Monday, June 30, 2008

How's Your Relationship?

In the June issue of Self Magazine there is a great article about red flags in a partnership. These are flags that would indicate whether there is trouble brewing and what to do to get things back on track.

I think there are some great ideas in the story, so I will give you my interpretation here:

Does he really need to know what you had for lunch and what happened at work today? The answer is a definite yes. When we don't take time to go over our day and let our partners into our more mundane life, we miss the opportunity to grow closer, and it makes it harder to talk about the more important things.

Is it okay to be really independent and enjoy separate interests (and like it that way)? This is more of a yes and no answer. It is okay to be independent and have separate interests. The problem is when you don't spend time doing things you enjoy together you lose out on a lot of fun, and end up disconnecting from each other. Date nights and time together are key to a happy relationship.

Is it okay to never fight? I've always said in my marriage that we occasionally just need to have a good fight! If you don't talk about the small things or the big things in a relationship and be willing to put yourself out there to work things out, there could be trouble ahead.

On the other hand, is it okay to resort to low lows in a fight? No, it is never okay to resort to low blows. These include name calling, threats, stomping around, or other forms of verbal or physical abuse.

Do you think your relationships would be so much better if only he or she was more .........(insert just about anything here)? This is a good question to bring up, and it is one of those things that I tell myself and others all the time. The only person you can change is you. However, you can be honest and live authentically for you, and sometimes people change because of the examples we set. I would suggest writing down all the things you are grateful for in your relationship and look at the whole person, not just the one thing that drives you crazy.

What if we aren't that affectionate with each other? Everyone has different needs for affection. Some people love to cuddle all the time and others are uncomfortable with cuddling. What is true is that if you want more affection try initiating it yourself. Start small. Do things like hold hands when you walk. Make sure you hug and kiss good bye in the morning. As your partner gets used to more affection you can slowly increase the amount of cuddling you do.

What if our sex life is just ....fine? There is a quote in the article that says "Life is filled with difficulty and challenges, sex can help repair wounds and bring you together." I love that. Sometimes we find ourselves wanting to fix everything first before we are willing to have sex. My suggestion is try having sex first and see if it might help fix other issues!

Take Care,


Friday, June 20, 2008

The River

Last week I was on a trip with a bunch of women friends and we went river rafting. This is something I do every year, and I am always amazed by how much I love the river and the joy of running rapids and working together with a group to keep the raft upright and not end up in the water.

As I was considering writing this post, it dawned on me that running the river is a great metaphor for life and relationships. This is what I mean by that statement:

Making the choice to go river rafting is not an easy one. You need to be open to new things, you have to like the outdoors and the adventure, and you need to be able to trust yourself and the people you are with. Often when we are going through life, there are people and situations that we are not open to and we don't trust ourselves or them and we choose not to take that ride.

Once you decide go rafting, you need to gear up and learn what you need to do to stay afloat. This means that you don a life jacket, a helmet, and sometimes a wet suit. In life you take on protections in the form of boundaries to keep you safe as you move through life. Then you need an education. In rafting that is learning how to listen to your guide and when to paddle and when to hold on.

Once you begin the journey, there is no way to go but follow the river. Sometimes you float along peacefully and there is not a lot required of you. Sometimes you find rapids that require you to listen to your guide, to do your part to keep the raft on course, and enjoy the feel of the river flowing over you.

Occasionally someone comes out of the raft and if you do, you need to lean back, point your feet downstream and let the river take you until you can be picked up. If someone is in the water, you may need to rescue them. This is accomplished by grabbing their life jacket and falling backward into the raft and pulling them in on top of you! I find in relationships, if you become derailed by something, just moving forward and doing the next indicated thing is often the best advice. Then at some point, you find yourselves grabbing on to each other and ending up on top of each other again. And then you laugh, and breathe, and move on down the river.

So how do you want your life and relationships to flow today?


Sunday, June 8, 2008

What If.......

What if you you are in a difficult relationship and you have tried to work things out, and things just stay the same, and you can't let go?

This is a question I hear all the time. The answer is you stay and keep working on yourself and let the outcome work itself out. You are probably wondering why you can't fix this. I always wanted to find the easy way out and I am living proof that there isn't one. I remember asking a mentor once, "Why do I keep walking back into the same old problems over and over again?" Her reply was simple, and very wise. It was "You'll do it til you don't."

There are definitely things that can be done to work on a relationship through counseling and coaching and sometimes religion or spirit. If both people are willing to work together, things can and do get better. The problem occurs when only one person wants to change things and the other doesn't, or isn't willing to participate in working things out.

When this is where you are at, the best option is to seek help or guidance for yourself. Often there is no easy answer, and that is when you have to choose to stay and feel your feelings and work through your truth to get to the answer that is right for you. Only then can you make a decision that feels peaceful. When you have done all that you can, and worked through your issues and know exactly what you want, the future becomes clear and the path is laid out for you.

I never tell anyone to stay or go in a relationship. The truth is those answers are ones that people must figure out for themselves. I have seem brave souls who have stayed and loved and worked on their relationships in such an amazing manner, and been awed by their ability to keep going until they got to the place they were meant to go. It is a joy to be a relationship coach and be a witness to the beauty of watching someone figure it out, and step into their right life. I intend to keep doing it for a long time!

Take care,