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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Do you want to Thrive in Your Marriage?

In today’s New York Times Article, married couples represent just 48 percent of American households in 2010, according to data being made public Thursday and analyzed by the Brookings Institution. This was slightly less than in 2000, but far below the 78 percent of households occupied by married couples in 1950.

With this latest trend, we more than ever have to work harder and find support to ensure our marriages succeed.

Successful couples realize that good, skill-based marriage education can reduce the risk of divorce by up to thirty percent and lead to a significantly happier marriage. It can also reduce the stress marriages endure over time due the daily grind of life. Just a little effort now can make your odds a whole lot better over the long run.  There are several assumptions and limiting beliefs out there in regard to involving a coach in my marriage. They are:

  • I can’t afford it.
  • Our issues will eventually improve on its own.
  • A Marriage Coach will only make things worse.

These kind of beliefs hold couples back from empowering themselves to get the help they need, until the marriage collapses under the weight of unresolved pain and/or resentment.

So how can you tell if you need help. Take this quiz. And be honest with yourself. I scored a 78.

On the scale of 1 to 10, rate each of the following statements (if not applicable, score the item a 5).

1     2        3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10

Not at all agree           Somewhat agree                  Totally agree

  1. I/We have established concrete goals on the type of marriage we want?                                   ______
  2. I/We have established distinct roles on how we will manage our household?                           ______
  3.  I/We know what temperament type my future spouse is?                                                             ______
  4. I/We are aware of each other’s credit status and have a mutual financial plan?                        ______
  5. I/We have a clearly stated and understandable Family Vision statement?                                  ______
  6. I/We are clear on how many children we want and how we will raise them?                             ______
  7. I/We are clear on how spirituality will play a role in our marriage?                                              ______
  8. I/We are comfortable with  my/our wants and needs in regards to sex?                                      ______
  9. I/We understand each other’s communication style and how we handle conflict?                     ______
  10. I/We can benefit from having someone GPS’s out our plan and help us stay on track?             ______

SCORE                          ______

Here are results based on your scoresheet. Let me know how you scored!

Under 40 (Danger! You need a Marriage Coach)

 

You need a coach right now! You are willing to do whatever it takes to create the life and marriage you deserve and desire.  Set up an appointment immediately to receive one-on-one coaching by contacting Keith Dent, Certified Empowerment Coach at strive2succeed@comcast.net.

41 to 80(You are in need of a Marriage Renovation)

Coaching could help you look at your marriage from a different viewpoint, as well as help you develop a plan how you would like it to look in the future. You should decide and commit to taking action for the
benefit, your spouse and your children or future children. Contact Keith Dent, Certified Empowerment Coach at strive2succeed@comcast.net. Ask about one-on-one coaching or purchase Strive 2 Succeed in Marriage CD.

Over 80

Coaching is not for you right now, but could be important in the future to help solidify the solid foundation that you have developed in your relationship. Sign up as a subscriber to this blog.

Meet your Coach: For the past seven years Coach Keith has developed specific programs around improving relationships which include workshops, conferences and one-on-one sessions.

 He works with couples to help them achieve the kind of relationship they envisioned when they first made their commitment to each other. Strengthening communication and revitalizing their understanding and empathy for each other helps couples regain the romance and closeness they long for – even in their everyday “real” world.

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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Do you want to get Married Today? Let’s go to New York!

On a drizzle filled Friday, I decided to drive to the NYC Marriage Bureau, about 15 miles from West Orange, the town that Jumpstarts Love.  I was there to see if the city would be interested in providing my marital education program to the hundreds of couples that enter their doors every day to tie the knot.

As I entered the double doors, the hair on my arms started to stand up. I thought it was strange since I was already married, but I couldn’t help but reflect back on my wedding 14+ years ago and all the preparations that went into making the day special. I just couldn’t get over the frenzy and excitement and future possibilities they were about to experience. The couples were all shapes, sizes and colors. They ranged from the being traditionally dressed to looking like they had just rolled over to the spot after a night out on the town.

One guy was nervous that his marriage wasn’t going to happen because his witness hadn’t showed up yet on this rainy afternoon. He asked me if I had time.

One thought that came to mind was that even though each couple had to stand in line and wait for their number to be called, there was a sense of peace and joy. Maybe it’s because these couples were simply there to celebrate marriage.

According to letsrunoff.com, some of the reasons why people elope is because it eases the stress of money and time it takes to plan a traditional wedding. Other reasons include:

  • It’s more intimate.
  • Easy.
  • Less stress from family.
  • Reduces opposition in your partner for religious/cultural reasons.
  • Want a quickie wedding.
  • Want a small wedding.
  • Dislike attention.

My wife of 14 years would have preferred this type of matrimonial service than all the pomp and circumstance of our wedding. I didn’t listen. I wasn’t a coach back then so my listening skills weren’t as good as they are now.

So if you wanted to get married today, would you take a number?

Keith is a certified relationship coach and President of Strive 2 Succeed Coaching Services. He has over a decade of experience in the field, counseling and  individuals, couples, teens and their parents to help them improve their relationships and their ability to achieve their personal goals.  He works with couples to help them achieve the kind of relationship they envisioned when they first made their commitment to each other. Strengthening communication and  revitalizing their understanding and empathy for each other helps couples regain the romance and closeness they long for – even in their everyday “real” world.

Having a coach is like having a GPS for life. Keith can help you get a realistic picture of where you are and focus on the best path toward your goals.  Think you need a jumpstart and a plan to get back on track, call for an initial consultation at strive2succeed@comcast.net or call 201-486-4467.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Marriage Music Monday (Shania Twain) – 10 Ways to Survive the Marriage Seasons

When things get tough in our marriage we sometimes retreat to our neutral corners for solace and support. As we turn to our close friends and, or our family members, they will usually give us bias advice based on our point of view. Their advice may be so tainted against your spouse, you begin to question if you choose the right person at all.

Don’t feel guilty that a thought like that has come into you’re head. It is understandable to question your choices, especially when you feel your marriage is going south. Keep in mind that it’s just a thought. It’s acting on that thought that is the most damaging. Also acknowledge  the winter season of sadness and despair in your marriage signals that the spring season of repair and happiness is just around the corner.

There are some actions that you can take to minimize the harsh winters of marriage that are inevitable. Here are 10 ways to ensure your marriage lasts through every season of your journey.

  1. You can only change yourself.
  2. Make the choice to invest in the marriage.
  3. Realize your spouse is your best friend.
  4. Commit to praying together or participating in couples meditation.
  5. Laugh together often, forgive one another always.
  6. Create a mutual support system.
  7. Commit to do ing things together.
  8. Communicate effectively.
  9. Create a mutual support system.
  10. Find a coach that can give you non-judgemental advice. (Keith Dent of Strive 2 Succeed Coaching Services is that kind of coach that will take the challenges and obstacles in your marriage and turn them into positive results that allow you to move forward.) You can contact him at strive2succeed@comcast.net.

In the end, the lyrics to Shania Twain’s song Still the One says it best.

Ain’t nothin’ better
We beat the odds together
I’m glad we didn’t listen
Look at what we would be missin’

They said, “I bet they’ll never make it”
But just look at us holding on
We’re still together still going strong.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Marriage Monday Tips

 

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She Said/He Said – (Part 2)

Now it’s my Dad’s turn.

My parents today..After 44 years they are still smiling.

1.       What was the initial thing that attracted you to your wife/husband?

She was very attractive and was someone who I hadn’t met before. I considered this a challenge.

2.       When was the moment that you can remember she was the one you wanted to marry?

We met in October and were engaged Christmas Eve the same year. It was sometime in November after we met that I told my roommate and friends, I was going to propose.

3.       In your 44 years of marriage what has surprised you the most about marriage?

That it takes hard work and you have to change your thinking and attitude about many things. It takes more give and take than I thought. Initially I thought man was head of household but I learned that it takes two to have a strong household and responsibilities. Over the course of the years our relationship and love evolved and continues to grow.

4.       What are the three things that have helped you maintain your marriage longevity?

My commitment to my wife and God when we were married.

Our love, friendship, values, and compatibility.

Keith (the bloggist), Alison and the grandchildren that followed.

5.       Knowing what you know now, would you have approached marriage in a different way early on? How?

Yes, I would have waited a year before I got married so we could have had a better chance to grow and know each other. I thought I was ready but I wasn’t completely. There’s more to marriage then being a provider.

I would have saved a little more money. When we decided to get married, I had $10 in the bank. My mother told me to wait, but I was in love and didn’t listen. SO, when we started we had no money, no decent wedding, or honeymoon. I should have waited until we had at least $100 in the bank.

The upside though was we learn to deal with financial crisis early in our marriage. So, there’s a purpose and blessing that GOD makes you go through.

6.       What are 3 things modern day couples should do in order to achieve longevity in their marriage

 Worship together a couple that worships and prays together stays together.

Get the money thing straight.

Set yearly goals.

Communicate, communicate, and communicate.

Do things together on a monthly basis if possible.

         Don’t be afraid to show and demonstrate your love.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2011 in She Said/He Said

 

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She Said/He Said (Part – 1)

Update: Since my parents just had their 45th Wedding Anniversary, I decided to re-run my version of She Said/He Said. Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad.

Welcome to a new segment I call She Said/He Said. It’s an attempt to empower newly married couples by reading stories of couples that have persevered to remain married 20+ years. According to Divorce Magazine, first marriages on average last 7.9 years. If you have the opportunity to stay married to the same woman/man for over 20 years it should be celebrated. And if you want to reach this milestone, why not receive information from some of the masters.

So I am going to start with a couple that gave me my first ideas of marriage, my parents.

My parents in the early years.

Their relationship was one of the reasons I wanted to get married. I always admired the fact they enjoyed each other’s company and never had a shouting match around us. My mom was skilled at getting her point across and still kept a smile on her face.

I asked them a series of questions about marriage. Because it’s She Said/He Said, my mom goes first.

1. What was the initial thing that attracted you to your wife/husband?

I am a quiet and not really shy but a more introverted person,  my husband is the opposite of that, it is his outgoing personality and the way he is able to connect with people and make people laugh that attracted me.

2. When was the moment that you can remember that she/he was the one you wanted to marry?

I don’t really remember having a moment.  I had only known my husband 2 months before that Christmas Eve that he asked me to marry him.  We had a connection and he showered me with attention.  He wined and dined me, But it was a shock when he asked me to marry him.  I paused a bit because I knew that Marriage was a serious thing and did he really know what he was asking. But after about a 30 minuets discussion I said yes.

3. In your 45 years of marriage what has surprised you the most about marriage?

The love comes and goes; it takes on a different form.  So that cloud nine feeling comes down to earth after a while so you try not to dwell on all of the things you don’t necessary like about your husband, recognizing that he has to do the same about me.  No one is perfect.  However in the blink of an eye you are back on cloud nine with that feeling of a new bride.

4. What are the three things that have helped you maintain your marriage longevity?

Trust, forgive and forget, and try to be understanding.

Compromise No one is always right. Working through our problems.

Trust in the Lord, I do strongly believe that my husband was handpicked for me by God.  He placed him in front of me, and I had a choice.

5. Knowing what you know now, would you have approached marriage in a different way early on? How?

I don’t know that I would have approached it any differently.  We tried to work together and work through all of the baggage that each person brings to a marriage from their own family upbringing.  We had an unplanned roadblock that pushed us to move quicker, but we still kept it together and did what we had to do. All in All Life has been good.

6. What tips can you give modern day couples in order to achieve longevity in their marriage?

I would tell them to understand that it is a person they are marrying, no one is perfect and beauty fades.  So you have to recognize that it is the love you have for that person that can keep it together and if you truly love them you can accept those little things that get under your skin.  Marriage is work and you have to work at it.

Be willing to compromise, listen, try to be understanding, and get the money issues straight.

There is only one head of the house but there are 2 people creating a home so you must work together to make it work, recognizing that you won’t always agree but you can work through it.

When you marry someone you are gaining another family and that family should become just as important to you as they are to your spouse.  Not all family members are liked, even in your own family, so you must learn to tolerate your spouse’s family as well.  This can cut down on a lot of friction that I have seen in marriages.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in She Said/He Said

 

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What I would say to Arnold & Maria (Part 2) – It’s ok to have privacy,but secrets hurt your marriage.

Today Maria’s worst fears were realized. Arnold’s womanizing ways extended far beyond a few groping moments. He actually had inappropriate encounter with a woman who cared for his home which resulted in him fathering a child.

I guess when he uttered his famous phrase from the Terminator “You’re clothes, give them to me,” took on a whole new meaning.

I know as the former governor of California and a movie star, he was prone to keep things private in order to skirt scandal and humiliation with the public, and not have every thought end up on the front page of the LA Times. What is different with the latest scandal is that he deliberately withheld information from his wife in order to protect himself.

Secrets are information that we deliberately withhold in order to allow others to believe something that isn’t true. Maria believed his behavior only extended as far as a little groping on movie sets and an overseas TV show. While we may think that we are keeping secrets in order to benefit other’s i.e. our wife, our children, the State of California. Our motivation is to protect our own I’ll be Backsides.

Over the years of Arnold Schwarzenegger concealing the truth, slowly burned away anything they had left of their relationship. It was clear in his actions in their marriage as I talked about in a previous post. (See 5-11-2011)

So what would I say to Arnold this time:

  1. Remove yourself from the public eye and establish what is really important in your life. You have lost your way. Between your love for power and staying in the limelight has gone to both your head (s).
  2. Apologize to your children face-to-face. They will be bombarded with many emotions, questions and pain. Don’t leave it up to Maria to do it. In fact, she doesn’t even need to be present to help you talk your way through it.
  3. Apologize to the woman who fell under you spell. I am not sure how much contact you had with her, or how much hush money you gave her. It’s clear that she couldn’t live an authentic life.

What I would say to Maria:

  1. Nothing really changes from my post from last week. You will still need to move forward and determine what will be the next chapter in your journey.
  2. If there is ever a ripple that something isn’t right, it’s probably a wave. Have the courage to explore it, no matter what might be the end result. At least you can say that you followed your intuition.
 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Marriage Music Monday – Contentment

Today’s Marriage Music Monday selection is Contentment by Kindred.

I selected this song because Contentment is one of main principles of what marriage that can be so elusive if we aren’t careful. You have to put yourself into a position to be content daily.  As the lyrics say below:

Ohhh when you came into the world

You stole that show

And it’s been a pleasure to watch you grow

When I look to your eyes I know I done good

And I wouldn’t change one moment if I could

Our family is growing nicely

And our waistlines ate growing slightly

But I take everyday as it comes to me

Waiting on God to fulfill my destiny

Usually when we get married at a young age it was based on the fact he/she was the most beautiful person we had ever met. You were drawn together by an instant chemistry that was unshakeable.

As you grow in your marriage, your chemistry can be tested by outside elements; children, temptation and change. If you take every day as it comes to you as the lyrics describe, it’s truly a blessing.

So how do I become content in marriage?

1. Give what you want to receive. Trying to get what you want from your partner by using controlling and manipulating tactics often doesn’t produce the desired outcomes. If it does, the cost will be resentment from your partner.

If you give your partner what you value rather than in the previous approach it can produce a better outcomeprovided you have trust and patience.

2. Contentment is not a one- time event; it’s an ongoing process. It’s easy to be content at the wedding. It’s a party. Everyone loves parties. There is a series of moments where you must choose to be content. The hurts, stress, disappointments and dark times in the marriage are events that can threaten the essence of your vows. When you get through these periods, you can truly celebrate for sticking it out.

3. The joy and fulfillment you receive from marriage is greater than you can imagine. – When we marry a particular person it’s because deep down we felt that person would see our beauty, talent and our potential that we don’t always see ourselves. They would cultivate our good qualities and confront us on qualities that aren’t as strong.  Being able to grow together to see the transformation is better in the trenches than seeing the growth at a distance.

Have a great Marriage Monday!

Coach Keith

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Marriage Monday Tips

 

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