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 info@strive2succeedcoaching.com.

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

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.

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

Marriage Music Monday presents..INTO ME SEE!

As an abstinent educator in for IMPACT Community Development Corporation, we covered a topic on intimacy. We used to asked the high school students what intimacy meant and 99% of them use to equate the definition with sex. What’s interesting to know is if I asked adults the same question,would I get the same answer/  It would probably be a little deeper, for instance I would probably hear intimacy is when there is sex between two people that have connected on a deeper level. love each other and are completely committed, but probably not more than that.

True intimacy involves being completely open and having the desire to understand the true nature of our partner on a wholistic level. But even in marriage we hide things, thoughts or actions from our spouses. Why, fear and rejection. Most of us, me included are in good marriages, but they could be great, more intimate.

According to Matthew Kelly’s 7 Levels of Intimacy (The Art of Being of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved, being intimate means sharing the secrets of our hearts, mind and souls with another fragile, imperfect human being. We have to allow another person to discover our inspiration, what drives us, bothers us, what we gravitate to, and what we run from and what inner demons reside in our hearts and what big dreams wake us up at night.

Now this level of intimacy doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long, adventerous journey to reach this type of intimacy in marriage, or any relationship for that matter.

Intimacy begins as you begin to share your story with your partner;where you come from, what shaped your thoughts, what events shaped your choices. As the two of you come togther, you will begin to create your own story to share with others. The four different aspects of intimacy are physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.

Physical Intimacy is easy to achieve and can be easily shattered by divorce.

Emotional intimacy is harder to achieve because it takes an amount of vulnerability and humbleness to achieve. Before that can happen we have to feel comfortable and safe enough to let our guard down.

Intellectual Intimacy is achieved when you  have different conversations around your political and cultural views. You must refrain from judgement since your partner unless you just happen to live in the same house has different ideas than you do, and look beyond the different ideas that are expressed and find its source.

Spritual Intimacy is rare and difficult to achieve. The goal to achieving this level is you have to develop a mutual purpose to help each other become the best version of themselves. The components you will need are a virtuous heart, an open mind and the ability to not have the relationship reach a point where you idolize the person more than the relationship itself.

As Eddie Kendriks put it in his song Intimate Friends, the goal if intimacy discover and rediscover each other every day.

Our love shines brigther, than the morning sun
Two hearts together becoming as one
You’re a part of me – that never dies
Love undivided, ’cause we see eye to eye

Over the course of this week, we will examine the 7 Levels of Intimacy that Matthew Kelly expresses in his book and how to achieve them with a Strive 2 Succeed in Marriage twist.

Have a great Monday.

Coach Keith

Marriage Music Monday – Exploring Intimacy

An excerpt  from Matthew Kelly’s – 7 Levels of Intimacy – The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved.

David Anderson lived in Boston with his wife, Sarah and   hree children Rachel, Shannon, and Jonah. He was very successful  businessman, and one of the rewards of his success was their summer home on
Martha’s Vineyard. Sarah and the kids spent the whole summer there, while David  usually spent part of each weekend and always came for the first two weeks of July.

One summer a few years ago, he was driving out to the beach  at the beginning of July when he made a promise to himself. For two weeks, he  was going to be a loving and attentive husband and father. He would make  himself totally available. He would turn off his cell phone, resist the  temptation to be constantly checking his e-mail, and make himself completely  available to his family and a genuine experience vacation.

You see, David worked too much. He knew it. Everyone around  him knew it. When you love your work, that’s one of the dangers. When you rely  on your work too much for your identity, that’s one of the pitfalls. From time  to time, David felt guilty about how much he worked, but to brush the guilt  aside by making the excuse that it was necessary. Sometimes he overcame his  feeling of guilt by calling to mind the many privileges and opportunities that  his wife and children were able to enjoy became worked so hard.

Did rationalizations succeed? Only temporarily. But this  vacation was going to be different. David was going to be attentive and  available.

Is this you? Have you felt this about your spouse, or  children? Being present in your life? This sort of activity takes a higher  level of intimacy that only you can make.

As these lyrics suggest in Luther Vandross’s song “A House is  Not a Home.”

A room is a still a  room, even when there’s nothin’ there but gloom

But a room is not a house and a house is not a home

When the two of us are far apart

And one of us has a broken heart

We will be exploring the 7 levels of Intimacy over the next  several posts.

We could start by asking  the question, what does Intimacy mean to you?

I Want Something, Someone Real – (M.M.M. According to Jill Scott)

Several years ago I was playing a game with my wife PG,called the TRAP game. She asked me if I had to choose, who would be my celebrity GF’s. My wife already had her names, Kevin Johnson (former Phoenix Suns PG), Forrest Whitaker, the late Ed Bradley just to name a few. Men under any circumstances never play this game, or just make sure you add your wife even if she is a celebrity or not. One of my selections was Jill Scott. With a puzzling somewhat scowling look on her face, she asked why? Without hesitation, I said because of her voice. She could sing me a lullaby every night. Two, Jill’s words echo the fact that if you are real and you treat me right, you will receive the same treatment and more.

Being with a Black woman takes a certain amount of strength, patience and confidence that you can’t receive from any P90X workout DVD or John Madden Video Game. The great thing is Jill Scott with her lyrical prowess has provided the tools you need in order to be successful.  She just released her 5th album, The Light of the Sun, a few weeks ago. Jill Scott is the epitome of the world according to black women. She believes in empowerment and love. She is vulnerable and loyal to the people who are in her life. If she sees you in pain or not acting right, she will throw you a lifeline, but if you cross her, she will cut you. She may feel pain for a little while, but will move on.

If you are a man who loves and adores black women, but feel you have a hard time fully understanding your queen listen to Jill Scott’s new CD and the others. Her lyrics are words that should be studied if you want to thrive in your marriage. I’m not saying that Jill is the voice of all black women, but she is pretty close.

Here is Jill’s “Womanifesto” of what type of Real relationship women want so you can make the adjustments.

  1. How to know and understand your beautiful black woman. – I’m the Real thing in stereo..I gotta little highs, I gotta little lows.. (The Real Thing)
  2. Your woman wants you be all  in or not at all.  – I’m the magnificent with the sensational style Yes! Check her head to toe don’t forget the smile Blessed! If you were smart you would try to snatch it up Movin like a snail when you ‘gon catch up?! (It’s a Shame)
  3. Your woman may have a strong exterior, but your woman needs you.  And even though I can do all these things by my damn self I need you..I do, I do, I do, I do (The Fact Is (I Need You)
  4. Your woman wants you to communicate, the best way you can. Talk to me, break it down, spell it out for me baby (Talk to Me)
  5. This is how your woman wants to be Treated.
    Grown woman, making decisions and choices
    Utilizing everything inside of me,
    my soul my heart my mind my voices
    So maybe, in the middle of the night, when
    the dreams just aint going right
    … I can use, a tug, a hug, a kiss,
    something, strong, something, fit, for a Queen
    … Something,… passionate, someone with esteem, a king,… that’ll knock a Sister down..down..down..
  6. If you want her heart,  you have to work. It takes more than diamonds to woo me..Lalalala..It takes more than money to move me..Lalalala..It takes more than ooo material things (Spring Summer Feeling)
  7. Wants you to bring it in the bedroom and be confident about it.  NO LYRICS NECCESARY (Crown Royal)
  8. Even when the relationship gets tested, they will Always be there for you. Listen, I’m so in love with you, That I can’t help myself! Can’t help it! As long as it’s me and you We don’t need nothing else! (So in LoveV1OC_XmeIck
  9. They do make mistakes when it comes to Love. I’m truly sorry baby for what I did to you While you were busy loving me, I was busy too I played you dirty boy, did some things I shouldn’t do While you were only trying to treat me good I was playing… damn (Can’t Explain –  42nd St. Happenstance)
  10. If YOU decide if you aren’t all in..you will get Left. I have let you go  – And everything I went through was beautiful (When I Wake up.)

So Brothas of all races if you want to thrive in your relationships with your black sistah’s, buy Jill Scott’s CD’s. Study the lyrics, commit them to memory or study them like you should study your scriptures. It will make you relationship better.

Coach Keith

Marriage Music Monday – I’ll be By Your Side (Sade)

The people close to me know I love Sade. She is one of the sexiest women on this earth, next to my wife of course. Back in the early 90’s,  I had a life-sized poster of her beautiful face on my living room wall when I lived at 18B Marion Pepe Drive in Lodi, NJ. Her face was and still is a thing a beauty. I have all of her CD’s except the compilations, and I know most of the words to her songs.

When I met my wife PG, the life sized poster had to go, along with the black book. So when my wife presented me with tickets for
Father’s Day, I was elated, but a little conflicted. How was I going to scream and holler and possibly shed a tear for another woman with my wife sitting next to me? Since we had been dealing with a child illness during the week, PG had
felt she should stay home just in case. YEAH ME! I was going to let loose, but in a reserved way. It had been a stressful week.

Sade, as always was masterful with her non-dance moves and simple lyrics. And yes, she was as beautiful at 50, as she was at 25 when I  first ‘Diamond Life’ on the campus of Georgetown University. Towards the end of her show, Sade sang her song By Your Side. As she sang these words, something unexpected happened.

Oh, when your cold

I’ll be there to hold you tight to me

When your on

the outside baby and you can’t get in

I will show you, your so much better

than you know

When your lost, when your alone and you can’t get back again

I will find you darling I’ll bring you home

As the confetti started to fall from the sky, I started to shed a tear. But it wasn’t for Sade at all, it was for my wife. As the lyrics  suggest, I was grateful I had someone who would be by my side, no matter what. It had taken years of dating, difficult relationships, and self-reflection to find someone who wanted to be by my side and it was worth it.

This song that Sade so eloquently sung this past Friday was about being connected and never leaving even through the difficult moments. You should consider it an honor and a privilege that you were able to find someone who wants to be in your corner and vice versa.  In my opinion, once you get married you are supposed to be connected for life. But we aren’t. Too often we enter marriage for the  celebration. We can breathe easier now that we can get off the dating treadmill, or we have that sperm donor, or that meal ticket that will provide what we were really looking for. When the marriage finally implodes, we realize the connections were never there, I’ll just move on. We justify our action by saying, “Life is short. I should be happy.”

It’s understandable that all marriages won’t last. And you should be happy. But understand this, I can only hope that you exhaust all  options, and seek support to work as a couple on your issues before you break that connection. Or, you may find yourself singing another Sade song, “Is it a Crime.”

He tastes her kiss

her kisses are not wine

they’re not mine.

He takes

but surely she can’t give what I’m feeling now.

She takes

but surely she doesn’t know how.

Is it a crime? Is it a crime that I still want you?

And I want you to want me too.

Allow marriage to provide warmth, when the cold inside your heart.

Allow marriage to provide a sense of openness when you feel shut out from the other things in life.

Allow marriage to provide a sense of peace when there is chaos on the job.

And be thankful there is someone ‘By your Side’ to be that provider.

So even though, I love your music and the aura that is Sade,
I am sticking with my provider, PG.

Do what it takes, or get the help you need to stay by their side.

Keith Dent is a certified relationship coach, and President of Strive 2 Succeed Coaching Services.  Whether it’s a discussion about who to look for in a soul mate, how to improve my relationship, or a discussion about the opposite sex and creating healthy relationships, couples are looking for someone to acknowledge their issues and provide solutions. I have been working with couples for more than 3 years helping them to explore their passions and dreams in their relationships, and the necessary steps to achieve them. He can be reached at strive2succeed@comcast.net for questions and appointments.

Marriage Music Monday (the Boss Style) – I’m worried. I find myself attracted!

In honor of the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, I figured I would feature a Bruce song for my Marriage Music Monday segment. Not being a connoisseur of his music, there was only one song I could think of, “I’m on Fire.”

It’s about a man that longs for the affections of  a married woman. She kind of likes him in a way, but never acts on his flirtatious advances.

You may think this song would be more appropriate for ‘Uh oh, watch out Music Monday’, or ‘they are on their way to an affair Music Monday’, but it doesn’t always have to be so serious. It was clear the young sophisticated woman was attracted to the young strapping mechanic, but did she act on her feelings? No! Did it diminish her marriage? No!

At times, you may question yourself, or the motives of your spouse when it comes to their actions with the opposite sex. Should I be concern if he/she get their hair cut by the same stylist, or your make sure he/she go to the same Starbucks because they know there is only one cute barista that makes their soy mocha java the right way.

My wife could’ve have clearly cut me for the way I use to stare at women and she did on several occasions. But, as our marriage and our connection grew deeper, she realized that it was just part of my make-up, and I realized where my bread was buttered. I like see women who are put together especially when they have beautiful feet.

If your marriage is new and you have these types of feelings, you may think its missing something. How could I be attracted to him? Did I marry the right girl? How could I be excited to see this woman once a week? It doesn’t mean anything is missing in your marriage, it just means that you have human passions, and feelings. It also means your eyes work.

As long as you don’t act on them or try to pursue them, those feelings that are intense right will eventually fade.

Now if they don’t, you may need to find a new stylist or a different Starbucks.

Make it a great day.

Coach Keith!

Direct all comments at the bottom of this post, or if you have something more personal, e-mail me at strive2succeed@comcast.net.

Marriage Music Monday – A Letter to my couples about to be Married?

Dear Bride and Groom,

I know it’s wedding season. Just like you, brides and grooms all over this nation are in different stages of planning for their wedding. They may have spent months, even years putting their blessed event together. This is it! The Super Bowl of your lives together.  At some point before the festivities, you might get some quiet, reflection time and these thoughts may come to your head echoed in this classic tune made popular by James Ingram and Patti Austin. “How Do You Keep the Music Playing”.

How do you keep the music playing?

How do you make it last?

How do you keep the song from fading too fast?

I expect they will, especially when most of your conversations heve been centered around a common theme, the wedding, the invitations, and the reception. Sudden changes or disruptions around that bond can cause a void in your marriage. You often feel a sense of fear of what will we do next; what will we have to talk about.

You can be exceptionally vulnerable to challenges early on in marriage because usually you have never experience adversity. Everything is great. In the dating phase, you focus on if he/she is the one. The passion and chemistry that you have between each other can overpower any subtle challenges or obstacles that are evident to an innocent bystander. As your dating relationship progresses, you begin to discuss the future and how great it will be to committ yourself to the other. Finally, when the gentleman finally pops the question over the Jumbotron, or in a movie theatre, the whirldwind of excitement goes into overdrive.

It’s great and it should be. Weddings are wonderful and should be celebrated. These thoughts are natural, even expected. It’s how you handle them that’s important. As you are about to take those final steps down the alter, consider these 5 tips to bring calmness to the next stage in your relationship.

  1. If you have fears about your upcoming marriage, face them. If you avoid them it will diminish all you have worked for up to this point. – Don’t allow your fears about the future to feaster. If your intuition is telling you there is a problem, discuss it. Avoiding it will deepen not only doubt in your partner, but in yourself.
  2. Embrace that you will have to stretch in you marriage. – In order to grow in your marriage, you will have to go beyond your comfort level. You and your partner will go through a set of growing pains of flexibility and compromise to have the type of marriage you want.
  3. Your primary relationship is with your partner, not your wedding planner. – If you have issues regarding details of the wedding, do not use your wedding planner to do it. If you can’t discuss important details with your spouse around the wedding, how will you do it when you are married?
  4. Committment is not just for the wedding day, it’s an ongoing process. – Your marriage will go through challenges..Its at these times you will have to remind yourself that I am committed to this man/woman even through tough times.
  5. Don’t keep your feelings of gratitude silent. – Sharing openly with your partner that you are thankful for them and the journey you are about to take can go a long way to deepening your connection.

If we can be the best of lovers
yet be the best of friends
If we can try with every day to make it better as it goes
With any luck than I suppose
The music never ends.

Take this to heart, and things will turn out great.

Sincerely,

Coach Keith

How some Time away can vitalize your Marriage! (Marriage Music Monday)

This past weekend, I attended the Soul Hoyas Reunion event at  Georgetown University.  This annual event  is a way to bond with old friends to get caught up to date on our lives since  college, participate in community service and just plain let loose , flirt with old crushes and party.  After a very successful and enjoyable weekend, I found myself reflecting and  communicating to friends that couldn’t attend how much fun we had. You know what I also felt, I longed  to return home where I belonged, my wife and kids.

Around 7:00 Sunday morning after I watched ESPN, prayed and showered, I packed up my  belongings and journeyed home. When I was on the highway, I called  my wife to let her know I was driving back to New Jersey. I sensed she was  anticipating my return not by her words, but by the tone of the conversation. She was excited.

Her excitement is clearly expressed by today’s Marriage  Music Monday selection, “Get Here (if you Can)” by Oleta Adams.

You can reach me by railway

You can reach me by trailway

You can reach me by an airplane

You can reach me with you mind

You can reach me by caravan

Cross the desert like an Arab man

I don’t care how you get here

Get here if you can

There are hills and mountains between us

Always something to get over

If I had my way, surely you would be closer

I need you closer

Having separate time  and interests will help vitalize the marriage. It can be energizing to  participate in a hobby or an activity that is solely your own. It allows you do  have some private space plus it gives you something else to discuss with your  partner. Marriage entails a lot of togetherness, but just because you’re  married, you don’t need to be joined at the hip. So as an assignment if you don’t  have an activity that you have just for yourself, find one and have your spouse  find one, too.

Make sure each of you  has time away from the other with friends, family, or alone. Enjoy your  separate interests.

It can be the key to keeping your marriage fresh.