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March 2009

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In this issue:




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Frankie Doiron
President & CEO
Relationship Coaching Institute


David Steele
David Steele
Founder
Relationship Coaching Institute


Tara Kachaturoff - Photo
Tara Kachaturoff
Editor | Partners in Life Couples News
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Copyright 2009 by PartnersInLife.org All rights reserved.

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Welcome!
This newsletter is designed especially for YOU if:

  • You have met someone and are wondering if s/he is the "Love of Your Life"
  • You are about to get married and want to co-create a fulfilling life partnership
  • You have a good relationship and want to make it great

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Ask Our Coaches:
Why Won't He Wear his Ring?

"... I need him to wear the ring because it's important to me."

This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.


Dear Coaches,

My husband and I have been married for just over 7 years - no children. During that time, we've always worn our wedding rings. In the past year, I've noticed he stopped wearing his.

He says it bothers him to wear jewelry. It's not that it doesn't fit or anything. I've asked him about this because I feel we should wear our rings as a symbol of our love and to show that we're married. His comment is that he just doesn't feel like wearing it and that he doesn't need to wear a ring to prove to anyone that he loves me. I've told him that I need him to wear the ring because it's important to me.

Nothing seems out of order in our relationship, but our intimate times have dropped off a bit. I just attribute that to the stresses of his job - he works for a Fortune 500 company that has been severely impacted by the economic downturn. He's working longer hours and all that sort of thing.

He travels a lot for his job - around the country and even overseas. He does go out with his guy friends to bars and such and I do feel insecure about that because he doesn't wear his ring.

I'm beginning to question his commitment. I feel very strongly about this. Why don't some married men wear wedding rings? Are they any less committed? Is there some unconscious reason they might be doing this? What can I do to resolve this? I really feel this is unacceptable, but he won't wear his ring. What do you think I should do?

Allison from Atlanta


Janice responds...

The truth is that no one can control anyone else's behavior, so even if you did convince your husband to put his wedding ring back on, you don't know if he'll still wear it when he's not in your direct sight. This is where trust, a basic building block of committed relationships, comes in.

You need to ask yourself if the trust the two of you developed over the course of your relationship is strong enough to withstand this change in your husband's preference for no longer wearing jewelry. No one else is in a better position to judge this than you. An outsider, of course, could be suspicious of this change, but no one else can tell you what it really means.

I suggest that you let him know the effect of his behavior on you. Communicate to him how it makes you feel when you see him without his wedding ring. Share with him what the ring means to you. Tell him your interpretation of this change as an alteration to the trust the two of you developed over the years.

What he does with this information will ultimately be up to him. Give him an opportunity to respond to your feelings with feelings of his own. Feelings are never wrong. It might end up that you both agree to maintain the trust without the ring, but this has to be acceptable to you. Know that you're more likely to get to an agreement by engaging in open communication rather than by giving ultimatums. Good luck!

Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D.  |  www.DoctorLoveCoach.com  |  212.874.1470


Rick and Jo respond ...

Our warning sensors are beeping loudly! On the surface, it all seems nice and logical. However, if your relationship was a source of joy, pride and inspiration for your husband, we're pretty sure he would wear his wedding ring like a Super Bowl ring! Perhaps your relationship needs a check-up.

A relationship is like a motor car. If you don't maintain the components and top up the coolant and oil, it will break down. If you don't keep it clean and shiny, it won't inspire you! Most couples expect a relationship to take care of itself and perhaps you've fallen into that same trap.

Unless you are regularly assessing your relationship together and re-creating the vision for your relationship, it will go stale and one or both of you will feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied.

In these times, more than ever, a strong relationship will sustain people as they navigate the stormy waters of recession.  Are you willing to take a deeply committed and passionate stand for your relationship with your husband?

We recommend that you work with a RCI coach to set up a "fierce conversation" with your husband to clean out the dirt and grime and dust and discarded candy wrappers, to overhaul the mechanicals, to clean and polish your relationship car, so that you can both be driving proudly and joyfully down the relationship road again.

Rick and Jo Harrison | www.SecretsToSoulmateSuccess.com  |  +61 3 5420 7366

Ann responds...

The alarm went off for me when I read, "nothing seems out of order in our relationship ... but ...." This tells me you know in your heart that something is definitely wrong, but you're just not sure what it is, or why. When something feels wrong, it usually is.

You indicated you "noticed" he stopped wearing his ring. I find it rather odd, after seven years of marriage, that he suddenly "doesn't feel like" wearing his ring. Further, I find it unusual and alarming that he decided to stop wearing his ring without discussing it with you first. The decision - to wear or not wear a ring - should not be made in a vacuum.

The real issue with your husband is not whether or not he "feels like" wearing his ring, or whether or not jewelry "bothers him." He is sending a message - to you and to others - that something is different. Something has changed. This is also reflected in the fact that your intimacy has decreased.

Whether it's the stress of his job, his travel, his long work hours -- whatever the reason -- you owe it to yourself, your marriage, and your future to dig into this and determine exactly what is going on. If he loves you unconditionally, as he professes to do, he should have no problem with seeking out some couples coaching to get to the heart of the matter.

Ann Robbins  |  www.LifeWorksMatchmaking.com  |  954.561.4498

Feature Article:
Conscious Relationships for Committed Couples

This month I interviewed Don Bailey, a RCI relationship coach, ordained minister, as well as a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor.  Don shares his view on conscious relationships.

Tara Kachaturoff
Editor


Tara: What does it mean to be "conscious" when it comes to a committed relationship?

Don: When I think of the term "conscious," in a general sense, I think of it, first, as a medical term meaning simply being awake -- able to comprehend what is happening around me. We are physically conscious most of the time as we go about life.

Sometimes that consciousness is interrupted if we are struck by a blow to the head, become physically sick to the point of losing consciousness, or when we are intentionally induced into a state of unconsciousness for a medical procedure.

Mental consciousness, as defined by Merriam-Webster is, "perceiving, apprehending or noticing with a degree of controlled thought or observation; capable of, or marked by thought, will, design or perception." Once again, it implies being mentally awake and tuned in to what is happening around you.

The slang term, "you don't have a clue," could imply a state of mental unconsciousness. We all find ourselves there, from time to time, and usually regret our actions during those times.

Extracting these thoughts and applying them to our relationships would simply mean that we are aware of what is happening with ourselves and our mate, as well as between us. Some additional terms from Merriam-Webster that are very applicable here would include, "likely to notice, consider or appraise; being concerned or interested, or marked by strong feelings or emotions."

In terms of ourselves, when we are conscious, we pay attention to our moods, our emotions and our attitude toward our mate. We sense whether our love is growing or declining. We sense whether our mate behaves in a way that indicates their contentment in the relationship. Finally, when we become conscious of an issue, we are also conscious of the fact that a repair is needed and we are willing to take action.

Tara: What are some of the qualities of a conscious partner in a relationship?

Don: A conscious partner would be aware at all times of what is going on in the relationship. Qualities which would allow him or her to do this might include being attentive, a good listener, perceptive, and caring and unselfish. Let's look at these in more depth as well as at how they interact with one another.

Attentive

Let's start with a person who is attentive. They are watching and observing how they are relating with their mate. They observe their own feelings and their mate's emotional state. They may actually be asking questions to gather information, such as, "How are you feeling about us?" or "Is something bothering you?"

A Good Listener

Obviously, being a good listener is necessary when you are simply observing and when questions are posed. A good listener uses all of their senses to understand the meaning put forth by his or her mate. You must be conscious of spoken word, tone of voice and body language. Also, seeking clarification through questioning helps prevent drawing the wrong conclusion. We should hear our mate out until they seem to be finished, and then ask, "Is there anything else?"

Perceptive

Being perceptive is a skill that goes beyond even the conscious communications skills and brings us to a higher state of understanding. It is the process of drawing conclusions about what has been said and heard. A perceptive mate will know you well enough to correctly predict your mood and behaviors. A perceptive mate is hard to deceive.

Caring and Unselfish

We could take the information gathered through being attentive, a good listener and perceptive and use it in a self-fulfilling way. However, if we are caring and unselfish, we will also use it to be conscious of our own actions. Those actions will be pointed at benefiting and growing the relationship rather than getting what we want.

Tara: How will being "conscious" improve the quality of a committed relationship?

Don: I so often find that the root of many relationship problems is centered on the lack of communication, bad assumptions, and undisclosed expectations. When we operate in a conscious state in the relationship, we will be tuned in to the feelings of our mate.

If we want to enjoy a quality, committed relationship, we do not leave room for assumptions. We are continually checking out the other person to see how they are feeling about the relationship and evaluating what we can do to make it better.

For a period of time, my wife and I would go to McDonald's on Thursdays after dinner, get a hot fudge sundae and ask, "How am I doing?" In other words, am I making you happy and meeting your expectations? It was a great process to open the door in a non-threatening environment and check one another out.

This served, first, to increase our awareness of any trouble spots which might have been developing. Secondly, it gave us an opportunity to take action to resolve the concern. This resulted in an increased feeling of safety in sharing our concern. The final outcome was increased trust.

Assumptions are another area to consider. Often, we assume what our mate is thinking and then react, often negatively, to that assumption. Rather than take that risk, why not simply ask what they are thinking and thus not offend them or put them on the defensive?

When we make our own assumptions, without checking them out, we communicate that what our mate feels or thinks doesn't really matter to us. Trust and the feeling of safety then plummet.

Finally, if we have a mate who truly cares and wants to make us happy, we make their job very difficult if we don't share our expectations. Hidden expectations leave them in the dark and give them little chance to feel they are being successful in the relationship.

Tara: What if one partner is more "conscious" about aspects of themselves and relationships than the other partner? How do they get "in sync" with one another?

Don: When this lack of balance in "consciousness" exists, it is the breeding ground for either a positive or a negative change in the relationship. If the more conscious partner finds fault in the other and accuses them of not being conscious, it simply sets up a battle of the defenses and can escalate into a very negative progression. This is especially true if one is resistant to communication about relationship issues.

My experience says that the use of your consciousness to regularly see positive, as well as negative aspects of the relationship, and then address them positively, works best to improve the relationship.

The projection of your love during these times will usually result in your mate realizing you are paying very close attention to the relationship and focused on making it better. My experience also says that this will typically cause them to realize that they, too, need to pay more attention.

Copyright 2009 by Don Bailey. All rights reserved in all media.

Don Bailey Don Bailey is the founder of LIFECare Coaching/Counseling.  He is an ordained minister, a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and RCI Licensed Relationship Coach.  His passion is to see new love relationships "begin right" and existing ones "reach their peak." www.lifecarecoach.net
941.266.1944



Bonus Article:
Elements of a Successful Relationship

Relationship Coaching Institute | David Steele, Founder


Most of us want a fulfilling lifelong partnership with someone to love and be loved by. Those that say they don't want this have usually been seriously wounded in their important relationships. They are protecting themselves, but underneath their defenses, they, too, long for love. Through my life and my work, I have come to my own understanding of relationships and how to make them work.

To have a lifelong and fulfilling relationship, both partners must be fully committed and take responsibility for themselves and the relationship. It requires effort to stay conscious and emotionally present. It takes skill to handle our insecurities without distancing our partner - initiating conflict, escaping in work, kids, friends, family, alcohol, TV, etc. - or driving them away by clinging too tight.

As we grow into adulthood, our capability to function effectively in a relationship is developed and challenged. When we first graduate college, we do not have all the skills needed to succeed in a job, just as when we leave our family of origin, we do not have all the skills necessary to succeed in a relationship. We must strive for self-awareness and learn the intimacy skills needed to sustain and grow a life partnership.

The 5 Elements of a Successful Relationship

#1 Being Fully Committed

Fulfilling relationships can be hard work (and mostly self-work). Intimacy can be scary, raising fears of suffocation, rejection, engulfment, and abandonment. Intimacy touches our upper limits of how happy and secure we can allow ourselves to be before fear of failure or success causes us to unconsciously sabotage ourselves.

A successful, fulfilling relationship starts with commitment. True intimacy, defined as being fully emotionally present and available for each other, is only possible in this context. Our fears and defenses create the temptation to cling or seek distance. Commitment means choosing to take responsibility, handling our fears, and working to be present and emotionally available in our relationship.

#2 Accepting Personal Responsibility

A child holds the world and the people around him or her responsible for meeting his or her needs. A child's "experience" (internal state -- mainly thoughts and feelings) and behavior are reactive to the world. Typically, a young child's reaction to being hungry is, "My stomach is empty and I need you to feed me now!" The responsibility is put on the parent for the unmet need, and a demand is made to meet it.

A child does not have the skills, resources, or personal power to take responsibility for his or her own needs, and then take care of them. A baby learns that crying will get his or her needs met; as language develops, speech is used to get needs met. How needs get met at these stages lays the groundwork for the future.

As a person matures, he or she learns to take responsibility for his or her own needs, and cooperates with others in getting mutual needs met by communicating effectively and being pro-active. This can be called "mutuality." People who do not practice mutuality continue to hold others responsible for their needs, often blaming others for their unmet needs and expecting others to take care of them. They often respond in anger when others do not see things their way.

There are no victims in the mature adult world; you are in charge of your life and are in your relationships by choice, nobody made the choice for you. Accept your partner as he or she is. Assume he or she cannot and will not change for you. Be responsible for identifying your needs and cooperating with your partner to get them met. Your partner is not in the relationship to take care of you; his or her role is to be responsive to your needs, and your role is to be responsive to his or hers.

Your partner cannot "make" you happy. You cannot make your partner "happy." But you join forces and make happiness possible for each other by being emotionally and physically responsive, and by each of you taking full responsibility for creating your own outcomes.

#3 Taking Care of Yourself

You can best take care of yourself by being responsible for getting your own needs met. In addition, you are not taking good care of your partner if you enable him or her to not take care of him or herself. You can practice mutuality by asking your partner to cooperate in meeting your needs; you can respond cooperatively when your partner asks you for the same thing.

Taking care of yourself means not mind-reading your partner or anticipating his or her needs, and not expecting your partner to mind-read or anticipate your needs.

Do not try making life "OK" for anyone but yourself, and do not expect anyone to make life "OK" for you. Realize only you can make yourself happy. In addition, taking care of yourself means making it a priority to maintain a balance in your life between your own needs, and the needs of your partner, children, employer, etc.

#4 Telling Your Truth

Communicate your issues, wants, needs, feelings, and boundaries honestly and directly. Do not avoid conflict to protect yourself or your partner's feelings. It must be OK, indeed it is necessary, for you to have issues, needs, boundaries, feelings, and you must tell the truth about them. Communicate your truth firmly, lovingly, pro-actively, and effectively. Communicate your truth responsibly so that it neither offends nor results in an unproductive conflict.

#5 Doing Your Work

A successful, fulfilling relationship is mostly self-work. Continuously strive to live consciously, push beyond your upper limit, refine your relationship skills, heal your emotional issues, control your knee-jerk reactions and projections, let go of your need to be in control, heal the past, let go of your parents, bring down defenses, handle fears, and increase your capacity for unconditional love.

Following the 5 Elements of a Successful Relationship -- being fully committed, taking personal responsibility, taking care of yourself, telling your truth, and doing your work -- will allow you to experience the love, happiness, joy, and quality of life that you deserve, and is worth your best effort!

Copyright 2009 by Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this material in part of in whole is prohibited except for licensed users.


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