Partners in Life Logo

August 2006

Couple holding hands

In this issue:

Free to our subscribers!

Conscious Relationship Resources

Conscious Relationship
Tele-Seminar Series

Conscious Relationship Podcast

Conscious Relationship Article Bank


David Steele
Founder and CEO,
Relationship Coaching Institute

Cindy Briolotta, President
Relationship Coaching Network

Linda Marshall - Photo
Linda Marshall
Director | Couples Programs

Tara Kachaturoff - Photo
Tara Alexandra Kachaturoff
Editor | Partners in Life Couples News

Copyright 2006 by
All rights reserved.

Now Available!

Conscious Dating: Finding the Love of Your Life in Today's World

Order a copy today for your single friends and family members at

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!

Ask Our Coaches:
How to resolve our power struggle?

My wife and I are in conflict about her working outside the home. She doesn't want to, but I want her to.

This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to 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 wife and I are in conflict about her working outside the home. She doesn't want to, but I want her to. When we've tried to resolve the problem, it winds up with my wife making promises she doesn't keep. What can we do?

I don't want to give up on my need for her to work, but I am amenable to a compromise.  I have suggested that she volunteer for 5 to 10 hours a week at a church or hospital. She is a nurse, but hates nursing.  The children are grown and still at home. She cooks and does laundry for our grown kids and doesn't want them to pay any board. She wants them to stay at home until they are married.

She needs to continue working to collect social security. We are both 54 years old. We could use the extra money because my pension was just frozen.  We've been through more than a year of therapy and the therapist never seems to want to address this issue. When I bring it up, he says "Oh, that's easy." Then he attacks my work values and moves on to something else.  What can we do?

Peter from Pennsylvania

Linda responds...

Most people think that being in a power struggle, like the one you and your wife are experiencing, is a bad thing.  Actually, it's a natural progression in a relationship.  The trick is not to become stuck there. 

While it isn't the most pleasant stage to be in, to move on to the next stage where you really begin to enjoy each other's company again you'll need to learn how to speak and listen to each other without being defensive.  Each of you will need to be open to the growth that's trying to happen in the midst of the struggle.

Research has shown that when arguments go on and on, a dream for one or both is not being realized.  I can hear a dream for you of a comfortable retirement with responsible children happily living on their own.  And, there may be more to it.  What I haven't yet heard, and I suspect you have not been able to hear, is your wife's dream.  If you could listen to her dream, with openness and curiosity you might be able to find an option that works for both of you.

For this to happen it will require both of you face some of your fears.  Making the changes needed to actualize our dreams often requires stretching in new ways and can be scary.  To let go of your defensive emotional protections and really be present to each other in a new way is not easy, yet the rewards are phenomenal. 

I recommend that you find yourself a good relationship coach who can be there with and for each of you should you choose to embark on this exciting adventure.

Linda Marshall, RCI Director of Couples Programs | | 937.684.2245

Lois responds...

What I've found with my clients is that when one partner imposes their needs and agendas onto their partner, regardless of whether it's valid or not, it's rarely effective. Even if our partner honors our wishes, it's seldom a sustainable change, but more like a "behavioral diet."

When it comes to dealing with resistance, either that of our own or our partner, I suggest shifting from criticism to curiosity. When we become interested in the reason for resistance and explore it more deeply, it's amazing what opens up.

Some questions for your consideration: 

What are some other options besides your wife working outside the home that can generate income? 

How can a plan for your children to pay room and board be framed as a gift you're giving them, to help them build appreciation for money and independence, while freeing you both up financially?

How might your wife pursue some of her interests and ideas and possibly use them to generate income?

You might also consider visiting a financial planner to work on developing a shared financial vision for the future that will inspire both of you.

  Lois Barth | | | 212.682.5225

Annette responds...

From your point of view, you have valid, logical reasons for wanting your wife to work outside the home.  Your wife, apparently, has concerns, fears and/or valid reasons that you do not yet fully understand. Considering her resistance, the stalemate, and the perpetual nature of this conflict, you need a process to help you cross over into each other's worlds.  You and your wife need to be on the same team, stretching to find answers that serve both of your needs in a win-win mindset. 

An empathic listening process, facilitated by a trained relationship coach or counselor, either by phone or in person, is a learned skill that can help create safety, validation (though not necessarily agreement), and a feeling of being deeply understood.  Issues like these are often triggered by something from the past.   Safety, validation of your concerns, and a feeling of being understood, are the motivators that facilitate win-win problem solving.  Also, consider working with a professional who validates and addresses your concerns, rather than attacks them.

Annette Carpien |

Feature Article:
Do You Talk With Your Ears or
Listen With Your Mouth?

By Ken Donaldson, M.A., L.M.H.C.

If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it.
  ~Earl Wilson

No, I am not trying to confuse you. Yes, I am trying to get your attention and have you ponder your communication style. Are you a listener or a talker? How do you listen and how do you talk?  With that being said, how's it all working for you?

  Communication is one of the primary cornerstones of relationship bliss and life success. If you're an effective communicator, you'll not only know how to get your point across, but you'll also know how to be an effective listener.

Two monologues do not make a dialogue.
  ~Jeff Daly

Which is more important, talking or listening?

Most people say listening is most important, partly because they know that's the "right" answer.  But, do you really know which is more important?

Neither is more important because they are both equally important. An unexpressed, effective listener will never get his or her needs met or goals accomplished. Likewise, a clearly expressed non-listener will undoubtedly damage intimate relationships and business contacts.

  You must be both an effective listener AND an expressed speaker to really have relationship satisfaction and life success.

Of those who say nothing, few are silent.
  ~Thomas Neiel

At one of my workshops, a client said,

"Say what you mean, mean what you say and never say it mean." 

This individual went on to say this was his foundation for being an effective communicator.  Do you follow this practice?

  Do you communicate exactly what you mean, or do you beat around the bush assuming your partner will "get the message"?

Talking is like playing on the harp; there is as much in laying the hands on the strings to stop their vibration as in twanging them to bring out their music.
  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Are you consistent in how you express yourself? Do you follow through?  Do you walk your talk? Do you back down or change your mind if you think you might run into some opposition or when you encounter the dreaded rejection from your partner?

The older I grow the more I listen to people who don't talk much.
  ~Germain G. Glien

Do you deliver your message watching your partner to sense their reactivity level, caring about their feelings and yet saying exactly what needs to be said?

In other words, do you know how to be assertive? Do you know how to express yourself completely without stepping on your partner's toes?

To speak and to speak well are two things.  A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.
  ~Ben Jonson

When it comes to listening, do you know how to create rapport, validate feelings and opinions, and offer empathetic responses, all without feeling like you are agreeing with or enabling your partner?

Do you know how to be a powerful listener? Do you know how to direct the conversation through your listening abilities? Or, do you think being a good listener is all about just being quiet?

Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness.
 ~Margaret Millar

To be a truly effective communicator, you must talk with your ears and listen with your mouth. To be a world-class communicator, you must focus more on the other person than on yourself

The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be.
  ~Edgar Allan Poe

You have two eyes and two ears and only one mouth. That means there is a 4:1 ratio of active listening to speaking.  Do you live in a 4:1 ratio world?

By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach.
  ~Winston Churchill

These are the basics of communication.  Don't leave home without them!

Ken Donaldson, M.A., L.M.H.C. | | | (727) 394-7325

Bonus Article:
The Jesting Fox:
When Playfulness Can be Hurtful

by Sandra Rohr

The little foxes are ruining the vineyards. Catch them, for the grapes are all in blossom.
~Song of Solomon 2:15

Often, when we evaluate our own contribution to our relationship, we focus on the big things.  We think we must be a good husband, wife, or partner because we don't cheat, gamble, run around, lie, resort to physical violence (choose one or more!), and so we congratulate ourselves. 

I would like to suggest, however, that there are also "the little foxes" that seem harmless, even cute, which can do major damage to our relationships.  Foxes are members of the dog family, which we think of as being carnivorous animals.  But, foxes also eat vegetable matter, especially fruit.  Imagine the damage to a vineyard that a litter of little fruit-loving foxes might do!

You probably know a couple like this- they're always the life of the party, always the center of laughter.  They're such fun.  We've all heard stories like "And, then do you know what Mary did?  She has this bad habit of..."  What Mary has done gets a laugh, especially when Bill's delivery is wonderfully humorous, as she giggles and rolls her eyes.

Sometimes, Mary has a brilliant, funny comeback with which she gets in her jab at Bill, and the comedy is on.  If you asked them about this playful banter, wanting to be good sports, they would respond with-

"We don't mean it.  We're only teasing!" 

However, over time, the repeated litany of our shortcomings gets old, and on the day when our self-esteem is in need of a boost, rather than a put-down, we feel hurt.  We may or may not say anything.  We may quickly bury the hurt so that we're barely aware of having experienced it.  After all, what's one tiny nip from one tiny fox? 

Eventually, however, we're bleeding inside from multiple tiny bites.  The hurt is deep and it came from one who is supposed to be our champion and support.  This "harmless" teasing is a fox that has sharp teeth indeed.  The Catch-22 is that if we speak up to complain, we're perceived as being a poor sport.

One definition of "fox" when used as a verb is to baffle or to confuse.  That definition is appropriate here.  At the start our relationship makes us feel so good, but over time the magic goes away. In a healthy, normal relationship, the excited intensity with which we started out mellows to something warm and caring. 

When the relationship has cooled from its white-hot beginnings but doesn't feel warm and caring anymore we become baffled or confused as to just what went wrong.  We're both still good people; we're still committed to the relationship, but somehow, there's a shadow over us, a wall between us, and we can't figure it out.

A good place to start is to ask ourselves if our partner has fallen into this pattern of "teasing" with nips of pointed little fox teeth.  It's often easy to see this fault in our partner, particularly when we are smarting from a hurt.  The next step is to ask ourselves if we might have fallen into that same pattern, contributing to our partner's pain. 

A wise man once said that his definition of love is to find someone to adore, and then to actively adore that person often, out loud, verbally, physically, in every way possible.  Imagine the healing and the validation that would come from hearing how wonderful we are, how beautiful/handsome, how strong, how delicious, how sweet, or how supporting we are.  Now imagine the healing and validation your partner would feel from the same treatment. 

Ask yourself just what harvest you want from the vineyard of your relationship.  Do you want tiny, spoiled, sour grapes, or juicy, delicious, sweet fruit that delights and nourishes both you and your partner? 

It's up to you.  You can make the choice to adore your partner and keep those little foxes out of your vineyard.

Sandra Rohr |

| 714.774.8540

Words of Wisdom

If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now.
~Marcus Aurelius

If you open your heart, love opens your mind.   

~Charles John Quarto


Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon them and to let them know that you trust them.

~Booker T. Washington

Free Conscious Relationship Resources

Conscious Relationship Resources

Conscious Relationship
Tele-Seminar Series

September 14: Conscious Mating

October 12: The Journey from I to We

November 9: Reptiles in Love

Conscious Relationship Podcast

Conscious Relationship Article Bank

For More Information, is a resource for couples offered by Relationship Coaching Institute, a worldwide relationship coaching organization dedicated to helping singles 'find the love of your life AND the life that you love'; to helping new couples 'make a wise choice in a life partner'; and to helping any couple 'fine tune and keep their relationship healthy and fulfilling.'

Visit our web site at for Free:

  • How to Be Partners for Life e-Program for Couples
  • Communication Map™ On-Line Communication Training
  • Relationship Knowledge Bank
  • And much more!

  • Want to make sure you are making a wise choice in a life partner?
  • Want to make sure your relationship stays healthy?
  • What to give your relationship a fine-tuning?

Get a Relationship Coach!
Check out our coaches at:

NEW RELATIONSHIP? Congratulations in moving forward in your life partner quest! WHAT NOW?

for cutting-edge information and resources for couples.

You will be glad you did!
***Please share this with new couples that you care about.

Links to Us


Linda Marshall, M.Div. | Director of Couples Programs

Tara Kachaturoff | Editor, Couples News

Visit our website for couples at and become a member for free!

Relationship Coaching Institute
free introductory training!

Members of Relationship Coaching Network
free resources for singles and couples

To subscribe to this newsletter

Please refer singles you care about to
free monthly tele-seminars!

Copyright 2006 by All rights reserved. Feel free to share this with others as long as our contact information and authorship is included.