful work that Jayson and his team are up to. Thank you, again, for being here.
Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, you're welcome. Thank you.
Amanda Testa: And thank you all for listening, and, yes, please take some nuggets and find some practice partners or just digest one thing you could implement or get the book if that's all you do because it is an amazing book. It's called Getting to Zero, and, as you can tell, both me and my dog love this book. [Laughs] It's so good. So thank you again, and we will see you all next week!
[Fun, Empowering Music]
Thank you so much for listening to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. This is your host, Amanda Testa, and if you have felt a calling while listening to this podcast to take this work to a deeper level, this is your golden invitation.
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[Fun, Empowering Music]