I would have never become a physician entrepreneur without the support and strength of my spouse. Heck, I would have never become a physician if my girlfriend (now my wife) didn’t encourage me to apply to medical school!
If you are in a relationship, you should never start a venture, make a sizable investment, or start a career move without the support of your significant other. So says physician relationship coach Dr. George “Jeep” Naum. He is the author of What’s Forever For? A Physician’s Guide For Everlasting Love And Success in Marriage and a regular contributor to Physician Outlook Magazine.
Since 2019, he and his wife Vanessa have been specializing in physician marriage coaching. As a married physician and coach, Dr. Jeep has mixed his passion for coaching doctors and helping them find love and a deeper connection in their marriage and career life.
Dr. Jeep says “Take inventory of what you know about your marriage and what you truly want from it. Gain real clarity and connection…more than you’ve ever thought possible!”
Dr. Jeep Naum’s website:
Dr. Jeep Naum’s Physician Coaches Profile:
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: We have a very interesting topic that we really don’t talk a lot about, but it is just as vital as whether learning, the latest business strategy or how to get new clients. And that’s having a strong relationship or strong relationships, whenever you’re going into some type of new venture, I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at. If I didn’t have a spouse who was able to support me and all the crazy ventures that I was in so long ago. And so I thought it was important to actually have.
So when who was an expert at relationships and fixing relationships, his name is Dr. George . He goes by Dr. Jeep. He’s been a physician for 31 years and marriage coach for 27. So he’s really been in the trenches when not a lot of coaches were out there who were physicians, he and his wife, since 2019 have actually been specializing in physician, marriage, coaching as a married doctor and coach himself.
He’s mixed his passion for coaching doctors and helping them find love and a deeper connection in their marriage and career life. He’s been featured on many podcasts, regular contributor to physician outlook magazine, and he’s the author of what’s forever for a physician guide for everlasting love and success in marriage.
He’s the founder. You can find them at bestfriendsagain.com. So without further ado, Dr. Jeep, welcome to the program.
Dr. Jeep Naum: It’s a pleasure to be with you. O
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: I’m going to start off and if you’ve ever listened to my interviews I will throw people off a little bit, but I want to know how’d you get the name Jeep?
Dr. Jeep Naum: I usually tell two stories, the other one’s a little off color. And that’s where I was conceived, but that’s not the truth. It comes from George Philip, GP and my aunt didn’t like the initials GP, which is what my dad mom decided to go with. And she just started calling me Jeep and it stuck rolling.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: I liked the story, but yeah, I also think that the first story is a little bit more memorable too.
Dr. Jeep Naum: Absolutely.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: So let’s talk about it. You’re a physician and you’re also been a marriage coach for 27 years. So you were coaching. You’re coaching people, outside of your practice or perhaps, I don’t know if you did that in place of your practice.
How did you get first get started in this?
Dr. Jeep Naum: I’ll tell you, Dr. Mike it growing up I was surrounded literally by dysfunctional marriage. Probably the most notable a dysfunctional marriage was my mom and dad and It was a part of that live, lived in that for years. And there was a lot of dysfunctional marriage amongst their friends.
There was a lot of infidelity. And from an early age, I had an idea about marriage, how I wanted it to be how I thought that it could be. And as I went through living through these relationships, I said, if third there’s just no reason why. Has to be happening the way it is. And when I got done with my education in medicine, finished my residency I’m like I need to become part of this.
My wife and I got married at the end of my residency hours, a third year in family practice. And But we were together a lot of several years before that. So I got to see what marriages were like with physicians, not only from my father, but from the residents who were married. And I got to see the things that happened, the problems that occurred without really any good tools is.
What to do about that? So it initially started out coaching, married couples, mostly and engaged couples, mostly on weekends at retreats several times a year. I also did, I think you would agree as physicians, no, we’re coaches. It’s what we do. It’s what we do with our patients. We coach them as far as what we would like for them to do.
Specific disciplines, diseases and problems. Now it’s always a bit of a a, what would I say? A bit of a struggle to get them to follow what we want them to do sometimes but we are coaches. So I did a little bit of that in conjunction in the office with patients and got a lot of good feedback and continued to do the weekend.
But as I would say as medicine has changed it, not for the better, in a lot of ways, I started thinking, I need this, start doing this on a more full-time basis. And I need to start doing this with our called, who I know suffer. With work life, marriage balance, and show them that myself being part of a physician marriage for almost 29 years now, and having gone through some tumultuous times and being able to get through that and not only survive, but to thrive.
I wanted to show our colleagues that this is something that doesn’t need to continue to occur. And there are ways to to get through it and to be better as a result of that.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: What are some things that since you both coached, physicians and mostly non-physicians in your marriage coach career what are some things that you may notice different with physicians that maybe you don’t see in non physicians? Or maybe you see the same thing?
Dr. Jeep Naum: We as physicians, we have issues that oftentimes we deal with on a daily basis that the average marriage couple just doesn’t have to deal with. We are communicating with our patients. We’re communicating with our staff.
We’re communicating with hospital administration, we’re communicating with insurance companies. And when we come home from the day, oftentimes we are communicated out what we want to do when we get home is detach. I’ll tell you a quick story about my wife and I. I often would work a 12 hour days and family practice.
I get home at seven o’clock and all I wanted to do lists to sit in front of the TV and just stare at something else. That’s not a computer or it’s not a problem just to just to like vegetate and detach. My wife was also working at the office at the time as the office manager and we had kids.
And so she would work at the office, but then she would go pick up the kids. She would come home, she would start dinner. She would do all of these things. And by the time I got home, she was expecting help. And. I love my kids, love my life, but I’m like, an hour or two to just to myself to offload she got a little sick of that and really, I don’t blame her that she did because she was putting in the time that I was putting in.
But then more time on top of that. This in having talking to other physicians, this is something that we deal with on a regular basis. We have to have time to detach, but we can’t do that at the expense of our families. Yet we do this, quite a bit, and she just had the courage to say to me, Hey, I need your help.
I’m doing all this. And, we talked about this when we were going to have kids and enlarge our family, that we were both going to be equally involved in this and I wasn’t holding up my part of the bargain. So I’m sitting there thinking, okay How am I supposed to do this? How am I supposed to go to work?
See 20, 30, 35 people a day deal with back at that time, it was charting. Now it’s EMR. And then dealing with staff issues, dealing with insurance companies, all of that, and try to do a good job of that and try to be the best that I can be. And yet come home and here’s my wife giving me a hard time about all this.
How am I going to do both of these things at once in it, it was a struggle it, and again, I know that our brethren deal with this male and female or both juggling kids and through communication. And I know that’s a trite word through communication and making time the, we were able to get through that.
And what I told my wife is, okay I’ll cut down an hour. I’ll watch TV. We’ll let me sit there and not say anything except say hi to the kids. And then when that’s done, you come and I will listen to, what’s gone on with your day. And then we’ll go from there. So that’s just one example of what a lot of us deal with that with a little bit of talk, a little bit of self-reflection a little bit of self-assessment that, we’ve been able to do that.
But there’s just too many of us. We just want to get home, eat. Go watch TV, maybe say a little bit to the wife, for the kids and that go to bed and get up and do it all over again. But that is just a it’s dysfunctional behavior that goes on for a long time. And pretty soon you’re looking at you’re not you’re not a couple, your roommates communication’s getting worse and worse than before, you’re saying to yourself What happened?
You both withdraw. And you’re thinking of backing separated and even worse than that divorce. But that’s what we teach as coaches, how to get through those types of behaviors in a lot of trust is involved with. It spouses with, with, we talks, oftentimes we don’t get home. Immediately after work, we got to go other places we’ve got to go to the hospital.
We got to go to board meetings, whatever. So the, our spouses are trusting that we’re behind. But when you get so overburdened and overwhelmed, sometimes it may be a little easy to reach over, reach out to someone who is a different shoulder to lean on somebody who’s that may be a little more understanding about what it’s like to go through days.
And especially now in the days, COVID so many more extra issues that we have to deal with. And first thing, you’re talking and then the next thing you’re having a drink. And the next thing you know the talking becomes more intimate and then you’ve got into a realm that you don’t want to go.
And I ran into that growing up specifically with my parents’ marriage and in that’s the kind of thing my mother went on for years thinking that, my father was in the hospital all these nights and it was a lot more than just going and making rounds. So sometimes that trust has been.
Not destroyed, but really hurt. And it’s difficult to kick back from that. When that happens. How do you stop that from happening? That’s regular communication throughout the day, even if it’s just a little text. Okay. Where are you at this time? In, I’ve seen that happen in that it’s not something that has occurred with Vanessa and I.
We have a lot of people that we have dealt with that have had that in working. That’s another thing.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Yeah, I know you’ve been in my case with my wife. You know why I should remember this since 93. 28 years, almost as long as you have is we get so busy, with things and I actually have to schedule, and… especially if you’re coming home, but not say you want to work on your business or your you’re investing in things.
It’s so important but not a lot. I’m not perfect at that too. And there’ll be times where, we have issues like that, where. Yeah. I still remember my wife saying, for a few years ago, I feel more like a roommate, then a marriage, what are some warning signs that we should look out for? If where we, as a couple we may need to seek help.
Dr. Jeep Naum: I think one of the first things that you will start to see is that communication starts to… deteriorate you come home. You want to talk. And oftentimes what has happened is that you come home, you’ve had an issue. You let frustration build up that you’ve had at the office or a similar venue that you go to during the day and you take it out.
On your spouse. And not only do you take it out on your spouse, but you’re not wanting to listen to what he or she has to say, and you’re getting your way all the time. You’re not really listening deeply to what your spouse is telling you. And so there’s really no middle ground between the two.
So what happens as a result of that? Every time this happens in that way. There’s this thought on the other side? What’s the use for me to really talk when I’m not being taken seriously. So then you will hear the other spouse say you get your way anyway. So what’s the use for me to talk?
So gradually those times of talking because less and less, or another, you promise that you’re going to go meet for dinner. You promise that you’re going to go meet through a movie. You promise that you’re going to go do something with your kids and something happened. You’ve got to call you can’t go to the emergency, whatever.
You don’t communicate that very well, what you do, and then, show up and then when you show up, oftentimes it’s late. And that happens a few times. Then the spouse gets really upset is sick of hearing your excuses that you were. At nauseum. And sometimes you may suffice the excuse up a little bit, but basically it’s the same thing.
And soon those outings stop to happen or stop happening in your spouse. Why do I even schedule any of these things? When you say you’re going to be there in depth and it’s easy as a. As physicians that we say, okay I’m going to text or email my wife or my daughter or my son. And I’m going to tell them that I have to do this while all.
Is for you to get another call from something else, and then you get distracted and you forget that, oh, I have to I have to call, I have to tell them I’m going to be late or that I’m not going to make. And that happens frequently. And he does address that as it becomes a problem, especially in its initial stages again, then these things don’t happen.
That connection happens. Intimacy for sure is not gonna happen. And the other types of communication, emotional communication they just stop happening here become less and less. And then you, like you’re saying. He, or she’s not doing it, so why should I, so then you start mutually blaming each other and then you’re in one room watching this she’s in or he, or she’s in another room watching that. And then the roommate situation. Starts to occur.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Yeah. Yeah. I think also too as a physician, oftentimes we’re the decision maker where usually the buck stops here and one of the few people who questions, his decisions is your spouse how much have you had to intervene where.
As you, as the coach, you’re saying, Hey, you’re not right here in this situation. How much have you had to do that?
Dr. Jeep Naum: I’ve had to do frequently. Now we’re in a little bit of a different situation and that first 10 years of our marriage Vanessa was working at the office and she was the office.
Now you often get with that, that works for you. Oh no. Here comes the doctor’s wife, right? He just is in there. She really doesn’t know anything, but he wants her in there for this reason or that reason she, comes in with. Dressed to the nines and, just wanting to be seen and respected for really not literally doing anything that wasn’t the case with Vanessa.
She was, had a degree in… Accounting management degree. And then she took a course, a several week course about how to manage specifically a physician’s office. She came in with the SIM experience. It took some time, it took some time for her to be respected, but when she was it wasn’t that much of a problem. Now. She took care of the financial aspect of things. She dealt with personnel and I dealt with medicine and patients. So there, there were times when we had to. Inner mingle with that. But most of all, we were able to stay away.
Now, sometimes she would get involved with the medical aspect for whatever reason, where I got too involved in talking about the financial situation or staff, which I really didn’t have the right to do because I didn’t have the knowledge that she had. And I did have to say, listen, I’m a doctor, this is what I do.
This is what I’ve been trained for. And she would have to do the same thing to me when I would get involved with the financial aspect. I’m like, and she would get upset and I’d say you’re right. You’re, you’ve been trained to do. You have a management degree, you have an accounting degree, much more about this than I do.
So I really shouldn’t be saying that much but I had, we both had to coach each other in in these instances. But there’s always been before we were married, we said that communication was going to be a priority. Now, as you have stated quite correctly with yourself, Sometimes you had to schedule it.
And sometimes you do because you’re so busy, there’s so many things happening that you have to make time for that, but it is time well spent and it’s time that has to occur for whatever problem or issue that you’re dealing with. And in this day and age with with with ourselves and our colleagues situations may change significantly on a daily basis, not just every week or every month on a daily basis, increased work responsibilities, increased hours more administrative responsibilities.
And with COVID those or changes in staff in dealing with that? Those are things that I’m not like in the past where it would change gradually these happen day by day, oftentimes, and that just compounds everything. So it makes it even more important that you schedule that. Regardless.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Now you mentioned that your wife you work with your wife, currently and sometimes what I’ve seen is, when physicians and non-physicians is, I, and I’ve said this to my wife, you don’t know what I go through, in a day.
And all the, those things. And now you have where we see physician and physician. So they do know for the most part you know what they go through again, you, if you didn’t watch the video, when I said that, you’re just like, whoa, when you said that, so my, my. What do you do now when they do know what it is and how best to can you react to that?
Where obviously that’s the wrong thing to say, because you’re saying that your work is more important than someone who is not, but what challenges and again, the same question, what challenges do you physician couples. That really, besides just the time element to it that they really have to be aware of.
Dr. Jeep Naum: Let me begin do the answer, the first part of that when I was growing up my mother didn’t work. My father was. He started back at it. When you could do everything, he was a family doc, but you basically could do your own surgeries. You do all, you can do a lot of that off, obviously that’s long gone, but so she would stay home.
But unfortunately he devalued what she did during the day, which was taking care of the bills, taking care of the kids cooking, doing all of that, that, Compared to what he did. He just didn’t think that what she did was it was a big deal. And I always thought that was totally unfair.
He was not he didn’t know what she did even if he did know what she did, what he was doing, like you said was more important and harder. And so as time went on, I would see that with With different clients. I would see that with different physicians still see it today, remarkably, but I always had decided before I got married, my wife and I were together, we were recording.
I knew that she was going to be working with me when we started, because that’s what the plan was, but she would at least initially have most of the childcare responsibilities and doing things around the house. So I told her especially when I would come home from a day that listen, I don’t expect for you to make me a meal.
I don’t expect for you to do. If my laundry, if you have time to do that and you do it for me, I appreciate it very much. But what you do is at least as important as what I do, I’m a doctor. I do what I do. You’re your mind wife, your mother you our housekeeper, you are child rear. You are bill payer, you are all those.
And there is no way that what you do is any less important than what I do. And that was a, unfortunately, and maybe fortunately was something that I learned from my father growing up. And I use that, I give that example that No. What each of you do is equally as important to your relationship in devaluing that in any way is you’re looking for a huge amounts of trouble.
Now in regards to physicians who are married to each other. And I have seen that especially when kids become involved, usually the female physician. The one who takes on the greater responsibility and issue. So she still put more. And most of the time she’s at least in my experience has cut back.
When they were working full time, they decide, okay I’m I’m going to take some maternity time off. I’m going to be at home. And then even when they restart, maybe start out for a couple of days a week. And then when the kids get into school, then come back so in my responsibility and I’ve had to try to get the husband is I’ve tried to get him to understand, listen. Yes, you do what she does. She does what you do. You don’t have a baby. You don’t have the capacity. At least I don’t think so. Maybe I’ve missed something and more, but you don’t have the capacity to have a child.
You don’t know what it’s like to carry a baby for nine months and deal with all that on top of all this. So there just has to be, if you keep that thought that what each of you do is equally important and don’t play that. What I do is more important than you card. That issue is not going to become significant for you.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Dr. Jeep, so much wisdom here. I want to know your thoughts on this, because I’ve seen this with my own clients. So I work with a lot of physicians who want to start their own business. They want to invest in real estate, their new venture, and, they talk to me about what to do and then.
Invariably ask him, oh, okay. So what is your spouse thinks all this? And they’ll say, She that she doesn’t think what I’m doing is right. But, I’m good with that. So I’ll just keep this money. I’ll hide that from her and, she’ll get the benefits from it later. I probably know what you’re going to say to that because I see your face here. What’s your opinion on this?
Dr. Jeep Naum: Dr. Mike that’s that in a sense. Not in a sense, it’s a cheating is what basically what that is. That’s called financial infidelity is what that is. And finances are whether it’s an investment, whether it’s how much each of you agree to spend in a particular week you need to make time to talk about what’s going on.
If one of you is doing the majority of the work with the bill paying and those what’s coming in and you do that. It’s great that you’re taking that responsibility to do that, but it does not give you a right, because you’re doing it to take certain liberties and doing things that. Are not fair.
You decide you’re going to do that. That’s fine. So what I tell couples to do is that every two weeks, certainly not less frequently than every month, you sit down, you go to go over where you are financially in a given month, go over what? And this is basically marriage finance 101. But it applies to ourselves and our colleagues too.
This is where, this is what we’re doing. As far as our bills this is what to do this month. This is what’s due next month, the kids have this, the kids have that. We get all that pay. This is what we have for extra money, what we want to do with that money. Then you can say I have an idea about.
A n investment that I would like to make, whether it’s a, like you said, real estate, we want to buy a building. Or if you want to enlarge your, where your office is and you want to go into the space or that’s all stuff that at least needs to be talked about. And when you don’t talk about that, and unfortunately I bring up my.
My dad is an example. He kept my mom in the financial dark for their entire marriage and huge mistakes that were made that caused a lot of regret with her. She wasn’t able to be as financially capable as she deserved to be. So I learned from that and in some other cases with some other couples who we coach that is a Boulder that’s rolling downhill, that’s gathering a new… amount of Moss that if it’s ever discovered that you had cheated financially like that, sometimes it’s really difficult to get that trust back. And sometimes it can be relationship ending. If you continue with that kind of stuff.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Wow. So that was really good. I’ve never heard the term financial infidelity, but I think it really hits home.
Dr. Jeep So much great information that you can share. How can somebody get ahold of you? How do you work with doctors or other couples? What’s the best place to go to?
Dr. Jeep Naum: Our website is www.drjeepandvanessa.com is one. And the one I gave you also a www.bestfriendsagain.com
We have a program that we put physician couples through it’s called 90 days from clarity to connection. You go through that program and it things that you never knew about this. Tools that you’ve never had thought about. We go through those things with you. We know what the what the sunshine is and where the storms are and how the weather books with this program.
So that is something that we’re, it’s the main thing that we’re that we’re doing. We’ve had a lot of favorable feedback. Helped a lot of people want to help so many more. And that’s, this is what I do with my time completely, right now, we are dedicated to this and we want the physicians and their spouses to realize the kind of marriage that they never thought that they were ever going to be able to have to have that and to get over issues.
At one time they thought might be insurmountable, but the biggest thing, and that’s why we call our business Best Friends again, LLC is you have to be each other’s best friends.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Thank you for the information. We’ll leave the links here on the show notes. Any last minute thoughts before we end our call today?
Dr. Jeep Naum: In this pretty Isolated time where there’s just not a lot of let’s say SHK a superhuman or simple human kindness.
Our marriages, light the way, not only for our patients, for our kids, but for society as well.
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming: Powerful stuff. Thank you, Dr. Jeep. Again, his site is bestfriends again.com. Also you can reach him at drjeepVanessa.com. Go out. If this sounds like something that you need in your life, just don’t think about it or research.
Dr. Jeep is out there to help you and Vanessa help you out on what is probably the most important thing that you could do before starting a business is make sure that you’ve got a strong foundation and it starts with your marriage. Thanks again, Dr. Jeep and as always keep moving forward.