10 Steps for Struggling couples

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Relationships, unfortunately, don’t have a 3 month, 3000 miles rule for going in and getting a tune-up or oil, filter, lube! But just as important as keeping our auto maintenance periodically, our relationships need checkups too, especially if couples have pushed unresolved issues under the rug over and over for years, and they tend to surface over and over, and they seem to be facing the same problems over and over.

Something to remember is that when a person goes years layering the problems and keeping a record of wrongs in their mind, these records tend to fester and grow bigger the more they think about them, and the more they share them with others, who most likely share their victim stories, and then that only adds fuel to the flame as well.

Conflict resolution means two things. It means a willingness for both parties to participate in being teachable toward listening to possible solutions and guidelines and choose their best path. And second, both people admitting their own personal weaknesses and mistakes, taking responsibilities for those, admitting faults, and moving forward in a positive direction toward compromise and forgiveness.

Coaching and counseling fails if one person has their mind set on the deadset belief that the coaching or counseling session is going to be focused on ‘setting their partner straight’ about some things. In other words, they feel that the counselor is going to hear their view, and going to ‘change their partner’. It will always be the coach or counselors position to hear both parties, and present ideas and suggestions that both people in the relationship may choose as a compromise, so that both parties feel they are working together as a team, and that they are both benefiting from a solution, and working together. Sometimes, however, suggestions will be outside the comfort zone of someone. That is because to accommodate our partners in relationships, change is often a part of successful flowing relationships. This does not mean, however, that we are supposed to change in ways that are uncomfortable, or feel unnatural to us. If there is a change our partner wants us to make that is outside of our comfort zone, we have a very HUGE decision to make, and we all know what that is. We must ask ourselves,

Can I continue to live with and love this person, creating this change in my life, and in theirs, easily and comfortably, without feeling resistance to this change, for the sake of maintaining a positive relationship?

If the answer is yes, you can stay in this relationship without hardship. If the answer is no, you will have a big decision to make.

The reason I love this question is that this question helps us evaluate ‘ourselves’; rather than continue to blame, or point the finger toward our partner. People tend to say things like this…

“Well, if my spouse would just stop…….and then they finish this sentence with whatever behavior is unbecoming…this idea sets up the belief that the problem lies solely outside of their self.

OR this one…

“Well, if only he/she would start ________more, then I would be more________.

They tend to fill in this sentence with whatever they desire from their partner to justify their reason to step up.

Here’s the major part of how this all has to work though. There has to be quality communication about what changes are necessary if any. What does need changing? What needs are being unmet? Has each partner even discussed their personal needs with each other? Why do we struggle? What are the fights about? What are the issues? Here are the 10 steps to get back on track to being friends, having fun, communicating, laughing together, finding that passion, and rediscovering the marriage you once thrived on!

  1. Make your needs list. Exchange it, and work on filling each other’s needs. DAILY.
  2. Buy the LOVE LANGUAGES book. Read it together. Know yours. Know Theirs.
  3. Buy the movie: FIREPROOF. WATCH IT together, ASAP. No Interruptions.
  4. Hire a Life Coach or Counselor, but be open, be teachable. It takes 2!
  5. Talk, Don’t Argue. If emotions get elevated; take a break.
  6. Work on your Communication skills. The NO’s of communicating: no interrupting, no yelling, no blaming, no bringing up the past, no name calling, no going to bed mad, no threats, no ultimatums, no defensiveness, no changing subjects; stay on topic.
  7. Anger will never fix anything but only brew more anger. Talk in a calm manner.
  8. Forgive. Unforgiveness is like paying rent for a home you don’t live in or visit.
  9. Don’t keep a record of wrongs, in your head, or verbally expose them to others about your partner, this just keeps the negative energy alive and continuing.
  10. Start new today with a new attitude of moving forward with positive new ideas for a positive future! You must believe it to achieve it!

For more life coaching information- visit http://www.askannalisa.com or find Life Coach Annalisa on Facebook or other sites as Coach Annalisa or Ask Annalisa!

Ask Annalisa!

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Relationship Struggles? Tips for re-connecting…

Emotional Connection is the secret to Flowing Relationships...

Emotional Connection is the secret to Flowing Relationships.

INSPIRED LIFE COACHING….. December 2014 Newsletter

by Life Coach, Relationship Specialist & Inspirational Speaker,

Annalisa O’Toole

Emotionally Connecting is the root foundation for relationships to flourish…

If your Relationship is in need of repair, it is most likely, because your EMOTIONAL CONNECTION has been compromised. It is in jeopardy, it is not strong, and it is creating havoc in your life. Here are the BEST ways to reconnect emotionally. It requires at least ONE person, constantly working to show love, support, and admiration, and trustworthiness. It takes two forgiving, honest, and willing people to move forward. If you are the one trying to repair, mend, or save a relationship, you will know the advice below that is specific for you. If you are the one who thinks everything is fine, but your partner is having trouble –look again at the following things. You need to absorb some emotional-connecting tips- and fast!!  Stop arguing about the little things, and realize it is your EMOTIONAL CONNECTION that has been broken. Let’s repair it!!! Hope these tips help you through this season. We are in a season of giving, so try to focus more on what you can GIVE to the relationship, verses WHAT you get or don’t get out of it.

If one is tired, offer a massage —

If one is crying, hold them.

If one is bitchin, say, “I understand what can I do or help you with?”

If one is frustrated, let them vent without getting mad – one person at a time with the elevated emotions!! Your job is to Just listen, empathize, support, offer assistance.

If one is nagging, say, “What can I do to help you?”

If one is demanding, say, “Let me write these things down, so I don’t forget, I know they are important to you, I’ll do my best at these”

If one is distant — give them space.

If one is short—say, “I know it feels as if your world is falling apart, but I still love you.”

If one is quick tempered, say, “How can I make things easier, or relieve your load?”

If one is late home from work, have dinner ready, offer a beverage, sit with them and talk.

If the house is messy, clean it.

If it’s trash day, take it out.

If its grocery day and you’re buying them, bring home flowers guys. Girls: Bring home his favorite item, or beer.

Leave notes of appreciation saying “have a great day” in their car, or by their mirror in the bathroom.

Guys: Buy a spa day certificate, take the kids all day, and tell her she’s off-duty!!!

Girls: Buy an admission ticket to a sports event, or the shooting range (hopefully you haven’t made him too mad! HA!)

Love Languages:

Most people feel loved if their partner does one or more of the following:

TIME      GIFTS      SERVICES        WORDS OF AFFIRMATION       AFFECTION/TOUCH

Figure out which one is their HOT button, do things around that love language as often as possible.

Social Media & Friends of opposite sex:

Clean up your friendships outside the marriage. It is not good to have ‘female’ or ‘male’ friends you talk to daily or often. Even if you speak to this person about getting their gender perspective on your relationship – which seems innocent, it creates a sense of disloyalty within your partner. Phone records can be checked. Although you may not be in a sexual relationship —-an emotional connection starts by talking often — and even if talking often is not leading to an emotional connection, it would never be perceived as ‘platonic’ if there are multiple texts and calls throughout day to day. OR, long patterns of texting or talking on and off throughout the month. Chatting on games, snap chat, vines, and other forms of communication are all the same. They are not healthy to participate in with friends of the opposite sex if you are in a committed, exclusive relationship. Even if you both trust each other impeccably – it sends the wrong message to the other chatter – the message being –I have a need to talk to you, and have fun conversations with you- because my partner isn’t available to. Even though this isn’t the message you INTENDED – it is what ‘can’ be perceived. So  to stay in the safe zone: REFRAIN.

WORDS & COMMUNICATION:

  1. No interrupting
  2. No threats to leave house or relationship.
  3. No name calling.
  4. Stay on topic, no bringing up the past
  5. No going to bed mad

If someone is upset, ask more questions verses making more statements. Always repeat what you thought your partner said, here’s an example: “So, what I heard you say was”: then repeat that outloud. This way, your partner can feel they were ‘heard’ with their perspective, or ‘not understood’. The goal in any conversation is for one person to feel understood.

The MINUTE your emotions start elevating (heart rate increases, sweating, or feelings of panic, or feelings of anger) due to frustration or anger, it is best to TAKE A BREAK rather than yell, or get aggressive, or begin hitting walls.

If, or when- one partner see’s their partner is getting worked up in anger, it is best to begin soothing them with things like:

Let’s talk about this later.

Maybe I should go, and we can talk it out later.

Maybe we should just stop talking now, hold each other, and come back to a discussion later.

Always speak life. Never let your words have a frustrating tone- no matter your mood, their words, their accusation, etc…If they are upset, YOU REMAIN CALM! If they need correcting, do it lovingly. If one is upset, the other could use phrases like:

  • I hear you, I understand.
  • I am so sorry that upset you. What can I do to make you feel better?
  • Come over here, let me hold you.
  • Let’s go do something very, very special together.
  • I love when you ______________
  • I think it’s so cool that you ______________
  • You make me feel so good, and special when you ________________
  • You’re leaving home in THAT shirt? You look so good in that, I worry someone will steal you away! (playful, not jealous tones…easy does it on this one)
  • I am so sorry that is happening to you, how can I help you?

If you are the one upset, be careful to use the I FEEL______I FELT_____, I FOUND______ method, it makes your partner feel less accused, less criticized, and it makes it more about ‘your feelings’ than their wrong doing.

EDIFY your spouse even if it is not received in love. The goal is to give -without any expectation of a return. Give compliments, show appreciation, offer helpfulness, show thoughtfulness, show kindness, show consideration. Don’t have double standards. EVEN IF they aren’t showing these to you, DO IT ANYWAY!! They will eventually learn their mistakes, and your example will pay off – or things won’t change and then you can re-access the relationship or seek more coaching.

If you are estranged, separated, or working on things and sex is ‘OFF’ limits presently –NEVER make a pass, or caress, or reach to touch your partner unless THEY initiate, so you know that you know- that you know- they want to go there. If sexual relations are OK, take the time to be gentle, do something fun and different. Be about making THEM feel good for a change – it’s not all about YOU, you know. Get creative, and be spontaneous. Break the same-ole, same-ole routines. Surprise your partner with something new. Remember:

Passion is a Friendship – ON FIRE!!!

Learn to LAUGH! You must share laughter together. It is the secret ingredient that makes everything else work. If you cannot laugh daily, create pet names, make up new stuff that makes you laugh, act silly, whatever, you are missing a very important part of emotionally connecting.

BE OK if your partner needs to CRY! What someone who is crying needs most, is less talk, and more holding. PERIOD. But reminding softly, that they are loved, and you’re in this forever and, ever after that, is not a bad idea!!

Always give eye-contact….ALWAYS, even if they are not looking at you! Don’t be easily distracted if they are talking to you. FOCUS on not only looking at them, but listen intently, put the phone down. IT CAN WAIT!

INITIATE a fun activity together, plan a date, or plan a future vacation together. Plan a project, or do something charitable together. GIVING always creates peacefulness within.

RESPECT the money manager of the relationship. This person has it tough; they have to be the bad guy. They have to budget, they have to say no, they have to access the needs (that don’t always align with their partner’s idea of needs) Somebody will have to be more flexible, but ultimately, the money manager needs A LOT of understanding, and appreciation –The hardest duo’s are when the $-manager is the FEMALE. Because that is out of alignment with the MAN who needs feeling like he’s in charge, like he’s the leader, and the decision maker of the family. But, if his weakness is managing money, he needs to respect and adhere to the woman’s talent and ability to manage – the woman in this role needs to take EXTRA care when talking, and planning, and deciding things. There is a fine line between being the decision maker, and respecting your Man!

HE needs respect upmost in the relationship.

SHE needs to feel understood, loved, cherished, adored, and be reminded by her man she is number 1, he’s in for the long haul, and there’s no one else who could ever take her place and she’s amazing, and you love her cooking, and she is talented, and she makes you feel so good, and…….

NOTICE: Men –need one thing. Woman: A long-Complicated list!!!!  Men & Women who ‘get this’ will have flowing relationships.

PRAYING together is the ULTIMATE way to build back a strong emotional connection. Try it, it’s amazing. Start out with one person, build up to taking turns. It can truly shift your relationship; it somehow creates a sense of unity that is empowering.

Resources that are helpful in hurting relationships:

  • The movie FIRE PROOF.
  • Purchasing the 40 day journal they use in the movie at a local Christian book store, and do it.
  • Love & Respect book, or ANY book by Gary Chapman. He wrote the love Languages book also.
  • Briggs Meyer’s- ISDC Personality Profiles. This is great insight for determining how your partner thinks and their perspective of things. It is helpful for improving communication and connection.
  • Attend a marriage or couples retreat or seminar together.
  • Create a ‘MUST HAVE’ list and each of you ‘share’ your list of desires, and work on giving more.
  • Decide the past hurts that are still rising up, and creating problems, write them each down on an index card. On the back, write how you choose to forgive, and move past it, what you’ll do different in the future moving forward…then have a BURN date, by the fire! DISCUSS each one- STATE YOUR WRONG if you were- FORGIVE-OFFER your NEW way of resolving-PRAY-THEN TOSS them in the fire!!! Don’t go back to those situations.

If your partner is distant – YOU warm up.

If your partner is quiet, make them laugh.

If your partner is hurried, help them.

If your partner is trying to make plans with friends without you, (they are needing space, apparently) you make plans on your own, happily. Two individually independent people with their personal interests are far more intriguing and enjoyable- than two people who are together all the time- without outside interests. Make SURE you are supportive of your partner’s friends, interests, and activities that have nothing to do with you. This is healthy, and a necessity in life.

Keep in mind, if you are in a position of trying to consider: SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO in your relationship, these tips are VERY IMPORTANT as you seek God and His guidance for that decision.

  • Fruits of a loving spirit, (within someone’s character) are peace. Lack of them, is turmoil. Here they are: Gentleness, kindness, joy, humbleness, not self-seeking, doesn’t keep record of wrongs, not jealous, patient, and loving.
  • Have I maintained a loving spirit, for a long consistent amount of time, and my partner still treats me unloving?
  • Does my partner seek God, or is there something else more important: Money-Entertainment-Friends-Work-etc.? (not sure, look at where their money, time, and thoughts go)
  • Do I –or- Does my partner have purpose and passion about life outside of ‘us’? A person without this, will often times rely too heavily on their partner to feel good about themselves, and this is not only insecure, but a big load for someone to bear! It is vital that people discover their skills, talents, and creative side and serve someone or something in this world to make a difference – not just with their partner and on the home-front!!
  • Does my partner have a positive energy around them, do I feel uplifted when we are together, or is most of our time feel like one or both of us wants the other to change something?
  • Is there an unhealthy, influential person in my partner’s (or my) life that is not likely to disconnect from (them) (or me) anytime soon, and therefore; makes it extremely difficult to have and keep a strong emotional connection with my lover?
  • Are our values so different that our priorities are different, and this causes us to have constant conflict?
  • Do I –or- does my partner –stay in this relationship because they ‘fear’ something? Rejection, instability, being alone, jealous of the other moving on without them, fear of not having or making enough money, etc…
  • Do we find ways to manage our children or do we constantly have issues regarding their care?
  • Is there constant drama, other people involved in affairs that should be handled between just us?

I hope these tips are helpful. I hope they make you think, and contemplate your relationship -so you can make the positive changes that will ensure your happiness together. For some, it’s taking time to create space and work on building back the friendship, so the passion is re-ignited. For other’s, it is re-building a friendship, so the passion increases, so the mistrust issues diminish….and more trust is gained.

You attract more bees with honey!!

Coaching relationships doesn’t make progress if one or two people have a hardened heart, remain un-open to change, un-open to forgiveness, or are unteachable.

Relationship coaching however, can succeed if each person will ‘look in the mirror’ – accept their weaknesses, commit to change, and work on serving their partners deepest emotional needs.

The Holidays are only stressful if you allow them to be. I hope this Christmas season, you will commit to your relationship. The changes necessary, and work toward your mutual goals to create a wonderful and loving, romantic New YEAR!!!

Looking forward to hearing from you and learning how you’re doing!!

Coach Annalisa O’Toole~

(ph)678-431-6528 (email) lifecoachannalisa@gmail.com

Follow for More relationship advice daily on Twitter: @coachannalisa