054. How to Successfully Balance Business and Love: Building a Flourishing Career and a Strong Marriage

Dive into the delicate dance of balancing success in both business and love. With a blend of wisdom and wit, our guest, Dr. Kate Mangona will unveil the blueprint for crafting an exceptional entrepreneurial journey while nurturing a relationship with your partner that stands the test of time. 

Join us as we uncover the keys to building a thriving career and a deeply fulfilling marriage, offering practical advice and heartfelt stories along the way. Tune in for an engaging discussion that will leave you inspired and empowered to pursue greatness in both your professional endeavors and your love life.

Key Points From This Episode:

  1. Being productive and time management are so important.
  2. We have to understand our emotions. 
  3. Give your partner freedom. 
  4. Uncompromising intimacy and boundaries
  5. The gap and the gain in a marriage
  6. The importance of positive reinforcement
  7. Accepting and loving your partner
  8. Deciding that you would not victimize yourself and figuring out your partner’s love language
  9. Prioritize your partner or spouse.


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54 - How to Successfully Balance Business and Love: Overcoming Challenges to Build a Flourishing Career and a Strong Marriage with Dr. Kate Mangona

00:05 Dr. Ann Tsung Are you struggling to advance your career and sacrificing time with your loved ones because of endless to-dos, low energy, and just not enough time in the day? If so, then this podcast is for you. I am your host Dr. Ann Tsung, an ER critical care and space doctor, a peak performance coach, a real estate investor, and a mother of a toddler. I’m here to guide you on mastering your mind and give you the essential skills to achieve peak performance. Welcome to Productivity MD, where you can learn to master your time and achieve the five freedoms in life.

00:52 Hello. Welcome to Productivity MD Podcast. Over here, I have Dr. Kate Mangona. She’s a pediatric radiologist. She is also a marriage coach. She is the host of Medicine, Marriage & Money Podcast, YouTube channel, and host of couples’ retreats. The reason why I wanted to bring Kate on is because, without a stable relationship, a stable marriage, or when somebody starts being productive at their work and they kind of let go of their productivity in their close relationships, in their loving relationships, then you’re really suffering. You’re not fulfilled, and you’re not balanced in all aspects of life. That’s why I wanted to bring Kate on here and talk about how to essentially have both awesome entrepreneurial journey career and an awesome, stable marriage at the same time. Kate, thank you so much for coming on the show. Would you give us a brief introduction about what you do? We did a very, very small one. But can you expand on a little bit more? And why do you do what you do?

01:59 Dr. Kate Mangona Absolutely. I feel like I have the perfect work-life balance. I work three days a week in the hospital, reading X-rays of little babies and children. Then I work two days on my podcast, my coaching programs, my marriage retreats, and just talking with other people who love personal growth and contribution, going to events and retreats. Also, in the evening time on weekends, being a mom to three little girls and a poodle, and then a wife to another physician who works a lot. I just feel like I have found this balance over several years. I did not have this before COVID. I tweaked things along the way. But oh my gosh. Being productive and time management is so important. I never knew how much mothers had to know about time management until I started having babies, and then things started falling through the cracks.

02:58 Dr. Ann Tsung Wow. So I wonder why is this important for people that you’ve seen, from your clients and the physicians you coach. Why does it actually matter to have a stable relationship with your husband? Because a lot of us, like you said, when you started to become a mom, you’re focused on your kids. You try to manage your kids with your work. But why is it so important to have a good relationship with your husband, too, or significant other in general?

03:24 Dr. Kate Mangona Well, when you’re not focused in it, when you’re not building something, when you’re not working on maintaining something or making something better, it’s often getting worse. Usually, things don’t just maintain. If you think about your kitchen or your bedroom, if you’re not making your bed, it’s getting messier. Your dishes don’t get done. Your laundry doesn’t get done by itself. Same thing with your relationship. If you’re not working on it, you guys tend to be growing apart or to having these thoughts and feelings that might not be helpful. So if you’re not assessing, okay, what are the stories I’m telling myself about my spouse even when we’re not around and then when we come together, those could be harming your relationship.

04:04 When you are putting yourself in friend groups, like you and I put ourselves in front of, where we are actively working on not only our careers but also our personal lives, this propels you forward. Then you are able to spend more time in gratitude. Waking up at 5 AM and thinking about how grateful you are for those moments you had with your spouse yesterday, your kids yesterday. When you’re not doing that, your mind goes into these negative spirals. That’s just natural. That’s from centuries ago when we were cave women and cave men, and we had to survive. And so it’s really not our fault. It’s our biology. But we have to keep up with that and use the peripheral cortex of our brain to see, okay, the amygdala hijack that happens, we have to dim that down a little or just understand where the anger is coming from, where the frustration, where the resentment. Because we can deny it all we want. We might say, oh, I never get angry, and you don’t even realize you are. Or, you might deny that sadness or that fear and just keep pushing forward.

05:12 It’s something I find a lot of my clients do. Really, they’re good at what they do. They are high-achieving professional physicians, and they’re really good at whatever it is — reading X-rays, diagnosing patients. And so they crave that dopamine hit. When they go into work, they are always getting those hits, and so they just keep doing it. It doesn’t matter if they stay later, or they read extra X-rays on the weekends. But when they come home, then they feel like more of a failure or more fear. Like, I’m going to get in trouble. I don’t even want to come home because I’m not going to have done, I’m not going to have pulled in the garage the right way, or I’m not going to greet my spouse the right way. And so you start to seek your pleasure off your work and then away from the pain that your relationship is going towards because you’re not actively working on it. Then you just become — the anger and the resentment spills into your professional life. You show up at work angrier. Your patients don’t get you at your peak performance. Then your kids see what you’re modeling of how to handle conflict in the home. They don’t see you at work, unless you work from home. But they see how you interact with your spouse and them. And that’s their normal.

06:28 Dr. Ann Tsung Yeah, I think that’s probably my biggest why, too: to hold my tongue sometimes and just think I got to be a good model for my baby. I got to just pause 10 seconds, and then no need to talk about what hasn’t been done. That’s really my strongest why. And you’re right. This is so important. Because if you don’t have a stable relationship with your significant other, if you have kids, then they feel that instability. They can sense negative non-verbal communication. And in turn, it definitely affects them. You want them to be able to grow up, when they meet a significant other, to know what is actually a healthy functional way of communicating different thoughts or having open communication, I guess, of different opinions versus just conflict and it’s always me, me, me.

07:25 You have mentioned a little bit, but I want to expand on a little bit more what it’s like to have — maybe, are there stages? Are there stages? From resentment, first, you’re ignoring the resentment, stonewalling. I know there’s different stages versus what it could be like if you actually have respect, intimacy, compassion, playfulness in the relationship. I’m just trying to contrast so that people know where they’re at essentially, they can diagnose themselves.

07:58 Dr. Kate Mangona Oh, absolutely. I studied Gottman. Gottman has The Four Horsemen, which you were kind of referring to — the stonewalling, the contempt, the criticism, and the defensiveness. I wouldn’t necessarily call those stages, but those are like personality types that we fall into when we get into conflict. Do you consider yourself more critical of your spouse? Do you get more defensive when they make a comment? Are you thinking of yourself as superior? That’s what contempt means. You’re always like, “Well, you shouldn’t have done that. I would have done it this way. Everybody knows that.” Or, you just shut down. You just shut down. There’s all this internal dialogue going on in your own head. Like, “God, when is this going to end? She can’t keep going on like this.” But on the outside, it’s just a blank stare.

08:46 Gottman teaches the antidotes to that. I’ll just give you an example. The antidote to criticism is: instead of being critical about how he put the dishes in the wrong order in the dishwasher — like the plastic where you put it on the top, you put it on the bottom or you close them too, whatever, put them away in the wrong area — just be grateful that he did it. I don’t want to say just. Just is actually one of those words I don’t like. It takes energy away from the conversation. Can you find gratitude that he or she wanted to help out with the dishes, that they were actually put away and now you can put dirty dishes in there?

09: 24 When you’re referring to stages, I just want to go back to that because this is a common pattern I see in some of my clients. At first, they’ll be hurt. There’s this hurt inside of them. It’s kind of like this hurt sadness. But then, it turns into anger pretty quickly. Then they react with anger. Because their heart is so closed, they don’t want to be open and vulnerable. They don’t want to be hurt, so it turns into anger. Now, after you’re angry for so long, first, it’s like hurt sadness. Then second, it’s anger. Third, you get into these numb days where you’re so angry all the time, you become addicted to it almost. That you’ve turned numb to whatever that external stimulus is, or your spouse. Say, your spouse is always traveling on business. At first, it really was you got very sad. It was very hurtful. Then you just became angry because you feel like you’re the one who has to do all the housework or the kid work. Then eventually, the third thing it turns into is just this numb, where you’re like, okay. Well, in order to protect my heart and also to not have to feel angry all the time, I’m just going to not care about anymore. I’m just going to feel numb. I’m not going to have any feelings about it at all. That stage is so dangerous. Because that’s when you don’t even care. You’re not going to even attempt to start to rebuild a relationship. You’re not even going to attempt to try to understand your spouse. You lose all compassion, all playfulness, all curiosity. So you’ve become numb. Then you start to develop this life where it’s like independent, loveless relationship where everything is eroding. Then you don’t even know each other anymore.

11:07 Dr. Ann Tsung That sounds so sad. How common is that?

11:10 Dr. Kate Mangona I see it so common. When you think of divorces, 50% of all marriages end up in divorce. Now, we know there’s a Harvard study several years ago that’s shown that with professional couples, physician-dentist couples, that number goes down to 25%. I would say, in probably 25% of those marriages, something deteriorated. They became numb. They stopped caring. They let things like finances, in-laws, differences in parenting techniques, intimacy, wants and desires, they let things like that get in between them and their spouse. First, it was hurt. Then it was anger. Then it became numb. Then they didn’t care. Then you start just finding your own path. There’s a place for personal growth but also growing together at the same time, kind of like parallel, and maybe not on the same rung of the ladder but in parallel. And so maybe we could just say 25%. I’m just saying that based on that separate — I’m extrapolating here, so I don’t have the numbers for you, Ann. But I see it more frequently than not. Gottman actually has the numbers that couples don’t reach out for help until they’ve been in this state for seven years.

12:33 Dr. Ann Tsung Wow. That’s a long time to be growing apart from each other. I think I can get what you’re saying. There’s a difference between you let them go and explore on their own but fully supporting them, versus you let them go, it doesn’t matter what they’re doing, and you’re just going to do your own thing. That’s what it sounds like, right? Yeah, it’s so funny about the hurt and anger. It just happened this morning. This morning, my husband was trying to tell me something. I interrupted him to ask him a question, which, thinking back, I probably could have just let him finish talking. But I interrupted him as he was talking. I was like, do you want me to put avocados in the baby’s — I was trying to put avocados, trying to prep the daycare meals for you. He was like, “You interrupted me.” I was like, well, I’m just trying to help you. It turn into anger really fast. I was just like, okay. You do it.

13:25 Dr. Kate Mangona I know. Isn’t that funny? It’s like we’re all just trying to help each other, but we interpret the other person’s actions as some kind of an attempt to be mean. It’s our primitive brain. We have to constantly be aware of this. Remind ourselves to take that breath and be like, okay, what are their best intentions here, or whatever kind of mantra you need to tell yourself, like a benefit of the doubt.

13:53 Dr. Ann Tsung For me, it would have been like, yeah, I probably shouldn’t have interrupted him. That’s fine. I could just do it without asking him if he wanted help. I think you just reminded me of that. What would it be like when somebody does — the successful marriages you see, the couples, what exactly are they like? Is that even achievable?

14:15 Dr. Kate Mangona Well, I think it’s constant progress. I don’t believe in compromise. I got this from one of my marriage intimacy coach expert mentors, Alexandra Stockwell. She has this book called Uncompromising Intimacy. And so I don’t believe in compromise when it comes to intimate relationships. I actually don’t really believe in boundaries either. I feel like if you have put up boundaries — boundaries may be good at the very beginning for your professional life, people who don’t really come on to your inner circle. But when you think about your most intimate partner, they are in your inner circle. If you’ve put them on one of your outer circles where you put that co-worker you don’t want to talk to necessarily every single day, or maybe your mother-in-law or father-in-law who just rubs you the wrong way every single time you talk to them, then that relationship is not going to be that intimate. Now, when they are there, there’s really no need for compromise or boundaries. It’s all about understanding.

15:17 You may have problems. We all have issues and problems and conflicts, and not all of them have to be resolved. We just have to understand that, each other, we each have feelings. Now, some of them, some of our partners may not be forthcoming with those, especially if those weren’t routine in their home growing up, and they might not be interested in sharing their feelings. So we have to be that feeling detective that sense like, okay, I sense this, or this is what I want. This is what I tell a lot of my clients. They’re like, “I really wish I was more loved; I was more appreciated, I was more valued.” This is what I say: well, if you want that, then what you need to do is you need to love. You need to appreciate. It’s kind of like karma. What you put into it, you’re going to get back. If you put anger and criticism and resentment to your relationship, that’s what you’re going to get back, or you’re going to get some form of emotion that it makes you feel icky. But if you’re pouring love into a relationship, that person is going to notice. I mean, if you’re not in an abusive situation, that person is going to notice, and they’re going to reciprocate that love. It doesn’t take much.

16:26 I had a client messaged me the other day. She had responded to an angry text message from her spouse with understanding and compassion. This is a new thing for her, because this is a new thing I’ve been talking about this past month. She took my advice. He responded how he was so angry at this family member of his. He used some colorful words that I don’t need to repeat. And instead of her mothering him or coaching him and saying “That’s not helpful. Don’t think that way. They’re really not that bad,” instead she responded with understanding. “Wow. That must feel terrible. I’m so sorry.” I can’t remember exactly what she said. But then she put in like, “I wonder how their mom deals with them.” She put in like, “I am so sorry you’re that way. You can always talk to me.” They were apart at the time. His next response was, “You know what? I shouldn’t have said such harsh words. But yeah, it’s hard.” His response went from angry to calm. Reading the text, I could just sense he felt understood. He felt seen and that loved. Whereas it could have gone a completely different way if she would have started mothering him. That could have been an explosion.

17:52 Dr. Ann Tsung Yeah, when you say mothering, basically, you’re trying to solve the problem, too, right?

17:57 Dr. Kate Mangona All of your problem, yeah. Reminding you to bring your jacket when it’s too cold outside when you do it every single morning, and you don’t need to be reminder. Some people just need to learn on their own some of these things. You didn’t near your mom for a reason. People say you do marry somebody that resembles your mother, your father, because you’re used to that type of mentality and those actions around you, and you feel safe. But when you marry somebody who’s constantly telling you what to do and not appreciating, it’s like the gap in the game, telling you about the gap, all of your gaps, and not telling you how wonderful you are and how appreciative you are. We do it to our own selves, Ann. This is why you and I love this kind of stuff. Because we tend to naturally be very hard on ourselves. That’s what got us to this place. We beat ourselves up. We probably are a recovering perfectionist and people pleasers. And so we have these expectations for everybody else in our lives. That’s why we tend to be martyrs and kill ourselves staying to the work. Everybody else has gone home. Well, I have to do all the work because they didn’t know how to do it right. Then you expect your spouse to do the same thing because that’s what you expected yourself, instead of knowing, you know what? My suppose has got it right. I need to learn from them.

19:20 Dr. Ann Tsung Yeah, it’s so true. This was just recently at UPW, Unleash the Power Within, three weeks ago. I told myself instead of saying what wasn’t done, I would say what was done, three things that were done by that individual. This really applies not just to your significant other or your kids. Everybody else in your life: your employee, your employer, whatever, your assistant, people who did the Instacart deliveries. Just wanting to be in a more grateful state. I will say that I noticed the shift when I made that commitment. I noticed a shift. I opened the fridge and I was noticing. Wow. This was done. This was done. This was done. Then after that, I was like, oh, wow. That was a first. So you can train your mind to notice the gain instead of the gap. I’m still training my mind, of course, with my own spouse. I think I am getting better. I know just last week, we had a discussion on we have a culinary leader week, so one person manages all the food. I think I was like, “Well, for the past three weeks, I’ve already been dealing with the food,” and not really commenting on all of the SmartTags he installed in the home and all the help that he gave to help our toddler, et cetera.

20:47 Dr. Kate Mangona Ann, does he want to be culinary — what do you call it? Culinary?

20:51Dr. Ann Tsung Leader.

20:52 Dr. Kate Mangona Does he want to be a culinary leader?

20:54 Dr. Ann Tsung Well, we decided at that time we were going to alternate weeks to kind of split the burden. So it was decided. What the term though is our house manager cooks and preps everything, so we don’t actually cook. We also recently hired a chef, who’s coming tomorrow, and our assistant at the groceries. So you’re just managing people who cook. That’s it.

21:21 Dr. Kate Mangona I just encourage — things happen. I’m supposed to be in charge of paying the credit card bills every month. He’s in charge of the taxes every year, even though I try to sit with him and try and do some of the taxes too. Here’s the big financial picture, our big investment. I always encourage people to re-evaluate that once a month, every two months. If it’s not working, maybe that’s just not their strength. And you know you can play on. We all have strengths and weaknesses, right? So just play up each other strengths and not so much downplay the weaknesses.

21:55 Dr. Ann Tsung Yeah, and what I read also in 80/80 Marriage is that whoever has the higher standard should really just do it. Because the other person is not going to do as well as you or up to your happiness level, I guess.

22:06 Dr. Kate Mangona And positive reinforcement. We all know in 2023 that positive reinforcement works. It works in our dogs. It works in our children. And guess what? It works on our spouses, too. So the criticism we have, the negatives, even when you think of our medical school training, there was so much critique. It was like, “Oh, that made us grow stronger. That made us the physician we are today.” I don’t know if we necessarily want to bring that home. I am a much better wife and friend and gravitate towards those people in my life who are positive reinforcing and maybe tell me critiques in a certain way but not all the time hammering them.

22:48 Dr. Ann Tsung Yeah, like the feedback sandwich, I guess. A little bit of that. I’m curious then. Once these people start having these issues of, there’s like these mild things where it’s just like your ego and defense mechanism comes up, what would you say would be the first antidote, or action, or mindset to that? Versus once you get to the stonewalling or the last stage where you just don’t care anymore, what are some top three steps that you would take for that stage?

23:23 Dr. Kate Mangona Okay. Oh, yes, before you get to the numb, when you’re at the angry stage, I feel like that’s when you have to decide. Number one, you have to decide that you’re going to take full responsibility of your own emotions. I like to say that some people treat their spouse like an emotional vending machine. Like, I’m angry because he did that. I just want to push happy. I want to push calm. I want it to come out. But you’re in charge of your own anger or sadness. They did not create it. So you have to decide first that you’re in charge of that anger or that resentment. Then you have to figure out and experiment. Okay. What do I need to do to get out of that anger? Am I not taking care of myself? Am I not eating the foods I need or want to be eating? Am I not going for walks or moving my body the way I want to? Do I feel so overwhelmed because I need to, like you do, outsource the cooking? Am I saying I’m doing all the household work, whereas I could outsource some of that? Of course, it needs to be managed. But do I want to do that? So deciding, taking those actions.

24:27 Then thirdly, just accepting that you have married this person because you love them. Reminding yourself of those why you fell in love. Is that why you’re still in love? What do you want your life story, what your love story looks like? What do you want your life story to look like with this person? Can you envision that? Are you in the right frame of mind? Maybe you’re not. So maybe you have to stay on step one where you’re taking back control of your own emotions, and then step number two where you’re figuring out, okay, do I need to listen to a podcast today, read a book today, talk to a friend who’s in a better stage than I am? Because we’re not reinventing the wheel here. There are so many resources out there. Am I hanging out with the wrong friend group? That all we do is talk negatively about our spouses and everybody’s getting divorces, which, in some cases, okay, they’re going to be happier. But you have to decide whether you’re going to be happy you’re divorced or in the relationship. And is that what you want? Then you take those actions. Then third, okay, when you’re in that spot, to then start loving, to start showering them with love, to start showing them all the different languages that you could love them, and just doing it.

25:41 Dr. Ann Tsung So the beginning stage is deciding that you will not victimize yourself, that you can control how you feel, and you’re not blamed. Well, the reason why I reacted to this or I feel like this is because he did this, or she did this. Then essentially, just figuring out their love language and take control. Whatever you want, you give first. That’s what it sounds like, right?

26:06 Dr. Kate Mangona Yeah, so the second stage is really just experimenting to figure out what void — any negative emotion we have, or if we call it a negative emotion, all emotions we have, any emotion you don’t want like anger, resentment, jealousy, frustration. The second stage would then to figure out what unmet need is causing that feeling. Because all those feelings are all caused by an unmet need that you can fulfill or figure out how to fulfill it. You don’t have to wait for your spouse to fulfill it. So that’s the investigating, the digging deeper part after you’ve decided. Then the third part is: you are so far in your personal growth stage. You are realizing all the reasons where these emotions are coming from that you’re able to elevate yourself into a state or then you’re able to give the love, the appreciation that you want but you found on your own. So once you give it, then it reciprocates back.

27:00 Dr. Ann Tsung I see. So the middle stage is actually realizing you can meet your own needs, but there’s something that’s unmet. Fill your cup up first. Then the third stage is then, basically, you don’t need to depend on your spouse meeting any needs. Because you’re two independent circles essentially, not the Venn diagram circles. Okay. Then that’s the beginning stage where you guys are not ignoring each other. You actually want to work on your marriage. What about when you get to the stage where you are ignoring each other and growing separately?

27:35 Dr. Kate Mangona When you’re growing separately and ignoring each other, I feel like if you have figured it out, at that point, I think it’s time to go to a retreat. Go take a course. Actually, hire a coach. Have somebody guide you back into it, unless you can just turn on a podcast or read a book and then start doing it yourself. But if you’re that far into the game, what I’ve found for my clients who are there, they need a lot of coach, like nudges. Hey, they know they want more intimacy, or they know they want more playfulness. They want more love. But they’re just not prioritizing it because they don’t know how. They spent their whole life prioritizing their career or thinking about their kids. I know that’s controversial too. Prioritizing your kids over your spouse, I feel like, can be detrimental for your marriage. I’ve gotten some hate on that one, actually. That is where it’s time to hire a marriage coach or go on a marriage retreat.

28:38 Dr. Ann Tsung And out of all the actions that you can take, I wonder, have you found anything that’s effective, like a regular date night, or is it just scheduling intimacy time? I don’t know. Maybe more of like you can do your own couples retreat too, privately going through a list of questions. What is like the 80-20 of some of the actions that can bring back novelty, playfulness, compassion and things like that, that people can do regularly, I guess?

29:09 Dr. Kate Mangona I think absolutely when you said scheduling date nights. So if you are so numb, you don’t even care anymore, then probably it means you’re not spending time with them anymore. You’ve just got to prioritize them. Prioritize means one thing. Your career is probably good. It’s probably not going to go anywhere if you prioritize your spouse for this month or even this year. Make 2024 of the year, you prioritize your spouse. You schedule a date night once a week. Whether it’s at night, or at morning, or at evening, you can fit it in. I know we all have busy lives. But if you’re too busy, then you might as well get the divorce papers ready, or just agree to live separately, or whatever it is you want to do. You have to put them in your calendar.

29:52 Now, putting him in the calendar is step one. You still have to do that work where you’re able to take that pause, take responsibility for your own emotions, not victimize yourself, not villainize them. Look and see if you’re letting anything else get in between you and them. Is it finances? Is it their shopping habits? Are you letting anything else wedge that itself in between you and your spouse? Me, personally, let me just tell you an example. Three or four years ago, I noticed. About four years ago, I noticed that whenever I had a problem, I would always reach out to friends and family who would always take my side. And while it felt very comforting, the venting felt great, and they’d be like, okay, you’re right, it wasn’t helpful for the marriage. And so I had to learn to tell certain friends or family, no, I’m not telling this to you so that you can agree with me. I need to figure out what my blind spots are. Then I figured out. Okay. Maybe I’m venting in the wrong sort of way. Then I started realizing maybe talking about this over and over again is not helpful. Let’s see how I can learn from this on my own.

31:00 What I always recommend to people when they’re so in this phase, in this numb phase, is to write down a story of their life. Write a letter to themselves 10 years from now. This is my life. This is what he says and what he does, and this is how I feel. This is how my life is. Then at the top, after you finish writing it, give yourself 30 minutes. At the top, write “my shitty story is…” I forget who told me about this. I forget if it was a Brené Brown or an Elizabeth Gilbert exercises. One of those two. Or was it Martha Beck? One of them. My shitty story is… Then you give yourself permission to not believe any of it. Any of it. Then you go by line by line. You look at every single statement you made. Fiction, fiction, fiction. If there’s any facts in there, like the sky is blue, or I’m 37 and he’s 42, okay, you can keep that as a fact. But if it can’t be proven in the court of law, then it’s fiction. You need to decide how you’re going to rewrite the next chapter of your life.

32:09 Dr. Ann Tsung Yeah, that’s awesome. I’m going to do that tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ve done that. I mean, I’ve done A Date With Destiny, talking about your way values, Torah values. This must happen for me to feel successful. Those are all BSs really. So this sounds very similar to that. You write your own BS story, and then change it. Then just decide.

32:32 Dr. Kate Mangona You can’t change it right away. But you just allow yourself to be like, maybe this isn’t true. Maybe this isn’t true. Then you can see your painting monsters in your head that don’t really need to be there.

32:44 Dr. Ann Tsung Yeah, I think the example that commonly comes to mind, there’s always one person more productive, more eager, more productive, more faster in action, more decisive. Then the other person is a little more risk-averse, more analytical, more rational, slower, or analysis by paralysis and doesn’t take action, or more fearful. That clashes a lot. Then, as an example, sometimes it makes me feel like unloved, or unheard, or unsupported. Because if I am doing all this, this fast, this is just a household item or whatever, like joint items. Then when the other side isn’t being done so quickly, then it makes me feel unheard and unsupported.

33:32 But yeah, at UPW, I was like, this is all like BSs really. You know the intentions are good. You know that they do their best to their abilities. It’s good to analyze, to be a little bit risk-averse as well, and that you fell in love with them. Back in the beginning, at least this is my story, that it was unconditional love in the beginning. That they didn’t have to do anything, just like your child. Really, everybody is like a toddler and a child. No one has to do anything to deserve your care or unconditional love, really, because we’re all just human beings. That’s what it boiled down to. I had to change the story. But it always comes back every now and then.

34:15 Dr. Kate Mangona Yes, and you remind yourself. Then you go on another. You read another book, another podcast, go on a retreat. You’re like, oh, I just feel so much better.

34:24 Dr. Ann Tsung Thank God for UPW. I guess, speaking about retreats and resources and books, I wonder what would you recommend for our readers as a starting point? Of course, give your podcast and your websites of course and then anything else that you would recommend.

34:42 Dr. Kate Mangona Yeah, absolutely. The Medicine, Marriage & Money Podcast and YouTube channel, I think, have 140 episodes all with marriage tips and advice that, of course, I’ve gotten from resources like the Gottman. One of his books is The Seven Pillars for Making Marriage Work, which is amazing. I totally recommend everybody to read that book. At the end of every chapter, there’s all these exercises that you could do with your spouse. He has a whole host of exercises on his website and courses, classes, retreats you can take. I have definitely favored coaching. His is more of a psycho-educational approach. I think it works very, very well when you package that with coaching too. I recommend, like I said before, the Intimate Marriage Podcast or Uncompromising Intimacy book by Alexandra Stockwell, one of my amazing friends and actually co-host to our marriage retreat we’re holding in October. Let’s see. There’s also some great books. Alison Armstrong, she has an amazing website and book called Keys to the Kingdom. I recommend anybody read it when they cannot understand — Have you read it, Ann?

35:51 Dr. Ann Tsung No, I started Uncompromising Intimacy today.

35:55 Dr. Kate Mangona Keys to the Kingdom is great for when you’re not understanding the masculine person in the relationship, when you’re not understanding your man. It explains the phases in the men’s life. It’s like, sometimes men can be in one phase of their life for 10 years. We’re like, we want to shake up. We’re like, why went through all 10 phases like today? How could they be in it for 10 years? But it’s like, we have to learn to be patient and compassionate and playful throughout this phase. It’s like, there’s no wait. You don’t wait out 10 years. But there’s ways to grow together through that and live through that. That’s why I love that book.

36:37 Dr. Ann Tsung That’s awesome. What about your website, then? What would your website be?

36:42 Dr. Kate Mangona My website, medicinemarriageandmoney.com. Same as my YouTube channel, my podcast, Medicine, Marriage & Money. Then my book will be coming out next year, so we’ll talk about that next year.

36:55 Dr. Ann Tsung Then can you tell us a little bit about the retreat, up and coming?

36:58 Dr. Kate Mangona Yes, Alexandra Stockwell and I are hosting a couples retreat in Maui at the Four Seasons in October 7 to 11, 2024. So in just a little, about a year, I will say 10 months now, 10 months away. It’s going to be five days. There’s going to be couples coaching every day, mindfulness coaching, embodiment practices. We’re going to do intimacy-enhancing exercises and challenges. Time to practice that in the evening times. We’re going to do a few excursions like biking down Haleakalā, which is this most magical mountain in the cloud. You actually have cloud on your face as you’re biking down the mountain. I’ve already set that up. So excited. There’ll be opportunities for surfing. I’m going to have hula dancing for all the ladies, so we dance in front of them. This is part of embracing your femininity. Everything is optional. So you can calm, and you can participate in what you want to do and not. I have several people interested who are actually going to be celebrating their 15-, 10-year anniversary. So I’m super excited.

38:04 Dr. Ann Tsung Wow. That sounds really fun. I don’t think I’ve ever done hula hoop in front of my husband.

38:11 Dr. Kate Mangona Hula dancing. Hula dancing.

38:12 Dr. Ann Tsung Yeah, hula dancing. Oh, yeah, interesting. Okay.

38:16 Dr. Kate Mangona But that’s a good idea. We should do hula hooping in front of ourself.

38:20 Dr. Ann Tsung Just be playful, right?

38:22 Dr. Kate Mangona Yeah.

38:23 Dr. Ann Tsung What would you say regarding the takeaways, like a summary or a takeaway and the action item? You could give me one, or two, or three. It’s up to you.

38:34 Dr. Kate Mangona First of all, just decide how you’re feeling about your love life right now. How are you feeling about it? What is the mood? What is the vibe? And if it’s love, infatuation, appreciation, great. Keep doing what you’re doing. If it’s anger, if it’s resentment, it’s irritation, frustration, okay, this is your wake-up call. This is your invitation to investigate where these things are coming from. It’s time to write your shitty story right now and not believe any of it, giving yourself permission, making time in your calendar to work on yourself and these emotions. Look at your calendar right now. I know you’re a huge calendar person. My calendar is packed every hour of the day. If I don’t have my husband in my calendar at least once a week, what are you doing? And so make sure that’s happening. Because when you don’t have the time, then there’s no intimacy.

39:31 And don’t say this. Oh, it was so much easier before we had kids and when we were younger. No, it wasn’t easier. We just went on date nights. We shaved our legs. We did our hair. We did our makeup. We put on our cute dress. We went out. That was the night we were going to be playful and intimate. We scheduled it back then. And we need to schedule it still. Okay? Make sure that you’re scheduling time. That you don’t have to be some independent woman. If you’re a woman out there, if you’re a man, both support. Maybe just go home and ask your spouse. How can I support you today? How can I best support you today? Every more masculine person in the relationship wants to feel needed, respected, and opened up to. The feminine in the relationship, they want to feel heard, safe, understood. So you have to recognize this. That’s a whole another journey we can talk about next time — masculinity and femininity. All that, Ann, go do it. Go do it today.

40:32 Dr. Ann Tsung Yeah, it’s all about dropping the masculine mask for me at least. Always work in progress for me or anybody who’s like a driven, professional woman to be feminine. Actually, the hair, the dress, the makeup helps. But it’s really how you feel too, I found, that I’m trying to really embody the way I talk, the way I walk. I’m trying to embody to be playful, like you said, to have compassion, and not be so rough and tough every time something comes up. You got to be equal in response, I guess.

41:10 Dr. Kate Mangona I can do one quick tip too. Next time your husband says something and you’re just like, what the heck did you say, or what did you do, instead, just start tickling him. Start plucking their underarms, tickle, and then see what happens. Not irritation and to just like, you’re like this. Then they’ll start laughing. It’ll be a whole thing.

41:31 Dr. Ann Tsung That’s so funny. Yeah, sometimes I say like, are you mad at me? Or, like, are you okay today? But at the same time, when I say that, I could just tickle him maybe. That’s a good idea. Thank you. Thank you. And if people want to learn more about your coaching, do they just go to the same website as well?

41:49 Dr. Kate Mangona Yeah, I’m on Facebook and Instagram, Kate Mangona. You can just find me. Kate Mangona on Facebook, and Instagram Kate Mangona MD. I respond to messages on Facebook all the time. Instagram, occasionally.

42:04 Dr. Ann Tsung K-A-T-E and then M-A-N-G-O-N-A for those of you guys listening, right?

42:10 Dr. Kate Mangona Yeah, like the mango. Like the fruit mango with an NA, yep.

42:13 Dr. Ann Tsung Oh, okay. There we go. Okay. Well, awesome. Thank you so much, Kate. I think we could probably do another episode on masculinity, femininity, maybe even real-life scenarios. This has been tremendously helpful. And for the people who are listening, please just take one action, whether that’s doing your story, your current story, or recognizing what you actually need right now, instead of not having insight to what is actually going on. Just decide to not victimize and take ownership of your own marriage. Anything. Or, just get a book on Audible. Go subscribe to Kate’s podcast. Something. Okay. All the links, everything we talked about, is going to be in the show notes at productivitymd.com. I just want to really thank you for coming on the show, Kate. I know that the audience probably got a lot out of it, so thank you.

43:08 Dr. Kate Mangona Thank you for having me. It’s such an honor.

43:10 Dr. Ann Tsung Yeah. And just remember, everyone who’s listening, that everything we need is already within us now. Thank you.

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