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Sunday, January 30, 2005


The Essence of Romance

Are you bankrupt in the romance department? Has the passionate beginning of your relationship cooled down? Too wupped for whoopee?

Romance is a mystery to some of us. And it is often misunderstood. To help us have a clearer picture of romance, first we must define it. If you look up the word in the dictionary you will find that most definitions are vague and the true essence of romance is missing.

Often when coaching couples who have drifted apart, I will ask this question: "Are you still doing the things that brought you together in the first place?" The answer is usually, "No." The romance is gone! This is a big mistake.

The quality of your love relationship has everything to do with romance.

Romance reflects an attitude of interest and pursuit. In the beginning flattering words and positive actions were clearly designed to win the affection of your partner. We put our best foot forward. When pursuit stops, romance generally deteriorates.

Continue the pursuit. It meets a deep emotional need and builds your partner's sense of security in the relationship. Do it with an enthusiastic attitude. Be romantic with intention. Romance reflects thoughtful affection.

A lack of romance in a relationship is a red flag. It doesn't just communicate a lack of pizzazz or that the "honeymoon is over." It sends a message that you no longer value each other; that your partner is a lower priority.

Relationship flounder when partners take each other for granted. What you take for granted, disappears. Taking someone for granted, breeds disrespect, resentment and becomes a wedge between two lovers. Then comes the drifting apart you once feared.

Consider the consequences of romantic neglect. When you lose the spontaneity and freshness of romance, the more boring, predictable and unromantic your relationship becomes.

Romance requires constant observation and forethought concerning the needs, likes and desires of your partner. Discover new things you can do to spend quality time together. What makes the person in your life feel special or loved? Listen for ideas or things your partner would like to have or do.

Can the passion that was ignited with romance in the beginning continue? The answer is, "Yes." It takes effort. It takes a little thought. It takes planning ahead. It takes doing something for your partner on my own initiative without being asked.

Make a promise to your partner to create together a once-a-week "date night!" AND, keep your word. Plan something especially romantic. Let nothing prevent your weekly get together. If you have children, have a trusted friend watch them at their house. Return the favor.

Continuing romance is a matter of respect. Romance is an acknowledgment of value. It is visible evidence of love. It keeps your heart turned toward your partner and develops forward movement.

In a romantic moment, to say, "I love you" is great. However, to redeem the meaning of love in your relationship, you should not just say it out loud, you must show it consistently. Romance demonstrates that the words are true.

Love with positive action is very real and is the essence of true romance.

Additional resource:

Read, "1001 Ways to be Romantic" by Greg Godek. Go to:

Monday, January 17, 2005


Never Intentionally Say Hurtful Words to Your Partner

If I Had Only Known - Jana Stanfield

If I had only known it would be our last walk in the rain,
I'd keep you out for hours in the storm.
I would hold your hand like a lifeline to my heart,
and underneath the sun we'd be warm.
If I had only known it was our last walk in the rain.

If I had only known I'd never hear your voice again,
I'd memorize each thing you ever said.
And on those lonely nights, I could think of them once more,
And keep your words alive inside my head,
If I had only known, I'd never hear your voice again.

Lyrics © by Jana Stanfield. Listen to these words, then read the following. Go to: If I Had Only Known.

What if you knew this would be the last day you would spend with your partner; the last time you would ever talk to them?

Would you say the following?

"You just don't care about the house. I'm the only one who does. You 'never' do anything to help!"

"What a klutz."

"It's no wonder you got a divorce. I'd like to talk to your ex!"

"Go to hell!"

"How could you do that after all I've we've been through?"

"(Bleep) you!"

"You disgust me; just shut up."

"What a slob!"

"I wish I'd never married you!"

"I have to do everything around here!"

"You are absolutely good for nothing"

"That dress makes your butt look fat!"

"You are just plain clumsy! I could make a long list of the stupid things you've done!"

"That does it! Why don't we just get a divorce? We can't ever seem to get along!"

Would you say these words to your child if you knew it was the last time you would speak to them?

"You'll never amount to anything."

"You're going to be locked up someday."

"You're the reason your mother and I are getting a divorce."

"Your brother would never do that. You must have done it."

"You only got a 97 on your exam? What happened to the other three points?"

Ever catch yourself saying, "I wish I hadn't said that!"? Thoughtless words spoken by a stranger do not have nearly the impact as the same words spoken by someone you trust; someone you love - a partner.

Thoughtless words once spoken cut like a knife. Reckless words pierce like a sword. They leave long-lasting scars. They contain injurious subtleties. They are often intended to cause guilt trips.

Do not overlook the impact of your words to your partner. Insults take many forms and they all hurt. Hurtful words are seldom forgotten.

Thoughtless words such as these generally spawn disagreement which often cause arguments that derail the relationship and shift the subject from the one casting stones.

Some justify their words by saying, "I'm just being honest" or "I'm just telling you how I really feel" or "Well, that's just who I am" or "I'm telling you the truth!"

What they are really saying is, "I just don't care enough to want to make the effort to control my outbursts." They generally blame their partner for their tirades.

Many hurtful words come from lips that were aided by a dependence on alcohol.

Mindless name calling is destructive. The meanness behind unkind words is uncalled for and serves no worthwhile purpose.

Don't be careless with your words. Speaking before thinking is a harmful habit. Better healing words than hurtful words. Better compromises then brandings. Thoughtless words do not lift people up, they drag people down.

Why do partners put each other down? Why do they criticize and condemn someone they say they love? Why do people criticize their partners to their face and also behind their back? Why do they feel so justified to do that?

Name-calling is based in poor self-esteem and wanting to use power to put others down. It has a spiral effect of further lowering self-esteem of both the name-caller and the partner being abused. Surely they must feel weak, vulnerable and unloved, and surely they seek to find that strength, power and acceptance through the games they play with their partner.

Living with a verbal abuser keeps you off-balance. They can be extremely pleasant one minute and bitingly vicious the next. The most calculating verbal abusers may be friendly and charming to most of the people who know them and hateful, disrespectful and hurl degrading insults to the one they say they love only in private.

You will find the receiver of thoughtless words suffering in silence, while inside, their heart becomes bruised from the verbal abuse. They feel hurt and attacked. Anger, depression, resentment, disgust and low self-esteem can be products of verbal abuse.

For partners with a poor self image, cruel words can send them to the edge. Cruel words become chronic stressors when your partner hears them regularly.

If your partner is verbally abusive, just remember: There is never a good reason to stay in an abusive relationship. Never!

If you are guilty of saying hurtful words, the next time everyday pressures build up to where you feel like lashing out, try something else:

Put your hands over your mouth. Count to 10, or better, 20.
Stop in your tracks. Press your lips together and breathe deeply.
Phone a friend or a relationship coach.
Bite your tongue.
Take a leisurely walk and think about how to better handle the situation.
Splash cold water on your face.
Close your eyes and imagine you're hearing what your partner hears.
Promise yourself to simply to be more thoughtful before speaking.

Toothpaste once squeezed, cannot be put back into the tube. Feathers scattered in the wind cannot be collected. You cannot un-ring a bell. Hurtful words once spoken, cannot be taken back.

By the way, saying "I'm sorry" is okay as long as the behavior stops. Too many "I'm sorrys" is like crying, "Wolf!"

Speak unto others as you would have them speak unto you. Think twice before you say something that may hurt someone else!

Make an effort to make sure the last words to your partner each morning and each night are loving, positive and encouraging.

When was the last time you told your partner, "I love you"?

Tomorrow is never a promise for anyone! What if today were your only chance to say, "I love you?"

Additional resources:

The lyrics for "If I Had Only Known" are from Jana Stanfield's CD, "Stop, Look and Listen." For Jana's music, go to:

Read, "Weigh Your Words." - It is a wise love partner who is aware of the potential damage loose words can cause. Words spoken in anger inflict wounds that often take a long time to heal. Think first. . . then speak! Go to:

Read, "Domestic Violence Sucks!" - Physical and emotional abusive behavior is sick! If you are in an abusive relationship, this article is a must-read. Includes helpful info and links for support for abuse victims. Go to:

Saturday, January 15, 2005


It's Time for the 3rd Degree!

Are you "being" the right partner?

Do you rush your way through the daily relationship routine without thinking about what you say before you say it?

Is your relationship in breakdown?

Is your time with your partner a Horror Show?

Are you a monotonous bore?

Do you want to be happy in your relationship or right!?

Are you experiencing anger and frustration over something that should have been forgiven long ago?

Does you relationship seems like random nothingness?

Do you look at your iPOD play list for advice and solace?

Do you have a habit of retreating into the doldrums as an avoidance technique?

Are you thrilled by your own opinion, yet disagree or argue when your partner expresses their own?

Are you content to be warmed by the dying embers of your relationship rather than give up being right?

Are you drowning in disillusionment?

Who would you have to become to have your relationship be great?

Are you emotionally lost?

Do you babble to yourself about your relationship blunders, yet have little intention of changing your behavior?

Is neglect an unwelcome visitor to your relationship?

Does nothing ever come true on your relationship wish list?

Feeling completely empty; no emotions, no feelings, no energy?

Approaching full-blown relationship burnout?

Do you spend half your day trying to turn the other half around?

Do you resist the adjustments needed to change attitudes and thoughts about your relationship? Do you get lost in those thoughts?

Is your relationship stuck on replaying the same old stuff?

Is it disturbing to ponder such inquiries?

It is not necessary to love everything about yourself to like who you are!

Perhaps your quest for a better relationship with yourself and your partner should involve some serious soul-searching. A little introspect into what is going on within you; what you are thinking about your partner; what you are feeling, etc. This never hurt anyone. Maybe it's time to push the relationship reset button.

Take time for reflection. Make it a time of promise for a new and better vision for the relationship you are in.

The future holds great things for you and your partner. Be excited to see the change come. Celebrate it!

Time is creeping up on you. Every minute that passes by is never going to be there again. Every minute is a missed opportunity to work on your relationship and to make a new promise to never waste another minute.

No matter what your current conundrum is, you can begin again. Start from scratch. Forgive what needs to be forgiven and move forward.

Squealing your tires doesn't get you there any faster. In other words, change that lasts, takes time. Slow down but get started now!

Make some notes in your journal.

Additional resources:

Read, "For Your Eyes Only" - Have you ever sat down, discouraged and out of steam, stuck and with a sense of hopelessness about your relationship? Have you ever felt like you needed to express what you felt? Have you ever taken the opportunity to write some notes to yourself about how you are feeling, even the feelings you feel uncomfortable sharing with anyone? Some call it "journaling." Here are some guidelines to help you begin answering these important questions. Go to:

Your comments are always welcome!

Friday, January 14, 2005


Catch Your Partner Doing Something Right!

Instead of always pointing the finger and calling attention to the mistakes or faults of your partner, look for and focus on the good you see in them. Catch them doing something right!

Refuse to criticize, condemn or complain about your partner. Be aware of their good habits and say something to show them you notice.

If you are always looking for mistakes, you will usually find them. Instead, forgive the mistakes and move forward. If you have a tendency to put your partner down (even in jest) or invalidate their feelings, make a choice to change that behavior.

These behaviors drive a wedge in relationships and are difficult to move past. What you think about your partner, speak about your partner, you bring about in your relationship! This is not a good path to be on. It leads the opposite way of a healthy love relationship.

What is a good alternative?

Com'-pli-ments, n. - Expressions of praise, admiration, recognition or congratulation.

Giving compliments is an excellent way of catching your partner doing something right. They develop better communication and build trust with your partner. They have several psychological effects too.

Compliments help others feel good about themselves. It causes them to feel appreciated and respected. Being appreciated brings out the best in people. It boosts self-confidence and self-worth. Partners perform better when we let them know we appreciate them. It causes shifts in attitudes about the relationship.

Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men sometimes are. Giving a compliment can be very powerful when you say it directly, smoothly and sincerely. Pay attention. This helps in being timely in giving compliments. Waiting too long, lessens the affect. Point out something your partner has put a lot of effort into; something you wouldn't normally notice.

When you are the receiver of a compliment, simply say, "Thank you." It is so easy to thank your partner for a compliment, yet most of us are not very good at accepting compliments, and often answer compliments by selling ourselves short.

"Your haircut looks great."
"Oh no! My jerk barber cut it way too short! He ruined it!"

"I love your new dress!"
"This old rag? I bought this dress on sale at Wal-Mart four years ago."

These responses say a lot about how you feel about yourself. It basically rejects the compliment by saying "I really don't deserve it." It gives the gift back to the giver. When someone compliments you, don't squirm. Look them straight in the eye, smile, and just say, "Thank you."

Sincere compliments conjure up warm and fuzzy feelings. They help your partner to know you care and that you love them. They can put your relationship on fast forward.

Whatever you choose to say, say it like that you mean it. If your voice isn't congruent with the power of your compliment, it will reek with false praise.

Genuine compliments given freely by your partner reach a special place inside of you. They are a warm reminder of how special you are.


admired their unselfishness
notice a job well done
acknowledge their sensitivity
appreciate their determination
point out their willingness to help
compliment positive personal qualities or extra efforts
express thanks for their kindness or thoughtfulness
congratulate their willingness to share responsibilities
be grateful for their patience with you
if it hadn't been for you (fill in the blank)

There is a difference between compliments and flattery. When your compliments are sincere and honest they are well received. When they are not, your comments can be viewed as flattery which are untrue or come across as insincere praise.

Love partners can spot a fake compliment a mile away. Flattery is usually received with negativity and is often perceived as being manipulative. Flattery also often suggests hidden motives. They make us suspicious and we begin to wonder if the person complimenting us has an ulterior motive.

The third-party compliment is always great. It is a sincere compliment about your partner that you tell someone else. How you speak about your partner to your friends has a lot to do with how your relationship becomes.

Never miss an opportunity for a compliment to pass.

Become your sweetheart's #1 fan.

Shower the one you love with love in the form of a sincere compliment and watch your relationship blossom.

Your comments are always welcome!

Monday, January 03, 2005


Time for a Baggage Check!

This is a good time of year to do a "baggage check."

What do you hold on to that is hurtful and self-defeating? Do you worry about future events that may never happen? Are you holding on to grudges, resentments, hatred, prejudices? Do you agonize over losses? Do you keep reliving past hurts and disappointments? Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you always expecting the worse?

It's a new year! Time for a new beginning. I'm not suggesting you make a resolution, for to be resolute is to have a firmness of purpose, which for most doesn't last very long. Rather I am suggesting that you live in a continual process of resolving to find answers to all the negative questions that bounce around in your head and keep you from moving forward.

What is the best way to do this? The simple answer is to let go of what doesn't work. Release all the things that no longer serve you. Easier said then done, right? Anything worthwhile takes effort and a commitment to make the necessary behavioral changes. Without that, nothing changes!

My friend, Guy Finley once said, "Let go of all the familiar but useless rules of rigor that tell you life would be meaningless without running around in some kind of conflict. Stop referring to your own well-worn but useless wish that your life will get better the longer you play. It won't - unless we believe that feeling exhausted is the same as being exalted."

Letting go can be the first is a series of positive actions that can liberate you from your negative past and have you experience the joy of release. Freedom lies in letting go. The past is an energy drain. It saps your strength. Let go. If now, you can only imagine freedom, know and believe that you can attain it.

To "let go" takes Love. You must live Love. To "let go" is to acknowledge that which you cannot change, and pursue that which you can.

Have your "baggage check" be an opportunity to focus on taking responsibility for the choices you make regarding your thoughts and actions.

Additional resources:

Read, "An Affirmation for Letting Go." Go to:

Read, "Let Go and Know Peace." Go to:

Read, "The Secret of Letting Go." Go to:

Your comments are always welcome!

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