Kristen Bell on How Marriage Counseling Changed the Way She and Dax Argue — for the Better

Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell appear on The Chew.
Image Source: ABC Television Network

“I have a fine body; I’ve had two children. I don’t dwell on it. I hope I bring something to the table with my personality, not because I have a flat stomach.”

This is the kind of thing we’ve grown accustomed to hearing from actress and mom of two, Kristen Bell. No matter who she’s talking to, she’s always candid, positive, and not afraid to tell it like it is. So it was no surprise that in a recent interview with the U.K.-based publication You Magazine, Bell opened up in new ways yet again, talking about her marriage to actor Dax Shepard, their daughters Lincoln and Delta, her love of sloths, and her battle with depression.

The Teen Titans Go! star also opened up once again about just how much couple’s counseling has helped her marriage, including how to manage an argument.

“We fight about everything,” Bell admitted; but they way the couple argued changed dramatically after listening to the advice from her therapist one day.

“‘The next fight you have, you can slam the front door, but don’t get in your car; then the fight after that, you can mentally slam the door,’” Bell says her therapist told her. “Five months later, all door slamming, both real and imaginary, had stopped. We still fight, but don’t take disagreements to heart. I know he’s on my team. If you have a long marriage that thrives without therapy, please call me because you are a unicorn!”

Learning more about who she and Shepard are as people has also helped their relationship over the years, Bell shared. For example, Shepard’s need to buy in bulk and have 30 tubes of toothpaste in the house at one time stems from growing up poor and having a fear of running of out of things. And her tendency to tell long-winded stories that take several turns before getting to the point results from growing up small and fighting to be heard.

What a novel concept — actually getting to the root of why a person is who he or she is before letting it boil over into an argument. When you think about it, it’s far easier to accept the little things that drive us crazy in a marriage than let them boil over. I think I’m going to take a page out of Bell’s playbook and get to the root of why, for the love of all things good, my husband has not hung up a single item of clothing EVER in 18 years of marriage. Hmmm

In all seriousness, though, these two are clearly a loving, happy couple, which is probably why their marital advice always makes sense and comes off authentically. Speaking with You mag, Bell also addresses the tough reality that for many, monogamy is hard.

“I see the benefits of a society with monogamous relationships, but it’s difficult because you’re still attracted to other people,” she admits, before adding, “If both partners are secure, there is no need for jealousy. I think what alleviates the pressure-cooker of monogamy is understanding that your partner’s attraction to someone else is nothing to do with you.”

Bell even admits that both she and Shepard are attracted to celebs like Benicio del Toro and Jennifer Lopez just like the rest of us — and that’s okay with them.

The actress also reflected on her own parenting, a job she’s admitted in many other interviews is no easy task and requires a team-effort from both parents.

On the one hand, she admits she’s pretty lax: “We let the girls wear what they want,” she shared with You. ” … my 5-year-old wears ballet leotards exclusively.” But in other areas, she’s more of a disciplinarian, and says that, “Other than at weekends, the girls can only watch television once a week when we all watch Planet Earth.”

(Of course, just like the rest of us, she’s not exactly above binge-watching the second the kids go to sleep. As Shepard recently told Us Weekly, “There are two hours of mommy and daddy binge-watching TV time [after the kids go to bed]. We get that couple hours at night where we fantasize about other people on TV.”)

Knowing that her girls may inherit the depression she’s been plagued with, Bell says she attacks this issue head-on, telling them, “‘Sometimes you might feel sad and not know why. If you feel that way, talk to me.’” She also says that she doesn’t want to them to fear the stigma of depression and encourages them to express their feelings. “I tell them, ‘Don’t be afraid of your emotions — you’re allowed to cry.'”

Once again, our favorite Hollywood mom says so many things that just make sense. Even if you’re not okay with your husband oogling over Jennifer Lopez, or if you let your kids watch TV every day of the week, I think we can all appreciate a famous Hollywood mom getting real about so many things in parenthood and marriage that affect us all.

It takes teamwork and commitment, any way you do it. (Of course, a sense of humor sure doesn’t hurt.)

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