Offering Tools for Lasting and Positive Change in Personal, Professional and Romantic Relationships…

Tools for Clarity and Effective Communication in Your Whole Heart Marriage

If you are having problems in your relationship, I propose that you try to do whatever you can do IN your relationship before you think about leaving it. The first step is to acknowledge your part. Take responsibility for your part in the problems. You’re the one who has needs that aren’t being met. You’re the one I’m talking to; the only one you can change! You actually owe it to yourself and to your partner to speak up in your marriage. You are doing the best thing you can do to save your marriage by taking responsibility for getting your needs met. I believe that we’re really only having one relationship our whole life, with different people in different bodies along the way. So you might as well get it with person you’re with. Maybe you already have children with this person. You definitely have invested time and emotion so why not at least try? Learn what you attracted this person into your life to learn and who knows? You might even work it out and move forward together. At least, if you do learn what you came together to learn, if you don’t go forward together, you won’t recreate the same relationship issues with another person. How do you get your needs met? I found in my own life that being heard was really a challenge for me. I would like to offer you some really powerful tools for improving your communication in all areas, especially the area of your needs.

The beginning point is to make time to talk every day. If you don’t schedule it, it will most likely not happen. When my husband and I were first married, we were both very involved in our careers. We had a baby very early in the marriage and my husband already had children. So we had a lot going on! I wanted at least one of us to be with our son as much as possible so he wouldn’t have to be in daycare. Consequently, we worked sort of opposite hours. My husband worked a lot of nights and weekends and I worked 7am to 3pm. I used to joke that our son must have thought he really just had one parent that looked different on different days. In fact, one time, I went to pick him up from daycare (he did go a few times a week when we just couldn’t make it work, and it was really actually fun for him!) and the woman who took care of him was surprised to see me because usually my husband picked him up. She was so surprised that she said she didn’t know he had a mom! Ouch!

Yes, we were that busy. Of course, what eventually happened was that we just became like roommates, ships passing in the night. By the time we got home at night, we were so exhausted; we just did what we needed to do and went to bed. We did this for so long that it became a really bad habit.

Finally we had to get honest about what we had become. The romance and passion were gone. That’s when we had to take stock of our relationship, our marriage and take some specific actions in the right direction, which was the direction of our togetherness, renewing and even deepening our connection. One of those actions was to begin talking EVERY DAY! We talk about everything but timing is crucial. It’s not advisable to talk about your “hot topics” before bed. Those are better discussed in the morning or some time during the day. That’s the first step; take time EVERY DAY to talk!

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Offering Tools for Lasting and Positive Change in Personal, Professional and Romantic Relationships…

Tools for Clarity and Effective Communication in Your Whole Heart Marriage

If Your Needs Aren’t Being Met in Your Marriage (Part 1)

 

One of my greatest challenges with my partners over the years has been not being able to say what I need when I need it.  It seems that men are so much better at stating their needs, at least the men that I was with.  I knew what my needs were in a given situation.  That was NOT my problem.  I just felt like my needs were not that important.  As long as everyone else was happy, I could be okay, not happy, but okay.  The truth is, I wasn’t even okay.   I was just acting like I was okay.  I was really so angry in side and I didn’t even know it.  Two phrases I use very carefully and with much conscious thought before I say them are, “it’s okay”, and, “I understand”.  I misused those phrases wa-a-a-a-y too many times, way more than anybody should use those phrases in an entire lifetime!  I spent hundreds of dollars on therapy just learning how NOT to say those two statements.

 

 

A key to any successful, happy Whole Heart marriage is being able to state your needs and then to get your needs met.  If you are not getting your needs met in your marriage, with your partner, then most likely two things either are or will eventually occur.  The first is that you will become angry.  Anger and resentment in a relationship will affect many areas.  It will erode your trust.  How can you trust your partner if you feel that you can’t share what your needs are?  If you don’t trust your partner, this will affect your intimacy.

 

The second thing that happens, as a result of the anger and resentment is that you will begin to look outside the relationship to get your needs met.  First it will be your emotional needs.  You will inevitably find someone to talk to, someone who understands, who’ll listen and care.  This could be just a friend or a potential new partner.  As the intimate sharing leads to trust, which leads to intimacy, it is possible, even likely that you will find an intimate partner to fulfill your needs.    Keep in mind that you will tend to attract someone who is not really as available as they appear to be.  After all, they are attracting you into their life; someone who is unavailable, already involved, looking for someone to fulfill your unmet intimacy needs.

Tomorrow…How to get your needs met!

10 Tips to Rekindle Your Romance

Tool # 5 In Marriage the Two Become Three

 

I get more questions about this tip than any other.  Here’s what I mean.  When two people marry, no matter how much they love one another, soul mates or not, they do not become each other’s other half.  The whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.  The synergy of the two coming together creates something much bigger than even the two of them could create.  So a marriage there is “You”, “me” and “Us”.    If you become each other’s other half, so to speak, one or both of you will feel smothered.   

 

 

Separate and Together Goals

 

In the “two become three” relationship you each have separate physical, mental, emotional, financial and spiritual goals and you have goals together.  It is really important to have clear goals as a couple and clear goals as individuals.  Through the years, I recommend that you discuss and review your goals, being to open to changing and creating new ones. 

 

Friends First

 

Another valuable aspect of “two become three” relationship is that you are friends first, above and beyond anything else.  As you support one another in your goals, you support each other as friends.  Have you ever had a friend tell you about an idea they had, an adventure they were about to embark upon?  When they told you, you were very excited for them and you cheered them on.   It is much easier to be supportive and give feedback to a friend because you don’t have a vested interest in the outcome.  However, when you are dealing with your spouse their personal goals will affect you.  Their new adventure or project could affect your mental, emotional, physical and financial life, making it a lot more challenging to support them objectively. 

 

 

 

 

Be Single Sometimes in the Relationship

 

One of the things I have noticed in people who are just newly broken up from a relationship is that they will lose weight, change their hair or looks in some way or do the thing they had wanted to do for ever.    They will often say, “Now that I’m single I can finally….”  There is something to that “newly single” energy.  Often people feel energized and have a new lease on life.  I recommend that you do that thing without having to break up.  Let yourselves be single sometimes within the relationship.  I’m not talking about being single to get interested in someone else, just to do those things you love to do.  That’s what I mean by “two become three”.   Don’t lose your individuality in your relationship.  Do the things that you love to do with or without your partner.  Ideally you do some things with your partner and some without your partner and some things you join one another in doing.  But either way, you do those things you love to do.

 

Be Together, But Not Too Together

 

 

Sometimes in marriage we take each other for granted.   You assume the other person will always be the same as they were the day you met.  The truth is that we all grow and change.  We need to allow space in the relationship for the other to grow and change.  Sometimes we grow at a different pace than our partner.   That can be scary for the one who sees the other growing and changing.

          At the wedding ceremony there is a passage from the prophet by Kahlil Gibran that is often read.  The passage talks about drinking, but not from the same cup.  It goes on to talk about being together but not too together, and let the spaces dance between the two of you.  In other words, be together and allow and even encourage each other to grow.  As you grow, it is important to take time to stop and explore the new growth.

 “Till Death do us Part” or “Till the end of our Forever?”  You can re-choose your marriage!

 

First I want to say that some people use the expression “Till the end of our Forever” to mean even beyond death; forever meaning to eternity.  For the sake of this article, I am referring to the duration of your relationship in this lifetime in your current human forms.

That being said, I would like to share about the difference between the two statements, till death… and till the end of our forever…

 

 

There are many different kinds of marriages, many different reasons why people get married.  The day I met my husband, I fell in such deep love so quickly that I couldn’t imagine not spending the rest of my life with him, and he felt the same way.   I jumped into my marriage with both feet (so I thought) when I became pregnant.  I thought was I was saying, “Till death do us part” on the wedding day, but I was really saying “Till the end of our forever”.    The truth is that what I was really saying was, till death do us part, as long as it ‘s working for both of us, as long as we’re both doing everything we can possibly be doing to make it work, including but not limited to couples counseling and working on ourselves individually.

 

 

As much as I could know at that time, I knew that I wanted this man, whatever came with him, including 2 other marriages and 8 other children, an alternative lifestyle and a very eccentric personality (his, of course!).  I have a joke about getting your potential life partner’s resume and astrological chart before you jump into the marriage.  The truth is that, had I known then what I know now, I still would have married him, maybe just not a quickly.  I love all of him.  There have been things that have made the marriage challenging at times, but what relationship doesn’t have its share of challenges?  Those challenging times have made the marriage stronger. 

 

 

As a result of being fully committed to the marriage and working on myself individually and on our marriage together, I have learned how to be a friend to my husband.    I have learned unconditional love.  I have learned how to be there for someone like never before, how to stick around during the tough times.  I have learned how to let someone into my life in a way like I never have before.    And I am growing tremendously from this level of trust and intimacy.  

 

 

The difference between till death do us part and the end of our forever did not become clear to me until we had been married for about ten years.  We reached the end of our forever the first time at about ten years of marriage.  We gradually realized that the passion had left our marriage, the flame had gone out and we had become like roommates having sex, ships passing in the night.  We had to do some real soul searching and work on ourselves individually and as a couple.  After some really deep and difficult work, we re-chose our marriage and one another and came back to an even deeper, richer relationship.  Since that time, we have continued to work on ourselves and our relationship, re-choosing the relationship a few times and each time, experiencing a deeper more authentic connection.  It’s a difficult process and I’ll admit that sometimes, I have tried to ignore the problems and challenges, hoping they would just somehow go away.  But since we have had such a great relationship, it’s hard to not have that; hard to settle for less so I continue on, growing in this seminar called marriage.

I was never going to get married

 I set out on a quest in my early twenties to discover why people get married.  I could not understand and did not see most people having a good time of it.  My quest, over the next 10 or so years took me to therapy, books, questioning friends and professionals in various fields, such as psychology, education all the way to my mom, and the divine, and deep into my soul.

 

As I sit here and write today, 25 years later, over 21 years into a very challenging and rewarding marriage, challenging not because of my husband, but challenging because of who I am and how I live my life as a conscious, awake, aware person; I finally have an answer to the question, “Why get married?”

 

I feel my eyes well up with tears, becoming clear about how important it is for me to finally share my experience.  I have explored many topics, all around healthy relationships.  I did extensive research on the relationship between chronic illness in women and the devaluations of the feminine.  I discovered that, we as women devalue the feminine aspect of ourselves as we try to fit into the masculine world and make it work.  We devalue, deny, and even abandon our feminine aspects.  And as a result, we allow ourselves to remain way too long in unhealthy relationships with others.   As a result, we experience chronic illnesses which occur more often in women.  After this research, I focused on learning how to function in the linear, masculine, left- brain world in which I was living.  I wrote a book about the holistic approach to time management, balancing the right and left-brain experience of life.

 

And finally, my husband and I together, wrote a book called Yoga Heart Meditative Movement, a book about finding the heart in all things, the journey back to the heart.  All these books have been leading to my current work and research. 

 

I can practically feel my body vibrating off the couch with excitement as clarity comes to me about my message.  Who knew that when I set out on my quest to discover why people get married, I would be writing about my own experience 25 years later?

Marriage is the best seminar you will ever attend.  It offers opportunities for growth that no other relationship can offer, that is, if you are both in it, playing “full out”.  If you are not both in it, it can be the loneliest, saddest place you will ever be.

 

For most of my younger life, I thought I had made a conscious decision that I was never going to get married or have children.  I just never imagined I would find a man that I would want to spend the rest of my life with.  And I definitely didn’t want a “husband” based on the role models I saw growing up like the “husband” in “Father Knows Best” or “Leave it to Beaver”.  22 years ago, I found myself meeting a man without whom I could not imagine not spending the rest of my life.  Imagine that!  So here we were, getting ready to get married, me, having never been or even really wanting to be married before this point, not knowing that I didn’t know the first thing about marriage; him, having been married twice before, knowing more about what he didn’t want a marriage to be than what he did want it to be.

 

The past 20 years have been such a rich journey of learning about marriage, from actually being married, to creating personalized ceremonies and officiating at marriage ceremonies, to doing pre-marital coaching and workshops for couples, to doing marriage enrichment workshops and marriage counseling.   I have learned some very important things about marriage.  I have learned, “Why get married?”  I have learned what makes a healthy, happy “Whole Heart” marriage.  I have learned that there is a difference between “Till death do us part” and “Till the end of our forever”.  I understand the statement “Till death do us part, as long as it’s working for both of us”. And I have learned that we must re-choose our partner and our marriage many times throughout our lives because if we are really changing and growing our relationship is constantly evolving.  I have learned these things through my own experiences as well as the experiences of hundreds of couples with whom I have worked and the research from experts I have studied.

 

One of the most important things I have come to believe is that as we process through relationships on our path toward finding the one we choose to marry, we pick up one relationship right where we left the last one.  It’s like we’re really having one relationship our whole lives with different people in different bodies.  And the truth is that the one relationship, the biggy is with ourselves.  Each person that we interact with mirrors aspects of ourselves.  We are multi-faceted individuals, with many different parts and sides, just like a prism.  As each person touches us, they ignite something in us, cause us to glow in a certain way, glow, sparkle and shine.  And sometimes they block our light or the block the light from us.   That’s when you know something is wrong; when your light is no longer shining.

First you want to discover why your light isn’t shining.  Are you blocking yourself or is it the other person blocking your light?  I believe you might as well figure out your part with the person you’re with before you move on, learn what you came together with this person to learn.   Because if you leave before you learn what your part is, you will just re-create the same relationship issues with the next person and the next and the next until you get it!

 

Have you ever heard the phrase, “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts?”  In other words 1+1 is greater than 2 in the world of physics.  The synergy that two people create by bringing their energies together can be amazing.  It can be greater than anything either one of them could have accomplished on their own or with any other person.  It can be great for both people and it can bring both people to a higher place than they could have come to on their own.  This is a powerful union.  If both people are willing, they can cause each other to grow tremendously.

 

The problems occur when one person is not willing to grow or is not as committed as the other.  They can work at it for a while, but at some point the one who is not as committed to their personal growth will feel pushed and pressured and the other one will feel frustrated and both may feel resentful.  Hopefully there is ebb and flow to the relationship, just as there is an ebb and flow to the ocean, in fact, to everything in life.  The two people may not always be growing at the same pace or in the same direction but hopefully, there is some sort of rhythm to it, and eventually they catch up for periods of time.   And at those times, the connection, the joy is great.

 

This is how we cause each other to grow.  One person experiences new awareness, insights  and discoveries, shares with the other and inspires, challenges or causes them to change and expand, first unconsciously, then in consciousness and then in actions.

 

The thing is that we cannot expect the other person to change and grow.   In order for there to be a safe environment for both people in the relationship, a level of acceptance must exist.  Each person must accept the other exactly as they are if the couple has any hope of growing together.  

 

One person in the relationship may be so overpowering or controlling, actually full of fear that they cause the other person’s light to shine dimly or not at all.  This is when it is time to seek help.  I suggest seeking help rather than leaving because it is important for each person to know what their part is in the problem.  How are you allowing your light to be diminished by the other person?  How is the other person causing your light to diminish?  How are you participating in diminishing their light?