Interview with Valeria and Gary Lipovetsky.
Valeria and Gary have always been transparent when it comes to their relationship - it's a special quality in two people who have very public personal lives. Most couples in their situation would probably favor keeping their cards close to their chest, and their married life out of the spotlight for a precious moment of privacy. But Valeria has always prided herself on sharing her life with the world; the relatability and honesty in her day-to-day is what truly connects us to her. So, very much in that spirit, her and her husband Gary sat down and recorded their candid conversation on the top four ways they strengthened their relationship over ten years of marriage - and what will continue to keep it solid in the decades to come.
Gary: I wish you were a little more jealous. You're is the most non-jealous woman in the history of women.
Valeria: It’s because I’m confident.
Gary: I know you’re confident, but you could just be a little more jealous. Like “hey, don’t look at my man!” That’d be nice.
Valeria: [Laughs] Is there a middle ground of where I am right now and that level ten crazy?
Gary: I just think you could take it up a notch. You’re very comfortable, and not jealous, like at all -
Valeria: Okay...let’s talk about strengthening our relationship.
Valeria: Number one, over-communicate. You’ve heard it before, but take it from us, we’ve been married awhile now, and it’s the number one thing. It’s key. We talk about everything! Part of being able to talk so much and get into roots of things is being able to come from a non-judgemental place. I can share what I feel and think about with you, you won’t judge or label me, and I hope you feel the same.
Gary: Firstly, don’t scream at each other. You have to keep calm.
Gary: [Laughs] No but you have to be aware of how you’re speaking to each other and it’s not just about not raising your voice, it’s about not being condescending, and staying respectful at all times. Condition your partner that this is the style of communication you want. So when we argue, which isn’t often - we actually don’t fight a lot...
Valeria: We don’t fight because we don’t hold back expressing our emotions in that given moment. If you upset me, I step away and take a few deep breaths, just to not, you know, burst. Then I’ll come back and express everything that I feel so there’s not something inside of me eating away at me and exploding later. It also helps you to detox; if you’re disagreeing with each other, talk until you have no more hostility inside.
Gary: I feel like most men don’t want this kind of communication, you know, like they don’t want to talk these things out.
Valeria: Do you feel like most men just have to let it go fester or not good with communication, or?
Gary: A lot of people, and I feel like a lot of men I know, don’t want to invest the time or get to the bottom of things, they just want to go out the door and just say "forget it" and go about their business. And that’s how relationships start breaking down over time. I’m a yapper, I talk, I talk things through, I communicate, I style that with everything I do.
Valeria: Yes, you are a yapper!
2. Don't Lose Your Sense Of Self
Valeria: The next thing is don’t lose your sense of self. This is extremely important. Once you’re in a relationship, that doesn’t mean that you, as an individual, is finished. A sense of self is really prominent in our relationship - we give each other the space to do what we like to do. Women mention to me a lot that “you’re so lucky that Gary is so supportive of you.”
Gary: They say that? Who says that? That's nice. Tell me after! Anyway, I feel like guys are also saying that, but are also dealing with their own insecurities. I don’t know, I think I’m just really secure; I’m also older so I’ve had time to figure myself out - so it’s easier for me to be totally on board to give you all the time you need and more to go be with your girlfriends, go on solo trips, that kind of thing.
Valeria: It's giving each other that space. I know my needs are met, as a woman and as a person, and not only as a wife and a mother. I know for a fact that if I didn’t feel that freedom, I would be miserable.
Gary: Here’s how you actually do that though and give that space. If you’re worried that your man is out doing stuff that is disrespectful to you, you have to ask yourself, “Is he the right person to be with at all?" In addition to giving each other space, you have to have trust. None of this checking up, making sure they're doing what they're doing, testing them - there’s no point.
Valeria: Right, the testing each other thing - it takes so much energy and mental capacity to do that, and maybe you can do it when you’re younger and just dating, but trust me when you start a family, when you have your career and kids, trust me you don’t want to be dealing with it.
Gary: It starts with trust and if you don’t trust, I would question if you’re in the right relationship.
3. Recognize & Stop "Blaming"
Valeria: What’s crucial is making sure you listen and don’t rush to blame. Also openness. I feel like everyone makes this mistake, myself of course included. Listen to each other's perspectives on a situation and don’t blame them; it doesn’t contribute to anything at the end of the day.
Gary: I feel like that 'blaming' is something I slip into easily. I start blaming you and it’s something to keep in mind and pull myself back from; that’s the natural place where my mind goes, and I know it’s incorrect, so I try to correct my thoughts as they’re happening - but it’s not easy. Quite honestly, the solution to this is to know in the moment you’re blaming the other person. You have step back and ask yourself: is it their fault and then not lay blame.
4. Be Present
Valeria: Last but not least, in today’s over-connected world, be present. We all have a problem with this. It's hard to like come home from work and just put your phone down and be there. Sometimes I catch you and you’re completely in space thinking about god knows what - I think that it’s natural and it’s very difficult to stay present. We still try to work hard on this, and I notice when you're present. I cherish those few moments! [Laughs]
Gary: Here’s what it comes down to. To the husbands and boyfriends and partners reading, do you want success in your relationship? Pay attention to your partner! And there are levels to this stuff you gotta pay attention to like what Valeria and I have talked about today. If you do that, then watch your relationship blossom because it’s a beautiful thing.