October 17, 2020

Common Relationship Problems with Dr. Rev. Clyde Angel

Couple, Fight and Ignore on Sofa for Problems


Ever wonder the common problems couples experience? Are you curious about how spirituality and forgiveness can help your relationship?

In this podcast episode, Elizabeth Polinsky interviews Dr. Rev. Clyde Angel on common relationship problems.



  • A holistic approach involves integrating spirituality into mental health care and relationships.  
  • The three broad categories that usually come up in working with couples are communication, sex, and money.

MAIN POINTS:​1. Dr. Rev. Clyde Angel is a veteran, and retired Veterans Affairs Chaplain; he worked as a mental health chaplain, was a Chief Chaplain, and was the national program coordinator for the Warrior to Soulmate program for veteran couples to work on communication. He is a lIcensed professional counselor and has done individual counseling for PTSD, spirituality, and veteran couples. ​

It really does come down to communication…Listening is the key to communication”.

Dr. Rev. Clyde Angel

2. Bonding is a combination of emotional openness and physical closeness with another person. It is a biological need. We can fulfill all of our other biological needs except for bonding–this is the only one where we need someone else to help us meet that need. Learning how to bond and become close to someone else is an important part of communication process especially when one partner has experienced a traumatic event.  ​

The number one spiritual wound of trauma is shattered trust.”​

Dr. Rev. Clyde Angel

3. It is important to remember that you can love the person even when you don’t like their behaviors. Love is a choice and you can’t make someone love someone. But when people say they aren’t “in-love” is that they aren’t feeling the motion of love. I often help couples refocus on what behaviors are causing problems in the relationship and ask partners for a specific behavior change. 

4. Anger management helps keep you out of jail. But anger resolution is about resolving anger. The process gets down to 1) why am I angry? And 2) what am I feeling? It is important to think about the emotions that are underneath the anger. Once you get to the emotions underneath the anger, then you can communicate. Sometimes this is feeling hurt, or betrayed, or disrespected. ​

5. We have to find the major wounds in our life to find forgiveness.

​6. If one person is going to be emotionally open, the other has to listen with empathy and listen to understand. Try to repeat what your partner says to make sure you are understanding.

One of the great wounds of life is feeling unheard”.

Dr. Rev. Clyde Angel
Expecting couple on home counselling meeting

7. The next thing for improving relationships is forgiveness. Spirituality is about purpose and meaning–why am I here and what is life all about? With forgiveness there are a lot of mixed messages. It is impossible to forgive and forget. We don’t forget our physical wounds. Emotional and spiritual wounding is something we remember because it hurts. Forgiving is much more about making peace with the past. Forgiveness is the glue of a relationship.

8. The process of forgiveness involves 3 steps:

  • Mark the day and the time you are choosing to forgive. Forgiveness is a decision and it is intentional.
  • If the feelings of anger keep coming up, go back to where you marked it down to remind yourself that you have already forgiven.
  • If the feelings continue on after that, you may need to explore more to see if there is someone else you haven’t forgiven in that scenario. Have you really dug as deep as you need to around that event?

9. ​​Moral injury is a spiritual injury. Spirituality has to do with life’s meaning and purpose, but also about how we connect to others. Trauma shatters our spiritual formation and trust, and leaves a wound in how we view ourselves and who we are. Self-forgiveness is needed for healing this injury–for some this may mean sharing the story with someone you trust.

Words of Wisdom from Dr. Rev. Clyde Angel:

  1. For veterans and their significant others: If your partner knew what was going on then they would probably be more than happy to share it with you. With trauma, the person is trying to find their own sense of healing that they haven’t worked through yet. 
  2. In relationships, the person you have to work on the most is yourself. We all want to blame, it’s so natural. However, some of the most meaningful work in couples therapy is working on yourself while learning to bond with your partner.

Liz’s Useful Links: 

Podcast Sponsor: The Relate Assessment is the most comprehensive relationship assessment in the world and is based on 10 predictors of marital stability. It’s supported by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and is the one my husband and I used during our premarital couples counseling. To get 20% off the assessment, go to https://relateinstitute.com/ and enter “POLINSKY20”.

Thanks for Listening!


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    About Author

    Elizabeth Polinsky is a Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist (EFT) providing EFT marriage counseling in the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. She also provides EFT training and supervision to therapists looking to become certified in EFT Couple Therapy. As a military spouse, she has a special passion for working with military and veteran couples, and is also the host of The Communicate & Connect Podcast for Military Relationships.


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