DR. JENN — VH1’S COUPLES THERAPY RELATIONSHIP GURU ON LIFE AND LOVE
LOVE&: The mantra at LOVE& is encouraging couples to have fun relationships, but most of all to have a sexy marriage. What are the best ways couples can experience sexiness in their marriage?
DR. JENN: First of all the connection is the key to having a sexy marriage because if that is not there people feel as if they are just going through the motions. But once that connection is solid, sexiness comes out and it’s not about physical acts but more about communicating, making time for each other, making time for sex—having that lock on the door if you have kids. A lot of parents today do not make time for each other. You have to make it a priority with your partner and go out on dates, put on the mascara, the high heels. The connection is really what makes it sexy.
ERIC: I have a much different point…bondage!
LOVE&: As the director of the Beverly Hills Community Clinic and a celebrity counselor, what trends are positively affecting American couples, outside of glamour and fame?
DR. JENN: Couples overall are much wiser and more insightful and eager to do things to better their relationships. There are many self-help books giving a better sense of what to consider as well as the willingness to do therapy. My Couples Therapy show on VH1 has made therapy more culturally acceptable; it has brought an awareness of communication to a new generation. Now, when people hit a crisis they are ready to pick up a self-help book or go to therapy.
ERIC: Thankfully we have Jenn’s Couples Therapy because it’s one thing to learn about a woman and it’s another thing how to learn about being a good partner. But with Jenn as my partner my relationship skills have skyrocketed because she walks her talk.
LOVE&: A lot of people–especially men– don’t favor marital counseling and see it as a sign of a failing marriage. How does counseling, even in healthy marriages help?
ERIC: Before the relationship with Jenn I thought counseling was a total joke; a terrible idea and it wouldn’t work. I thought I would be telling everyone I was a failure. But now, the truth is to not go is being weak and the growth in the relationship is stunted. If you think you have a good relationship or if you are in a good relationship and you’re not doing couples therapy your relationship is doomed.
DR. JENN: I agree. Most couples should get into couples therapy way sooner than they do. It always makes me sad that couples after 30 years of marriage haven’t dealt with 20 years of prior problems. I believe couples need to get into couple therapy the first year they are together. When you are in a real profound and meaningful relationship you trigger childhood stuff and issues that have not been resolved from other relationships. You have to address that as soon as possible.
LOVE&: Couples Therapy season 6 will soon premiere– Any highlights you’d like to share?
DR. JENN: It was such an incredible event that was filled with surprises and shocking discoveries. Each couple had major breakthroughs but one in particular was transgender Carmen Carrera and her husband Adrian Torres. When they met they were both men and then she transitioned during their relationship and did not tell him she was transitioning. Adrian basically discovered she was transitioning when he reached over to her in the shower and was like ‘wow, where did this set come from?’
LOVE&: The married people you work with on Couples Therapy obviously experience intense volatility mostly surrounding fame and money. What similarities do you see with their problems and the everyday problems of the normal American couple?
DR. JENN: Probably 80% or more of the problems on Couples Therapy are the problems most couples deal with typically; money, power struggles, control issues, mother-in-law, parenting, jealousy, sex. The only real difference is that on Couples Therapy these aspects get intensified because of the scrutiny of the media and the fishbowl they put the more recognizable couples in.
LOVE&: With all the couples you’ve helped, including your own relationships, what are the reasons marriages fail as well as succeed?
DR. JENN: The number one reason they fail is couples are not willing to do the growth and personal work to keep a marriage healthy. Successful marriages understand that you have to have communication first, a strong connection, then the willingness to work through conflict and growth.
ERIC: If it’s not growing, it’s receding…certainly that’s true of the hairline! Men have to work at being a great partner and a gentleman in a relationship.
DR. JENN: Eric is such a gentleman and such a great partner and that is so sexy. Most guys don’t realize how sexy being a gentleman is for a woman. When you tap into something so unconscious it registers and that’s what most women yearn for.