In our Hot Topic this week, we have John David Mann, co-author of more than 30 books, including four New York Times bestsellers and five national bestsellers and Ana Gabriel Mann, Psychotherapist, coach, teacher, speaker, meditator, and co-author of The Go-Giver Marriage. They’re a husband, wife team. Most of you probably have heard of the book series, “The Go-Giver.” This is a book series that John David Mann has written along with Bob Burg, and there are very, very well-read; best-sellers all the way around, but I connected with them, and so I’m excited to talk about all of these books!
Hot Topic: Leadership and Marriage
It’s good to have you here on this Memorial Day holiday. It’s Monday, May 30th, 2022. We are grateful to have you here. We have a special episode on Memorial Day. We’ve got Jack, Les, and myself. We are going to be talking about the financial markets in the first half of the show, and then later on in the second half of the show, in the Hot Topic segment, an interview with John David Mann and his wonderful and amazing wife, Ana Gabriel Mann.
They wrote a book together called The Go-Giver Marriage. They have a whole series. John has been writing The Go-Giver series for some time. They published The Go-Giver Marriage, and you are going to learn about it and say, “What is a book on marriage having to do on a mortgage show?” It’s a holiday. As we go through life, I value my marriage and the whole concept of marriage. I’m thinking that based on how hard I work, I know what challenges I’ve had. I thought it would be a good way to remember what are some important keys to tuning up your marriage. We are giving back not only to the mortgage industry but now we are giving into marriages. Jack, what are your thoughts on that?
It’s a very good topic. Crafting a healthy marriage with our life partner makes life a lot less stressful, doesn’t it, Mr. Lykken?
One of the things I love about you is your marriage. You have such an amazing marriage, and there’s such dedication. I look at our hot topic guest, Les Parker, and his dedication to his wife Linda, who is going through so much in her life. I love great marriages and those that are dedicated to making it work. We are going to be giving that to you folks in the Hot Topics segment. We will talk more about it afterward.
Again, this show is created by mortgage professionals for mortgage professionals. We are grateful to have you as our reader. Our commitment is to bring you timely information that you can read anytime and anywhere. Jack and I were on the phone talking and looking at the whole thing and the show, what we have been doing and how we have been doing it.
The show continues to explode. It’s growing rapidly, and we continue to get many readers. We thank all of you that have been reading for years. We thank you and welcome all the new readers that have joined us. Jack and I were talking, and I said, “Jack, I’ve got some ideas. I want to change it up. Now, I list him as a co-host. He brings a lot to that. I love his style. It’s distinctly different from mine.
Variety is a great thing. If he came up with some ideas for a new format, the basic format where we spend the first half of the show running through different things, we are going to continue doing that but in the not-too-distant future, we are going to be launching a format of how we do that. It’s going to be much more conversational where the regulars, myself, Jack, Alice, Allen, Matt, and Les can talk about what’s going on in each one of the important areas of the industry. We are going to add a servicing component to this. For those that are in service, what should we be looking at there? I’m excited about this. Jack, I want to say thank you for coming up with this. Your thoughts?
I always thought that we had a lot of good talent and knowledgeable resources with the regulars on the show. If we get into more of a roundtable discussion, we can enrich the content that we are providing the readers. That’s what it’s all about. It’s helping people understand directionally the market and the compliance fabric. If we go to that roundtable, we’ve got the opportunity to allow the regulars to contribute.
I’m excited about that. It’s a great suggestion. It came off of the recent roundtable discussion we did here a few weeks back. Both Jack and I enjoyed that so much. “We got to do more of that. How can we do more of that?” I have been thinking about it. What can we do to improve the show? How can we change things up and continue to provide, as you said, value and great content to our readers and do so even in a way that holds your interest?
Conversational, roundtable, mastermind-type thinking is a way to do it. We are excited about that. Let’s say thank you to our sponsors, Mortgage Bankers Association of America, Finastra, Lenders One, The Mortgage Collaborative, Total Expert, as well as Knowledge Coop, Mobility MMI, Modex, Snapdocs, SuccessKit, Lender Toolkit, FormFree, SimpleNexus, and DW Consulting. Thank you, sponsors, for being here. Also, a special thank you to Rob, Les, Alice, Allen, Matt, and Jack for their contributions each and every week to the show. We are now going to move into the Hot Topic segment.
Readers, I am honored and excited to share with you two guests who are fast becoming some of my favorite people, and I’m getting so close to them that I’m so excited to share with our audience these two individuals. I have on the show joining me is Ana and John David Mann. They are a husband-and-wife team.
Most of you probably have heard of The Go-Giver series. This is the book series that John David Mann has written along with Bob Burg. They are very well-read and bestsellers all the way around. I connected with them on their latest book, which is The Go-Giver Marriage. I’m excited to talk about all of these books but I’m going to start with you, John, if you wouldn’t mind. What was the catalyst for creating the first The Go-Giver book?
First, The Go-Giver was the beginning of my career as an author, which came late in life for me. I didn’t start until my late 40s writing books. It was the book that showed me that I can write a book, which was a good thing to find out, as it turns out.
Talk about the relationship between you and Bob. How did the two of you meet?
Bob and I have never met in person but through email and every now and then on the phone primarily through email. We met because I was an editor at a number of different business journals, and Bob would submit articles, and I would edit them. One day, he emailed the publisher and said, “Who is this guy that makes my stuff better than it was when I wrote it?”
We got connected through my work on his writing. He approached me a couple of years later and said, “I’ve got this idea for a book but it’s not the book I can write. I write how-to stuff. This is going to be a story like The Richest Man in Babylon or The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. I want to be like that but I need you to do it. I don’t want you to edit my stuff. I want you to write the book with me. I will make you a deal, you write it, and I will promote it.” That was a good deal for me because I didn’t know how to promote books.
The thing that made it work was that we didn’t know each other that well. We had very different backgrounds and different people but our values were in perfect sync. We connected. I would almost be able to finish his sentences before he even started them. The book drew from his and my experiences and philosophies. I had been in sales and leadership for years, as did Bob in sales management. The book was like the perfect union of the two of our experiences. It began a long and fruitful friendship as well as this series of books.“We had very different backgrounds, and we're very different people, but our values just were in perfect sync.” Click To Tweet
How many copies were sold? It’s on the global bestseller list. This is a well-written and well-read book and has been published in numerous languages.
It is in 28 languages. It has sold over a million copies. The fun thing about that for me was that when we first brought it to publishers in New York, it was rejected 21 times. Twenty-one different people said, “We will pass,” and then the 22nd published it, and he’s happy he did because it sold over a million copies. We followed up with several sequels, a book on sales, leadership, and influence until finally now entering an entirely new chapter of human relationships and marriage.
One of the things that I wonder about is amongst our readers, how many people have a book that they have thought about writing or desire to write? Any tips that you would have for a wannabe writer?
The first thing I would say is to write. The way that I often encourage people to begin writing is to start with something short form, whether it’s a blog post, a little column in a newsletter or even a lengthy post on one of the social media channels. Start by trying to communicate a single idea with a story to illustrate it in short form. If you do a blog post in 400, 300 or 200 words, make that as complete and self-sufficient as you can and then do that again.
If you develop the muscles of expressing a single idea beautifully with some story element involved so that people read it and go, “I never thought of that before.” That’s the set of muscles you need to write a book, no matter how long it is. A parable of 24,000 words or a novel of 100,000 words, that’s that singular little storytelling expressing yourself muscle you need. Don’t worry about the long form or the longer book. It will take care of itself as you go.Writing is developing the muscles of expressing a single idea beautifully with some story element involved so that people read it and go, “Ah, I never thought of that before.” Click To Tweet
Ana, do you have something you would like to add to that?
I do. If you want to write a book and a lot of very smart executives, have books in them but they don’t have the wherewithal to start a blog. They are working many hours. My second piece of advice for this is to search around the writing community. Go to people that you trust that have written great books. Ask them who edited and helped them because there are a lot of people out there writing phenomenal books in partnership with a seriously good writer. That’s the ticket as well. A great book cannot be a calling card but it can be a statement of your beliefs, the way that you express leadership, trust, and all kinds of different values that are so important to the work you are doing.
The alignment is so important. That’s how the three of us met. It was through the writer that I’m using for writing my first book. I have been pregnant with at least 3 to 5 books and am finally giving birth to the first one. We will see what comes after that but I’m so thrilled. I love the writing style, which is a fable. You are writing from a fable, which is that story, and then you introduce the concepts in there so successfully. For those of you that have not read The Go-Giver series, I encourage you to do so. The first one is The Go-Giver. The next one is The Go-Giver Leader, and then it went to The Go-Givers Sell More, and then The Go-Giver Marriage.
There’s a book in there called The Go-Giver Influencer, which is not about being big on Instagram but it’s about being a person of genuine influence in the world.
I have that book. I should have that in the pile of books I have of yours here. All read well worth the time, so readers download these, listen or read them. I highly recommend it. I want to set aside all these books because when we do business, and they are all good, I want our readers to go read all of them. One of the things that go on in business, and specifically men, is that we don’t reach out for help on other things other than business. Most of us are married. Most of us have relationships or significant others, whether be their children, spouses or whatever. At least in the male world, I find men don’t reach out for help until they are announcing their divorce.
I had this happen with a client of mine. They said, “I want to let you know we are going to be divorcing. We have been working on it for a year.” I want to talk about marriages because women seem to talk about it. As soon as there’s some pain and stress that’s going on, they get their girlfriends or tribe together and start talking about it. Men, not so much. Do women have the intention or start talking about it earlier with their friends and network, and men internalize it, stuff it, and don’t deal with it until they are announcing the divorce? Is that a truism?
Women are very relational, to begin with. They were raised to be in relation to the people around them. They have always been servant leaders. They are the moms, cooks, the ones that clean up, and the ones that take care of things. In many cases, they are also the one that runs the household and a big network or business and is wearing many hats and doing many things but is relational at her core.
Women are more likely to talk about it, even if it’s with a best friend, and be in that position of, “I’m struggling with this or that. Can I bounce this off of you?” Whereas I find men will do it in some circles but are much more guarded about it because men, in their desire to be seen as powerful, strong, and capable, don’t want to let, themselves be vulnerable, not even to their peers because of how it might reflect on them professionally and otherwise.
It’s such a good point. Here’s a reason I was so excited about sharing with our readers, the two of you. I want to encourage us to talking more sooner about relational issues. In my experience, women seem to open up and share more authentically about what’s going on, and men hold it in. We need to change that. To the extent that you are working with others in your company that is struggling and you sense that, the book, The Go-Giver Marriage is probably one of the best resources. As a starting point, it gets the conversation going. John, you wrote the book.
For readers who haven’t read the book yet, the book is in two halves. The first half is a story, as David said. I was largely the author of that half. The story introduces some characters who are going through some marital issues, and it introduces these ideas we call The Five Secrets to Lasting Love. In the second half of the book, Ana steps in and says, “Here’s what you read and what it means. Here’s why it works and how you can do it.” She does the explanatory part and gives you the step-by-step tools.
Back to the story part, it’s about a young professional couple named Tom and Tess going through a single day in their lives, and one thing to note about them is that Tess is worried and a little concerned about the marriage. They are not in crisis. They are not yet in the operating room facing the scalpel but Tess is a little concerned and worried. A girlfriend of hers has announced that she’s getting divorced, and they went to school together, and Tessa is going, “Is that where we are headed?”
Tom, if you follow his story, doesn’t have any such thoughts. He doesn’t have a clue that there’s anything wrong with their marriage. This is no accident. One reason that men frequently don’t bring up issues in their marriage until the divorce court beckons are that men frequently aren’t even aware of it. They are not even letting it in. Not only do they not want to tell their friends or colleagues but they also don’t even want to tell themselves. Men frequently do have this, “Let’s tough it out.”
We were largely brought up that way, whether by our parents or culture at large. “Tough it out. Hang tough. Be strong. Get it done.” Those are all great things but there needs to be room for self-reflection and self-examination. One of the things that we stress throughout the book is the need to be self-reflective and explore what is going on. This is like health. Many of us don’t pay attention to our health until the doctor says, “You are on the verge of a heart attack,” or until after you had the heart attack and you wake up in the hospital saying, “I thought I was healthy.” You weren’t. Marriages can be like that too.Tough it out, hang tough, be strong, and get it done. Those are all great things, but there needs to be room for self-reflection and self-examination. Click To Tweet
That’s such a great metaphor, and it’s true. Oftentimes, men wake up clueless about what has been going on, even if the symptoms are obvious. You do a masterful job of telling the story of Tom and Tess. There’s a pivot in the book in how this absolutely goes to a delightful place but I’m not going to give it away. Let’s go over to you, Ana. I want to make sure we cover the five secrets, and if you could expound on each one of them and like any good book report, I want it to be the point where we draw people to want to read this book. It’s so solid and good.
It’s hard to give all five secrets enough space and time in this time limit but the five secrets are about the generosity of spirit. The first four secrets are about being generous with your spouse. The fifth secret is counterintuitive, and every Go-Giver book has a fifth secret that is counterintuitive to the first four. The fifth secret is about giving to yourself because, in a great many marriages, people give and give in a way that’s almost martyr-like. They don’t give to themselves in any way. They then wake up twenty years later, empty hollow, and don’t know who they are because they expressed it all with the kids. Now, they are facing Empty nest syndrome. That’s very real.
By the same token, being a natural born giver, by that, I mean not giving transactionally or not giving with the idea that, “I’m going to give you this because I want that.” That’s not the giving we are describing. We are describing adding value to the other person’s life, which is the bottom-line premise of the entire Go-Giver theory. It’s how you can bring value to another person’s life. When you do, and if you are generous in giving to the other person, it’s the fastest-moving boomerang you’ve ever seen. It comes back to you in spades. That’s the power.
The first secret is simple. It’s appreciation. Appreciation, in essence, it’s gratitude wrapped up in a package that’s all about the person that you are appreciating. In a sense, you are stopping your partner in their tracks and letting them know in words the things that you appreciate and love about them. It needs to be authentic and sincere. It’s not a passing compliment like, “I appreciate you, honey.” It’s much more direct than that. It could be like, “When I listen to you talk to our kids, I feel so happy that you are their dad because you are the Pied Piper with them, and they adore you. It’s so rich for them and me to experience. I love you for this. Thank you.”
What Ana said is so important because it isn’t just, “I want you to know I appreciate you, honey,” because that’s meaningless. When you say the thing that Ana said, the power is in the specificity. By the way, this is also true of bosses and employees and managers and their people. The power is the specificity because what the specificity of the appreciation and gratitude says is, “I have been paying attention. I have been watching you because you matter to me because I care about what you are doing. I’ve noticed these particular things about you that I want to let you know about.” That is so powerful.
I was thinking about the parallels of a relationship between a husband and wife and between a boss and a subordinate or a manager or anyone supervising someone else. That’s such a great point. Let’s move on to the second one. This is one that I’m personally working on, and I’ve retained Ana to advise and work with me a bit in my relationship with my wife. This is the one I have been practicing. Talk about this one which is attended.
Attend is literally about paying attention. When you attend to your partner, you are looking to see all the things that they love and want. In essence, in attending to them, you are giving them that. I’m not talking about gifts per se. I’m talking about acts of attention. That could be spending quality time with them like taking a walk in the afternoon because it’s what she loves to do, which gives you an opportunity to talk to her and find out how her day is.
It could also be something John does for me. He puts a hot steaming mug of tea next to my bed at 6:30 in the morning every day and delivers my laptop to my bed so that I can spend the first half an hour catching up on email, sipping tea, and relaxing. It’s the sweetest gesture. It’s an active service but it’s such a powerful thing.
When you attend to your partner, you are paying attention to those little things that she loves and adores or he loves and adores. Maybe your husband loves carrot cake with walnuts and cream cheese frosting, and he doesn’t need more sugar in his diet but is once a month going to be the deal breaker? Make him some cake. The old joke of, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” there’s a lot of truth under that statement. This is the brownie boy right here. I make sure that he’s got apple spice cake, brownies or whatever else it is that he wants.
Also, it’s little acts of service like sometimes he’s in his office writing and I will bring him a plate of cheese, crackers, apple slices, and a cup of hot tea. I will put it on the desk and walk out. I don’t try to engage him in conversation because he’s busy but it’s that little thing of like, “I know you are in the middle of your afternoon slump. Here’s something to brighten your day.”
It also can be paying attention when your partner is not doing well. When I can see that John is having a bad day, I won’t try to process it with him because that’s the wrong move. For a husband to try to fix what’s going on with his wife, trust me. Don’t try to fix it. At the same time that you are listening, one of the best things that you can do is walk up to your partner and say, “It’s clear to me that you are not having the best afternoon. If there’s anything I can do, know I’m here,” and then walk away. You are giving them the freedom to say, “I’m losing it over here. Can I talk to you?” You are giving them the opportunity to say, “Would you make me a cup of tea? That’s all I need.”
Do you know how that feels on my end or on the receiving end? When I’m in that afternoon and Ana says that to me, the way that feels is, “At this moment, I feel like the whole world is against me. I’m doing battle with the whole world. I’m doing battle with my publisher, colleague, internet service or whatever it is.” What I got reminded of was, “Here’s a person I’m not doing battle with. In fact, she’s got my back. She’s on my side. She’s on my team. She’s not requiring anything of me. All she’s wanting to do is let me know that she’s here.” It is such a relief and a source of comfort and strength.
I coach a lot of high-powered professional men. A lot of them are killing it in their business world. These are successful guys but in their personal lives, things aren’t as good. A lot of times, I coach both elements. I coach individuals. I do not coach couples. The reason I do that is because the only person that can change the marriage is you.
By working individually, I have a better opportunity to work directly with that person, with their issues, and the way that they are blocking intimacy and the relationship. One of the things that I encouraged a partner to say to the other partner, and this is the wife of a very defended and high-power guy but he also has a lot of childhood wounds. I said to her, “What would it mean for you to say to him, ‘I want you to know that I see that you have been hurting for a long time, and I see that you want this relationship to work. I want you to know I see and care about you,’” and then she let it go.
He had to walk into the bathroom because he broke down and cried. He was so moved by what she said. She didn’t try to process his history or the relationship. She simply acknowledged that she knew he wanted it to work and that she knew that he was in pain. That was one of the most powerful things she could do to attend to him. It moved to the relationship, and it moved to the coaching fast forward.
Moved on to the next secret, the third one, which is allow. I love this one in many ways, so talk about that.
I want to pass this on to John because this is a difficult secret, and he explains it beautifully.
This is, in some ways, the most subtle and most difficult secret. Not difficult to do but come difficult to express and understand. Here’s what it is with allow. Appreciating is often something you do the moment you fall in love. In fact, when you were in that courtship phase, you were appreciating each other like crazy. You can’t say enough good things about the other person.
The poet who said, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” this guy was in love. That’s how we all are. With attending, we like to attend like crazy when we are dating. We will bring flowers and chocolates. We will take you out to dinner and a movie. We will show you a good time. We jump through hoops to try to attend to you when we are first together in that courtship phase.
Allow is something that tends to emerge only over time. Allow is the faculty that you need to develop and express when things get difficult. I don’t mean between the two of you. I mean in life. We are courting and in awe of how gorgeous each other is, so we come together, get married, and live together. We have a home we are building, and then there are kids, careers, finances, mortgages, sickness, accidents, one of our parents has a stroke, and one of our friends betrays us and lost investment. All these things are stresses on the marriage or relationship that cause us to be stressed out, and we start to lose that automatic magic that we had when we were courting. The world is wearing us down. These are the moments when we need to be able to make allowance for our partner.The world is wearing us down. These are the moments when we need to be able to make allowance for our partner. Click To Tweet
Another word for allow could be grace. We must show our partners some grace when they have a little tougher time than we are. By the way, it is never even. We like to say, “Marriage is not fair.” If you are looking for it, to be fair, you are looking in the wrong place. You won’t find it in marriage because we’re two different people, and always one of us is a little ahead of the other in terms of our buoyancy, our mood or our situation. One of us is always having a little tougher time than the other one. It’s a back-and-forth thing.
When your partner is the one who’s having a hard day, didn’t sleep well last night, had a rough time at the office, not feeling well because they are sick or whatever is going on, when they are in that space, you may need to pick up a little more than your “fair share” of the burden. You may need to do a little more chores. You may need to do some tasks around the house than they normally do. Even though you urgently want to tell something that’s on your mind to bite it down for a moment and listen to what they have to say because their need is greater.
Allow is the for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, it’s the worse, the sickness, and the poorer. It’s in those times of stress that we need to be there for our partner, even though it doesn’t necessarily seem fair. Here’s the magic of it, when you do that, it’s not a compromise or a sacrifice. When you do that, you, the allowing one, the giving one, become a bigger person. It enriches you. It gives them grace and space. It makes you a deeper, richer, more understanding, warmer, and more valuable person.
This goes along the same lines as all the themes in your book. As you say here, “Have a generous spirit,” and it’s giving a generous spirit. Ana, do you want to add to that before we move on to the next one?
Yes, I do. What I would like to add is that each secret has an opposite. The opposite of allowing is controlling. One of the things that I see in marriages all the time is one or the other person or both trying to control the heck out of the marriage and control the other person to the point of smothering the entire organism. There’s the you, the me, and the us. You have to remember that at all times, you are either feeding the us or starving the us.
Again, such a parallel to a relationship between a boss and a subordinate. It’s the same principles. In this series, one book reinforces the other. Let’s move on to the next one, which is belief. I love this one, and this sometimes can be hard when there have been wounds in places where leaving the other person can be painful. Talk about this.
Belief is an exponent of appreciation. Appreciation is like, “I’ve noticed this about you. I’ve noticed that about you. Here are some particular things that I love about you.” Belief is, “I’m going right to the core of who you are.” Belief is appreciation taken to the very center of your being. Belief is no matter what’s going on right at the moment, no matter what circumstances are now, no matter what we are going through now, even if I’m angry at you, even if you’ve done something that seems unconscionable to me, no matter what our current situation is, I believe in the core of who you are. I know you.”
It’s like this wonderful scripture, “I know you before you were conceived. I know you from the interior of your bones. I know who you are, and I believe in who you are. Let’s deal with the circumstances, and we will deal with that,” but it’s lesser to the core point, which is, “I know who you are and I believe you.” That is something that develops in time. It’s something that can save our relationship in times of stress and trouble.
The most important part of that one is when you have a boss that comes and believes in you and what that can do to return you to the game. You are struggling in some area of a relationship and a marriage, and the spouse says, “I believe in you.” Ana, I love this point. What do you want to add to this?
I was on a podcast with Stephen Covey on his new book, Trust and Inspire. He’s got such a brilliant perspective, which is that you need to extend trust and inspire trust. When we are talking about believing in somebody, there are times in a marriage when belief gets shut down and challenged, and yet it’s important to come back to that center of who the person is at their very core because the opposite of belief is contempt. It’s taking criticism to the next level. Guttman, the most famous marriage researcher worldwide has named contempt as 1 of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. It’s one of the things that will take down a marriage.You need to extend trust, and you need to inspire trust. Click To Tweet
Even in those moments where you’ve lost faith in your partner, if you can sit down with them and stay present enough to say, “This has been challenging for me. This has hurt me but I believe in who you are as a person. I believe in your basic ethics and integrity. I believe in your heart and I believe you want to be in this marriage and heal this marriage. I want you to know that I am extending my belief in every possible way to you because I believe in you. I want this to work.” Years ago, when John was first writing, I used to say to him, “You are going to write some brilliant novels at some point in the future,” and he would always nod and say, “That’s nice,” and walk away.
I would say, “Thank you for the vote of confidence,” and what that meant was, “I don’t think it’s going to happen. I appreciate it.”
His very first novel was nominated for a Barry Award, which is like being nominated for an Oscar. His second novel is coming out, and people are groveling to get him on podcasts. He’s got all these big names endorsing the book. It’s so much fun to watch because that belief was extended several years ago. Here’s the thing about trust and inspire, which is that when you trust and believe in somebody, you inspire them to greatness. People become a larger version of themselves when people believe in them.
For those of you that are reading that have children, take this to the bank with your kids. Your children need you to believe in them. They need you to inspire. That’s part of your role as their mentor and their parent. It’s the same in a marriage. If you want your husband to be a bigger, larger, and more powerful self, and you want your wife to be the same, then extend that trust and belief, and inspire them to the greatness that is in there.
I was thinking about the children exactly where I went. I was thinking about us believing in kids because there are so many challenges facing them. Being a consultant to the C-Suite executives, I often flip right back into that realm and go, “How do few bosses express their belief in someone, especially when they are struggling?” It’s such an important part. The fifth secret is grow. This, as you pointed out when you started talking about this, Ana, is one that is a bit unique. I can’t wait to hear about this.
The first four again are about giving to your spouse but the fifth secret is about feeding, nourishing, and taking care of yourself. In a marriage, a lot of times, people wake up ten years later and say, “I’m bored. I don’t feel the same way about her or him as I used to because there’s nothing new to find.” There’s always something new to find. There’s a great line in our book that says, “Every person is an unexplored continent and there’s always something new to find.” There’s always a new exploration.Every person is an unexplored continent, and there's always something new to find. Click To Tweet
The truth is that a lot of people get sucked in, and they try to get their needs met by the marriage instead of meeting their needs on their own. Your personal growth, development, and even your health, it’s your job. It’s not your spouse’s job. Therefore, if you are taking the opportunity every day to grow yourself in new ways, you could be a master gardener or a great chef. These could all be avocations separate from your actual work. You could be a profound speaker getting better every day.
The better you become at the things that you are excited about and inspired by. You have so much more to bring back to the relationship. I say this to women all the time, “Would you rather be 20 or 30 years from now, the sexiest woman he’s ever known because your mind is as interesting as every other part of you? Would you like that?” Spend time growing yourself because that’s how you keep yourself alive and interesting.
I love what I’m learning. John, do you want to add to that?
The thing that’s important, as Ana said, there’s this us between us. At all times, you are either feeding the us or starving the us. One of the ways that you feed the us is to grow yourself. As she said, you always have more to bring to the marriage. I want to highlight this area of grow. There are two aspects that are so crucial, and one of them is health. What frequently happens is that in the service of our ambitions and of the things that we are actively pursuing in life, our career, reputation, accomplishments, finance or whatever it may be, often we sacrifice our health. We’ve talked about this. We often drive ourselves, and we are not noticing the early signs.
What happens is all of a sudden, at age 50, 60, 68 or 71, at some age, our health “suddenly” breaks down. It has been happening for decades but it appears now. Now, what are we? We are a burden to the family or to the couple. What we are now doing is instead of feeding the us, we are starving the us, big time. We are sucking from the us because we need so much extra care. We didn’t take care of ourselves for years.
This is not an indictment. This is a very common experience. Many people go through this. At the age of 25, 30, 40, 70, or at whatever age, you start to take care of your health on a day-to-day basis, watching what you eat, watching how you move, making sure your joints and articulations are in motion, and making sure you don’t sit in a chair all day long. When you start to take care of yourself, you are taking care of the marriage. You are taking care of your spouse by taking care of yourself because you are creating a person who won’t be a burden on her or him.
The other aspect that I want to mention beyond that physical health is a matter of self-examination. Going back to that, one of the ways that we grow is in maturity. One of the ways that we grow is through self-knowledge and self-understanding. One of the ways that we become more and more valuable to our spouse is to become more and more interested in examining, “What is going on with me exactly? Why do I behave the way I do? Why am I interested in what I’m interested in? What am I here to accomplish? What’s going on in my life?” The more we explore that, the more it becomes the examined life, which is worth living, and the more we are feeding our marriage.
That’s especially important if your marriage is in a challenge. Again, the only person that can change the marriage is you. The more that you self-examine, the more that you’re able to understand what are the dysfunctions that you’ve brought to the marriage. The opposites of the secrets, criticism, control, and maybe even contempt.
It’s easy to slip into that contempt as a boss with an employee, with marriage, the relationship with the kids, and all that. It’s such a subtle drift that could happen.
The opposite of grow is stagnation but I also think the opposite of grow is defense. It’s because when people aren’t growing, they are defending the posture of where they are. It’s like, “This is who I am. Deal with it.” Instead of being in this place of, “Staying open to the possibility of waking up to your personal growth in a way that you become a more functional person in the relationship.” When you bring your best self to the relationship, you open doors to intimacy that you never even dreamed could be opened.
You touched on so many good points in this interview. Talk about the book that’s coming up. You and Ana alluded to it. What’s the next book that’s coming up? When it’s going to be published? Where can we get it?
The first novel that Ana was talking about came out in 2021. It was called Steel Fear. It’s a thriller about a traumatized Navy SEAL stalking a serial killer aboard an aircraft carrier in the midst of the Pacific Ocean. The publisher immediately signed us up for a sequel, which is coming out in early June 2022. It’s called Cold Fear, and it follows that same traumatized SEAL or this gentleman who’s had an extremely painful past and has some rather disturbing circumstances in the present but he has memory issues. He is having a hard time sorting out what is and isn’t so, like all the rest of us in our lives. He is now dropped into the center of Iceland in the middle of the coldest part of the year. I can’t wait for people to read it.
Let’s share it with our readers. What’s your website and the best way for our readers to reach out to you?
Our website is GoGiverMarriage.com. On the website, not only that you can order the book from any venue that you would like but also, you can sign up for coaching. You can come to one of our group workshops. You can join our coach’s training program and become a coach yourself. There are all kinds of information there as well as all the people who have endorsed the book, etc.
I want to mention that the program that Ana mentioned or the workshops we do are live via Zoom. We had somebody in our last workshop from the UK and Australia signing up. You can join those from anywhere. The other site is the site for my new novel is ColdFearTheBook.com.
Thank you both so much for sharing with readers something we don’t cover enough, and that is the importance of how to overcome those places where we hit rough spots in a marriage or even how if you have a great marriage and how even to make it better. Again, readers get the entire Go-Giver series. You will not be disappointed. There are so many wonderful principles, and it’s so well-written. Thank you both so much for coming to the show. I appreciate you both.
Thank you so much, David.
- The Go-Giver Marriage
- Les Parker
- Mortgage Bankers Association of America
- Lenders One
- The Mortgage Collaborative
- Total Expert
- Knowledge Coop
- Mobility MMI
- Lender Toolkit
- DW Consulting
- The Go-Giver
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- The Greatest Salesman in the World
- The Go-Giver Leader
- The Go-Givers Sell More
- The Go-Giver Influencer
- Steel Fear
- Cold Fear
About John David Mann
Before turning to business and journalism, he forged a successful career as a concert cellist and prize-winning composer. At fifteen he won the prestigious BMI Awards to Student Composers and received the award at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, where he met such twentieth-century-music luminaries as William Schumann and Leopold Stokowski. He apprenticed as a choral conductor under his father, Dr. Alfred Mann, which gave him the chance to meet more legendary figures of classical music, including Randall Thompson, Leonard Bernstein, Boris Goldovsky, Robert Shaw, and George Crumb. His musical compositions were performed throughout the U.S. and his musical score for Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound (written at age thirteen) was performed as part of a theatrical production of the play at the stone amphitheater in Epidaurus, Greece—the very one, in fact, where the play was originally premiered a few thousand years earlier.