Good morning, Scottsdale, Arizona! Hi, this is Stuart Fensterheim, The Couples Expert, and today is a wonderful day. There is so much going on here in Scottsdale, Arizona, and this is exactly the time of year that everyone loves living here. It is 80-some degrees today, and we are in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona, and I have so much to talk about that I just wanted to start with, first of all, welcoming my new counselor at The Couples Expert, Alicia Kostov. She is joining The Couples Expert practice from Texas. And the problem I have with it is that I don’t really hear a Texas accent with her, so it’s sort of hard to get used to that, but I believe that she’s lived in all sorts of places.

Welcome Alicia Kostov!

And what’s really fascinating about Alicia is, number one, she’s this incredible loving, giving person, and that just
really feels good, to have someone with that caliber joining my practice and help2-qjxgo (1)ing the couples all around the world have close, connected relationships. So, Alicia, I wanted to just personally welcome you to The Couples Expert Podcast. And we’re probably going
to try to get her on here at some point soon.

Alicia comes to us with a little bit different background. She has worked a great deal with the military families, so I’m excited, for the military families here in Scottsdale are going to have a real advocate in Alicia.

The other thing that she does, which is going to balance me out a bit, is she also has an expertise and a passion for Christian counseling. And you’ll see on my website, at, that we’re going to have a whole new service page because I want to really allow her to really express her passion and her faith and her beliefs in helping the families of Scottsdale and Phoenix and Tempe and Mesa who are searching for a Christian counselor because it’s such a hard thing out here to find. And she’s so passionate about her faith and her beliefs that I’m excited to be able to offer that as part of our practice.


The other thing I wanted to do is make sure that I wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and I want to just sort of express, to all of my listeners, please be careful tonight. I know that on St. Patrick’s Day there’s generally a lot of partaking in things that you wouldn’t normally partake in on a weekday, because it’s Thursday, so please be careful and drive carefully, and remember to have a designated driver if you’re drinking.

The other thing that I wanted to talk about is something a little bit more somber, but it really fits with the topic for today, because today, what I’m wanting to do is talk a little bit about…not a little bit, but a lot about how Emotionally Focused Therapy is really one of those methods for couples, that if either one of you struggles with some past pains, some childhood traumas, that this technique more than most techniques with couples’ counseling will allow you to have a relationship that can really help you let go of some of your past pains. And we’re going to talk a lot about how to do that.

A Special Love for a First Lady

But, what’s also a little somber, and as I started is, and I hope most of you, maybe, have seen or watched, Nancynancyreagan Reagan’s funeral. Whatever your political beliefs are, Nancy and Ronald Reagan had a relationship that was quite special. And I know that we’ve had many different kinds of Presidents out there, and in the last few years had some that had some touchy-feely kind of difficulties, so to have a President that had that kind of love affair with that commitment, that wherewithal to really be in touch with each other, and one of the things that… You know, I didn’t know them, obviously, but one of the things, at least my sense of it, is that they had a truly tender, kind, loving, vulnerable relationship.

And at Nancy Reagan’s funeral, there was a letter that was read, and I want to read it to all of you. If you saw the funeral and heard the letter, forgive me for doing this, but I really want to make sure all of you really get a sense of the kind of tenderness and expressiveness that went into their relationship. And it says, as follows, and this was a letter that was sent or given to Nancy Reagan by her husband, President Ronald Reagan:

I still don’t feel right about you opening an envelope instead of a gift package. There are several much beloved women in my life, and on Christmas, I should be giving them gold, precious stones, perfume, furs and lace. I know that even the best of these would still fall far short of expressing how much these several women mean to me and how empty my life would be without them.

There is, of course, my First Lady. She brings so much grace and charm to whatever she does that even stuffy formal functions sparkle and turn into fun times. Everything is done with class. All I have to do is wash up and show up.

There’s another woman in my life who does things I don’t always get to see, but I do hear about them and sometimes see photos of her doing them. She takes an abandoned child in her arms on a hospital visit. The look on her face, only the Madonna could match. The look on the child’s face is one of adoration. I know because I adore her too. She bends over a wheelchair or bed to touch an elderly invalid with tenderness and compassion, just as she fills my life with warmth and love.

There’s another gal I love who is a nest builder. If she were stuck for three days in a hotel room, she’d manage to make it Home, Sweet Home. She moves things around, looks at it, straightens this and that, and you wonder why it wasn’t that way in the first place.

I’m also crazy about that girl who goes to the ranch with me. If we’re tidying up the woods, she’s a peewee powerhouse at pushing over dead trees. She’s also an incredibly wonderful person to sit by the fire with, or to ride with, or first to be with when the sun goes down or the stars come out. If she ever stopped going to the ranch, I’d stop too because I’d see her in every beauty spot there is and I couldn’t stand that.

Then, there is a sentimental lady I love whose eyes fill up so easily. On the other hand, she loves to laugh and her laugh is like tinkling bells. I hear those bells and feel good all over, even if I tell a joke she’s heard before.

Fortunately, all these women in my life are you. Fortunately for me, that is, for there could be no life for me without you. Browning asked, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” For me, there is no way to count. I love the whole gang of you: Mommy, First Lady, the sentimental you, the fun you, and the peewee powerhouse you.

And, oh yes, one other very special you, the little girl who takes a “’nana” to bed in case she gets hungry in the night. I couldn’t and don’t sleep well if she isn’t there, so please, always be there.

Merry Christmas, you all, with all my love.

Lucky Me

Now think about this. This is President Ronald Reagan, the actor, very famous man, and what he’s basically saying to his wife is that his life would have absolutely no significance without her there. Think of this, the historical figure, sharing with his wife in the privacy of their home without anyone around, that his life has no meaning without her. How many times have you done that, have you shared with your partner how meaningful they are to you? And this is a guy that I think, at least from my perspective and from my memory about Ronald Reagan, didn’t impress me as someone that talks about feelings. I didn’t get a sense that this is a man who, vulnerably, would say to his wife that he’d stop going to the place that he loved the most if she didn’t go with him.


How many of you have a place like that? How many of you love to go golfing or play tennis, or do something, and turn to your partners and say, “Unless you come with me, it will be no fun.” Do you know how important that is, to share that with your partners, to let them know that? And this man, this figure, this big figure of a man, really dug down deep and shared it in writing to his wife. I urge all of you, this St. Patrick’s Day, don’t let one day go by without doing something that tender, turning to our partners… And this isn’t just the guys, I’m talking to you women too. Please let your partners know what they mean to you and how important your happiness is, how important they are to your happiness, and that without them by your side, you could not have the life that you love and could not enjoy your life in the same way that you do when they’re there, and that you couldn’t stand not having them around because you could not enjoy it.


The Big Five-Oh!

To the topic for today, I do want to also thank, immensely, all of you, all my listeners who have been with me and celebrated, this past week, our 50th episode. Thank you very, very much for letting me know that our message is getting out, and I really want to tell you from the bottom of my heart how much fun this is and how much fun it is to reach out to people throughout our country, throughout the world, and bring them on the show to help all of you have the most incredible relationship that your life could have. So, thank you again for listening, and I want to tell you what an honor it is to really be that spokesperson for some of you, to help you have the close, connected relationship that makes your life more meaningful.

But, I’d also like to remind all of you, is that with these podcasts, we do have show notes every week on our site,, so you don’t have to take notes or anything, that they’ll be there, and I try to transcribe most of these.

Have a better relationship, a more vulnerable, a more intimate relationship. I do offer a 30-minute free telephone consult. All you have to do is go to my website and there’s a link right there to self-schedule your own 30-minute, (and it is free), 30-minute consult.

A Penny for your Thoughts

And one of the things I’m probably going to do at some point today is, I want to play this jingle for you. I had this jingle created and some people have said, “Don’t use it because it’s sort of this silly jingle, you know, and you’re talking about a serious topic here and some people might be offended.” So, what I’m going to do is I’m going to play it for you and I want you to please send me an email at and let me know what your thoughts are. Should I use it? Shouldn’t I use it? Is it something that could be offensive to people, or is it something, and this is sort of my thoughts and what my intent was, is to really make real, and that it isn’t always so heavy and it doesn’t have to be so heavy all the time? So, I want to play this sort of fun little jingle about the 30-minute free consults and get your opinions.

[music begins]

With your partner by your side,
You can reach higher heights,
Leave your legacy to live beyond your days.

Now life can throw a challenge or two,
But it doesn’t mean the end for you,
The Couples Expert can help you along the way.

Call for a free phone session today!

[music ends]

Call for your free 30-minute telephone consult today.

So, let me know what you think.

Healing the Past through EFT

So, let’s get back to the topic. How did I say that I wanted to talk about this? I’m a fan of American Idol, an
d on American Idol, Kelly Clarkson was on. She is a singer that was the first winner of American Idol and she’s just recently put out a song called “Piece by Piece”. And what it’s about, it’s about her relationship wikellyth her father. Kelly’s father abandoned the family when they were young and she never really felt that he was there for them. And what the song was about was about the fact that there has not been one, a man, because most of the men in her life has not stuck around and been there, but he has.

So, as a result of the relationship that they have been able to develop through a lot of hard work, she now has a different perspective of men because of that one man in her life that has sent the message that men, all men don’t leave. Men don’t all abandon their families. They stick around and they truly are there for one another, and their wives and children. Her husband really has been there for her, and as a result of that, she’s been able to really pick up the pieces of her life, piece by piece, thus, the name of the song.

And, what it’s really talking about is what we talk a lot about in Emotionally Focused Therapy, which is attachment theory. The fact that it only takes one person in your life, that if you have one person in your life that really is someone that you can define as there for you, that has your back, that you know is stable and secure, and that you know you can be authentic with, it changes your whole world. And based on having a relationship like that, all those past pains, and your childhood abandonment issues, and all of those things become less meaningful, less significant, less impactful today because you have someone in your life that really makes a difference. And that experience that you have with your partner can really allow you to feel better about yourself, more complete, less empty, less like you need that parent that wasn’t there for you to somehow be something different.

Because, really, what relationships are about, it’s about a matter of trust, and if you have someone in your life that you trust, that you know is there for you, you know you can take risks, and even if you take some risks and they don’t always work out, that your partner at home is still there for you because you’ve been authentic and vulnerable. And it really makes life become an adventure, an adventure of sharing and being together with somebody that matters to you and you know that matters to them.


That’s why EFT is an experiential model, because what we know is, the only way to heal those wounds, those wounds of the past, those wounds of relationship injuries, of past relationships, is to experience our partners as someone who’s really there for one of us, for us, and that healing and repair that comes from having one relationship, and I keep stressing the word “one” because it only takes one person. That’s what’s so exciting about this. We don’t have to have a group of people that do this. We don’t even have to have two people that do this. You only need one person, that one person who’s in your life that you feel loves you more than anyone.

It Is Possible to be Authentic

And what we then learn to do as a result of these experiences, we begin to see our partners as really there for us. And sometimes, through our triggers, we have all these interpretations that say our partners may not be there for us. They may not even be a good guy or a good lady. That, basically, what we have to do is begin to see our partners and have different interpretations of them. So, experientially, we have to experience our partners as someone who we can be authentic with, and that our authenticity, that vulnerability that comes with being authentic, could change our world.

You know, Billy Joel had a song a while back, “A Matter of Trust”, and it was really a song about different relationships and what happened for him. And really, if you look at music today, you see all of these songs that really are about: Can I be myself, can I be authentic? And that’s really what I read earlier, from Ronald Reagan to Nancy, that’s why that was so emotionally uplifting for me, because it was about people who really have found those in their life that they can truly be themselves with. They could be silly, they could be ridiculous at times. You know, my wife and I sometimes dance around our house and it looks, I mean, if someone walked in during that, they’d say, “What the heck is going on here?” But, we could just let loose that way. That is really an important part of having a life that you know you matter because that the two of you just are yourselves.

And EFT can bring that to you. With an EFT trained therapist, couples’ counselor, you can go and develop those relationships that will let you realize that who you are is really pretty neat. Who you are is the one that your partner loves and they love all of you, they love all parts of you, even the parts that aren’t so positive, even the parts that they may at times wish they can change, and that you know you matter and they matter to you, and you’re in this world together.


Take care now, and we’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.

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