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Copyright 2006 by PartnersInLife.org
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This newsletter is designed especially for YOU if:
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to Linda@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.
I have been in a 3-year relationship. My boyfriend proposed six months after we started dating. Everything has come to a halt. We go out every weekend, but there are no plans for a wedding date, no more talk or plans for marriage.
Nan responds ...
You say there’s no more talk or plans for marriage. However, you’ve raised the subject, he’s taken a firm position, and you have accomodated his position. Have your made yourself clear how serious this is to you?
If he understands how important this is to you and refuses to negotiate knowing that he’s jeopardizing the relationship, then what’s the benefit to you in waiting around? If he’s ignoring your point of view, your needs, and your input at this point in the relationship, what will it be like if, and when, he ever gets around to marrying you? On the other hand, if he understands the importance of this issue to you and your future together, and agrees to negotiate plans, then the two of you have a possible future together.
Nan Einarson | Life and Relationship Coach
Michael responds …
Set aside some time and sit together to figure out where you want to be in the future. For example, start with ten years from today. How will your life look? Where will you live? What will you be doing? Some people start farther out, and some closer, but, in my experience, 10 years is a nice round figure that's easy to visualize. Once you have envisioned 10 years, back it up to 5 years, then 2 years, and so on. Eventually you back into the ultimate question: What can we do today to get to the 10-year vision?
As you work though this process, you'll begin to see when each of you feel that you should be married. This simple, yet powerful exercise will give you an opportunity to start to discuss things and to come to some sort of resolution.
Michael Murray, C.Ht | Profound Connections
Sandy responds …
If you haven’t yet worked through your own requirements, needs, and wants, it’s time to do so to determine what you must have in order to live a fulfilled life. If you’re satisfied having a dating relationship, face the situation and recognize that he doesn’t have the same priorities you do—and just accept that. If, on the other hand, you know you need the intimacy of marriage and family, it’s time to have a serious talk with your fiancé. It’s interesting to me that you referred to your fiancé as “boyfriend.” I wonder if that is telling in itself.
In a non-confrontational manner, let him know your top priority is marriage, and if he’s not interested in marriage, then you must move on in order to satisfy your own needs. However, you must be willing to move on; otherwise, you are bluffing, and he will know that, and he will not take you seriously. Give him a short deadline, and when that deadline comes, if the two of you are not seriously making plans for a wedding, you know what you must do.
His response to your conversation should tell you much about what type of husband he would make. If he takes your concerns seriously and shows that your happiness is paramount, then together you stand a good chance of making the difficult adjustments of marriage. If, on the other hand, he blows you off and shows little concern for your well-being, you must ask yourself if he’s really someone with whom you would like to spend the rest of your life.
Ken responds …
In light of this, make it clear to your boyfriend that you want to be married. Ask for what you want! Then talk honestly with him as to whether marriage is really part of his life vision. If the two of you have different goals, then it is time for you to move on. Any relationship that is in contrast to your values and your vision is highly unlikely to last.
Your boyfriend proposed 2 1/2 years ago, but then has delayed getting married. He says you cannot afford to get married, but it sounds like you interpret that as an excuse. Whatever his motivation, it is important for you to clarify and understand it. Ask him to explain further, then listen carefully to his response.
Peter responds …
Since you didn’t disclose the underlying details as to why the issue of marriage came to a halt, I can only ask why both of you have permitted the "halt" to continue. Do you feel you are the "chooser" or the "chosen" -- that is, are you being proactive or passive in making a "go-no go" decision in this relationship?
What's keeping you invested after three years and going out on weekends together? What do you want and how long will you keep on maintaining a relationship that is not giving you what you want? I'm also curious about the proposal. Did you accept? If so, do your family, friends and community know you're engaged and, if so, what are their feelings about the current state of your relationship? Do they sense something isn’t right?
Are you committed in attitude but not in fact? Is he? Are you engaged in fact, but not in attitude? Consider the difference. And, if you ask your partner what it would take to be able "to afford to get married" what would he say? Is it about money, or career, or is it about deeper issues such as the fear of commitment? This is where you both need to do some serious checking in with your truths about the relationship and sharing them with each other. A neutral third party such as a relationship coach might be useful here.
In some way, it seems you are giving away your power to your partner whom you're allowing to call the shots. I hear a "me" and a "he," and my question is- where's the “we?” Not being able to afford to get married sounds more like an excuse than a reason.
My suggestion is to sit down and make your requirements and needs clear. Then it's up to you and your partner to consciously choose to go forward or break off the relationship. It's obvious that inertia is not serving you. I wish you good fortune as you take your next steps.
Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. | SpiritHeart: Integrated Coaching
By Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT
Let's take a look at some of the signs of a relationship rut, what not to do when you find yourself in one, and then what you can do to get out and keep the spark alive.
Signs of Relationship Ruts
One sure sign of a relationship rut is if the following conversation sounds familiar to you:
"What do want to do tonight?"
ETC - ETC - ETC - yuck!
Other signs of relationship ruts include:
What Not To Do
We all try to solve the problem of relationship ruts in our own way. Here are some solutions I've seen couples try that are worth avoiding:
What To Do
Here are some suggestions to help break you out of a relationship rut:
Keeping love alive can be one of the more difficult tasks in any relationship. Avoiding and/or getting out of relationships ruts can go a long way in keeping the spark alive.
Partners in Life is a six-session program with eighteen exercises. Some of the benefits you will receive from Partners in Life Coaching include:
Partners in Life was developed by David Steele, founder and CEO of the Relationship Coaching Institute. He is the author of the newly released book, Conscious Dating: Finding the Love of Your Life in Today’s World.
PartnersinLife.org, 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.'
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What to give your relationship a fine-tuning?
NEW RELATIONSHIP? Congratulations in moving forward in your life partner quest! WHAT NOW?
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Linda Marshall, M.Div. | Director of Couples Programs Linda@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
Tara Kachaturoff | Editor, PartnersInLife.org Couples News Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
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