JULY 2013

In this issue:

Free Online Assessment

Confidential online assessment for your relationship. Access here


Five Keys to a Radical Marriage

By David Steele, MA, LMFT

rad.i.cal (adjective): very different from the usual or traditional

Most couples don't want an ordinary, boring, routine relationship. They want excitement, fun, closeness, love.
When we get married we make vows to be together until death do us part. That's a long time, and sadly, half of marriages don't or can't keep that commitment. We have a dream or vision of how we want our life together to be. We become unhappy if we're too far off track from that dream. If we don't believe our dream is possible we feel hopeless, stuck, and eventually leave the marriage mentally, emotionally, and often physically.

The current marriage rate is at an all time low (51%) and 44% of millenials believe that marriage is obsolete. And who can blame them? Looking around at their parents marriage and others, they see more downsides than benefits. Thankfully, as they mature their attitude towards marriage gets warmer. More here

While traditional marriage may be on the decline, marriage has many benefits and an important role in our society, but it's clear that it's time for marriage to evolve. We need a new paradigm for marriage as a clear path to happiness and fulfillment, rather than shackles holding us back from living life to the fullest.

When "Good" Isn't Good Enough

We need comfort and security. When our life or relationship is challenging, this becomes our goal and priority. But when our life is "good" together, then what? When we don't move, we atrophy. Our nature is to continue evolving and the comfort and security we craved earlier can result in boredom and even unhappiness.

Given our nature and the reality that things constantly change, enthusiastically embracing change and evolution as an adventure seems to be the key to happiness and fulfillment, and resisting change seems to almost guarantee eventual misery.

Happiness vs. Fulfillment

It's fascinating that what made us happy before eventually becomes no longer good enough. This is because there's a difference between "happiness" and "fulfillment." Happiness is transient and what makes you "happy" can change from moment to moment, while "fulfillment" is about meeting deeper needs and is more lasting.

But what are these deeper needs? We need to be loved, and we need to express love. We need comfort and security but we also need variety and excitement. We need meaning and purpose, even if we don't know what that is.

We need to grow and evolve, even though change is stressful and challenging. We need rest and relaxation, and we need to be active, busy and productive. Fulfillment seems to demand continuous conscious awareness, intention, effort, and learning, and there doesn't seem to be a neat formula that says "Do THIS and you'll live happily ever after!"

Marriage is a Journey, Not a Destination

With our complex needs and constant evolution it seems that how we walk together is more important than how we sit together. Being willing to take a risk seems to be more important than seeking comfort. Embracing the journey into the unknown seems to be the key to a lasting, fulfilling, "radical" marriage.

So, What is a "Radical Marriage"?

What does a Radical Marriage look like? No-one really knows because this is largely uncharted

territory and individual for each couple. You can see glimpses in other couple relationships when they seem incredibly connected and in love, long after their honeymoon. These are the couples that inspire you to think "I want to be like THAT!"

   Have you ever had that experience?
   Do you know any couples like that?

When you step into the unknown and view your life and marriage as a constantly evolving adventure, you're always living a bit on the edge, pushing the envelope just a little bit each day. Just like good physical health requires some discipline to eat well and exercise regularly, a Radical Marriage seems to require continual effort by BOTH partners in these five areas:

Five Keys to a Radical Marriage

  1. Radical Commitment: Beyond your marriage vows, you both are absolutely, 100% committed to your marriage, no matter what and you are as committed to your partner's happiness as your own. You each take 100% responsibility for the relationship, your experience in the relationship, and your outcomes.
    More here

  2. Radical Intimacy: You are completely transparent to your partner, don't hold anything back, and share all your thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, fantasies and desires.
    More here

  3. Radical Romance: You continually express your love, appreciation, attraction and adoration for your partner in words and actions and don't take your relationship for granted or allow passion to be replaced by routine.
    More here

  4. Radical Sex: Beyond satisfying physical urges, you consciously seek and experience emotional, physical, and spiritual connection every day, continually exploring new ways to express love and pleasure your partner and allowing yourself to be loved and pleasured.
    More here

  5. Radical Living: Beyond survival and comfort, you consciously design your lifestyle together, develop your shared vision and goals, devote time and resources to realizing your dreams in each moment together as well as prioritizing your goals and preparing for your future. You are aware of how short your time is on this planet and savor each precious moment of life and being together.

Is a Radical Marriage For You?

Radical Marriage isn't for everyone. It requires a strong relationship, so if your marriage is struggling, focusing on functional basics must be your priority (a good place to start is here).

A Radical Marriage requires a willingness to take risks, overcome resistance and experience a bit of fear, which can induce stress and anxiety when you're more wired for comfort and security. It requires inviting and embracing evolution and change, which is against the grain for those who crave routine. It requires TWO willing participants, so if your partner isn't on the same page, that's where you must start. It requires growth, effort, and learning; while strongly desired by some, others would rather watch TV, drink beer, and fall asleep on the couch. If you're still reading this, chances are good that a Radical Marriage is for you!

Radical Marriage is for couples with a good relationship who strongly believe that they are together for a reason, which is to experience life to the fullest through their relationship.

Copyright © by David Steele and The Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

David Steele, MA, LMFT is founder of Relationship Coaching Institute.

For more information and free Radical Marriage resources for couples visit www.radicalmarriage.com

Ask Our Coaches

Help! My Partner is Crossing the Line!

Dear Coaches,

Do you have any recommendations for couples dealing with boundary issues? My partner is an extrovert, I am an introvert.

I feel "violated" when he makes independent plans with my friends, reorganizes my music collection, and expects me to help him with home-remodeling tasks at his old house in his hometown.

He feels "violated" when I attempt to impose boundaries related to these matters. I am losing my feeling of connection with him because it feels like I'm being disrespected and dismissed. Ideas?


Nina responds ...

It sounds like you two are in competition to be the biggest victim. There cannot be a winner in that game. Make time to be alone together to discuss how you can be teammates instead of adversaries. Give each other the benefit of the doubt – you're both on the same side!

Start by recognizing that people (particularly your partner) aren't trying to do things 'To You' as much as they are trying to do something 'For Themselves'. Often that 'for themself' includes 'for the relationship' if it's important in their life and you two may be missing those opportunities because of your misperceptions about each other.

Learn how to use boundaries in a safe, respectful way. Make sure you offer the option for compliance BEFORE using consequences and make sure you aren't just punishing. Consequences are natural outcomes directly tied to the behavior. If you can't directly connect them, you can be pretty sure you're punishing and you'll never create the loving, trusting WE–Centered relationship you really want by living in resentment and revenge. Choose instead to be teammates and start treating each other accordingly.

Nina Potter | www.NinaPotter.RelationshipCoach.org

Dr. Le responds ...

On the surface your issue appeasr to be about boundaries, however, I propose the underlying issue is your feelings of being disrespected and dismissed.

To deal with the boundary issues, the simplest way is to create an "off-limits" list of items or activities and give it to your boyfriend. Then HOW you communicate your request is important. To deal with underlying issues that leave you feeling disrespected and dismissed, however, would take more effort and a willingness on your part to engage in self-exploration. For example, you'd need to reflect on questions such as, "What about his behavior cause me to feel dismissed and disrespected?" I would also suggest that you first find out the reason(s) for his actions. Knowing his intentions may help you to see things differently, which in turn will affect your feelings and responses.

What I wonder is whether both of you are at the same level of commitment in your relationship, or is one at a different stage than the other? If this is the case, this could be another underlying issue you might want to explore further. I hope my comments are helpful, and I wish you all the best.

Le Doan | www.ledoan.relationshipcoach.org

Michelle responds ...

It's great that you are aware that there is an issue in your relationship and want to resolve it! Based on the fact that you and your partner's personalities are so different, you most likely need to learn how to respect those differences to move forward. Both of you are frustrated and need to talk it out. Yes it comes down to communication! Be fully honest and tell him how exactly what you need. Set up some 'ground rules' before you talk to ensure that you are on the same page.

Some ideas for ground rules when discussing a problem:

  • determine who will talk first
  • listen to each other and be patient
  • don't let emotions get in the way
  • don't interrupt each other
  • don't take things personally and get defensive
  • let one person talk at a time

Neither of you should feel 'violated' or forced to do things that you are not comfortable doing, keep the lines of communication open and be honest with each other. Try to come up with some things you can do together that you both enjoy. It is also important to enjoy your alone time, absence does makes the heart grow fonder.

Michelle Bianco| www.coachmichellebianco.com

Marcy responds ...

While boundaries are important in relationships, they are based on our own requirements and can only be created for ourselves. Therefore, imposing boundaries on someone else can be more destructive to the relationship than it is constructive. This seems to be proven with both of you feeling 'violated' which is not a healthy feeling in life or in a relationship.

The issue is deeper than boundaries. Rather than focusing on boundaries, move in the direction of understanding and appreciating the differences between the two of you. For example your relationship can be most delicious because of what each of you contributes from your extrovert/introvert nature.

Here are some suggestions-

  • Open the space for each other to be your authentic self; by doing so you will create an environment of trust
  • Adopt the paradigm that there are two worlds and two histories coming into this relationship; understand, and embrace the other's
  • Make your expectations very clear, specific and agree upon them. Start with requests and not demands
  • Each of you must take full responsibility for your reactions; how you respond and allow yourself to 'feel' is a choice

Marcy Rich | www.marcyrich.com

This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here www.relationshipcoach.org/ask-the-coach and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.


Transcripts Now Available -
Relationship WebTV

Let's Get Real is a weekly webTV show that tells the truth about love, sex, and relationships. Register for free membership in our Getting Real Club and be the first to be notified of new episodes and get exclusive access to our Radical Relationship video series.

Transcripts Now Available!

Free Radical Sex
Video Tutorial

This Radical Relationship "How-To" video covers 14 creative strategies for an extraordinary sexual relationship, exclusively for members of our free Getting Real Club.

Preview this free video here.


For More Information . . .

Access our Couple for Life Knowledge Bank

for innovative relationship information, tools and strategies for singles

Give your relationship a gift - Get a Relationship Coach!

Ready to make some changes?
Your coach is waiting for you at: Find Your Coach!

Are you a coach or other helping professional who works with singles and couples?

If you want to know more about adding Relationship Coaching skills and tools to your professional toolbox, visit www.RelationshipCoachingInstitute.com

Want to help people with their relationships and have a career you love?

Become a relationship coach!

Free Relationship Coach Starter Kit: www.RelationshipCoachingInstitute.com