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
Monthly Conscious Relationship Seminar
Join us monthly for our Conscious Relationship Seminars. On May 9 , 2012, we'll be featuringRabbi Ed Weinsberg, Ed.D., DD. He'll be discussing Reigniting Intimacy After Major Illness.
Experiencing major illness does not need to mean the end of sex or intimacy. Join the discussion with Rabbi Ed Weinsberg, Ed.D., DD.,
Healthcare Educator, Intimacy Coach and AASECT-Certified Sexuality Counselor.
In this program Rabbi Ed will share:
— His Cancer Journey and Mission
— When Major Illnesses Disrupt Intimacy
— Three Strategies for Reigniting Intimacy and Sexuality
1."Making Love" versus "Having Sex"
2. The S-T-I-C-K Method for Whole-Body Sex
3. Open Communication
— Invitation to Greater Intimacy & Sexuality
— Q & A and Case Studies
Visit http://consciousrelationshipseminars.com/ for information on how to join this call.
Ask Our Coaches:
To commit -- or not
"My gut just tells me this isn't right..."
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've been dating my girlfriend for almost 4 years – we're both in our thirties. We definitely love each other. She and I have been discussing marriage, albeit casually, over the past year. I'm thinking of proposing to her in July. That being said, the closer I get to that date, the less secure I feel about it. I just don't feel great about this decision.
A friend of mine said it's because I fear commitment. Another one said it's because she's not "the One." My gut just tells me this isn't right and yet there's nothing going on in the relationship that would otherwise inform a decision to not move forward. Is this some sort of prediction of things to come? Should I re-think moving forward with a proposal? What's your advice?
Jackie responds ...
It sounds like you are paying exquisite attention to your thoughts and feelings about the decision to propose in July or not. Let's shift the focus from proposing or not, to how you might become conscious and objective about the future of your relationship.
Are you clear about what strengths, relationship skills, talents and natural abilities you bring to the table? Can you articulate your legitimate needs and wants and your non-negotiable relationship requirements? Do you believe that you have a good understanding of what your girlfriend expects of you if you become her committed partner?
Love is NOT enough! A lasting, happy marriage doesn't just happen – it is co-created and nurtured through commitment and intention.
This is the perfect time to explore if you and your girlfriend are a good match to build a lasting, committed love relationship and to lay a solid foundation for the future based on values, deliberate intention and a shared vision and purpose.
I invite you to consider hiring a Relationship Coach and doing some Pre-Commitment Coaching. It's time to get clear about whether this relationship is right for you and co-create a conscious space to make decisions to move forward or not.
Dr. Jackie Black | www.DrJackieBlack.com
Anita responds ...
Congratulations Roy! Something within you has shifted gears in wanting to move on up from dating to marriage. That's a wonderful experience to feel and I'm sure nerve-wracking, too, for that exact reason. Sometimes people tend to think marriage changes everything. That only depends upon the solidity of the foundation built within your relationship prior to choosing marriage.
Relationships have the potential to bloom or bust, whether married or dating, and it all relies on perspectives, expectations and overall compatibility. Ask yourself a few questions:
1. What is holding me back from wanting to marry?
2. What has changed between me and my girlfriend since we began dating?
3. What will change after we wed?
If you answer all three with "nothing much" or something similar, breathe easy! Love is love and you're simply celebrating your love for each other with a ceremony filled with friends and family to support you and her in your decision to be together.
If you have concern in your answer, it's best to turn to your girlfriend and talk about it. She is your partner and may provide you the answers you need to help you gravitate toward the best decision.
Anita Myers | http://thedatinggps.com
Susana responds ...
You appear to have a stable and loving relationship as evidenced by the length and love you describe.
I also hear, I believe, what is normal and healthy questioning before moving forward with a such profound life-altering decision like marriage. I think you are being extremely honest and mindful with yourself.
As a relationship coach, I believe you are doing everything right in taking it slow, questioning and seeking help. I hear you want to be absolutely clear about what your questioning means before taking the next step.
Coaching with a qualified relationship coach can help you and your girlfriend consciously evaluate each of your current requirements, needs, wants and goals which will help you discover, together, potential hotspots of incompatibility. Once you have this clarity, coaching can provide you invaluable tools to help you deal with these hotspots so as to insure a truly intimate and successful marriage.
Coaching can also help you individually discover if you have unresolved commitment issues which can be addressed and dealt with within the coaching process. I wish more people came into their marriages with the love and questioning you bring to your relationship. Bravo on your courage and openness.
Susana Gonzalez | www.completerelationshipcoaching.com | 1.941.447.8231
Nina responds ...
Thank you for taking the decision to propose seriously. I recommend both of you take the free assessment for Pre-Commitment available at CoupleForLife.com. Do it privately and then discuss them together to learn more about what you need to do before making this important decision.
Most couples are convinced they are marrying "the right one." Half of these couples end up divorced and the other half go through periods of doubt throughout their marriage. This is a natural process that all relationships go through. About 18 to 24 months into the relationship, you will go into a Post-Rapture phase.
Now you will toggle between the Power Struggle phase where you develop autonomy within the relationship and the "Stability/Maturity" phase where you accept each other's autonomy within the relationship.
This can lead you to think you are bored or unsuitable for each other, however it's really an opportunity for growth and expansion into the Bliss/Co-Creation Phase.
It's time to assess who you are (your values, desires, and dreams), where you are going (your life vision) and if you and your girlfriend share the same values and vision for your future.
Nina Potter | ninapotter.relationshipcoach.org | 1.651.773.0732
Jianny responds ...
Your question gives no indication that you are settling. What your gut may be experiencing is pre-marriage jitters. Marriage jitters is a form of anxiety. A little anxiety before taking on something new is normal and healthy. It helps you to focus, prepare, and to take action with precision.
Have you ever wanted six-pack abs or a promotion at work? Success is the direct result of making and keeping commitments to yourself and others. Until you have committed, goals are irrelevant, dreams are useless and hopes are no more than a pipe dream. Your power is in your commitment. The success of your relationship lies in your ability to commit. It will ensure that when the tough times come, and they usually do in any relationship, that you have the drive to see things through until they are resolved.
Commitment inspires you to perform to the best of your abilities. It protects and strengthens your credibility and reputation with yourself and others. Commitment provides you with passionate energy, fills you with confidence and leaves you with a sense of pride that's priceless. Commitment is not just about your loved one, it's about your honor.
Jianny Adamo | www.fearlesslove.net | 1.954.495.4566
Agreements - The Road Map
by Dr. Jackie Black
Making and keeping agreements and commitments is a fundamental ingredient of any relationship. It is one of the cornerstones of a committed love relationship. It is vital that partners know in the deepest part of their being that they can count on the promises and assurances offered by their beloved.
Not honoring the agreements or commitments you make is a betrayal of your partner and of your relationship. It constitutes a breach of trust. In a long-term, primary, monogamous love relationship we make agreements and commitments to each other AND to the relationship.
Think of the relationship itself this way: When you and your partner join the many facets of your lives together, you create a third energy, the relationship, that lives and breathes as its own entity; an entity that you are entrusted to guard and protect, nurture and care for. Making and keeping agreements and commitments is one of the ways couples make that happen.
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:
1. Clarify you personal values.
2. Clarify your Vision as an individual.
3. 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?
5-Simple Steps to Making and Honoring Agreements and Commitments
1. Make agreements and commitments in good faith and with good intention.
2. Only make agreements and commitments you believe you are able and willing to honor.
3. Tell your partner the minute you become aware that you may not be able to honor an agreement or a commitment. Let him or her know that (a) you made the commitment or the agreement in good faith and with every intention to honor it; (b) you have become aware that you are having trouble honoring it; (c) you want to renegotiate the agreement or commitment as soon as possible.
4. Renegotiate the agreement or commitment WITH your partner. Invite his or her participation and feedback in this process. Remember: You made the agreement or commitment for a reason. Your partner has legitimate expectations and may be disappointed by having to renegotiate things. Be patient, compassionate, and listen to everything s/he has to say. The process of re-negotiating is as important as agreeing or committing to something new.
5. Be gentle with yourself and your partner. This is a new skill you are practicing and it will probably feel uncomfortable the first few times.
Find your courage and keep going. It worth it! Remember, only You can make it happen!
Copyright © 2012 Dr. Jackie Black, LLC. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Jackie Black, Ph.D., BCC 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 marriage-minded singles, pre-married, newly-married, new parents, couples wanting to make a good marriage better, couples in trouble, couples facing illness, and those grieving the death of a loved one. www.DrJackieBlack.com
Love Defined: From attraction to a lifelong commitment of true love!
By Jianny Adamo
Everyone wants love but not everyone finds it. Interestingly enough, when you love or are in love, you know exactly what it is. Love paints our view of the world and bestows purpose and meaning to life. Somehow, when love is absent or lost, amnesia sets in. It's hard to define love; you ask if it's even real. You are either on a journey toward love or on a journey to defy it.
Love is Driven by Chemistry
Love is fluid, offering different flavors and depths. In the attraction phase, being in love is an emotion producing strong affection and obsession for another. It's driven by chemistry racing around your brain and body, an experience many poets and artists have written about. It's euphoric and cannot be understood unless you have experienced it yourself.
This experience is a hallmark of new love, marked with preoccupation with your beloved and making the world around you disappear. It transcends time and commands your attention. A three-hour conversation with your beloved can seem like a blink of an eye when smitten with love. Existence quickly moves from okay to "I can climb Mount Everest" simply because of your experience with love.
However, not every relationship experiences such a high, nor does experiencing this bliss determine the longevity of your relationship. Dopamine, the pleasure chemical in your brain, norepinephrine, which produces the racing heart and excitement, and endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, act like magnets bringing lovers together in ecstasy.
This chemical reaction produces a dependency on your love object. For some, the need for this natural high has tripped them up to becoming addicted to love, cycling through relationships looking for the next rush. On average, this phase lasts 18 to 36 months and is nature's way of attracting us into venturing into "real" love.
From Attraction to Attachment
Consider the attraction phase the prelude. Many relationships naturally phase out here when there isn't enough interest, commonalities or shared values and goals. For those that continue, the next phase is attachment. The attachment phase centers on commitment. You've moved through the fantasy and are ready to embrace real love. It's as if, in the attraction phase, all the possibilities of what this love can bring flashes before your eyes and in the attachment phase you get to build it -- together.
Playing a key role in this stage are oxytocin, vasopressin and endorphins which are released when having sex and when engaging in things that makes you feel close to your partner. They produce a general sense of well-being including feeling soothed, peaceful and secure which leads to happy feelings and deeper attachment. The commitment or attachment needs to be strong as problems and distractions will arise testing your patience, your love and, at times, push you over the edge.
Attachment and Commitment
Attachment and commitment are central in long-term relationships. Marriage cannot happen without these key ingredients. The pathways to attachment and commitment are developed initially in infancy with your primary caregiver. This is part of your emotional and social development and is necessary for your survival.
As an infant, you attached to adults who were sensitive, responsive and consistent in their care for you. These caregivers or attachment figures became a source of security and based on their responses, you developed patterns of attachment. These primary relationships became your relationship blueprint guiding your perceptions, emotions, beliefs and expectations for future romantic relationships. This is why when you fall in love it feels like you have always known him or her -- your other half.
There's a lot of work that goes on in this phase. You are building a home and a life together; you're establishing careers, and perhaps raising a family. At times, your different styles and personalities harmonize and at other times, clash. What's important here is to be sensitive, responsive and consistent. Be present and available to your partner and your relationship. Checking out mentally or emotionally can run the peril of riding a runaway train with no one at the helm.
It Takes Conscious Effort to Ensure Relationship Success
It takes conscious effort to maintain attitudes that ensure the success of your relationship. To keep you together, a perspective of a glass half-full works better than the glass half-empty. It's important you see the best in your mate; acknowledge and appreciate each other. The actions and the choices you make, even when you don't feel in love and at times may even question it, determine whether or not you sustain a satisfying relationship and keep love alive.
In real love, your attitudes matter. Your actions matter. The choices you make matter. Being responsible matters. Having fun matters. Pleasure matters. Real love brings two strangers together for the dance of a lifetime. It gives you the opportunity to co-create the lives you desire and leads to deep personal growth and fulfillment like no other relationship offers.
In real love, each partner takes great care to satisfy the other's needs and regards the other as his or her most valued prize -- held in high esteem and with gratitude. There is a great sense of security and freedom in this form of love which comes with time. Statistically, lasting love has a greater chance in marriage than in cohabitation. Perhaps, it's for the single notion of commitment.
Real love guides us to live in peace and with vitality. It teaches us to have courage to face and rise above the challenges life brings. It inspires us to a spirit of generosity and kindness. It leads us to live with dignity and honor. And it reminds us to be quick to forgive as this is the journey of love.
Copyright © 2012 Jianny Adamo. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Jianny Adamo, MA, supports singles and couples to break through fears and limitations and to embrace a rewarding life that's centered on freedom to love, ability to connect deeply and live with purpose. Jianny is a registered psychotherapist in NJ and FL, National Certified Counselor, relationship coach, and author. www.fearlesslove.net
Couple For Life Resources
RCI has made available 35 recordings of presentations by the world's leading relationship experts. To access these recording from our Conscious Relationship Summit go to: http://www.ConsciousRelationshipSummit.com
For free relationship assessments and resources for couples visit our web site at www.coupleforlife.com
Get a Relationship Coach!
Check out our coaches at: www.coupleforlife.com/find-a-coach/
Simply select one of our qualified relationship coaches and we'll be happy to meet with you over the telephone at your convenience for a complimentary 30-minute session. If you haven't done this before, you'll find that it's extremely helpful to talk about your relationship with a neutral third party who is a professional relationship coach. Try it!
Check out our Conscious Mating Audio Programs
Please share this with couples who you care about.
Links to Us
Tara Kachaturoff | Editor, PartnersInLife.org Couples News Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
Relationship Coaching Institute's free introductory training! relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
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