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Ask Our Coaches:
Double Feature: Am I the problem?
"I don't want to fail -- again. What should I do?"
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'm 45 and have been married two years. This is my second marriage. The first one ended in divorce about 7 years ago. My husband and I have been having difficulties for the past year. We argue a lot and we seem to be growing apart. We just don't seem to connect - mentally, emotionally, and even in some of the activities that we seemed to enjoy early on in our relationship.
For me, this seems to be a replay of what happened in my first marriage. I want to think that I've learned something from the first marriage of almost 16 years. Now it's like a replay of the first. I hate to think that I'm the only common denominator in the problems that I've now experienced in two marriages. I don't want to fail -- again. What should I do? Any thoughts?
Cheryl from San Antonio
Randy responds …
No, you are not the "common denominator" of this problem. The common denominator is the lack of knowledge about love relationships.
There are two ingredients that must be present for love to succeed: (1) true chemical attraction (not just sex), and (2) emotional maturity (not just professional competence). These ingredients must be present in both people, to a reasonable degree.
Since your question does not indicate anything about either of these ingredients, I must assume that you are not very knowledgeable about them, their importance, or how they interact. You are not alone in this!
And, it is likely that neither of your husbands understand these things, and therefore the relationships naturally have gone downhill.
This downhill slide can be arrested if there is sufficient attraction and maturity, and if you start a program of learning. A good learning program can involve books, seminars, or coaching. It should include information on how to measure attraction and maturity. There are many ways to approach it.
It would be best if your husband would also participate, however you should not make that a condition of your own personal growth.
Randy Hurlburt | www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com
Mari responds …
It's great that you're being proactive and making efforts to rectify the problems you're encountering.
One thing I would mention is that attitude invites action, which in turn creates situations. Believing that you are replaying your first marriage will unconsciously cause you to act in the same ways you did previously, which will, of course, create some of the same untenable situations you encountered years ago with your first husband.
So, first of all, nourish those areas where you have the most in common and which you agree upon. Put extra energy into making them more meaningful and exciting. Next, by all means, meet with your spouse and identify the areas where you disconnect and argue, and judge their importance. Once you've done that, notice the argumentative responses that appear to worsen the situation and provoke anger or resentment, and work on developing responses that provide win/win solutions.
Everyone disagrees from time to time, but disagreements can certainly be handled without arguments. Identify both your requirements and needs in the relationship and make every effort to agree upon remedies that will break any existing stalemates.
Mari Lyles | 1.301.249.0979
Colette responds …
It sounds as though you and your husband are having trouble communicating, and this has led to your emotional disconnection. In order to maintain healthy communication you must avoid these four common pitfalls: criticizing, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.
Essentially, criticizing your partner with the attempt to make you right and him wrong is detrimental to the health of your relationship. Name-calling when you are upset is also very hard to recover from. If you become defensive with your partner, you are sending the message that he is wrong and you don't trust him. Finally, if you withdraw from him and the relationship to avoid conflict, you leave him feeling as if there is no hope.
The remedy? Conscious communication! Learn to make specific complaints and requests (when X happened, I felt Y and I would prefer Z instead.) Validate your partner. Let him know that you understand his point of view. Appreciate your partner. Let him know when he does something you like, no matter how small it is. And finally, claim responsibility. If you are "wrong," be strong and admit it.
Colette Kenney | www.colettekenney.com | 1.403.999.9548
Bill responds …
Be brilliant! Go ahead and declare "yourself" as the common denominator. In fact it is probably the single most powerful thing you can ever do and fully understand. That awareness can alter your life experience and everything in it, including your marriage and all of your intimate relationships. It is the place to begin and continue from.
Your burgeoning awareness that your world view and results comes only from what you think, say and act on, will put you in the driver's seat of the life you have now and what you will continue to create.
Once you embrace that outcomes in your life are a direct result of those three factors, you can consciously begin to powerfully choose and create inside every realm of your life and begin to have all that you want and the way you want it.
Regarding your current marriage, from the above stated position, ask yourself these questions. What would I have to be thinking to have the most outstanding marriage I have ever known? What language/words would I speak to myself and the world if that were so? What inspired actions might present if I were living from this powerful perspective?
Bill Paglia-Scheff | www.extraordinaryrelationship.blogspot.com | 1.860.209.9254
Candace responds ...
You ask an excellent, timely question! What you can indeed do is take total responsibility for your life and your choices and map out a plan for success. Old patterns do re-emerge in subsequent marriages so understanding all your previous relationships and what you liked and didn't like about them would be a first step toward noticing the effect of specific behaviors and traits.
Also, couples do typically move through a transition at around 2 years of marriage when the passion that originally fueled the relationship starts to cool, and each person begins to assert their personalities more overtly. You find out who you really married when this happens.
Allowing differences to exist between you will release some of the pressure. Make a concerted effort to get to know your partner at a deeper level while continuing to play and treat each other as you did while dating. This will be gratifying and stoke the fires of love.
There is a world of knowledge that, when applied, will make the difference between success and failure. This would be a great time to enlist the aid of a relationship coach who could help you adopt skills that would turn your ship around!
CandaceBrindley | www.Rich-Relationships.com | 220.127.116.1113
Making Agreements You Can Keep
by Dr. Jackie Black
Life is an ongoing process of creating agreements with others. An effective agreement means more than getting another person to do what you want. It means buy-in and true commitment from both people.
Your overall effectiveness in making and honoring agreements is greatly increased if you pay attention to three important elements:
• Clarify you personal values
• Clarify your vision as an individual
• Clarify your vision and purpose as a couple
These three pieces will provide a strong foundation from which to commit to your agreements and achieve more consistent and satisfying results.
The Road Map for Success
Success is an almost certainty when both partners keep their agreements. Success is certainly at risk if one person doesn't keep his or her agreements.
Most couples have hopes and dreams, and desires and expectations. They establish goals and make commitments that are developed from a joint visioning process; a process that expresses an inclusive vision of desired outcomes; their road map to success!
Another way to look at this is that we join forces with others by forming agreements. Agreements are expressed in writing or verbally during very intentional conversations. Most of us have never learned how to craft effective, explicit agreements. It is a skill we were never taught, even though it is fundamental to all relationships and a basic life skill.
• Are you a committed couple who is strengthening your bond and deepening your intimacy and trust day-by-day and year-by-year?
• Are you engaging in meaningful family and work relationships and friendships, and asking for what you want, saying your real "yes" and your real "no" and hearing others who may be asking you for something?
• Are you crafting agreements consciously and with intention?
• Do you expect others to honor their agreements and commitments and do you intend to honor yours?
Whether you are a committed couple or an amazing singleton, as they call it in the UK, let's educate ourselves about agreements, commitments, boundaries, conflict, and fidelity. Let's start risking being our deepest most magnificent selves! Join me and let's start today! Remember, only YOU can make it happen!
Copyright ©2010 by Dr. Jackie Black. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Jackie Black, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized Relationship Expert, Educator, Author and Coach, and an RCI Licensed Relationship Coach for Singles and Couples. She coaches men and women who are single again, pre-married, newly-married, new parents, couples in trouble, couples facing illness, and those grieving the death of a loved one. www.DrJackieBlack.com
What if your "2nd Time Around"
is on the Rocks?
by Randy Hurlburt
Consider this situation: you've already had one marriage or relationship fail, and now your current one is on the edge of a breakup. What's happening? What should you do?
If you are in this situation you are probably feeling discouraged and scared, and may be wondering "Is it me?" or "What am I doing wrong?"
If you're like most women, you don't relish the idea of being back into the dating world, competing with younger women, and dealing with men who don't know what they want.
Here's how you can infuse life back into your current relationship, but first...
Here is the story of Sara (not her real name). After 8 years of marriage Sara and her husband finally divorced. After four frustrating years of dating she met Dan, and it seemed like her dream would finally be fulfilled. Then two years later he said he wasn't sure if he wanted the relationship any more, filling her with anguish and dread.
We worked through the issues confronting her relationship. She found that she was still doing the same things in the new relationship that she had in the first one (the one that failed), applying the relationship skills she had learned at home and in her 20's. She came to see that she needed to acquire new relationship skills appropriate to her current stage of life.
Sara's attitude changed from wondering "am I too old?" to one of "I now know how to please a man better than any 20-something woman can."
And now she is happy and content in her relationship, and her lover is thrilled with the new woman she has become.
What are the new skills that Sara learned (and that you can learn also)?
- First, she learned to substitute knowledge for youth. She still keeps herself looking good, but she has learned the inner workings of her man's mind and how to keep him interested beyond the transience of physical beauty.
- Second, she has learned to find enough sources of fulfillment that she does not have to get all her needs met from her primary relationship. This allows her to be less demanding and allows him to come back close to her.
- Third, she has learned to live in the present, enjoy what she has, and appreciate him, rather than always trying to change him.
- Finally, she has developed communication skills that allow her to constructively negotiate relationship improvements that result in both her and her partner getting their needs met.
You, too, can learn these skills and make your current relationship bring you fulfillment for life.
Copyright ©2010 by Randy Hurlburt. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Randy Hurlburt is an internationally acclaimed relationship coach, speaker, and author. In his worldwide relationship coaching practice, Randy is dedicated to helping singles and couples find extraordinary love by breaking the rules of cultural conditioning. He has two books,"Love Is Not A Game" and "Partners in Love and Crime." www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com 1.858.455.0799
For More Information
RCI has made available 35 recordings of presentations by the world's leading relationship experts. To access these recording from our '2009 Conscious Relationship Summit' go to: http://www.ConsciousRelationshipSummit.com
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