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
New! Together Forever Club for committed couples. If you want to give yourself and your beloved a huge gift our Together Forever Club is free and a great way to show your love and commitment to your partner. Membership is free! Upon registration you will receive a membership certificate that includes our Five Promises to My Beloved. www.togetherforeverclub.com
Ask Our Coaches:
Stepping Off the Marriage-Go-Round: Re-thinking Re-marriage
"We've talked ... about getting married,
but I'm not sure that is the best route for me."
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 47 and have been together with my girlfriend for 2 years and everything is great. We've talked "around the edges" about getting married, but I'm not sure that is the best route for me. She understood, at the beginning that I was not interested in getting married again, but there might be a time in the future when I would possibly reconsider. I've not misled her in any way about my intentions. I've been married before and lost a great deal in my divorce.
I've read that second and subsequent marriages can suffer from divorce rates higher than the first! I've been mulling over the idea of our commitment. I love her dearly and would be happy to adopt her son and daughter as my own and move to the next step of living together. What do you think about re-marriage? When do you think it's a good idea or not? Would you ever recommend re-marriage when the chances of divorce are potentially so high? Is there a case for re-marriage?
Susana responds ...
As a divorce lawyer of thirty plus years and a relationship coach, I understand your concerns. If you want to protect your pre-marital and post-marital wealth, then invest in a well drafted pre-nuptial agreement. The rate of divorce is higher in subsequent marriages only because people go into them learning nothing from their past experiences. I had a client who married and divorced seven times!
It sounds like you may have some trust and intimacy issues which are understandable. If you love this woman as much as you seem to, perhaps the answer lies in doing some pre-commitment coaching to really establish compatibility and your ability to weather the inevitable rough times that come with any committed relationship. The two of you could engage in a process that would help you truly discover whether you have compatible visions for the relationship and what the potential hot spots will be.
Deal with them now. When your life is over, you won't regret losing a few dollars but you will regret being too frightened to grab true love because you didn't investigate whether this person is truly a soul mate. Never stop believing love is always possible.
Susana Gonzalez | www.completerelationshipcoaching.com | 1. 941.447.8231
Lori responds ...
As someone who got remarried at age 49, I can highly recommend it. I know that it is scary to think about going through the trauma of divorce again. Those second and third marriage statistics are frankly terrifying, yet you are thinking that marriage is a good thing. My guess is that you remember the feeling of real commitment, that marriage truly feels different than dating.
As an older, smarter, wiser person, you can go into the marriage with a pre-nuptial agreement, knowing ahead of time what your legal rights and obligations would be upon divorce. I recommend having a divorce mediator sit down with you both to design a win-win agreement. This should settle that nagging fear of "losing everything." Once this is done, you can then get down to the business of building a loving and committed life together.
There is a fabulous book called Mastering Marriage that you can do alone or with a coach. It leads you through thousands of questions and will help you know each other, your dreams, expectations, and you can draw up a marriage contract out of the agreements from this book. I wish you the best.
Lori Rubenstein | www.TranscendingDivorce.com
Jianny responds …
Your willingness to adopt your girlfriend's children demonstrates your commitment to them. If you are willing to put it all on the line for the children, what's keeping you from doing the same for the woman you "love…dearly"?
You indicated, "I've been married … and lost a great deal." The ugly truth about divorce is it's not supposed to happen. When it does, it tears apart two people, two hearts once joined as one. It's unnatural. It goes against everything innate in us. We were given breath to connect, relate and bond. Post divorce, you're left to pick up the pieces, to make sense of a world that's upside down and in a state of chaos. The good news is you can recover from divorce as you can from many traumas.
The question is not whether there's a case for re-marriage. The real question is, Are you willing to recover from your losses and open yourself again to committed marital love? It requires risk. Today, you're aware of the cost when it fails. Take your time. Complete your healing and chose love. Paradoxically, love is the antidote to your losses.
Jianny Adamo | www.fearlesslove.net | 1.954.495.4566
Doris responds …
From Post-it® Notes to happy marriages, the greatest successes usually emerge from mistakes. The Post-it® Notes inventor used his failure as a steppingstone to a major breakthrough. Partners in successful second marriages do the same thing. They take the time to ponder what didn't work before they recommit.
Although subsequent marriages suffer from divorce rates higher than a first marriage, it's not necessary if we learn and grow from our failures and resolve past pain. When we don't, we repeat the same mistakes over and over. As children, most of us were unconscious sponges, soaking up unhealthy patterns in our families. A relationship coach can help you discover your past relationship patterns and identify what you do and don't want to repeat. You'll learn why love isn't enough to sustain a relationship.
When you discover the essential ingredients of a successful marriage, you'll feel empowered. You'll always be "at choice." Because you'll know what you can influence or change, you'll never feel like a victim of circumstance or chance. Life is filled with unknowns. Hire a relationship coach so you can discover a shared vision and take an educated, healthy risk if you choose to remarry.
Doris Helge, Ph.D. | www.coachingbyDoris.com | 1.360.748.4365
Udall responds ...
Ken, "There might be a time in the future I might reconsider marriage." A misleading statement —definitely! You gave your girlfriend the hope of the possibility of marriage—in the future. You stayed in the relationship and, well, the future is now— 2 years later. During your two years together, your girlfriend expected that you would heal around the divorce and see her as marriage material. You are punishing your current love for the "sins" of your ex.
It's understandable you were burned by the divorce and the wound takes time to heal. Put conscious effort into the healing process. Uncover what you learned from the past relationship. Forgive yourself and your ex. If your wound is still open and possibly infected seek professional assistance.
For many, the ultimate commitment in a relationship is marriage. Stop "talking around the edges" about marriage and talk with your girlfriend honestly and openly about each of your expectations, requirements, needs, wants and vision for a relationship. Living together/playing house is not a substitution or a step toward marriage—unless you've proposed and given her a ring. Cohabitation does not ensure marriage success. Let go of your past and consciously make a choice about marriage.
Udall DeOleo | www.allaboutrelationships.us
Who to confide in -- and who NOT to!
by Shirley Vollett
One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world. -- Dr. E. H. Mayo
When we are seeking relationship advice — or a sounding board — we need to choose that listening ear with care. We need to protect our relationship from unhelpful or toxic influences, just as we would protect a treasured plant from inhospitable conditions in our garden.
In this day of instant information and advice, I hope these guidelines will help you select trustworthy advisors.
When we need to talk
We all have times when we need to talk about a concern or issue in our partnership or dating relationship. Perhaps we are upset about something that has happened, frustrated with a recurrent problem or unable to let go of resentment. At such times, it can be helpful to talk it out with someone. And it is in our best interests to choose that "someone" consciously and wisely.
I confess that I was horrified to learn about an Internet site designed to help people decide whether or not to leave their marriage. Individuals post their marital problems and then ask for others' advice on whether or not they should leave. Anyone can weigh in with their opinion. Yikes! I liken this to someone with a health issue, who solicits advice from anyone and everyone — regardless of their medical knowledge and experience.
Consider the risk
I believe there is a real danger in exposing your precious primary relationship to the opinions and judgments of others, without discrimination. I believe we need to be responsible for who we permit to influence us.
This is doubly important when we are upset or struggling with a relationship challenge. At such a time, we are emotionally vulnerable – perhaps confused — and we are additionally susceptible to the influence of others.
If we receive wise counsel at such a time, we can experience a breakthrough in our own personal and relational growth. If we receive poor counsel, we may get stuck or side-tracked in a way that isn't at all helpful to our relationship and may actually harm it.
What to look for
When in need of positive support, here are some guidelines of what to look for in a confidant:
- Someone who sees you as a responsible choice-maker, not a victim of your circumstances.
- Someone who is supportive of you as an individual and is also supportive of your relationship.
- Someone who will listen with loving kindness, yet also give honest feedback when asked.
- Someone who accepts and respects you and your decisions.
- Someone who conducts themselves in relationships in a way that you respect and admire.
- Someone who will celebrate your relationship success.
Watch for these red flags
When you are looking for constructive relationship support, I suggest you avoid the following:
- Someone who can't keep a confidence. The last thing you need is to have the privacy of your relationship compromised or gossiped about.
- Someone who will blame or judge your partner or will collude with you in blaming your partner. Blaming will not solve the problem or help you connect with your own power. It is a tempting side-track that never leads to problem resolution. Blaming will keep you angry and stuck.
- Someone who has an "axe to grind" or is chronically negative — about men, women, relationships, etc. Such an individual has a negative agenda and may be looking for proof of their perceptions. They won't be able to hear you objectively or listen with an open mind.
- Someone who thinks they know what you need/want/should do better than you do. This individual will want to tell you what to do, rather than listen for what you want.
- Someone who isn't supportive of your relationship succeeding. This person may look for an opportunity to say "I told you so," rather than help you constructively resolve the situation.
- Someone who doesn't respect your relationship values.
Choose the best
So be discriminating about who you confide in and who you don't. Nourish yourself and your relationship by choosing your relationship confidants wisely. Protect your partnership from toxic opinions or advice and feed it with the best of influences.
Invitation to action
Ask yourself: Where do I get relationship support or advice when I need it? Is it effective and helpful?
If you have positive supporters, that's wonderful. Let those special individuals know how much you appreciate them. You will make their day! If you lack the support you desire, use the guidelines above to evaluate your current confidants and make requests for change or cultivate new relationships (either personal or professional) to give you the wise support that you know is best for you and your relationship.
Copyright ©2011 by Shirley Vollett. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Shirley Vollett, BSW PCC is a Life and Relationship Coach, with over 20 years of combined experience in counseling and coaching. She delights in helping pro-active individuals make positive changes in their lives, their work/business and their relationships. http://shirley.vollett.com
Tending the Garden: 5 Tips to Keep Your Relationship Thriving
by Tara Kachaturoff
A relationship is a lot like a garden. It needs to be cultivated and tended to in order to thrive. The little steps you take today will make all the difference in you enjoying beautiful flowers, fruits and vegetables at the end of the summer. Like the gardener, you can enjoy a thriving relationship by taking similar steps to grow, maintain, and sustain an enjoyable future with the one you love.
#1 Have a Vision of What is Possible. Gardens don't plant themselves. They start with the gardener's vision. From where and what to plant, to the best time to plant, the gardener spends time thinking about what he or she wants as a final outcome before the first shovel of dirt is ever turned over.
The same principle applies to your relationship. It's important to have a vision for what both of you desire. This doesn't need to be documented on paper, complex, or a life effort of work. It can be as simple as a drawing, a few words on a card, or a collage of pictures that tells the story of what's most important to you and your partner.
Whether you met 3 months ago or 30 years ago, it's never too late to think about what you want in and for your relationship. The vision for what you want is like a road map. You can continue to access it while on the journey of life. It helps you focus and move in the right direction. It also helps you make decisions when you come to a fork in the road.
Think about the big picture. What's the theme for your relationship? What do you want it to represent? What are you envisioning at the end of your life journey? Take the time to think about what you want, both separately and together, and then work towards those goals to make each and every moment meaningful. A shared vision that you both co-create will allow both of you to fulfill your desires more quickly and easily.
#2. Think About What You Want to Plant. Just as a gardener must decide what to plant, you and your partner should consider your values as signs of what to include in your relationship. Your values, both those you possess individually, as well as those you share in common, determine to a great extent what grows in your relationship. They will help you to "plant" the right things so your relationship can grow and sustain for the long term.
Take a moment to write down your top five or ten values. If you're living in synchronicity with your values, you'll notice that many of the people and activities in which you engage are aligned with those values. For example, if self-expression is a strong value, you might be involved with activities that involve writing, speaking, or artwork.
If your partner completes the same exercise, you'll be able to find the values you have in common and use those to guide your relationship in a direction that resonates with both of you. Certainly you won't always share the exact same values and that's good and fine.
Planning activities that support your shared values are like "planting" experiences into your relationship which will allow it to thrive. For example, if you both have a shared value of philanthropy, you both might want to start a charity, go overseas to donate time and resources to those in underserved countries, or work with at-risk children in your own city.
Take a close look at your values, your own and the ones you share and use those to determine what you want to see manifest. Creating and enjoying experiences rooted in common values will deepen your relationship in magnificent ways.
#3 Pay Attention to How Things Grow. Sometimes you plant things in ways you didn't intend. Perhaps you didn't allow enough space for growth or enough sunshine to shine through or you made some other misstep. Or, maybe you planted some seeds and they failed to germinate. No worries. By paying attention to things as they grow (or don't grow), you can thin things out, transplant, or consider moving things to pots or other parts of the yard. You can even replant something if it didn't take the first time.
Likewise, in your relationship, you must pay attention to what grows. Are you responding to your partner with the same level of attention you did when you first met, or do you barely raise an eye as you continue reading your morning paper or playing on the computer? Are you in the habit of spending more time with hobbies and friends, separate from your loved one, or are you making sure you balance your time in the way that keeps you both engaged in a conscious relationship.
It's easy to fall into ruts that take you away from your relationship. It's easy to take someone for granted thinking they'll always be there because up until now they have been. Don't live out your days thinking your partner will always be there. Sometimes the things you do (and don't do) can take you in some unplanned and unintended directions.
Self-awareness and a conscientious effort to understand how your thoughts and actions impact your relationship can make a difference in the quality of the life you enjoy together. Be vigilant as to what may be growing in your relationship. As they say, that which grows results from where your attention goes. For something to thrive in our relationship, make it a priority to give it the necessary attention it deserves.
#4 Weed Regularly. Every gardener must engage in a regular routine of weeding. Ridding the garden of things that don't belong is necessary to provide the optimum growing environment for the plants that do belong. Unwanted weeds take up space, sap resources like water and nutrients from the soil, and can block out much needed sunlight from other plants.
Your relationship requires the same sort of regular tending. You need to rid your relationships of bad habits, unwanted behaviors, and sometimes people and activities that serve to lessen your connection with your loved one. You need strong boundaries that protect the relationship so it can flourish. Having a strong vision for the relationship, not to mention engaging in activities that embrace your common values, will help keep your relationship on track.
Weeding is not an activity you do once, but something you must do all the time — and together. It takes two to build a relationship, two to grow it and two to sustain it for the long-term. Look at it as a way to refresh and re-energize your relationship. We all know how a beautiful a well-tended garden looks. Imagine how wonderful you'll feel having a well-tended relationship!
#5 Enjoy the fruits of your labors. Whether enjoying newly cut flowers in a vase or the taste of fruits and vegetables plucked fresh from the garden, there's nothing more delightful to a gardener than celebrating the result of a lot of hard work.
The same can be true for your relationship. Each moment you share and every year that passes should be one that is savored, enjoyed, and memorable. After all, deepening your love for one another, enjoying your time together, creating connection and truly walking together through the good times and bad are what a relationship is all about.
Taking time to memorialize your relationship with special events or anniversaries can be a creative and fun way to consciously acknowledge your efforts to work together to create a thriving relationship.
Finally, just like a gardener contacts others for advice about particular situations that demand expert input, keep an open mind to contacting a relationship coach or therapist should you need assistance with relationship issues.
There's no honor in suffering, alone or together, when professionals who can help you discover more about yourself and enrich your relationship are just a call away. Life is easier and more enjoyable when you ask for the help you need.
Copyright © 2011 by Tara Kachaturoff. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Tara Kachaturoff is a Master Certified Coach for Singles. Since 2003, she has coached hundreds of single men and women to create better dating relationships through her onsite and teleseminar courses. Tara is also the newsletter editor for the Relationship Coaching Institute (RCI). Her personal site is www.relationshipplanning.com.
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