How To Ruin Your Marriage Today

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

Do you want to know how you can ruin your marriage? Didn’t think so. But if you know what NOT to do, you’ll know what TO do (and avoid) in order to have better relationships. In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen tell you some surefire ways to wreak havoc on your close relationships, this first installment dealing with some physical issues you or your partner may experience.

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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 BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr. Daniel Amen: We are so grateful you continue to listen to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. We have a very special week for you. The question we want to ask is what are the things you do? Not your partner-
Tana Amen: Not your spouse.
Dr. Daniel Amen: What are the things you do that mess up your relationships? We're going to call this week, “How to Ruin Your Marriage.” If you know how to ruin it, you'll know how to help it.
Tana Amen: Yeah, if you can recognize what it is that you are doing, it's really always easy to see what the other person is doing wrong. But if you can take responsibility and see what you are doing, then you get to take responsibility for that. It's easier for you to fix it. It's easier for you to know how to make it better.
To me, it seems like one of the first things is you have to want to, right? I want to start off by saying I am incredibly lucky. I'm not just saying that because I'm on film. I'm not saying that because I'm on a podcast. I think I am an amazing person. I really do, but I'm not an easy person. I'm not easy. I'm intense. I'm challenging at times and I have the perfect partner. I really do. You are kind and thoughtful and grounding and you don't react. You just are an amazing human being.
Dr. Daniel Amen: This is our second marriage, both of us, and-
Tana Amen: I figured it out.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We know how to mess things up. If you know how to mess them up, then if you're paying attention, you actually can make magic, and-
Tana Amen: Can I say something?
Dr. Daniel Amen: I think of the 13 years we've been together, it's been magical.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I love when you said, "The only way I'm running is if I'm chasing you."
Tana Amen: Yeah, you're not going anywhere until death do us part.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We're chained. We're bonded, connected, but I want to do it in these four podcasts in this week, to really look at our four circles. In the first podcast, we'll talk about the biological things you do to mess up your relationships. Then we'll talk about the psychological things you do. Then we'll talk about the social things you do-
Tana Amen: But then I'm going to save-
Dr. Daniel Amen: And even the spiritual things that you do. Biologically, what are the things people do to ruin-
Tana Amen: Drink too much.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Their relationships.
Tana Amen: Drink too much; do drugs; watch pornography, in my opinion, if they're addicted to it and not paying attention to their partner, and they're not present. Those are things that I have seen, we've seen, where people are not present in their marriages, where they're not their best selves, where they're not showing up. I guess the pornography part would be not biological.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The what? The what?
Tana Amen: The pornography part would not be biological, but drinking too much-
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's totally biological in the sense that it can be addictive, that if you're not careful it can actually shrink your frontal lobe, that-
Tana Amen: Right, you're comparing your marriage to something not real.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Will set up expectations that are not real. When I think of biology, I think of you had a head trauma and no one's assessed it, and you are acting badly because your frontal lobes or your temporal lobes have been hurt, and so a biological way to screw up your relationships-
Tana Amen: Is not treat your brain.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Is that you have a brain that's not functioning right and you don't get the help you need.
Tana Amen: Yeah, depression and anxiety are also things... OCD, are also things I've actually seen people who've called me and said, “Hey, I need to come in,” because they are struggling with depression, anxiety, and OCD, and it's destroying their marriages.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And those are, at least in part, biological-
Tana Amen: Biological.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Like what you said, so drugs and alcohol, as we come close to the fourth-
Tana Amen: Well, how many domestic violence situations have you seen drug and alcohol... I mean, that's the trigger, right? That's the thing that sets it off is your frontal lobes are down. When you drink alcohol, when you do drugs, it affects your frontal lobes. It affects your judgment, your impulse control. Someone says something that makes you angry where you normally be able to control it, the next thing you know, you're screaming, yelling, out of control, domestic violence occurs. It's terrible.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I often ask people when I lecture, “How many of you are married?” Then, half of the people raise their hand and I go, “Is it helpful for you to say everything you think in your marriage?”
Tana Amen: Everyone laughs.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Everybody laughs and they're shaking their heads no, it's not... When you drink alcohol,
Tana Amen: You say more of what you think.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You... the first thought in your head tends to get out-
Tana Amen: And not in a nice way.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And even if you don't believe the thought, it can damage you. It can hurt you. Alcohol's involved in more divorces, in my experience as a psychiatrist over the last 40 years, than virtually any other substance. Also, this is something people might not know, if you didn't sleep well the night before, if you get less than seven hours of sleep at night, you have lower overall blood flow to your frontal lobes, which then means more bad decisions.
Tana Amen: I know you guys have experienced this, I certainly have. So we had so much going on for like a week in our house, visitors, whatever, and I just didn't sleep for like three nights in a row. And I just woke up foggy, not feeling well, and it's just like fortunately, we know this about each other and I... but I just got up and was like I just... I don't want to do what I have to do today. There was nothing. We didn't get into a fight or anything, or there's not even an argument, but my brain was not happy. I was not having happy thoughts. Then, I got three nights of sleep, woke up, and I literally the first thought in my head, the first words out of my mouth were, "Wow, I feel so good. I'm so happy." I mean, it's just the difference when you get that sleep how your brain processes. I know you guys know what I'm talking about.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We've all talked about the BRIGHT MINDS risk factors, but quickly if you have low blood flow to your brain, you're going to have more impulse control and less empathy. If you want to screw up your relationships, never think of things from the other person's point of view.
Tana Amen: Right. Just be selfish.
Dr. Daniel Amen: That'll ruin it. Retirement and aging, the older you get, the less active your brain is unless you're super serious, unless you're a Brain Warrior. Be careful. I turned 65 this year and I walk a lot-
Tana Amen: Stay busy.
Dr. Daniel Amen: To keep my brain healthy-
Tana Amen: Volunteering is a good thing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And I take my supplements. And I'm learning new things. Inflammation, if you have inflammation in your body, you're more likely to depression and dementia, which means... You know, when you're depressed, and you remember when you were depressed-
Tana Amen: Oh yeah. I couldn't think about anybody but myself because you can't.
Dr. Daniel Amen: It's like your brain's in a tunnel and the tunnel has no windows and no doors-
Tana Amen: It's dark. Dark, dark, dark.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And it's dark. Your partner gets sad too. And they get lonely because you disconnected.
Tana Amen: Well, it's not intentional, but you became self-centered because it's painful. When you're in pain, you become self-centered.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And then we talked about head trauma and getting it treated. Toxins could be the alcohol. It is mindstorms, which is a new concept you'll hear from me, but it's basically one of your temporal lobes is not working right. You can have mood instability, irritability, temporal problems. People often get diagnosed with bipolar; they're not. They're temporal lobes that aren't working right, often from head trauma. Getting that taken care of. If your hormones are not right, your relationships-
Tana Amen: Women in menopause.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Are not right.
Tana Amen: They file for divorce more than any other age group.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Or PCOS that when we're-
Tana Amen: You think like a guy.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Testosterone's high, you can be more irritable-
Tana Amen: I had PCOS, I know.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Hard to attach. So glad we got that treated for you.
If you have low blood sugar... so there's this great study that... they took 107 couples and they measured-
Tana Amen: Yeah, this is funny.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Their blood sugar right before bed. Then, they gave them voodoo dolls and they said, “We want you to express your feelings about your partner with... by putting pins in the dolls.” The people had the lowest blood sugar had more than twice the number of pins in the dolls. Tana has this hangry thing.
Tana Amen: Oh, so hangry. So bad. He just looks at me, and doesn't say a word, and immediately goes somewhere where I can food. It's just a thing we-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right-
Tana Amen: And my daughter's the same way.
Dr. Daniel Amen: From a biological standpoint, how do you mess up a relationship is you don't think about, or care about, or take care of your brain, which is absolutely essential if you want to have a great relationship.
Tana Amen: One thing you mentioned was point of view and one thing that I really like that we do, because we're not perfect. We have disagreements. We've had some sticky arguments in the past, fortunately not a lot of them, but we have. And what I like that we do... everybody argues differently and it's really important to know how you argue and how you guys communicate.
One thing that I like that we do is we're both willing to... we'll get in an argument, step back and go our separate ways for 15 or 20 minutes because that's what it takes me. It takes me. You need to know that. If you stay in someone's face, if you just stay there and keep at them, but they're a person who needs a little time to process, I'm a person who needs a little time to process, give me 15 or 20 minutes to go to my corner, let me think about it, let me think about your point of view, I will generally come back and go, “I'm really sorry for this. This is how I feel about this.” But if you stay in someone's face who needs that time, it's not usually going to be a good outcome, I can tell you from my perspective, it wouldn't be and visa-versa.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I call it the bathroom technique that if somebody's stuck on something and they're just not letting you go, tell them you have to go to the bathroom.
Tana Amen: Yeah, I like that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Virtually nobody will argue. And even if you don't have to go to the bathroom, go there for just a few minutes to give the argument space for people's single space to calm down so that you can shift into what is the goal in my relationship that's my behavior that the goal I have.
Tana Amen: What's really interesting, though, Chloe and I, my daughter... it's really interesting for you guys to know personality types because where you and I don't have this problem, Chloe and I were butting heads really hard. She's a very strong-willed child. I would need time to go sort of process things, but I couldn't figure out why would literally just cause her to flip out and send her up a tree. Finally, now she's older, we've been able to figure this out. To her, that feels like she has this abandonment issue. She feels like she's being abandoned somehow. When we were able to figure this out, and I was able to explain to her why I do it and how she needs me to not go away, but I need her to give me space, right? Really important to understand those dynamics.
Dr. Daniel Amen: We'll talk about communication in the social, but what's coming up. What are the things you're doing; I hope you answered that question. What are the things you're doing to ruin your relationships; take responsibility and then post that-
Tana Amen: And tag us!
Dr. Daniel Amen: And tag us. Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. Then, share it on your social media. As we grow this podcast, Brain Warriors recruit other Brain Warriors so that you're creating your own network of people to support you on this healing trip.
Tana Amen: And we would be grateful if you've learned something. If you go to, if you have learned anything, we would be so grateful if you would write that and give us a review.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And also leave your questions. 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. While you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five-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.