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February 2009

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In this issue:

F`ree to our subscribers!
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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  • Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul)
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Ask Our Coaches:
Relationship Bailout Plan: Can You Help Us?

"... she's threatening to leave me and to take the kids..."

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 lost my job at a large brokerage house in NYC, a casualty of the financial crisis. I've been unemployed for nine months. My wife works part-time in retail (but makes very little money) and we have 2 small children. We only have a couple months of savings left and our house is in foreclosure. I can't find any work, so I'm working part-time at a local coffee house. It helps me to keep my sanity while I continue to look for work.

We're fighting all the time. I feel horrible about myself and my wife thinks I'm a loser. She's critical and unsupportive and while I do understand this is stressful on her, it's devastating to me that the woman I love is not there to support me--what ever happened to "for better or for worse?" I feel dejected enough as it is. She is my partner, and she is not there for me at a time when I need her most.

I try to talk to her, but she's either criticizing me, angry or crying. I don't know what to do. Now she's threatening to leave me and to take the kids. The stress on us is ruining our marriage and jeopardizing our future together.

What can I do to bring some stability to this situation? What can I say or do to bring peace, even just a little bit so that I can have a clear head to continue looking for a solid job?

Jeff from Jonesboro

Susan responds ...

Hang in there! During this crisis, hold out hope for your marriage. Your best ally in this situation is time. The vast majority of couples who weather these storms emerge happier than ever. Anything you can do to coax your wife into delaying a split is a win right now.

Next, try to understand exactly what she is feeling without becoming defensive or feeling betrayed. Be the one to model that you can fight together and not against one another.

If you see her criticism, anger and crying as unacceptable forms of communication, she is unlikely to move past this. If she is threatening to leave, and you really want to save the marriage, consider casting your own feelings aside for now. I'm sure you realize that the real losers in a divorce will be your children.

Some strategies you might pursue:

  • Ask her what she needs from you, and listen without defending yourself
  • Write down her expressed needs and ask for her help in making a plan to accomplish those things
  • Go to any relationship workshops or seminars you can find, especially ones that include financial skills training
  • Consider asking grandparents, aunts, or uncles to take the kids for a few days so you two can spend some time alone focusing on this
  • Tell her, daily, that you love her and want to be married for life.

I am rooting for you and your family!

Susan Dutton Freund |

Lois responds ...

It's important to do your own work. Keep centered in your own power and confidence. Get together a team of people to support you. Meditation, affirmations and a concrete plan for moving through this challenge will make a huge difference. Fill your own well in order to be less reliant and reactive to your wife's responses.

Start to hear your wife's threats and criticisms as a scared child who is just speaking out of fear. Money is one of the most volatile of topics when it comes to relationships. When one's basic security is threatened, we say and do things we seldom mean. Take on a spiritual discipline of opening your heart and knowing that it's not about you, but it's about the circumstances.

Mirror back her feelings. Say things like, "I hear how hard this is for you. I understand you're scared --me, too." It's amazing how powerful mirroring someone's feelings (especially those of women) can be. As hard as it might be, let go of the impulse to assess, judge, get into "being right" around your wife or about the relationship.

Lois Barth | | 212.682.5225

Hazel responds ...

I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a stressful time.  I would think your wife is angry because she is probably very scared and although you may try to appease her, right now it might not be possible to get through.

I'm sure you, too, are going through your own feelings about the situation; however, although it's important to keep the peace at home, it's also important not to allow the situation to jeopardize your ability to find another job.

You probably don't have the finances to see a therapist; however, there are many ways in which you could get some counseling, together or even separately.  Clergy of all religions counsel people who are going through rough periods, and if you haven't already, I suggest you set up an appointment.  

If possible, ask your wife to go with you.  If not, please go and see the counselor yourself. This will give you a safe place to talk and a place you can get some support. Also, you may want to do some deep breathing, take a walk, or talk to a friend or someone else you trust.

Don't allow yourself to get into tug and pull arguments with her.  Tell her you understand how she feels and that you are doing the best you can right now.  Tell her you have some fears, too, and you are sure things are going to get better and you are thinking positively.  Sometimes a woman just needs re-assurance and a hug. Please think as positively as possible so your energy is powerful.

Hazel Palache |

Riana responds ...

I am sorry you are both going through such a hard time, both emotionally and financially, but you may find some comfort in knowing that you are amongst many. Now is the time for you and your wife to work together as best friends and to develop a strategy that is most beneficial for your family.

Remember, depression or fear is often expressed through anger. A drastic and sudden change in life-style is difficult for anyone. Your wife is afraid, so she needs your support, too. It is important that you both try to stay emotionally positive and spirituality grounded to support each other.

Negativity fuels more negativity. With coaching, counseling, and personal spiritual study, you and your wife will turn your situation around. Best of luck to you and your family.

Terriana (Riana) Milne | | 609.601.7887

Darshana responds ...

When financial security or stability is threatened in any way, it is easy for people to become irrational, emotional, and erratic. They take a fighting stance, and overcorrect in their nagging and controlling behavior -- especially if their financial stability was abundant in the relationship and then all of sudden it disappears.

In your situation, with the home in danger of being lost, your wife is totally feeling out of control with everything.

Know that this is not about you as her husband and that it is more about someone who threatened her security, or gave it to her and then took it away. Simply love her. Rather than argue with her or defend your position in any way, I suggest you remind her that you love her and your children, and that you understand how she feels. Echo back what she says to you with compassion and understanding.

Connect with her feelings and support her so she knows that with her by your side you cannot fail. Involve her in conversations about what you both will do to manage the situation in a way that you are both involved and feel valued. I am certain that when the two of you put your heads together, solutions will show up that none of you would have thought of individually.

Darshana Hawks | | 704.651.8568

Rick and Jo respond ...

We feel for you as we went through very similar circumstances in the early 1990's. This calls for ruthless compassion!

  • No matter how unfair it feels, you must stop blaming your wife for not supporting you.
  • Treat this whole situation as an opportunity to really grow. Think about who you are for your wife and kids and take a stand.
  • Put your pain aside for a moment and take leadership in the relationship.
  • Acknowledge your wife as a mother and spouse and ask what it's like for her being in this situation.
  • Take all the communication she throws at you, the barbs, the spears and ask for more!
  • Do not defend. Be like a rock under a waterfall - and listen to what she says as feedback. Your job is to let her know you are strong, you are responsible and above all, that she is yours and nothing she can say will deter you from keeping your family together and surviving this financial tsunami.
  • When she has said her piece, recap the main points and promise to address them and request her support. Then together...
  • Re-Create your vision for your marriage and the future you want to have. Accept that right now you may need to take some steps backwards in order to go forwards again. Re-commit to your partnership.
  • Get real - sit down together and discuss the worst possible outcome if you stay unemployed. Plan how you could survive that. Cast aside all concerns about what people will think and do whatever it takes to keep your family housed and fed until things improve.
  • Find a coach or mentor to support and guide you through this tough time. Get help.
  • Finally be grateful for everything you do have, especially your wife and children. Each day find 5 things you are grateful for and share them together, no matter how bad things get.

Rick & Jo Harrison | | +61354207366

Feature Article:
Valentine's Day ... Oh, The Pressure!

by Ann Robbins

Just as love is mysterious and often surrounded with intrigue and romance, so is the history of Valentine's Day. Just how did this day of love, celebrated each year on February 14th, get started? And, who is Saint Valentine?

The History of Valentine's Day

Going back to ancient times, there were several Saint Valentines, but lore and legend surrounds primarily Valentine of Rome, a priest who served in the third century during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II.

Allegedly, Claudius ordered that young men were to remain single, believing that marriage made men poor soldiers. According to this legend, Valentine, wanting to help young couples in love, secretly performed marriages for them. He was caught and imprisoned and later put to death - on February 14th.

Legend further suggests that he performed a miracle while in jail by curing the jailer's blind daughter, restoring her sight. It is believed that while in jail, he grew very fond of, and even to love, the young girl. The night before he was put to death, he wrote a note to her that was signed, "from your Valentine."

A Holiday of Celebration

Many facts remain unclear. But putting legend or lore aside, one thing is very clear -Valentine's Day, the second largest card-sending holiday of the year (behind Christmas), is celebrated every February 14th with flowers, cards, gifts, chocolate - all in the name of love.

According to the U.S. Greeting Card Association, approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide! Women purchase nearly 85% of all of these cards.

Creating a Day to Remember

Valentine's Day comes with expectations, trepidation, and yes, even fear! The day is particularly difficult for couples who are newly dating or dating casually. It is even more difficult if one partner's expectations or hopes are different than the other's.

For example, the pressure can be enormous if one is hoping for commitment and the other is not ready. Thoughts of, "I wonder what I'll get for Valentine's Day?" or, worse, "What should I give for Valentine's Day?" can be daunting and haunting!

Will he propose? (Is she expecting me to propose?) Should I buy flowers? (I wonder if I'll get flowers?) Does she love me? (Should I say, "I love you"?) Cards? Gifts? It can be overwhelming.

So, how do we approach this day without doing too much, or too little? First of all, don't wait until the last minute to "wait and see how things go" to hopefully have a better idea about what to do. That just won't happen. The best way to plan Valentine's Day is to do just that - plan.

What You Can Do

If you're in a non-committed relationship, or one that is new and it's too soon to tell what's going to happen, ask your date for ideas on what the two of you might do to celebrate casually. Think about exchanging small gifts or splitting the celebration equally.

For example, one of you cooks a fun dinner and the other pays for a movie. Humorous cards are probably better than love notes, or skip the card altogether. Rather than giving a heart-shaped box of chocolate, how about a nice Godiva chocolate bar?

Nowadays, many couples are reining in their spending and many others simply don't like the commercialism and the "have to" expectation surrounding certain holidays. Valentine's Day is no exception! If you're in love, but don't want to be pressured by traditional Valentine's Day celebrations, such as a romantic dinner at an upscale restaurant, roses, chocolates, and other potentially expensive expressions of love, consider creating your own romantic evening at home.

Make it a shared effort, decide ahead of time what you'll do, and then, do one little thing extra to surprise your mate! Try cooking dinner together, have a champagne toast, candlelight ... the things you used to do when you were first dating!

Everyday Can be Valentine's Day ... or at Least One Day Each Month

The idea that you must express your love appropriately one day out of the year puts undue pressure and emphasis on February 14th. You might think about making the 14th of every month your "Day of Romance," adding fun and excitement to your relationship while relieving the pressure of one day out of 365 having to be perfect.

To make it even more exciting, take turns with planning - so each month one of you is surprised and even delighted. This is a great way to remain "Forever Valentines."

Regardless of what you decide to do, make it real, make it fun, and don't wait until the last minute. Decide ahead of time what is comfortable for both of you and be sure to tell your mate/date how you feel.

If it's too much pressure, express your feelings in a gentle way. You'll probably discover that your partner feels the same way, too. And if not, at least you will have put your cards on the table - Valentine's cards, that is!

Copyright 2009 by Ann Robbins. All rights reserved in all media.

Ann RobbinsAnn 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:
Smart Relationship Tips

By Tara Kachaturoff

1. Plan for success.

Building a life with someone can be even more exciting if you plan out your future together. We all know that plans often don't work out the way we expect -- in fact, they often turn out much better! So, spend some time with your life partner and think about not only what you want to do and create together, but also about how you want to be together - how you want to approach and show up in life as a couple. Creating that shared vision will make your future even more exciting and will create a stronger connection with each other.

2. Communication is your foundation for success.

Any solid committed relationship is built upon open and honest communication. It's not just about casual everyday types of interchange, but it's about consciously making and taking the time to sit down with each other to listen and talk, each in turn, about your hopes, concerns, and any other issues. If you're experiencing any challenges in this area, a relationship coach can be invaluable in providing you with tools and techniques to facilitate healthy and productive communication.

3. Set boundaries.

In any type of relationship, whether personal or professional, it's important to set boundaries. Not only does this provide you with a solid foundation for living your life, but also it conveys to others who you are and how you expect to be treated. Boundaries are like an "operations manual" - for you and for others. Strong boundaries are important to maintain individually, but also they are important to maintain as a couple. You are an operating unit and need to set boundaries when it comes to raising children, dealing with in-laws, as well as in setting expectations with friends and others who interact with the both of you.

4. Have fun.

Relationships are meant to be enjoyable. I'm not saying that they don't take work or that every day will be filled with joy and happiness. But if you're not enjoying yourself or the time you spend with your partner, if you're not growing individually and as a couple, or if your shared vision and values are no longer in harmony, it's time to take a look at what's going on in the relationship. A relationship coach therapist can provide help to get things back on track.

5. Comfort is not always a good thing.

Comfort in a relationship does not mean "it's working." It might mean you're stuck, your relationship is stagnant, you just don't care anymore, or even that you're too afraid to "rock the boat." Sometimes, we have to journey into the uncomfortable places in life - learning more about ourselves, investing in coaching or counseling, and, yes, even changing the way we've always done something so we can achieve a different and better result. If you're too comfortable, you might be missing out on some of the best things life has to offer.

6. Manage your relationship expectations.

How do you manage expectations in a committed relationship? How do you avoid misunderstandings? How do you make sure that your needs and wants are communicated to your life partner? That's easy - you do it through engaging in regular, open and honest communications. Talk about your relationship needs and wants. Discuss your own issues, stresses and daily life responsibilities and how this affects your contributions to the relationship. Share your feelings. Don't make assumptions about what you think your partner wants or needs or expects from you or the relationship. The only way you'll really find out is by talking about these things together.

7. Value your time together.

Life is short and you never really know how much time someone will be with you. Your partner came into your life for a reason - and you into theirs. You're on a journey together, through the ups and downs, to grow and change and to add unto each other's life experiences. While challenging at times, never go to bed angry. When you say "goodbye" in the morning as you rush off to start your day, take that extra time to share a kiss and some loving words. Life is very fragile and very precious. Treasure it.

Copyright 2009 by Tara Kachaturoff. All rights reserved in all media.

Tara Kachaturoff, a Master Certified Coach for Singles, works exclusively with single executives who want to create great dating relationships. With over 15 years in corporate finance in the tech industry, she works as a business consultant and personal branding strategist, produces and hosts a weekly business TV talk show, and is the editor for the Relationship Coaching Institute. | 248.723.1926

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Tara Kachaturoff | Editor, Couples News

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