December 1, 2023

Sharing personal experiences with Lisa Ligouri

Happy Couple Sitting at Lake


Very few people actually want advice when they are coming to you with a problem! In this podcast episode, Elizabeth Polinsky interviews Lisa Ligouri on the benefits of sharing personal experiences versus problem solving or advice giving in personal relationships. 


  • The difference between experience sharing and advice giving
  • How experience sharing can lead to deeper connection and relationships
  • Steps in successful experience sharing
  • Ways military couples can use experience sharing
Young Mixed Race Couple

How Lisa learned to share her experiences:

For Lisa, she read the book called Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson and went to couples counseling to help her develop a pattern of experience sharing versus advice giving in her marriage.

Lisa also found journalling to be helpful. Journalling allowed her process and self-reflect on her emotions in order to be able to share them with someone else.

In the interview, Lisa discussed how each time you are vulnerable it is easier to be more vulnerable in the future. The repetition helps a lot.

When sharing doesn’t feel safe: 

Evaluating the safety of the relationship is important when it comes to sharing experiences. You might start with dipping your toes into the vulnerability and see if it is safe to continue being vulnerable.

A way to see if someone is safe to be vulnerable with is to try sharing something that is just a little vulnerable, and then see if they match your vulnerability by sharing in return.  Do they meet you in the vulnerable space? Are they on the same path and willing to try to engage in the same way?

Big feelings of connection come when someone is willing to engage and meet you in the vulnerable places. The level of depth of sharing from your heart–when someone joins you there is very powerful. At the same time not everyone is willing or open or able to do that. So it is often wise to tread carefully and not bear your soul to everyone. 

Tips for military couples:

Active duty service members are gone a lot. There is a difficulty in being separated from your spouse, but also being separated from family and friends when you move every few years. Sharing personal experiences can be a tool for developing meaningful friendships for military couples who are moving to a new place, feeling isolated, as well as improve thing connection in the relationship. One of the things they use in the experience sharing peer groups is a tool called the 5%. They bring the 5% best and worst parts of life that they don’t share with the general public. This helps take the conversation to a depth that is significant–versus just staying on the surface with easy stuff. Trust and confidentiality is a significant part of these groups.So when making friends, drop down into some vulnerability to take the conversation to a deeper level. You can test the waters to see if someone will match your vulnerability. You want to goo slowly to test if the trust and confidentiality is developing between you in the new relationship. 

As with any skill, learning a skill in communication takes time”

Lisa Ligouri
military couple holding hands

​Learn more about working with Lisa:

Lisa’s number one tip is to ask your spouse if they are up for trying this, even once a week. You can also download her free worksheet on 5 Pitfalls to Avoid when Giving Advice here.​If you are interested in learning more about Lisa or working with her, you can find her the following ways:

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 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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