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March 2008

Couple holding hands

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.

Now Available!

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

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A One-Page Communication System for All Relationships!

Practical, effective, and affordable conflict resolution tool for personal and professional relationships

Conscious Dating Success
Story of the Year Contest

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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:
 I Love Her, but I Want to Leave Her

"I've been married to a wonderful woman for 25 years.... I'm feeling restless.... Can you love someone and still want to leave them?"

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've been married to a wonderful woman for 25 years. We had children early on so they've all moved out and are involved with their own lives. We have a close family and we all get along and spend time together at holidays and other times.

I love my wife very much, but there's something that's been pulling me away for the past two years. Things move along well from day to day, we're financially secure and we both have careers we enjoy. We spend time with our friends, enjoy nice vacations together, and so on. Even so, I want to leave my wife.

I'm not having an affair, I'm not interested in having one, and I don't have any plans to find a new relationship. I just want to move on. I've been feeling this sense that there's something more I need to do or see or be - not sure what - that there's something I need to go out and find.

I'm feeling restless. I feel the need to have time to myself, alone. I don't know why this is happening. How can you love someone and still want to leave them? Why do you think I'm feeling this way? How can I find a solution?

Michael from Mountain View

Randy responds ...

Your condition is quite common. I call it unrest. As lifespans get longer and health holds up, we find ourselves wondering if there's more to life. It will be happening more and more in the future -- you are just the start of a wave. While some may call what you're going through a mid-life crisis, I call it the beginning of enlightened life.

The trick in long-term unions is to find a balance of autonomy and closeness. We all have a need for both in our lives, but relationships often stifle the autonomy part.

What I recommend is that you determine, realistically, whether the additional searching you need to do requires leaving your wife. This will depend on the true magnetic attraction you have for each other and on your respective abilities to negotiate out-of-the-box solutions.

Abrupt and unilateral decisions usually are not the best ones. While leaving may be right for you after all is said and done, and after you determine what leaving means, there may be a myriad of in-between solutions that you could explore first that could maximize your overall satisfaction.

Randy Hurlburt | | 858. 455.0799

Barb responds ...

Michael, your question gets to the heart of what many couples struggle with at various times in their lives together -- balancing the needs of both individuals and the relationship. Also, it's pretty common for couples to struggle with this concern after the children grow up and leave, particularly if one or both partners had children early in their adult lives.

I can't begin to tell you what to do, but I am quite certain leaving a marriage of 25 years is probably a huge decision with any number of ramifications you will want to thoughtfully consider before making any changes. However, I understand that being in a marriage that seems to no longer fit is a big issue, too.

Have you shared your concerns with your wife? I certainly would get the help of a coach or therapist to help you process this, including helping you decide on a plan BEFORE you decide to DO anything. I would especially advise that you do so if your wife has no idea that you are thinking about such a change.

It could very well be that you can make some changes for the me in your relationship and still preserve the relationship. I wish you well in moving forward with integrity!

Barb Elgin | | 866.396.2272

Ron responds ...

No one can know the answer to this question but you. Since you have been struggling with this for two years, it seems obvious that you may not be able to resolve this on your own. Part of why you may be struggling so much is that you have kept it to yourself. It probably doesn't feel good to you knowing that you are keeping your wife in the dark about your feelings.

At some point, it may be appropriate to share your feelings with your wife. If the two of you are as close as you say, then this is surely something that you would want to talk about openly. I suggest that you seek the help of a relationship coach that you feel you can trust.

A coach can help you explore these feelings and thoughts in depth. Once your heart and head come into alignment, you will have clarity on what is the right answer for you. You and your wife have 25 years of history together. Honor who you are by being honest with yourself and honor your wife by being authentic in your communication with her.

Ron Maddox | | 214.528.5426

Patricia responds ...

Good that you asked this question before you took irreversible action! You have a wife you love and that is priceless. You seem to be experiencing something that is surprisingly common for people over 40.

We make jokes about it - calling it a mid-life crisis - but it's serious and very real. That's when many of us start longing for deeper meaning. It seems to be a natural part of maturing. The longing is inside you and can't be satisfied by changing things outside you. Ending your marriage likely wouldn't help though it would hurt you both.

It will take time to find what you are seeking. Here are some questions to ponder. How could you create alone time for yourself without leaving your wife? Maybe regular retreats or private time each day. What new thing might you love to try? Now's the time.

What could you and your wife do together that you have never done before? Are your values and your wife's values still aligned? Consider working with a coach to help you answer these and identify new goals to make your heart sing again. All the riches of life's second half lie before you. Good luck!

Patricia Drury, CPCC, EGM | | 952.829.9233

Feature Article:
10 Ways to Keep Your Spark Alive!

by Dr. Jackie Black

If you are in the majority of contemporary committed couples, I'll bet, if you thought about it for a moment, you would discover that you spend more time each week watching television or commuting to work than you do with your honey!

In our demanding world filled with multiple priorities, responsibilities and distractions, everything and everyone else seems to be more important than attending to our most intimate and special relationship.

I think you'd agree that to keep that spark alive, you and your beloved must spend quality, eyeball-to-eyeball time together.

Do you and your sweetheart carve out quality alone-time every week? Do you both take responsibility for it, or does the task fall to one or the other of you? Does one or both of you allow "real" interruptions to get in the way or spoil your planned time together?

Here are 10 simple suggestions to get your own personal creativity going:

1. Meet once a week to look at your schedules and set aside time for each other.

2. At least once a week plan a Date Night. Once a month plan a Date Day. That's right -- a whole day from morning to evening! Once each quarter, plan a weekend getaway. Once each year, plan a week away together.

3. Mark your planned time in your calendar, just like a dentist appointment or an appointment with a client. Write it in ink! Mark out a block of time.

4. Take turns planning your dates each week.

5. One week you might send the kids to Grandma's house or to a neighbor's, stay in, order a pizza and rent a movie. The next week you might get a sitter and go out on the town.

6. Do the grocery shopping and buy a bouquet of flowers for your partner.

7. Write a love note and leave it for your partner to find.

8. Put the kids to bed and instead of watching TV, doing laundry or other chores, go to bed early and share massages, talk or cuddle.

9. Turn off the TV, turn on the stereo and have a talk.

10. Kiss your spouse Good Morning and Good Night every day. Just say, "I love you."

Think back to when you first started dating. What did you do? What things did you both enjoy that you no longer make time to do? Why did you fall in love?

Let your creative juices flow! Let your imagination go wild! Anything goes. This is the most important person in your life. Rejoice! Celebrate yourself and each other. Embrace the moment and the gift of your love.

Only You can make it happen!

Copyright © 1999-2008 by Dr. Jackie Black . All rights reserved in all media.

Dr. Jackie Black
is an internationally recognized relationship expert, educator and coach. Her goal is to inspire and support single men, single women and couples through the challenges and pitfalls of dating, loving and building lasting, committed relationships in today's fast-paced world. | 1.866.419.5928

Bonus Article:
The Most Important Relationship Skill
is Not Communication

By David Steele, Founder, Relationship Coaching Institute

The single most important relationship skill is not communication - it's taking ownership. Successful relationships require taking ownership of your "experience."

What is Your "Experience?"

Your "experience" is what happens inside your body and your mind in response to events. It is composed of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Your experience is involuntary, it just "happens." It's neither good or bad or right or wrong. Your experience is always OK and valid.

Your Thoughts

We spend a lot of time in our head listening to our thoughts. Sometimes thoughts just pop into our consciousness automatically, and sometimes we direct our thoughts with intentionality to solve a problem, express ourselves, make a decision, etc.

And some of our thoughts are judgments. A "judgment" is making a meaning or interpretation in response to an event (right, wrong, good, bad, theory, explanation, reasoning, logic, etc).

Facts Vs Judgments

You and a friend go for a walk. You say "It's a beautiful day." Your friend responds "No, it sucks."

Your reaction is to be surprised. You can't imagine how anyone could experience such a warm, sunny day with the response of "It sucks." Your impulse might be to argue with them, "Are you kidding? Look at that clear blue sky. It's a gorgeous day!"

This is a very small example of a huge dynamic that creates more relationship conflict than anything else you can imagine. So let's take a look at this. You observe the following facts:

The sky is blue. The temperature is 76 degrees. You are walking in a park.

Facts are typically measurable events and can be observed through a video camera. If you poll 100 people about a fact, such as "Is the sky blue?" you will typically receive almost unanimous agreement that it is blue. If you poll 100 people and ask "Is the sky pretty?" you are asking for an opinion or judgment and will typically get less than 100% agreement.

Your experience of the day is positive. You interpret the blue sky as "beautiful," the temperature as "perfect" and "comfortable," and your body "feels good" to get exercise by walking. These are meanings you've created from your experience of the facts or events.

Your friend's experience is negative. We don't know why yet, but there are many reasons why they might judge the day to "suck."

You have a Choice

In the above example, you have a critically important choice to make in your response to your difference of opinion about the day:

Option 1: Focus on the difference (e.g. "Are you crazy? Look at that blue sky and tell me it's not a beautiful day!")

Option 2: Focus on curiosity, compassion (e.g. "What's going on for you?")

The unconscious knee-jerk response is often to focus on the difference in our experiences and judgments. This choice discounts and argues with any point of view that doesn't mirror ours and leads to conflict.

It requires a conscious choice to accept differences and not impose our own experience and judgments on others -- to come from a place of curiosity about and compassion for a human being who we care about who thinks and feels differently than we do.

The Importance of Ownership

It is not someone else's fault that you are thinking or feeling something good, bad, or indifferent. It is coming completely from inside you.

The principle of ownership can be hard to grasp when our partner provides the trigger for how we feel and react, but the fact is that while our experience is involuntary, we do have complete choice over the meanings we create and the actions we take.

Behavior follows patterns. Nothing ever happens just once. If you don't strive to take complete ownership of your thoughts, feelings, and judgments, you will follow a pattern of blaming others, playing victim, and your life and relationships will suffer.

How to Take Ownership: A 4-Step Paradigm

I have found that the easiest way to take ownership of your experience in a relationship is to keep in mind the triad of Facts, Judgments, and Feelings.

• A fact is a measurable event as in "the sky is blue."

• A judgment is the meaning we make of the event as in "the blue sky is pretty."

• Feelings are our emotions and sensations, like warm, cold, happy, sad, etc.

Oftentimes, what we as human beings do, especially when we're upset or excited, is we make judgments about something and try to make that be the fact.

• "You make me so angry."
• "You're a jerk."
• "I love you."
• "War is hell."
• "Ice cream is good."

These are all judgments you might feel so strongly about you believe them to be true. While they might be your personal truth at the time, they are not facts, no matter how strongly you believe them to be true.

It all starts with an event or stimulus. Something happens that gives us a certain experience. Then, we react to our experience by making meaning of it and forming judgments. Then, our judgments stimulate our emotions -- mad, sad, glad, fear, shame. And this all happens in the blink of an eye.

We can then react consciously or unconsciously. If we react unconsciously we will act out our feelings and judgments, whatever they are. If we react consciously, we will separate the facts from our feelings and judgments and then decide what meanings to make and actions to take. This begins by reviewing the facts in your head and making sure you're not mixing in judgments.

Step 1: Review the Facts

OK, the sky is blue, we're walking in the park together, the temperature is about 76 degrees, I just said, "It's a beautiful day," and my friend said, "No, it sucks."

Step 2: Review Your Judgments

"Hmm, I believe it's a gorgeous day, walking here is wonderful, and I judge that my friend isn't getting it at all."

Step 3: Identify Your Feelings

"I'm glad it's such a beautiful day, sad that my friend is troubled and not enjoying it, and frustrated and angry at their negativity."

Step 4: Make a Conscious Choice

Once you've separated the facts from your judgments and feelings, you are in a much better position to decide what to think, feel, and how to react. Notice in the above example that the judgments and feelings are mixed, which is common. You can choose amongst the mix of judgments and feelings that you will embrace and act upon, and those which you will discard or leave alone.

In the above example, you might decide to focus upon your sadness that your friend is having a bad day and choose a compassionate response, and to discard your judgment that they aren't "getting it."

The Power of Taking Ownership

It is our nature to have lots of thoughts, judgments, and feelings -- some that we want to identify with, and some that we don't. It's common to confuse judgments with facts because we believe them so strongly. It's common to confuse feelings with judgments as well (e.g. "I feel like you're so wrong about that!").

It is common to have conflicting reactions, such as "You're a jerk" and "I love you" at the same time. While our experience is involuntary and overwhelmingly strong and real for us at times, as conscious beings we can pick and choose our truth and what we say and do about it.

Therefore, we are responsible for what we feel, think, say, and do. There are no victims in the conscious adult world. Taking ownership gives us power over our choices and destiny, and thus is the key to a successful and happy life and relationship.

Copyright © 2008 David Steele. All rights reserved in all media.

David Steele, MA, LMFT is the founder of the Relationship Coaching Institute and author of "The Communication Map: A One-Page Communication System for All Relationships." For more information about The Communication Map visit

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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