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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Lessons You Can Learn From a T-Shirt
What is the craziest saying you've ever seen on a
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
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
"Almost all the people who drive me crazy are in
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
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
One of the best "mirrors" we've seen recently is
Susie's daughter and son-in-law's Saint Bernard,
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
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
What can you learn from the "mirrors" in your
family and other close relationships when you are
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
When you get triggered or upset by something
someone says, does or something that "happens" just
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
When we talk about giving and receiving gifts,
we aren't just referring to the packages you unwrap
on birthdays, holidays or other special
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Noticing What's Different and Trust Building
The last few months, as we've been focused on
writing about building trust, one thing is very
We all either build trust or tear it down in
every moment we are together with another
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
Maybe you are expecting someone to act in a
certain way and he or she isn't playing along with
2. Talk with your partner about your rules and
be open to hearing your partner's rules without
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
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
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. www.stoptalkingoneggshells.com/Interview/
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
Why are these 8 words
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
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
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
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
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
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
Here's an example of using these 8 words to stay
open to understanding each other in the same type
"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
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.
Withdrawing and Being Honest In Your
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
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
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
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
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
It's a common one and here's how it usually
"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."
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
What about the recipient of all of this
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
In other words, they feel like they aren't
enough which is quite the opposite of what the
If you can relate to any part of this pattern,
here are some suggestions for getting out of
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
What actions or words will bring you closer to
rather than further from what you want and what you
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
We all choose our partners for different reasons
and some we consider our soul mate and some
If you want to keep, grow or rekindle the spark
between you, start doing a few things each day to
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
Is it really possible
to 'manufacture' or create passion when you don't
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
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
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
This is such a broad and far reaching topic that
we couldn't hope to do it justice with this one
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
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?"
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
Here are a few ideas...
1. Make it your number one priority to create
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
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
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
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
6. Men and Women: Take the time to connect and
touch before intimacy. Relax so that passion can
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
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
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
One of the biggest questions we get about how to
keep a relationship healthy, strong and growing is
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
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
So the question is--how do you bring up these
little problems without pushing your partner
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
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
At various times, especially that day, Rebecca
actually felt jealous of the Blackberry and
sometimes fantasizes about throwing it in their
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
This time Rebecca realized that she needed to
pay attention to her feelings and not just shove
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
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
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
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
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
Use "feeling" words like mad, sad, alone,
Try to get to the root of the problem you are
experiencing to more fully understand your
Discover what you really want in this
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
Don't let embarrassment stand in the way of you
sharing that you feel disconnected from your
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
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
You might say something like this...
"I love you and I'd love to have more of (this)
3. Appreciate steps taken toward what you
Even if your relationship problem persists, be
sure to acknowledge and appreciate the steps that
you and your partner are taking toward the desired
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
Notice your partner's efforts and your own and
keep communicating clearly and lovingly along the
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
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
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
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
As you can imagine, these high winds caused
quite a bit of damage to homes, trees, power lines,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Did that interfere with our connection?
So we backed up and set a more realistic date so
that Susie could relax and actually enjoy the
We tell you this story for several
Yes, personal goals are important AND they need
to be conscious AND able to be negotiated if
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
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
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
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
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
The two things are NOT mutually exclusive. You
can have both.
Get creative about how your goals might be
Remember it's all about enjoying the journey on
the way and not necessarily getting to the end of
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
What's Holding You
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
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
"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
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
Constraints to having what you want in your
relationships or anything else can manifest in a
myriad of different ways.
In your relationships or marriage, a constraint
to having more love and connection might be a lack
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
2. Identify what is holding you back from what
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
©2008 by Susie
& Otto Collins
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
Partnerships plus two
and Relationship Success
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 www.collinspartners.com
new E-book Should You Stay or Should You Go?
has just been released and is now available
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