Introducing the Marriage Stimulus Package(Bill 121522-5)

The President and the First Lady “PG” attending the Marriage Stimulus Party.

As President of Strive 2 Succeed Coaching Services, I am excited to sign the new Marriage Stimulus package that will go into effect immediately for all married couples and couples in long-term relationships. This is bound to pull us out of this love recession couples have been going through for a long time. This 10 step plan that I have created should be followed in order to get us back to full relationship growth.

Step #1 – Establish a common purpose! 

Our marriages usually follow this common theme. Meet, go out on a few dates, feel the chemistry, test the chemistry physically, get engaged, plan an elaborate wedding and then try to figure out marriage along the way. No matter what stage you are in marriage, you should work to create a common purpose whereby you create the best version of yourself.

Step #2 –  Define what will make your relationship great!

Each relationship is different. We basically will judge our relationship based on the assumptions that theirs is better, when that necessarily might not be the case.

Step #3 – Keep your target stationary!

Due to our constant need for satisfaction, we will keep changing our relationship to meet those standards often at the expense of pain. At times we have to celebrate no matter what that we have a great marriage. Congratulate our partners for hanging in their with us and our different personalities and fine tuning our marriage frequently.

Step #4 – Make a great relationship seem possible to achieve!

Don’t define your marriage in such idealistic terms that it seems unreachable. Marriages will have problems and conflict. If you don’t budget for that, it will often leave you frustrated and disappointed.

Step #5 – Believe in a Great Relationship!

If you don’t believe in your partner and that they want the same things, then you won’t  achieve it.

Step #6 –  Make your relationship a top priority!

If you don’t take action on your marriage stimulus package, you can’t achieve your vision. You can have a great plan, but it won’t achieve itself.

Step #7 – Follow through!

The marriage stimulus package must have follow through. Schedule monthly sessions with your spouse to assess that you are going in the right direction. Depending our how much you need to jumpstart your growth, weekly, even daily sessions may be necessary.

Step #8 – Hold your partner accountable!

If our partner at first isn’t 100% devoted to the plan, we have the tendency to point fingers and just give up. That didn’t work in the past and it won’t work now. Holding your partner accountable means knowing when to challenge, and when to encourage, when to confront an issue and when to just let the issue go.

Step #9 – When challenges come, DON’T GIVE UP!

If you live long enough, you will face major obstacles. It’s the same in marriage. If you stayed long enough, you will face a major obstacle. Don’t throw in the towel. Go back and review your purpose. Tweek it if necessary, and keep going.

Step #10 – Speak to a Strive 2 Succeed Coach

Or another coach or marital counselor. Give it a shot. You don’t have to utilize a coach only for marital problems. A coach can give you different techniques to enhance your communication skills. For more information, contact me at

According to Matthew Kelly, author of The Seven Levels of Intimacy states “There is nothing like stepping back from the day-to-day busyness of your life and while considering new and exciting ways to improve and refine your primary relationship.”

I believe if you define and stick with your plan, one year from now, you will see a difference.

It’s time to end the LOVE RECESSION!

President Keith

Humility in Marriage (excerpt from Our Daily Bread)

As a college student, I heard count- less engagement stories. My starry-eyed friends told about glitzy restaurants, mountaintop sunsets, and rides in horse-drawn carriages. I also recall one story about a young man who simply washed his girlfriend’s feet. His “modest proposal” proved he understood that humility is vital for a lifelong commitment.
The apostle Paul also understood the significance of humility and how it holds us together. This is especially important in marriage. Paul said to reject “me-first” urges: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition” (Phil. 2:3). Instead, we should value our spouses more than ourselves, and look out for their interests.
Humility in action means serving our spouse, and no act of service is too small or too great. After all, Jesus “humbled Himself . . . to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (v.8). His selflessness showed His love for us.
What can you do today to humbly serve the one you love? Maybe it’s as simple as leaving brussels sprouts off the dinner menu or as difficult as helping him or her through a long illness. Whatever it is, placing our spouse’s needs before our own confirms our commitment to each other through Christlike humility.

In marriage, we will honor Christ
By following His lead
Of sacrificial love and care
To meet the other’s need. —Sper

If you think it’s possible to love your spouse too much,
you probably haven’t loved enough.

All I want is what I NEED!

Modern society tells us, “Go out and get the most out of life!”  What we may not realize is that it may be to the detriment of your relationship. According to Matthew Kelly’s book The Seven Levels of Intimacy, the-get-what-you-want philosophy cannot give birth to any form of significant or satisfying relationship for two people. It can only give birth to selfish fulfillment of one person’s desires at the expense of the other person’s real and legitimate needs.

A good example is the basic premise of what the view of “manhood” between a man and a woman. Today, women are frustrated because they want their husbands to be MEN. That could mean a variety of things; holding it down on the job, holding in down at home, and holding it down in the bedroom. In reality is that all you need from your man? Is that the definition of manhood?

Biologically, they are already living up to their end of the bargain. Women haven’t clearly expressed specifically what they need from their husband. Therefore, the husband will never be able to live up to this expectation because they are unsure of your need and they will not fulfill your illegitimate WANT because its selfish in nature.Men don’t help because themselves either because they will never clearly state what they need from their wife. In fear of being soft, or feeling vulnerable they know they can’t HOLD IT ALL DOWN. On the other hand, they do know what they want, and they want it all the time.

Do you personally know what you need from your spouse? Does your spouse know what you need from them?

These are very difficult questions to answer because it takes a certain mindset to ensure that clearly express these needs. Sure there are basic needs like food, air and the like. But I’m talking about needs around the 4 dimensions of your character: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. These needs are subtle, and not easily communicated unless you have mastered the other levels of intimacy.

Am I saying that you should deny getting some personal fulfillment in life. No! What I am saying is that if you constantly focus on your personal wants in your relationship you will continually come up short in happiness and fulfillment. That’s when the competition occurs because you will expect your spouse to fill the wants that you couldn’t achieve yourself. Then you use emotional blackmail and manipulation to get your way. You know the mantra “If you loved me, you would…”

A good example of the manipulation game is one of a woman who had a very stressful year that included obstacles with her teenage daughter and her own personal health. For her birthday she wanted to get away so she took a cruise. She wanted her husband to go, but he decided to not to because he knew it would be a strain financially. The wife really wanted him to go, so by the fact that he didn’t she felt he wasn’t connected. He interpreted her trip as being selfish, no matter what he was feeling.

What never happened in this discussion is what they both needed from their partner. She needed to be comforted, and supported for the tough time she had, while he needed to be heard and his opinion taken into account.

Relationships are not about getting what you want, it’s about helping each other strive to become the best version of yourself.

So we must reframe our thinking around the quest to pursue legitimate needs over illegitimate wants.

Step 1. Make a choice to set your individual desires aside for legitimate needs of your partner. This will begin to become a collaborative effort.

Step 2. Understand that you mate will know what you need when you need it because you don’t always say how you feel, and rarely say what you need.

Step 3. Our needs can change daily based on our circumstances. Instead of reacting in the same way, act on what your intuition is telling you and respond accordingly. Think  out-of-the box if you have to.

You are at a point in your marriage that you have been able to accept their opinions, you can clearly reveal your hopes and dreams, honor his or her feelings and you are keenly aware of their faults, fears and failures.

Once you master this final level of intimacy you will reach the pinnacle of what our marriages are supposed to be.

If you are on the East Coast, enjoy this rainy weekend with your family, and spouse.

Coach Keith

Faults..I will show you mine, if you show me yours (Intimacy Level #6)

In dating, or even early in marriage you never hear anyone say, I love him/her because they have faults. But in the 6th level of intimacy starts when faults, fears or failures begins to show itself in you, or your partner and impact the relationship. Your significant other might have already been aware of your faults, but the difference now is that you can admit have them and that you need help to overcome them for the sake of the relationship.

Some of the fears might include:

  • Fears that we don’t measure up.
  • Fears we won’t make enough money to enjoy it.
  • Fears about parenting.

So how do we reach the level of intimacy with our partners? Take ownership of our faults, fears and failures. You can’t grow if you don’t show. By not admitting you need help, it slows down all aspects of your personal development;moral, ethical, and emotional.

We can also get stuck in the past and continue to make some choices that are detrimental to us personally and in our relationship. By admitting these issues, your partner can walk beside you as you make new choices that help you move toward your best self.

At this level we also acknowledge that we also have a dark side to our personalities. According to Matthew Kelly, author of The Seven Levels of Intimacy, states We all think, say, and do things that are inconsistent with he person most people think we are and the person we are trying to be. We all think things that are inconsistent with our core values and beliefs and the philosophy of life we are trying to follow.

We have to admit that we have a dark side or our dark side may overtake our lives the harder we try to conceal it. By exposing our darkness into the light in the loving environment of intimacy it allows us to strengthen and reduce the hold that our darkness may have on our life.

Finally we all have a past, and we should do our best to share it, our personal story, the good and the bad with our partners.

If by some chance your partner’s fears, dark side, or the past personally impacted you along the way you must have the power to forgive. Kelly says, “The ability to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity and so too, is the ability to ask for forgiveness.

In this 6th level of intimacy we have exposed our fears, faults, and failures which reveals not only who we are, but how we became to be. And you will give your partner insight on what you need.

Are you Tony or Cecile?

Have you ever seen a man receive a tongue lashing from his wife in public? It’s painful to watch. If it escalates even more it can be scary because you feel a beat down is coming.

Are you that Tiger who uses aggressive tactics like verbal attacking, yelling, physical intimidation, or do you result to throwing cell phones. In contrast you may be “Cecile” the turtle who favors more passive-aggressive methods like withdrawal, pouting or martyrdom. According to Nancy Landrum and Jim Landrum’s book How to Stay Married and Love It, men are more prone to Turtle tactics than women. In general, women consider themselves relationship fixers, and tend to stay engaged in dialogue until the issue is resolved..Even if that mean mixing it up a little. Men are prone to “flooding,” a conditioned being overwhelmed by the anger, causing a rush of adrenaline level and a normal heart rate. The return of a normal adrenaline level takes longer for a man than for a woman, so they retreat as opposed to fighting. Fighting can be damaging in a marriage, but retreating can be downright detrimental beyond repair because to your spouse it feels like you are not in the trenches with them. So no matter how difficult the marriage gets over time, you will never be there for support.

You must make a choice how you plan to release your anger. Like I always say, “You do have a choice.” Anger is an emotion that is inside all of us. How you share it with your spouse will determine how they act toward you.

If you have been that volatile person in the past, prone to “Tigerism,” make the choice to act differently.

That doesn’t mean you have to keep the anger inside. Sometimes you have to vent, but here are a few Do’s and Don’ts


  • Direct your anger toward the family pet, or your spouse. You can vent to Coach Keith. I am a man, can take it.
  • Keep away from children. Like they on the pill bottles, it’s poisonous and can be harmful to their psyche.
  • Stay away from weapons, fast cars and rooftops. (anything that can hurt you or someone else)
  • Put down any expensive paintings or figurines.


  • Scream into your pillow pet, or in the car. People will think you’re just having a passionate hands-free conversation on your phone.
  • You can curse all you want…on paper.
  • Go work out, or better yet..hit the punching bag or do some Zumba.
  • God likes to hear you get to him..He’s just going to laugh anyway since he put you there in the first place to help you grow into your best self.

Once you have vented, determine where the anger is coming from? What was the specific episode or words that caused you to flick off. After you have thoroughly reviewed the circumstances you may find the issue that is bothering you is from the past and had nothing to do with your spouse at all.

At some point, you will have to share your knowledge with your spouse in order to move forward. That’s part of having the intimate relationship we have been discussing the past couple of weeks.

Finally, after you have moved past the issue, create an atmosphere of reconciliation. It’s the best part. From planning a weekend of fun together to make-up sex, the positive energy can bring solidify your marriage.

Is your source of Anger just “All in Your Head?”

Avery Sunshine lays it out crisp and clear. It was all in her head.

When you said you needed space
I just wasn’t in a place
Where I could hear what you meant
When you said it
I took it out of context and
Got all bent outta shape
So angry till I started thinking ’bout the sense
That it didn’t make

On this Marriage Music Monday we are going to unpack the issue of anger. If anger goes unchecked it can be a predictor if your marriage will thrive or falter. Since we are STRIVERS IN Marriage, Coach Keith is going to give you some quick tips on how to release your anger. We will unpack these in detail tomorrow.

  • In anger are you Tony the Tiger or Cecil the Turtle?
  • Make a  choice how you handle anger.
  • If you need to vent find a good place to do that.
  • What or Where is the Source of your anger?
  • Used what you learned about your anger to move forward and not remain in the past.
  • Show appreciation for each other for getting through this hot issue.
  • Create an atmosphere of reconciliation together.

Have a great start to the Week.

It’s all about Feelings. (Intimacy Level #5)

We have reached a point in our level of Intimacy that can take your relationship to new heights . The ability to express your feelings. Frankie Beverly so eloquently sings in his song “Happy Feelings”.

And I’m gonna tell all I seen – These Happy feelin’s – I spread them all over the world – From Deep in my Soul.

We all yearn to connect with someone deep enough to share our feelings with, but we often hesitate to take the next step out of fear and rejection.

When our marriages, or relationships are relatively new, we can easily get through the facts of who we are. We can respond to these facts by stating our opinions. We may even get to the point whereby we can share our hopes and dreams. When it comes time to share our deep-rooted feelings about our partner, or our marriage it’s equivalent to jumping off the high dive and not knowing how to swim. We are opening ourselves to vulnerability in ways that have never been done before.

We may be reluctant to walk that plank because of the possibilities of fear and rejection are also at heighten levels. But if you want to achieve this level of intimacy the risk is worth taking. It is vital if your goal is to live a full and abundant life with your partner.

One thing that may delay that step is if you don’t feel you not at that point in your marriage to view your spouse as that confidante you can lean on for support. If that is true, you may want to revisit the other intimacy levels to see where the communication in your marriage is falling short.

If you are constantly and consistently bad-mouthing your husband, or wife and judging every word that comes out of their mouth, this level of intimacy will be almost impossible to achieve. You will need to create a system where you share your feelings in a healthful way. Over time it will become easier to share your innermost feelings in the future.

Matthew Kelly, author of  The Seven Levels of Intimacy, suggest that you use the Who? What? When? Where? How? and Why? method.

The Who? is hopefully with your spouse.  Make sure you keep in mind if you are feeling a certain way about your spouse that you are expressing your feelings in a way they become your best self. If that isn’t the case, go talk it out with God in the woods somewhere or write it in a journal. If you choose another person as that confidant, like an adolescent child, it may seem awkward and inappropriate to put that label on them.

The What? are those feelings that you need to express.

The When? is very important. You have to be in tune to the time your spouse will be the most receptive to listen. I know if I was in a happy mood as soon as I entered the door from working all day,  I sure didn’t want to discuss something that was going to bring down my energy. Timing is important because you want to avoid being rejected because he/she wasn’t ready to listen.

The Where? You create the environment that makes you the most comfortable to share with no distractions. In front of the TV during the football game, or American Idol will not be the best place.

The How? Using “I” statements is important for expressing your true feelings. Using passive-aggressive language leave your partner even more frustrated and aware that your aren’t ready to have an intimate relationship.

The Why? By utilizing this method it will give you the greatest opportunity to succeed in achieving intimacy.

It is important that you manage your expectations in regards to intimacy level #5. It will take practice and the art of being a good active listener.

I know you hear this all the time..Being a good listener..My ears work, so what does that mean.

The qualities of active listening are understanding adds value. We are a nation of talkers. Impatient talkers if you want to be specific. Reality shows, social media, text, IM, is all about talking and sharing our thoughts OUT LOUD. If you can delay gratification and listen to your partner, your intrinsic value toward one another will increase.

Be mindful of the adjectives your partner gives. Those adjectives are the deeper issues behind the facts your partner shares. If your partner is reaching out to you to tell you that he/she is bored. It’s time to drill deeper.

If you hear that, repeat to question in order to make sure this is what you are hearing and ask questions. When you do this, your partner will gain confidence to reveal even more.

Finally, make sure you make eye contact with the person, even if you are inclined to turn away because it’s personal. Don’t! It will show not only to your spouse that you look interested, but you are interested.

Remember feelings are reactions to our journey of life. Some are good, some are bad. By giving your man, or woman the opportunity to express their feelings freely is truly the pinnacle to reaching intimacy level #5.

Keep Striving!

Keith Dent

Strive 2 Succeed Relationship Coach

Dreams! When done together can make your life wonderful!

I love “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I use to watch it every December during the Christmas Holidays. The great thing about the film is that it helps you to appreciate what you have as opposed to what you don’t.

The clip below is great theme for our next intimacy level on
sharing our dreams with our partner.

In the last intimacy level #3 we talked about the importance
of being accepted by our partners in order to share our opinions. This
acceptance by our partner helps bridge the gap to this next intimacy level
which is the ability to share our dreams.

According to Matthew Kelly’s Seven Levels of Intimacy,
dreams are the hopes, fantasies, and our deepest desires that we have for our
future. In today’s environment it takes a great degree of vulnerability to be
able to share our dreams with our partners because we often don’t receive the
acknowledgement and support we expect or need in order to work towards
fulfilling them.

To avoid that result, we often don’t reveal our dreams and
try to make a go at it alone. This procedure can diminish your effectiveness as
a couple because you wind up traveling on different paths. You often see this
happen to celebrity couples’ as their own individual dreams take precedent over
their dreams as a couple i.e. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony or Maria Shriver
and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It was at this point, there dreams were going in different directions.
They obviously weren't having dreams about one another.

Acknowledging and accepting your partner’s individual dreams
and creating mutual dreams not only can energize you as a couple, but it can
also be instrumental in achieving the dreams you have envisioned. It will also the
direction your lives may go. This level of intimacy can be very satisfying and
exciting, but your mastery to achieve this level of intimacy won’t be achieved
until you have mastered the other three levels.

So what are the components needed to have mutually shared

  • Knowing each other’s dreams is crucial. If you
    are working toward one dream and your partner is working toward another, it will
    cause conflict because how they view  the
    direction of their life is different from yours.
  • Delayed gratification – understanding this and
    practicing takes a certain discipline and a degree of communication. If you
    have mutually shared dreams, you will have to put some of your own personal
    dreams and aspirations on hold for the good of the relationship. That may mean
    you delay purchasing that car in order to place the money into your house fund,
    or putting off the dream vacation you can’t afford now and save it in order to
    travel after retirement.
  • Write your dreams down. There are seven areas in
    which you could dream about: physical, emotional, intellectual, professional,
    financial and adventurous.  After you
    have written them down in a journal, or on the computer, set goals around them
    with a timetable. Preferably one year. Revisit your dreams once a year and
    remind your spouse of the dreams the both of you have envisioned for your
  • If you can plan a getaway to work on this, do it
    today, or set some time over the course of several weeks to get this done.

STRIVERS, get to dreaming and writing! Have a good weekend.

Coach Keith

Where Did We Go Wrong? (M.M.M.)

Yesterday, I saw my friend Stephan after church. We exchanged pleasantries and I happen to notice he wasn’t wearing his ring. I asked him how he was doing. He told me he was going through some personal things, challenges, so I asked him a question that would help him open up a little more. After a few minutes he told me that his 18 year marriage was on the verge of collapse.

I offered my services, but his wife was looking for a specific type of relationship therapist and I didn’t fit the gender category.

As I drove home, I began to reflect on how is it possible that a marriage can end after so many years? You may be in the same boat yourself,  confused about how your marriage of 10 or more years suddenly ends.

Here are Five reasons why your good marriage could turn bad.

  1. The expectations you had built up before you were married or over time never materialized.
  2. You never really examined yourself in the marriage.
  3. You never learns the skill that is needed to get you through the obstacle.
  4. The unhealthy choice, no matter how small lead to the downfall of your marriage.
  5. You just can’t overcome an unpredictable circumstance.

As I listened to my friend talk to me, I thought about today’s Marriage Music Monday selection by L.T.D, Where Did We Go Wrong.

It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong
It doesn’t matter whose to blame
We both have to swallow our pride
To make this love strong, ooh, baby

You may not know the source of your partner’s frustration, unless you make the choice to sit down face-to-face, with a coach, or a counselor and work out your problems.  That’s what my friend Stephan was going to do. He wanted his good marriage back.

We are STRIVERS and we want “good marriages”.

In the book When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages, by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot they provide the secrets that couples use:

  • A good marriage is made up of..2 people who take ownership for the good as well as the bad. There are a responsible couple.
  • A good marriage is made up of..2 people believing good wins over bad. They are a responsible couple.
  • A good marriage is made up of..2 people walking in each other’s shoes. They are an empathic couple.
  • A good marriage is made up of ..2 people healing the hurts they don’t deserve. They are a forgiving couple.
  • A good marriage is made up of ..2 people living the love they promise. They are a committed couple.

Have a great week. And do something unexpected for your spouse.

Coach Keith