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hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

The Search For Intimacy #657

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On the Regular Version …

In this episode, we address some of the  feedback from last week’s episode about a husband losing attraction to his wife. We explore the impact of such revelations on men and women – is there a difference in how it impacts each gender – and we explore the concept of facing dilemmas and making choices in relationships.

The key here is the importance of self-validation and differentiation in personal growth. That is the best way to achieve relational growth as well.

Takeaways

  • Accept and love family members despite their flaws.
  • Revelations about lost attraction can be devastating, but they provide an opportunity for change.
  • Facing dilemmas in relationships requires courage and self-reflection.
  • Self-validation and differentiation are essential for personal growth.

On the Xtended Version …

At the beginning of each new year, we use a process of My 3 Words to help frame our focus in the coming year.

Join us as Pam and I go through our words for 2024. And share yours on the https://my.smr.fm platform.

Enjoy the show!

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Academy: Join the Academy and go deeper. https://smr.fm/academy

Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps someone else in their relationships!  

Got a question?


Call/Text us at  214-702-9565

or email us at feedback@sexymarriageradio.com

Corey Allan: Welcome to the show. I'm Dr. Corey Allan and welcome to 2024.

Pam Allan: Yeah, happy new year everyone.

Corey Allan: It's amazing how quickly time goes by. I think, don't we say this almost every single year too? We

Pam Allan: Do. It's nicer and nicer to get farther away from 2020 as we can. That's fair.

Corey Allan: That's fair. Well, this sexy marriage radio where we're having regular conversations trying to cultivate the space between you and your spouse, we want to explore wisdom and skills of the marriage and relationship world's most brilliant minds because we want to help address topics that every relationship's going to face, and we want to offer conversations or starters, conversation starters in actions. I guess I got to put all the words together now that we're in a new year, it's time to start having better English. There you go. But we want to propel your life and marriage into deeper and more meaningful directions. If you're new to the show, check out the episode starter packs, go to smr.fm/starter. These are collections of our favorite episodes organized by topic, and they give you a taste of everything we do here. And also as part of the nation, you are vital to helping frame the conversation. As in what we're going to be doing today is some feedback from last week's episode, but we want to hear from you. So let us know 2 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5 or email us at feedback@sexymarriageradio.com. And as we're coming off the holiday season, this is all winding down with this the first show of 2024, and for most people, kids maybe aren't back in school yet, but people might be back to work because we don't get the whole month off. Life

Pam Allan: Moves on

Corey Allan: Our college daughter does. But it's interesting because as we come off of the holiday season and you think of the time that we get to spend with family, a fan of Mark Manson and he sends out a weekly message on Mondays and it says, one of the things he just sent is one of the most important things family teaches you is how to actively love a person you don't necessarily like.

Pam Allan: Wow. That's like a shot right across the bow.

Corey Allan: I think that's almost a direct hit. And then he goes on to say simply

Pam Allan: It can be very true. Maybe not for everybody, but it can be very true for a lot of people.

Corey Allan: That's true. But I think there's an element of we come from the school of belief that all families are crazy. They're just different kinds of crazy and when you get away from it and in our case create our own kind of crazy.
Exactly. That's what it is that we do here in our home. One of the things he continues on to talk about is simply be with somebody without any desire to change them or control the interaction. So the goal is accept who they are and try to be drama free. That's the same kind of framework we use a lot of times in the idea of addressing the problem I have or the person I have or the spouse I have, or the child I have rather than who I wish they were. And so I love that idea of, yeah, there's a lot of opportunities to look at things that I can't change in hopes of uncovering and discovering things that I can change. Now that we're in 2024, Pam, one of the things that we have coming up is the sexy marriage radio getaway June 13th through the 15th here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at the Marriott, Dallas-Fort Worth Westlake, which is just north of the airport.

Pam Allan: I'm already ready for the dance.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. So it's a Thursday afternoon to a Saturday night. We end with a dance as my wife just alluded, but what we're trying to do now is now that we hit the new year, we're starting to just promote and encourage people to come join us. And one of the ways we want to do this, we're going to do this for the entire month of January, is so if any point during the month of January you can enter a raffle to win the registration fee being waived, which is $675 value to come join us on the getaway. So you'd still be responsible for travel and your hotel and food, but the registration would be covered. And the way you can enter into this random drawing to get the registration fee waived is leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. Be honest with the comment. It has to be a comment. You have to leave a comment in the reviews and then send us the username to feedback@sexymarriageradio.com that you left the review.

Pam Allan: So two steps, leave the review two steps, and then send us the email with your username so we

Corey Allan: Can see it. And I'll be honest with it about the show. This is not about the getaway. Be honest about the show. I mean, even if you don't necessarily like the show, but you want to come to the getaway, which is an odd paradox,

Pam Allan: Yes, that would be odd,

Corey Allan: But I'm all for it. But leave a review, give us the username that you left the review, send that to feedback@sexymarriageradio.com. Let us know that you left the review that enters you into a random drawing to get your fee waived. And then here's the second bonus, even if you don't win the raffle, if you still want to join us, we'll take $75 off the registration fee for you.

Pam Allan: Okay,

Corey Allan: Very cool. So in the month of January, that's the only time you got is from the time this airs till the end of January. Enter in by leaving comment on Apple Podcasts. Let us know that you left to comment by at feedback@sexymarriageradio.com and come join us in June in 2024 because it's a fabulous four days together. So

Pam Allan: We'll do the drawing the first week of February.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. So hope to see you there and hope you win. And so coming up today on the regular version, we're going to continue this kind of a conversation based off of what we did last week with my husband's lost attraction to me and lost desire

Pam Allan: Towards me. There was a fair amount a reaction to that.

Corey Allan: There was, and we're going to look at this a little bit of a different way, slightly as well as I've got an analogy, interaction like role play almost in a sense of what does self validated actually look like since that was kind of the frame from last week's show. Good. And on the extended contents today, which is deeper, longer, and there are no ads, you can subscribe at SMR fm slash academy. We're going to dive into the traditional thing we do at the first of every single year, which is the three words. And we love the concept of rather than New Year's resolutions, we use three words

Pam Allan: To help, three words to live

Corey Allan: By, to live by frame the focus of the year, to have an idea of what am I really working towards? And so all that's coming up right after this. It's exciting to welcome a new partner here in 2024. Ag One is the supplement that we trust and help support my body needs for daily nutrition, and it's so exciting to had them on the show as a sponsor Now we

Pam Allan: Gave it a try because we're being healthier For the last three years now, both of us been better about working out about what we're eating and wanting to get all the nutrition we need. I mean, I love the immune system support that this gives. I mean holiday season here, sick ones in the house, both of us felt fabulous. I'm starting off the day every morning, just like they say, before you put anything in your body, drink this. Right? So it absorbs into the body better and all the hormone stuff that's been going on. That's true. That was a big thing for

Corey Allan: Me. This is perfect timing to be on ag one for both

Pam Allan: Of us. It totally is. I love it

Corey Allan: Because I have felt energized and nourished and it is like you're talking about the idea that we've been really looking at how do we attack each day when it comes to an attrition standpoint, and I still want to take shortcuts, but AG one is a huge bonus and support for my nutrition in all that I need rather than a whole slew of supplements. It's a great one scoop every day and it tastes great.

Pam Allan: I like the flavor of it,

Corey Allan: Right? So not only does this deliver the daily dose of vitamins, minerals, pre and probiotics and more, but it's a powerful, healthy habit that's also powerfully simple. Just one scoop mixed in water once a day every day because it's helped simplify the routines we both have to get the support that it offers because at this part in our life, man, I can be so nutrient avoidant at times just because other things get in the way. Well, AG one makes it easy to keep it a part of my routine and keep it so valuable as we continue along in life together. So if you want to take ownership of your health this year, it starts with ag one, try ag one and you get a free one year supply of vitamin D three K two, and five free Ag one travel packs with your first purchase exclusively@drinkagone.com slash sexy marriage radio. Again, you get one year supply of vitamin D three K two, and five free ag one travel packs with your first purchase. So check it out@drinkagone.com slash sexy marriage radio. So last week's episode, as we wound down 2023, was a wife that had emailed or sent a message in about how after doing our intimate choices worksheet, her and her husband sat down and had a conversation and he disclosed to her that he doesn't desire her, he's not attracted to her, which is a gut-wrenching story and a common one too, but it's a gut wrenching

Pam Allan: Story. Yeah, it'd be

Corey Allan: Painful to get that kind of information to get it confirmed because one of the threads we went on last week, if you missed the show actually, if you miss the show head over there real quick, just back one week in the archives and listen, we'll wait. Okay. One of the ideas that I believe in is oftentimes when I look back at things in my marriage, I can't necessarily put my finger on what it is that's going wrong, but I can pick up that there's something and then when I get that confirmation, it's almost a two-pronged blow, if you will. One is the truth is now out between us and the other can be a self-doubt of how did I not see this sooner? What's wrong with me? How did I miss this? Because we can just beat ourselves up for stuff that wasn't our fault.

Pam Allan: No, no. I mean this situation, maybe he's just so low desire across the board. I mean, what does he have desire for? It may just be work or, so yes, we got no control over what the spouse comes

Corey Allan: After, but what we wanted to try to set the stage for was the idea that when the truth is actually out between you in the dynamic of your system, you're now actually in a better place to do something different. Whether that be stay or go. We're not going to necessarily address or say, here's what you should do one way or another. No, it's just that

Pam Allan: You have the data and now you know what to do with it.

Corey Allan: And so a couple of different things came in. One was on the platform and one was via email at feedback@sexymerge.com. And so the email that came in was from my husband that says, after listening closely to the show this week, I'm saddened by the story while putting myself in her shoes. I could only imagine how devastated I'd feel after confirmation that I'm not desired. I guess my question is whether men would take this revelation harder than women. I want to kind of pause here because curious about this, because there is a distinction in how information lands between men and women, but maybe not as big of a distinction as sometimes we can make it out to be.

Pam Allan: Yeah, I would don't know. Just based off of years with the show, I would think that it's a pretty similar response is my guess male versus female?

Corey Allan: Yeah, it is. I'm wondering if there is a different kind of an ego hit. I mean, I think women get some validity from the fact that they think that they're seen as beautiful, that they're alluring, that they're sexually vibrant, something like that. But I don't know if it's the same energy source that it is for a man.

Pam Allan: You think it's more though, for a

Corey Allan: Man? I think there's going to be varied according to each individual, obviously. But I think it's an interesting question to ponder. So I would be curious from the nation, what do you think? Does this land different if you're a man or a woman?

Pam Allan: Well, based off of his response and her response, they sound pretty equal, right? This guy is

Corey Allan: Especially, he was saddened and devastating to hear. Yeah,

Pam Allan: Absolutely. It sounds like pretty similar responses for the two of them. One male, one female. I think we're all human. I don't think this is a male female line.

Corey Allan: No, I don't think it is either. I think there's nuances that would be different between them. Absolutely, though. Certainly, but then he continues on. Being married a long time doesn't mean that we just have to accept news like this and live with it. I, for one would consider this a serious breach of our wedding vows and might even consider it a deal breaker holding out hope for decades only to discover that there's none is cruel. Knowing this and not sharing it with your partner is cowardice as a man. I'd be furious. Your thoughts, this is a different take that I kind of thought of at one point because one of the factors that is evident in this dynamic, is this a deal breaker or not? It's the same kind of comment we've had in the past over when a marriage goes purely sexless is the person that's no longer going to interested or willing to be involved in the sexual aspect of the marriage. Is that a deal breaker or not?

Pam Allan: See, and I see these as really far extreme. I say they're extremes away from each other. I mean, you reference a totally sexless marriage. Yeah. I think that one is a a breach of wedding vows. I came into this situation and anticipating that that would be part of our relationship. A sexual intimacy would be part of our relationship. Has this person, when they first got married, did they have in their mind that I'm the lower desire and I don't necessarily have a desire for you. I don't have this intense, I just swoon when you come into the room because maybe that's not in my makeup. We've seen a lot of people, people that I can see how I could be perfectly perfect is a bad word, totally devoted to you and love you as my spouse, but the sexual side is not a high desire for me. So can I make that a deal breaker? Marriage, no relationship is about one aspect of that relationship.

Corey Allan: Good point.

Pam Allan: And that's where that feels like an extreme. The other way where we're indicting our spouse for maybe something they need to work on, they need to reflect on in themselves.

Corey Allan: Well, and this is where it gets interesting because on the one hand, his comment of knowing this and not sharing it with your partner is cowardice, right? There's an element of the courage it takes to actually bring forward. Here's the struggle and the dilemma I've got and maybe, and I'll give people benefit of the doubt because sometimes we can't articulate it completely. We just know there's something amiss. We just know and we can easily then internalize that as what's wrong with me. And so then we spend all kinds of time just escaping into other areas of our life that bring me satisfaction, validity, importance, whatever it might be, because we all as humans run from the things we don't understand most of the time until we have courage to face it. And that's why when you have courage to actually put this out in the open, as devastating as it is, it actually is now in a better place to reorganize. What is this really all about between us and within me?

Pam Allan: Yeah. I think you've nailed it on the head. What really is going through my head with that comment, withholding his cowardice? And if I'm truly withholding something that I know and understand, I agree with this email. If I know something's going on and I have an issue, something that should be brought to the table, something that could help us figure out how to enhance and make our relationship better or I don't know, take away the tension and anxiety that we know is already there. So let's address it, right?

Corey Allan: At least we name the elephant,

Pam Allan: Name the elephant. But I do think, and I say this from personal experience, I'm that person that can't sometimes put a finger, at least just in the past I was right now. Now I feel like I'm better at pinpointing things, but there's this long period of time in our 30 years of marriage that I just couldn't pinpoint what things were. And it's perfectly possible that this guy, it took them going through this exercise together, it took going through this, our intimate choices

Corey Allan: To help maybe finally make it materialize cleanly to be able to then bring it out to the level that's been brought

Pam Allan: Out. Yes. Oh gosh. Okay. Now that it's asking me these questions and we walk through it together, this is the issue,

Corey Allan: But I'm not going to let people off of the cowardice hook though.

Pam Allan: Okay, go for it.

Corey Allan: Because most of what we will do, and let's make this more global than just this particular issue in this particular husband from last week, most of what we'll do, this is what I hear in my office a lot, is somebody's not interested. They've pulled back, but they still want to keep what it is they have in the story of their marriage and life and family because we're not flippant about these things. There's big costs to big choices

Pam Allan: Truly.

Corey Allan: And so I understand how

Pam Allan: Big reveals,

Corey Allan: I understand how we can sit here not being in those shoes and have an objective quote view of here's what you should do. When if we were in these shoes, we would have no clue what's the best choice. It's basically what's the best bad choice that I need to look at. But I will say the cowardice comes into play in our nature as human beings. When something's not working right with me, something's off and I don't have the courage to truly face what could that be? Instead, I distract or I blame. That's where cowardice comes into play. I hear couples say from one spouse will say, you know what? I'm just not ever going to be that. It probably would be better if you just go find it someplace else. Just leave. I understand. And it's like I'm giving this blanket out without me being the bad guy.
When in reality that is a one down victim move that's being a complete scaredy cat, if you will, or coward of facing what's the dilemma going on in your life? And then in turn your marriage. And that's where we have to flip it because a lot of times we let, this is where we landed and we need to pivot it. We let what my spouse thinks of me be the determinant of what I think of me. And so there are, therefore I could make it as well, it'd be better if you just, and no, that's not me facing me still. Right. And so then what jumped onto the platform at my SMR FM was an interaction I had with a guy that was talking about, he said, do you think this is a crucible moment required to make a transition to mature love, meaning a higher desire partner has to call out when the lower desire partner is ambivalent or straddling?
I saw this pattern in my own marriage, and I see it the opposite in marriages that are stuck because it's basically yes, and I put down, yes, this is a crucible moment, which is often required, but it can come from either the higher desire or the lower desire initiating or standing up and confronting this first. This isn't just one side having to finally make a move. It's either side saying, wait, I'm going to really try to address this dilemma in my own life and then in ours, because he then continues it on with this, all too often it leaks out this kind of a dilemma as an emotional affair, a full on affair, depression, anger, some somatic pain before someone finally mobilizes it. And then his quote was, I suppose the discomfort of no change has to be bigger than the pain of the status quo, which to within I replied is that is an excellent summary of critical mass.

Pam Allan: Yeah, we'll sit there and deal with the discomfort as long as it's within our zones,

Corey Allan: As long as it's comfortable,

Pam Allan: As long as it's right, it's

Corey Allan: That's the devil I know. Scenario or it's

Pam Allan: Just a little uncomfortable. It's not terrible yet. Well,

Corey Allan: The framework of most people still to this day will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

Pam Allan: The uncertainty is just more scary.

Corey Allan: I can't wrap my head around what will happen if fill in the blank, if I actually spoke up about this, what would happen if I actually went to counseling? What would happen if I actually separated into another bedroom for a time or another home or left the marriage entirely? What would happen? I mean, we get locked in where Uhuh, I can't even explore that and that makes, that means I have to swallow the known the devil. I know well, this is just my lot in life and instead it's No, I need to do the work. That's way before even facing that kind of a choice.

Pam Allan: And is it that we as humans, when we are faced with uncertainty, we think of those scenarios that you're talking about and we assume the worst don't, some

Corey Allan: Of it's protective, some of it it's protective because there's a lot of other scenarios that now all of a sudden come into play that weren't necessarily in play as well as what's the cost to our kids? What's the cost to our financial status? What's the cost to everything? Because logistically it changes everything. I mean, there's a lot of couples I've worked with too over the 20 years of doing this where they'll get in a situation like this, one of 'em has had enough, they really want to disrupt the status quo, and one of the easiest, hardest steps to take is move into a different room in the home for a bit, but how do we explain this to our kids? Well, then it becomes the, I imagine your kids already know something's up anyway. Absolutely. We're not that good actors and actresses.

Pam Allan: No, our kids are intuitive. They

Corey Allan: Know there's attention, and if they're older, they will voice as such. Now at least we put it out in the open because some of what that does is it brings embarrassment into the equation and having to actually face what we thought we had hidden, and some of the times we can't make these moves because I just can't think, I can't see it. I can't see an alternative. I can't see a different way to frame something or address something. Right? Yeah, because think about our journeys of the gridlock things we've had, babe. Yeah. I can pretty well guess some of the different moves you would make back when we were in these situations because we keep trying the same things over and over and over. Oh, well, maybe this conversation will finally be the breakthrough.

Pam Allan: Maybe. Yeah, maybe she won't overreact to this.

Corey Allan: Maybe I can finally soft start it well enough to let the message actually land so that there's no emotion, and then we have this civil conversation over

Pam Allan: It and how'd that work out?

Corey Allan: It never does. No right until I recognize the goal isn't necessarily to try to dampen emotion. It's to face fact better. And so here's the exchange I want to give people as we kind of wrap up this segment. So the scenario is, so we're going to pivot. It's not apples to apples with this exchange. I want to go a little softer to help give an idea of what we're talking about, and so this is a couple, hypothetically speaking, that they had a great sexual encounter one evening as they're heading to bed. So as the evening and the days winding down, they had a great sexual encounter, and so in the morning they wake up and in the morning the wife remarks on the wonderfully intimate sexual time they had as they're getting out of bed, getting the day started, to which the husband brusquely comments that he didn't find it wonderfully intimate or even sexually satisfying. So now then the wife is

Pam Allan: Shocked. What made her think it was great? Then I wonder

Corey Allan: This's, how it keeps going. So the wife is shocked, but how she allows that comment to affect her sense of self reflects whether she's capable of relying on self validated intimacy or if she depends on her husband's attitude to define her view of the sexual encounter, which is everything we talked about last week.

Pam Allan: So if she's relying on her husband's,

Corey Allan: If she's taken that stance, which is kind of a normal belief about intimacy, where I let you have too much sway over my belief, my belief and my view, it's not that I don't have any of your input. If I allow too much of it, if she has normal beliefs, she'll be thrown into a swamp of self-doubt. She could even begin to mistrust her own experience and look to her husband instead for her sense of what happened to her. She could be even saying things like, gosh, maybe it wasn't so great. Maybe I don't really know what good sex is. Maybe there's something wrong with me. Maybe I didn't really feel what I thought. I felt self-doubt easily creeps in when I get that kind of a comment back. Absolutely. Well now switch it. If this is a marriage between two relatively well differentiated spouses or two spouses that are a little bit better, it's dating on their own two

Pam Allan: Feet's, well differentiated

Corey Allan: Or she's a half a step ahead of him. That's the idea. On the other hand, she would be able, a negative emotional response from one spouse doesn't have to have the power to suck the other into a vortex of anxiety and depression. So if that same scenario happened, the wife could trust the relationship she has with herself. She could trust her own instincts and her own perceptions of what went down, and she may say something like, oh, I'm really sorry to hear that, and the man I was with last night had a wonderful time. Who was the woman you were with and what was she like? And just kind of totally flip it back to him,

Pam Allan: Right? If I enjoyed the encounter, why am I going to let you get me down? Right?

Corey Allan: Because if the husband's just trying to hurt her feelings or play with her reality, it no longer works. That move no longer works.

Pam Allan: Yeah, no, it sounds like clearly there's something to work on if you have this sexual encounter and one of you's not satisfied, and the other is there's more to chat about on how that goes down. There

Corey Allan: Is, but some of that chat needs to be with self because he might be in the role in this scenario, he might be in the role of he doesn't know what good sex is.

Pam Allan: I mean, potentially he

Corey Allan: Doesn't know how to seek what he wants himself. He doesn't know how to bring himself forward. He just follows a really good script that's pleasing to her, and she had a fantastic time, but he didn't, well, now we got a dilemma we need to face, but he's got to face it in himself first. Yeah, that's the whole point.

Pam Allan: Oh my gosh, I love this example. I love the simplicity of this example because I think it probably hits home with a lot of people and clearly defines self validation versus other validation, and that I don't want everything about me to be defined by you. I've got to stand on my own two feet, and because it's such a common example, I think makes it super easy to see,

Corey Allan: Well, you can,

Pam Allan: Here's my next move. Oh, did I react poorly because my reactions to what you say to me? Then explode into other things, and you're not about getting to how can we make this sexual encounter better for both of us? Then we're about, well, what do you think of me? You don't like blah, blah, blah, blah, and it's not on

Corey Allan: Target, and this is that. We got to find that sweet spot in the continuum of I'm devastated and in this vortex of shame and oh, it sucks to be you where I'm uncaring and callous and cold on. Well, that sucks to be you because there's this element of we exist with between these, if you will, and the goal becomes in my mind and the work I do, the goal becomes how do you have a better power stance towards the things that go on in your life? I love that framework of, oh, I and the man I was with had a wonderful time. Who was the woman you were with? What was she

Pam Allan: Like? I know I love that too because I foresee that couple in the coming months walking away with some amazing sexual encounters because now the dialogue's going. Now he's got his brain going of, oh, I got to step up my game confident in where

Corey Allan: She's, and if nothing else, let's end it with this. If absolutely nothing else is revealed, then this, it's a win. Because what gets revealed is who are each of us in this equation and where we're not fully aware of our own blind spots versus the powerful stances we take of who we really are and letting people choose. That's the goal of growing up. That's differentiation in a nutshell.
On the cusp of a brand new year, it's often exciting to think about what's it going to be like this time next year, what will have happened, and that has a different feel to it now after all of 20 20, 20 21, because we get exposed to a whole lot different of what the world can be, but it's exciting to think about what the world can be. It is, because I don't know what everybody's 2024 has untapped forum as far as there's some big milestones coming up. There's some things that I'm not looking forward to, but the whole point of I think in life is how do I face it as cleanly as I can to make the best choices in those moments that I can, and then I figure out what the next choice is after that.
The way we get best in life in my mind is I face the truth of what I have as best I can in that moment, and then I adjust based on the response that I get back in return. Well, this has been Sexy Marriage radio. If we left something undone, hey, we want you to let us know 2 1 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5 or feedback@sexymarriageradio.com. Also, if you like the show and you want to register to try to win and then get away, let us know. Leave a comment on Apple Podcasts and then send it to feedback@sexymarriageradio.com, the username you used, but this helps spread the word so that other people can frame their conversations and face their lives and relationships. Hopefully a little bit cleaner transcripts are available on each of the show's pages at SMR fm. Also, all the advertisers deals and discount codes, you can find all of those at SMR fm, so please consider supporting those who help support the show. Thanks for listening and starting out the new year with us, and we'll see you next time.