"AN ABUNDANCE MENTALITY" - Mark Holzbach and Dana Friis-Hansen from Grand Rapids, Michigan, have been together 30 years. In this episode, they share how they first met, the vast differences in their coming out experiences, and how art, high tech, world travel, and creating friendships in multiple communities have strengthened their bond.
"HAWK FEATHERS AND FIERCE VULNERABILITY” - Some people hold their first date in a fancy restaurant on a cruise ship. Not Jenell and Angela. After connecting online, they decided to meet halfway between Houston and Austin and proceeded to spend the next 10 hours getting to know each other at a taco stand in a gas station, over a piece of pie at a restaurant, at open mic night in a bar where Angela performed, and during a stroll under the moonlight. You'll love the energy of this couple and the work they are doing to create a relationship based on respect, trust, and love without control.
"ALMOST STONEWALL, ALMOST WOODSTOCK, ABSOLUTE LOVE" - For nearly 36 years, Gary Cooper and Richard Hartgrove have loved one another, faced multiple challenges, and given unselfishly to the LGBTQ community in many ways. They first met when Gary lived in Honolulu and Richard was in New York. For about 4 years their connection was primarily sexual, but that all changed one night when they went to a party in Austin. In this episode, they talk about HIV, cancer, previous relationships, guilt, forgiveness, massage, music, and the surprising way their intimacy improved after sex stopped. Listen closely to the emotion in their voices; the love is palpable.
"LONGEVITY AND A KING-SIZE ELECTRIC BLANKET" - In this episode, Kelly and Sarah Ross talk about their 17 relationship and how they persevered despite the death of Kelly’s mom, the rejection when Sarah came out to her parents, and the challenges of supporting each other in very different career paths. The secret to their longevity seems to be rooted in the tremendous amount of respect they have for one another, tons of fun on their boat, and unwavering support to each other when life throws them a curve ball.
"NOTHING SAYS LESBIAN LOVE LIKE A PEZ DISPENSER" - In this episode, Jeff talks with Denice Bain and Mary Priddy from Bastrop County, Texas. Denice and Mary have been together 16 years, after a colleague at Dell played matchmaker. Don't miss the heartwarming story about their 3rd date, and how they ended up putting a homeless man in a hotel for 3 nights and giving him money for food. This was the moment they knew their values were in alignment, and they've been caring for animals and the elderly ever since.
"CHALLENGING GRANDIOSITY AND PATRIARCHY IN COUPLES & COUPLES THERAPY" - Today Jeff takes a break from the usual format of interviewing couples to welcome a very special guest. Terry Real is the founder of the Relational Life Institute in Arlington, Massachusetts. He is a nationally recognized family therapist, teacher, and author and he will be the keynote speaker at the 6th Annual Contemporary Relationships Conference on May 4th in Austin, Texas. In this conversation, Terry talks about the importance of addressing grandiosity, as well as shame, in intimate love relationships. He discusses trauma and the three parts of the self - the wounded child, the adaptive child, and the functional adult - that operate within all relationships. You'll love this teaser, but to hear more from Terry, get tickets to the conference at www.contemporaryrelationships.com.
"SOMETIMES COMMITMENT TRANSCENDS THE SELF" - Tony Shelton and Ross Smith from Houston, Texas, have been together 28 years. Have you ever heard of someone meeting their husband at the very first party after they come out? That's what happened to Ross! In this episode, Tony and Ross talk about how they met and what they've learned over the years about happiness and relationship longevity. They highlight the importance of staying calm during conflict, finding common interests, staying active, and creating a life with focus and purpose.
"FROM UNREQUITED CRUSHES TO THE GIRL SCOUTS" - In this episode, Jeff talks with Jena Recer and Karen Phemister. Karen is a water quality scientist for the City of Austin and Jena is soap maker and a pet sitter. In fact, they were pet sitting when we spoke and you'll hear "Lil Bit", a teacup Chihuahua/Terrier mix in the background. Karen & Jena talk about being roommates at Texas State University, engaging in social activism instead of going to class, and meeting again 8 years later through a chance encounter. Jena and Karen have been leaders in the Girl Scouts for many years and they share the value of giving back to their community. Enjoy!
"YODEL AND THEN DISMANTLE CLASSISM” - Ann Benson and Iris Harrell from Santa Rosa, California, met 40 years ago when Iris heard Ann sing and yodel at an all lesbian coffee house sponsored by the National Organization of Women. In this episode, they talk about coming out and getting together in the midst of the women's movement and how a 3-day workshop on dismantling classism has helped their relationship immensely over the years. They share how their emphasis on long-term orientation and commitment has helped them grow both individually and as a couple. Four decades is a long time and these two beautiful women have much to teach all of us.
"EMPATHY, STRESS, AND POSITIVE ILLUSIONS" - Today Jeff shares some thoughts based on the work of Helen Fisher, the biological anthropologist who ran people through a brain scanner and discovered three parts of the brain that get activated among those in happy long-term relationships. Jeff mixes a bit of neuroscience with personal stories and practical exercises to help listeners think about specific actions they can take immediately to begin improving their connections with others. Warning: It involves Knights and Swords!
"ACADEMIC MEETS VIKING IN GROUP THERAPY" - Prior to coming out, Paige Schilt thought her interest in gender and sexual minorities was purely intellectual and academic. Katy Koonce, on the other hand, became quickly self-aware when a friend took her to a topless lesbian football game! Years later, they met in a psychotherapy group and fell in love after leaving the group. In this episode, they talk about how personal growth and couples therapy helped them communicate, manage conflict, and parent their teenage son. They've been together 18 years and have lots of wisdom to share with our listeners.
"I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU" - David Ferguson and Dana Hall met in church 18 years ago and went to dinner one stormy night after a congregant played matchmaker. They married in Iowa, and over the years learned the importance of saying "I love you" often - in person, on the phone, and by text. These two gentle souls have given so much of themselves to others, cared for dying loved ones, and grown closer through those experiences. In this episode, they inspire listeners to open themselves to love and not give up too easily.
"RESOUNDING HARMONY AND A NEW POTATO MASHER" - In this episode, Jeff talks with Kim Wisdom and Carmen Field from Richardson, Texas. Carmen remembers being mesmerized by Kim after hearing her sing at a concert, and Kim recalls having an equally strong attraction to Carmen the first time she saw her. They share their challenges in the early days as Kim was ending a previous relationship. Making each other laugh, playing golf together, and working to share power equally are just some of the secrets to love embraced by this lovely couple.
"46 YEARS AND STILL THRIVING AFTER TRANSITION" - In this episode, Julie and Joanne Nemecek from Jackson, Michigan tell their remarkable story of meeting in college when Julie was still "John". They married, had three boys, and later survived Julie's transition with many prayers, tears, and hugs. Joanne ultimately stood by Julie because of their deep love for each other. They came out coast to coast in media interviews on Superbowl Sunday 2007 and since then have mentored other couples and feel both their relationship and their faith have been strengthened. What a story.
"JUST THE PRICE OF ADMISSION" - Lynne Weynand and Marilyn Buckner from Coupeville, Washington met in a music class in 1973. But for the next 20 years, they lived very different lives. In their mid-forties they reconnected and have now been together 21 years. They talk about the importance of kindness, how they accommodate their differences, balancing togetherness and independence, and the role birth order has played in their relationship. You'll love these two wise women.
"LOVE WELCOMES ALL: HOW A CHRISTIAN MOM BECAME A FIERCE ADVOCATE FOR HER TRANS DAUGHTER" - Today Jeff takes a break from the usual format of interviewing LGBTQ couples. Instead, he has a conversation with Kimberly Shappley, a Christian mother of seven who once served in Joel Osteen's megachurch. When her young child, Kai, told her repeatedly "Mom, you know I'm girl, right?" she used strict punishment to try to make sure she "stayed a boy." In this refreshingly honest conversation, Kimberly acknowledges her past mistakes and talks about her journey to full love and acceptance.
"JEFF LEARNS FROM TWO OF HIS SHEROES”- Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend are a remarkable couple of 34 years that share a deep commitment to making the world a better place. In this episode, they talk about the early "Tweety Bird" moments, parenting two adopted daughters, coping with cancer, creating a family of choice, managing their careers, and turning to therapy periodically for assistance along the way.
“WHEN BREAKING UP IS NOT AN OPTION” In this episode, Chad Peevy and Pasha Sabori talk about building a life together. Chad tried to sabotage the relationship three times, but Pasha persisted and now they are busy growing incredibly successful careers while still attending to the needs of their relationship on a daily basis.
"ON BEING ADULTS (BUT CERTAINLY NOT GROWN UPS)" - Mary Summerall and Anne Woods met in a writer’s group while they were both in other relationships. They reconnected on Facebook a few years later when those relationships had ended. In this episode, they talk about what they’ve learned in their 10 years together about coping with differences, being honest about their feelings, and frequently renewing their connection through playfulness.
"KARAOKE, THE GOLDEN GIRLS, & RADICAL AUTHENTICITY" - Sometimes couples that choose an open or polyamorous relationship are judged and misunderstood by others. In this episode, Adam Maurer and MaSean Fontenot give us a refreshingly honest look at what it takes to create a non-monogamous relationship that really works. But first, they talk about coming out, karaoke, and the Golden Girls. Get ready. This one is fun!
"I LOVE YOU AND I LIKE YOU" - Caitlin MacIntyre and Jennifer Luu met on the Equality Ride; a two month bus tour of young people trying to change hearts and minds at religious colleges and universities with policies that discriminate against LGBTQ students. Now they are parents that actively teach their son their values about social justice, consent, and racism. Incredible women. Beautiful family.
"FIRST DATE DINNER, SECOND DATE AFRICAN SAFARI" - Gregg Kaminsky is the co-founder of R Family Vacations and Daniel MacDonald is a Broadway producer and a television entrepreneur. Gregg and Dan have been together 18 years and on this episode they talk about their unusual second date, appearing on a Bravo documentary, getting married, family, and their fantasy of taking their therapist to dinner with them. Enjoy!
"BE INTERESTED, LISTEN, AND DON'T TRY TO CHANGE EACH OTHER" - Pat Freeman and Martha Knowles have been together 23 years. They worked at the Texas Attorney General's Office for many years, but neither realized the other was gay until they met at a welcoming and affirming church. In this episode, they talk about coming out, family, caring for one another, commitment, and the importance their shared faith plays in strengthening their relationship.
"MENTORING OTHERS TOWARD RECOVERY" - Research indicates that approximately 30% of the LGBTQ community struggles with some form of addiction. In this episode, Ivan Carlos Zheral'dovich and Fabio Zuluaga from Houston talk about their 24 year relationship, the early battles with addiction, the process of recovery, and how they became leaders in helping others in their local community.
"SWITCHING TRAINS AND CREATING SANCTUARY" - Ken Martin and Tom Cole have been together 43 years and live on 14 lush acres in Manor, Texas. Ken is a retired clergyperson and Tom is a retired art director in the television & film industry. Jeff visited their farm and talked with them about how they met and went on to help thousands in Chicago, Hollywood, Austin, and around the world. Now they are building a retreat center and Ken's new book on LGBTQ relationships will be published soon. These guys do more in their late 70's than most of us did in our 20's!
"LOVING EACH OTHER MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY" - Jeff visits the home of Bobby Dell Adcock and Rosie Williams in Austin, Texas. These two incredible woman, both in their 80's, met in 1965 but loved each other in secrecy for the first 40 years of their relationship. Now, they are out and active members in their LGBTQ community of faith. Spoiler Alert - their secrets to longevity include communication, laughter, cooking, and travel in their RV.
"18 YEAR AGE DIFFERENCE AND DEEPLY CONNECTED" - Bryan Cotton and Joan Valaderez live in Houston, Texas. Bryan is a financial advisor and Joan is a teacher. In this conversation with Jeff, they share their vastly different coming out experiences and what they are learning about themselves and each other as their relationship grows. This young couple has many exciting years ahead of them. But first, they have to plan a wedding in Maui.
"LIVING WITH COURAGE AND AUTHENTICITY" - Dotti Berry and Roby Sapp live in Blaine, Washington and they are simply amazing. Life has thrown them the kind of curve balls that would have derailed most couples long ago. Yet, against all odds, they have found ways to flourish in their love for each other. They even traveled the country for an entire year, engaging people in conversation to help them better understand the LGBTQ community. Look up the word "courageous" in Websters. See their photo?
"SOMETIMES ANGELS ARE GAY" - Kelvon Hansen and Neil Ely live in San Marcos, Texas and have been together for 33 years. They own and operate Akya-Aveda Concept Salon and are incredibly talented in their profession. But that's just what they do for a living. Their real gifts shine in the way they care for others; including those that are dying. Giving their love away to those in need is both a shared value and the secret to their longevity. Prepare your heart and get ready to be inspired by these two amazingly sweet men.
"BAYLOR UNIVERSITY TO MARRIAGE 40 YEARS LATER" - Jeff visits the gorgeous home of Micki Grimland and Mary Margaret Bodenhamer in Houston, Texas. Micki is a psychotherapist and Mary Margaret is in an executive in the pharmaceutical sales industry. These two beautiful women recall the chemistry between them as students at Baylor University and how they met again, got married, and became grandparents so many years later. This episode is full of sage advice from an experienced couple that continues to proactively improve their relationship through conversation, reading, and attending workshops. You'll learn a lot in 30 minutes.
" JOURNEY TO SERVING OTHERS ON GRATIDUDE RANCH" - Jason Warner and deMarco DeCiccio from Franklin, Tennessee have packed a lot into their 17 years together. They met at a restaurant in LA, traveled the country as a gospel singing duo, and now share a ranch with their amazing twin boys as they feed and love hundreds of children and adults in their community.
"FOUR LITTLE WORDS FROM TWO QUEER FOLKSINGERS" - Lisa Rogers and Maurine McLean from Austin, Texas have been together for 36 years. Jeff drank coffee in their kitchen as Lisa (a social work professor) and Maurine (a Spanish translator and court room interpreter) talked about their life together and their folk band of 31 years called the "Therapy Sisters." This special episode closes with a performance of one of their songs - chocked full of wise relationship advice and guaranteed to make you laugh!
"FROM CRYSTAL METH TO COPARENTING AND CONNECTION" - Jeff Zacharias and Bradd Easton own and operate New Hope Recovery Center - an addictions treatment program in Chicago. Later in the episode, Jeff shares how his own addictions nearly killed him, how Bradd supported him in recovery, and what they've learned about relationships and addiction in the LGBTQ community. But first, we discuss how they met and began using their strengths to coparent their daughter.
"TWO HEARTS HOLD EIGHT CHILDREN" - Jeff visits the home of Della Nagle and Ruth Pinkham, an amazing couple together 33 years in San Antonio, Texas. In this heartfelt conversation, they share how they met as summer camp counselors and went on to become teachers and parent 8 children that came to them in a variety of ways. Della talks about how she tried to sabotage the relationship early on, and Ruth opens up about struggling with depression. Yet somehow they made it through those challenges, and created a noisy home filled with love along the way.
"YOUNG BANKER MEETS HEAD OF THE HOMOSEXUALS" - Toby Johnson & Kip Dollar live in Austin, Texas and have been together for 34 years. Jeff visited their beautiful home and listened as they shared stories about how they met (it's a bit like the Ellen "coming out" episode), blended both sides of the family, and operated businesses together. They talked about their 14 year age difference, and what they've learned along the way about protecting their relationship, maintaining connection, and creating resilience. Lots of wisdom here.