Susie & Otto


How 'Chunking Down' Can Help Your Relationships

If you're like us, no matter how good (or bad) your relationship or marriage is...

You probably have situations in your relationships, especially your intimate ones, that you'd like to improve or change.

The problem for most of us is that when we start to look at making these changes, it can look and feel pretty overwhelming--so we end up doing nothing.

We might even make an attempt to make a change but somehow it all seems too big and we stop, going back to the way things were.

This challenge of thinking or feeling "overwhelmed" is one of the reasons why our relationships get stuck and in the shape they do.

The truth is that when you are overwhelmed by a relationship issue, it's usually several issues that are lumped into that one. What seems to be the obvious issue may not really be at the core of your relationship challenge.

And your feelings of being overwhelmed by the situation that you have created within you adds to the mix making it a pretty difficult place to get out of.

If you can identify with any of these feelings, here is some good advice about how to move from your feelings of being stuck and overwhelmed .

It's called "chunking down."

This is probably advice you've heard before and it may even be what you already do in many parts of your life...

Whether you've heard this advice before or not , we invite you to take a fresh look at how "chunking down" can help you make the changes you'd like to create the good (or even great ) relationship or marriage that you really want.

Let's take a couple of areas that can be mine fields in relationships, especially intimate ones--like communication and trust to explain what we mean.

Sometimes, these problems can seem pretty big to tackle and even insurmountable but if you chunk them down into bite-sized pieces and notice positive changes along the way, they can be resolved.

Let's take one couple who had a problem that they just couldn't seem to get past.

Carol liked to do things with another couple but her husband Tom felt uneasy when they were together with them.

Tom felt that Carol laughed a little too much with the husband of the other couple and that they seemed too close.

Carol thought Tom was being ridiculous and that they all were just close friends--and she liked it that way.

Every time the subject came up about getting together with this other couple, Carol and Tom ended up arguing about it and they felt like they were at an impasse in their relationship.

The problem became so overwhelming that it came up often even when they were talking about other things.

We suggested that they chunk the problem down so it wouldn't be so overwhelming.

Here's what they did...

They stepped away from "the issue" that seemed to be the problem and started looking at what they each wanted in their relationship.

Tom wanted to have a deeper connection with Carol, the way it used to be. He wanted to have fun with her again and feel close to her.

In part, because Carol's job had gotten a lot more intense and overwhelming in the past few years, she had felt herself pull away from Tom.

They had fallen into a routine that felt lifeless to her.

She wanted more "life" in their relationship.

We invited them to think of one thing they could do that would bring them both closer to what they each wanted--with the idea that the "one thing" would build on another and then another.

They decided to start by telling each other one thing each day they appreciated about the other.

They started by noticing very small things about each other that they appreciated.

What they found was that in the act of noticing and telling the other person, they each became more open and loving in their relationship.

The next "chunk" might be to practice listening to each other with an open heart or it might be to set aside some time each day just to have fun and talk in ways they used to do.

What about the problem with the other couple that stirred up all of this anguish and separation between Tom and Carol?

It eventually became a "non-issue" when both Tom and Carol began getting what they wanted in their relationship and lives.

So what about you?

What seems overwhelming in your life right now and how can you chunk the problem down so that it's manageable and can be resolved?

If it's a communication problem that you can't seem to budge, you might follow the lead of one couple who has been our coaching clients.

They agreed to practice our 14 communication suggestions, one per week, from our free "Relationship Reverse Report" available at

That's a great example of "chunking down" a problem.

If you have a trust issue, you might benefit from the info in our course on rebuilding trust at for some great suggestions.

Or you might follow Tom and Carol's lead and start opening to each other with appreciation.

Whatever you choose to do, start taking positive action in some small way.

It will feel good take a step toward what you want.

Important Relationship Lessons You Can Learn From a T-Shirt

What is the craziest saying you've ever seen on a t-shirt ?

This may not have been the wildest or craziest--but while we were out doing some shopping last weekend, what we saw on a person's t-shirt certainly stopped us in our tracks.

Like everyone else, we see a lot of sayings on t-shirts that catch our attention.

Some of them are cute.

Some are funny.

Some share a personal or political view.

Some of them make you think.

Some are totally inappropriate for a public setting.


Because we are always looking for new ways to share our ideas about what to do and what not to do if you want a more loving and connected relationship or marriage--we felt that what was on this t-shirt we saw was worth commenting on, especially because it's about relationships.

Here are the words that were on the t-shirt we saw a woman wearing that we thought were so incredible...

"Almost all the people who drive me crazy are in my family."

Last weekend was a holiday here in the US and if you're like us, it was filled with get-togethers with friends and family.

If you're like us (or normal) there was at least one moment or one thing that happened that might have made you think or feel something similar to what was on this woman's t-shirt.

If you are now feeling or if you have ever felt this way, here's an observation that you might find interesting...

The people in your family, your friends, coworkers or anyone else you spend a lot of time with or may be close to may drive you crazy at times because you are close enough to them to see the mirror when something upsets you.

When we say "the mirror," we mean looking at yourself to see why you are triggered about a situation instead of outwardly blaming the other person.

One of the best "mirrors" we've seen recently is Susie's daughter and son-in-law's Saint Bernard, Ella.

Ella's a very sweet dog and is kind and loving but angrily barks at some other dogs when they take her on walks.

Susie's daughter made a great discovery that if she stays grounded and centered on these walks, not getting upset, Ella calms down a lot quicker than if her anxious energy is added to the mix.

If Susie's daughter gets upset and tightens up, Ella struggles even more to get at the other dog.

Because Ella "mirrors" Susie's daughter's upset and she is choosing to look inward at those times instead of blaming the dog, she's making some important changes in her life and her relationships.

What can you learn from the "mirrors" in your family and other close relationships when you are triggered?

Whether the upset is about how someone else didn't act in a way that you liked or approved of--or there was just something irritating about that other person-- we invite you to look at your upset a little differently.

When you get triggered, it's more than likely that one or more of your conscious or unconscious "rules" for living have been violated.

You've heard us talk about rules before and we all have them--it's how we create our lives, our world and our relationships.

These rules can, however, be troublesome and separate us from others or we can look inward at ourselves when they are violated and we get upset.

When you get triggered or upset by something someone says, does or something that "happens" just know that...

It's an opportunity to drop your judgments of others and discover what there is for you to learn from the situation.

It's an opportunity for you to discover why you are triggered and then decide if there are some changes that you want to make.

It might be that you will no longer tolerate being treated in a certain way and it's a "deal breaker" for you.

It might be that you can see that you are being judgmental when you don't have all of the information or know what's "right" for the other person.

It might be that you simply have not been willing to open to seeing that there might be another way of looking at the situation.

When you have the courage to look into the "mirror" of the situation that has triggered you with new eyes and an open heart, you are opening yourself to better relationships and a happier life.

You are opening yourself to more love.

So this week, we invite you to look at those who "drive you crazy"--whether they be your close family members or others who are close to you--and take a moment to see another possibility.

See these people as the gifts they truly are and learn from your irritation. That certainly doesn't mean that you are "wrong" and the other person is "right."

It simply means that there is much to learn about becoming a happier, more empowered person in this situation and in your life.

A Guide to Gift Giving and Receiving

Since we are approaching the holiday season, we thought that a little gift giving and receiving advice might be helpful, whether you're in a committed love relationship or not.

Gift giving can be fun but it can also open up a can of "relationship worms" that are uncomfortable to deal with.

Have you ever given a loved one a gift and ended up feeling lousy either about what you gave or how you think it was received?

Have you ever received a gift from your partner or anyone else that you just didn't know what to do with? You wanted to be gracious and appreciative, but you also don't want to flat out lie.

Contrary to what you might see on television ads, the potential pitfalls of gift giving and receiving it can be huge, especially in a love relationship.

Some couples end up choosing not to exchange gifts, in part, because of the many confusing messages and signs that can accompany gifts.

But it's not the gifts that are causing the problems here.

No, it's the baggage that's already present within each person in the relationship and between the two people that can stand in the way of a truly connecting giving and receiving experience.

Perhaps you feel lack when it comes to money in your life. You would like to buy that stunning diamond you've seen in the jewelry store for but can't begin to come up with that kind of cash.

Or maybe you think that your partner or your loved one spends too much money on you and you don't feel like you can reciprocate in the same way due either to concerns about your budget or because you just don't feel worthy of the expenditure.

Or maybe you just fear that you can't please him or her and don't want to even try.

Whether it's financial fears, self-esteem issues, or other reasons, your limiting beliefs, assumptions and perceptions can prevent you and your love ones from enjoying the exchange of gifts.

Are we saying that you have to shower your partner or any other loved one with expensive material items in order to have a great relationship?

Absolutely not!

When we talk about giving and receiving gifts, we aren't just referring to the packages you unwrap on birthdays, holidays or other special occasions.

For us, we decided when we were first together that we would not "buy" gifts for one another on special occasions but rather plan special events that we would both find fun and would bring us closer--some not costing anything like a private "spa" night for just the two of us.

While you may not make that agreement with your loved ones, we are suggesting that you broaden your thinking about giving and receiving.

It might include helping out your aging parents or having lunch with a sibling or a friend who's having problems--or even making a phone call to someone who's been on your mind.

It might include the back rubs you give your mate or the way you let him or her sleep in while you get up with the kids on Saturday morning--that going the extra step to demonstrate your love to your partner in a unique way.

Noah always feels his shoulders tighten around the holidays. He wants so much to wow his long-time girlfriend Emma with a fabulous gift but doesn't feel like he ever gets it right.

Noah feels constrained by what he can spend and also in figuring out what Emma would like. One year, out of desperation, when he asked her for gift suggestions, she was no help at all as she recommended that he not buy her anything.

For her part, Emma didn't want Noah to spend any money on her and would rather skip the entire season. She didn't mind buying for him, but often felt guilty when Noah spent money on her.

Do any of these dynamics sound familiar?

There can be a lot of miscommunication in a relationship around the exchange of gifts. If a couple allows their limited beliefs and assumptions to dictate the giving and receiving of gifts, there is sure to be disappointment and hurt feelings.

But through clear communication--both within yourself and with your partner-- gifts can be a part of more passionately and deeply connecting in your love relationship, as well as other relationships that are important to you.

Whatever you give, give freely and with love.

Yes, we absolutely advise you to be aware of your financial means at this moment and not purchase a gift that you'll be paying off for years to come.

That diamond might look stunning (and probably is) but there are plenty of other gifts you could choose that can be just as pleasing for you to give and your partner to receive.

If you are wiped out after a long day at work and you go ahead and give your mate a foot rub because you feel like you "have to," that resentful energy will come through in your gift.

As you choose a gift for your partner, ask yourself if you can give this gift freely and with love.

Do you feel excited about what you've chosen to give? If there are doubts or qualms within you about giving this gift, then pause and look more closely at what's coming up emotionally for you.

Noah just about broke into a cold sweat when he walked into a shopping mall with the mission of buying a gift for Emma.

He didn't want to add to his credit card debt and end up giving her something she won't like. Recognizing the barrage of fears within himself, Noah left the mall and went to a nearby park to just sit and sort through his feelings.

When Noah acknowledged how he was feeling, it's easier to shift his focus to what he wants-- which is to give Emma a physical show of his love.

As he reminded himself of the many ways he consistently demonstrated his love to Emma, he felt less pressure to try to contain all of his love in one material item (because, after all, that would be impossible).

With this new sense of ease, Noah cames up with a gift idea that he believed Emma will really appreciate and that fits his budget.

Whatever you receive, receive openly and with love.

Noah instantly thought about how much Emma used to love a particular brand of perfume. When he smelled that scent, it still reminded him of their first date.

When he remembered Emma commenting that she only wore the perfume on special occasions now because she doesn't want to spend money on more, he felt confident in his decision to give her a bottle of this perfume.

Now it's up to Emma to receive this given-from-the-heart gift with an sense of openness and love. If she allowed her fears about money and concerns about Noah's checkbook to rule her mind, she will close herself to the care and love that's behind the gift.

But if she can allow herself to receive with a sense of openness and appreciation, the effects of the exchange can be long-lasting and expand beyond perfume in a bottle.

You don't have to lie and claim that you adore a gift that is just not the right fit for you. Shift your focus to your partner's show of care and this attempted demonstration of his or her love.

You can ask for the receipt to return the gift later if you choose to, but for now, soak in all of the good feelings that went into the giving of this gift.

Allow yourself to bask in the glow of the love you two share.

Whether you are giving or receiving gifts with your partner or another loved one, be sure you are present along the way.

When purchasing or coming up with a gift idea, keep forefront in your mind the passion and excitement of your connection.

Stay present in the moment when you exchange gifts as well. It is here in this moment that you can fully celebrate the love you share.

Begin your practice of consciously giving and receiving right now and see how much love expands in your life.

Powerful Shifts, Noticing What's Different and Trust Building Insights

The last few months, as we've been focused on writing about building trust, one thing is very clear...

We all either build trust or tear it down in every moment we are together with another person.

We do it with our words, actions, and non-verbally. Our physical bodies show whether we trust someone or not--and if we are trustable or not.

If you want a close, connected, loving relationship, it's no surprise that trust has to be part of its foundation.

But the truth is that many people have a tough time opening themselves to trust, especially if they've been hurt in the past and others struggle with allowing themselves to act in ways that allow others to trust them.

Learning to trust and be trusted comes down to having the desire to do it, being willing to shift from old beliefs, and practicing ways that will bring you closer to what you want.

One of the ways that we've been practicing in our relationship is what we call "noticing what's different."

Here's a practical example...

By his own admission, Otto is not "Mr. Fix-it" and if you've been getting our newsletters for awhile, it's something we've talked about before.

A few days ago, he poured food down the garbage disposal and it clogged up so he decided to take it apart to "unclog" it.

The problem was that after he cleaned it out, it wouldn't work. He called Michael who is a "Mr. Fix-it" and he told Otto about the reset button.

Now, earlier in our relationship, this kind of "home repair" would have been a big deal and Otto would have felt bad about himself for not knowing how to "fix" the appliance.

It could even have created a disconnection between the two of us.

But this time, it was different and we even had a good laugh about it.

It was different because Otto had made a huge shift around his expectations and beliefs about himself--and we both noticed the difference.

That's one way trust is built or rebuilt and relationships grow--

Notice what's different.

The fact is that we and our loved ones are always changing and we don't always notice or comment on those changes.

When you don't pay attention to what's different, you can lose your connection-- with yourself and with others.

The idea is to notice what's different and whether the difference is taking you further from or toward what you want-- not only in your partner but in yourself.

What do you do with this information once you notice it?

If you're trying to rebuild trust after it's been broken, it's really important to notice changes, no matter how small.

So often, one or both people are so focused on what happened in the past to break trust that they miss what's happening in the present moment that may be taking a small or not so small step toward connection and love.

Even if trust hasn't been broken on a major scale, we often miss noticing when "good" things happen in our relationships. We miss the opportunity to celebrate them.

What if what we notice in ourselves or others is taking us further from what we want?

If it's not what you want, should you talk about what you notice?

If you want a deep connection with the other person, we say a big "yes."

If your noticing is about yourself, then sharing that information helps the other person to know who you truly are.

That's really what connection is about, isn't it?

If the two of you have trouble communicating and your noticing is about something that he or she is doing or not doing that is creating disconnection between you, you'll want to speak in a way that doesn't shut down both of you.

Go ahead and say what you are noticing and be open to listening to the other person to find out more about the situation instead of blaming.

A simple but powerful shift!

You may not consider what you are saying blaming or criticizing but the other person may so if the person is open, listen to find out what may be going on with him or her.

Something like this...

"I notice that we don't seem to be having fun like we used to together and I miss those times. Do you notice the same thing and why do you think this is happening?"

Or you may have noticed the same negative thing happening over and over, you comment on it and nothing changes. You may be accused of nagging or being controlling because of it.

If you're in this kind of situation, you have to back up and notice what's happening between you and look for an opening for connection instead of going over and over the same territory that up until now hasn't changed.

Noticing is a powerful way to create your life and your relationships the way you want them.

When you focus on what you want in your relationships and notice when you see even a glimmer of it, you are taking a very real step toward it.

We're not saying to ignore what's missing or what's not there.

We're just saying to "feed" getting what you want by paying attention when it comes your way.

It's all just information--information for creating all the love, connection and joy that you want in your life and your relationships.

Trust Building "Rules" and How They Show Up In Your Life

If you're like us, you've been amazed to watch how this US presidential election has unfolded over the past year.

We've been especially interested in how much the idea of "trust" plays into who gets elected and what this has to teach us about our own relationships.

Regardless of your politics, the person who wins any election is the one who voters think is most aligned with their "rules" for living.

A vote for a candidate, especially in this election where such a high percentage of people did vote, says "I trust you."

This is no different from how it is in your relationships.

As we are choosing whether to be in a relationship with someone or not, we are looking for how we are aligned with him or her. Whether we realize it or not, we are looking for someone with similar "rules" for living. We are looking for someone in alignment with whatever rules we've made up about what a relationship looks like.

When we do commit to being in a relationship, for most people, it's a "vote" that says "I trust you."

What usually happens when you make that commitment is that the relationship goes along just fine until (and we use the word "until" on purpose) one or both of you does something or not do something to break the trust--in small or not so small ways.

One or both of you might have made a half-hearted "trust vote" because of painful experiences in past relationships which makes trusting in this relationship pretty difficult.

You may have withheld trust because your "rules" say that you'll be hurt if you do.

Now of course, most of us withhold our trust and ourselves from others from time to time and in some cases, maybe for good reason.

But if you want a close, connected, lovin relationship with better communication, passion or whatever else you want, you'll want to look at where you might be withholding your true self.

You might want to look at the "rules" that are holding you back from trusting and if you want to change those rules.

The good part of this is that we all can change the rules that we've made up that are no longer working for us.

If we do, we can create more of what we want.


Our rules can be flexible if we allow them to be and we can open to allowing them to morph and flow with another person's rules.

We can deepen our trust in one another.

Here's a really simple example...

This past weekend we were at a seminar that was held in a city that was 7 hours from our home so we decided to drive.

When we've done this in the past, we've left the seminar a little early on the last day so we could drive the 7 hours home that evening.

Typically, we'd get home about 2am and would actually not accomplish a lot the next day because we were too tired from the trip.

Now, although we would both agree to this "rule," (leaving the seminar early and driving home immediately) it was mainly Susie's desire to get home so we could be productive the next day.

After doing this several times and NOT being productive the next day, it dawned on Susie that maybe her rule might not be the only way to look at this situation.

This time we decided to stay over night and leave the next day after the seminar ended. We had a great trip and actually got a lot of planning work done in the car.

By being flexible, looking at the situation a little differently and changing some rules, we had an experience that seemed to flow.

It deepened our trust for one another as we realized that we were both open and willing to looking at a situation differently to get a better result.

Here are some ideas on how to change some of the rules that may be keeping you from loving deeper and trusting the people in your life more...

1. Look at what seems difficult or lacks ease in your life. What are the rules underneath your dis-ease?

Maybe you are expecting someone to act in a certain way and he or she isn't playing along with your rule.

2. Talk with your partner about your rules and be open to hearing your partner's rules without judging them.

Realize that you each have choices and these rules aren't created in stone.

3. Decide if you are willing to change or be a little easier with those rules.

If your rule is one that is in total alignment with your values and what you stand for, you may not want to change it--let's say something big like monogamy in the relationship.

But you might be a little easier about your "monogamy" rule if it includes that your partner cannot talk or be alone with someone of the opposite gender--even though your partner appears to be faithful.

4. Look for evidence of more trust and ease between the two of you.

One woman was very upset that her husband hadn't been wearing his wedding ring and made up a lot of negative stories about why he had stopped.

Her rule said that if her husband wore his wedding ring, it was an outward sign of his love and commitment.

Although she still believed in the symbol of their wedding ring, she eased her belief about what it meant that he wasn't wearing it.

Instead of focusing on his not wearing his wedding ring, she began focusing on the experience that she wanted with him.

As she shifted her rule and her focus, more trust and love actually showed up in the relationship for both of them.

So this week, we invite you to open to looking at what is difficult in your life and your rule that is holding this difficulty in place.

Look for opportunities to create ease in your relationship while still being true to who you are.

Look for opportunities to shift your focus to what you want.

Revealed: "The 7 Relationship Transforming Words"

Our interview with our friend Michael Norwood generated so much interest that we thought we wouldn't keep you in the dark any longer. Here's a link to listen to it in its entirety. It's only about 27 minutes long and it's well worth listening to if you want some breakthrough relationship tips and ideas.

If you want to know the "7 words"--(it's actually 8 words)--then here they are...

"Because this relationship is so important to me..."

Why are these 8 words relationship-transforming?

They can transform a situation from two people closing to one another to being open enough to communicate and understand each other.

When you say them and mean them, a tense situation can "soften" and you can actually talk to one another instead of both defending.

Saying them can help you and your partner to drop into your hearts so that you can communicate from a clear place inside instead of reacting from old habits.

When they are spoken aloud, from the heart, they are a good way to preface your "truth" and what you want from your relationship rather than complaining with anger or resentment about what you don't want or don't have.

We're not saying that anger is always "bad." There's certainly a lot to be said for not holding it inside. But if all you are doing is reacting with anger to a situation, there's very little chance that it will ever be resolved.

Recently, we talked with a woman who had just found out that her husband had been having an affair.

Sure she was angry and rightfully so.

But if she just continued to hold on to her anger and resentment without taking a step toward understanding why it happened, figuring out what she and her husband now wanted their relationship to be and setting some new agreements, they would continue to be closed to one another.

She could say something like this to her husband (who doesn't want to talk about the affair)...

"Because our relationship is so important to me, I want to understand what happened to us so we can move forward from here."

These 8 words are also a great way to keep yourself from shutting down when you are tempted to close to communicating with someone in a tense situation.

In fact, Otto said those words to himself as we got caught up in an old pattern this morning.

Even though he wanted to close down, he didn't. He reminded himself how important our relationship was to him, he allowed himself to feel what he was feeling and then we talked.

In the years we've been together, we've had lots of practice reconnecting and reopening our hearts when we're tempted to close to one another.

These 8 words have helped us to remember what's really important and to focus on what we want from our relationship rather than staying stuck in what we don't want.

We think they can help you too!

Here are a few suggestions to help you when you're in a tense situation with someone you care about..

1. When you realize that there is something you'd like to say but you know that it will trigger the other person, take a breath and say the 8 words aloud.

2. Follow them up with what you want rather than blaming or lashing out at the other person.

Blaming shuts the other person down and keeps an argument going. Here's an example...

"Because this relationship is so important to me, you should stop ignoring me when I talk to you."

Here's an example of using these 8 words to stay open to understanding each other in the same type of situation...

"Because this relationship is so important to me, I would like for us to be together the way we were when we were first together."

3. Listen to what the other person wants even though you may be tempted to close down.

Say those 8 words to yourself if you are struggling to stay open to hearing how he or she feels.

4. Talk about how you feel from your heart and not from your defended position.

When you speak from your heart and the other person values your relationship as much as you do, there can't help but be an understanding between the two of you.

The next time you are tempted to shut down to someone who is important to you, use these 8 words and see what happens.

Giving, Pleasing, Withdrawing and Being Honest In Your Relationships

At one time or another, we all withhold from the people in our lives, especially in our communication with those we love.

We usually do it because we don't want to hurtmthem--or so the story goes in our heads--and we do it because we think it's "best" for them.

The fact is--we withhold our truth at various times because we are afraid of the other person's reaction and someplace inside us, we fear that the relationship will be changed if say what is real for us.

Here's a great example of what we mean in a message that was sent to us this past week from a man in Zimbabwe...

In in his email to us, he was both excited and concerned.

He told us that he and his fiance are planning their wedding and he is concerned about financing the kind of celebration that his partner wants ( he isn't the first person we've heard that from).

The problem is that he doesn't want to tell her lies about how he gets the money for the wedding and wants to keep promises to her but they really can't afford what she wants.

He says that he really loves her and doesn't want to disappoint her or "kill her spirit" and he realizes that if he continues with his behavior, he would create a "lifetime problem."

While most of us maybe cannot relate to his specific situation, we can however relate to withholding a truth because we didn't want to disappoint a loved one--and perhaps to keep a promise.

This man is so right to realize that his behavior is probably not healthy and will create problems in his relationship in the future--and we don't think he's just talking about his wedding debt.

He's probably talking about the destructive pattern he's setting up between him and his bride to be that could last a lifetime if it isn't squelched now.

It's a common one and here's how it usually goes...

"I will find a way to give you what you want,even if it means withholding my truth of the situation, because I want to please you so you'll keep loving who you think I am."

Sound confusing?

This pattern usually is confusing because both people are not coming to the relationship in the truth of who they are. In a sense, one or both people are wearing masks that hide what's really inside.

What about the recipient of all of this pleasing?

When we've coached others in this type of situation, a part of the other person certainly loves being catered to and loved in this way.

But another, deeper part feels that the truth is kept from him or her because of an inability to "handle" it.

In other words, they feel like they aren't enough which is quite the opposite of what the pleaser intends!

If you can relate to any part of this pattern, here are some suggestions for getting out of it...

1. Look at your motivations and long-term effects. Before you act, stop yourself and think about the long-term effects of your actions. What is motivating you to withhold information? Is it to keep the peace? Is it to keep the love you are currently enjoying?

What could be the long-term effects of what you are planning to do or not do? Look at the effects of holding your truth inside you and not expressing it.

2. Make your choice of action dependant on what values you want your relationship to be based on. If you want your relationship to be based on honesty, you have to practice honesty.

3. Express your truth from what you value rather than from your head. In other words, express from your heart and not your head.

Here's a head statement...

"I think we're spending way too much money on this wedding although I know that you want a big wedding."

Here's a heart statement...

"I want our marriage to be strong and I want us to feel like we can be totally honest with one another. I would like for both of us to go over our finances together and how we can have the best wedding based on what makes sense for our situation."

Is total honesty always necessary?

We say to first look at your motivation.

If your motivation is revenge or to hurt someone-- and your connection is no longer important to you, find some other way to relieve the stress of withholding the information.

You might writing a letter and then burning it if you need to get something off your chest but your motivation is revenge.

If you want to build or rebuild trust and connection in a relationship, be honest with who you are and what you want.

Withholding builds walls; Honesty shared with conviction of the heart allows the space for true love to grow.

The Soul Mate Spark: How do you get it and how do you keep it?"

When people talk about finding and keeping the partner that they truly want to spend their lives with, the discussion invariably gets around to the topic of "soul mates."

We talk about the soul mate spark because that's what we think people are really looking for--that special feeling of connection, like you've "come home," like you never want to part.

While many people do find this in a partner, including us, there are some pitfalls around the whole soul mate mystique.

One of those pitfalls is the belief that soul mates don't have conflicts and no major issues to work through. They have pure bliss all of the time.

We wish this were true but it just isn't for most of us.

This belief is why some people get so upset and disenchanted when they find that perfect someone who they think is a soul mate and it turns sour after a few months or even weeks.

It turns out that there are things about their soul mate that drive them crazy. There are conflicts and the specialness just seems to have disappeared.

Our take on soul mates is a little different from the mystique and it may help you make more sense out of the whole soul mate and relationship thing.

We believe that there are many soul mates out there for different times in our lives and they come into our lives not only to bring us greater joy but to help us with our personal and spiritual growth.

A soul mate agrees to walk with you for awhile to learn and also teach. A soul mate relationship is a spiritual bond and the challenges that come up are the soul lessons that you have agreed to learn together.

We also believe that just as your various soulmates can enter your life "for a time, a reason or a season"-- we also believe that soul mates can part when there's no more growth and learning.

Before you think we've gone a little to far "out there" or "woo-woo" with this one. consider this...

Regardless of the kind of relationship you're talking about, if the relationship is truly close and connected-- there's a certain spiritual quality to them. Soul mate kind of relationships are no different.

It's been our experience that when two people come together and it feels like a soul mate kind of experience, it can feel like destiny or some sort of divine intervention has been gifted to you or interceded on your behalf.

So what's the soul mate spark?

It's that spark of desire to draw closer and connect with a love and passion that keeps growing throughout the years.

Is it possible?

We know it is because we and others have it--and we also believe that you can create it.

Here are a few ways...

1. Make a soul mate commitment. Commit the time and the energy to growing your passion and love for each other. Even 10 minutes a day of true connection can help rejuvenate a relationship that was once close and now seems disconnected.

2. Kindness matters. We have often seen partners in committed relationships treat each other with less respect than they do strangers. Take a fresh look at how you treat those closest to you and treat them as the special soul partners that they truly are--with kindness and respect.

3. Be curious about yourself and your mate. When you find yourself being triggered by your partner or the people closest to you, take a moment and get curious instead of reacting. It's easier said than done, we know, but just try it.

Get curious enough to just listen to find out what's truly going on between you. Listen to what's underneath the disturbance. What want, need or desire is trying to be expressed for both of you? Listen from your heart.

4. Make one small shift. Ask yourself these questions--"What do I want?" "What do I care about right now?" "Do I want to be right or do I want connection?"

What actions or words will bring you closer to rather than further from what you want and what you care about?

One small shift, like simply pausing before you email someone in anger, can make a big impact on your relationship and can make the difference between keeping your spark alive and letting it die over time.

We all choose our partners for different reasons and some we consider our soul mate and some not.

If you want to keep, grow or rekindle the spark between you, start doing a few things each day to nurture it.

If you aren't currently with any one you consider to be a soul mate, you might begin practicing as if he or she is with you in the form of the people who are in your life right now.

Is it really possible to 'manufacture' or create passion when you don't have it?

A common story plot in relationships and marriages goes something like this...

Boy meets girl. Boy chases girl. Girl is reluctant. Boy wins over girl and they live in bliss, happily ever after.

While that makes for a good story, when you're dealing with real life, it doesn't always work out that way.

The other day, we received a message from a woman who asked if it was possible for her to fall in love with her husband.

They had been married for six years and although she thinks he is a wonderful, attractive man and they communicate well together--she doesn't think she was ever "IN love" with him, although she loves him.

She said that he was (and still is) full of passion for her but she has no desire to be intimate with him or even kiss him.

She said that she wants to stay married and to feel passion for her husband and was looking for some advice..

This is such a broad and far reaching topic that we couldn't hope to do it justice with this one article.

That being said, we do think the things we share below will certainly give you some new ways you can begin to shift in your relationship if you can relate to any of what this woman is going through in her relationship.

While most people would say that they were IN love when they married, many would say, maybe privately, that they have lost passion for one another and are just going through the motions as the years go by.

For any number of reasons, passion has receded into the background of their relationship.

So the question is--

Can you manufacture passion if you love each other or does it strictly have to do with the chemistry that you either have or don't have together and can lose over time?

We'll say that it certainly helps if the chemistry is there but long-term passion has a whole lot to do with something else.

It has to do with masculine and feminine polarity that creates the spark for each person.

It also has to do with the desire for more and the willingness to do something about it.

While we certainly advocate couples treating each other with kindness and love, that alone doesn't necessarily create the passion for intimacy that most of us want in our relationships.

From what we see both in our daily lives and in the couples we work with in relationship coaching, many people are just going through the motions in their relationship and not consciously creating what it is they want.

Then, one day they wake up and start wondering something like "is this all there is?"

Not good.

Especially if your relationship or marriage is important to you.

So how can you create passion and intimacy if you don't have it even though you love each other?

Here are a few ideas...

1. Make it your number one priority to create it.

2. Next, read, study and learn everything you can get your hands on to help you expand your thinking, your vision of possibilities as well as your relationship and intimacy skills.

3. On a purely practical note, set it as your goal to create one passionate evening or even one passionate moment a week.

Take the time to create a romantic setting with candles, music or whatever appeals to you. Make your intimacy time an event and not just a routine-- "It's Sunday night so it must be love-making time."

4. Women: Be a greater expression of radiance and beauty in the world.

Keep in mind that beauty doesn't mean being a size 2 and 25 years old. It's all in how you feel about yourself and how much of your true essence you allow yourself to express.

One way to embrace more of your feminine essence is to dress up in something that flows and "oozes" femininity and sensuality, especially for yourself and your loved one.

Try wearing something that is a little bit beyond your comfort zone of what you would normally wear and something you feel pretty wearing.

If it makes you a little uncomfortable because you think it's a bit beyond the "real you," then it's probably a good thing in your expansion in your femininity.

You're not dressing for the whole world here. You're dressing for yourself and your partner with the purpose of pumping up the passion between the two of you.

5. Men, bring an attitude of honoring her feminine presence to your romantic event.

In the other parts of your life... ask yourself questions like...

What is my purpose in life?

How can I live my life from that place?

If you don't have or can't seem to find a definiteness of purpose, if you want to embrace more of your masculine essence, then you should consider making it your goal to find your "purpose in life."

6. Men and Women: Take the time to connect and touch before intimacy. Relax so that passion can flow.

So often we hold ourselves so tight from the stresses of the day that there's no way that energy can flow in your body, let alone passion.

7. Focus your thoughts on being completely in the present moment with your loved one.

When your thoughts come in, even ones that say "I'm not feeling anything" or "Let's just get on with this and get it over," gently focus your attention back on your body and your connection with your partner.

8. Shift your state to possibility and treat it as if you already have the passion that you want to feel.

What if it were possible to feel an attraction and passion for your partner?

Allow yourself to open enough that that possibility might exist. You may even try treating it as if it already is.

While there are all sorts of reasons that keep us from feeling passion, including past abuses, there are ways to begin feeling if you are now in a safe and loving relationship. This is only the beginning.

Even if you aren't currently in an intimate relationship, begin experimenting with focusing your thoughts on the current moment and feeling the pleasure of touch.

So can you manufacture passion?


And it all depends on you.

Don't Ignore Your "Little" Relationship Problems: Fix Em' While They're Still Small

One of the biggest questions we get about how to keep a relationship healthy, strong and growing is this...

When do you tackle a problem or an irritant concerning your partner's actions or lack of?


When do you just ignore it and allow things to just work themselves out?

These problems can be anything from issues over money, jealousy, raising the kids, making love, household chores--or any other part of your life where your relationship seems a bit strained.

This is a pretty tricky question because if you are confronting every little thing that bothers you about your partner (and your partner is doing the same with you)--there's a good chance that your "complaining" will drive a wedge between the two of you. The fun and spark will probably die out.

But if you ignore things that come up again and again that really bother you and you spend your time making up stories about them and seething inside while trying to keep a loving exterior--you'll create disconnection and distance.

Unfortunately, no matter how good you two are at avoiding, shoving aside your own feelings, or tuning out the voiced concerns of your partner, these "little" relationship problems are not just going to disappear.

In fact, chances are pretty high that whatever is beginning to come between you and your partner will only get more intense if you don't address the issue.

So the question is--how do you bring up these little problems without pushing your partner away?

Here's what Rebecca did...

Recently, Rebecca read that over 35% of business travelers reported that they would choose their Blackberry cell phones over being with their spouses.

Rebecca could really relate.

After all, her husband Alex, who travels frequently with his job, seems joined at the fingers and eyes to his Blackberry.

Just the other day, he couldn't seem to put it down as they had breakfast together. This felt so much more offensive to Rebecca as he had just flown back into town from a week-long conference late the night before.

At various times, especially that day, Rebecca actually felt jealous of the Blackberry and sometimes fantasizes about throwing it in their pool.

She also felt silly about being jealous of an inanimate object and would be embarrassed if Alex knew how she is feeling.

After all, it's not like he's having an affair....

This time Rebecca realized that she needed to pay attention to her feelings and not just shove them aside.

When she took a moment to feel inside her, she realized that she felt upset, lonely and even rejected, not because of Alex's Blackberry but because something was missing for her in their relationship.

She wanted more connection with him.

She realized that even if Alex didn't have a Blackberry, there would still seem to be something missing between the two of them that had once been there.

While it might have been tempting for Rebecca to report to Alex that she'd like him to break his Blackberry addiction and give her and their relationship some long overdue attention, she knew that that would just put him on the defensive and he would close to her.

What she did was re-focus her attention on her relationship with Alex--and more importantly on what she wanted--rather than on Alex's "relationship" with his Blackberry.

She chose to ask Alex if they could talk without any distractions. Then she shared with him that she missed connecting with him and also asked if he'd help her come up with ideas for how they can connect more and have more fun together like they used to.

Rebecca was somewhat surprised when Alex set aside his Blackberry (she was initially worried she'd have to pry it from his fingers!) and agreed that he would like for them to be closer like they were years ago.

They sat and talked about things they could do together and time they could spend together that will bring them closer.

They were both excited to try some of the ideas on their list which made Rebecca feel encouraged and hopeful.

So how about you?

Is there a small problem that nags at you but you are afraid to bring it up?

Here are some ideas to help...

1. Take a moment to actually feel what's underneath your irritation.

It's usually not what's on the surface so it's important for you to take time to move your attention inside yourself to find out what's there.

Use "feeling" words like mad, sad, alone, afraid, frustrated.

Try to get to the root of the problem you are experiencing to more fully understand your emotions.

Discover what you really want in this situation.

2. Be honest about what you are feeling.

In order to "fix 'em" while those irritating relationship problems are small, you need to be honest with yourself and your partner about how you are feeling.

Don't let embarrassment stand in the way of you sharing that you feel disconnected from your mate.

3. Use affirmative statements about what you want rather than what you don't want.

When we suggest that you address those seemingly "small" relationship problems now, we aren't recommending that you make up a list of your gripes about your partner and then present it to him or her.

Instead, share your perception of the relationship problem from a place of how you feel and what you want.

Use affirmative statements as much as possible to convey the change or shift you'd like to work toward.

You might say something like this...

"I love you and I'd love to have more of (this) with you..."

3. Appreciate steps taken toward what you want.

Even if your relationship problem persists, be sure to acknowledge and appreciate the steps that you and your partner are taking toward the desired changes.

Even a seemingly small issue may take awhile to shift. The more you can celebrate any movement in the direction you want to go, the more momentum you are adding.

Notice your partner's efforts and your own and keep communicating clearly and lovingly along the way.

Use this opportunity as an invitation to deeper love and intimacy rather then to "fix" a problem. If you do, you'll both stay more open to each other and have a better chance at deepening your connection.

Relationship lessons From The Hurricane In Ohio

As you know, we find some of our relationship lessons in the unlikliest of places and circumstances and this week's article below is no exception....

Like a lot of people last week, we were watching more than our share of the Weather Channel, CNN and other news outlets to get the latest updates on Hurricane Ike as it approached the Texas and Gulf coast areas of the US.

As we watched the approach of Hurricane Ike, we had no idea that we would be affected by it because we live in Ohio (which is pretty far north and east.)

Now, of course we saw nothing approaching the magnitude of destruction that people along the Texas and Gulf coastal areas saw, felt and are still feeling and experiencing.

Here in Ohio, we got the remnants of Hurricane Ike and had wind gusts for several hours of up to 75 MPH.

As you can imagine, these high winds caused quite a bit of damage to homes, trees, power lines, etc.

Our power was out for 26 hours and even though many of our neighbors weren't so lucky, we didn't have any damage to our home or property and for that we are very grateful.

As we think about the people in Texas, Louisiana, and other areas (including many people right in our own city) who still don't have power, clean drinking water and other things we think of as life's essentials-- our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to you.

As we look back on the night we didn't have power, there are important insights about relationships and daily living we want to share with you and here they are..

One big "ah ha" that we learned was how much of the way we live our lives depends on electricity and what we can and can't do if we don't have it.

We also learned how much time we spend watching television, movies or on the internet rather than interacting with each other and other people.

The two of us always spend time each day interacting and connecting with each other but since Otto's 19 year old son moved in with us to go to college nearby, we haven't interacted much as a family.

We did during the power outage!

The three of us talked more than we usually do as we sat on the porch and watched the last part of the storm blow through and then we went to our friend and neighbor's house and played the board game scrabble by candle light.

It took a several hour power outage for us to come together to do some things to connect in ways that we don't normally do.

The challenge now is to keep connecting without having our electrical power shut off.

How about you?

Maybe Hurricane Ike didn't affect you but we're inviting you to do something this week that you wouldn't normally do to connect with others-- without the television or computer.

Play a game together--dust off games like monopoly, scrabble or Risk. Take a walk or just sit and talk with someone you haven't seen in awhile or even a loved one you haven't really connected with.

For one evening, act as if you have no power, light candles and just be together.

As conscious and connected as the two of us try to be--our power outage was a big wake up call for us that we can do a better job of opening to each other and connecting deeper.

We're hoping you can take a cue from us and open yourself to experimenting with how to connect on a deeper level with the people in your life.

If all this seems kind of silly or not necessary then let us offer one more suggestion that might be valuable for you...

Make the intention to just have one meaningful conversation with someone this week.

Start there and see how you feel. We think it will spur you on to want to connect more with the people in your life.

How About More Fun In Your Relationship?

This week, as we continued to work on our new program to be released soon on building more trust in a relationship, we were thinking about what it takes to regain trust after it's been broken.

Since we all break trust at one time or another in small or large ways in our relationships (without even realizing it), it's important to find ways to constantly rebuild it.

Rediscovering how to have fun together is one of the best ways we know to rebuild connection and love--especially when trust has been an issue.

What we've discovered about typical relationships is that most of the time we have fun as a couple in the early stages and then we get "serious."

Somewhere along the way, some or all of the fun, life and excitement gets sucked out of the relationship-- especially if there's a situation where trust gets violated.

What we're talking about here is the time or point in your relationship when things are no longer easy or when you start to notice and focus on the negative or less desirable aspects of each other. You might even find yourself wondering what happened.

Of course there's a lot more to regaining trust and creating a more connected relationship than just having fun together. It's not a magic cure-all but it is part of the equation to create connection instead of the disconnection that mistrust brings.

In our relationship, we're no longer newlyweds and not only do we still have a great deal of passion, love, intimacy and connection between us but we still enjoy each other's company and have a great deal of fun together.

One thing we can tell you from personal experience is that having fun is important and it's something you don't want to lose.

If fun is something that seems to have faded a bit and you'd like more in your relationship...

Here are some ideas that we want to share with you about how you can use "fun" to build more trust, passion, love and connection...

1. Remember what you did when you were first dating and do it again. Try romantic dinners, a walk in the park, a surprise bunch of flowers or phone calls to say 'I love you' during the day.

The key is to spend time together and make your relationship a priority. Don't let spending time with the kids, although good for your family, be a substitute for the two of you to have fun together.

2. In the midwest, we have a restaurant chain called "Johnny Rockets," complete with 1950's, 60's and 70's ambience and jukebox. If you have something like that in your area, whether you like the food or not, drop in and play the songs that you used to love.

3. Act like kids. Do some silly things like visit a park and swing on the swings or do something that you used to do as a kid like playing jump rope or hop scotch.

4. Rent silly movies that make both of you laugh. There's always a comedy section in dvd rental stores. Visit it together and pick out a few, along with some popcorn.

5. Do some activity together that you used to love to do and haven't for awhile--or maybe something that you've always wanted to try together.

Today we went to the zoo and a couple of weeks ago we went bowling together. There are usually plenty of chances to laugh doing these kinds of activities if you don't take them seriously.

Take the competition out of any game if you want to build trust and connection. Just let the activity be about having fun together.

6. Play a guessing game by writing words with your finger on each other's backs. Try to guess what the other person wrote. Then give each other foot massages while you watch one of the funny movies.

We hope our ideas got your creative juices going and you are beginning to think about what having more fun together might mean to you.

This week, you and your partner make individual lists of what fun means to each of you.

Then, start doing the things on your lists. Take turns and try new things. Actually schedule them in on your calendar.

Make sure that there's no pressure and no drama. Just have it as your intention to have fun--nothing more, nothing less.

These are just a few things that can get you started thinking about how you can have more fun in your relationship.

When you continue to do these kinds of things on a regular basis, we think you'll love the positive changes that can happen for you.

As we like to say-- everything is a choice in life and having fun is a choice that always creates better relationships and a better life experience.

Keeping Your Relationship Strong While Going After Other Personal and Life Goals

Since we moved to a larger city last year, our lives are certainly busier and filled with more activities than they used to be.

What we've noticed is if we aren't conscious, we could fill up every moment with something interesting to do.

Most people we talk to are telling us a similar story.

You probably have a lot to do. You're probably busier than ever and your life is filled with options, obligations and interests like furthering your education, kids, jobs, family, email, and other things that all vie for your time.

Along these lines, here's a question from one of our readers that we thought was worth sharing, along with our answer...

"How do I know when my own personal goals are interfering with my relationship, and if they are, what do I do?"

What a great question--because it can be a "catch-22."

To keep growing and creating renewed passion for life, we all need goals. But, if we're not conscious, those very goals can get in the way of connecting with those we love.

As you probably are aware, we've been writing our book on creating a trust turnaround for the last few weeks and Susie got caught in a big trap.

We had set a completion date for the project that in hindsight was unrealistic. Susie was so focused on the goal of getting the project done "on time" that her old pattern of control started coming out.

Did that interfere with our connection?

You betcha!

So we backed up and set a more realistic date so that Susie could relax and actually enjoy the process.

We tell you this story for several reasons...

Yes, personal goals are important AND they need to be conscious AND able to be negotiated if needed.

Also, if your connection with your partner and your relationship are important to you, we encourage you to make that just as important as any personal goal you might set and go for.

Now, of course there are times when one person's goal--like getting an educational degree, running a marathon, completing an important project at work, caring for an ailing parent or working temporarily out of town-- becomes all-consuming for a certain amount of time.

When this happens, the key is to be conscious and build in at least some connecting time so that you don't lose each other in the process of attaining the goal.

It's also important to have a buy-in from all those involved and talk about ways for both people to get their needs met during this time.

How do you know if your goals are interfering with your relationship?

You know that your personal goals are interfering with your relationship when you feel disconnection and distance from your partner.

When you pay attention to what's happening without lying to yourself, you'd be surprised what you can discover.

Here are some ideas for keeping your relationship strong while going after your goals...

1. Make your goals clear to yourself and to your partner. Talk about your goals and if there's some resistance from your partner, lovingly ask that he or she just listen to you with an open heart and mind--and then you'd like his or her input.

Talk about your goal of staying connected with your partner and your relationship.

If your goal has an end date, make that clear and make plans with your partner after that date.

2. When you're planning actions around your goals, be sure to include connecting time with your partner. Believe it or not, even 15 minutes of pure connection (without thoughts of your other goals) each day can go a long way to keeping a relationship strong.

3. Pay attention to what you are feeling-- whether you feel a connection with your partner or not. If you don't, take a step toward connecting with him or her. It could be a text message, email, or note. Take a small action to regain connection.

4. If you find that your personal goal is interfering with your relationship, renegotiate your goal with yourself. It might be that you can scale back on your plans just a bit to allow time with your partner and family. It might be that there's a way for others to contribute to the completion of your goal.

5. Remember that it's not "either or" as to whether you can achieve other worthwhile goals and have an outstanding relationship. You should be adopting an attitude and belief of "AND" when means that you can achieve your goals AND have a great relationship.

The two things are NOT mutually exclusive. You can have both.

Get creative about how your goals might be accomplished.

Remember it's all about enjoying the journey on the way and not necessarily getting to the end of it.

So we suggest this week that you look at your goals and how you might enjoy your journey while staying connected to yourself and those you love.

What's Holding You Back?

There's a big advertising campaign going on here in Ohio to try to get people to "buckle up" and fasten their seat belts when they get into any car, truck or motorized vehicle.

This advertising campaign is a part of the state's effort to reduce traffic deaths and injuries.

The state's slogan to remind people about "buckling up" is the line...

"What's holding you back?"


What's even more interesting when it comes to creating more love, passion, harmony, trust connection or anything else you want in your relationships or marriage would be to ask the same question--

"What's holding you back?"

We attended a three day business conference recently and there was a similar theme going on the entire weekend about something called...

The "theory of constraints."

We'd never heard of the "theory of constraints" until this conference and found out that the entire theory is laid out in several widely read business books by a guy named Eliyahu M. Goldratt.

We haven't read the books yet but we got enough info about this idea at the conference to be able to tell you that this "theory of constraints" has everything to do with you and your ability to create more love and connection in your life-- or for that matter to improve or change anything you want.

Here's why...

As we understand it, the "theory of constraints" says that if there is something that you want in any area of your life and you're not getting it, there are constraints that are keeping you from it.

Constraints to having what you want in your relationships or anything else can manifest in a myriad of different ways.

For example...

In your relationships or marriage, a constraint to having more love and connection might be a lack of trust.

We're over-simplifying here but the "theory of constraints" says that if you figure out what the constraint is and remove it, you will move toward what you want.

Here are some examples of what we mean...

**Ken thought that every partner he had would cheat on him so he tended to not open himself to getting too close to them. Because one person cheated on him in the past, he feared that every woman would cheat.

His constraint was in his fearful thinking which translated into not allowing him to truly open to being close to another person.

**Joan never seemed to have enough, if any, time alone with her husband. He was under a lot of stress at work and she didn't want to add to his worries by bringing up her needs.

Her constraint was that she couldn't tell her husband that she wanted deeper intimacy with him because she was afraid that he would react negatively to her or just ignore her needs.

**Carol wanted to attract a soul mate and no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't seem to find the "right" person to date.

Her constraint was that when she really listened to her self-talk, she discovered that somewhere inside herself, she didn't believe that she deserved to have a partner who would love her the way she wanted to be loved.

So how can you deal with your constraints and allow them to melt away so that you can have more of what you want?

Here are some ideas...

1. Figure out what you want. Until you know what you want, you can't possibly look at the constraints that you've set in place that keep you from it.

2. Identify what is holding you back from what you want.

Take a moment or two, breathe, and turn your attention inward. Ask yourself what is holding you back from having what you want. And then just listen to what comes up for you.

Don't judge it but just listen.

3. Make a list of actions that you might take to move you toward what you want. Do you need to learn some new strategies for dealing with a certain problem? Do you need to change your thoughts around a certain issue? Do you need to take some action that you have known that you need to take but have been afraid to do so?

4. Do one thing that will move you toward what you want. Just do one thing.

In our examples, Ken could challenge his thought that every partner will cheat on him each time it comes up.

Joan could find a time that her husband is home and just go and sit with him. She doesn't need to even talk about anything right away but just get close to him.

Carol could begin to start imagining what it would feel like inside herself to have the partner she wants. She can start to notice other couples who have the kind of relationship she wants and say to herself "Yes, that's what I want."

If there's a roadblock standing in the way of the trust, communication, love, passion and connection that you want in a relationship, we invite you to commit to moving beyond it.

We invite you to do one thing this week that will move you in the direction that you want.

Getting Back To Passion and Connection in your Relationship or Life

Since it's approaching the time that schools start a new year in the USA, it's certainly a reminder to all of us to "get back" to what's important in our lives.

Although we might become even busier as we approach the fall season, we can make conscious choices now to create more passion and connection in our lives and relationships.

With this in mind, here are 5 powerful ways to increase passion, love, and connection that have been sent in by readers like you.

We invite you to try them out in your life!

1. "We try to have a positive attitude about everyday life and make each other smile or laugh! We laugh at the silliest things! We go to bed about the same time every night and snuggle and we say our prayers together while holding one another. It is a very warm and touching experience."

2. "My boyfriend and I love to try to do not just 'fun' things together, but 'childlike fun' things together to refresh our relationship. Childhood is usually a unique time when a feeling of passionate play comes into enjoyable activities.

"My boyfriend and I try to tap into that 'passionate playful' feeling by doing things we loved to do as kids, but do not usually think of doing as adults.

"We feel a playful freedom going to Disney World together, (without any kids with us), and other theme parks, or water parks. We recently tried roller skating, and ice skating again after almost 20 years.

"And how often now do you find yourself dancing in the privacy of your own home as adults? It is probably something most of us did as kids in our locked bedroom. I try to put on music as much as possible instead of television (at first very much against my boyfriends wishes) and take his hands and dance for a little bit here and there while one of us prepares dinner. We always end up smiling."

3. The best way I have found to show my husband I care is by taking packaged snacks and using puns from the names to tell him I care. Baby Ruth " Baby, you are the best." ; Planter's nuts " I'm nuts about you." etc. It keeps things interesting, cheerful, and fun while he knows I am thinking about him.

4. "...There is one thing my partner can do that will keep me forever in love with him. And that is to understand and accept that I am his partner but still an individual with thoughts, feelings, ideas and views that might be different from his. He allows me freedom to be my own person, not just an extension of him because we are partners."

5. "In my relationship, I think one of the keys to it is always make time for one another.Even if you only have 5 mins, let the other person know how much you care about them.

"Always say I love you. Plus always keep open communication with your partner. Be a good listener and tell them what you are hearing from what they have to say. Make sure you both understand the same way.

"Be romantic on the spur of the moment. Go for a walk together. Read together. Do fun things. Have one night set aside for a date night with each other. Go away for a romantic weekend. Make breakfast and serve it in bed."

What great ideas for keeping love, passion and connection alive!

We invite you to do just one thing this week to reconnect with each other and allow more of what you want in your life to happen.

5 Ways to Get Back to Passion and Connection in your Relationship or Life" pt. 2

Last week, we gave you 5 ways to increase passion, love, and connection that have been sent in by readers like you--and you liked them so much, we decided to give you 5 more...(If you missed last week's ideas, here they are.)

1. "Spontaneity is definitely a key. But ultimately, what I've found most effective is letting a man know you're into him when he least expects it...a note telling him you're waiting for him in his car, in the medicine cabinet, or even a coupon offering love at his leisure is enticing"

2. "Besides the hot oil rubs & spaghetti strap nighties one thinks creates excitement, what has been exhilarating for us has been quirkiness & unexpectedness. For example, for my husband's birthday, I bought him an expensive GPS for his truck.

"He had yearned for one for those off road hunting excursions. On the morning of his birthday, I wrapped several 'hints' pertaining to the GPS (toy Mattel truck, doll 'Ken' in camouflage gear, teeny road map, etc) & hid them in the shower, his truck, etc. with the info that if he could guess what the hints related to, he could have the BIG gift--otherwise, he'd have to wait til after work.

"The fun we had as he went on his scavenger hunt, then giggling as he guessed what possibly these silly toys could be about, was fun. it spiked my husband's need for creativity, unpredictability & something other than routine.

"He had to wait til after work to get the 'full monty' but he called several times from work with even more guesses & begging me to tell him what the gift was!!! that day is imbedded in our memory!"

3. "Never take your partner for granted, and think you know how they are going to react. If you honour them and treat them as if you have just met, and are going through that courting stage, those 'fireworks' will still fly!"

4. "We'll be married for 20 years in just three months. My husband and I keep the passion in our relationship alive by still kissing hello, goodbye, good morning. We kiss a lot, and not just pecks. We still have juicy make-out sessions like we did when we first dated.

"Of course, our kids think this is gross, but we believe that we are setting a good example by showing them how fulfilling marriage can be. It indicates that we truly like each other. It also allows us to give 'special time' to our relationship and to each other. Let's face it, we are all happier when we feel loved!"

5. "Love is the secret to keeping our relationship hot, juicy, and exciting. When my husband and I look into one another's eyes, there is such a deep, profound connection that we have come to depend upon it and crave it.

"Our physical intimacy is sometimes planned and sometimes spontaneous. It can be fun and playful or intense and romantic; but no matter how we choose to intertwine, our souls are always fully present and connected.

"Even when we are smiling, giggling, and being creative or adventurous, our eyes are saying, 'I love you unconditionally. You are my true love.' I need only glance at his eyes and they are always there - open to me - seeking out my glance, so that they can connect and we can feel the love flow between us.

"Over the years, we have come to know that connection will always be there for us. Our physical intimacy has actually expanded and become more frequent as our trust has deepened. When love-making is so wonderful, you naturally want more - not less.

"We are both well beyond our 'peaks' sexually and yet we are more insatiable now than either of us has ever been. Our love-making has always been good, but over the past 5 years it has gone completely off the charts.

"We often say, 'Who knew?' because we honestly didn't know that it could be so wonderful. We didn't know our desire could grow so far beyond our initial physical attraction. Now, we do and I'm not even sure whether I can convey in words what we have grown to know.

"So, I guess my advice is to find a way to love your spouse unconditionally or find a spouse you can love unconditionally, so that you can know what it feels like to crave and frequently visit the place your soul most desires.

"Once you have found it, neither of you will ever be able (or willing) to harden against the other again. The risk is simply too great. Love is as wonderful and powerful and eternal as we have all hoped. The secret lies in being committed enough to wait for it...and bold enough to grab it with both hands when it finds you."

What inspirational stories!

We invite you to do just one thing this week to open yourself deeper to the love that is available to you.

©2008 by Susie & Otto Collins



Susie and Otto Collins are spiritual and life partners who are committed to helping others create outstanding relationships of all kinds. They regularly write, speak and conduct workshops and seminars on love, relationships and personal and spiritual growth to audiences all across the USA. They are the creators of the "Relationship Toolkit" which has helped people in over a dozen countries improve their relationships. It includes a video called Spiritual Partnerships plus two booklets Love and Relationship Success Secrets and 101 Relationship Quotes Worth a Million Dollars! You can also read more articles like these and subscribe to their weekly newsletter on love and relationships by visiting their web site at Their new E-book Should You Stay or Should You Go? has just been released and is now available See Archives 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001. Other Relationship Issues, Books

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