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Welcome! 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
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If you are a helping professional who wants to add relationship coaching to your practice, or are an aspiring coach who wants to work in this exciting field, our next relationship coach training program begins on Tuesday, February 16, 2010.
If you are interested in learning more about relationship coach training with RCI, we invite you to attend our free tele-training call on Wednesday, February 10th.
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Ask Our Coaches:
Moving Away – and possibly from our Marriage
"I was offered a position in San Francisco
...my husband doesn't want to move."
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to Tara@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 work for a large multinational. My husband lost his job on Wall Street about two years ago and hasn't been able to find work since. It hasn't been easy for us – personally or financially. Recently, I was offered a position in San Francisco. My position in NYC is being eliminated, and the new position offers much more compensation which means we wouldn't be challenged financially. However, my husband doesn't want to move. His children (from a prior marriage) are here. He's still hopeful the employment situation will turn around.
This is a challenging situation. He's even mentioned that maybe we've just come to an impasse – that perhaps we need to consider going our separate ways. We've had relationship issues over the years and things have become more challenging because I'm the sole breadwinner and he's not feeling the best about himself or future career prospects.
If we don't leave, I'll be out of a job – then we'll both be unemployed. On the other hand, I don't want to move to California by myself – without my husband! Divorce seems extreme and I don't think he really wants that and I certainly don't. We do love each other. This is a trying and confusing time. Any advice on how we can make this situation work for us?
Laura from NYC
Ann responds …
It sounds like, from a career and financial standpoint, the job in San Francisco is a great opportunity. If you take it, your financial worries will be over and you will remain employed in a time when good jobs are hard to come by. If you don't, you will not only be potentially hurting yourself, but will be setting yourself up for the perpetual "what if?" which will then breed resentment toward your husband.
What are your prospects of replacing your job in New York? Evaluate this carefully before you decide whether to accept or decline the new position. It occurs to me that declining a position, leaving both of you unemployed, is not a prudent option.
It is understandable that your husband does not want to leave his children behind, but perhaps unrealistic for him to think that after two years of unemployment he's going to land a job that will solve everything. And if you go to San Francisco and the marriage does not survive, what then? He'll still be unemployed and not have the benefit of your income.
He needs to decide what his priorities are – and so do you. It is possible there is no compromise here, but I would urge you to seek one. Perhaps a trial separation combined with some solid coaching will help you gain resolution. It is only a matter of time before resentment builds for one or both of you. Coaching will help get you through this.
Ann Robbins | www.lifeworksmatchmaking.com | 954.561.4498
Tara responds ...
My suggestion is to sit down with your husband and outline all the various opportunities and obstacles you’re facing. Make sure to schedule a time when you can both be engaged and focused on each other and on completing this exercise. Do it on the weekend, and perhaps after eating a meal, so you’re both relaxed and distractions are minimal.
Grab some paper and pens and work together to outline various opportunities in your current situation as well as with your future scenario. Note your obstacles as well. For the obstacles, brainstorm together how you might resolve each of these. Be creative. Don’t limit your ideas by thinking any of them are impossible or unrealistic. Just write. Rather than discussing these in detail right away, focus first on writing down possible solutions.
Then, take time to discuss them together, again, noting the pros and cons of each. Hear each other out and seek to understand the needs of the other. The final step is to engage a relationship coach and review your options and their potential for impacting your relationship. Continue to discuss the issues and be open to suggestions. This will most certainly open up your mind to new ideas and possibilities that will allow for everyone’s needs to be met.
Tara Kachaturoff | www.RelationshipPlanning.com
Annette responds …
Laura, let's try out 2 scenarios:
Scenario 1: If you had not been offered the job in California, and your job in NYC was, indeed, being eliminated, what solutions could you find there? Imagine if someone you deeply respect, who has created his/her own successful business, assured you and could teach you viable ways to bring in substantial income in NYC. Would this be a challenge you would want to take on? Where would you start?
Scenario 2: You have been offered an excellent job and salary in San Francisco. As a way of buying time to figure out the best long-term solution, what benefits could there be, for the next 6 months or a year or two for maintaining a long distance marriage, as some couples must do? If you were to rent in California, how often could he fly to see you, and spend extended time with you? Could this actually be a blessing in disguise? What valuable personal and marriage insights might you gain? If it somehow worked out perfectly, for a limited time frame, what would that look like? What promises and guidelines for your marriage would help protect it during your absence?
Rather than an impasse, perhaps blessings and opportunities you do not yet see are waiting to unfold.
Annette Carpien | www.GreatRelationshipsCoaching.com | 610.428.2755
Valentine's Day - Make it Memorable
RCI Coach Ann Robbins shares some history, gift-giving ideas, and ways to make this Valentine's Day a special one for you and yours.
Tara Kachaturoff: A lot of people don't know the history of Valentine's Day. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Ann Robbins: Well, we all know love can be very mysterious. The romance and the aura associated with "falling in love" are just as mysterious! Interestingly, so is the history of Valentine's Day. Much is unclear about how this day of love, celebrated each year on February 14th, got started.
Tara: So, who is Saint Valentine? Where did this tradition of cards and chocolate come from?
Ann: 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. Legend further suggests that Claudius ordered all young men to remain single, believing that marriage was distracting, causing men to lose focus, and consequently made them poor soldiers.
According to this legend, Valentine felt a desire to help young couples in love, so he secretly performed marriages for them. He was caught and imprisoned and later put to death on February 14. But it doesn't stop there. Legend further suggests that while in jail he cured the jailer's blind daughter, performing a miracle and restoring her sight. It is believed that while in jail, he grew very fond of (and perhaps even fell in love with) the young girl and the night before he was put to death, he wrote a note to her that he signed, "from your Valentine."
Putting legend or lore aside, one thing is very clear. Today, Valentine's Day, the second largest card-sending holiday of the year (behind Christmas) is celebrated every February 14th with flowers, cards, gifts, and 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 these cards.
Tara: Due to the economy, what are some cost-effective ways to create a romantic Valentine's Day?
Ann: 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, there are numerous things you can do. Consider creating your own romantic evening at home. Try cooking dinner together, have a champagne toast, candlelight ... the things you used to do when you were first dating. The main thing you want to do is KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetheart!
Tara: What are some things you would suggest couples NOT Do when celebrating this day of love?
Ann: First and foremost, do not wait until the last minute to decide what you're going to do. Restaurants get booked, flowers sell out, and cards become so picked over you will have to settle for a dog-eared second. Plan what you want to do, and be sure to include your partner in the planning! Make it a shared effort, decide ahead of time what you'll do, and then, do one little thing extra to surprise your mate!
Secondly – do not assume! The biggest area of disappointment comes from not managing expectations. The only way to know those expectations is to communicate. If you're thinking a romantic dinner and your partner is thinking a trip to Paris, someone is going to be gravely disappointed. So, be sure you are on the same page.
Another thing to avoid is the extreme surprise. Remember that anything you do on Valentine's Day will always be associated with that particular date. So presenting your loved one with an engagement ring, only to have her decline, will forever be remembered as the Valentine's Day Massacre. Don't set yourself up for disappointment by springing something on your partner that he or she is totally unprepared to receive.
Tara: What about gift giving? Can you talk a little bit about the implications of this?
Ann: Gift giving on Valentine's Day is probably not a good idea unless you are 100% sure it's going to be a hit. And once the precedent is set, the expectation is set year after year – and potentially on other holidays, too. Gifts from the heart are often better than gifts from the mall, so think of something meaningful and thoughtful.
My favorites are the gifts that keep on giving. For example, you might do something special like, tell your mate that from now on, the 14th day of every month will be your "Day of Romance." Rather than putting the significance (and pressure) on one day a year, do something special each month to keep the love fires burning!
Listen for clues from your partner – or simply ask. If you know your mate likes reading, maybe select a nice book of love poems. Or, if your honey is into sports, how about something to do with his or her favorite sport or team? If you want to take gifts into the bedroom, get something for both of you. You can also get creative like buying a couples massage or even better, massage oil you can use at home.
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 ©2010 by Ann Robbins. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
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 www.lifeworksmatchmaking.com
Valentine's Day Fun for Couples
How To KISS on Valentine's Day
The best way to celebrate Valentine's Day is to KISS with your partner, meaning Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.
KISS reduces the pressure and enables you to focus on the real reason you are celebrating the day – to show love and affection for your partner. Valentine's Day has become very commercialized, and if left to the last minute, can be expensive or disappointing.
Tenderness, romance, and love mean something different to each person. Decide, as a couple, what is most meaningful to you. Is it spending time together? Enjoying a romantic meal? A glass of wine? Above all, communicate! Decide ahead of time what you want to do – and don't leave it to your partner to make the plans. Planning together will go a long way toward enhancing your chances of having a memorable day without disappointment or anxiety.
Ann Robbins | www.lifeworksmatchmaking.com | 954.561.4498
To have a memorable Valentine's Day, think way "outside of the box." Don't go to your favorite restaurant or even buy that heart box of chocolates. Think unusual, different and a bit adventurous. Spice up your life with something new! As a couple, what have you been meaning to do but never seem to find the time, or ambition for? Step boldly into Valentine's Day and make it awesome!
You could be adventurous and be two skydivers holding hands as you jump out of a plane. In case that is way over the top, how about taking the quiet route to boldness and have an overnight stay in a B&B you have never visited before? It can be anything you choose as long as it is something new. You and your partner have the power to make this Valentine's Day one to remember.
Judith Geiger | www.flyingchangecoaching.com | 315.497.3059
Valentine's Day -- Forget about it!
The flowers, the candy, the Hallmark commercials, the jewelry, the pressure! Valentine's Day is filled with so much commercialism and pressure. Women put pressure on men to do something that proves their love for them. Men scramble to do their best to make up for the rest of the year, please their ladies and stay out of the doghouse.
Why not forget about it? Why not create connection and romance every day on a regular basis and not succumb to the cultural "should" of February 14th? Imagine little gestures of love on a regular basis allowing the flow of intimacy to be constant and meaningful.
So what to do for Valentine's Day? How about a little quiet time together, a little gesture of connection for that day and every day? Imagine the feeling of a daily text, note, flower, card, or words of appreciation that will build an even stronger longer-lasting bond.
Susan Ortolano | www.radiantpathways.com | 818.232.3186
Diva or "Heva" Day
If your partner's Love Language is physical touch, give him or her a loving or erotic massage, and make love afterwards! Better yet, trade massages, and then make love. If that is not one's preference, then let him or her be the Diva or "HeVa" for an afternoon or evening, giving them your full attention and admiration, and indulging their wishes. Counter propose if you have any objections.
Annette Carpien | www.greatrelationshipscoaching.com | 610.428.2755
Valentine's Day!! Bah Humbug??
Well, maybe! Although Valentine's Day is a fabricated lover's holiday, what would be possible in your relationship if you used this day to begin a daily ritual of heartfelt, creative thought and expression aimed at honoring your chosen partner as "The One"?
Where would I begin? I'm glad you asked! Let's take a look at some specific actions to find out.
1. As you awake in the morning, call to mind the characteristics that you most appreciate about your lover.
2. Tell them!
3. Make a list of what brings them the most joy in life
4. Figure out how you can provide whatever is required to allow them to do exactly that!
5. Ask them to share something about their day
6. Listen deeply to them
If you begin to provide ways for your partner to have a great life, you will, too!
Bill Paglia-Scheff | www.extraordinaryrelationship.blogspot.com | 860.209.9254
The Valentine's Day Love Ritual
Besides the lovely flowers and chocolate we all enjoy, I like the idea of each partner starting their own Valentine's Relationship Journal. Each person logs in whenever they are so inclined and jots down whatever comes to mind about their partner. It may be a thought of gratitude or appreciation for something big or something recent.
Or it could be something personal about needs they have in the relationship that they'd like to discuss, ways they feel proud that they have contributed to improving the relationship, or possibly ways they would like to enhance the intimacy of the relationship. Then, once a week, together, they can create a romantic space to share their entries, allowing each other to be fully heard, followed by acknowledging, discussing, and thanking each other for being open, trusting and loving.
Candace Brindley | www.Rich-Relationships.com | 203.247.4613
Forget the Flowers! Find the real Focus!
Valentine's Day has become a "Hallmark Holiday." Interestingly, it's become a day when many couples break up. Expectations are destroyed, feelings hurt, egos destroyed. However, for you, it can strengthen your bonds with the right focus.
What can you do to make it a memorable holiday? Focus internally on you and your partner. Forget the flowers, it's not about the stuff, it's about you and your partner. One of my favorite activities to do on romantic occasions is to make a nice dinner together, and with a glass of wine, cuddle on the couch with one of those question books (Intellectual Foreplay, Questions to Ask Before you get Engaged, 1000 questions for Couples) and ask each other those fabulous evocative, soul-searching questions. Get to know and appreciate your loved one even more today! OK, if you give flowers, you get extra points!
Lori Rubenstein | www.LoveAdviceCoach.com
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