Five Things You Should Know About Couples Coaching
As a relationship coach, I know all too well the pain and heartache that can come when two people who were once so deeply in love are struggling to connect. It saddens me to think that so many couples suffer through their problems alone, only to call it quits because they don’t have the tools they need to break through bad patterns and emotional blocks. I’ve made it my life’s work to help struggling couples revitalize their relationships. More couples are seeing me now than ever before, but I’ve realized that most people entering into or considering couples coaching don’t know what to expect from the process, and many are hesitant to give it a try. Here are five things you should know about couples coaching:
- Coaching Isn’t Just for Couples in Crisis
I’ve met couples that have suffered through months or even years of hurt but avoided coaching because they weren’t married or thought their problems just weren’t serious enough for them to seek help. Couples coaching is a little like taking care of a house. You wouldn’t wait until your roof was on the verge of collapse before you made the necessary repairs, so why treat your relationship any differently? I coach many couples who have experienced major setbacks and are struggling to “save” their relationships, but I see an equal number who seek out coaching because they want to prevent certain issues from becoming more serious. These couples are crazy about each other, but they’re also human. They hit a bump in the road every so often and want to learn how to stop a negative pattern before it spirals out of control. According to John Gottman, author of “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” the majority of couples wait until six years after they admit they need help to actually seek it. By then, it’s often too late. You don’t need to wait until you’re on the brink of catastrophe to seek the help of a coach. If you recognize bad patterns or communication blocks in your relationship, do something about it today.
- Miracles Happen, but They Take Time
You can’t undo years of negative patterns or stunted communication in one or two coaching sessions. I wish it were that easy. The key to success in coaching is consistency. Make a commitment to yourself and your partner to see a coach at least five times if you want to reap lasting benefits. Food for thought: if half of all marriages end in divorce and the majority of couples seeking therapy quit before they reach the five session mark, maybe it’s a sign that people are giving up a little too soon. I suggest couples commit to seeing me a minimum of three times a month for three months. Most couples see some changes after the first couple of sessions, but they don’t see lasting change until around the three-month mark.
- A Good Coach Takes the Side of the Relationship
A good coach isn’t going to side with either member of a couple; she’s going to side with the relationship. At times it may seem like everyone’s against you—when your ego feels threatened or your coach won’t allow you to throw in that little jab at your partner you so badly want to get out—but at the end of the day, your relationship will usually win. Remember that, and learn to be okay with it.
- At First, Things May Seem like They’re Getting Worse
I had a client email me recently in a panic. She and her husband had seen me for a couple sessions and she told me she felt like things were getting worse. She didn’t know what to do. This may sound surprising, but her reaction isn’t uncommon. Coaching brings a lot of stuff to the surface… stuff you haven’t been talking about and would probably rather not look at. Your partner may bring up a disagreement you thought was ancient history, or you may discover some new truths about yourself or your partner. A coach’s job is to listen to each member of the partnership, recognize patterns that might be contributing to problems in the relationship, and help facilitate discussion. It can be painful to rehash past arguments and disappointments in the moment—and even more difficult to take responsibility, but the long-term results can be transformative.
- Things will Get Better
Couples coaching is about building trust—trust in your partner and trust in the coaching process. As you delve deeper into the process and start understanding the patterns that drive your behavior, you will start to feel more in tune with your partner and with the relationship itself. You’ll learn how to effectively communicate your wants and needs, support your partner with love and compassion, and start seeing your relationship as a vehicle for your own growth and learning. Instead of feeling like you need to pull away from your partner when things get tough, you’ll start leaning in, and as you get closer, love and romance flourish.
The Right Fight
Many years ago, I realized that if I could just figure out how to have a peaceful, loving relationship then everything else in my life would fall into place. I was right. I’ve been with my husband for 13 years now and I believe more than ever that having a secure, committed, harmonious relationship is the foundation for a happy life. When I realized how many other people were struggling in their relationships I was compelled to help. In the 13 years I’ve been coaching I have seen how transformative these sessions can be. Couples who were ready to write off their relationships for good are often amazed when they realize how effective the coaching process can be. Don’t get me wrong; for some couples, the first few sessions can get a little dicey. But hang in there. Commit to the process and let go of the idea of instant gratification. It may take time, but I promise you it’s worth it. There is nothing more beautiful than sharing your life with the person you love; if you’re going to fight for anything, don’t fight with your partner—fight for your relationship!
If you and your partner are struggling to connect, set up a coaching consult today!
Anyone who knows me knows that I speak in accolades about my husband, but then anyone who knows my husband speaks in accolades about him, too. He is unquestionably the finest person I have ever known.
Am I in Denial?
One day I was talking about Benjamin with Warren Farrell, who wrote Why Men Are the Way They Are, a book that changed my life. Warren has done workshops since the 1980’s with thousands of couples. Earlier in the day he had made a comment that I often hear about how all couples have issues. I asked him if that was really true, if all couples have some kind of friction between them. I wasn’t trying to challenge him. I really wanted to know if I was in denial.
I don’t remember exactly what I said about Benjamin, but when I finished describing my relationship to Warren, he looked at me and said, “I don’t think I have ever heard a wife speak so lovingly about her husband.” That was a proud moment for me because I knew how many husbands and wives Warren had worked with over the years. I feel that there is no greater honor that I can pay Benjamin than to speak lovingly of him.
Much to my horror, Benjamin contracted Typhus from a fleabite last Christmas and almost died. I rushed him in an ambulance to the hospital. By the time I arrived, a nurse told me they were putting him in the ICU. All of his systems—his heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys—were shutting down. While my husband was in recovery, I met another wife in the hospital who spoke in the same glowing terms about her sick husband as I do about Benjamin. I saw myself in her. We were two women with the good fortune to have known and loved two great men. The difference was that her husband was dying of cancer and their love story was coming to an end. I could easily have been in her shoes.
Happy Anniversary to Us
Today Benjamin and I celebrate 13 years since our first date and 11 years of marriage. This morning he told me that I have been with him for a quarter of my life. These have been extraordinary years and I don’t think I have taken one moment of our time together for granted.
Last night I met with a client who has been struggling for a long time to get out of a bad relationship. In our previous session, he had asked me what it would be like to date. I told him that he should probably do it sooner than later, that it is easier the younger you are. In yesterday’s session he said that he wasn’t in a hurry, he didn’t care if he waited until he was 60 or 65 to meet someone. I thought about what he’d said, but I couldn’t agree with him.
Time IS of the Essence
Just before my fortieth birthday, I had an epiphany. Previously, I had believed that unconditional love was a fantasy. But then, I realized that, not only are all spiritual paths leading us to God or unconditional love, but they are also showing us how to have it—now!
I reasoned that, if true love was attainable, I had to do everything in my power to find it. Not only that, half of my life was almost over and, if was going to find this guy, I knew that I wanted to spend every last minute I had with him!
I cannot tell you how happy I am that I had this realization and that I was wise enough to act on it. Time is the most precious thing we have. No matter how much longer I get to be with Benjamin, our days are numbered and they will never be enough. People say that love is eternal, and I hope with all my heart that this is true. But in the meantime, I am going to relish the hell out every single exquisite moment we have left together.
Thank you, my sweet love, for the thirteen most profoundly beautiful years of my live. I wouldn’t have changed a thing… okay, well, there was that one time when you told me… jk.
To book a coaching consult with Lisa CLICK HERE:
“Carrie: Honey, if it hurts so much, why are we going shopping?
Samantha: I have a broken toe, not a broken spirit.”
–Sex and the City
Most women over thirty just aren’t that open to going out to meet men after they’ve been running errands all day or working ten hours straight. We’d rather curl up with a good book or the dog. Or maybe, we’d kick back on the sofa watching Sex andthe City reruns. We would marvel at Carrie and the Gang’s endless ability to dress up, socialize, and trawl for men, and wonder, “Where do they get all that energy?” Even if we had their mysterious incomes and teams of stylists, we’d be so exhausted from all the shopping and grooming that we wouldn’t have the oomph to dress up and go out. So, we’d have a friend come over and watch Sex and the City reruns instead.
But there’s another problem: as we’ve grown older and, hopefully, wiser, Carrie and the Gang have remained immortal. Now, watching them rush around like there’s no tomorrow and over analyze their lives…read more
Lisa Shield, MA, CPCC
Transformational Dating and Relationship Coach
Tagsdating 101 dating world finding the one first date how long to wait how many dates until how to attract the one how to be attractive how to date keeping your clothes on love perfect woman third date true love when to have sex
When I turned 40, I was no longer willing to settle for just anyone. I had tried this many times before and knew it didn’t work. I wanted to find the love of my life, the last man I would ever date, the one who would be with me for the rest of my days.
For this to happen, I had to make some changes. First and foremost, no jumping into bed with anyone I was dating—and this meant ANYONE. In the past, I had my share of casual sex. I don’t regret that I was sometimes naughty. It was a lot of fun, but it never got me what I ultimately wanted. It never got the right guy to pledge his undying love and make me his bride.
Well, that’s not exactly true. I did have some relationships along the way, but they were with all the wrong people. And, someone had made me his bride, just not the right someone. As it turned out, my first husband had a little lying problem. Actually, he had a BIG lying problem, but that was many years and several therapists ago…
I never thought of myself as promiscuous or loose. read more
Lisa Shield, MA, CPCC
Transformational Dating and Relationship Coach
Before you can fall in love with someone else, you need to fall in love with yourself. Only then will you be capable of loving someone else. Your willingness to look deeply and honestly at yourself is the key to unlocking the door to your own heart. The depth of the conversation you have with yourself will determine how deeply you will come to know and love yourself. This is a journey of the self and by the self. No one can do it for you.
What happens is this: first you come to love yourself and enjoy your own company. As that enjoyment grows you begin to want to share it with someone. True love wants to share itself, it wants to express itself. It really is impossible for love not to be expressed once it is identified.
“How do I get started,” you ask. First, you need to spend time alone. Get to know yourself. Read More
Make the first step to finding the one, schedule an appointment with Dating & Relationship Expert, Lisa Shield. pricing & scheduling
Lisa Shield, MA, CPCC
Transformational Dating and Relationship Coach
As a dating coach, all daylong I sit and listen to my clients moan about how much they hate dating. Welcome to the club. Sure, dating isn’t the most fun thing to do in life, but if you want to have an extraordinary, passionate, lasting romantic relationship in today’s world, you are going to have get over your big bad self and get out there and date to find one.
Naked Dating—my unique approaching to finding true love with nothing to hide—will show you how to use the dating process to attract an amazing romantic partnership that can last a lifetime. You will learn how to make every date count, even the bad ones. Naked Dating shows you how to go out on dates and practice opening your heart and letting down you walls so that, when the right person shows up, you’ll be ready.
Most people who come to me for dating coaching feel that they are ready to meet The One. What I am about to say might be hard to hear, but if you really want a partner and don’t already have one, there is a good chance you aren’t emotionally ready to meet The One. You might think you are, but you’re probably not. If you were ready, you would have already met someone. Before you go getting all upset with me, read on.
Love is everywhere, all around us, all the time, and it is available to everyone. If you have not found the partner of your dreams it is not because he or she isn’t out there. You might not have found someone because, at some level, you still don’t feel that you deserve to be loved. This belief is causing you to push love away. When you truly feel deserving of love, you will draw it to you naturally and effortlessly.
The reason you need to learn how date and get emotionally naked is because this is the best way to uncover what’s in the way. You need to clear a path for this person to come in. The universe rewards action, not thought. We create what we focus our attention on. Sitting around hoping this situation will work itself out is risky. If you take this approach, you might be gambling away your chance to have the greatest prize life has to offer: Unconditional Love.
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HOW TO HOOK ‘EM WITH THAT FIRST EMAIL
Internet dating: isn’t it fun? It can be if know how to have fun with it. Don’t just sit back and wait for people to contact you. If you are male or female (especially if you’re female) reach out and contact the people you find attractive. It’s a whole different world of dating today. What I tell my clients is to think of Internet dating like a huge single’s party. Let’s say you were looking around the room and someone caught your eye. You could never be sure who noticed whom first. Maybe the other person had been checking you out seconds earlier. The thing is to hook that other person’s attention and create a spark so they he or she will want to talk to you. It’s the same with the Internet. All you want to do is get the other person’s attention and make them want to know more.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of introductory emails that my best friend and I sent to some promising candidates that got immediate responses.
Hello Aussie Guy,
How’d you wind up in good old LA? You are absolutely adorable. I see that you like “all things about being a man.” I love all things about you being a man, too. And I can be quite a woman under the right circumstances. I also like what you said about helping each reach greater potential together. Although I have already reached my greatest potential at the ripe old age of 34, I can always help you get there ;-). No really, life is great at this end and would be even better shared with the right someone.
Would love to hear from you if you think we’re a match!
*(Name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent)
Hi Guy Without Headline,
You are so cute, but not too cute! (That’s a compliment.) I am not a fashionista, so if that’s what you’re looking for, keep going! But I have all the other things on your list. I understand that you love art and architecture. I grew up around the stuff but don’t know who’s who. I would love for you to teach me more. I am always open to learning and love an intelligent man who expand my world. Is that you?
Why were her emails so effective? Because she knows how to “hook” a man’s attention. Let’s see how:
Hook #1: Create Sparks: Chloe creates a kind of playful tension right from the very start. “Hey Aussie Guy!” Her first line is bold and provocative. She says things a lot of people would think but not say, like the line about having already reached her potential at the age of 34. There is something intriguing about a person who would do that. People love people who challenge them.
Hook #2: Flatter them: She shows that she read their profiles. She relates to what they said but not in an “Oh Look We Both Like to Hike” kind of way. Again, she makes it funny, confident, and provocative. “I’m not a fashionista, so if that’s what you’re looking for, keep going!”
Hook #3: Give ’em What They Want: She purposely tells men what they want to hear. “I love a guy who can teach me more. Is that you?” She really means it, but she also knows that this is a hook.
Hook #4: Sexual Overtone: She says things like “I like all things about you being a man, too. And I can be quite a woman under the right circumstances.” If this guy is a healthy, hot-blooded male, he’s thinking she means sex.
If all your emails say is, “I liked your profile and think we have some things in common,” and you’re not getting responses, try to plant some hooks like the ones above. Remember, you are looking for romance, not friendship. Practice creating that playful, seductive spark. If you are the kind of person who “is only playful after you get to know someone,” get over yourself. The Internet is the best place in the world to practice getting out of your shell. If you really can’t loosen up, have a glass of wine or get a fun friend to sit with you and write emails. Keep throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks.
When I was a kid vacationing in Mexico with my family, my older brother once said, “Lisa, you are so intense. I don’t know how any man is going to deal with you.” Today my husband tells me that I am the most playful person he knows. I didn’t just happen to meet the right guy. I became a playful person and then I attracted the right guy to me. It’s time to take risks, have some fun, and get naked!
She creates a lot of the sparks. She is sparky. She’s not waiting for someone else to light things up.
My Boyfriend Didn’t Give Me a Valentine
My boyfriend and I met online about 6 months ago. He’s a great guy. In fact, everything has been going really well. He even mentioned that we should move in together when the time is right, so I know he wants to build a relationship with me. But then, on Valentine’s Day, I felt like we slammed into a wall going 350 miles an hour. Lisa, he didn’t get me anything—no flowers, no gift, not even a card! To make matters worse, a couple of the girls at work made comments like, “Aren’t you dating someone?” And, “Where are your flowers?” I felt so humiliated. The thing is that we had gone to Tahoe the weekend before to “celebrate Valentine’s Day,” but we split everything, so it didn’t feel like much of a celebration to me. Besides, I had told I had gotten him a gift and that I was excited to give it to him, so he must have known I was expecting him to get me something. I don’t know if I can get over this. What do I do?
I get why you are so disappointed. Most women want to feel like a princess on Valentine’s Day. Still, you cannot let one event define an entire relationship. You have had six wonderful months with this man and you need to take that into account. You also need to remember that everyone makes mistakes. One day you are going to make a mistake. You can count on it. How you handle this situation will set a precedent for your entire relationship. You can choose to approach things like an adult. This would mean telling him how you felt, letting him know what you would like from him going forward, and then letting it go. Or, you can hold a grudge and let it eat away at you. The choice is yours.