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A Gift You Can Give Your Marriage

Episode number 66. Hello and welcome to the Fighting for Connection podcast. I'm Brett Nikula, a husband, father and fun lover. Listen in as I share stories, tips and inspiration that will move you toward the connection that you want in your relationship 2020-24. Happy New Year, everybody. How are you all doing? You know, the years just keep going by and every year represents a new beginning. So many people see the turn of the calendar as a time to refocus and change the tone of their life. I have a different tone today because I'm battling a little bit of a cold, so if you hear that, I apologize. I'll try to keep it out of this podcast as much as possible, but the show must go on and I am committed to producing a podcast and releasing it on every Monday this year, just like I did every Monday last year, and I love this process. I love doing it. Another thing that I enjoy doing is playing golf, and I really feel like a new year is kind of like the back nine. So golf is played over 18 holes and golfers consider or they break their round into two nines. So there's a front nine and then the back nine, and I've found that I can be playing a rough round of golf. But when you get to the turn, when you finish the first nine holes, for some reason that's a marker that allows for me to kind of let the first nine holes go and it's like a fresh start to some degree. And what I found is, so many times I have been able to have a significantly better round on the back half when I've had a rough round on the front nine. So I find that a new year, a turn in the calendar, it's something that allows our brain to have some permission to restart, to refocus and let this new year be that permission that you need to let some of those old beliefs go that aren't serving you, refocus on the fundamentals and do some of the simple things that, when done consistently, create significant results. As we come to the end of the holiday season you know this time from Thanksgiving to the new year I really hope that you all had a fantastic Christmas and enjoyed your new year holiday. I know it can be a time of such peace and connection, but I also know that it can be a difficult time for many people, each person for their own reason and because of their own situation. But I do realize how hard of a time it can be, and over the last month or so, I've sat with so many people who, over the last few weeks, have experienced pain around these holidays. These pains can come from so many different things, but primarily what I've seen is it's been pain because of various relationship situations, whether it be with our spouse or kids or family friends. These things can be such a source of contentment, but when there's struggle, when there's loss or disconnect in these areas, it can bring so much pain. At the end of the year, we also confined ourselves in this place of reflection. The end of the year is a time where so many people step back and remember what has happened over the course of the previous year, what has gone well and where they'd like to improve for next year. 2023 was, for me, a really big year. It was the biggest year and the busiest year in my business, in a year where Pivotal Approach really found its direction and it really felt like it became clear what my work here at Pivotal Approach was really going to be focused on. As I started my business, I was really what I personally would consider would be a generalist. I was a marriage and family therapist doing therapy things, and over the last few years, I've sat with so many unique situations, so many stories, whether it's anxiety, trauma, depression, accidents, suicides. I've been involved in some national news stories. I've sat with good people faced with hard situations and relationships in all stages of disrepair, disconnection, pain, and for every one of those individuals present, I did my best to be present and I did my best work with each situation. But in 2023, what I loved doing the most really became clear. I love working with couples who want to repair their relationship and are ready to feel secure and connected again. Today, my caseload is still filled with many different situations, and so they're not all relationship based, necessarily, and I'm going to continue to work with those who seek help from me and who I believe I'm able to support. But my therapy and coaching business and most of my business efforts are really, and have really become, focused on the marriage relationship and helping that couple that really cares for each other, that wants to stay together but feels disconnected and experiences walls and a lack of emotional intimacy in their relationship. It's that couple that I spend so much time thinking about and creating content for, and I really, I truly do love that work. When I opened my business in 2019, I didn't necessarily envision this. I really thought I was going to be a place that was a support for kids. My interest in working with people started when I was working at the boys and girls club up in st cloud. There I was working with elementary and middle school aged children and I thoroughly enjoyed that work and I saw a future in that work. It really inspired me to pursue psychology and from their marriage and family therapy. But when you open a business and maybe many of you who own a business know this, but you have a vision that kind of compels you to open a business, and then reality happens and I began to really believe that the best thing I could do for these kiddos was create a better relationship between them and their parents. At the same time, I was working with couples and was really seeking ways to truly support those relationships, and I stumbled upon the conflict cycle and EFT and over the last year I began to hear time and time again from couples and individuals that I was working with around their relationships about how much success they were having, and in that way I uncovered my niche. I looked up the definition of niche and I love it the definition that I found on Google was this A niche is a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment, and working with couples and individuals who want to repair their relationship, to feel close and connected again, is just that. It's my niche, and I love the art and process of teaching couples how to reconnect and repair. There really is a tried and true process for this. Just the other day I was in a conversation with a gentleman and he asked me Brent, what's your best relationship advice? And it was so easy for me to tell him right away. Right away, I was like you got to figure out your conflict cycle, and once you figure out your conflict cycle, then you have to learn the skills to break it. It's by far and away the best relationship advice that I have. Understanding your conflict cycle and how to break it really is a skill. You know it's like your golf swing. You need to practice the act of breaking your conflict cycle to get good at it, just like you need to practice the act of your golf swing to improve it. You know you could read a book about the best golf swing, or you can. You can learn about Tiger Woods golf swing or or whatever. But even if you read that book. You need to actually get a club and strike a ball to really develop a swing, and a golfer will also know that so much of a good swing is between the ears. There's this quote by some great golfer somewhere that goes to the effect of 90% of golf is played between your ears, and I think breaking your cycle is very similar. First you need to know how to do it, then you need to practice the skill of it, but then you need to learn how to manage your mind around it, to become skilled and consistent with it. And that, my friends, is what I do. I coach psycho-breaking to individuals and couples so that they can repair their relationship and experience a secure bond. It's coaching, it's directive, it's based on theory, just like a golf swing or a style of playing hockey or even music. And I've received top-notch education around this process and have experienced my own success with it in my relationship, and I've been privileged enough to watch other couples experience success in this process in their marriage. And if you've ever been on like a T-Box when someone has hit a fantastic drive, you have a small taste of what it's like to be in the office or on a Zoom call with a couple who has been disconnected, have a connecting and repairing conversation, who reach out to each other, hold each other's hands, give each other a hug. It's such an amazing thing to experience and what I've found is so many couples are experiencing pain in their relationship. So many couples, when they experience this kind of pain, they learn how to coexist with each other, but they don't know or they don't learn how to break their cycle. They just learn simply how not to activate it and in that way, there creates this distance and this like active coexisting, which is functional. It works, but it brings a certain distance to the relationship. And if this is you if you aren't in a relationship with a lot of conflict, necessarily, but you have this certain distance that you just wish wasn't there and you desire more of a closeness, the conflict cycle really is the culprit. Whether you feel pain in your relationship or you're just simply experiencing this distance. Know this that there are skills that you can learn to make sure that the conflict cycle isn't keeping you in pain or at this distance, and I want to share that. I've had people reach out to me and they tell me that they listen to the podcast or they follow my content and that they aren't in a romantic relationship, but that they've realized that the skills that I teach here work in general relationships as well. They are general relationship principles and these things work in our friendships, in our workplace settings, with our parents, and so on. Any relationship that we have has the potential to have a conflict cycle, and the conflict cycle can bring this pain within the relationship and it can be the reason why there's distance or disconnect. And learning the skill to break those conflict cycles is your, is an ability that you can learn. If you need something you need anyone else to know about or to learn, you yourself can become a cycle breaker. You don't need the person that you're in that strained relationship with to get on board or to learn anything, or to read anything or to participate in anything, and it's going to benefit you and that relationship and, by the way, all of your relationships. You don't need to be in a marriage to have for this to have an amazing impact on your life, and and I'm going to read an email that I received from a client, and they gave me permission to share this and here's some of what they said. They said Brett, thank you for your work together with us. We spent around eight sessions with you and I want you to know that my spouse was very hesitant to do counseling, but I was so thankful he was willing to try and, since we've worked with you, said on multiple occasions that he's so glad he did this and it really saved our relationship and you really helped us feel welcomed. We never felt judged during any of our sessions and we had multiple times where you were able to shed more light on our relationship and helped us see what was causing bumps and helped us find ways to improve our approach to each challenge. It helped us better understand each other as individuals what triggers us and what cycles we tend to get into, which grew our ability to see the other person having a hard time Versus simply just thinking negative thoughts about them. We continue to apply these skills to our lives and we're proud to say that we're going to be celebrating 18 years together this March. There truly is something more impactful having these conversations with a trained professional versus Just searching around on the internet. You brought a neutral party Plus trained knowledge, and that was able to make sure my spouse and I made sense of all of these things, and I share that with you guys, because so often I hear similar messages from the individuals and the couples that I work with. Now, this email came from a couple that came in together, but I also have individuals come in who are in a conflict cycle and maybe their spouse isn't interested in participating, but they've shared similar testimonials to me in that they were able to apply these principles and have a better relationship because of it, and I always love to celebrate this kind of success. I so appreciate the people who take the time, like this wife did, to share what has helped them, what their experience was, whether it was directly from our coaching or from some of the emails that I sent out, or even from this podcast or social media. Hearing that type of feedback shapes my business and it lets me know what is working and what I'm doing. That is missing the mark. As we begin the year 2024, none of us know what's ahead. The circumstances in our life when 2025 arrives is impossible for any of us to know, but what we can do today is begin the work to learn how to break our conflict cycles so that we can have a close, connected and secure relationship the one that is possible and the ones that are possible with all of those people in our lives, no matter what happens in our life. I want you to have the relationship skills that are possible for you to learn, that you can own and have, and I want to teach you, I want to coach you on your conflict cycle and how to increase your skill set in breaking your conflict cycles. I want you to establish more secure, closer and connected relationships. I really find that this is something we all want, but it's something that can be so hard and it can seem so hard to develop. When we develop these skills around our conflict cycles, you will find that your world of connection will expand, possibilities for close and connected relationships will develop and relationships that have been strained in the past or disconnected, I really believe, will have the possibility to be repaired. Let's do this for you, for your spouse, but not only for you and your spouse, but for all of those closest relationships in their life. Every one of them will benefit from you learning this skill. That's the difference, really, between this and a golf swing. When you practice and improve your golf swing, really, you are the only beneficiary, but here, when you learn the skills to break your conflict cycles. Your improved ability will benefit you, along with so many others. Let's do it in 2024. Let's get started today. You, my friend, can sign up for a free consultation on my website at wwwpivotalapproachcom. Again, that's wwwpivotalapproachcom. From there we can get started. I can teach you what's happening in your relationships and what you can do to improve your skills to have closer, more secure, more connected relationships. Let's have a great 2024. I hope it's a year of close, connected and secure relationships and I can't wait to coach you. This has been the Fighting for Connection podcast. If you've enjoyed this podcast and want more content like this, check out my Connected Couples Campus, which can be found on my website, wwwpivotalapproachcom, and become the difference you need in your relationship.


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