Are Your Friends Sabotaging Your Love Life?

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Have you ever gotten together with friends for a good time, only to spend most of the time complaining about the challenges of dealing with significant others? This sort of activity may seem innocuous, but these interactions play a surprisingly big role in why marriages and relationships fail. In the third episode of a series on how to ruin your marriage, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen discuss the social aspects that play the biggest role in your relationships, and how you can use proper communication to maintain a healthy perspective.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by Brain M.D., where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more go to
Welcome back. We're having so much fun with this topic on how to really mess up your marriage.
Dr. Daniel Amen: How to ruin your relationship.
Tana Amen: Yes, ruin your relationships.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Wait, so the question for this podcast is who are the people in your life that are collaborating with you to ruin your relationship? Who are the people -
Tana Amen: Hardest people for you to deal with.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That are conspiring with you?
Tana Amen: See I like this.
Dr. Daniel Amen: To hurt your relationships?
Tana Amen: So, ladies, we need to have a talk. We just need to talk for a minute. This is something that I see so many women do. I don't know if men do this as much but I know women do it and I've seen it and it was something that I vowed to myself before ... When we got together before we got married that I would never do. And I actually started this before that because I saw so many marriages ruined over this and people just becoming miserable.
When you have a problem, and this is funny, this is something my mom taught me as well. When I got married my mom said, "Do not come to me and complain about your marriage." And I was like, "What?" She goes, "I don't want to hear it. I don't want to hear your problems in your marriage." And I was like, "Wow, that was harsh." But she was right and I love that and here's why. She's like, "If he's beating you, then come to me, otherwise, I don't want to hear it."
I really appreciate that now. I didn't really understand it then, but here was the thing. She was not going to be the meddling mother-in-law, number one, which I really I appreciate and I'm sure you do. But the other thing is I see women do this. They get together, we're the gatherers, men are the hunters, but we get together in this little gathering group and we just start yip, yip, yip, yip, yip, yip, yip about all of our problems. And the minute you start doing that you will find the thing that is wrong and your brain will begin to spin on it and I really don't like that. I promised myself I would not do that and I told myself if you and I had problems I'd never go to my girlfriends and start doing that.
I had one friend that would look for those problems, and she's no longer my friend. She's no longer my friend. The friends that I have that I go to are friends who tell me, "Oh, I'll pray with you," but that's not how you handle this. They'll actually hold me accountable. Those are the kinds of friends you want. You want to ruin your relationship? You want to mess up your marriage? Have a bunch of girlfriends who actually have some interest in you having problems because they want to go out with you because they are not happy themselves because whatever reason. That is how you mess up your marriage fast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That's like worth the whole podcast. You did that in two and a half minutes. I'm so proud of you.
Tana Amen: I've just seen it too many times.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Who you hang out with. You become like the people you hang out with. If you're spending time with people who are unhappy in their relationships they will actually tend to magnify the unhappiness you might have and make you second guess yourself.
Tana Amen: Yep.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Hanging out with people who ask the question, "What is it you can do better?" Will help you so much because -
Tana Amen: And you know when a friend prays with you -
Dr. Daniel Amen: People are contagious.
Tana Amen: When friends pray with you what they're in essence doing is spinning it in a positive way. They're looking for what's good. They're looking for how you can fix it and that's really important.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And often when you confide into your friends or coworkers on how awful your partner is they're not getting -
Tana Amen: The full story.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The full story.
Tana Amen: No.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So they're giving you advice based on your skewed presentation -
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Of what's going on.
Tana Amen: Even if you believe it 100%, perception is reality, it's only your perception, it's not both sides.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So I often say bonding, because that's what we're talking about, relationships require two things. It requires time, actual, physical time and a willingness and skill in listening. So if you want to ruin your relationship don't spend any time with your partner, be a workaholic and don't listen.
Tana Amen: Don't listen, yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: When they say something talk over them and as soon as something comes out of their mouth you feel like you have to dominate the conversation and tell them your two cents rather than really trying to understand what they're saying. That's hard for a lot of people in this society of noise. You know if you think of CNN and Fox, there's really not a good model [crosstalk 00:05:46] of listening-
Tana Amen: Well and some of us grew up not feeling listened to, so sometimes that's the motivation, we feel like we're not being listened to so we have to be you know ... Actually, you've been really good at helping me with that. I also worked in a trauma unit where it was like chaotic and you had to sort of like speak up and it's a personality trait. But you helping me with that, especially with my daughter, has helped with all of my relationships. Learning to just shut up, bite my tongue. It's not always easy.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And I want you to communicate clearly, but what's really important, maybe even more important, is really understanding your partner and that requires hearing him or her out then repeating back what you hear to make sure you're clear. Too often people sit on a lot of pain and when that pain gets poked we overreact and you're dealing with the pain, not the person.
Tana Amen: Right, I like that. Another thing, this thing, the phone. The phone, social media, it's a problem. So you need to be aware of what you are focusing on when you're with your partner. Presence is a really important thing and I know we're busy. I know even in our situation we have a business to run. Life is busy, life is intense, but at least dedicate a certain amount of time if that is you and you know you're busy like that and you know you have a lot that you must attend to ... I know a lot of doctors and surgeons and things like that, they are married to that phone because they're on call all the time. But at least dedicate a certain amount of time with the exception of emergencies or whatever that you're not going to be on your phone because it feels to the other person like they don't have your full attention.
At least for me, I'll get up and walk away. Not going to do it. I'm not going to compete with it. I call it the mistress. So I won't compete with it. It's like either I'm important enough for you to focus on while we're together during this time or I have other things I can be doing. So it's just a really important thing. Think about what you're doing. It's a hard thing. It's become this addiction in our society and it's created for that reason, so just pay attention to it. Just know that that is why it was created, it's why it's the way it is, and try to be aware of it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's good to develop rituals. So if you want to ruin your relationships have no time rituals.
Tana Amen: I love our mornings.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We ... I make you coffee.
Tana Amen: And we sit together and I love it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, not coffee, I make you your -
Tana Amen: A quarter-caff cappuccino.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Cappuccino that's on What's it called? Pumpkin spice.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Cappuccino and Tana has manipulated me to thinking that only I can make it the way I do.
Tana Amen: Only he can make it and have it taste that good.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Which is complete nonsense.
Tana Amen: No, it's amazing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: No, having folklore's good.
Tana Amen: He'll often say ... Okay, here's another tip. Here's another tip. If you nitpick at things with your partner I think that focusing on little things that aren't that ... Not necessarily that important and if they're important to you bring them up in a positive way. But you'll often, because we are so busy, you'll often say to me, "Did I tell you I love you today?" Which is a really sweet thing and sometimes you didn't because we're busy. We jump out of bed, we're running, we're like whatever. But rather than going, "No, you didn't," I'll stop for a minute and I'll think and usually it's, "You made my coffee this morning, you showed me. You didn't ..."
Dr. Daniel Amen: So it's a ritual that we have whether it's 20 minutes in the morning we just sit and talk about our days and what's going on and we love it when our teenage daughter joins us, but that's a ritual.
Tana Amen: Right, but be aware -
Dr. Daniel Amen: And then we have time over the weekend to spend together.
Tana Amen: Right. And being aware that those actions for me they equate to you telling me you love me. And I don't need to ... I don't need to nitpick at you because you didn't say it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Nitpicking's generally not helpful.
Tana Amen: No.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're doing that you have to ask yourself what's the goal? I mean if the goal is to torture the other person, then go for it, right? I mean if it's conscious -
Tana Amen: But there's probably -
Dr. Daniel Amen: Or if it's what your mom and dad used to do and you're just replicating that goal, you want to stop it.
Tana Amen: But there also might be a different reason. There may be something else you're actually trying to achieve and there's probably a better way to do it and you're just not aware that that's what you're doing, so pay attention.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So who are you hanging out with that is collaborating with you to ruin your relationship? You might want to rethink that relationship or that time.
Tana Amen: I like what you said in the last episode -
Dr. Daniel Amen: Don't post their name.
Tana Amen: No, don't post their name, please don't. We don't need ... We're not starting a war. I like what you said in the last episode when you said you need to know your goal, right? You need to know your goal and that's how you base your actions on that goal. You want to have a good marriage and so you ... Is what I'm doing getting me what I want? And that's why I said in the beginning of the episode I had a friend who was constantly looking for the negative because that friend was miserable in her marriage she wanted me to spend more time with her so she would find something negative about you or ... That friend is no longer my friend and that's why. Because I know my goal.
So know your goal. Are the friends you're hanging out with, it's not just your actions, are the people you're hanging out with helping you achieve that goal? It's really important.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, what's the single most important thing you learned from this podcast? We would love for you to post it on your social media.
Tana Amen: And tag us.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And tag us, Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, we would just be so grateful. Leave us a review at [crosstalk 00:11:27]
Tana Amen: You can also tag us -
Dr. Daniel Amen: Brain and if you have a question leave it there because we're going to spend some episodes coming up just answering your questions.
Tana Amen: And you can tag us personally as well, TanaAmen or DocAmen, just tag us. Let us know, we want to hear from you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We'll be back and we're going to talk about the spiritual ways you mess up your relationships. Stay with us.
Tana Amen: If you're enjoying the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast please don't forget to subscribe so you'll always know when there's a new episode. And while you're at it, feel free to give us a review or 5-star rating as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're interested in coming to Amen clinics use the code podcast10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at For more information give us a call at 855-978-1363.