Hello, I’m Dr. Debi, and I’m here to help.
Of course, I can’t help everyone with everything.
But I can help some people with some things.
Like love and marriage.
I worked with men, women, couples, and families for 25 years before closing my California Clinical Psychology Practice in August 2021. Now living in Central Texas, I am dedicated to teaching you what I’ve learned as a former Professor and Couple’s Counselor.
Because men and women are different.
Always have been. Always will be.
Dr. Debi Smith, PsyD
Hope for Your Marriage
Have you ever tried to do something without any instruction or training?
When my oldest son graduated from high school and got his first apartment with his best friend, he had to learn how to balance a checkbook. I remember him asking me,
“Why didn’t they teach us this stuff in school?
Where are we supposed to learn it?”
I assured him that he wasn’t without opportunity to learn how to balance a checkbook because he had a mom who was willing to teach him.
NOTE: This was the same boy who asked at age 7, “Momma, why weren’t we born learned?” I’m guessing he asked because he dreaded facing his very harsh second-grade teacher day after day. Honestly, that woman micromanaged all the boys in her class. Someone should have taught her the truth about the male gender when she was in training at the State Teachers College. Because boys are amazing when you know how to connect with them.
Four years after the checkbook question, I felt like my son had felt.
Why hadn’t anyone taught me about men and marriage? My dad wasn’t around, and my mom was thoroughly confused about men. Neither of them were of help. My in-laws were separated and in the process of divorcing when we married at 18. Obviously, they were no help either.
So I had tried to learn about marriage on my own.
I’d gone to the library and read enough books about marriage to choke a horse.
- But none of them talked about how men and women are designed to work together.
- No one told me what my husband thought, how he felt, or why he did what he did.
- No one taught my husband about what I needed. Heck, I didn’t even know that myself!
My church didn’t teach about men or women or marriage!
But my church did teach me the Bible, and Philippians 4:19 said, “My God will supply all your needs.” Therefore, I concluded that I wasn’t permitted to have any needs. It took quite a bit of therapy before I could reconcile that one.
Instead, everyone except me seemed to understand marriage.
They never taught on the subject. So I guessed that if I just never needed anything and served my husband instead of myself, it would all be perfect. That’s another Bible verse that got convoluted in my heart and mind. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Consequently, my husband and I bumbled our way through 16 years of marriage, including his college degree, then my giving birth to three sons, and straight into a divorce. About 4 years later, with more questions than ever, I finally went to college.
Why don’t they teach this stuff in school?
College didn’t teach me anything distinctive about men or about women either, much less what made a healthy marriage. Grad school in clinical psychology did a little better on the topic of marriage. We could take a course in how to do couples therapy, and I did.
After all these years, it still seems odd to me – really, really odd – that no one teaches us anything useful about gender differences.
- Why would they ignore such an important subject?
- After all, marriage is comprised of a man and a woman.
- Shouldn’t we understand the components?
- Yes, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
- But does that mean we ignore the parts altogether?
The process of raising three sons as a single mom had made me curious.
Yes, I’d collected enough evidence against men to build a solid case against them. But my curiosity about how to raise boys made me curiouser and curiouser about men in general and why they are the way they are.
And what I discovered set the course for the rest of my career … and my life!
I kept studying men. Academically and clinically and personally. Eventually, that made me curious about women, too. After all, that category includes me, right?
Yes, I’m still amazed that we avoid the subject of real-life gender differences.
Of course, it’s not politically correct in today’s culture to say that men and women are fundamentally different, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Just ask any man or woman who is or ever has been in a romantic relationship.