This adorable, obviously besotted, twosome may seem like they have the perfect relationship, but Kristen Bell reveals that they work hard to keep things healthy and happy between them.
“Fierce moral inventories”
Speaking to People Magazine, actor Kristen Bell said that she and husband Dax Shepard are committed to regular relationship check-ups. Couples therapy is a vital part of their happy life together and the mum-of-two said respect, fun and trust are cornerstones of their marriage.
“We have a very healthy marriage and we got there by doing therapy when we needed it, and constantly doing fierce moral inventories,” she said.
“We both take responsibility when we are wrong, and I think it is easy to work with him because I married him, because I enjoy spending time with him and I trust him. That is exactly what I want in someone that I work with.”
Not all plain sailing
While it’s easy to judge things as peachy-keen, from the outside looking in, this pair has always been up front about the realities of their marriage, discussing the challenges of their relationship as openly as the triumphs.
Bell told Good Housekeeping “therapy is not something to be embarrassed about”, explaining that she came into her “opposites attract” marriage with a bit of a fiery temper.
“I loved slamming doors – I wanted a dramatic exit! But [Dax], having worked through a variety of emotional issues to get sober, said, ‘This isn’t going to work. This isn’t how I’m going to communicate for the rest of my life.’” Bell recalls.
Bell said when Shepard refused to buy into her theatrical responses, she had to reassess.
“When someone doesn’t fight back and goes, ‘I don’t want to do this,’ that threat is real. It makes you reevaluate your behaviour. The way Dax and I argue now – and we argue a lot; we disagree on almost everything! – is so healthy.”
Shepard said the pair are on the lookout for red flags and have vowed to hit the pause button if things ever look like going pear-shaped, and dig a bit deeper.
“I read Blink, the Malcolm Gladwell book, and there’s a chapter about this University of Washington researcher who interviews couples. His conclusion is that if you have contempt for your partner, it’s done — you might as well get a divorce attorney,” he explained.
“I said to Kristen, ‘We should try hard to police ourselves about becoming contemptuous of each other. If I ever see you roll your eyes at me, we need to hit pause and figure out what’s going on.’”
Bell says therapy has helped the pair form a closer, healthier bond and feel better supported.
“We had a couple years of fighting and of growing pains and hating each other, then loving each other and going to couples therapy and we worked it out,”she explained.
“We earned each other,” Bell says.
Is therapy something you’d like to explore with your partner?
Relationships Australia is a great place to start.