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April 2009

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In this issue:

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Conscious Relationship Resources

Conscious Relationship Podcast

Frankie Doiron
President & CEO
Relationship Coaching Institute

David Steele
David Steele
Relationship Coaching Institute

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

Copyright 2009 by All rights reserved.

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This newsletter is designed especially for YOU if:

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  • You have a good relationship and want to make it great "


Conscious Relationship Summit
A Huge Success!
The Conscious Relationship Summit was a huge success.
Thanks to all who participated!
Many of the world's top relationship and personal development experts shared valuable strategies for creating conscious relationships.
We also raised close to $6000 for the following charities that work directly with families and children, helping them create a better life:
  • Infant Crisis Services
  • Rescue Task Force
  • Child Family Health International
  • The Olive Branch for Children
  • YouthBuild USA
  •  If you missed the Summit, we have great news! You can still access all 35 life changing presentations. The audio recordings will be available for sale on May 1st.

    Download all 35 recordings and listen to them at your convenience. Proceeds will go to the 5 charities we support.

    For more information and to register go to:

    Ask Our Coaches:
    Do Actions Speak Louder than Words?

    "If this is a glimpse of our future together, I'm thinking
    we might need to plan one without each other."

    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 boyfriend and I have been engaged for the past 6 months and we're getting married in July. Planning a wedding is a lot of work and I want him to help. We have lists of things to do and we've discussed everything that needs to be done, but he doesn't take this stuff seriously. He jokes about it and just says, "it'll get done, stop worrying about it."

    We're both working full-time and the burden of this wedding is falling on me even though in the beginning he promised he would be there to help out. He's not. I'm stressed out, angry, and becoming resentful. It's apparent to me that only one of us is vested in making this happen. We've been arguing a lot, disagreeing on even minor things, and things are not getting done - things driven by deadlines and due dates.

    I've talked to him about this countless times and nothing is changing. I love him dearly and he says he loves me, too. However, don't actions speak louder than words? Is this a sign of times to come? Is his lack of participation really a sign he doesn't, in fact, want to get married? If this is a glimpse of our future together, I'm thinking we might need to plan one without each other. What should I do when I can't move him to action?

    Rachel from Ottawa

    Michelle responds ...

    Planning an event as grand as a wedding can be stressful. This day, traditionally, is about the woman, and most men feel overwhelmed, and frankly, like the odd man out. Your fiancé's reaction is typical.

    Too often, the idea of a picture-perfect fairy-tale dream wedding causes so much stress, hassle, and arguments that many couples become sparing partners during the pre-wedding days. Perhaps the upcoming wedding is overshadowing the reason for getting married and, as a result, you have begun to question whether you are meant to be together.

    I would not go so far as to say that his lack of participation is a sign that he doesn't want to get married. Remember, the wedding is an event; marriage is a long-term partnership of two people who love each other.

    The first thing I wonder about is whether you are willing to hire a wedding planner, or at the very least, assign your bridesmaids some tasks to lighten your load (also traditional). My next thought is whether you are willing to scale down the wedding to a more manageable size.

    Since you are becoming doubtful, I would ask you to step back and talk to a relationship coach and do some pre-marital planning to get some perspective on this. If you get along well with each other in general and meet each other's requirements, don't give up on love just because he is not as enthusiastic about the wedding as you are.

    Michelle E. Vásquez, MS, LPC | | 714.717.5744

    Rick and Jo respond ...

    You're dealing with an issue quite common for engaged couples. It's an important passage in your growth and development. On one hand is the thrill and opportunity of creating a new marriage and on the other hand is the loss of control and freedom of being single. Beware of adding meaning to how your partner is responding. It is important that you observe how you both operate to resolve this issue.

    We recommend you work with a RCI coach to clarify your requirements as it appears you have significant energy focused around partnership, while your partner seems to value a "laid back" kind of freedom. An unmet requirement results in an unsolvable problem in a relationship. Unsolvable problems are often the cause of divorce or unhappy marriages.

    We suggest you and your partner consider deferring or suspending your wedding plans, as your current relationship dynamic is a real warning signal for what the future could hold. Working with a coach will enable you both to see if you are soulmates or if you are headed for misery. For now, shift your focus from the wedding to having a successful marriage.

    One area to investigate is the stages of a relationship. After the "falling in love" stage, when the hormonal rush is no longer impacting your judgment, comes the "power struggle" or "rebellion" stage. Working together through this requires a commitment to personal growth and development. If together you cannot develop a way forward, then your future is clear isn't it?

    Rick and Jo Harrison | | +61.3.5420.7366

    Randy responds ...

    Definitely, "What you see is what you'll get." This is a microcosm of what your marriage will be like, and now is the time to fix it, not after you are married.

    I do not know how old he is, but it seems he is immature in some ways. You can help him grow up by a combination of support and confrontation. This is a push-pull tug-of-war that can take considerable time, so you might want to postpone the wedding until you work through this with him.

    Coaching, counseling, or therapy can help a lot, and may be necessary. You will need to design a series of tests, each with rewards and consequences, and balance it out with plenty of enjoyment and support. In this process he must feel that you love him, want him, and want the relationship, but he must learn that sharing the load is necessary if he wants to keep you. This is a series of gradual steps, not an ultimatum.

    I suggest you get started on this new program right away. It is more important than wedding planning.

    Randy Hurlburt | | 858.455.0799

    Janice responds ...

    At the risk of sounding like I'm man-bashing, you should realize that most men are clueless about planning weddings. This is because women are typically encouraged from a very young age to fantasize about becoming brides and having their dream weddings. These fantasies drive women to plan a major social function with big expectations but with little real experience.

    Essentially then, you and your fiancé are not making this wedding together. He's just following along in order to marry you. Not that that's a bad thing! But his investment in the social function is less than it is for you.

    Your real challenge is to determine if your fiancé is genuinely willing to help, or if he is incapable of following through on what he says he's going to do. If it's the former, then you'll need to keep prodding him until the wedding happens. If it's the latter, then you may have a problem for the future. That's because you're questioning his dependability.

    A life partner relationship requires dependability and trust to be truly functional. For example, if he says he's going to make dinner for you after you return home from a business trip, then you can depend on getting dinner. But if you worry he may not follow through, then you are questioning his dependability. What's at risk in your future relationship may then be more than just a few missed dinners.

    So think about it - is your problem the wedding or the fiancé who can't be depended on?

    Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D. | | 212.874.1470

    Liz responds ...

    I understand your frustration as planning a wedding can be a highly stressful event. In reference to actions speaking louder than words, have you noticed other times in the relationship that your fiancé has not followed through on requests?

    My concern is whether or not this is a one-time incident or a pattern in his behavior. Either way, it's an important issue to address. I would suggest using The Communication Map as a tool, preferably with the assistance of a relationship coach, to address your unmet needs and his resistance to helping you with the wedding. The Communication Map is available at:

    I would also encourage you to take your time if you are sensing this could be a deal breaker for you. In your relationship, issues will arise, so you want to make sure you have a solid foundation with both parties committed to the success of the relationship. I would define a solid foundation as one with effective communication, requirements and needs being met, as well as a sound pre-commitment period established. I wish you the best!

    Liz Reed| | 817.992.0150

    Darshana responds ...

    Planning your wedding should a wonderful and enjoyable process. It sounds like the way you are both communicating is not effective because you are not producing the results you want.

    Managing communication during stressful times can often be challenging. I would ask you if you truly are talking WITH him about how you are feeling and asking him for his help or if you are TELLING him. Men do not respond well to being TOLD. They do respond well to being asked for help when needed; they like to feel needed.

    During times of planning a wedding, women go into hyper-drive-control mode and dictate what and how and when things will happen. Children don't even respond well to this approach so it is insane to think our beloved men will. I suggest you take a look at what your skills and strengths are and have your fiancé do the same. Let him know how much you appreciate him and his commitment to you and the wedding.

    Acknowledge him for what he has done, for his continued support in you not getting stressed, and ask him for his help. Ask him to review the To Do List and choose which tasks he will commit to being accountable for, ask what date he commits to getting those tasks done, and then back off. Do not nag him. Schedule a weekly half-hour planning session so you both can review the status of the list. Do not nag. Be patient.

    Dr. Darshana Hawks | | 704.846.0932 x11

    Feature Article:
    Communication Skills for Successful Relationships

    This month, relationship coach Dr. Darshana Hawks discusses the importance of communication in our relationships.

    Tara Kachaturoff
    Editor, Relationship Coaching Institute

    Tara: What is communication?

    Darshana: Communication is more about self-awareness than anything else. What do I mean by self-awareness? To be an effective communicator, you must be aware of your own agenda in the conversation and ensure you are putting your partner first before addressing your own agenda.

    You must be responsible for how you interpret communication as well as being accountable for clarifying your interpretation with your partner to ensure your message is delivered as intended. This does not mean that you both must agree with each other; instead, know that agreement is not necessary. Having your partner understand you is more important than having them agree with you completely.

    It is critical to openly state your agenda when speaking. I call this "Framing the Conversation©." When you frame the conversation, you are letting your partner know up front what you want to discuss with them. This sets the stage for them to fully focus on what you are saying. Diving into a conversation, without framing it first, makes it difficult for your partner to pay attention to what you are saying because their focus in on their prior activity or thoughts, as well as trying to catch up with what you are saying.

    Communication is about being responsive -- not reactive. You have to be aware of your emotional triggers without attacking your partner because you perceive they pushed your button. They did not push your button, you did; it is your issue, not theirs. The important thing is to love yourself enough to listen without taking what is being said personally. Simply listen with openness and curiosity about what your partner is attempting to convey to you.

    Tara: How does communication relate to relationship success?

    Darshana: The lack of communication is perhaps the number one cause of issues in relationships. Being able to communicate fully and authentically, with clear agendas, self awareness, accountability for both the delivery and how your message is being interpreted, full disclosure of your feelings and emotions, while addressing your need for acknowledgment, contributes to success in all of your relationships.

    I disagree with the statistics stating divorce is caused by infidelity, financial issues, or anything else. It is the inability to communicate authentically, along with the need to be right, that produces these symptoms which then result in divorce. Communication is absolutely necessary to have successful and fulfilling relationships. For example, you cannot plan finances or vacations, address sex/intimacy, discuss what is missing in your relationship, or talk about raising children without communication.

    By not listening (listening by interpreting what your partner said/did not say from your own perspective, instead of truly hearing the words they said) your partner ends up feeling disrespected, ignored, invalidated, unloved and therefore unsuccessful in the relationship. Listening without judgment or interpretation, asking clarifying questions with curiosity and seeking to understand results in powerful communication. I find that compliments, validation, and acknowledgment are completely missed due to not listening. If you listen for them, you may just hear them!

    Tara: What are the 3 biggest challenges couples experience when it comes to communication?

    Darshana: Communication challenges are driven by one core root cause -- not learning communication skills for the most important relationship of your life. Here are three examples of communication challenges one might experience:

    · Not understanding your own emotional triggers. This can derail communication with your loved ones. Example: You hear, "You are irritating," when what was really said is, "Nagging me about taking out the trash is irritating."

    · Not acknowledging your own need for acknowledgement or agreement. For instance, notice how much energy you spend convincing your partner to completely agree with you by arguing your point. There are three options: your viewpoint, your partner's viewpoint, and the best of both viewpoints - the latter usually being the best option.

    · Not giving your partner the space to be who they are or accepting who they are by seeing their greatness. Giving your partner the room to do things on their timeline, or obtaining agreement on the timeline collaboratively, is important so that your partner will continue to want to do things for you. Example: "You must make the bed now," instead of, "Can you please make the bed before noon today so that we can show the house?"

    Tara: Why do we need to develop more effective listening skills and how do we do that?

    Darshana: Listening skills are more important than speaking skills; listening is crucial for successful communication and yet it is the least taught skill. If you feel the urge to share your thoughts or views when your partner is talking, I suggest you start by biting your tongue, not hard, just put your tongue lightly between your teeth and listen -- silencing both your mind and mouth. You will listen much more effectively, your need to speak will diminish, and your mind will be quieter while it takes in what is being heard.

    Tara: Is there a process that can help couples learn how to model effective communication?

    Darshana: I recommend spending more time and energy on listening openly, being silent more, and responding only to questions or when others ask for input, rather than inserting your opinion when your partner is talking. I especially love the "Communication Map" by David Steele because it is easy to learn and apply.

    Here are two examples of communication models you might use when you feel stuck or are in an emotional whirlwind:

    · When you do or say X, I feel Y. I would prefer you do/say Z.
    · Example: "When you say you are exhausted, I feel that I made you tired; I would prefer you say I had a hard day at work and I am tired."

    · I love when you do X, and would love it even more if you'd do Y.
    · Example: "I love that you load the dishwasher, thank you so much. The dishes will get cleaner by stacking the bowls with more space between them."

    Communication templates take practice. They are most effective when used with a relationship coach, since you have a third party trained to listen with no stake in the relationship, and who who can suggest areas for improvement.

    Copyright © 2009 by Darshana Hawks. All rights reserved in all media.

    Rick and Jo HarrisonDr. Darshana Hawks, your Relationship Success Expert, is passionate about empowering individuals in having beneficial and loving relationships. Dr. Dar educates you on how to have the most important relationship of your life. Key topics include properly planning, communicating effectively, and setting realistic expectations for your relationship and/or marriage. | 704.846.0932 x11

    Bonus Article:
    The Seven Secrets to Keeping Love Alive

    by Rick and Jo Harrison

    Where did love go? How can we keep the love alive?

    Just about every couple we know has experienced "staleness" in their relationship after the initial excitement of attraction has faded. They say things like, "Where has the love gone?" or "Love's just not there anymore?" or "The love died."

    This quandary is understandable. Most relationships begin with an automatic rush of feel-good hormones which last no more than three years. We expect the feeling good to continue as it began, without effort on our part. However, this phase of being in a relationship requires each partner to be responsible for creating romance.

    The key is to shift from love being the experience that created the expression, to love becoming the expression that creates the experience.

    It's up to each of us to generate love and romance. Here are the seven secrets to expressing love that will create the experience of romance and love:

    The Seven Secrets to Romance

    #1 Be Conscious

    Take the time each day to think about how you could express your love to your partner. Think about how and when you feel most loved. You'll notice that you want to be loved and cared for in different ways than your partner does. You'll discover that you each have different love languages!

    Learn your partner's "love language" and use it to give your love. For example, Rick used to express his love for Jo with his love language of "doing things for her." He now knows that her love language is, "words of praise and affirmation," so he's conscious of speaking whatever it is that he wants to express when he gets the urge to do something for her. Loving your partner the way they love to be loved will generate romance in your relationship!

    Be affectionate; touch lovingly in ways that you know your partner enjoys. Tune into the type of touch your partner may want at the time - soothing, healing, supportive or sensual. Always touching sexually can become repellent!

    #2 Take Time

    Your partner will appreciate the time you set aside to really be with each other, way more than spending money. "Be with" time is not a time for venting frustrations about kids or work or finances. It's simply a few precious minutes each day to be in each other's presence, maybe holding each other, maybe just looking at each other, maybe authentically saying something wonderful about the other person, maybe having a very slow long kiss.

    There is no agenda other than to simply be with everything you love about your partner. Be vulnerable, showing your sentimental and sensitive side. Be compassionate and tender with each other.

    #3 Respect

    Always display mutual respect for your partner. When talking, listen with curiosity rather than trying to win an argument. Listen indirectly to pick up the hidden messages your partner is expressing about unspoken wishes, dreams and interests. Always honor your partner when speaking about them.

    #4 Assume Nothing

    Beware of assuming you know your partner 100% or that you understand their needs and wants. Be curious and ask them. Similarly, it's not a good idea to assume your partner is tuned into your every need! Be responsible and request what you want or need from your partner. Share your dreams, your victories, failures and fears with your partner. Sharing your heart with another breathes life into their soul, whereas complaining sucks out life. Being a listener for your partner is a great gift (note I said listener, not advisor or rebutter!).

    #5 Play

    Find opportunities to have fun, to be happy children playing together, to flirt, to surprise. Some of us get so caught up in our work and kids that we become driven and inflexible. Practice spontaneous acts of fun and play. If you find it hard to be spontaneous, think of how you could surprise your partner, then get advice from their family or friends and schedule the surprise. Plan it into your day. You'll become more creative as time goes by. A thoughtful surprise that expresses love and appreciation is a powerful generator of romance.

    #6 Rituals

    Think of events and symbols that are important to both of you. There could be a time or event when you both experienced deep connection and love for each other. Find a way to ritualize the memory and use the ritual to honor and appreciate each other.

    The simply passages of the day can also be used to create rituals: leaving for work, coming home, bedtime. For example, leaving for work could include creating your intentions for the day, agreeing on how and when each is to give support to the other, or perhaps acknowledging some quality in each other and displaying affection prior to departure. Observing rituals like these creates a unique world of partnership for your relationship which generates love and romance.

    #7 Sex

    Make time for sex on a regular basis, regardless of whether you are in the mood or not! The great thing about sex is that if you act as though you are in the mood you will most probably get in the mood! Remember to make time.

    Take time - practice cuddling and playing rather than rushing into pursuit of the orgasm. Try taking orgasm off the agenda for both of you one night and see what happens! Sex is an essential part of your health regime - it's good for your mind, body and spirit. Bring the above six points into play in the realm of sex.

    Your Action Plan

    1. Share with your partner your vision for infusing your relationship with romance and love and let them know you'll be doing some things differently over the next week or two. (Important ground rule: They don't have to join in the game unless they want to! You don't necessarily need them to play at your level for this to make a huge positive impact on your relationship.)

    2. Interview your partner about how they like to experience love - is it words, deeds, physical touch or something else. For more about love languages, check out Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages.

    3. From the seven secrets to romance, write a list of 3 actions that you can take each day for the next week to inject romance and love into your relationship. That's 21 different things!

    4. Complete at least 2 and no more than 3 actions each day. This will take some planning and intentionality, but it will be worth it!

    Remember, unless your partner says they want to play too, this is your game. Be forgiving and curious if things don't go the way you hoped.

    Copyright ©2009 by Rick and Jo Harrison. All rights reserved in all media.

    Rick and Jo Harrison
    Rick and Jo Harrison both made classic relationship mistakes before choosing each other as soulmates. They are both Licensed Coaches with RCI and live in Australia. They dovetail their own experiences and their training with Relationship Coaching Institute to empower singles to attract their soulmate. | +61.3.5420.7366

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