You met your husband in school while studying psychology. How has this helped your relationship? Yes my husband and I meet while getting our doctorates. It has helped our relationship in that we were friends for a long time before we started dating. We would carpool to class together and study after class together. We became closer because we were having a lot of common experiences. We shared classes, homework, friends, and work together. We were also on the same track career wise and could relate to each other’s goals, aspirations, and dreams. This especially came in handy when we were both writing our dissertations. It was very time consuming and it was helpful to work on them together at the same time instead of feeling like we were taking time away from each other or our relationship.
Are there some ironies within your marriage that make you laugh? It makes us laugh sometimes when others think we have a perfect marriage because we are both licensed marriage and family therapists. We definitely have tools that others may not have with our education and experience, but we have the same issues and arguments others have in relationships. Marriage and parenting are hard and we aren’t exempt from life happening around us.
What is your biggest strength in your marriage? When time gets tough in our marriage, we have a solid foundation of love and respect for each other that helps us get through those times.
What is your biggest strength as a mom? That is a tough one. I don’t know how to answer that one! I feel like I was meant to be a mom and that it is definitely a calling in my life. I am emotionally and physically present for my children but also have established necessary rules and boundaries so they can thrive in various environments. My husband says he believes my biggest strength is patience with our children. I would say it’s my love for them.
What is one of your husband’s pet peeves about you?A pet peeve my husband has about me is that I am always busy. I am a very good multi-tasker and am able to balance a lot and am constantly involved in various projects, attending events, and making plans! He’s an introvert and I am an extrovert, so he prefers to stay home!
Can you describe one of the best times you’ve worked as a team? What did you each bring to the table to reach your goal or make it through the challenge? We wrote parallel qualitative dissertations together on “The Value of Spiritual Intimacy Among Christian Marriages” and I interviewed wives and he interviewed husbands for our research. We were able to share a lot of the same articles for our literature reviews even though our outcomes and experiences were very different in the end. Nonetheless, it was so fun to write on a similar topic together on share such a pivotal part of our doctoral experience. We not only worked together, we motivated, encouraged, inspired and supported each other throughout the process. We completed our dissertations in record time – 10 months – and were among the first in our entire cohort to finish and graduate. Shortly after we graduated, we were asked to speak together at an APA conference on our dissertation topics since they were complimentary. We are constantly challenging each other and trying to bring the best of our capabilities out in one another.
What are some common problems you see in working with couples? Some of the most common issues between couples we have worked with are regarding communication difficulties. In addition, finances, intimacy, substance abuse, and parenting differences are among the most common problems that we see on a regular basis. There, of course, are other problems like infidelity, mental illness, and other unique circumstances that also are presenting problems, but most of the time, we see common issues that many couples experience to various degrees.
What are some of your go-to’s (things you say over and over in practice) in regards to marriage counseling? Listen to each other. We all want and need to be heard and we all love to talk (myself included) but we also need to listen to each other. I also constantly stress to be consistent and follow through. In marriage, we need to treat each other with respect, appreciation, and love and try to be patient and understanding of our differences. Just because something is done differently doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And just because we make a bad choice doesn’t mean we are a bad person. I know, it’s a lot easier said than done and there is certainly more that goes into the therapeutic process, but I have found myself saying those things regularly in practice.
If you could narrow down your top 5 happy marriage tips what would they be? I actually just wrote a blog about this for The San Diego City Moms Blog. The top 5 ways to enhance your marriage are to be intimate, flexible, forgiving, humble, and trustworthy. I also give 5 suggestions on how to handle conflict. You can read it by visiting this link http://sandiego.citymomsblog.com/mom/dr-kims-top-10-ways-enhance-marriage/
Thank you so very much, Dr. Kim, for providing such great marriage tips and further resources!
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