Roger Nygard | The Truth About Marriage: What Makes Happy Relationships Work & How To Find A Soulmate

“Soulmates are a problematic concept. You have to lower your expectations a little bit because society has given us all these expectations of what the perfect partner is like which are impossible for anyone to meet. It's better to find someone that you can both grow into soulmates over time and look at them from that perspective. Search for someone that you can finally be yourself around without any fear, retribution, or shame. Someone who celebrates who you are is going to want to be with you and you're going to want to be with them.”  – Roger Nygard

Wellness + Wisdom Episode 374

Film director and producer of several productions including the documentary, The Truth About Marriage, Roger Nygard, shares what makes relationships work, how to increase your chances of finding a soulmate, why polyamory is sacred for some couples, how and when to have difficult conversations plus the concept of The Gottman Institute's Four Horsemen and ultimate relationship deal-breakers.

What makes us happy in relationships? Why do relationships fail?

Join us as Roger shares the best tools to help keep your relationship alive, how to handle conflict better, and the No. 1 piece of relationship advice.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘A ‘soulmate' is a problematic concept. Society has set us up for all these expectations that nobody can meet. Instead, look for someone who celebrates you and who you can finally be yourself around without any fear.' – @RogerNygard” quote=”‘A ‘soulmate' is a problematic concept. Society has set us up for all these expectations that nobody can meet. Instead, look for someone who celebrates you and who you can finally be yourself around without any fear.' – @RogerNygard”]

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Listen To Episode 374 As Roger Nygard Uncovers:


[1:30] The Secret To Happiness

  • The Truth about Marriage: All the Relationship Secrets Nobody Tells You by Roger Nygard
  • Exploring what it means to be with someone emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
  • The quest for finding our soulmate and the journey it leads us on.
  • When his curiosity for the truth about marriage and finding a soulmate started.
  • Why the first few years of our life are crucial in our personal development but that doesn't have to mean we're held back from making choices later on in life.
  • Unpacking the number one secret for happiness in relationships: Accepting who and what you are and doing the same for your partner.
  • Why so many people in relationships become frustrated because they cannot reach expectations and ideals that we, society, our parents, and even our friends have set for ourselves.
  • How the human species has become out of sync with who we are at our core.
  • Exploring the positive experiences that happened during his childhood that have impacted his filmography career.
  • Unpacking what the key to success actually is and what it isn't.

[15:30] Why Are Relationships So Difficult?

[26:30] How To Attract A Mate

  • Why he chose to have Neil Strauss be a key part of his movie, The Truth About Marriage.
  • The fact that we never stop growing and maturing.
  • Why humans will always be complex creatures and there will always be something new to learn about our partner.
  • How he chose the couples and singles for his documentary in order to really show the lesson he wanted to teach.
  • What has changed in the lives of the people he interviewed including Don Blanquito who went from being very single to getting married and having a child.
  • Which gems Josh has taken from The Truth About Marriage and applied to his own relationship.
  • How you can communicate better in your relationships and stop trying to be a mind reader.
  • Why premarital counseling is an excellent form of therapy to increase your relationship's happiness and longevity.
  • The guideline, Personal Priorities Checklist, that he includes in the back of his book for you to go through with your partner to get to a mutual priorities checklist.

[34:30] Why Relationships Fail


[43:30] Can A Polyamorous Relationship Work?

  • Why it's so important to be open with your partner about your needs in the relationship.
  • The devastating impact of being in a relationship where the other person makes you feel ashamed of yourself.
  • What he's learned from spending time with a polyamorous couple during the making of The Truth About Marriage.
  • Why the polyamorous couple in his film was so successful with each other because they were 100% open with one another.
  • Exploring why everything we do is in the name of either love or fear.
  • Why Josh feels triggered by the idea of a polyamorous relationship after his past experiences and not being able to accept and forgive the mistakes he has made.
  • What Roger's views on polygamy and polyamorous relationships are now after the filming of the movie compared to before.
  • The sacred respect that does exist for people in a polyamorous relationship.
  • What the practice of “capitalization” is in a relationship and how you can use it to support your partner.

[50:30] Do You Value Your Partner Enough?

  • Breaking down the unintended consequences of technology striving forward in the name of progress.
  • Why one of the Gottman's Horsemen, Contempt, is such a deal-breaker for many relationships.
  • How to get out of your Contempt rut by actively participating in the relationship in a positive way and valuing what your partner has to say or offer.
  • The history of marriage and why it was based on other reasons such as survival, transaction, or resources until 160 years ago.
  • Why the Disney fairytale relationship is the absolute bullshit story.
  • Unpacking what real love even is including both Roger's and Josh's definitions of it.
  • The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley
  • The power of valuing your partner's different strengths rather than criticizing them for their weaknesses.

[55:30] How To Have A Difficult Conversation & Handle Conflict Better

  • How we can learn to handle conflict better in relationships with constructive discussions.
  • Why men hate being ambushed about things their partner wants to discuss with them and it's better to schedule important conversations.
  • The importance of removing the word, “should,” from your vocabulary when speaking with your partner.
  • How to end every conflict to make the conversation so much better for both of you.
  • The immediate downfall in conversation when someone says, “You always do this.”
  • Why you should choose “I” over “you” and talk about your feelings rather than putting the other person down.
  • Why there will almost always be someone in a relationship who is more logical and the other more emotional.
  • Exploring the value in simply just acknowledging that your partner is hurting and offering how to help them.

[1:06:30] How To Keep Your Relationship Alive

Power Quotes From The Show

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘Contempt is such a deal-breaker because if your partner doesn't value you or your opinion then you don't feel valued. You start to feel like an object or that the relationship is transactional.' – @RogerNygard ” quote=”‘Contempt is such a deal-breaker because if your partner doesn't value you or your opinion then you don't feel valued. You start to feel like an object or that the relationship is transactional.' – @RogerNygard “]

The No. 1 Relationship Deal -Breaker

“The Gottmans are able to predict with 90% accuracy whether or not couples will stay together and how happy they will be just after watching them for five minutes based primarily on one thing they're looking for: the existence of contempt from either partner because that shows that you're not a team. Contempt is such a deal-breaker because if your partner doesn't value you or your opinion then you don't feel like you or the relationship are valued. You start to feel like an object or that the relationship is transactional; you're not in it together. It's the togetherness that leads couples to last and seeing themselves as a unit or a duo.” – Roger Nygard 

Why Are You Really In This Relationship?

“You need to get out of the contempt rut and be actively participating in the relationship in a positive way and valuing what your partner has to say or offer. If you don't value that person, why are you partners with them? That's the existential question of relationships. What are you getting out of the deal? A lot of people are together transactionally; they're in it for other reasons than for valuing each other as a human: money, resources, staying alive. That's what most of human history was. This idea of getting married for love is only 160 years old.” – Roger Nygard 

Why Do Religious Couples Actually Last?

“One of the things that all experts agree on is that if you're someone who is thinking of getting married right now, the best thing you can do to increase your chances for longevity and happiness in a relationship is premarital counseling to enter the relationship with a better understanding of the rules of the game. Most people don't do this and experts have found that religious couples tend to do better than non-religious couples in marriage. It's not because they're religious; it's because they're forced to do premarital counseling by their religion so they get a better understanding of each other. Do you know everything about your partner? You'll never know everything but you should know some basic things especially the core values that you both hold.” – Roger Nygard 

Links From Today's Show 

About Roger Nygard

Roger Nygard | The Truth About Marriage: What Makes Happy Relationships Work & How To Find A SoulmateThe Truth About Marriage” tracks down the experts and discovers surprising scientific facts behind what makes happy relationships work, and what we can do to increase our chances of finding a soulmate.
Roger Nygard is perhaps best known for his acclaimed documentary Trekkies, about the most obsessive fans in the Universe. Nygard’s previous documentary, The Nature of Existence, addressed the impossible subject of the world’s philosophies, religions, and belief systems. Nygard has also directed television series such as “The Office” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” His work as a film editor includes “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The League,” and Emmy-nominated episodes of “Who Is America?” and “VEEP” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Nygard has made several other award-winning films, including the car-salesman cult-film, Suckers, and a profile of UFO fanatics, Six Days in Roswell, and now the documentary The Truth About Marriage, accompanied by The Truth About Marriage book. Currently, he is co-producing and editing “The Comedy Store,” a documentary about the comedians who came through this world-famous LA club.

The Truth About Marriage Documentary


About Josh Trent

Josh Trent lives in Austin, Texas with his love Carrie Michelle, son Novah, daughter Nayah + a cat named Cleo. He is the host of the Wellness + Wisdom Podcast and the creator of the BREATHE: Breath + Wellness Program. Josh has spent the past 20+ years as a trainer, researcher + facilitator discovering the physical and emotional intelligence for humans to thrive in our modern world. Helping humans LIBERATE their mental, emotional, physical, spiritual + financial self through podcasts, programs + global community that believe in optimizing our potential to live life well.

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