005: Turn Resentment into Compassion

Podcast Guest: Dr. Steven Stosny

Turn Resentment into Compassion

Listen to the Show:

In this Episode

In this week’s episode, Liz and Dave interview Dr. Steven Stosny – author, educator, researcher, and one of the top marriage experts in the world. Dr. Stosny explains the underlying causes of disconnection, anger, and emotional abuse and how compassion – the “lifeblood of intimate relationships” - has the power to overcome their detrimental effects in marriage.  Join us to learn how to create a deeper marital connection today.

Time Markers:

2:00 - Dave’s Fave: “How to Improve your Marriage Without Talking about It”

3:20 - Communication is a function of connection.

4:35 - Communication isn’t about information in a love relationship.

5:50 – Connection is a mental state and a choice.

6:13 – Connecting with your man – touch first.

7:16 – Criticism is not an aphrodisiac.

7:30 – The underlying cause of disconnection: blame, denial, and avoidance

8:35 – Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want

9:35 – Resentment – the root of inter partner violence (IPV)

10:00 - Act on your values, not your feelings

10:30 – Overcoming feelings of resentment with compassion

11:20 – Compassionate assertiveness

13:10 – It’s not your driving, it’s my anxiety

13:50 – People cannot be compassionate when they are defensive

14:47 – Compassion is the lifeblood of intimate relationships.

16:11 – Resentment and the laws of reciprocity and negativity

18:21 – Every couple is different – test the research hypotheses to see if they apply to you

21:16 – The core value skill

22:11 – Improve, connect, appreciate, protect

25:45 – Toddler brain vs the adult brain

26:04 – Abuse is the misuse of the power inherent in attachment

26:21 – The fuel of anger: vulnerability + threat

28:33 – Motivation for emotion: approach, avoid, attack

29:14 – Guilt in relationship is a distance regulator

29:51 – The core value approach to relationship improvement

33:19 – Dr. Stosny’s book, “Empowered Love”

35:01 – Attachment: the secure base

37:26 – Dr. Stosny’s website and resources (relationship bootcamps)

39:05 – Signs of emotional abuse – the failure of compassion

41:55 – How to have a deeper marital connection? Be true to your own values.

43:35 – Takeaways of the day


About [Podcast Guest]: 

 Steven Stosny, Ph.D., is the founder of CompassionPower. His current book is Empowered Love. Among his previous books include, Soar Above: How to Use the Most Profound Part of Your Brain under Any Kind of Stress, Living and Loving after Betrayal, How to Improve your Marriage without Talking about It: Finding Love beyond Words, Love without Hurt, The Powerful Self, and Treating Attachment Abuse. He has treated over 6,000 clients for various forms of anger, abuse, and violence. He is an advisor Prince Georges County Circuit and District courts on domestic violence. He has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Today Show,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” many CNN shows, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, WSJ, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, O, Psychology Today, USA Today. He has taught at the University of Maryland and at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. His blog on Psychologytoday.com has over 20 million views. 

Dr. Stosny currently offers boot camps for chronic resentment, anger, emotional abuse and monthly workshops on various self-healing and relationship topics. 


Dr. Stosny Links: 



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Instagram: @strongermarriagelife 


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Insights and Invites


Dr. Stosny: “Your only chance of getting the partner you most want to have is to be the partner you most want to be.”

Dr. Liz: “It only takes one to improve the relationship.”

Dr. Dave: “Learn to feel it, not follow it.”


  • Test out the resentment-compassion communication hypothesis in your relationship – Try communicating with your partner when you’re resentful and then try doing it when you’re more compassionate and measure the difference. (18:30)
  • Consider how blaming your spouse and self-blame are hindering your ability to make personal improvements in your marriage. Choose to move away from blame to compassion by focusing on the present moment and the future you desire for your relationship. (25:00)
  • Are you taking your spouse for granted? Dr. Stosny shared that because attachment is our secure base we rarely think about love until it is threatened. Make a list of ways you can intentionally show your spouse that you love them rather than taking them for granted. (35:00)