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
Our Next Relationship Coach Training Program Starts May 27th
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 Thursday, May 27, 2010. Join this training and become certified by the Fall.
For more information contact a RCI enrollment specialist at 1-888-268-4074.
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Relationship Coaching Insitute (RCI) has partnered with the Western Institute for Social Research (WISR) to allow you to apply all RCI trainings toward a Master of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis in Relationship Coaching, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Social Change with an emphasis in Relationship Coaching. For more information go to: http://relationshipcoachinginstitute.com/wisrinfo.html
Ask Our Coaches:
Together ... Forever and Always
"... we're driving each other nuts!"
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.
The economic downturn has brought both opportunities and challenges to me and my wife. After both of us were downsized, we invested our savings and started a small retail business. The good news – it's thriving. The bad news, we're driving each other nuts!
We love each other, but we're always together – out of survival/necessity – focused 24 hours-a-day on our business. Being entrepreneurs is definitely a lot more than we ever imagined. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, work, weekends – we're always together. Can you give us some advice as to how to keep our sanity and our precious marriage intact? How do couples work together without ruining their relationship? I'm afraid a date night is just not going to be the solution.
Sam from San Antonio
Lisa responds …
Congratulations for recognizing a threat to your marriage and seeking immediate solutions to ward off trouble. Certainly, if your relationship fractures, the continued success of your new business will likely become compromised as well. Too much of any good thing is often just too much—and not always good. One way to manage an entrepreneurial relationship within a marriage is to establish firm boundaries that you both must respect.
Define periods of time away from each other while the business is still young—a hopefully temporary measure to let your marriage breathe when early business demands are consuming. Also, leave the office at the office when you're not in it, even though it's your office. Outside of work hours, do not discuss the job. As you get acquainted with the mechanics of your business, assign duties to each other that leave one of you on-site and the other out in the field, thus creating healthy space while still supporting business growth.
As time goes on, consider delegating responsibilities to new hires so you and your wife can reclaim some time away from work, individually and together. If all this fails, then rethink the viability of working side by side.
Lisa Manyoky | www.maverickinspired.com | 609.890.6645
Mari responds …
What a dilemma -- security in the midst of a chaotic economy that's nevertheless adversely impacting the stability of your marriage. What irony! Most couples don't think of spending that much time together until they've retired. And right now, it looks like life has tossed you an early retirement -- cushy, but nevertheless crowded.
This situation momentarily appears to have a huge downside, but let's look closer. You stated your business was thriving. Could you hire one or two assistants to help out several hours a day? In the mornings, your wife could run errands, get her hair done or a pedicure. Perhaps she could use this time to just relax by herself, schmooze with her girlfriends or take a long bubble bath.
An assistant could possibly relieve you in the afternoons or evenings and you could play a round of golf, hang out and have a beer with buddies or catch up on some reading you'd been meaning to do. Is this feasible? This way, you both get alone time and get to shake off the stress of so much togetherness. There is no business worth having that would come between the love you and your wife share.
Mari Lyles | 301.249.0979
Randy responds …
I can't say I have the answer -- only some ideas. First, recognize that variety, freedom and relaxation are basic human needs. I think you are not getting enough of these. It's like couples who drive each other crazy after retirement because there is too much togetherness. The difference is that your business relies on your combined effort.
My advice is that you make variety, freedom, and relaxation a priority. "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy." I think 24/7 is too much, especially if the business is thriving. You can take breaks and play golf; she can take breaks and go out with her friends. You could hire a third person; this would change the relationship dynamics considerably, and might make the business even more successful.
In the end, what are you working to accomplish in your life? If, in fact, you are just barely getting food on the table, then survival needs will continue to predominate. However, if you are higher up the chart of Maslow's needs, take time to smell the roses, separately, as well as together. "Together, forever and always" is a misleading fairytale fantasy!
Randy Hurlburt | www.partnersinloveandcrime.com
Dr. Dar responds …
I completely understand your predicament as my husband and I are in a home-based business together. Here are my tips for you to keep your business life and your love life successful:
1. Maintain clear business and home/personal hours where you both focus on business during business hours and on each other during off hours.
2. Separate your roles in your business. Having clearly defined and documented roles and responsibilities are critical.
3. Hire someone to clean your home every other week. This will free you both up to focus on each other.
4. Find a hobby you can do together every week that will give you something else to share and talk about – like dancing classes. Or, take up bridge and join a bridge club, or enroll in tai chi classes.
5. Make an agreement that business talk is off limits after 6:00 p.m. during weekdays.
6. Make an agreement about which hours on the weekends that will be reserved for business versus personal together time.
7. Have a date night every week. Glam it up, dress up, wine and dine each other, followed through with passionate sex.
Dr. Dar | 704.651.8568
Hold the Divorce! Where there's "willingness," there's a way
by Jerald W. Young, Ph.D.
When problems emerge that throw a relationship into crisis, the partners ask two questions: "Is this problem solvable?" and "How will I know when the relationship is over for good?" Certainly, for a problem to be solved, both partners must be willing to try to solve it. However, all the motivation in the world cannot conquer an unsolvable problem. This article describes four types of problems and then describes the sound of the death knell signaling the end to the relationship.
Just because a problem sounds fixable doesn't mean it is; and, just because a problem sounds impossible to fix, does not mean it can't be.
#1 The Pseudo Problem: Sounds Like a Problem but Really Isn't
Example: Loss of commitment
"S/he isn't committed to the relationship." Ignore this when you hear this. Many people claim this is the cause of their divorce. It is not. By definition, any divorce represents a situation in which at least one of the partners ultimately withdrew commitment. Lack of commitment is a description of the end result, not the initial cause, of the crisis. If your partner says s/he is no longer committed to the relationship, ignore it initially. Then look for the real problem.
#2 No-Brainer Problems: Automatic Divorce
Examples: Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, domestic violence; active addition to alcohol, chemicals, sex, or gambling with no desire to change; change in sexual preference; incapacitating mental illness.
"I'm sorry. I'll change. Trust me." Be very leery when you hear this. This is often a no-brainer type of problem. Abuse of any kind is a deal breaker. Get out. Get away. Get on with life with others who respect you.
Partners with an active addiction and no serious willingness to seek help make relationship impossible. Get out. The operative phrase is "no willingness to seek help." Also, partners with an incapacitating mental illness can fall into this automatic category.
#3 Generic Problems
Example: Falling out of love.
"I love you, but I am no longer 'in love' with you." We hear this a lot. What does it mean? Rarely what it sounds like.
When being with our partner no longer feels positive, and in fact feels increasingly negative, we are tempted to conclude, "I no longer love you." Instead, treat this as a wakeup call telling you that underlying problems in the relationship are sitting there unresolved, demanding attention, and only incidentally affecting how we feel about each other.
#4 Specific, Personal Problems
This is by far the largest category of problems. Some of the more common examples include: infidelity; lack of communication; too much arguing and conflict; different parenting styles.
Because these types of problems are very personal, they feel like an individualized affront or attack. Our reactions are, likewise, personal and intense. The generic response often sounds like:
"You ***! How could you do this to me?"
Ironically, when you hear this, this is good news. Pay attention when you hear your partner say this, or even when you hear yourself say it. Emotion means attachment. Attachment means the relationship is still alive. Your task? Do your best to identify and resolve the problems and save the relationship before it dies.
Two things are critical about specific, personal problems. (1) Things are rarely what they seem since they rely on idiosyncratic, personal interpretations of the problem situation, and (2) finding a successful solution often depends on whether they violate a non-negotiable requirement for the relationship or a negotiable unmet need of the relationship.
We can illustrate the tricky, but critical, nature of specific, personal problems with infidelity.
Things are Often Not What They Seem – The Power of Personal Interpretation
When one partner has an affair, it can mean different things. For example, for the person who had the affair, was it a cry for intimacy? Simply sex? Dissatisfaction with how power and influence are handled in the relationship? Dislike for the partner? Something else? For the aggrieved partner, was the problem one of broken trust? Fear of financial insecurity? Personal rejection of affection? Something else?
Where do these varied interpretations come from? Vanessa Slivken, M.A., an Adlerian-trained Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, MN, points out that specific events, like infidelity, can trigger core beliefs developed at an early age. These core beliefs give specific meaning to the problem that may have nothing to do with the act of infidelity at all.
Obviously, the choice of solution to the "infidelity problem" will be different, depending on the personal meaning the partners attach to the affair.
The point: What you see is not always what you get. Before determining if the problem is solvable, you must look under the covers and identify it. Once identified, the question becomes, "Is the problem a non-negotiable requirement or is it an unmet need, the solution to which can be negotiated?"
Non-negotiable Requirement Versus Negotiable Need
Requirements are non-negotiable aspects of your ideal relationship. Needs are the events that must happen in your relationship and your life for you to feel loved and for your life to work like you want. Both violated requirements and unmet needs will kill a relationship. However, unlike requirements, needs can be met in any number of ways. Using a life metaphor, requirements are like the air and water we need to live. We need them to survive. Needs are like the food we eat. We need protein, for example, but we can get it by eating beef, chicken, fish, or beans.
In the infidelity example, if the core problem was violation of trust, can the relationship be saved? If trust were a non-negotiable requirement to the aggrieved partner, then any violation would mean immediate divorce. However, if trust were a basic emotional need, then the aggrieved partner possibly could accept a negotiated solution like, for example: I will forgive you this time if you sincerely promise not to do it again and if you agree to go through the demanding and time-consuming process of rebuilding my trust in you.
The Tipping Point – Know When to Say When
"I do not want to try any more to make our relationship work."
If this message is delivered in a calm, rational, even humble and apologetic manner, it is time to move on. Saying it with strong emotion probably means they haven't decided for sure yet. Saying it with calm, rational conviction usually does. Willingness is the main ingredient for solving problems. If willingness is withdrawn, the marriage is over.
The point of the story: Don't knee-jerk to divorce. Don't be misled by pseudo or generic problems and don't be seduced into trying to solve automatic, no-brainer problems. Spend your effort understanding and resolving the specific, personally unique problems at the core of your relationship crisis. And finally, be aware of the death knell of withdrawn willingness. It will tell you when it's time to get on with the next chapter in your life --alone.
Copyright © 2010 by Jerald W. Young, Ph.D. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this article may be copied or distributed in any form without the author's information intact.
Jerald Young, Ph.D., a Divorce Recovery and Relationship Coach, works with individuals struggling with the aftermath of their divorce. He helps them get over their ex and release the unneeded parts of their past. Then he helps them prepare for new relationships so "their last divorce is their last divorce."
www.SmoothDivorceRecovery.com | 917.865.2710
Create a Passionate Relationship Together
by Michelle E. Vásquez
Creating healthy, passionate relationships does require some commitment to both self-improvement and improvement as a team. If it were as easy as just deciding to do it and then doing it, you would be the perfect weight, keep all of your New Year's resolutions, and be living happily ever after in your relationship. Alas, there is no magic wand, no fairy godmother, and no genie to grant you three wishes. Since it is up to you, what do you need to do to make it happen?
Just like in work and your personal life, if you want to get serious about improvement, you must begin with a vision of what you want your relationship to look like. Careful! Before you get overly excited about giving your spouse a makeover, step away from the canvas. You want to co-create a vision with your spouse of your ideal relationship.
Once you've created the vision you both are pleased with, set small goals to turn your vision into reality. Remember, just as you cannot expect to train for a marathon in a weekend, you cannot expect your new vision of your relationship to magically appear overnight. Celebrate the small changes and keep working toward your goals a bit at a time.
To keep the momentum going, set dates in your calendar to revisit the goals and map your progress in creating your vision of your life together. It is extremely important to have fun doing this! This project of co-creation should be a joy for both of you. That's how you stay motivated when things don't go exactly as planned.
Remember, your vision is much more powerful when you put it in writing. It must be something you both feel passionate about. The problem with "happily ever after" is the expectation that it comes to you without you lifting a finger. Once you realize you can be an active participant in co-creating your own "happily ever after" with the one you love, you can see your dreams come true.
Copyright ©2010 by Michelle E. Vásquez. All Rights Reserved for all media.
Michelle E. Vásquez, MS, LPC, is an RCI Relationship Coach who helps singles and couples attract the life they want and create the relationships that bring them joy. She specializes in working with couples who are experiencing relationship difficulties as well as with singles who want to find the love of their life. Bilingual, English and Spanish speaking. www.trueloverelationshipcoaching.com 714.717.5744
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