As a psychotherapist, I am a big proponent of using supplemental resources within and outside of couples therapy sessions. So many wonderful resources exist that speak to the best practices of how we should and should not engage with our partners. The following examples are especially resonant and helpful for self-awareness, motivation, and inspiration:
#5. Martin Lemon on Transforming Trauma: Lemon is a psychologist with loads of experience working with men individually and as part of men’s groups. He goes into depth on the resources that informed his approach and understanding of men’s emotional lives. The materials he mentions have been foundational for me and my approach to men in groups, individual, and couples settings.
#4. Richard Rohr: On Being: If you are unfamiliar with Rohr’s work, this is a gateway into his thoughtful manner. He has written many books and often talks about masculinity and its effects on our hearts, relationships, and life. He encourages alternatives to dualistic thinking and has the grasp and solutions for providing more depth and context for modern masculinity and its predicaments.
#3. Esther Perel: On Being: I’m a fan of Krista Tippett’s interviewing style and the thoughtfulness she and her team put into who they choose as guests. I admire Esther Perel’s work immensely, particularly in the realm of reconciling eroticism with domesticity. This podcast episode reinforces her intelligence and wisdom. Vitality is essential in intimate relationships. In this interview, Perel explains what works (and doesn’t) concerning the challenges inherent in long-term modern love and keeping passion alive. Prepare to be entranced and taken on a philosophical journey through intimacy.
#2 and #1. Terry Real on Pulling the Thread: I can’t say enough about Real’s understanding and insights regarding masculinity. He cuts to the core of issues related to male depression, emotional intelligence, expectations, culture, and more. He is not afraid to take sides in couples work, which often means telling men to step up and do their work (especially regarding emotion).
In these two episodes—Healing Male Depression and Bringing Our Wise Adults into Relationship—Real firmly asserts what works and what doesn’t for men in partnership. In the former, he discusses the lack of emotional intelligence men can bring into their relationships as well as how culture shapes our development and the ways we behave with intimate partners. In the latter, Real appeals to our best selves while also sorting through what makes emotional intelligence challenging to access, given our upbringings. I believe these two podcasts will inspire you to do more work on yourselves for the benefit of your relationship. Real also discusses the Feedback Wheel—an invaluable tool I often use with couples in sessions for difficult conversations (and encourage them to use it on their own).
Bonus. Emily Esfahani Smith on Art of Manliness: Smith discusses the difference between finding happiness and finding meaning. She brings research and cultural tenets to bear in this podcast, as well as how belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence contribute to her four pillars of meaning.
Like what you have read? Join me in Men Helping Men. A forum where I am devoted to supporting men in broadening their emotional experiences and bandwidth, talking more about feelings without giving advice.