The Oval Office is about to shut down unless you get this road fixed!

A story that might have gone unnoticed this week was the fact that 250 women from a  town called Barbacoas, near the Pacific Coast of Columbia declared a “Crossed Legs Strike.” Their reason, they want their husbands to get off their couch and lobby government leaders to get the roads fixed.  Over the past 20 years, the roads have been pretty much unusable, since it takes over 10 hours to travel 30 miles to the next town.

We are tired of the incompetence and attitude of our husbands who are not capable of demanding the governor to construct a better road for the town. They may be man enough to order us around at home but they are too weak to fight for our rights in society,” one woman participating in the protest told the press.

Apparently, the Cross Legged Strike is catching on since Kelly Ripa is using this tactic to get her husband to fix their roof, or better yet, call the contractor to do it.

When I counsel clients that use ultimatums in their marriage, I immediately try to locate the source of this issue because the act of witholding something is really not the problem. At some point, the person handing out the ultimatum feels they have lost control and wants to get it back. On the other hand, this fear-based tactic can surely backfire on you. This very act of trying to gain control can result in the other person checking out completely.

If those 250 men decide to leave town in the middle of the night, it will take their women 10 hours to catch up to them.

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday.

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 – 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

She Said/He Said (York version #2)

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

In the second edition of She Said Vs. He Said I had the pleasure of interviewing Bryce York and Tonya York currently of Columbus Ohio. I met them at my church, several years ago. The are very warm people so I am not surprise why they came together, but let’s hear what HE SAID.

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

As a photographer, she caught my eye right away. I couldn’t help, but notice her beauty inside and out. She was flat out beautiful, and easy to talk to. I am amazed even to this day how I get caught up by her quirky, sweet, personality. It’s very infectious.

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

With me being 6 years older than she was, I pretty much knew right away that she was the one for me. She was a little thrown off by my easy going attitude, so it took her a little more time to be convinced. I am so glad that she did.

3. In your 20+ years of marriage what has surprised you the most about  marriage?

It’s like working out, you when you are in the gym putting the work in, you feel great and you see the results of the work. The minute you drop off and get complacent, the results show as well. You don’t have the same energy and excitement. So in marriage you have to constantly work the communication, intimacy muscles to see the results. I also realized that I have to be the builder and protector of the relationship.

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

Prayer, Communication, and the ability to fall in love with each other over and over again by keeping the marriage fresh and exploring new things.

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

I would have taken more control of the finances. Sometimes my laid back demeanor can be misinterpreted as not having an opinion. But as a man with a thinker’s temperament, I kept my thoughts internal. I definitely would have been more open with my communication style.

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

Learn to understand the needs of your spouse

As a husband, serve your wife in such a way that it creates a long lasting bond.

Make sure that time is set aside with one another to continue to strengthen the relationship.

Do you want to Thrive in Your Marriage?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1     2        3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10

Not at all agree           Somewhat agree                  Totally agree

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

SCORE                          ______

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

Under 40 (Danger! You need a Marriage Coach)

 

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

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

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

Over 80

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

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

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

Dear Jane/Dear Joe – Confessions of how Coach K helped me view Marriage Differently!

Dear Joe:

I just want to let you know that I love you very much and that I want our marriage to work. Marrying you was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I am not sure where and when our marriage started to go south, but I know we weren’t connecting. I know we haven’t been intimate in a long time and I always felt that was a strong point in our relationship. You always use to play with my hair, tickle me and fondle my breasts even if we were just sitting on the couch watching tv. You know what I miss the most was the fact you use to just give me big hugs. That made me feel loved more than ever.

Even when we were arguing, you use to find a way to touch me to help loosen the tension. Now you don’t even make an attempt and it made me very angry. My feelings of anger became so entrenched, I felt like this marriage was a mistake. I knew that I couldn’t keep living like this, so I decided to talk to Coach Keith. He has great insight and would get to the source of where my anger was coming from. After speaking with him several times, he pointed out some things that are so clear now that I would like to share.

When I was 13, my dad made it very clear not to depend on no man to take care of me and support me and my children. He showed love by barking commands and pushing us to excellence. He was very strict when it came to dating and he gave my boyfriends a really hard time. When I left for college, I was glad to be out of his house and I rarely went home.

It was at that time I ignored my dad’s advice and as an act of defiance became very dependent on men to bolster my self-esteem. The problem was every time I would want to take it to the next level it would end due to various reasons. I sunk further into a pit of despair and slowly as a way to get some sense of control back into my relationships, I reverted back to the old ways that my dad had taught me. When I met you, your calm demeanor and laid back attitude grounded me and allowed me to have that control. 

Coach Keith pointed out that somewhere, even though I was in control, I resented it and wanted to change you. When you didn’t lash out in anger or put limits on my life, like my father, I began to lose respect for you. It was my negative energy towards you that led to my outbursts and my lack of validating the type of man you are and the importance I needed that in my life. He also pointed out that in response to the lack of respect, you distanced yourself from me. He finally helped me to acknowledge my need for control was affecting the marriage and gave me tips on how to let things go, and to view the marriage from a 100/100 perspective instead of 50/50.

I am working on it, but I can’t work on it without you. I ask for forgiveness for not giving you the respect you deserve. I want our marriage to start fresh with new excitement. I miss your touch!

Love,

Jane