7 Reasons Why Your Relationship is Like Playing In The Paint!

If you have ever watched, or played a basketball game, there is a place on the court that is called “The Paint.” It’s the rectangular area on the court contained within the key. The key is the area that encompasses the middle of the floor underneath the basket. It is often shaded, which explains the origin of the word, and always has a semi-circle attached on the short side opposite the basket.


In a basketball game this is the area where the big boys play. It’s also one of the most important areas on the basketball court. There is lots of bumping, shoving, and pushing in the paint. It’s also the place where you can get rebounds and score easy baskets. If you can’t master this area in a basketball game, you are less likely to win.

Being in a marriage there is similar to Playing In the Paint. In marriage, there are seven qualities that make it similar to this important part of basketball.

  1. When You Play in the Paint, you have to know your strengths. Dennis Rodman knew he was a great rebounder, and he worked on his craft to make sure he was an asset to his team. In marriage, you need to know your strengths as well as the strength of your partner, to ensure you are pushing each other to be their best self. thHUW9X37H
  2. When You Play in the Paint, you have to be able to trust your teammate. The Boston Celtics of the 80’s are considered one of the top frontcourt tandem of all time. They had ferocious grace and skill, but their best characteristic was they had each other’s back on the court. When you are marriage, you are competing against so much; work, the kids, outside pressures, that you have to be able to trust each other no matter what.
  3. When You Play in the Paint you will get angry. Some of the biggest fights, visible or not will happen in the painted area. It happens when you are in close proximity to each other. Marriage is no different. You are in close proximity to you spouse for the rest of you life. It’s normal. The most important part is how you handle your anger.
  4. When You Play in the Paint you have to be able to talk. It’s the job of the other team to screen and shield you from their player, so they can score. In order to play defense effectively, you will have to be able to communicate. In marriage, communication is the lifeblood to any marriage in order to establish goals and avoid any obstacles that may get in the way of being fulfilled,
  5. When You Play in the Paint you create an identity. The Detroit Pistons of the 90’s where also called the BAD BOYS, because they were known for playing hard nosed basketball and inflicting pain on their court to help provide and edge. In marriage, you want to create a set of core beliefs and principles that you will live by. This will clearly help move in the same direction as your marriage progresses. It was also help you establish a set of principles to pass down once the kids arrive.
  6. When You Play in the Paint  you have to be able to defend. Akeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson, aka The Twin Towers, made it almost impossible for offiensive players to score down low. In marriage you have to have a great defense if you are going to make it. In this instance, defense means the ability to handle your finances. If you struggle in this area, you will struggle in marriage.
  7. When You Play in the Paint you develop a special bond. The chemistry among the members that play in the paint can be very fulfilling. This play is taken for granted in a typical basketball game today, since centers are no longer the focal point of the team. In reality, these players are the unsung heroes of any team. In marriage, your sexual bond, is very important, but it is often taken for granted especially when the children, your career and take precedent. By paying attention to this important aspect can help you keep your marriage fresh and interesting.



Excerpts from this blog is taken from Coach Keith’s upcoming new book In the Paint, How to Win at the Game of Love. If you are interested reserving your copy, e-mail him at info@strive2succeedcoaching.com.



Your husband has feelings too!

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Last week there was an interesting article I read, 15 Things A Wife is Embarrassed to tell my Husband I need.

What struck me was her candor and how hard it was to find the same type of emotions from men.

But we do!

Maybe that’s one of the problems in relationships. We just expect husbands to never have issues. Since we never discuss them openly, our wives often scratch their heads when we run away from them and share our problems with a stranger.

Well I wanted to shed light on some of the issues that husbands might have so they can be discussed.

Click here to read what some of them might be.

Has your husband had any of these issues?  How did you go about talking about them.

Abusive Relationships: The NFL’s Domestic Violence Policy | Keith Dent | YourTango

web site fun couple football


Since Greg Hardy has been in the news this week, I figured I would send you an article about what the NFL’s should do around creating a new Domestic Violence policy?  Here is my take on what changes could be made to be more pro-active from the Commish’s office.

Abusive Relationships: The NFL’s Domestic Violence Policy | Keith Dent | YourTango.

Are you a connection blocker? (Part 2)

I know you had a sigh of relief, when you read Connection Blockers – Part 1, and realized your action hadn’t created a wedge between you and your partner! From my last post, a connection blocker is someone who doesn’t really want to know and understand their partner.

Here are the final 7 connection blockers. Which one are you?

  1. You use shutdown statements and behaviors. – When you are mad or hurt, these statements bring communication to a halt.
    • Fine” or “Everything’s fine” (when it’s not fine).
    • “Doesn’t matter or Whatever
    • Give your partner the silent treatment.
  2. You shift the blame. – It’s your basic cause and effect argument. When your partners feelings are hurt, you react by saying it’s because of them. By choosing to use a counterattack on your partner shuts down any chance at connection.
  3. You use Sarcasm – Not only does it shut down the connection..It hurts.
  4. You use “You Always or “You Never” – these statements are general statements, but are not usually based on reality. Phrases like “You never listen to me” or “You always cut me off ” cause your partner to be confused. These statements tend help describe a feeling, but not the problem.
  5. You jump to your own experiences and don’t validate your partner’s issue. –  Instead of just listening to your partner’s issues, you try to minimize the damage by bringing up your own. This connection blocker hangs your partner out to dry.
  6. You try to fix it. – Sometimes just listening is the fix.
  7. You use the “I’m just no good” statement. – this will cut off any chance at connecting with your partner. By playing the victim, your partner will almost always save you from your victim stance otherwise they admit to themselves they made a bad choice. Therefore, they negate their unresolved feelings.

Now that you understand connection blockers, look out for them. If you see they exist, it’s ok. Work with your partner to identify when either of you use these blockers so you can remove them and deepen your relationship.

Coach Keith


Are you a connection blocker? (Part 1)

Have you ever noticed when your partner started to tell you something important, but in the end never voiced what was on their mind. Or, after a very important discussion, all he/she ever did was shake their head in agreement, but never offered an opinion.

The reason is because you may be a connection blocker. A connection blocker is someone who doesn’t really want to know and understand their partner. Understanding your partner takes some key characteristics in order for connection to happen.

First you have to know yourself –what you think, want, desire, fear or want to communicate. Then you have to know how your spouse reacts to those same wants, fears and desires. You can only do that by asking the right questions.

So here is Part 1 of the possible connection blockers. Which one are you?

  1. You devalue your partner by saying things like “That’s not true,” or That’s totally crazy,” indicates that you don’t care about your partners feelings and that you are there to criticize and not connect.
  2. You minimize your partner – The “It’s not that bad.” statement is used to shut down your partner’s hope and that you will won’t understand. You may not feel the issue is as big a deal, but that’s not the issue right now. That’s where their heart is, connect around it.
  3. You get defensive with your partner – You try to fight off any attack that may bring any negative energy to you. When you attack, you are closed off from your partner and unwilling to hear anything about your behavior or attitude.
  4. You criticize or put down your partner– Being critical, when trying to build up your partner doesn’t work. Finding fault in your partner if it’s done for no good reason damages their self-esteem and ultimately damages your connection.
  5. You escalate or overreact with your partner – The more emotional the topic the more reactive and defensive you get. You must be aware of how your button(s) is get pushed and take alternative steps to remove yourself from the drama.

 I would love to hear your comments about which connection blocker are you and how you try to minimize conflict.

Stay tuned to Part 2 of the connection blockers!


Coach Keith

Relationship Gratitude Day 15 (Thank you for taking out the trash!)

We have reached the half-way point of Relationship Gratitude Challenge. I hope that you have been able to laugh, cry, smile and enjoy your relationship up to this point. I hope most of all that things have improved between you and your partner.

If you are newlywed, or you have been married a long time. You have been through some stuff. Or maybe there was one moment that changed everything.

As part of Relationship Gratitude Day 15 lets remember those bad times, the frustrations, failures, and losses. Write them down, share them with your partner then throw it away. This is one note that you don’t want to keep.





In relationships we tend to hold onto the negative forever and it keeps us from moving forward together.

Notice how much better things are now. Focus on resiliency and renewal.


Good morning my Name is ______ and my wife is a bully?

This is Anti-Bullying week? When we think about bullying, it usually conjures up images of kids being abused at school or on social media sites.

Did you know there is such a thing as being bullied by your wife? We tend to focus more on women who are emotionally, or physically abused by their husband. Probabably by the mere fact that how could you possibly injure or kill the mother of your children?

When we hear stories about men being abused, we shake our heads in a different way. We think to ourselves, “Poor man, what is wrong with him? Why couldn’t he stand up and handle his business?”

Men are often left in a precarious situation, not because they have a weak character, but because they know if they take action and exert their strength they may have to prove in a court of law they were the actual victims.  Knowing how our court system works, that’s a 50/50 proposition at best. So they would rather take the punishment hoping it will eventually goes away, but in reality it never does.  Another reason why men don’t usually take action is because they think to themselves, “How am I being bullied, I am a man!”

Strivers! How can we help our male friends that are close to us be made aware? If you have heard any of these phrases from them more than once, get them help. They are being bullied by their spouse:

  1. It’s either her way, or I’ll  pay. – In essence she wants control in and every part of the relationship. She will resort to any means necessary to achieve her goal.
  2. I’m never good enough syndrome. – No matter how hard he tries, he can’t meet her expectations. This leads to a sense of helplessness. No matter what he does, he won’t win.
  3. She said that to me at the restaurant! – Being verbally attacked in public is a man’s worst nightmare. It will break his self-confidence because women are often viewed as the victim and he must have done something really bad to evoke such a response. This will leave him with a “walk-on-egg-shells” type mentality the next time he is out in public with his wife.
  4. I live in the city of chaos. – He is confused on how he should live. Should he jump in the sandbox of her chaotic life and defend himself or just sit back be an unwilling participant. He doesn’t realize that she feeds on negative energy and conflict. It’s easier to focus on that than to really dig deep and identify the problems, or emotions that are affecting her.
  5. I can’t even remember the last time we had sex without begging. – She refuses to satisfy any physical, emotional and psychological needs he may have unless her needs are met first. He is left with a relationship that is based on transactions. It’s like going to the ATM and trying take  out money not realizing your PIN code has changed every day. The only way you can get money is if you hopefully get an angry customer service rep to help you.
  6. I can’t remember the last time I have seen you, or my family. – Here antics have left him isolated. This type of spontaneous behavior from his spouse can leve him to go it alone because he never knows when Mt. St. Helens will erupt.  In reality, you are the one that’s ultimately left to depend on her? Ask him is that what you want in a relationship? If he says, no encourage him to STEP OUT. Have him call me or seek an abuse counselor for support.

I came across this site, that might be helpful A Shrink for Men, which was very helpful for this post.

Remember Strivers, you  are too important to be abused. Have a good rest of the week.

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

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 mad..talk 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.