8 Ways to a Powerful “Marriage” Partnership.

Beyonce’ & Jay-Z! Jordan & Pippen! John Stockton & “The Mailman” Karl Malone! Bill and Melinda Gates!  These great partnerships didn’t just happen overnight. It took years of hard work, understanding and cultivating these 8 powerful ingredients that make their partnerships truly magical. In order to make your marriage truly as powerful, you need to make sure it has these elements.

  1. Complementary Strengths – No matter how educated and powerful you are, you have weaknesses. One of the great ways to make your marriage powerful is that you identify the strengths of your partner and work together to reach your mutual goals.
  2. Common Mission – Your marriage can be truly powerful if you have a common mission. A common mission can help you get back on track when the daily grind of life steers you of course.
  3. Fairness – In a relationship their is an instinctive need for fairness. If one partner or the other feels fairness is lacking it can erode a powerful partnership.
  4. Trust – When you are in a strong partnership there is a sense of vulnerability that comes with it because you have to share your whole self to your partner. You have to be able to fully trust that your partner will not use what you have given them to their advantage, but honor it.
  5. Acceptance – When two people come together from two different world views there is bound to be friction from time to time. In order to ensure this friction doesn’t increase to major conflict we have to be able to accept these differences.
  6. Forgiveness – Your partner is not perfect and neither are you. Mistakes happen. Without forgiveness, the natural instinct to seek retribution for our partners mistakes will overtake the partnership and the marriage won’t survive.
  7. Communication – Is the lifeblood of a strong marriage partnership. It helps prevent misunderstandings, assumptions and helps marriages effectively and efficiently.
  8. Unselfishness – When you think a bout your partners needs before your own become second nature can make your marriage trans formative. It’s very gratifying when you see the needs of your partner met. 
If you feel you are missing one or a few of these ingredients and you need help on how to acquire them, please contact me for a free 30-minute consulation at info@strive2succeedcoaching.com.

What 5 things I learned after 16 years of Marriage!

President Keith Dent and the First Lady "PG" at the Marriage Stimulus Bill Signing.

This weekend was my 16 year wedding anniversary to PG!  It started out great the minute we closed the car door and we didn’t have to hear the phrase, “Are we there yet,” by our wonderful children.

It got even greater, when we checked into our hotel  room and what did we find, a mirror TV.in the bathroom.


Then to cap off the evening, we saw Jonathan Butler at Blues Alley.

As I look back on our 16 years of marriage, here are 5 things I learned!

  1. If you can get through the learning curve, you can understand how your spouse thinks and feels. In an article from the New York Times, they mentioned “A marriage is likely to change shape multiple times over the course of its lifetime; it must be continually rebuilt if it is to thrive.”
  2. You can thrive as a partnership when you utilize each other’s strengths and not to minimize them. – My wife is a strong woman, and even though I felt threatened in the beginning, I have come to realize it’s comforting when my wife and stand on her own two feet, and we can drive the family bus together.
  3. Even though our bodies aren’t as tight as they were 16 years ago, she is just as sexy as ever.
  4. Sex is more satisfying now with no worries of baby bumps showing up 9 months later.
  5. I made the right choice. And she did too!

Is your Marriage like Hurricane Sandy?


As the East Coast braces for Hurricane Sandy today and tomorrow, I can’t help but wonder how many marriages are taking on hurricane-like tendencies as I write.

What is a hurricane?  According to FEMA – A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface.

Some issues that can constantly swirl out of control and create widespread damage in your marriage are:

  • Constantly arguing about issues and getting no where
  • Constant negativity
  • Having long periods of not speaking to each other
  • Talking about divorce due to irreconcilable differences, money problems or dealing with infidelity

Like Hurricane Sandy which is on track to affect approximately 60 million people, the high winds and heavy rainfall of negativity in your marriage can have not just long-lasting damage to you as a couple, but can deeply affect your kids, your family and friends and your job.

Hurricanes in marriage are inevitable, so what precautions can you take to minimize the damage.

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. – Have someone you can go to for support. Sometimes you can’t see past the problems that a certified coach, or an unbiased person can see.
  • Know your surroundings. – Take a step back and see how the negativity in your marriage is affects others. Looking at your marriage from a different perspective may help you fix things faster.
  • Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate. – Find a place that is peaceful and tranquil that the two of you can go. The positive atmosphere can change your view in your marriage.
  • Make plans to secure your property – Above all else, hunker down in your marriage because outside forces will try to step in and destroy what you have taken the time to build.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed so they are more wind resistant. – Cut off the negative things that are causing problems in your marriage. i.e. if you are constantly arguing make a plan to affirm your partner until it becomes second nature.
  • Install a generator for emergencies. – A little electricity(i.e. more sex)  in your marriage can jumpstart everything.
  • Consider building a safe room. – Individually find a safe place that you can go to help you calm down, meditate, pray in order to bring clarity to the situation.

What other preparations can couples take to reduce the storms in their marriage?

I would love to hear from other Strivers?  Stay dry and more important of all stay safe?


Coach Keith

Amidst the Chaos comes Change.

In the individualistic society of the United States, it’s hard to think that you are connected to your partner in so many ways. If you really think about it, your lives intersect physically, socially, financially, emotionally, domestically and spiritually just to name a few. Yet, when problems occur in our marriage, we will usually feel that our partner is to blame. We will throw up our hands and say, “There is nothing I can do about it.”

I totally disagree. There have been times, I have only coached one person in a couple and have empowered them on how to bring change in a relationship. Individuals have always marvelled at how their relationship improved base on subtle changes they made.

These changes are based on what is called chaos theory. It’s a scientific theory in simple terms states that  a little change in one part of a system can make a big change in another. Based on this fact, we should feel hopeful and excited that our relationships can changed based on things we can control.The changes we can make!

So how can you make changes? Here are some empowering ways you can do it.

Speak up!

Say what you need. If you are clear and specific that will help to end the problem. Sometimes we waver about our own needs and that can cause our partner to be confused.

Speak out!

If there are things that your partner does that clearly irritate you. Say it. Isn’t it better for your partner to know what line not to cross, instead of having them try to figure it out and getting it wrong.

Own your emotions!

Like I said earlier, when there is conflict we will blame our partner. Why! It’s easier. When our partners are forced to defend themselves, problems never get solved because we are focusing on winning the battle and not the war. Conflict in relationships are inevitable, how you handle it is optional. Whatever your emotional trigger is, that creates the conflict own it so you can react properly when it comes.

Instead of waiting for change, you be the change!

We almost always feel our partner has to change in order for our relationship to work. Based on the chaos theory a subtle change you make can have a major effect on your relationship in a positive way. You take the initiative and be positive. Seek out a relationship coach such as Coach Keith that can help you brainstorm different ideas.

Continue to Grow!

Get healthy. When we are in relationship that has major conflict we often get stuck and stop growing. Continue to grow personally, emotionally and spiritually. By maintaining a strong, positive outlook on your life, your partner will either gravitate towards it and change or move away from it. Either way, your sense of self-will remain intact.

Now I ask you what is one change that you can make that may have a positive affect on your relationship.


What will you throw out to save your Marriage? (M.M.M.)

Early in our marriage, I told my wife, P.G. that I wouldn’t be rich. I know she must have thought I was joking. I had graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in marketing, and was on my way to a Master’s in Nonprofit Management.  The world was my oyster, well our oyster. But my passion was towards helping people whether it be teens, or couples. What she didn’t realize, I was also helping our marriage too.

A new study by scholars at Brigham Young University looked at more than 1,700 married couples across the U.S. to determine how their attitudes toward money affected their marriages.

Each couple completed a questionnaire which evaluated their relationship and asked, among other things, how much they value “having money and lots of things.” The study, which was just published in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, found that couples who say money is not important to them score about 10% to 15% better on measures of relationship quality, such as marriage stability, than those couples where both or one spouse are materialistic.

In a somewhat surprising twist, the researchers found that those couples in which both partners said they valued lots of money—about 20% of the couples in the study—fared worse than those couples who were mismatched and just had one materialist in the marriage.

“Couples where both spouses are materialistic were worse off on nearly every measure we looked at,” said Jason Carroll, a BYU professor of family life and lead author of the study.  “There is a pervasive pattern in the data of eroding communication, poor conflict resolution and low responsiveness to each other.”

I may not have riches, but what I do have Luther states so eloquently. A good marriage.

I want to be the one that you just can’t live without
I want to be the one
that you never feel no doubt
I want to be the one that you let give you the lovin’
But, I have nothing

I want to be
the one that you always want to be near
I want to say the words that your
body and soul need to hear
I want to be the one that you let give you all the
But I have nothing

So Strivers..What will you throw out to Save your Marriage?

Sometimes Your words just aren’t enough. (M.M.M.)

P.G., my wife, likes to use dumpsters to help clean out the house. So this past weekend, I came across a lot of items to get rid of like, my daughter’s old crib, fraternity pictures and work documents that I had longer than we have lived in the house.  It was a challenge throwing out some of my old things.

The most difficult thing was throwing out my old cassette tapes. P.G. asked me, “How are you going to listen to them?” Laughing, I responded, “I’ll figure out a way.” One thing that caught my eye was one of the cassette cases that was labeled Songs for P.G. It really took me back to 17 years ago, when times were a little simpler, when you could still send love letters instead of love texts.

Back then, cell phones weren’t easily accessible, so if you wanted to let your GF or BF know you were thinking about them, you couldn’t just send a 140 character note on your phone. You had to talk on a regular phone, or write a letter. I wasn’t as eloquent with words as I am now, so I would use music and lyrics to get my point across. It helps to know what learning style your significant other might be because you can send your message in a different way and it will enhance your meaning.

For example:

Visual learners like diagrams.

Auditory learners enjoy music and videos.

Kinesthetic learners enjoy touching things.

The funny part about my love cassette was that it didn’t resonate with P.G., she is a visual learner. I, on the other hand, loved my playlist and she still married me anyway.

Since this is Marriage Music Monday, I am going to share some of the songs on the list plus a video. For those visual learners, I hope you enjoy it.

She – Will Downing

The Best is Yet to Come – Grover Washington/Patti Labelle

Someone Like You – Van Morrison

In All my Wildest Dreams – Joe Sample

You taught my heart to sing – Dianne Reeves


M.M.M. – How toxic thinking can derail your Marriage!

Toxic thinking or is the act of thinking negatively to the point where it takes over all your thoughts and damages your self-esteem and relationship.

As part of Marriage Music Monday, we are going to tackle this issue of toxic thinking and the tools we need to identify how it seeps into our relationship and what we can do to turn it around.

We often don’t realize how our thoughts impact our actions.  Some of the lyrics from today’s selection This is Not Real Love by George Michael, he sings..

And I said this is not real love

Real Love

Baby it don’t glisten and shine the way it used to.

Those lyrics suggest that his mind-set has changed just because the relationship isn’t shiny, bright and neat. In other words, his toxic thoughts have impacted his view on the relationship.

So how can you know if your toxic thoughts are impacting your relationship. Here are some warning signs:

  1. Your spouse just irritates you, even if they are miles away.
  2. The act of saying “Thank You” is a struggle. And don’t even think I’m doing anything nice.
  3. If I want to talk about my dreams, I would rather talk to my dentist before my spouse.
  4. Amnesia is a constant state of mind when it comes to remembering the good times.
  5. Doing fun things together is non-existent.
  6. When is comes to Sex….crickets.
  7. Up with Hope is a big fat NOPE when you consider improving your relationship.
  8. Somehow being criticized and judged by your partner constantly hangs over your head like one of those airplane advertisements.
  9. You’re just angry by the fact that my partner doesn’t know you. Your thoughts! Your needs! He or she is supposed to be my soul-mate, right?

The answer to the last question should be yes, but your catabolic thoughts have taken over your art of acting in a loving way toward your spouse. Strivers, let’s tackle this issue. Over the next couple of weeks we will examine what steps we need to identify this type of thinking and the tools necessary to remove it.

Coach Keith


Marriage Music Monday


It can happen in marriage, especially if you feel your marriage is not where it should be. It started for me this week when PG angered me by revealing that my name wasn’t going to be next to the definition of disciplinarian. Even though that may be true, you want to have a sense that you can still have fun with your kids and they will still snap in line in an instance. So that through me for a loop a bit.

The week ended with a revelation that deep down my wife’s felt I resented her tell it like it is, take the ball and run with it, straightforward style. Needless to say, I knew it wasn’t true, but it began to question where would I be if I hadn’t got married?

When marriages get stressful, certain questions may come to mind.

Why in the hell did I marry him/her?

Who am I?

You may ask yourself did I compromise who I am as a man/woman to be with my spouse? Do I love myself and love them for who they are?

Here are some thoughts that may help you get through the process.

It’s understandable to question. – Especially earlier on in the marriage if things begin on the rocky side. Look beyond the external reasons why you did get married and start to look at what values and characteristics your partner has that drew you to him/her. It’s those values that ultimately help draw you to them. Consciously or not, those values that your spouse has should help you feel comfortable enough to live by the values you possess.

Challenges in your marriage may help you define how you don’t want it to be. So challenges are necessary in order for you to learn.

Instead of looking at the situation as negative, turn it into a positive. This will help empower you and your spouse to examine where and how you grow from here and then you can release the negativity.

These positive thoughts can help give you a perspective on why you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

  • Either of you are the spoke, or a group of spokes, you are both the wheel – in challenging times you may choose to isolate each other and you may even feel alone. In reality you are inter-connected. When you hurt, your spouse hurts too.
  • Your marriage has a special purpose. – We never think about how your union may help someone else believe marriage is possible. So stick with it.
  • Marriage is an adventure. – It would be great to thing, If I only knew this was going to happen, I could have averted the outcome. If we truly knew the outcome, our mystery of life would be lost.
  • Our Marriage must grow or it will die. – Growth takes on many forms..if we don’t it becomes stagnated.
  • We each have a Higher Coach. – In the end, sometimes there is no explanation that can be explained naturally. You may have to tap into God, or your spiritual self to help guide the reasons why you are in this position, or why you are married to him/her. You will ultimately get your answer.

In the end as I thought about the reasons behind our conflict this past week. It really didn’t matter because in the end, as the song softly echoes in the end. I recognize the blessing that I have. I am carefully holding on tight because there are  a lot of things and circumstances out there that can trip you up, if you let it. Or you can use those challenges to help you be better, live better. I know I am a STRIVER.  I hope you can agree with me, HOLD on.

Good Night Strivers!

Coach Keith

Were going back to school. Relationship School!

When we think of relationships, the first thing that comes to mind is usually not ourselves. We don’t think our happiness should be the #1 priority. Our thoughts and energy are focused on becoming whole or complete when we find that “person”. We get into those types of relationships and over time they don’t work. We spend countless hours writing in our journal, drinking some wine, or praying to ask ourselves, why? Until that next person comes along, and we repeat the same pattern.

It happened to me. I was always taught that you had to always treat women with respect. Now that had its consequences. Respect was sometimes perceived as being “too” nice or not having an edge. And after each relationship ended with no explanation over time I could have gone the way, that was expected of single men, but I held onto my beliefs and how I was raised.

So I ask you:

What type of person are YOU?
What qualities do YOU need in a mate that will compliment me, not complete me?
Do YOU believe that YOU can be in a relationship with a PARTNER?
Do YOU believe the person that wants to be with you is genuine?

These are the first steps before we take the leap. Robin Thicke’s – Can You Believe says it all.

This is just a little taste of what you are going to get in Strive 2 Succeed’s Relationship School.

Happy Labor Day

Coach Keith