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April 2008

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In this issue:

F`ree 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

Frankie Doiron, President
Relationship Coaching Network

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

Copyright 2008 by All rights reserved.

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

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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

Conscious Mating
Audio Programs

Conscious Mating Audio Programs

When dating someone do you ever wonder-
"Is this the right relationship for me?"

Our Conscious Mating Audio Programs provide detailed, comprehensive strategies for dating and mating, addressing all the relationship and decision-making challenges that arise when you're in the pre-commitment stage of a relationship.

These audio programs are recorded from our live tele-seminars and include the MP3 audio file for playing on your computer, MP3 player (iPod or other), or burning onto a CD, AND a complete PDF transcript for following along and making notes.

Program #1- Is This the Right Relationship for Me? Introduction to the Pre-commitment Stage

Program #2- Am I Ready to Be a Couple?

Program #3- Finding Lasting Love by Experiencing Your Experience

Program #4- Should We Live Together?

Program #5- Dealing With Our Baggage

Program #6- Are We Compatible?

Program #7- Sharing Our Vision

Program #8- Deciding "Is This The One?"

Program #9- When We Must Say Goodbye

Check them out at

Ask Our Coaches:
 Engagements: Are They a Preview of What's to Come?

" I really didn't see these things in our first year together. Is this a preview of our upcoming life together as a married couple?"

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,

I love my fiancée dearly. She's truly the love of my life, but I have this small doubt in the back of my mind. I'm 32 and an attorney in a fairly large practice. She's 27 and also an attorney. Everything was fine until we got engaged.

Ever since the engagement, she's started acting more demanding. She's becomes argumentative over wedding plans and seems to be nitpicking me about everything. Her total focus is on this one day. It's driving me insane. I don't say that to her, but I keep trying to get her to focus on just every day things -- like the calm life we were experiencing before the engagement. We've been engaged 4 months and we're scheduled to get married a year from now.

Everything seemed more enjoyable before the engagement. We used to enjoy time together, visit our families, travel. Now, none of this is happening. Frankly, I'm concerned about the behavior I'm witnessing in her. I really didn't see these things in our first year together. Is this something I should be concerned with? Is this a preview of our upcoming life together as a married couple? I'm not sure what to do and I'm not sure what to think? Is this normal or should I be rethinking this whole thing? I need some advice -- and fast.

David in Dayton

Ron responds ...

I do indeed believe this is worthy of concern. Often, people don't demonstrate their true way of being until some event in their life puts a bit of pressure on them. While planning a wedding can be a very challenging task, you are most likely seeing a part of her personality that is very real and will be present throughout your marriage.

Your words make me think that she possibly pressured you into an early engagement. Now would be an ideal time to express your true feelings to her. If you can't do that now, then doing it in the future will become increasingly difficult. Do you want to be in a marriage where you can't openly discuss issues that affect both of you and the relationship?

The manner that you handle situations like this at the beginning of a relationship will set a precedent for the remainder of the relationship. There is no simple answer to this issue. I would suggest you seek the assistance of a relationship coach to gain more clarity.

Ron Maddox | | 214.528.5426

Ann responds ...

While an engagement should be a time of joy, anticipation, planning for your life together, too often the stress of planning the perfect wedding puts stress on the relationship. Even the best relationships can be tested during this time. I usually advise, "Don't let the marriage get lost in the wedding."

You're both attorneys, which means very busy! Adding wedding planning to your plate has probably caused overload. Since you're missing the things you used to do prior to the engagement, have you tried to find the time to put these things back into your lives? Can you perhaps agree to only work on wedding planning one or two days a week, and when you're together on other days, not talk about the wedding plans, but instead, put energy into recapturing the relationship? Could you agree to reserve every weekend, or at least two weekends a month, just for the two of you?

If you carve out together time, take focus off the wedding and put it back on the relationship, and you still find your fiancé is behaving in a way that is causing you to second guess the marriage, you may want to consider pre-marital coaching to ensure you're making the right decision.

Ann Robbins | | 954.561.4498

Maureen responds ...

You say that your fiancée is the love of your life and it is since the engagement that things have changed. Does your fiancée have a picture or dream surrounding her wedding that she may not have shared with you? A dream she has created without any outside input until now?

This seems a great time for some open and honest communication around the dreams you will create and live out as a couple. It can be a great time to find out how you will relate as a couple when a struggle for power comes into play. Can you relate to your fiancée in non-judgmental terms around the behavior you are witnessing and how it feels to you?

Consider having a conversation about how the two of you want to experience the year leading up to your wedding so you can create your vision of what that will look like. From this kind of conversation you may gather important information about the relationship that you and your fiancée want to be living.

Maureen Staiano | | 908.268.9665

Annette responds ...

David, your concerns reveal valid issues that need to be addressed immediately. If engagement is about taking a decisive step toward building a satisfying and committed future life together, neither of you seem to be on that train. In your eyes, your fiancé seems to be only focused on the next train stop, the wedding, not your journey and life together, while you sound like you are being dragged along to the train station; you'd rather be back in the halcyon days of just dating.

Neither of you seems to feel heard or understood, nor getting your needs met. Both healthy and unhealthy patterns that show up now are most likely to persevere and become more entrenched in marriage. Are these patterns building strength and deepening your connection, or having the reverse effect?

Are you both on the same page regarding your hopes, dreams, values and vision of your life together, beyond the wedding? Delaying your wedding to work with a relationship coach could be enormously beneficial in helping you find out if you both can be on the same page about your life together, and to build healthy communication and relationship skills that will be needed for the wedding and for all the challenges that married life brings. With a 50% divorce rate, couples coaching could help you be in the 50% that succeeds.

Annette Carpien | | 610.428.2755

Feature Article:
Engagements: What You Need to Know

Interview with RCI Coach Ann Robbins

What's the purpose of an engagement? How long should you be engaged? What are some of the important issues to consider? Ann Robbins reveals the answers to these questions along with great advice in this month's interview.

Tara Kachaturoff

Tara: What is the purpose of an engagement?

Ann Robbins: The engagement ritual is believed to have originated in the churches, where it was required that a couple announce their intention to marry. The church would make a formal announcement to the congregation at each service for a period of time, and provided no one came forward with a reason why the couple could not be united in marriage, they were allowed to marry and their union was blessed by the church.

It is also believed engagements allowed the families time to gather property for the new couple, and gave the bride's parents time to put together a dowry, offering financial incentives to the groom-to-be.

Today's engagements have evolved, at least in the Western world, into a time to plan the wedding, look at building a life together, and to begin functioning in many ways as one. The engagement is a statement to the world, by the couple, of their commitment and love and signifies their intention to marry, thus creating a family. This does not necessarily imply children -- the family begins when the couple is wed.

Tara: What's the best advice you can give to someone regarding the engagement period? That is, a great deal of energy and attention is focused on a couple of days rather than using the time to evaluate the quality of the relationship.

Ann Robbins: My advice, always, is to not let the marriage get lost in the wedding. Wedding planning is stressful. Many couples with solid relationships don't fare well during the engagement due to the stress of managing the wedding details, honeymoon planning, financial strains, searching for a new home, and other demanding tasks. Often they have full time jobs as well as commitments to family, friends ... and, oh yes, let's not forget, to each other.

Engaged couples need to be sure they plan time together to do the things they enjoyed doing prior to the engagement. If the wedding planning becomes all-consuming, they should plan at least one day per week when they do an enjoyable activity together and do not talk about the wedding!

Tara: Is there a recommended length of time someone should plan to be engaged before marrying?

Ann Robbins: Short engagements (six months or less) seem to be a good option. This reduces prolonged stress, puts the end in sight and usually allows enough time to get things planned. Anything longer than a year is too long, unless there is an unusual circumstance that requires waiting such as career, school, or military considerations.

Tara: How do you know when you're ready for the engagement phase of a relationship?

Ann Robbins: Prior to moving from dating to engagement, it is important both of you examine, identify, clarify and understand your relationship requirements. These are the things that, if missing, would cause you to walk away from a relationship. Relationship requirements are not the "nice to haves". They are the non-negotiables; the deal breakers. Be honest with yourself and each other. After all, you're looking at a potential life partner.

I've always believed dating is similar to the job interview. What you see is what you get -- and that's as good as it gets. To hope the job candidate shows up for the first day of work a different person is simply not realistic! So don't rationalize, ignore, or hope something you're uncomfortable with will go away. You can be sure engagement and marriage will only magnify these things.

Pay attention to what your family and friends say, as well. Do they agree with your choice in a partner? This should not be the determining factor, but it is something to listen to. Once you are clear on your relationship requirements, closely examine the relationship and determine if they are being met.

If you're sure your requirements are met, that you're not rationalizing or talking yourself into anything, or worse, choosing to ignore a warning sign, then you've probably got a good foundation from which to move forward toward engagement and ultimately, marriage.

Tara: What are some red flags that could occur during the engagement that might signal it may not be a good idea to move forward with marriage?

Ann Robbins: People generally exhibit two types of behavior -- their usual behavior and their stress behavior. These behaviors can be similar or polar opposites! Often, the dating and pre-commitment phase of a relationship is filled with "best foot forward" and "usual" behavior.

The engagement is often the first time the couple observes each other under stress, often for a sustained period of time. It is also often the first time the couple makes joint decisions that affect their future -- such as financial or lifestyle decisions.

It is during this time of stress and joint decision making that some couples observe behavior in their partner that is troubling or upsetting. For example, one might become more dominant and take charge while the other might retreat or become disinterested in the planning. This is a good opportunity to see how you can work together to make joint decisions, plan together, and support one another.

If you notice a dramatic or unacceptable shift in your partner's behavior, it's time to have serious discussion, look at reasons why this is occurring, and work toward resolution.

Another potential area to notice is how the two families interact. Pay close attention to how your partner's or your own parents influence decision making or interaction between the two of you. For example, if your future mother in law is overstepping her bounds, how does your partner react?

It is important the two of you are united as one, support each other, and manage family interactions. You can be sure this will set the stage for family relationships going forward.

Copyright © 2008 by Ann Robbins. All rights reserved in all media.

Ann Robbins
Ann Robbins
is founder and president of LifeWorks Matchmaking, a professional matchmaking and relationship coaching firm. She is a Certified Professional Matchmaker, a member of the Professional Matchmaking Network through the Matchmaking Institute of New York and a professional Relationship Coach through the Relationship Coaching Institute. 954.561.4498

Bonus Article:
The Power of Appreciation

By Shirley Vollett

A Personal Story

I was recently reminded of the power of appreciation when my husband returned (exhausted) from a business trip. After a hot shower to unwind, he was just settling into bed with a good book, when I reminded him that he'd left his wet towel on the bathroom floor, AGAIN.

Need I say this was not well received?

After an increasingly heated exchange, it became clear to me that we were both suffering from a lack of appreciation. After managing the home front in his absence, I felt unappreciated for all the invisible housework and pick-up I do for others. After a challenging trip away, he felt unappreciated for the work he does to provide for the family.

Being the better rested one that evening, I was able to take a step back and realize that my timing was not the best! Looking at the big picture, I decided that the wet towel was not where I wanted to put my focus.

I acknowledged this to my husband and then took a moment to express my appreciation to him, for his commitment and hard work in support of our family. By expressing my appreciation, our connection was re-established and the tone of our conversation shifted positively. I experienced how appreciation can "bounce back" energetically to the one who gives it

The Benefits of Appreciation

We have all experienced the warm glow that comes from receiving appreciation. When we are appreciated by another we feel valued, known and nourished in a very profound way.

However, similar to physical exercise, we can get out-of-shape and out-of-practice when it comes to expressing appreciation. We may get lazy about generating positive energy, and start to want others to appreciate us FIRST.

Here are 4 reasons why it's worth keeping your "appreciation muscle" in good condition:

1) Appreciation benefits the giver.

Expressing appreciation is an antidote to taking our loved ones for granted. Giving appreciation can help us re-experience just how much we value and love the people in our lives. When sincerely given, appreciation isn't a "concept". It is an "experience" of another's greatness. When we express our appreciation for the qualities of another person, those qualities are highlighted and we enjoy and love that person in a more tangible way.

2) Appreciation benefits the receiver.

Like shining a spotlight on an object, appreciation highlights something wonderful about that person and they shine even more brightly for having been noticed and seen. When we give appreciation, we are giving another food for their soul. With nourishment, they will continue to grow and flourish. Nowhere is this more evident than when we affirm the strengths and gifts of children. However it applies to adults too. Our words of affirmation empower others to live their light fully. Isn't that what we want for others, especially our loved ones?

3) Appreciation is contagious and attractive.

Have you ever noticed that when someone pays you a compliment, you naturally want to give a compliment back to them? One appreciation leads to another and before long you are both feeling extremely grateful for your lives and each other. When appreciations are flowing, it becomes a regular love fest! This positive energy cannot help but flow out to others and to attract more to itself. What you focus on GROWS.

4) Appreciation can powerfully shift your perspective.

Appreciating others can shift our perspective from one of lack, to one of abundance. When we focus on what we are receiving, we are much less likely to see ourselves as a victim or as someone lacking in love. We begin to notice all the gifts we receive from others. This results in an expanded experience of gratitude and fulfillment in our relationships and our lives.

When you focus on appreciating others, you will find that you notice more of the positive's in your relationships. When you appreciate the good in others and in your life, it will grow and attract more of the good to you.

Copyright © 2007 by Shirley Vollett. All rights reserved in all media.

Shirley Vollett is a Life and Relationship Coach who delights in working with pro-active individuals who want to make positive changes in their lives, their work/business or their relationships.

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.'

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