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How Therapist Bruce Tift Helped Me Have The Balls To Marry My Wife – SC 18

By Jayson
September 30, 2015

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Bruce was one of THE pivotal factors in helping me marry my wife before she slammed the door shut on me. Hear that story in this episode and why it’s so common for couples to struggle. Bruce offers a powerful frame for relationship and intimacy and makes the distinction between the developmental work we need to do, and the possibility that we are “already free” in relationship. Check it.


  • How Jayson met Bruce [1:15]
  • “I give [Bruce] credit for saving my marriage” – Jayson [2:30]
  • Start of interview [3:50]
  • How does ambivalence factor into a long-term relationship? [6:15]
  • The interplay of the basic energies of separation and connection [8:30]

[bctt tweet=”An intimate relationship is inherently disturbing – Bruce Tift”]

  • Intimacy vs. Closeness [12:30]
  • Bruce’s core philosophy [15:30]
  • Relationship is like riding a bicycle…it’s all about balance [17:15]

Couples unconsciously collude or agree to maintain problems, because it gives each person a feeling of being solid and significant, even if it’s in a painful way. – Bruce [20:40]

  • A good first step for couples stuck in an adversarial relationship – The practice of personal responsibility  [21:31]
  • Why it’s important to let go of claiming that your partner is the cause of your difficult emotions [23:50]
  • Bruce shares about his marriage [26:00]
  • Bruce shares his story of becoming a therapist [31:00]
  • What is a “successful relationship”? [38:00]

[bctt tweet=”Relating to an intimate partner is guaranteed to force out into the open any unresolved issues we have – Bruce Tift” via=”no”]

  • Bruce shares how parenting has impacted his relationships and his life [42:15]
  • Having kids is a real good practice in how willing are we to let another person just be who they are. [45:40]
  • Sexual intimacy in a long-term relationship [45:50]
  • Approaching sexuality as a disciplined practice [50:30]
  • Bruce talks about personal responsibility [54:40]
  • Bruce shares about his new book Already Free – [1:00:00]



“Already Free” the audio book

“Already Free” the book

Soundstrue Interview with Bruce

10 Agreements of an Indestructible Marriage


bruce tift podcast

Bruce Tift, MA, LMFT, has been in private practice since 1979, taught at Naropa University for 25 years, worked in a psychiatric ward and as a family therapist with social services, and has given presentations in the US, Mexico, and Japan. A practitioner of Vajrayana Buddhism for more than 40 years, he had the good fortune to be a student of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, and to meet a number of realized teachers. Bruce guesses he’s worked with between 3000 and 4000 couples over the years!




  1. Martha

    I enjoyed this interview. Healthy approach; I’ve taken it in my own life. I’ll check out the book!

  2. Theda

    Thank you, Jayson and Bruce, for the jewels of wisdom: Balancing separateness and connection (masculine and feminine) in relationship…Yes, “Choosing” to stay in relationship, rather than “having to,” describes a conscious relationship: being fully aware of the ups and downs at any given moment and likewise choosing with full awareness how to react/not react to this “problem” of opposites. This reminds me of a quote from Stephen A. Hoeller (on Jung’s “Psychology of the Transference”): “In love, as in psychological growth, the key to success is the ability to endure the tension of the opposites without abandoning the process…”

    • meg@relationshipschool.com

      Thanks for listening Theda, and sharing your thoughts and feelings =)

  3. Daxe

    This podcast blew me away, rocked my world and was so wonderful to listen to! THANK YOU! It’s helping me call myself out when i practise kindness, but feel resentful, and it’s all phoney. It helps me see where i was unhappy with my connection to my man, when really I wanted separation, it gets me excited about the dance with the conflicting energies and longings, and i love to dance! I understand relationship as a path on a deeper level now, and hope to hop on a course with the same name from Jayson soon (don’t know if you offer that right now?). I am unpacking what “emotional fulsion” means, and that will probably take me a delicious and painful while. I feel up for it, with all the good tools Jayson and others offer. Thank you, Jayson!

  4. katie

    Is the Smart Couple podcast now defunct? I would love to listen to this but can’t find anywhere!

    • Ana N

      It’s the relationship school podcast now

    • meg@relationshipschool.com

      Hi Katie, apologies for the delay. Ana is correct, the podcast was renamed The Relationship School Podcast a while back (not sure exactly how long, well before I began working here) but all the Smart Couple episodes exist on this same channel, just scroll back and you’ll find them on any player, or search our website. Happy hunting =). – Meg


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