What is a Passionate
One of our newsletter subscribers asked an
interesting question in our recent survey and we
thought we'd share our answer with all of you.
She asked what the difference was between a
passionate heart and s*exual ecstasy. Since we've
been talking a lot lately about how having a
passionate heart is so important to creating close,
connected relationships, we thought it was a great
topic to discuss.
We think that a passionate heart is a way of
living in every moment of your life. Whether you
are waiting in line at the bank, helping your
children with homework or talking with your
partner, a co-worker or family member--your heart
is open to experiencing the joys of connecting with
others or even with yourself.
The Oxford English Dictionary describes the word
"passion" this way--"intense feeling, strong
excitement, Strong affection; love, intense desire
In other words, passion or being passionate is
the fire in our eyes, in our bodies and in our
lives that drives us forward--whether it's in our
work, our hobbies, or in our
When people lose that passion or fire for their
lives or their relationships, you can sure tell it
and when people have it, you can also see it and
feel it--even if they are quiet about it.
To us, having a passionate heart means being
truthful, being both powerful and vulnerable,
having a willingness to stay and go deeper, taking
responsibility for creating what we want in our
lives, being open and allowing inner radiance to
shine through--and of course being open to
connecting with others, as well as to
Our list could go on and on but you get the idea
and you would probably have many other ways of
defining what it means to you.
You know when you have it and you also know when
The two of us had a misunderstanding yesterday
but neither one of us closed to the other. We kept
our hearts open to each other and are working out
our differences as we are writing this article.
That's having a passionate heart.
Back to our newsletter subscriber's
In our way of thinking, love-making and ecstasy
requires a passionate heart but not vice-versa and
here's why we say this...
Sure, you can have love-making and ecstasy
without a heart connection but you usually end up
feeling empty inside, with that "is that all there
The two of us decided when we were first
together that this type of love-making was not what
we wanted for our experience.
So, to our newsletter subscriber who asked the
question--we say that love-making and ecstasy can
certainly be part of having a passionate heart--and
having a passionate heart is a lot more.
The passionate heart is the container through
which everything in your life passes
More Ways to Remove The
Blocks to Love and Connection
What are some of the things we do that get in the
way of a close, connected and even passionate
relationship or marriage?
This is a good question and because we're always
asking ourselves how we can create more of what we
want in our own relationship and how we can help
facilitate that outcome for our coaching clients,
we're always looking for answers to that
There are many answers to this question and we
address many of them every week in this newsletter
but here's what we've discovered...
These blocks to more love, passion and
connection can be different for everyone but one of
the biggest blocks to a close, connected
relationship happens when one or both people begin
looking outside the relationship to get their needs
We each saw this happen in our previous
marriages and we've seen it happen in many
relationships since then.
When you look to food, work, a hobby, a friend,
a co-worker, another family member, or even
children for love or any other primary
need--instead of the partner you chose to be
with--your relationship with that person
We're certainly not saying that you can't love
food, your work, your friends, your family, or
enjoy your associations with co-workers in order to
have a great relationship with your mate.
What we are saying is that when you are with
someone, one of the primary keys to creating an
outstanding relationship is to make them feel like
they are the most important person in the
Recently, we've been fascinated by Tony Robbins'
work with couples around this topic. One couple had
been on the verge of splitting up for two years.
The husband had the proverbial one foot in the door
and one foot out and couldn't make up his mind
about what he should do.
Since we talk with a lot of people who are in
similar situations and are always looking for ways
to strengthen relationships, this couple's story
was particularly interesting to us.
As Tony asked both of them questions, one thing
that became apparent was that each of them looked
outside of their relationship to fill their
Do you do this? Do you make anything else more
important than your mate? What would they say about
the idea of whether they feel like the most
important thing in the world to you or not?
In this situation where Tony was working with
this couple, the woman was very close to her sister
and had had a strong father who she had been very
connected to. Although he had passed a year ago, it
was apparent that she didn't allow her husband to
be as important to her as her father had been or
her sister is now.
The man seemed to also put other things in his
life as a higher priority than his relationship
with his wife. As Tony asked him questions, it
became apparent that he chose to work long hours
away from home to get his needs met.
They were both looking outward and neither one
had had the courage to turn around toward their
partner to see if they could rekindle their love
for one another, to be "there" for each other, and
to be much happier in the relationship.
So your question may be-- "How can we start to
look at one another and our relationship
differently?" or "What can I do to begin to make
some shifts for the better in my relationship or
Here are some ideas that you might try if you
are in somewhat of a similar situation as this
couple. If you are between relationships and
learning how to create what you want, these ideas
may help you to understand how to create a close,
connected relationship that stays vibrant and alive
throughout the years.
1. Take a look at who and what you seek out when
you are agitated or challenged in your life. This
will give you some idea of how you choose to soothe
yourself and get your needs met.
As you become conscious of what you do during
those times, decide whether you want to continue
doing them or if there is a shift that you'd like
to make that would bring you closer to your
2. If you'd like to connect more with your
partner at those times but you've held yourself
back for one reason or another, you could begin by
opening your heart and talking to him or her from
that place about what's happening with you. You
could also simply ask for a hug at those times.
Chances are that if you've made a habit of
seeking out other people or things during times of
distress, your partner may have disappointed you in
If that's the case and you truly want a deeper
connection with him or her, gather the courage and
take the time to talk about how you would like to
be supported--and then allow yourself to feel
supported by them. In turn, you need to ask how you
can support him or her.
3. Make a commitment to each other and a plan
about how you both will move toward one another
instead of away from each other.
The commitment can simply be that you will spend
more time together instead of apart. It might be
that you will look to each other in times of
distress instead of to others or to some other
The man in our example committed to be a
powerful support to his wife and give her love in
the way she needs.
The woman in our example committed to making
their relationship more important than her
relationship with her extended family.
If you are in a partnership, we invite you to
look at how much importance this partnership is in
your life and to move toward creating more love
within it--if that is your desire.
If you are between relationships and want to
have a loving, long-lasting, alive relationship, we
invite you to create a vivid picture in your mind
about how you'd like this relationship to be.
Sometimes we aren't aware of the blocks that
prevent us from being happy and feeling loved. We
invite you to take a look and move toward creating
more love in your life.
It's Not My Problem
When a problem, challenge or issue comes up in a
relationship or marriage, whose problem is it
Is it yours? Your partner's?
This is interesting because whether you are in a
relationship where you feel like you are really
alone, you're walking on egg-shells or maybe you've
gone from relationship to relationship and have not
found the heart connection that you want--one
common question that we hear is "It's not my
problem. It's their problem so what can I do about
It doesn't matter whether the problem is
jealousy or maybe the person withdraws and won't
communicate with you, maybe the other person allows
his/her anger to come between you, maybe you just
don't seem to be "on the same page" or maybe your
partner takes no responsibility for his/her
Our answer is always the same...
If there is a problem in your relationship or
maybe in relationships that you've had in the past,
look at yourself first because you are part of what
Now, of course we in no way find it helpful to
lay blame in your direction. Blame of any
kind--whether it's toward you or your current or
past partner--is of absolutely no benefit to anyone
except to keep someone in roll of victim or
With that being said, we'll tell you about a
situation we observed recently to illustrate what
We were at a gathering and one of the women
seemed pretty upset as she explained in an
exasperated tone that her husband had left the
party to go home and had left the keys to their van
locked inside it. She wanted to go home also but
was upset that she had to figure out how to get
there--without their van. She blamed him completely
for her predicament.
Now on the surface, it certainly looks like this
situation is all her husband's "fault" if you want
to lay blame on anyone. But as we discovered later,
her husband had talked with her prior to leaving
but they hadn't really listened to each other and
made their desires clear for one another.
We're guessing but they probably do this
particular "relationship dance" quite often of
mis-communicating and misunderstanding one
another--not truly being "present" with each other
when they are talking with one another.
So it's not just "his" problem but she has a
role in their dynamic as well.
If that's the case--that both people have a role
in contributing to most if not all relationship
problems--how do you begin dealing with the
situation if you feel that the other person is the
Here are some ideas that we've used when we've
thought the other person has the problem and we
hope that they shed some light on helping you with
your particular situation...
1. Own your part of it. Don't be seduced into
thinking that it's all the other person's fault. It
may be that the two of you are looking at the
situation from very different eyes and from very
different values. Take a few steps up and out of
the situation and look at it from a hawk's
perceptive high in the air. If you truly look at
the situation from that vantage point, you will
probably see how you have contributed--whether from
something you did or did not do.
2. Take steps to truly feel what you are feeling
about what has happened. It may trigger memories
from past relationships or it may be a past hurt
that surfaces--along with what's currently
happening. When you pause to feel what's there for
you, the whole situation becomes clearer. It's very
easy to react from old patterns and not to go
underneath of those patterns and discover what is
really there. Give yourself the space and time to
contact what's inside you.
3. If it's appropriate, tell the other person
what you have discovered about this situation and
about your part in it--without blaming either
yourself or him/her. Do not speak from your "head"
but rather speak from what you are feeling from
your heart. The other will know and feel the
difference and it can make the difference whether
he/she reacts defensively or not.
4. Tell the other person how you would like your
relationship to be and state your commitment to
doing those things. You first have to figure what
that means and then have the courage to ask for it.
Be sure to be honest with yourself about what you
want and be honest about your commitment to doing
If you want better communication, commit to
stopping the things that you do that prevent
communication. It might be to make sure that you
are present with one another when you talk with
each other, opening your hearts to one another and
making eye contact so that you "hear" what each
other is saying.
If you're in a relationship, especially an
intimate relationship, there are undoubtedly things
that come up that may be considered challenges.
Whether they are big ones or small ones, take the
time to look at the situation from the hawk's
perspective and discover how you can grow as a
person and as a couple.
If you do, you'll find that you become happier
in your life and your relationships.
Dealing With The
Difficult Times In Our Lives
Whether you consider yourself to be young, old or
anything in-between, for most of us, transitions
and life-changing events are usually difficult
times in our lives.
Whether it's the death of a beloved friend or
family member, a divorce, a relationship break up,
the loss of a job or even getting married--those
events tend to shake up our world and can be
opportunities to look at life a little
During the past two weeks, we were privileged to
be part of Susie's mother's "transition team,"
along with a wonderful group of hospice workers.
Susie's mother was able to pass from this world
peacefully a few days ago.
The two of us learned a lot from this life
transition and life-changing event.
Here are some of the things we learned...
1. Step back, take a broader view, and focus on
what's truly important when things seemingly go
"wrong." When Susie's mom was hours away from
passing, we found that for various reasons, no
hospice worker could be with her and us for several
hours. Instead of getting upset, Susie's sister and
the two of us were able to flow with the turn of
events and simply focus on what was
It was a big lesson for us to simply be with
circumstances that we could not control and focus
on what was important for us and in our power to do
in the moment.
2. Life and our relationships are precious--and
we need to be present in every moment. This is a
lesson the two of us are always learning and
Probably one of the biggest ways we can practice
a deep appreciation for life and our relationships
is by being present to what's happening inside and
outside of ourselves--as well as to the people we
are with in the moment.
During Susie's mom's transition, we were
intensely focused on what was happening around us.
We found that it was equally important to honor the
emotions that were inside us and to also be very
present to Susie's mom's process. We used various
breathing techniques to help us move our emotions
and not hang on to them as we lovingly tended to
her and assisted in her moving on.
3. Take time to celebrate. Several times during
the past week as family members gathered at Susie's
mom's bedside, we celebrated her life. We played
the Big Band 40's music of Glenn Miller which she
had loved and told stories of her life while
laughing and crying.
We re-learned how important it is to continually
celebrate and cherish each other and our loved
ones--not just at times such as these, but every
Life does send us obstacles and possibly even
what we might consider tragedies from time to time.
We've discovered that how you move through those
times depends on your attitude and the love and
compassion that you hold for yourself and
We have learned a lot from the events of the
past few weeks and we are certainly different
people from having gone through it.
If you've experienced a life-changing event (and
most of us have) or are in the midst of
experiencing one right now, we invite you to look
on that event with love and discover what you can
learn from going through it. It might be that you
can help others in similar situations or it might
simply mean that you emerge a better person.
Ingredient For a Great Relationship
Although they may not be aware of them, everyone
who creates a great relationship has certain things
that they do over and over to create more
love,passion, connection (or whatever is important
to them) on a consistent basis in their
In any relationship it's usually not just one
thing we do that creates the magic but many
different things. Sort of like ingredients that go
into a recipe for a favorite food or dessert-- if
you leave out one of the key ingredients things
don't go so well.
So what are the key ingredients in a close,
connected and loving relationship?
Sadly, one of the ingredients that most people
consider to be essential for a connected, alive and
long-lasting relationship is something so simple
but is often the first to disappear.
That ingredient is the simple act of having fun
That's right-- FUN.
A question many people wonder about fun
"Why does it disappear when it's usually part of
what brought us together?"
That's a good question and we'll answer it like
Life gets in the way and we often choose other
things on a day to day and moment to moment basis
that don't move us toward more love, passion and
Our jobs become priorities and when kids come
along (although we may be having fun in different
ways), we tend to put having fun as a couple very
low on our list of "things to do."
In our relationship, even though the two of us
are together most of our time together,we found
that because of everything else going on in our
busy lives we had allowed the "fun" part of being
together fade a bit. Although we do have fun
working together, we had been short-changing that
part of our relationship and did a few things to
get things revved up a bit.
So, we did what we're going to suggest that you
do. We decided to make a list of things we
considered fun to do together and do those
Susie already had a good quality bicycle but
So, last week Otto bought a bike and we took our
first ride together Tuesday evening as part of his
birthday celebration. It just took an hour and boy
was it fun.
Another "fun" thing on our list that we enjoy
doing together is watching concerts of our favorite
recording artists on DVD.
So, the other evening, after we stopped working,
we watched a wonderful VH1 Storytellers concert and
program featuring one of our favorite musical
artists, Natalie Merchant. What a joy for both of
You get the point...
If you are in a marriage or relationship, we
invite you to make a list of things that you enjoy
doing together. They might be things that you used
to enjoy together but no longer do--or they might
be new things that would be fun for both of
If you are not currently in a relationship, we
also invite you to make your list of what you
consider "fun" activities. Again, they might be new
activities or they might be things that you used to
enjoy. Not only would this be a way to create more
fun in your life, it might also be a way to meet
Whether you are in a relationship or not, you
have to carve out some time from your life for
having fun and doing this new or not-so-new
Why would you want to do this?
It's pretty simple--It brings aliveness and
renewal to your life and your relationship.
What we've found is that anytime you want to
create more love, passion and connection in your
relationships and life-- fun is always one place
you can count on to give more of what you want to
We invite you to explore what fun means to you
this week and to make time in your life for it.
It's so important for the quality of any
successful and happy relationship.
It Really is All
About You, Isn't It?
Has there ever been a past event with someone that
made you upset? How about something that someone
else did that made you happy or joyful?
We're imagining that if you're like a lot of
people, you've had one or both of those
experiences. We know we have.
Here's an interesting life and relationship
truism about joys, upsets and everything else in
your relationships (and life) that we want to share
It's something that we've learned from our lives
together as a couple and from the people we've
Here's the relationship truism...
Whenever we're upset or triggered by someone
else, It's never about the other person. It's
always about us.
The same thing could be said for when someone
else makes us happy or joyful. It's not what THEY
do. It's how we interpret what they do that
determines its meaning and whether we consider it a
good or a bad thing.
So, before you start wondering if we've lost our
minds, here's an example of what we're talking
about from our own lives...
The other day, Otto was irritated because In the
cul-de-sac where we live, our neighbor hadn't mowed
an island of grass in a very long time that is in a
very prominent common area.
The grass was way too high. It looked bad and in
short made the whole neighborhood look bad. At
least that's the way Otto saw it :-)
So, this is what happened...
When Otto mowed our grass, he mowed this
neighbor's island of grass too. After he did it, he
made up a story in his mind that our neighbor would
be angry with him about what he had done. He also
thought that if the neighbor wasn't angry that he
would certainly feel bad that someone else had
mowed his grass when it was this neighbor's
Otto had the chance to talk with this neighbor
yesterday and instead of being angry, bothered or
embarrassed, the neighbor was very appreciative of
what Otto had done.
So what did Otto learn from this?
He learned that it was his pride that had made
up the untrue story in his mind that our neighbor
might be angry or embarrassed.
Otto also learned that the emotion that he
projected on his neighbor was actually his own
issue about himself and how unorganized he can be
and how cluttered his work area can be (and does)
become from time to time.
There are also some things that came up for Otto
about how he does the grass mowing of our yard. In
other words, he feels like he could do a much
better job at it and is somewhat angry with himself
How does this story and this info help to make
your relationships better?
You can change your perception when you are
triggered or upset by someone or something. You can
look within yourself first to feel what's happening
Does that mean that the other person isn't doing
anything to cause the upset?
Of course not. But it's been our experience that
you will stop building walls between you and other
people if you first search yourself and see what
you can learn about yourself before you start
pointing your finger outward toward someone or
Here are some questions that we ask ourselves
when we are triggered about something or
1. What emotion is coming up for me right now
because of what happened?
2. When have I acted in this way?
3. Is there anything that I need to say to
anyone about how I am feeling or is there anything
that I need to do?
4. What is it that this situation is signaling
me to heal that I may have been unaware of or could
have possibly been ignoring?
Although when we are triggered it's usually
uncomfortable, it's also a great chance to get to
know ourselves a little better and to grow.
Believe it or not, upsets are also opportunities
to get closer to those we love rather than push
them further from us. It's all in how you view
So we suggest that the next time you are upset
by something or someone, you stop before you say or
do what you normally do and choose to take that
opportunity to learn more about yourself.
Build your relationships rather than tear them
down by looking inward at your thoughts, beliefs
and actions. If you do, you'll find that you life
just keeps getting better and better.
One Question You Can Ask
To Keep Walls From Coming Between You and Other
People In Your Life
Have you ever been "triggered" or "upset" by
anyone, anytime, anywhere?
Of course you have. We ALL have.
What we've discovered in our many years of
learning about relationships and a deeper
understanding of ourselves is that when we feel
triggered by something or someone, there's always
something there to be learned from the experience
if we're open to the lesson.
When any of us are triggered by a person or an
event, there's the tendency to resist, defend and
to look outward instead of asking ourselves the
question--"What can I learn from this?"
Why would you want to practice answering this
question when you're triggered by someone or an
When you ask "What can I learn from this?" you
are shifting from blaming the other person or the
event to taking responsibility for growing from the
experience. When you do this, you can move more
easily and quickly to reconnecting with the person
or just feeling better.
We'll explain with a simple example...
Several years ago, Susie was triggered by what
several members of a group she was in were saying
and doing. Although she had been in the group for
many years, she no longer felt connected to
She started to "blame" them for her
disconnection but then remembered to ask herself
"What can I learn from this?"
What she found when she got quiet within herself
was that this feeling of disconnection simply meant
that she no longer wanted to be a part of this
group. It was no longer a match for her and she
could use the time doing things that really excited
In her heart, she was grateful for what the
group had given to her over the years but it was
time to move on.
What does this example have to do with helping
you to create more passion, love and connection in
Every time you are triggered and you blame the
other person, you create disconnection and you are
not tapping in to "you."
Every time you ask "What can I learn from this?"
and accept that something within you helped to
create this trigger. That's certainly not to blame
you but rather to shed some light on your inner
thoughts and feelings and to help you to create
It might be that the "trigger" indicates that
you need to tell someone how you are feeling and
what you want.
It might be that the "trigger" indicates that
you need to pay attention to "you." You may need to
pamper yourself in some way or to give yourself
space and time to rest and rejuvenate.
It might be that the "trigger" is a signal that
you have some learning and growing to do in some
area of your life.
When you pay attention to the triggers, you
create better relationships with yourself and with
the people in your life.
We know that each one of you is triggered by
something or someone at some time. And when you
are, we recommend that you ask yourself this very
important question so that you don't create walls
between you and the other person.
We invite you to try this simple idea to create
more passion, love and connection in your
relationships and your life.
Looking at Your
Relationship with 'New Eyes'
What do people want for their relationships and
One thing we've noticed as we listen to
relationship questions and work with people in our
coaching practice is that they are wanting more out
of their relationships and their lives.
You've probably looked around and noticed that
some relationships seem to be dissolving because
people are no longer willing to stay in
relationships or marriages that aren't happy and
satisfying. They want more.
You might have also noticed that other people
stay in relationships that seem to have died a long
time ago and even though they seem to be staying in
these unfulfilling relationships, they still want
In the back of their minds, whether they leave
their relationships or stay in them, they wonder if
it's even possible to have a lasting relationship
that's passionate and alive.
We not only know that it's possible--we've seen
evidence of it and have lived it ourselves.
One of the things that we've learned about how
to keep passion and our relationship alive is to
constantly look at your relationship and your
beloved with "new eyes."
Now, what does that mean--to look at your
relationship and / or your beloved with "new
Here's an example to illustrate our point...
Last weekend we went to a new movie theater in
Columbus, Ohio which is about an hour's drive from
the city where we live.
This movie theater that we went to was in the
"South Campus Area" just south of Ohio State
University's campus. Even though both of us have
driven past this area where this new theater is now
located many times, we were shocked with what we
found when we got there.
What had happened since we had last been to this
part of Columbus was that this entire area had been
completely transformed. What was once run-down
student housing and abandoned buildings has been
completely transformed with new shops, theaters,
restaurants, coffee shops and more. We were
So what's the point?
The point is that in order for all this
transformation to have taken place, someone had to
have looked at this area with new eyes and
envisioned a convenient, pleasant, exciting
atmosphere for people to gather -- much different
from what had been there before.
This is how we need to be in our significant
relationships if they are to be alive and thriving
for many years.
So how do we translate this "new eyes" idea to
our everyday lives even if we may have been
together with our mate for many years?
One of Susie's long-time friends told her that
she and her husband of 25 years had taken the first
vacation together by themselves for many years.
They visited New England and toured ivy league
colleges and had a great time.
She said that she and her husband learned that
they really liked one another and enjoyed traveling
together. They had forgotten what it felt like to
just have fun together until they went on this
It was pretty evident that they were looking at
each other with "new eyes." They had found
something that they really loved to do together and
they had rediscovered that they really enjoyed each
Whether you've been in a relationship for many
years or have just begun, we suggest that you can
look at each other with "new eyes" and open your
heart and mind to finding ways to do it.
If you are single and are wanting your next
relationship to be different and to last, start
right now to look at the people in your life with
"new eyes." Begin looking at and thinking about
your new or potential new partner with new eyes
instead of comparing him or her to your previous
What can you learn about each other? What can
you re-discover about each other?
Looking at the people in your life with "new
eyes" is just one of the many ways to create
passionate, connected, alive relationships.
Let us know if you have a "new eyes" story. We'd
love to hear it!
Can You Say 'I Love You'
Here's a fascinating question that we received from
one of our newsletter subscribers and we are fairly
certain that the question has come up for many
other people in their relationships.
Our subscriber asked...
"Can you say 'I love you' too much? How can I
make my partner believe that you can not overuse
the 'I love you' term. He says if we say it too
often, it will become meaningless."
First of all, we all come to our relationships
with different past experiences, expectations and
desires. Even though it may seem that the person we
fall in love with is just like us, in so many ways
(that usually surface after you've been together
for quite awhile) they are so different.
The differences usually arise from our past
experiences and how our role models (including our
parents) conducted their lives and their
Our newsletter subscriber is with a person who
has a different idea of what the "I love you" term
means and how to use.
So can you overuse the term "I love you" ?
According to this man and probably many others,
yes you can.
Does that mean that she doesn't get her needs
met and she just has to put up with his ways?
Of course not.
Before we give some pointers about this
situation, we'd like to give another possible
explanation for these differences.
In neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), people
are described to take in information and learn in
three different ways...
Although we each take in information in all of
these ways, most of us have one dominant way.
What does this have to do with our topic?
Plenty and here's why...
Our newsletter subscriber may be an auditory
learner (she may like to hear information) and her
partner may prefer to get and give information in
one of the two other ways. He may prefer
demonstrations of love as opposed to saying it or
he may prefer written notes of love.
We're just throwing this idea out for you to
consider that we all don't like to receive and give
information in the same ways--just as some people
prefer to use email to contact people and others
prefer to use the telephone.
There are many different reasons why someone may
not want someone telling them "I Love You" all the
time here are a couple others...
If someone doesn't want to overuse the "I Love
You" phrase, it could be that they have witnessed
other people in their life saying they love someone
and then seeing them doing or saying things that
weren't acts of kindness or love.
It could also be that they witnessed people
saying "I love you" in a way that seemed insincere
or trite. They may have done this in the past or
saw it done and they don't want to repeat it.
So with those possible explanations why someone
might have that idea, here are some suggestions if
you are facing this kind of difference between you
and a loved one (or for that matter, any one in
1. Listen, truly listen, to how your partner
wants to be loved. If he/she doesn't want to talk
about the topic, pay attention to how the person
shows love for you.
Kelly's (one of our coaching clients) husband
loved her by "doing" things around the house for
her and by fixing things. He also sent her cards
and flowers but saying "I love you" to her wasn't
tops on his list. Kelly began opening more to him
in ways that showed him she loved him. She began
giving him her full attention when he talked with
her and by doing that they became closer. And yes,
she did feel more loved even though he didn't say
it much more often than he had before.
2. Make sure that actions are in alignment with
words. So often people say "I love you" and then in
the next moment, do or say something that indicates
something far different from love. They may not
even realize that they are doing it.
Some people grew up in a family that made
cutting, sarcastic remarks and it's become a habit
for them to do it also. They don't even know that
they are doing it--but the other person always
does. If a person has witnessed or experienced "I
love you" being followed by mean-spirited words or
actions, they of course will be wary of using the
So make sure that loving actions follow this
phrase of endearment.
3. If your partner is wary of using this phrase
(for whatever reason), what are some other ways
that you enjoy being loved? Do you like foot rubs,
someone to help with household chores or the kids,
or maybe an evening a week or a month of
Tell your partner other ways that you'd like to
be loved because saying "I love you"--while it can
be special--is not the only way to express
Whether you have this challenge in your
relationship or not--we invite you to express
genuine love for one another in many different ways
and explore what's possible. Make sure that your
words and your actions are in alignment as you move
through your day toward creating the life that you
Can You Have It ALL In
Your Relationship or Marriage?
One of the questions about relationships that many
people struggle with is this--
"Can you have passion, love and connection in
Some people say yes and some say no.
With most relationships and marriages, here's
what we find...
- There might be friendship or compatibility
with a partner but no passion.
- There might be a feeling of being taken care
of or taking care of someone physically,
emotionally, or financially but that's as far as
the connection goes.
- There might be passion at times and very
little or no connection otherwise.
- There might be a deep feeling of love
between the two people but they seem to be going
in different directions much of the time with no
real passion or connection.
So the question remains--Can you have it
Can you have Love, Passion AND Connection in one
Our answer is an unequivocal YES--with this
Passion, love and connection are certainly
possible in one relationship but there can be and
usually is an ebb and flow to it.
When the two of us lose passion for each other
or our connection (love seems to always be there
between us), we are committed to getting back what
seems to have faded as soon as possible.
From the beginning of our relationship, we
committed to each other that our relationship would
be made up of all three--love, passion and
connection, as well as deep friendship. We didn't
experience this in our previous relationships and
we decided that the pain of not having all three
was greater than what it takes to have all
This commitment is so strong between us that we
do whatever we need to do to move out of
disconnection to connection --which re-ignites our
So if it's possible to have it all, how do you
Here are some of our ideas and what works in our
1. Believe that you can have all three in one
relationship. Most of us have not seen this in
relationships, especially in our parents'
relationship. We might have gotten the idea or even
been told that you have to "settle" for one or the
Now, we certainly don't think anything's wrong
with a relationship that is based on friendship and
connection, with no passion--if that's what both
people want. The problem comes in when one person
feels an emptiness and wants more.
So belief that it is possible and that you can
have it is where you start.
When you find that you are talking to yourself
in a negative way about the possibility, change
your thoughts to what's really possible for
2. If both of you are open to a discussion about
what each of you wants in the relationship, that's
a good, honest place to start. Decide what you are
both committed to having and what you're going to
do to move toward having it.
If you need better communication between the two
of you, learn some tips and practice them. We've
written a lot about communication on our web sites.
The trick is to practice what will bring you closer
to what you want.
If you aren't currently in a relationship,
decide what you are committed to having for your
experience in your next relationship and then watch
for positive signs in a new partner. If you are
committed to having what you want, you will be able
to spot what you don't want pretty quickly and then
break old patterns that no longer serve you.
3. If you are currently in a relationship and
one of these elements is missing or you just want
more, begin by acting from that place within
yourself. If you want more passion, figure out what
passion means to you (and hopefully your partner)
and then do more of it. Passion means different
things to different people so be clear about what
it means to you.
The same thing goes for connection and love.
What do connection and love mean to you and how can
you connect more with the people in your life?
If you're not currently in a relationship, bring
more of what you are wanting into your life. Find
something to be passionate about and find ways to
connect with and love others more.
Know that life is full of choices. Just make
sure that you are living or are moving toward
Making The Most Of Every
Although summer can be "down" time for many people,
it usually ends up being even busier than other
times of the year. We're feeling that right now and
we know many others are feeling the same way as
When life gets really busy, what's often put on
the "back-burner" or dropped completely is
connecting with our loved ones.
Along these lines, one of our newsletter
subscribers asked a very good question and we
wanted to share our answer with you.
This person asked the following...
"How do you make the most out of the little
moments, especially when life is busy with
children, work, etc.??"
First of all, we buy into the idea that every
moment is precious and an opportunity to connect
with ourselves and with others. So the little
moments are important.
We've observed that some couples are together
all day and still don't connect with each other in
a meaningful way. We're sure that you've seen the
So, connection isn't solely a matter of the
length of time you make physical contact but seems
to be more about how willing and open you are to
connecting with each other.
If you are willing and open to connecting with
your loved ones, we believe that you can "make the
most out of the little moments" when life is busy
and stay connected.
Here are some ideas that we and others use every
day to stay connected--in the smallest
1. Stop what you are doing in the moment that
you or your partner either leaves or returns home
and acknowledge them in some way. You or your
partner might think that you don't want to
interrupt what you are doing but we've found that
any interruption is worth it if we can stay
connected with each other.
When you stop what you are doing, acknowledge
your partner or loved one (this goes for your kids
also) and make eye contact. Whether you express
words or not, you are saying to that person that
he/she is important. You are making a connection in
2. Make time in your day to connect, even for a
"5 Minute Connection Break." Believe it or not, you
can do a lot of connecting in 5 minutes. You can
express your feelings, you can be affectionate with
each other or you can simply stop your "busyness"
and feel into each other.
We've found that a "5 Minute Connection Break"
is especially important when we've been rushing in
separate directions and we've been in the company
of a lot of different people, without any time by
Our "5 Minute Connection Break" usually means
making eye contact with each other, sitting close
and holding hands or kissing, and telling each
other what's going on inside us.
Be sure to make time for your "5 Minute
Connection Break" every day--some time during the
3. Don't make connection a chore and something
that you "should" do. Connect because you want to
do it. Connect because you want to feel and give
love. Make connecting important to you.
4. Talk about what's important to you and listen
to each other to understand--not to fix. One of the
things that we all want is to be understood and we
want to be understood by those we love.
If you have been putting off talking about
what's important to you because the two of you are
too busy, maybe it's time to start looking at your
It might be time to examine what you are
spending your time doing and to re-prioritize your
life in such a way that you do have time to connect
in a meaningful way--not only with a partner but
with your kids.
A good way to do that is to talk about your
values and then look to see if what you are
spending your time doing is in alignment with your
We just heard Richard Paul Evans speak at the
meeting we we talking about in "New and Notes" and
read his little book "The Christmas Box." It's a
short, simple, easy-to-read story that's a great
reminder about how we can lose sight of what's
really important in our lives. If you need a
reminder, find a copy of this book.
We invite you to make the most of those little
moments in your life and to connect with those you
There's no time like the present to begin making
some little changes that will help you to move
toward what you want.
We invite you to start today.
Passion and Connection -- Another Question
We received an interesting question from one of our
newsletter subscribers in response to our recent
article about closeness and connection fading over
Our contention is that it doesn't have to fade
and that with intention and action, you can create
an even deeper connection between the two of
Here's what our newsletter subscriber
"Take your newsletter one step further--What if
passion and romance was never there to begin with
and now after so many years, you realize how
important it is? Is it possible to reconnect?"
First of all, we're sure that this person is not
the only one who has this question. We meet and
hear from many people who are struggling with this
Secondly, this is not "reconnection" as this
person said in the question.
If this relationship was built on something
other than passion and romance, what is really
happening is that there is a desire on the part of
one of the partners to "connect" in a different
In our view, what our newsletter subscriber
wants to do is change the "rules" of this
Now, there's certainly nothing wrong with
changing the "rules" of the relationship or wanting
changes but whenever this is the case, there has to
be an awareness that this is what is happening and
both people in the relationship have to agree on
the changes that are taking place (hopefully by
We don't know the particulars of this person's
relationship but there are many reasons why people
come together and stay together--other than for
romance and passion.
Here are just a few possibilities...
- to get out of a bad home-life situation
- safety and security
- desire to create a family with children
- to be taken care of or to take care of
We've discovered that when one person becomes
dissatisfied and wants to change their
relationship, it's helpful to get a handle on what
the motivations were for both people coming
together in the first place.
In order to move toward what you want, it's very
helpful to learn what the often unspoken "rules"
and expectations are in the relationship.
You might ask yourself and your partner these
1. What were the real reasons that you came
2. What did you hope to get out of the
3. Do you still want those things in your
4. What would you like for this relationship?
Above all, if you are wanting something
different for your relationship, be conscious and
clear about what you do want.
If you say "more passion and romance," clarify
what that means to you--because those things mean
something different to each one of us.
We are suggesting that if this or something
similar is your relationship challenge, you take
this opportunity to take a look at your
relationship and to say "this is what I want." We
also suggest that you invite your partner to
explore what he/she wants.
There's the chance that your partner wants
something better or different also and you can take
this opportunity to create something that perhaps
was never there before.
There's also the chance that your partner is
happy with the status quo and the old "rules" of
the relationship. You may have two different sets
of desires and this is usually what happens to
couples who break up and go their separate
We're saying that it's healthy for you to
explore possibilities and that it is possible, if
both people want it, to fall in love in a different
way with each other.
The Vacation Love
One of our coaching clients just got back from a
vacation to Ireland and had a few "ah-ha's" that
we'd like to pass along to you which we think can
help you create more love, passion and connection
in your relationships and your life (if you read
this with an open mind and heart.)
This coaching client discovered that he actually
relaxed when he was on his trip--which was unusual
for him because of his demanding job and his
somewhat disconnected relationship with his family.
He felt "free" when he was in Ireland and had an
excitement for life that he hadn't had in a long
What he realized was that he wanted to keep
those good feelings that he had during his
vacation. He didn't want to climb back into his
"armour," as he put it, when he went back to his
job and continued his "normal" life.
In a nut shell, he didn't want to go back to the
way things were before his vacation--his feelings
of separateness, anxiety and feeling like he had to
control everything in his life.
The lesson from our coaching client and his
vacation is that it is our job is to take those
good feelings and relaxed frame of mind and heart
into every aspect of our lives and live that way as
much of the time as possible AFTER vacation and not
just while on vacation.
When we do this, we'll literally be able to
attract more of what we want and less of what we
don't want into our relationships and lives-- but
this isn't always easy.
If you have had similar feelings of getting a
glimpse of how your life and relationships can be
different and better but find that you've slipped
back into the patterns of your past that have kept
you stuck--here are some suggestions that may be
helpful if you want to break out.
1. Acknowledge what it is that you want. Our
client had a glimpse of how it felt to really and
truly relax trying to control everyone and every
thing and he liked it. Having a vision of "this is
the feeling that I want" is a first step to having
more of it.
2. Create the possibility within yourself that
you can move toward having more of what you want.
When you find that you are telling yourself that
whatever it is that you want isn't possible, change
One way we like to do that is by revisiting in
our minds places where we have felt happy, joyful
or really relaxed. It might be floating in the
ocean, cruising on a catamaran or enjoying a good
baseball game. When we re-create good feelings
within ourselves, even from the memory of a past
experience, we find that we feel more positive in
the present moment and are more open to
possibilities and more love.
3. Take one step toward moving from your habits
and patterns that keep you in whatever you don't
want. Our client decided to be more open to
collaborating with a colleague at work. He saw how
he tends to try to control every situation with
this colleague (and many others) and that attempt
at control keeps him very anxious at his work, as
well as at home.
By deciding to open to changing his approach in
his mind from control to collaboration--starting
with his colleague--our client has begun to ease
the stress in his life and move toward the feelings
that he had when he was on vacation in Ireland.
Is it possible to carry relaxed, joyful, loving
feelings that we've felt at certain times into our
Yes, it most definitely is possible.
Summer is a time when many of us go through our
lives a little slower and take time to relax a
little more. A vacation is usually a great way to
break out of your normal routine, enjoy some
different experiences and even relax. We might even
catch a glimpse of how we'd like to be more in our
We've found that when we allow ourselves to
relax and not allow the pressures of our normal
routine to build walls between us, we are closer,
kinder and more open toward each other and other
What we've found is that it's normal for upsets
or periods of stress to come and go in our lives.
What also can be "normal" is for us all to come
back to feelings of peace, relaxation, love, joy or
whatever else it is that we want to
Is It "Normal" To
Grow Apart In Relationships and Marriages?"
AND "How Do You Restore Closeness When You Have
Grown Apart From Someone You Love?"
Here's a common issue for many people that we
wanted to address in this week's issue of our
It's about the question of "do we have to grow
apart over the years with people we are in
relationships with?" and how do you restore
closeness if you do grow apart?
We get lots of questions around this topic.
These kinds of questions are certainly ones that we
hear frequently from couples in relationships that
have lasted many years.
To the person who is wondering whether it's
"normal" for the closeness to fade over time in a
relationship-- we say that while it may seem this
way to many people, we believe that it doesn't have
to be this way. We believe that if you have the
intention and desire to do it, you can keep the
closeness going in a relationship for as long as
In order to do this, you have to have the desire
to keep your relationship or marriage a top
priority and do the kinds of things that create
great relationships (even when it seems
Because this is such an important topic to many
people, here's what another person asked that
seemed to be on lots of people's minds in a recent
survey we conducted about this topic and
The question is...
"What do you do once you have already started to
'grow apart' after many years together and several
kids? Can the closeness be restored and if so
What a great question and first of all, it's
important to note that most of us haven't been
taught how to keep a great relationship close,
growing and alive over a number of years. This
means we're trying to figure it out as we go along
and sometimes we do some things that take us away
from what we want--very often without even knowing
We have usually seen examples of two people
living together for many years, possibly as friends
(or not even as friends), but the passion and
closeness has gone out of their relationship. They
may live very easily together-or they may not-but
they don't seem to have anything in common any
more. The romance and passion that was once there
seems to have evaporated over the years.
Yes, this is something that many people
experience and yes, closeness can be restored.
We're often asked, "Okay, if closeness can be
restored, where do we start?"
You start by not "dancing around" or ignoring
the issue any longer.
You start by approaching the subject with a
strong desire and with the intention to begin
learning how to connect again and not from a place
of blame, lack or being a victim.
You start from a place of wonder and begin
asking yourself questions like "What do I want my
relationship to look like?" and "Is my partner
happy with the way it is or does my partner want
These are excellent questions and here's the
When you have this conversation, you need to not
only be brave enough to say what you'd like your
relationship to look and feel like but even more
importantly, you have to be able to listen and not
get defensive about what your partner has to
Several years ago, we had a talk about what
would bring us even closer. Along with our
commitment to each other to spend the first hour
after we wake up each day, connecting with each
other, making love, and appreciating one another,
Otto was willing to say what he wanted.
He told Susie that he would like her to wear
something more feminine than sweat pants to work in
the home office that we share. After dressing up
every day for 30 years before retiring from her
university job, Susie enjoyed being comfortable and
wearing sweat pants to her "new" job but she was
willing to listen.
When Otto mentioned his request, she didn't get
defensive but searched within herself whether this
was a request that she was willing and wanted to
do. She actually discovered that flowing skirt were
comfortable, inexpensive and she liked wearing
them. She felt more feminine in them and the
"spark" between us kept going even when we were at
We tell you this story to illustrate how in
simple ways you can begin to become closer and even
more passionate if you are willing to talk and
listen to each other--and be open to making some
changes in your life.
You may need to schedule some time together
every day and begin to look at your life and your
priorities so that you have time to spend
We urge you to start now to discover new ways to
be together and recapture what once may have been
between you. In many cases, it's not too late but
you never know until you explore the possibilities
Whether you're in a new relationship that you
want to last or you are with someone that you've
been with for a long time, what we have discovered
is that very often it's not the big things that
come between us that makes the closeness dissipate.
Sometimes It's the little things that we allow to
build and get bigger.
One of our commitments we made to each other
very early in our relationship has served us well
and that is the commitment to NOT run away
physically, energetically or emotionally when
things were tough.
Our agreement is to work through whatever comes
up between us as quickly as possible after we
realize there is any kind of distance between us at
This isn't always easy (or convenient) but it is
an excellent agreement that has been incredibly
useful to us in keeping our relationship close,
alive, vital and passionate.
We think this agreement will serve you and your
relationship as well...
One of the
Most Important Ingredients For Creating Great
It shouldn't come as a surprise to you to hear us
say that one of the biggest challenges with most
couples and relationships is lack of
Here's something we think you'll find
interesting that will help you improve
communication and create more connection with the
people in your life.
In our recent survey of our email newsletter
list when we asked -"What's the biggest question
you have about how to create more love, passion and
connection in your relationship and your
life?"-people responded with a number of questions
Here's one question about communication from the
survey that many people share...
"How do you really listen to each other, day
after day? My husband and I swear we have told each
other something - and yet the other does not
remember it. This happens to us all the time."
The very simple answer to this question lies in
a single word...
The word is "presence."
Presence is not only important when you are
communicating with your spouse or significant
other-- but also when you are communicating with
anyone in your life. Whether you are communicating
with your partner, your children, your relatives,
friends or co-workers--coming into the present
moment and really being "here right now" is what it
takes to clear up these types of communication
You may relate to this typical scenario...
You seem to always be in a hurry, doing several
things at once around the house, because there
never seems to be enough time to get it all done.
As you pass your spouse or partner in the hallway
in the morning before work, you ask him/her to pick
up the dry cleaning at the cleaners on the way home
During this exchange you aren't looking at each
other. You are hurrying to get ready for work
yourself, get the children ready for school or make
your morning coffee. Your mind is on all the things
you have to that day and you take your partner's
grunt in response to your request as an affirmation
that your request was heard. In your mind, your
partner agreed to do what you asked.
Because you have spoken the words, you think
that it registers in the other person's
consciousness and that he/she will
But guess what?
Your partner or spouse has similar mind chatter
going on in his/her head. The chatter may have been
so loud that your request was drowned out by
thoughts of what was going to happen in his/her
life that day. Your request may have sailed high
above his/her head without any consciousness that
it had been made--or it might have been heard but
with no intention to honor it.
In this scenario, both people have assumed a
great deal and have mentally and emotionally been
elsewhere than where their physical bodies were
They therefore didn't "hear" one another.
So what can you do about this if this is a
problem for you and your partner?
Here are some suggestions that have worked for
us and we're sure will work for you...
1. When you talk with someone-whether it's your
spouse, partner, child, friend or co-worker--stop
what you are doing, face the person, and make eye
When we were first together, Otto seemed to talk
to Susie's back as she ran around straightening the
house or cooking in the evenings because it had
been her habit of doing that with her ex-husband.
Otto called attention to the fact that she wasn't
truly present with him. He asked her to stop what
she was doing when she wanted to talk with him or
to ask him a question and make eye contact.
She was more than willing to do that because it
strengthened their connection when she did. She
hadn't realized that she had been often
preoccupied, simply out of habit, and not truly
present when Otto was speaking. In a sense, she was
taking him for granted when she didn't stop what
she was doing to connect with him.
2. Bring your mind and emotions into this
present moment when you communicate with someone.
As you stop and face the person, making eye contact
with them, mentally bring your thoughts back into
the room where your physical body is. It sounds
crazy but sometimes we're a million miles away in
our thoughts and not really "with" the person we're
talking to. It takes practice but we suggest that
this will go a long with to clear up communication
problems if you do this one, simple thing.
3. If the person who you are trying to
communicate with isn't looking in your eyes and
isn't really present with you, ask. You can have it
as an agreement between the two of you to gently
ask for the other's presence if they seem to be far
away. If there's no agreement, you can turn and
face them and ask that they turn off the television
or whatever distraction is going on so that you can
talk. Choose some time when they are receptive to
doing this and not in the middle of something that
they consider to be important.
Presence is one of the most important
ingredients to great communication and is something
that anyone can learn to do. We suggest that if
this is a problem for you and your relationship,
begin to practice the pointers that we have given
Creating Trust in Today's
One of the most-asked questions that we received
during our recent survey of our newsletter list
when we asked the question-"What's the biggest
question you have about how to create more love,
passion and connection in your relationship and
your life?"-was around the issue of trust.
People wanted to know how to simply relax, enjoy
and trust their partner without being threatened
One person said it this way...
"How is it possible to believe in and trust your
mate when there is so much betrayal, lying and
cheating in society? Even when your mate hasn't
done anything to arouse suspicions...most
magazines, talk shows and other people have such
awful stories that it makes people such as myself
wonder if being part of a couple is even a good
This certainly is a good question and one that
many people face whether they outwardly show their
concern or keep it inside and to themselves.
Our answer is to make a conscious decision to
begin to reframe your beliefs about what is
possible in YOUR life and what you want for your
From the beginning of time, there have been
unhappy, mistrusting people and there have been
people who have been secure in themselves and happy
with their lives. This is our choice every day and
in every moment.
We can choose to focus on all the stories (and
there are a lot of them) of break up, despair,
cheating, lying and betrayal-or we can choose to
spend our time focused on more positive things that
You may be reading this and saying that this is
easy for us to say but we're here to tell you that
this is one of the most important things we have
done to relax, trust and enjoy one another.
We focus on what brings us joy and not on what
pulls us down.
If you are focusing on what is making news and
the sensational stories on television, stop and
focus on what brings you joy in your life. If your
partner isn't doing anything to cause the mistrust
or uneasiness that you feel, it is your opportunity
to start now to change your thoughts and your
beliefs about your life.
If you are mistrusting and your mate or others
are doing nothing to deserve this mistrust,
somewhere within you is a limiting belief that
betrayal is what you will have for your life
A belief is just a thought that you've been
thinking over and over and can be changed.
Here's what we do when a limiting belief comes
into our thoughts...
We change it to a thought that is more in
alignment with what we want.
Here's an example...
Let's say that you are with a group of people
and there's a very beautiful woman or a very
handsome man who you just know that your mate will
be attracted to. Your mate may or may not actually
do anything but you just know that the attraction
is there between the two of them--and that's what
you focus on.
At the moment you realize that you are thinking
that thought, breathe and change your thought to a
more empowering one that you can believe and say it
to yourself over and over. You might tell yourself
that you are okay no matter what happens, that your
mate truly loves you and how much you appreciate
him or her, or even shift your attention to
appreciating the beauty of this person and find
someone interesting to talk with.
Now we're not going to kid you--this process
takes work and you have to be aware of the chatter
in your head and be willing to hold the belief that
you can change it. But it does work!
What if you feel that your mate (or anyone) is
actually betraying you?
Don't keep your head in the sand, so to speak,
and decide what you want in your life and what you
are willing to "put up with." Focus on what you
want but state your boundaries in the relationship.
Be willing to stand by what you want for your life
experience. If you don't, no one else will.
Whether your mate or anyone is doing nothing to
deserve mistrust or he/she is--your choice is to
begin focusing on possibilities for your life and
what you want.
The Secrets to Long,
In this day of almost disposable relationships, a
question on the minds of many singles and couples
is how to create a relationship that will last and
one that will keep its vibrancy throughout the
We're taking ballroom dancing lessons with
another couple Sam and Rosie, who have been Otto's
friends for many years. They have been married for
24 years and by spending a lot of time with them,
we were able to get a glimpse of the reasons they
still have such a good marriage.
Several things became very apparent to us as we
had dinner together after our lesson...
1. They were good friends
2. They enjoyed being together
3. Their marriage was still passionate And perhaps
4. Although they are very different people, enjoy
very different things and have very different ideas
about some things, they do not make each other
wrong for having those differences.
As Relationship coaches, one of the biggest
obstacles to creating a lasting relationship that
is filled with passion, life and love is that the
two people make each other wrong for being
Last night, when Sam talked about his love for
basketball and playing in organized street
basketball tournaments, he did not make Rosie wrong
when she said that she liked to spend the time
doing her own thing when he played.
Now we're all for supporting each other and it
can be very important in a relationship. What we're
saying is to not make the other person wrong for
being different and wanting different things than
We heard them talk and laugh about their
different styles of packing before a trip. Sam
packs several days before the trip and Rosie packs
during the last few minutes before they leave.
This difference would really be a bone of
contention for many couples but not for Sam and
Rosie. They just laughed about it when they
described what usually happens before a trip.
In our own lives, the two of us are very
different. One thing that we've recognized is that
in order to keep our passion and love alive, we had
to learn to honor each other, even if our
differences tended to drive us crazy.
What we've discovered is that by honoring and
appreciating each other's differences, we've
actually come closer together in enjoying similar
Susie watches and even enjoys Cincinnati Reds
baseball with Otto now and that certainly wasn't
the case a couple of years ago. And of course,
Otto's learning to dance which Susie absolutely
So what we've learned from our own lives and
from the lives of our friends is to honor, laugh
about and enjoy your differences if you want to
create a long, lasting, passionate relationship
that has continued and on-going life.
We invite you to notice the differences that are
not only apparent if you are in an intimate
relationship or in any other relationship that you
You might ask yourself how you can begin to
appreciate, laugh about and enjoy those
differences. If you do, we know that you will
experience much more joy and happiness in your
What Are Some New Steps
You Can Take to Create More Love, Passion and
Connection In Your Relationships and Life?
Lately, we've both been thinking about ways that we
could experience the gifts of connecting even more
than we do already.
With that in mind, here's what Otto said that
not only shocked Susie but some of our closest
friends as well...
He said-- "I'm finally ready (and willing) to
take dancing lessons!"
Well after a few calls back and forth with the
dance studio to set things up, last night, we took
our first ballroom dancing lesson. Because Otto has
never had a formal dancing lesson and considers
himself "rhythmically challenged," this lesson was
a big leap for him.
As we tried out the fundamental steps of the
rumba, tango and fox trot just to get our feet and
bodies moving, two suggestions were pointed out to
The first suggestion was to take smaller steps
and the second suggestion was to keep moving.
Being the relationship coaches that we are, we
couldn't help but compare these two suggestions
about dancing to ways to improve relationships.
Well here's our take on these dancing
suggestions as they pertain to relationships...
We'll talk about the "taking smaller steps" idea
We take small steps to make our relationship
better every day and help others to see how they
can do it too in their lives.
A small step for one couple we once worked with
in our coaching practice was to make the commitment
to eat breakfast together every day as their
special connecting time--without the kids--because
they realized that they had grown apart over the
Now, they may or may not have considered this to
be a small step because it involved being committed
to doing it every day and changing their old
The point is that they took a step toward
connecting with each other and rekindling their
love for each other instead of allowing their
relationship to die a slow death because of
So what would make your relationships better,
closer and more connected?
What one small step can you take, no matter what
type of relationships that you have currently in
your life, to create more peace, more love, more
connection or whatever it is that you want?
Do you need to be more honest about what you're
feeling? Do you need to open more to listening to
what another has to say, without judging? Do you
need to make more time for the important people in
Take some time to answer those questions and
then take that one step.
The second "dancing" suggestion that we were
told was to keep moving, not stopping at one
particular foot sequence but to keep repeating
How does that pertain to your relationships?
When you've taken your first step toward
creating better relationships, keep doing it over
Sounds simple? It usually isn't.
It's been said that for anything to become a
habit, it takes at least 21 days of doing it over
and over. You have to understand that what you've
been doing in your life that keeps you from having
great relationships is probably a habit and it's
takes time to change those habits.
You might have the habit of keeping so busy and
filling your life with things that you have to do
that you neglect the people you love. You might
rationalize and tell yourself that all these things
that you are doing are really important and that
you are the one who has to do them.
If this describes your life, only you can decide
whether you want to keep doing those "things" or to
let some of them go and start spending some time
connecting and even having fun with those you
Over this past weekend, we visited Susie's
family and we all took a bike ride on a scenic bike
path by a river. We could have chosen to spend that
time in all sorts of ways but we chose to do
something that we all enjoyed together--kids and
The point is to free up some time in your life
so that you can begin creating some habits--things
that you do over and over--that will bring you
closer to the people in your life.
Next week we have our next dancing lesson and
even if we don't remember the exact steps we were
shown, we will remember to take small steps and to
We hope you also remember and apply the
suggestions that we were given. We think they make
great advice for relationships as well as
What Is a ' Passion
Eraser' and How Can You Keep It From Destroying
Connection In Your Relationships?
If you're like most people, you know what an eraser
is-- but do you know what a passion eraser is?
The answer is probably no.
A passion eraser is anything that you think, say
or do that reduces or eliminates passion and
connection from your relationships and your life.
It can even be a belief.
Most of us don't take the time to find out what
our particular passion eraser is, but what we know
is that we all have to stop using them if we want
closer, more connected relationships and happier
Passion and connection erasers can be small,
seemingly insignificant things like interrupting
someone consistently while they are speaking or can
be much bigger things like lying or infidelity. It
can even be staying in a job that you hate that
robs you of your enthusiasm and zest for life.
A passion eraser can simply be keeping yourself
so busy that you don't have time to connect with
those you love.
Here's an example of what we mean...
We just got our copy of Janet and Chris
Attwood's book "The Passion Test" and loved the
interview with marketing expert Jay Abraham. In the
interview, he spoke about how his life had been out
of balance, working eighteen hours a day, seven
days a week--even having meetings at 2am.
In the interview, Jay said that now if his wife
wants to go to lunch with him, he'll stop what he
is doing, unless he has a very important meeting
and go with her. He realized that although he was
very passionate about his business, he also wanted
balance. He wanted a balance of economic,
intellectual, spiritual, physical and sexual
elements in his life.
So here's our question to you...
What's your particular passion eraser? We all
Here are a few suggestions for identifying
1. Pay attention to your feelings. Look at them
as indicators of what's going on inside you that
you may need to listen to. Do you get a sinking
feeling or agitation when you go to work? When you
come home from work? Pay attention and then begin
honestly addressing what is nagging at you that you
may have been ignoring.
2. Pay attention to your physical symptoms. One
woman wrote to us this morning that she
consistently had heart palpitations and her eye
twitched when she went to work. If something like
this is happening to you, get checked out by your
physician and then take an honest look at how you
are dealing with your work or home situation.
What thoughts need to be shifted? What can you
do to ease the stress of your situation? Do you
have unhealthy expectations of yourself or of
3. Begin looking at how you spend your time and
if you are spending your time the way you want
to--that's healthy for you--according to your
values and not someone else's rules . There's no
more powerful passion eraser than living your life
according to someone else's rules.
4. Pay attention to your thoughts and self-talk.
Are you constantly telling yourself negative things
about you or others in your life? Listen in and pay
attention to your self-talk and it can certainly be
eye-opening because what we tell ourselves does
tend to manifest in our lives.
Our advice today to you (and to ourselves) is to
look at what robs you of passion of all types in
your life. Start bringing in more of what brings
you passion for living and see how your happiness
Opening Up More To
Whether you're a young person just starting out
your work or dating life or you're a bit more
seasoned and have had many relationships, we think
you'd agree that what we all really want in life
and love is connection.
One of the biggest relationship challenges that
many people face is being open to learning what
they need to learn to create closer, more connected
So often we go through life with blinders on,
really seeing or understanding what's going on with
the people in our lives. We make up stories in our
minds about why people act they way they do and we
don't look beyond our perceptions to what can be
learned from the situation or person.
When we don't truly step back and look at
situations from a bird's eye vantage point and
"get" the lessons, we tend to repeat them over and
The other day, we rented the dvd "The Five
People You Meet in Heaven" based on the book by
Mitch Albom. Somehow we missed this fabulous movie
when it came to theaters and if you also missed it,
we highly recommend reading the book or see the
Without spoiling the movie for you, this is a
story about a man who meets five people in heaven
who have important information to help him
understand his life lessons and his
No matter what your personal, religious or
spiritual beliefs are about life, death and
beyond-- Our thought is why wait until we die to
discover our life lessons about ourselves, our life
and our relationships--if indeed this is what
happens after death.
We suggest that you learn what you need from the
people who are currently in your life so that you
can have the passion and connection that you want
now instead of discovering what could have been
possible during your "life review" after you
Here's an example of what we're talking
A week or so ago, the two of us along with
Susie's daughter, grandchildren and her sister
visited Susie's mother who is in a nursing home and
in the latter stages of dementia.
Later, as we all talked about how we connected
with Susie's mom during this visit (we sang Girl
Scout songs to her because she had been a Girl
Scout leader for many years), Susie's daughter
talked about how in order to connect with her now,
we have to meet her where she is.
Susie's mom is no longer interested in what the
grandchildren are doing like she had been several
years ago. We are now connecting with her through
music and through touch--and we can actually see
little signs from her that she does feel the
Susie's daughter made a wise observation that
this is how we all should connect with each
other--meeting each other where we are in this
So how do you do this?
Here are some ideas...
1. Have it as your intention to connect with the
other person. Your attitude and intention is more
important than you might think. If you are trying
to "fix" the other person or make them wrong, it's
pretty apparent. So be clear in what your intention
2. Disregard any stories that you have made up
about this person or the situation. Know that these
stories are from your perspective and may or may
not have any truth for the other person.
3. Be open to meeting the other person where
they are right now instead of expecting them to be
someone else and to be different. This is
especially critical with our kids and grandkids.
While we always want our children and grandchildren
to be the best they possibly can be, it's also
important for us to give the message that we are
open to connecting exactly where they are right now
without criticism and trying to "fix" them.
4. Ask "What is my lesson in this situation or
with the person" and "How can I be a better person
because of it or them?" When we look at people and
situations as opportunities to learn what we need
to learn, we do discover our "lessons" and grow
because of them.
We urge you to not wait until the afterlife to
discover what this life is all about. If you do
discover your purpose and your lessons as you go
along, you will also experience the joy of
connecting with others that you may not have
Getting What You (and
Almost Everyone Else) Wants In Your
What we all truly want in our lives and in our
relationships is to feel connected--whether it's
feeling connected to yourself, your partner, your
Creator, your family, your co-workers, or your
A few days ago we saw such a great example of
the joy that can come from feeling connected that
we just had to share it with you.
When we saw our friend Elizabeth, she was
absolutely glowing! Not only was she glowing, but
she was excited about her life in a way we've never
Elizabeth, who is in her middle to late sixties,
has reconnected with a man who she went on a double
date with fifty years ago.
As she told and showed us how happy she was, we
couldn't help but think about the power of
In Kenny and Julia Loggins' book "The
Unimaginable Life," Kenny said, "We all long for
love. Everything else is just killing time." The
same thing could be said about the importance of
feeling connected in our lives.
Connection is different for every single person
and different for every relationship--but when it's
happening you know it. It might mean talking on the
phone once a month or it might mean spending most
of your time with that person, interacting in a
The differences between how one person wants to
connect compared to how another person connects can
be a real problem in any type of relationship. One
person might want to talk about their day when they
come home with the person they are living with and
the other person wants some space and doesn't want
to talk. Resentments can build and even though the
two people might love or care deeply about one
another, there's very little connection because of
the walls they've built between them.
If you'd like to connect more with the people in
your life, here are a few ideas to help you do
1. Open yourself to connecting. Don't shut
yourself off physically or emotionally from people
or situations. It's pretty easy to bury yourself in
television, the internet or just plain busyness as
a way to distract yourself and keep you separate
from those you love. Opening yourself to connection
might be something as simple as stopping your
"doing" and looking directly into the eyes of
someone you love when you are talking with
2. Don't make assumptions about what you think
people are thinking, saying or doing. If in doubt,
ask from a place of genuinely wanting to find out
more rather than judging.
3. Adopt an attitude that fosters connection.
Attitudes that stop connection are-
"I'm right. You're wrong"
"I'm better (smarter, prettier) than you"
"If you'd only do it this way, everything would
Attitudes that create connection are--
"What can I learn from you?"
"You're important to me."
"My way is not the only way. Tell me your
4. Search for common interests that excite you.
Focus on the "overlap" between the two of
you--where you have points of similarities rather
than focusing on how very different you are.
5. Talk about how you would like to connect.
Don't leave it up to chance and hope that it all
Don't make the mistake of thinking that
connection always happens by accident. Connecting
with yourself and with others requires you to be an
active participant in the process. You can't sit
around and hope that you find a connection with
If you are wanting more connection in your life
and in your relationships, you can, like our friend
Elizabeth, create it.
Relationship Lessons, Life Lessons.-- Who needs
The truth is that we ALL need them if we want to
enjoy closer, more passionate and connected
relationships and here's why...
The two of us have a small group of friends that
we spent time with several times a year. When we
get together, we spend anywhere from an afternoon
to a weekend together and it's always filled with
dancing, laughter, the sharing of food and our
stories-- and of course, there's always a lot of
personal growth for each of us.
Somehow, we usually forget about the lessons
that we'll learn when we are with these people
until we're right in the middle of discovering what
these "lessons" are.
This past weekend's get together was no
exception! It was full of heart connections with
people we really care about and at the same time
These gatherings are "challenging" because
they're no different from what happens when you get
together with the people in your life (especially
the people closest to you that seem to push your
buttons.) People are just being themselves and
anytime that happens, someone is bound to get
"triggered" and when that happens, we just know
that someone has a life or relationship lesson
about to be discovered.
As we were thinking about this topic of our
biggest relationship lessons, our feelings seem to
be summarized in how one woman in this group
describes what she feels when she is with all of
We're paraphrasing but what she said was
something like this...
If there's a misunderstanding, it will be
truthfully addressed and resolved. She trusts that
the people in the group will be honest, say what
they need to say and listen to what is being
said--not carrying hidden (or not so hidden)
resentments or grudges.
The two of us learned this lesson from our
previous marriages and when we got together,
decided that we weren't going to repeat our old
patterns that had been so harmful to our previous
We decided that we were going to talk about what
was happening and not let resentments build. We
were going to open to each other, even though it
can be very hard at times, and not shut down and
leave--either physically or emotionally especially
when things get tough.
This is exactly what happens within this group
of friends, as well. When something happens that
upsets one or more of us, we talk about it and work
through any issue or problem.
Our relationships with each other are just
important not to do this.
We know that you've experienced walking into a
room with unspoken resentments hanging thick in the
air between two people--maybe one of those people
being you. One of the biggest lessons we've learned
is to try to "clear the air" as soon as possible so
that we are able to connect again with each other,
as well as with other people--without closing our
The possibility of closing our heart is always
the BIG challenge with relationship or life
lessons. We have something happen and we say to
ourselves "I'm not going to go through that again."
And then we allow what just happened to close us.
We close our hearts to life and love in ways that
keep us from having true connections of the heart
with the very people with whom we could have full,
rich connections with.
We think that it's important for you to take a
few moments and answer these questions for
So what is your biggest relationship lesson that
Has it opened or closed you?
If you are in a committed relationship, talk it
over with your partner. If you aren't currently in
a relationship, talk it over with a friend.
Take some time to honor and appreciate what you
have learned and if you aren't "doing" what you
learned and the "doing" of it would help you
connect more with others, we suggest that you make
a new commitment to it.
Life and relationships are full of lessons.
Which ones are you paying attention to?
We all have relationship lessons that we learn
along the way. Some of these lessons open us to
deeper relationships with others and some close us
and keep us separate. What we've discovered is that
it's not only important to recognize our lessons as
we are in the midst of learning them but to also
allow these lessons to open us to greater and
deeper friendships and love
This is Normal
Many people don't realize this yet but...
One of the most important things that we've
learned by being together is that having love and
connection can be "normal" in our lives and that
this is possible for anyone if they choose.
We thought about this idea just the other day as
we were reading in this month's issue of Oprah
magazine an article with Oprah interviewing the
soul singer Mary J. Blige.
In this interview, Mary talks about her
transformation and how she went from blaming other
people for her circumstances and feeling sorry for
herself to taking responsibility for every part of
"Normal" for her was carrying around an attitude
that hadn't served her mother and certainly didn't
serve her. According to the interview, she drank
too much to cover her lack of self-confidence and
went though life as a victim, holding onto a lot of
anger and unforgiveness. All of this pain and
rawness came out in the songs she sang.
According to the article, her transformation is
reflective in every part of her life, especially in
the songs she sings now. She told Oprah that
because she is singing more positive kinds of songs
she has lost a million fans when she released her
"Love and Life" album but gained fans who are
asking "How do we get free?"
In our words, Mary has chosen to make love
"normal" in her life. She said, "I've gotta love me
more than anybody else loves me" and we think that
those certainly are powerful words to live by.
So, we ask you these questions...
Is love "normal" in your life?
If it isn't, what can you do to start making it
If it is, what can you do to keep it
If you are interested in creating more love in
your life and want to make love "normal," here are
some questions and ideas that we'll toss your way
to get you thinking about how you can begin doing
1. Is there something that you need to stop
doing or start doing that will bring more love into
your life, which includes loving yourself? Mary J.
Blige decided to quit drinking excessively and to
come home instead of staying out "partying" all
night after a concert. We choose every morning to
connect in a way with each other that keeps our
connection strong and healthy.
2. Is there someone you need to open your heart
to more? In this interview with Oprah, Mary said
that she has issues hearing her husband but that
she's growing. She said that she came from a family
of women who were fighters and that they didn't
listen to men. So in our way of thinking, opening
her heart more is opening to listening to her
husband without old judgments and attitudes
creeping in that have nothing to do with him.
You might be estranged from someone who used to
mean a lot to you. You might be in a marriage or
relationship and the two of you seem to be going
through the motions and not really connecting.
Whatever it is in your relationship (or even if
you don't have a significant other), there is
always space, if you're willing, to open your heart
more and allow more love in.
3. Is there anything that you are accepting as
"normal" that you no longer want to accept as
"normal" in your life? Mary J. Blige accepted her
life of blame, feeling sorry for herself and
excessive drinking as "normal." When she overheard
her now husband say that if she came home drunk
again after staying out all night, he was leaving,
she decided to change what was "normal" for
Both of us chose to no longer accept an intimate
relationship that wasn't close, connected and
passionate as "normal." We choose in every moment
to do the things that help us to keep our
relationship alive and growing--that's what's
"normal" for us now.
We invite you to consider what you have accepted
as "normal" and decide what you truly want in your
Losing It and Finding It
Again In Your Relationships
Here's an interesting question...
Have you ever lost your keys or something that
Of course you have. We all have.
But, a fascinating next question may be-- Have
you ever lost your identify?
We don't mean losing your identity because of
"identity theft." We mean "your Identity " in a
relationship or marriage.
Before you say no, consider this and then ask
yourself this question again...
This past weekend, we visited Asheville, North
Carolina and had a wonderfully enjoyable time
visiting the city, as well as the surrounding
One of the marvelous things that we observed
about Asheville was the diversity of people,
restaurants and shops. There were people who were
pierced, tattooed and dressed in black, those who
were expensively dressed, as well as tourists in
shorts and athletic shoes, like us.
As for the restaurants--it seemed that you could
get any type of food from any corner of the world.
We sampled everything from Mexican/Caribbean,
Middle Eastern, German to raw vegetarian and of
course the home-made chocolates.
What was very apparent was that these groups of
people, as well as the restaurants and shops, each
had their very strong identity and we found it
exciting to experience those differences.
Can you guess what happens in many relationships
and you might not even be aware of it when it
We lose our individual identity and melt into
someone who we think the other person might
Whether it's our parent, our spouse, a date, a
friend, a co-worker, a boss--it's sometimes
tempting to act from who we think the other person
wants us to be. This can eventually cause built-up
resentment that can either show up in the form of
anger and rage or withdrawal and passive-aggressive
actions toward the other person.
Whatever the result, it's simply not healthy for
us to deny who we really are.
We received a question about this subject from a
newsletter subscriber and here's what she
"Whenever I'm in a relationship, I find that I
lose my identity. When I analyze it, it seems to be
a fear of being hurt."
No matter what type of relationship, this is a
common problem that many people face. They may not
be aware of it when it is happening, but one day
they might wake up and feel the distance from
others and who they really are.
So how do you NOT lose your identity when you
are in relationships with people?
Here are some ideas...
1. Before you agree to do something, check in
with yourself to make sure that you truly want to
do it. Sometimes it's so much easier to just agree
to do something rather than say what you are truly
feeling and wanting. Don't get into the habit of
agreeing to just keep the peace. It will eventually
back-fire on you.
2. Do something every week that you are truly
passionate about. Whether it's dancing, reading,
singing, cooking, doing needlepoint, walking in
nature, fishing, playing sports--take some time to
do what really excites you. Even if your partner
doesn't enjoy this activity, take some time for
This doesn't mean that you don't do things that
you and your partner mutually enjoy together. All
we are suggesting is that you create your life in a
balanced way, not forgetting about what truly holds
passion for you while connecting with those you
3. If there is fear that someone may not like
who you truly are and you might lose them if you
don't play the role that you think you need to play
to keep them, it might be time to rethink that
relationship. You may be making a lot of
assumptions about what the other person is thinking
Even if your fears are founded in truth, you
have to decide whether keeping up the pretense is
worth it to you.
We invite you to re-discover your particular
identity and if you have kept it hidden, allow it
to begin to emerge.
We've discovered that our relationships and
lives are so much richer as we continue to make
sure that we keep our identities in tack--even in
our very committed, connected, loving
There are Differences (and There Always Are!")
Whether we realize it or not, we're all different.
Even though we may fall in love and feel a deep
connection with someone, we each bring different
experiences, beliefs, and ways of looking at life
to the relationship.
Recently, we received a question from someone
who wanted to know how to better her communication
with a person from another culture. She said that
when he asks her a question, she'll give an "out of
the blue" answer and that she is also negative
about a lot of topics that they discuss.
She wanted help in making changes because she
didn't want to lose him.
Even though there may be particular
communication challenges between two people of
different cultures, our answer would be the same to
people of the same culture who were asking how to
communicate better with a partner.
Whether you realize it or not-- we're actually
all from different "cultures." If you don't think
so, here's a very simple example that actually
happened from our own lives that illustrates this
The other day, Otto said that he's was going to
buy a "mixer" and Susie's daughter, who does a lot
of baking, thought that he was going to buy a nice
kitchen appliance for making bread. As it turns
out, he was actually going to buy a Yamaha mixer
for the sound studio in our home.
After a moment of explaining what Otto was going
to the mall to buy, it all made perfect sense to
her. What this situation shows is that sometimes
even the simplest of things can cause
miscommunication and disconnection.
With that in mind, here are some simple
communication ideas that we use to help us keep our
connection and to reconnect when we lose it. We
offer them to help you create better communication
in your relationships...
1. When you don't understand a question or a
meaning behind a question or even a word, stop and
ask ,"What does that mean to you?"
When Otto use to hear the word "budget" during
our conversations about our business, he would
emotionally shut down. Susie didn't understand why
he had such an emotional charge over a simple word
that had no emotional charge for her until he
explained how he perceived that a "budget" was
always held over his head in his past sales
When his assigned meaning to the word became
clear, we understood each other a lot better and
could communicate about our finances from a whole
Sometimes, we assume that we know the meaning
behind someone's question or even a word they
use--and we really don't. Our assumptions create
misunderstandings and cause us to disconnect from
So, if you aren't clear about what someone is
asking you, ask for clarification. They will
2. If you have a problem communicating with
someone, maybe over a specific topic, pay
particular attention to the judgments that are
going on in your mind. If you find that you are
demeaning the person even in your mind, stop
yourself and bring your heart and mind into a
Bringing your heart and mind into a neutral
space is not something that most of us have been
taught to do. Even if you know how to do it, it's
sometimes difficult to remember to do it.
Recently, we were in a group of people and we
were discussing a topic that we held different view
points from others in the group. Instead of judging
and blaming those people because we didn't think
like they did, we shifted into a neutral space,
realizing that each one of us can hold our own
beliefs and we don't have to convince anyone of
It would have been very easy for one or more of
us to get triggered, become upset and feel hurt and
disconnected from each other. This didn't happen
because none of the people involved in the
discussion made the other people wrong for their
opinions, viewpoints and ways of looking at life.
We all shifted into neutral.
3. When you communicate, have it as your
intention to connect with the other person. Whether
we realize it or not, our conscious and unconscious
intentions are very powerful. We may have it as our
intention to "be right" or to be superior to
another and not even realize it.
If you find that you are triggered by what
someone is saying, look inside and question what
your intention is for the discussion. Is it to find
out more about the person? If it is, then listening
with an open heart without judgment is important.
Is it to create a deeper connection with the
person? If it is, then making sure that you are
coming from your heart rather than your head is
Communication with others, especially our loved
ones, can be very tricky and it is where all of our
patterns tend to show up.
We suggest that if you are having communication
challenges and want to create closer and more
connected relationships, try some of our
suggestions and see what happens.
One Moment of
Have you ever found yourself reacting in a negative
way, time and time again, to something that your
loved one, a friend or co-worker says or does?
You might feel hurt, angry, disappointed or
upset and you might even express those feelings,
but nothing changes.
We all have those moments with the people in our
lives that surface again and again--and if we look
closely, we can start to see patterns and reasons
why we react the way we do.
We'll explain with a story from our lives...
Yesterday, Otto had a particular "tone" to his
voice that always triggers Susie to tell him (in a
defensive way) that he's being condescending and
she doesn't like it.
Now it doesn't happen too often anymore, but it
did happen yesterday.
What was different yesterday was that instead of
Otto getting angry and defensive about what Susie
said, he opened to telling her what he was feeling
underneath this "tone" in his voice.
She listened and understood. She understood that
she had experienced the tone of his voice as
condescending because it reminded her of the way
her father had spoken to her at times when she was
She understood what Otto was feeling and
separated this experience from the way she felt as
a child with her father.
There certainly was a new "melting" between us
around this particular pattern that we've been
running since we've been together.
Yesterday, It came down to a simple moment of
understanding that made all the difference for
So, is there a pattern in your life with someone
that you'd like to change?
If there is, here are some suggestions that have
1. Be willing to look beyond what is happening
in this moment. Is this a familiar feeling that
came up with people from your past and is now
2. Be willing to feel what you are feeling and
not hide behind your "story" and your excuses.
3. Be willing to risk saying what you are
feeling instead of lashing out with anger or
sarcasm at the other person.
4. Be willing to open to listening with your
heart to what the other person is saying without
criticizing or judging.
5. Be willing to let go of your old pattern.
Just let it drop away and choose to love instead of
separate yourself from the people in your life.
This of course means that you never allow
physical or emotional abuse in your life. Choosing
to love yourself in this case may mean getting out
of that harmful situation.
We're sharing our experience with you in the
hopes that if it resonates with truth for you, you
will begin to make some positive shifts in your
The Courage to Change
Sometimes all it takes to create the life or
relationships that you really want is one simple
Sometimes the changes that are required are
small and subtle and some times much bigger.
What we've discovered is that if you want to do
anything in life or have anything or be anything
that you don't have as part of your experience
right now, you must change.
What this means is this--don't look outside of
yourself for other things and other people to
change. Change must begin with you first.
You might want more love, more passion, more
trust, more connection, better communication, more
spark. Whatever it is that you want, something must
change in order for you to have it.
In order for change to happen, you have to use
leverage on yourself.
Archimedes said, "Give me a lever long enough
and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move
Webster says a lever is "a bar used for prying
or dislodging something; a means for achieving
one's purpose." A fulcrum is defined as "the
support on which the lever turns."
We all stay stuck until we discover or become
aware of the lever and fulcrum that will work, as
well as the motivation to use them.
Here's a great example from Otto's life of this
idea in action...By Otto's own admission, he's not
Mr. Fix-it and neither is Susie. So, we've been
hiring out large and small jobs around the house
that need to be done. A few months ago, Otto
decided that he wanted to do some of the small
fix-it jobs that didn't require special expertise
but he had the fear that he couldn't and that he
would mess them up if he tried.
Otto has a long-time friend who is a Mr. Fix-it
and so he asked this friend for advice. This friend
told him to just do it and if he messes it up, he
messes it up. Armed with this advice and a few
borrowed tools, over the past couple of months,
Otto has gathered the confidence to successfully
hang a new door on the garage, replace the electric
cord and fix the switch on a lamp that had stopped
working, and cut an inch and a half hole in our
picnic table that it is the perfect size for an
umbrella post to go through to provide shade in the
spring and summer. .
So what happened?
Otto's "lever" was his friend's advice to just
try it. His "fulcrum" was the support of his friend
and Susie as he attempted these jobs. Underneath
all of this was his motivation to change. He no
longer wanted to rely on other people to do small
repairs around the house and live with the excuse
that just because his father couldn't do these
things, he couldn't either.
What does all this have to do with improving
Just like anything that we want to change or
improve in our relationships-- before any of these
odd jobs around the house could be done by Otto, he
had to change.
What he changed were his thoughts, attitudes and
beliefs about his abilities and he also sought the
help and support he needed to complete these small
jobs. Now (if he chooses) he can now begin to think
about bigger and more complicated jobs and projects
that need to be done around the house.
Remember that things do not change. We
When we take a stand for what we're willing to
do or have in our lives, more often than not that
is what we create-- whatever we're committed to
If you are wanting to make some changes for the
better in your relationship or life, here are some
simple tips for making changes:
1. You have to have the motivation to change and
you have to believe you can do it . You also have
to believe that you deserve what the change could
2. You have to watch the stories you tell
yourself about the change you want to make and not
allow them to sabotage your efforts.
3. Discern whether the voice in your mind is
from your fears or for your higher good. Bring
yourself into the present moment when a fear or
limitation comes up and discover whether this fear
is actually true or not--right here, right now.
3. Take a small step toward what you want if the
big step is too big.
4. Find your reason(s) that you want to change.
Sometimes your reason why may be something as
simple as making the decision to say yes to
5. Be willing to change and to allow something
new in your life. We often get comfortable and fear
change, although there may be a feeling inside that
is telling us that we want something better.
What do you want to change in your life and
Before you can change anything in the physical
world, you have to change your thoughts, beliefs
and attitudes that will allow you to create it--and
you have to allow the lever and fulcrum to show up
in your life.
We were just listening to Tracy Chapman's song
"Change" and we think that this song says a lot
about change and the motivation to change...
Here are the first few lines from her
"If you knew that you would die today
If you saw the face of God and love
Would you change?
Would you change?
A Matter of Choice...
Because this is a relationship newsletter, we like
to give you things to think about that will help
you create more love and better relationships in
Most people take the date of their birth for
granted because usually a person's birthday is not
a matter of choice, but in our friend' Sally's
case, that's not exactly what happened.
Our friend Sally's mother died this week and
when she was searching through her mom's drawers to
find vital papers she found her own birth
certificate. When she looked at it, she was shocked
because she discovered that her birth date was
actually the day after the day she had always been
told it was.
Although Sally cannot ask her mom how and why
this happened, she can only guess that since the
time of birth on her birth certificate was 12:01am
on March 21 and her mom's labor obviously happened
on March 20, the date that had stuck in her mom's
mind was March 20--despite what was stated by the
Since Sally's mom was noted to be stubborn in a
lot of ways, this certainly wasn't out of character
for her to hang onto a different birth date for
Sally than what it truly was.
When we heard Sally's story and how her mom had
made an obvious choice of when to celebrate her
birthday that was different from what was on her
birth certificate, we were reminded about how much
many of us think we don't have many choices in our
lives but actually everything we do is a
Here's what we mean...
--You have a choice each day how you will treat
your loved ones. Will you take your loved ones for
granted or will you stop what you are doing and pay
attention to them when you are together?
We're always reminded of Thorton Wilder's play
"Our Town" when we think about cherishing every
moment with the people in our lives. If you don't
know the play, check it out at the library. It's
good food for thought.
--You have a choice how you will react to
someone when they are angry with you.
Will you react in ways that separate the two of
you or bring you closer together? Will you react
from old ways of being and on automatic pilot
rather than making your words and actions a
--You have a choice whether to let go of old
resentments and old relationships that have ended
or hold on to them.
Often times, we don't realize that we are
carrying around resentments until they come out in
angry words filled with deep hurt. Even if we might
realize that we've been carrying around resentments
from current or past relationships, we don't choose
to do anything to let them go. Somehow, we take on
the logic that if we let those resentments go, the
person who is "at fault" will be let off the
hook--so to speak.
Whether it's an old resentment from a current or
past relationship that was never resolved, you can
make that choice now to look at what happened and
bring compassion for both of you to the situation.
Carrying around past hurts can physically and
emotionally harm you and we invite you to make the
choice to let those go in a healthy way.
--You have the choice whether to open yourself
to love in every moment or not. Our friend Sally
could have resented her mother for keeping her
"real" birth day from her for 50 years but she
didn't. She chose to see the humor in it and
appreciate her mom for who she was.
In our new "How to Heal Your Broken Heart" book
and audio package, Otto did an interview about
forgiveness with therapist Leslie Karen Sann and
something she said applies here. She said, "Bumps
in the road are a part of life. It's how we relate
to the issues that's the issue."
It's really whether we choose to look at what is
happening with love or whether we choose to look at
it with fear--It's really that simple.
Although one of your choices in life is probably
not the day you were born, we invite you to look at
every moment as a conscious choice, Are you
choosing love or choosing fear? The choice is yours
Attraction and What It
Means in Your Relationship
There seems to be a lot of talk these days about
"attraction" and "manifesting" and when it comes to
love and relationships we're absolutely fascinated
with these two ideas and how they relate to each
What we've discovered is that when it comes to
attraction and our relationships (both current and
future), attraction can come in all shapes and
sizes. Most of us never stop to realize that we're
ALL manifesting and attracting all the time. The
funny thing is we just don't think of the results
we're getting in our life and relationships as
manifesting or attracting.
In most cases, we also don't take the time to
consciously consider what attracting is and what it
means in our relationships.
Recently, we received this question and it
caused us to think about what attraction really
means in relationships.
Here's the question...
"I have a friend who seems to be confused what a
relationship is all about. He expects to find
someone that he feels in his heart he's passionate
about and then go into the relationship and
eventually marry that person. Shouldn't a
relationship start with a friendship, get to know
that person and maybe feelings of passion come
about? What he seems to be looking for is love at
first sight - which is nice but nearly
It's obvious that this person has her idea of
what attraction is all about and that relationships
should begin with friendship--and her friend has a
totally different idea.
In our opinion, neither idea is right for
everyone and neither is wrong for everyone. They
are just different ways of viewing love and
In this culture, attraction in an intimate
relationship is usually defined as being a sexual
attraction between two people. The belief that many
people have is that it's normal for this attraction
to die after years of being together.
While we absolutely know that this type of
attraction can die after awhile if both people
neglect their relationship, it doesn't have to.
For the purposes of this conversation, we think
that this definition for attraction can and should
be broadened. Like we said earlier--we are ALL
attracting all the time. The question for most of
us becomes "Is what we're manifesting what we
The dictionary says that to attract is "to draw
to or toward oneself" and we think there are many,
many reasons why we draw people into our lives,
especially into intimate relationships, and stay
with those people for many years and we may not
Here are just a few of those reasons...
1. To be loved
2. For s-e-x
3. To be taken care of emotionally or
4. For financial reasons
5. For friendship
6. For passion
7. To take care of someone else
8. To feel safe and secure
9. For connection
So what does all of this have to do with you and
We think plenty and here's why...
If you are wanting to attract a person into your
life who you truly want to be with, be clear about
what it is you want. Although we cannot control the
chemistry we have going on with another person, we
can become very clear about what we want in an
intimate relationship, how we want to be treated,
and our definition of what it means to be in an
If you are and have been in an intimate
relationship where s-e-x-u-a-l attraction seems to
have lessened or it might even be non-existent--you
may want to take a few minutes to discover what the
attraction currently is between the two of you.
Your attraction may have nothing to do with
passion, but have everything to do with friendship
or feeling safe and secure.
You may be happy with what you find but If you
find that you are wanting something different from
your relationship, then it's time to see how your
partner feels and reach for something new together
or maybe something that was there before and has
Understand that we have attracted everything we
have in our lives but that certainly doesn't mean
that we place blame on ourselves or that we can't
have what we want.
You can attract what you want into your life and
knowing what you want is certainly a good place to
After you know what you want then the next step
is usually to remove the blocks to having what you
What we've discovered is that most of us don't
think that we're the problem but more often than
not-- it's our own ability to get out of our own
way that is the problem.
We'll be talking more about this in future
issues of this newsletter but know that every one
of our relationship books, courses and programs
listed below are all intended to help you create
the kind of love and relationships that you really
Why Are Apologies So
It seems almost silly to say this about
relationships but a big key to having successful
relationships is in knowing when and how to
Perhaps even more important than the "when" and
"how " to apologize is the "why" to apologize.
In this article we're going to talk briefly
about all three things because apologies and being
willing to apologize is an often overlooked way to
heal a relationship of any kind.
It's just a fact of life-- things happen in our
relationships and life that upset us. Sometimes we
will be the person who feels "wronged" and other
times we will feel like the "wronger."
No matter what kind of relationships are you in,
you will inevitably have the opportunity (or many
opportunities) to either give an apology or receive
one. These apologies can be about big events that
have happened or can be about very small
infractions and disagreements.
Apologies are important because when they are
sincere and include a way to make amends, they pave
the way for connection and trust-- or at the very
least a "clearing of the air."
When people either don't make the apologies that
they need to make or they make them and then
nothing changes, those relationships start dying
and mistrust usually sets in--preventing a
connection of the heart.
Since we are relationship coaches and are
passionate about helping people create great
relationships, we'd like to give a few pointers
about apologies that we've learned along the
way--from our own lives, the lives of our coaching
clients and from other personal growth
Here's what we recommend for the person who has
1. Understand that an apology is for both of
you. Although you may have thought that an apology
is for the person who was wronged, we don't think
so. Both people usually carry hurt, anger and
resentment about the situation or misunderstanding.
If the person who was the "wronger" in this
instance doesn't apologize and "get it off their
chest", they may carry around guilt, pain and a
weight that can influence all of their
relationships and even their physical health.
Ultimately, you can't control the other person's
reaction to your apology but you can and probably
should make amends to that other person in your
life if you feel that you've said or done something
harmful to them that one or both of you are still
2. Make sure that your motivation for
apologizing is clear to you. Are you trying to get
something in return? Do you honestly mean what you
are saying? Are you honestly willing and prepared
to make some changes?
The complaint that we often hear from people
around this topic is that they've heard too many
apologies and nothing changes. If you've been
guilty of paying lip-service to apologizing with no
commitment to making some necessary changes, find a
way to do it differently.
3. Do not be attached to the outcome or to the
other person's reaction to your apology. The other
person may not accept your apology or open up to
you-- or he/she might. Approach apologizing with
the attitude that you are going to speak from your
heart and cannot control how the other person will
receive your words. If you do, even if the other
person doesn't accept your apology, you will feel
lighter and better.
4. Be prepared to listen to what making amends
means to the other person without getting
defensive. Be clear if you are willing to do what
is asked of you and don't promise something that
you know you can't do. Get help and support to make
the changes that you want to make.
5. Follow through. One of the biggest
trust-building secrets is follow-through after an
apology and as one expert called it, being
predictable. Very simply--Do what you say you are
going to do.
For the person who is receiving the
1. Listen with an open heart. Even if you have
been very hurt, listen. If apologies are a pattern
with no changes, listen anyway and watch for
2. Tell the other person what making amends in
this situation means to you. What can the other
person do to "make it right"?
3. If the person is willing to make an attempt
to change, be willing to bring yourself into the
present moment and start over. It doesn't mean that
all is forgotten. It does mean that you are willing
to open to the possibility of something
4. If your relationship has become destructive
to you and the other person's apology is not based
in a sincere desire to change, as well as being
willing to get the support to make those changes,
then you have the decision of whether to remain in
the relationship as it currently is or not.
Apologies can create closer, more loving
relationships and they can also help us "clear the
air" in our lives. If there are apologies that you
need to make in your life right now, we suggest
that you take this opportunity to make them
One final question...
What if you feel that you've been hurt or
wronged by someone.
What should you do?
The short answer is-- "tell them" and here's why
The truth is that if something has happened
between you and someone in your life that has
caused you pain, then your relationship will never
be as good as possible until a healing takes
If there is something that has upset you, then
we think you owe it to them and the relationship to
tell them about it. Tell them how they hurt you and
what you would like them to do about it to make
We're not suggesting that you "dump on them" or
to take all your pain and put it back on them as a
way to get back at them. In our experience this is
counter-productive and will only cause more
What needs to happen is for you to tell that
other person about your pain from a place within
you that wants, love, reconnection and healing
about what happened.
Theres a big difference between these two ways
of letting that other person know about your
One separates and divides the two of you even
more and the other way will bring the two of you
In a short article like this we can't say
everything that needs to be said about apologies.
So, if you're interested in learning more abut
trust building or communication, you can check out
our relationship trust-building book and audio
package or Communication Magic book and audio
The links to find out more about both of these
packages are below in our relationship resources
Yuck or Yum?
The other day, a friend told Otto about a novel by
Tom Robbins called "Still Life With Woodpecker."
This quote from the book--"There are two mantras in
life: Yuck and yum. Mine is Yum"--caught our
attention because it says so much about
Robbins' quote is such a succinct way of saying
what we end up teaching in almost every book,
course, seminar and coaching session.
Here's what we mean...
At every step of the way --you decide what you
don't want, decide what you do want and remove the
obstacles to having what you want.
To use the Tom Robbins quote-- It's either a
"yuck" or a "yum."
You might be saying "Well that sounds good but
in the real world, it's just not that simple."
Of course it's not that simple or everyone would
be living the lives and having the relationships
that they want--and a lot of people don't.
What we know is that when we empower ourselves
to make choices in our lives and our relationships
from the point of view of this is a "yum" and I
want more of it, we are happier and there is a
sense of ease and flow.
Our advice to you is to figure out what makes
you go "yum."
Your next question to us might be--"What if my
'yum' clashes with my partner's, my co-worker's, or
my family's 'yum?'"
Good question and here's our take on that...
If you ignore what your inner guidance is
telling you that your "yum" is to satisfy the needs
of someone else, you are putting up walls that will
keep you from the intimacy and connection that you
may be trying to have with that person or in your
Does that mean that you ignore and violate
commitments that you've made to others? Does it
mean that you go ahead and have that affair or
internet relationship or even eat the entire
chocolate cake because it's a "yum" for you?
We say no, and here's why...
If this is the case with your "yum," we suggest
that you first address the commitment to the other
person or to yourself that you are wanting to
ignore or violate. If you don't, the chances are
slim that your "yum" will continue to be what you
You need to ask yourself if this "yum" is
covering up a need or concern that should be
addressed and if this "yum" is for your highest
good in the long-run. Is this "yum" likely to turn
into a "yuck" sooner or later?
As Joseph Campbell said, "Follow your bliss." We
would add--Follow your bliss in an empowering way
that is authentic and above-board with the people
in your life.
That certainly doesn't mean that you have to
always get your way above everyone else. What we've
discovered is that when we are authentic and speak
and act from that place of authenticity, our lives
and relationships have a way of working out for the
best for all concerned.
Can you encourage more "yum" in your life?
Of course you can!
One of our coaching clients told us that she
noticed that her husband hadn't been wearing his
wedding ring for the past few weeks and she was
worried that he was having an affair. In the past,
when things like this came between the two of them,
our client would allow fear to paralyze her and
then all of a sudden, she would find that she was
in a rage about the least insignificant thing.
What she did this time was different.
She asked him about his ring without accusing
him of anything. Because of his past experience
with her rages, he told her he didn't know. She
asked him again and finally he told her that he had
stopped wearing his ring because he hadn't known
how committed she was to their relationship.
She didn't get upset by what he told her as she
might have done in the past. She calmly reassured
him that she was very committed to their
marriage--more than she ever had been.
What started out as a potentially "yuck"
situation turned into a healing "yum" because both
people let their guard down and were authentic with
one another. In this situation, they both moved
toward what they wanted more of.
Know that you can have more of what you want in
your life and your relationships. You can make
choices that will bring you closer to what you want
rather than take you further away from them.
The choice is up to you!
The Day After...What are
You Going to Do With it?
Yesterday was Valentine's Day which is celebrated
all over the world -- So what happened in your
Did you surprise your loved one with candy,
flowers, dinner out or even a greeting card with
sentiments of caring and affection?
Did you do something special for your
Did you feel lonely because you don't have that
perfect partner in your life?
Did you ignore the celebration completely,
whether you are with a partner or not, and it was
just another day?
Whatever your experience was yesterday, it's
what you do today and the day after that determines
the future of your current or future relationship
If you chose to express love to your loved one
in one way or another, this is a symbol of what's
possible every day of the year. If you and your
loved one chose to ignore the celebration of love
and it seems to be missing in your relationship,
this may be a symbol of what you will continue to
If there's one thing we've learned in our own
lives and from the lives of people who work with us
in our coaching practice, it's that in order to
have a truly close, connected relationship, you
need to keep doing things every day to keep your
love alive and growing.
If you aren't in an intimate relationship and
yesterday was disappointing and you're glad it's
over, then we suggest that today you express love
to the people who are in your life. It is true--we
do get more of what we practice and love certainly
falls into this category as well as anything you
We've been fascinated by watching the Olympic
athletes compete to win metals for their country's
Did they learn their sport overnight? Of course
Do they have to practice everyday? Of course
Believe it or not--the same thing holds true for
having great relationships.
Here are some really simple ideas for carrying
on the spirit of Valentine's Day TODAY AND EVERY
DAY that can build a close, connected relationship.
They are simple but worth repeating because we
forget to do them in our busy lives...
1. Look at the people in your life when you talk
with them--especially the people close to you--your
partner, your children
2. Be appreciative when they do something
special for you. Stop what you are doing, open your
heart, and thank them.
3. Do something nice for someone today. Maybe
you've been thinking about doing something or
sending a card to someone and haven't taken the
time to do it. Take the time today.
4. Move past your habitual responses and truly
listen to your loved ones. Do it differently
What we wish for all of you is to have the love
and happiness that you want in your life. No matter
what relationships you currently have, there is
always a way to make them better.
We wish you love on this day after.
Relationship Advice So
Easy-- Anyone Can Do This To Improve Their
One of the biggest challenges many people face that
gets in the way of them creating the kind of
relationship they really want is that they take on
the attitude of "why even try" because getting what
they want seems so overwhelming.
It's been said that a journey of one thousand
miles begins with a single step. For some people
who want to make their relationships better and are
overwhelmed, even that first step seems so
difficult, if not impossible.
With that in mind, we want to introduce you to a
very simple shift in thinking. If you apply it,
this shift will help you create the kind of love
and relationships that you really want.
Here's a totally unrelated example from our own
lives to explain what we're talking about...
Listening to good music has always been
important to us and has given us a great deal of
Since we started buying recordings of music
concerts of our favorite artists on dvd, we decided
that we wanted to upgrade the sound on our
television. The problem was--since we're in the
middle of so many projects in our relationship
coaching business, most of the sound systems that
we heard in those specialty sound stores sounded
great and we loved them but they were also more
money that we wanted to spend right now on a sound
system for our TV.
So, Otto, being the determined person that he
is, researched equipment and finally found a small
sound system that suited our needs and budget right
now. After buying this sound system, we can really
enjoy the music of our favorite artists the way we
like to hear it.
Is it the best sound system? No, but it
certainly is a step up from what we had before.
What does our new sound system have to do with
creating great relationships?
We did not give up and quit our dream of having
a good sound system for our television just because
the ones we really liked seemed out of reach right
We found a way to take a step toward having what
we wanted and it turned out to be a great
improvement over what we had. The simple shift we
made was to take one satisfying step forward and
You can do this with any of your relationships,
no matter what kind or in what shape they are in
Start by taking a baby step. Discover what you
want, make it a priority in your life, take one
step toward it and appreciate your progress along
Here's what we mean...
A common problem that many of our coaching
clients and people who write to us face is how to
deal with a partner who they can't seem to
communicate with. Communication might have been
easy at one time, but now it seems strained and
there is distance between the two people.
What's does it mean to take a baby step when
there's a communication "brick wall" between the
two of you?
Of course, every relationship is different but
there's a simple shift you can make if you want to
take a step toward better communication.
Notice one thing YOU do to stop the
communication. Here are a few examples:
- Do you multi-task when you or another person
- Does your mind wander when you're supposed
to be listening?
- Do you immediately get defensive and make up
stories about what the person said without
asking for clarification?
- Do you insist that you are right and the
other person is wrong?
- Do you find yourself judging the other
Taking a baby step to better communication may
be saying "Yes, I do this and I'm willing to stop
doing it for a week (or even a day) and see what
When you are successful at stopping your habits
that get in the way of your communication, make
sure that you appreciate yourself for what you've
Does this mean that the other person doesn't
have any responsibility to change? Of course not.
If does mean that if you want changes to happen in
your relationships, you need to start by
identifying what is holding you back from what you
want and then take a small step toward it by
Changes in relationships usually don't happen
overnight but they do happen if you begin making
the shifts that will bring them about.
Go ahead-start reaching for what you
Benjamin Franklin once said, "In this world nothing
can be said to be certain, except death and
We're guessing that If old Ben Franklin would
have been asked about the biggest challenges in
relationships and marriages, like a lot of you, he
probably would have said that money is one of the
biggest "certain" issues that couples fight and
We recently received an interesting question
from one of our newsletter subscribers that is
about this very sticky relationship issue.
Our subscriber writes:
"I would like to hear advice on relationships
that argue about money. We have been together for
two and a half years and I have problems managing
my money and he is fed up with it."
We absolutely know where this woman is coming
from because the two of us have struggled with this
issue since we got together. Not only are we
married life partners but also business partners
which has compounded the issue!
Like many couples, the two of us approach money
and dealing with money from totally different
While we certainly don't want to suggest that we
have completely resolved this issue and that it
doesn't create challenges for us from time to time,
we have learned some things that help us to keep
our relationship close, connected, alive and
growing, in spite of our vast differences
concerning our approaches to money.
If you have money issues in your relationship or
marriage, here are a few things that we feel could
be helpful to any couple with this very common
1. Recognize that opposites generally attract
and that it's no accident that you might be
together with someone who has radically different
ways of dealing with money. Handling finances is
just one area where differences between two people
become very apparent -- and irritating.
Even though it's tough to realize--these
differences help to create the "spark" between two
people, especially if they each learn to appreciate
We have the philosophy that we can learn from
everything and everyone in our lives--either what
we want more of or less of. You can learn quite a
lot by the way you each handle finances
So we recommend that you look at your
differences as an opportunity to grow and not to
separate and disconnect the two of you. Take the
judgement away and don't make each other wrong.
2. Examine how you handle finances, where you
learned your style, and what your beliefs are about
money. What do each of you value when it comes to
money? This is very important for each of you to do
Susie learned her "saving" style from her
parents who grew up during the Depression. She's
always saving for a rainy day or that unexpected
event that may happen.
Otto, on the other hand, learned to spend as he
made money. Otto values enjoying his money now.
3. Talk and listen to each other about your
differences. It is so important that you understand
one another and not make one person wrong and one
4. Decide what each of you can and want to do to
learn from each other.
To the person who has problems managing
money--What is something that you are willing to
start doing that you can learn from your partner?
Maybe it's something as simple as keeping your
bills in a special place and marking on your
calendar when they are due. Maybe it's getting some
help to create a workable budget. Maybe it's
beginning to change the way you think and your
beliefs about money and finances.
Otto learned how to spend within what he brought
in and to realistically look at his situation when
he wanted to buy something.
To the person who is irritated with their
partner over the way money is handled--What
"strokes" are you getting from being with someone
who has problems handling their money? Are you
getting the satisfaction of "being right" or
superior? Is there something you can learn from how
your partner handles money?
On the surface, you may say an emphatic "NO!"
but we're inviting you to look underneath.
Susie found that she was getting a great deal of
satisfaction from being "superior" about how she
handled money verses how Otto handled money. All
this caused was a great deal of disconnection
between the two of us until we realized that their
isn't any "right way." Only the way that works for
the two of you.at any given moment.
When she dug a little deeper, she discovered
that she could learn a lot about expansion and
desire from Otto. When she began to appreciate that
aspect of him, our connection deepened even
Those are some ideas that we have found to be
useful around this topic and if this is a challenge
in your relationship, we invite you to try out a
few of our suggestions.
Believe it or not--money differences can be a
way to come closer together and not continue to
separate the two of you if you will begin to make
some shifts in the way you approach this
about Relationships From An Unusual Source
Recently Otto was car shopping and the salesman at
one of the car dealerships really surprised him
with a statement he made about relationships.
While finding out more about what Otto wanted in
a new car, the salesman asked Otto what he did for
Otto responded that he was a relationship coach.
At first, the salesman was taken aback because he
looked as though he thought Otto was a s-e-x expert
on one of those 900 calls. When Otto told him was
that he was a coach who helped people create
outstanding relationships of all kinds through
books, seminars and one on one in person and
telephone coaching, he seemed relieved.
The salesman then explained that he had had two
happy and successful marriages.
He told Otto that his first wife died and that
he was currently in another marriage that was just
Otto was impressed because what we have
discovered is that the number of people who can say
that they have been in two happy marriages are few
and far between.
When Otto told Susie this story, we couldn't
help but become even more aware that this salesman
is someone who simply hasn't bought into one of the
biggest negative mythologies about
As we see it, one of the biggest myths about
relationships that are happy, harmonious, growing
and passionate is that most people think that there
is only one person out there for them that they can
ever be happy with and even if they do find that
person, they only have one shot at this kind of
They may even believe that they can never find
that person and usually end up settling for
mediocre relationships because that's all they
believe they can have.
The truth is that you have a chance at happiness
in every moment, in every day. Even in long-term
relationships, we go through many stages where we
change, evolve and grow and there is always that
chance that the relationship will grow into a
deeper, more loving union.
If you aren't currently in an intimate
relationship and want to be, you have to
opportunity to deepen your happiness in the
relationships you are in.
The question then becomes how can your
relationship grow in vital and alive ways instead
of becoming stale and lifeless?
The truth is that we all change all of the time
and it's what we do with those changes that dictate
whether the relationship grows and is filled with
happiness or becomes lifeless, with both people
merely going through the motions.
In order to create an alive, growing
relationship, you have to accept, embrace and
appreciate that the two of you are changing
constantly. Look with wonder at each other and
don't assume that you always know everything about
An exercise we recommend to some of our coaching
clients who have communication challenges can help
you to accept, embrace and appreciate changes as
they come along in your life.
We recommend that you both agree to either call
one another during the day or talk when you each
get home from your work for 15 or 20 minutes each
day. Take turns telling each other one positive
thing that happened during the day and one thing
that you would have liked to have gone differently
while the other person just listens.
Listen with your complete attention, not trying
to fix anything for the other person. Make sure you
turn off the television and move away from the
computer and other distractions when you have these
If you find that you are becoming judgmental and
trying to fix each other during this exercise,
bring your attention to your heart and open it as
the other person is speaking.
Maybe you have fear about opening up to your
partner. If you do, breathe and drop your attention
into your heart and speak from that place, with the
intention to connect with that other person.
If you are single, there's probably someone who
you would like to get to know better and might be
willing to do this with you so that you might have
the chance to experience a deeper connection with
It's a pretty simple exercise but if you allow
15 or 20 minutes each day to do this, you will find
out some new things about each other and you will
open to growing together.
If you continually do this exercise, it will
help you understand where the other person is
coming from and what they are coping with. It also
helps bring compassion and more love to your
relationship and you may even get to know each
other in ways you didn't imagine that were
We know that whether you are 18 or 85, great
relationships and happiness are possible--and they
can happen more than once. You just have to become
aware of what you are doing to block love in your
life (because believe it or not, we all block love
and happiness) and do what you need to do for your
relationships to deepen and come alive.
You can find great relationship advice in the most
unlikely places if you are just open to the advice
and how it relates to other seemingly unrelated
areas of your life.
The advice we're drawing from this week is from
an article we just read about the band and Musical
Duo, "The Eurythmics."
If you're not familiar with "The Eurythmics,"
they are a band started in 1980 by Dave Stewart and
Annie Lennox. Over the past 25 years the British
duo have sold 75 million albums and had over 20
international hit singles.
When we read the article about them in the
Jan./Feb 2006 issue of the magazine "Performing
Songwriter," we were so amazed that their method of
guiding their business is also essential to
creating relationships that are close, connected,
alive and growing--as well as keeping that initial
"spark" that tends to get lost in a lot of
According to this article, when Dave Stewart and
Annie Lennox started the band, they created what
they called "a manifesto"--a list of their
intentions, along with their views on music, art
and fashion. This list was a guidepost on how they
would proceed and make decisions for making the
Dave Stewart said, "It would have a kind of a
yes and a no. We would say yes to Motown, yes to
electronic cold European, yes to men's suits. And
then we would say no to heavy metal, no to girls'
dresses....Every now and then, we'd consult the
list if we thought we'd wandered off track."
Not only is this a great way for a band to know
if the music they're producing is what they want to
be producing but we think this is a really great,
practical idea for keeping your relationships,
(especially your intimate relationship) alive and
growing as well. This is actually what the two of
us do on a daily basis to nurture our
The idea of the "manifesto" is that it gives you
an opportunity to consciously decide together what
you're about as a couple.
This doesn't mean that you aren't an individual
and can't have your own interests. To us, this
"manifesto" simply is a guidepost for how you are
going to go through life together.
Even if you are single or dating, we suggest
that you can use this idea to start creating what
you want for your life experience.
So what might be in your "manifesto"?
To give you some ideas, here are a few of the
things that are in our "manifesto" and we invite
you to create your own:
1. We are monogamous and it's very obvious to
others that we are.
2. We do not run away emotionally or physically
when things get tough but find new ways to open to
3. We make our relationship and passion a
priority in our lives.
4. We tell each other the truth.
5. We spend time every day connecting with each
When we make decisions about the direction of
our lives, we do as the Eurythmics do and first
check whether it's a yes or a no according to our
Whether you formally write a document or not, we
suggest that you talk about what is important to
each of you, if you are with a partner, and create
your own manifesto. If you are single, we suggest
that you write or talk to a friend about what you
want in your relationships (any kind of
If you want relationships that are alive and
growing, we offer this idea as a good way to get
headed in that direction.
It's What Happens
After You Disconnect
It was pretty interesting as we look back on this
situation that happened a few weeks ago.
A friend who we don't get to see very often got
to see the two of us in a "not so perfect moment."
This was a moment when lots of things were going on
around us and we both had some opinions and said
some things to each other that needed some healing
The short version of the story is that we were
disconnected from each other in that moment that
our friend was there and it showed.
We all disconnect in various ways from one
another from time to time. It's normal. We feel
slighted, not loved, unappreciated or any number of
things and these feelings create separations from
those we love.
Whether it's your intimate partner, a family
member, a friend or a co-worker--it happens to all
We've discovered that it's what happens after
you disconnect and you get into your "relationship
dance" or your patterns that makes the difference
whether there will be "spark" or life in your
relationship or not in the future.
This has certainly held true both in our own
relationship and life and in the lives and
relationships of the coaching clients that we work
with in person and by telephone.
Since we're creating a series of teleseminars on
how to keep the spark in your relationship and how
to get it back if it has faded, it started us
thinking that one of the important ways to do that
is to pay attention to what happens after you
Recently, one of our coaching clients became
disconnected from a friend he worked with. Our
client's friend became very angry with him for
something that our client had done. In turn, our
client became angry because he just couldn't figure
out what he had done that was so bad.
Pretty common scenario--Right?
No matter what type of relationship it is, it's
what happens after the disagreement or
disconnection that will determine whether the
relationship grows or dies.
Here are some tips on what to do and how to come
back together after a disagreement that we used
after our disconnection and we offer them to you to
try so that your relationships keep growing in
1. What the disagreement or disconnection
happens, stop yourself from responding in old,
harmful ways that have done nothing but keep the
two of you apart. Instead, take a few deep breaths.
If you do respond in old harmful ways, take a
moment to recognize that you have done so.
2. Let go of clinging to the idea of being
right. Everyone sees things differently and looks
out at life through different lenses. Chances are,
the person you had the disagreement with thinks
he/she is just as "right" as you are. So don't
cling to your "rightness" and possibly lose the
3. After you have yourself under control, listen
to the person with an open heart and open mind.
Hard to do sometimes but absolutely necessary if
you are going to keep your relationship
4. Take responsibility for your part in this
disagreement-- even if it's just to tell the other
person that you can understand how they may feel
the way they do. Tell how you were feeling and any
circumstances that the other person might not know
about that may have precipitated the
5. Be open to exploring how you both can repair
your relationship and make it better. If you come
to this discussion with a strong desire to come
back together and a sense of possibility, some
ideas will emerge that will help your
These are just a few ideas around this topic and
if you want to learn much more, sign up for our
f-r-e-e teleseminar that we mentioned in the news
and notes section of this newsletter.
Relationship a Celebration!
What important relationship building strategy can
you learn from observing a football bowl game?
--A pretty good one that could help you create
more love and a better relationship for you in the
new year if you just think about and apply a few
Here's what we're talking about...
Most people living near where we live in Ohio
are Ohio State Buckeye football crazy. Whenever the
Buckeyes play, people fly banners from their houses
and cars and gather together around their
televisions or in bars or restaurants to watch the
game. This year's Fiesta Bowl was no exception.
Even if you aren't a football fan and you live
in Ohio, you couldn't help but be impacted. It was
a huge event in our state because the people made
it so. They looked forward to the game, created
parties, served special "game" food, and talked
about the game when they met people the next
What does all this have to do with building
And our question to you is this . . .
Do you make your relationships as important as
many of the people in Ohio made this Fiesta Bowl a
few days ago?
In our opinion, this is what it takes to keep
relationships alive, growing and filled with
connection. One of the best ways to do this is to
regularly celebrate each other and the
Even if things aren't "perfect" between the two
of you, find things to celebrate about each other
and your relationship. In our opinion, we are in
relationships to heal, learn and grow and that may
involve some times of disconnection and
While this disconnection and distance might be
"normal," it's what you do to reconnect that can
make a difference in your quality of life. We've
found that regular celebrations are a great way to
reconnect and keep your relationship strong.
Here's what we mean--
By the time most couples have been together as
long as we have been, the spark would have faded
away and they would have settled into a groove that
would make their relationship "normal" and in many
cases much less than it could be.
This isn't the case in our relationship. Even
though we've been together several years at this
point, we still have a strong, vibrant, alive and
We're not going to suggest that there is never
any conflict or challenges because that simply
We have them like everyone else, but our
relationship and our connection is so important to
us that we do the kinds of things we tell you about
in our newsletter and in our books and courses to
keep it strong and vibrant.
Here's an example of what we do...
Every morning, we choose to take time to
celebrate each other and give thanks for the life
we have together. We take that time to connect with
each other and to express our love.
While we realize that not everyone has the
luxury of this time together each morning, we do
know that it's really important to carve out some
time together each day or each week to reconnect
and celebrate your relationship.
Even if you are not currently in an intimate
relationship, you can do this with the important
people in your life.
You can have a "celebration" for any reason at
any time and you can do it whenever you want just
because you want to.
We're big believers that if you set your
Intention for what you want and simply remove the
blocks to your having it that you can have, do or
be anything and this definitely includes a great
We invite you to come up with your own ways to
regularly celebrate each other and your
relationships. If you do, we think that you will
see exciting changes in your life.
Valentine's Day--What's Your
Whether it's the traditional fresh flower
arrangement, chocolates or dinner out--or maybe
even an entire romantic weekend get-away--because
Valentine's day is just around the corner, it's
almost expected that we do something nice for our
partner or loved one.
In our way of thinking, while this gift-giving
is all well and good, what's even more important is
to look deeper than simply giving gifts to each
other and to examine and renew your commitment to
your loved one and to your relationship.
Because we're in the middle of our teleseminar
series on "How to get the spark back in your
relationship," we are focused on helping people
create closer, more connected relationships and
renewing that alive feeling they may have had once
for each other.
One thing we know for certain is that examining
what you are committed to in your life and where
your relationship fits into your commitments is
essential if you want to start finding or keeping
The same examination holds true if you are
single and want to connect with a future partner
and create a close, connected relationship.
For example, Joyce (one of our coaching clients)
said that she wanted a close relationship with her
husband but there just never seemed to be enough
time for it.
She and her husband just seemed to have brief
conversations, often with their backs to each
other, as they moved from one activity to another.
Joyce seemed to be busy from the time she got up
until she went to bed and there just didn't seem to
be an opportunity to connect with her husband.
Although she wants a closer relationship with her
husband the way it used to be, she's often just too
tired to even talk with him before she goes to
If Joyce were to really look at her life and how
she spends her time, she would see what she is
committed to. She may be committed to having a
spotless house or being an officer for a community
organization or being the best, most successful,
most liked person in her office.
Whatever it is--all these things have become
more important than her relationship with her
Now please understand that we are not picking on
Joyce in any way or for her choices of how she
spends her time and energy. We are only pointing
out that if she wants a closer, more connected
relationship with her husband and the way it used
to feel, she needs to come into consciousness about
her choices. Her husband, of course, needs to do
So often our choices for how we spend our time
and energy don't seem like choices at all. They
seem to be someone else's choices for our
Even if this is how your life seems to you right
now, we think there is probably some wiggle room
somewhere in your 24 hours where you can commit to
your intimate relationship if it's your desire to
If you are single and want a close, connected
relationship with a significant other and it
doesn't seem to be happening, we think that it's
equally important to take a look at where you might
open a space in your life for it to happen.
Here are a few things we suggest if this seems
to be a problem for you...
1. Take a few moments and decide what kind of
closeness you'd like to have with your partner or a
future partner if you are single.
2. Now look at how important this is to you. Are
you committed to creating it in your life?
3. List your time commitments and decide how
important they are to you and your family. Is there
anything that you have been doing that no longer
holds passion for you that you might stop doing or
do less of it?
4. What is your new commitment to yourself or
your partner? What are you willing to do on a daily
basis to have what you want?
It's our hope that on this Valentine's Day, you
don't merely buy a present for your loved one but
that you take this opportunity to re-commit to your
relationship in ways that you may not have done so
The ' Snap-Back Effect'
We were talking with someone recently and shared
with him how much we appreciated his contribution
to a project we'd all been working on.
At first the person accepted the words of
appreciation with gratitude but when we continued
our praise, he thought we were joking and
insincere. We observed that he could accept some
appreciation but it didn't take long before he
wouldn't allow himself to believe our positive
We were sincere but it appeared that his
internal belief system would only allow just so
many good feelings about himself before he shut
down emotionally and viewed our comments to not be
This is what many of us do when it comes to our
relationships. When things start going really well,
we do or say something that sabotages those good
feelings and snaps us back into more familiar and
comfortable roles and feelings.
You may be asking yourself right now--"Why
wouldn't everyone want to feel good all the time?"
and "Why would feeling bad be comfortable?"
There are many possible reasons why someone
would sabotage something that's going well, but one
of the main reasons is the belief that "I don't
deserve the happiness, the praise, the passion, the
good feelings, etc."
Many people are afraid that their relationship
won't last or they feel that he or she will leave
them anyway so somehow, either consciously or
unconsciously, they do something to push the other
person away. We've seen that this happens a lot
when jealousy is involved or when there's a lack of
We allow fears--such as fear of abandonment
(either physically or emotionally), beliefs such as
"I'm not enough," "I don't deserve happiness" and
so on --to keep us from having the great
relationships that are available to all of us.
If it were not for our fears and our self
limiting belief systems, we would all have
While we are continually working on this within
our own relationship, we'll offer you a few
suggestions that have helped us.
The obvious thing would be to first identify
your beliefs and fears that are holding you back
from having the relationships and life that you
Once you've identified these beliefs and fears,
then we would invite you to explore whether you are
willing or not to allow them to keep you from
having the relationships and life that you
In every relationship that you have (even the
one you have with yourself), we urge you to start
being as conscious as possible in all ways.
Consider whether your words and actions will build
the relationship into a stronger connection or
weaken and possibly destroy it.
We're very fond of saying that "everything we do
either brings us closer to or further from the love
and relationship that we want."
The idea is to always be doing the kinds of
things that bring us closer to the love we want
instead of further from it.
If you don't have the kind of relationship that
you want, then you can create something different
starting right now.
What we've discovered is that Identifying the
fears we have and our limiting beliefs will go a
long way toward helping us do this.
©2006 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
See Archives 2005,
Other Relationship Issues,
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