Most marriage and relationship advice books focus on solving problems.
But my guests today argue that we shouldn’t wait until problems arise in our relationship to work on strengthening it. Instead, they say, when times are good, we should think about how to keep that good, and act to make it even better.
Their names are James Pawelski and Suzann Pileggi Pawelski, and they’re husband and wife. James has a background in philosophy, and they both have backgrounds in psychology. They combined insights from both fields to write the book Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts. We begin our conversation discussing how most relationship advice falls short, the biggest myths people have about relationships, and the contrast between Plato’s and Aristotle’s approach to relationships. We then dig into the role emotions play in a relationship, particularly passion, and what we can do to continue to cultivate and experience positive emotions in a marriage even after being together for years. We then dig into how our character influences our relationships and how our relationships influence our character. James and Suzann share insights on how and why to focus on our strengths, help our partners develop their strengths, and even go on a “strengths date” together. We end our conversation talking about the power of appreciation in relationships.
- The relationship myths that pervade our culture
- What Plato & Aristotle had to say about relationships
- What does an Aristotelian relationship look like?
- What a couple of popular movies can teach us about health relationships
- Managing emotions and passion in a relationship
- On maintaining your own interests and hobbies
- The role of novelty in relationships
- The power of secrets
- Fostering positive emotions
- How your character impacts your relationship
- What is a “strengths date”?
- The immense importance of gratitude
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- How Do You Know When She’s the One?
- Love Is Overrated
- Treating Your Relationship Like a Bank Account
- How to Fund Your Relationship Bank Account
- A Primer on Plato
- Nicomachean Ethics
- As Good As It Gets vs Jerry Maguire
- 75+ Hobbies for Men
- More Footage: Take the One-Month “Do Something New Every Day” Challenge
- The Power of Secrets in a Transparent World
- The Art of Anticipation
- A Proven System for Building and Breaking Habits
- The Real Virtue of Thankfulness
- The Discipline of Gratitude
- How and Why to Hold a Weekly Marriage Meeting
Connect With James and Suzann
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
Recorded on ClearCast.io
Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code “manliness” at checkout.
Navy Federal Credit Union. Proud to serve over 8 million members, and open to active duty military, DoD, veterans, and their families. Visit NavyFederal.org/manliness for more information, or call 888-842-6328.
Indochino. Every man needs at least one great suit in their closet. Indochino offers custom, made-to-measure suits for department store prices. Use code “manliness” at checkout to get a premium suit for just $369. Plus, shipping is free.
Read the Transcript