Hello and thank you to all that read the On The Couch blog. I’m back with another installment for this week and this time around we have a very special treat. We have our first guest on the blog who I’ll be interviewing in just a moment. This is something I’m very excited about because of who I’ll be interviewing as I feel it can really be beneficial to those of you that follow OTC. Second, I have plans to venture into podcasting in 2018 (stay tuned for an announcement on that down the road a bit) and interviews are going to be a large part of that.
My guest today is Savannah Esposito. Savannah is a twenty-three-year-old college student, wife, and mom. She originally went to SCAD and studied Dramatic & Creative Writing but transferred to John Jay College of Criminal Justice in her Junior year after taking some psychology classes. She is ambitious and driven to help people, and is currently working on attaining her Bachelors in Forensic Psychology. Her goal is to get her Masters in Counseling and start her own practice, as well as continue writing. Aside from school, Savannah continues to not only work on a book series she has been writing for years but launched a blog in summer 2017 called “Millennial Mrs and Mom” and shortly after was hired to write for Conscious Talk Magazine.
Thanks so much for having me as a part of the blog and for collaborating with me on our posts!
Definitely! I connected with you back in October, which I’m sure seems light years away for both of us as we’ve both had so much stuff going on as is usual heading into the holidays. But I’ve been looking forward to getting this put together and out to our readers.
So we’ll start with some of the easy stuff:
Tell us where to find you on the internet?
Tell me a bit about the Forensic Psych program you’re in? What’s something interesting you’re learning in that program?
The Forensic Psychology program I am in is at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NYC. The range of classes is extensive and broad, all the way from child development to family court to psychology and law. The program gives students the opportunity to work with amazing professors who are either in the field or have written books, or even retired or active officers and lawyers.
Honestly I find so many aspects interesting in the program. I can say one of my favorite classes I took was Psychology and Law. I took it online, but learned so much about how the court works and how psychology plays a factor into determining sentences. Aside from that class my second favorite was Cognitive Psychology which is extremely interesting, but also can be a challenge if one is not well versed in biology and some neuroscience. But learning about how the brain works, how addictions work in the brain and medicine has been so fascinating!
That’s very cool! It’s always so interesting to talk with current students and recent grads on what is being taught in their programs and learn about new concepts to check into.
How long have you been married?
I have been married for a little over 5 months at this point
What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself in the time you’ve been married?
One thing I have learned about myself is that I don’t fit the traditional description of a wife. I kind of knew I wouldn’t but it was quite obvious with the way my husband and I work together in the house. He is the cook, I pay bills, he is better at cleaning than I am. But I’ve been okay with the gender role switch up.
And that seems to be more the norm these days as typical gender and relationship roles have become more blurred. Things seem to have moved to more of a skills-based division. If one person is more skilled or interested in cooking or if one person’s schedule lends itself more to cleaning or childcare, etc.
Name one of the biggest surprises about married life up to this point?
Hmm, I guess this might be cliché but married life is not much different than life before. I think part of that is because we both treated our relationship like a marriage prior, but married life is not too much different, and I guess I thought maybe there would be this big difference, but there really wasn’t.
What have you learned about marriage from writing for your blog, Millennial Mrs and Mom?
I’ve learned better communication skills for sure. I always talk to my husband about my “Married Mondays” posts to get his perspective, and if I am going to mention us in anyway, I want to know that what I’ve written is true and okay with him to be posted. Honestly, this blog has gotten us to talk about a lot of different subjects that I don’t think we would have talked about as in depth as we have.
That’s great to hear and such an important step for everyone; but, especially for those of us in relationships who are blogging, podcasting, etc. It’s important to check in with our partner before we throw things out into cyberspace for anyone to read, watch or listen to. Not doing that could create some definite issues in a relationship, haha.
What trends are you seeing with your readership and millennials in general with regards to marriage?
I have actually had many young people contact me for guest posting about their marriages. Some of the people who are reaching out are between 19-23. A lot of their stories are reflecting that they believe they don’t have to wait until a certain age to get married, that they “just know” and take that leap of faith. They often speak of their trials and how they’ve learned to overcome things as a team and are able to grow together through these experiences.
I’ve heard that more and more that the average age for marriage is trending younger again.
What would you say are some of the biggest challenges facing today’s couples?
Technology! As amazing as technology can be, it can also tear couples apart so quickly. Whether it’s about online porn addictions or secret dating apps they find, or the fact that they can’t go on a date without their date being glued to their phone instead of having a conversation, it’s been highly detrimental to building and thriving in relationships. There is a time and place for technology, but technology with how quickly things are changing really creates issues with commitment and honesty I’ve seen.
Oh, that’s so true Savannah. I’m glad you brought that up as it dovetails perfectly with the post I wrote for your blog on the 15 for 15 Challenge and taking time to disconnect technologically so you can reconnect as a couple.
What are one or two communication skills you’ve learned and put into practice that you’ve found beneficial?
Well, my husband and I have done EFT therapy, and our communication improved ten-fold after just a couple of sessions. We learned that there were ways in which we affected each other in negative ways that made us disconnect from each other. So what we learned was to speak up about things that bothered us. For instance, I do my best to get my blog and magazine work done before my husband gets home, but there have been days where there just weren’t enough hours in the day, and he will come home and I’ll be on my computer. I never knew that it hurt him that I didn’t greet him by closing my computer and hugging him. He told me he felt that my computer was more important. Once I was aware of that, I changed the behavior. Same with me, when I was feeling like he was disconnecting, I reached out and said to him, “Hey, I feel like you’re disconnecting and it’s making me feel a bit nervous.” So truly, the skill we learned from EFT is to slow down and voice our emotions when we catch ourselves feeling them.
The second skill I’ve learned is listening, truly listening. Not that I didn’t listen before, but I’ve practiced listening to the point where I don’t interrupt my husband until he is done. Sometimes couples are so caught up in trying to figure out how they are going to respond that they jump in with a response so they don’t forget it, or aren’t even truly taking in what’s being said because they are trying to come up with a response. I’ve learned to just listen, reflect back what I heard and he will either confirm or correct me and then I’ll give feedback or continue the conversation.
That’s so refreshing that you both have already sought relationship counseling. I always recommend that to couples almost like having a primary care doctor or dentist that you go to regularly as well.
For those of you that don’t know EFT does not stand for Electronic Funds Transfer it stands for Emotionally Focused Therapy. Founded by Dr. Sue Johnson in 1998 and used all over the world. I’d say it’s between EFT and Gottman Counseling for the main two therapeutic methods used in marriage and relationship counseling.
If you were able to tell engaged or newly married couples one thing what would that be?
To those who are newly engaged or newly married, please know that honesty, trust, and communication are the foundation of any relationship. There might be times when it’s scary to admit you’ve made a mistake, or maybe you are scared to let your spouse down, but it’s so much better to talk with them and work through things together. I know that my husband and I have really learned a lot about how to communicate with each other and how to talk about subjects that might be scary but are good to address before life gets too crazy. I can always say that I respect my husband so much when he comes to me and talks to me about things that are going on, things that can impact our relationship, rather than waiting for me to find out or ask. I do the same for my husband and it creates a solid foundation of trust and reliability.
To wrap up, what projects are you working on for 2018?
I am working on a pretty big project. I’m currently writing a book, and will be continuing to write it in 2018. It’s a bit under wraps so only subscribers know the in depth content of the book. The book is about relationships and addiction is all I can reveal. If any of your readers want to subscribe the link is: http://eepurl.com/cYBoED
Thanks so much Savannah for taking the time to join me for the blog interview. I can’t wait to continue following along on your blog and seeing what 2018 brings your way. Good luck with the launch of your book and your new baby!
Check in next Thursday as I’m going to be posting about the importance of goal setting, vision-boarding and 6-month check-ins. 2018 is going to bring with it a number of exciting things that I’ll be announcing shortly!