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If He Could Fly (poem)

If his words were a plane
his words would be an old broken down world war II plane. His words
would look like the streets of Colombia, old and homeless words
that reak of silence and emotions drowned out by alcohol.
His words would never fly because poverty has made his heart heavy
and depression is known to kill inhibition. He might try to talk after he’s drank
a bottle of aguardiente, he might dance alone in the streets, and sniff a few lines of pride
but reality can’t escape and poverty eats away at all hope and admiration makes him hopeless.

This plane once flew, it once soared over mountains with a painting of shark’s jaws on the side
but eventually he ran out of gas, the propeller stop spinning and the silence that creates words stop working
As the plane began to fall he began to look down, he realized America now means North America
and South America can’t fly because that culture is being eaten by the vultures.

Words being slurred make the view foggy and I can’t ever understand what we’re talking about
Maybe it’s technology that keeps us separate
because now that he’s landed
he always has to be talking with Vallenatos or Rancheras blasting. And
when he sees me, he remembers himself, but he won’t admit we’re the same!
Instead he just shoots empty bullets
until he’s out of ammo and then he begins to cry with apologies.
I wish he didn’t have to be drunk to fly. So many emotions kept secret, so much gas to fill that plane up
But he thinks struggle is heavy
and he can’t ever see over his ego. Father,
why did you decide to use your words for war, why did you push my mother out?
Hope has parachuted out the plane.

Then there’s my words, the words are similar to my father’s
The words of a boy who’s never forgotten and still hasn’t forgiven.
But believe me if I could I would carry my family
from Colombia to North America, or maybe I would fly enough planes to South America
to make people see that America doesn’t mean North America. If I could, I would use verbs
to fly, make circles around the world like a beautiful O written in cursive,
I would hang from paper lines like a y and write words like love until my existence became a sentiment.
I would make a beautiful dance to bridge cultures and this alphabet.

Then there’s my Mother’s words. They have disappeared into the center of an O–her hollow spirit surrounds
me like a noun that holds silence within it’s sound, a description that guides my flight. So, what words would you use to spark the fuse and begin the flight.

My Son Won’t Stop Playing Video Games. Part II

Recently I’ve noticed something obvious, yet fundamental to being a parent.

My son does as I do and less as I say. Our kids watch us then copy what they see.

So, how does this relate to video games? How do our own behaviors affect our children’s habits in regards to video games?

While I don’t play video games for hours there are other activities that I do for hours–and sometimes beyond what is necessary or healthy for other parts of my life- especially family life. (I play around on my phone, computer, and reading for countless hours. Sometimes these activities are done at the cost of spending family time or having a balanced life).

If we really are concerned about our kids video game habits, we have to take some proactive steps in acknowledging we too are to blame for the imbalance.

Here are some simple tips to help you curb your kids’ video game addiction, and help your child have a more balanced life.

1- Role model (if there’s something you do for hours instead of family time maybe you can do less of it)

2- Spend more time with your child

3- Set limits on video game time. Kids like limits, knowing what to expect is healthy for all of us and more so for kids. Be consistent with your rules and limits. It will help your kid know the boundaries.

4- Try playing the video game with your child or just watch and ask some questions. Show interest in their game, this brings you two closer–by doing this you might find that they want to turn off the games and spend time with you.

5- Give your child suggestions for alternate activities (homework, art, calling someone, going outside, chores, cook together, etc.)

These tips helped me and the parents I talk with tremendously.

Tell me what you what has worked for you.

Fighting too much? Here’s the Solution

Tired of having this too often?

Tired of having this too often?

Are you tired of this? Does it seem like you and your partner are constantly fighting?

Renowned marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman discovered that 69% of couple’s problems are recurring. More than two-thirds of the things a couple fights about are the same issues, coming up over and over again. Sound familiar?

I’ve worked with too many couples to deny the fact above. All couple experience this to one degree or another. And it can be exhausting to fight about the same problem over and over again. So many couples tell me they thought they had solved something only to have it pop up again. How can that NOT be tiring?

In my own relationship, one recurring problem we have is my cleanliness. My partner’s standards of clean exceed mine. I am often faced with her tardiness. Four-and-a-half years together, and I now expect a certain degree of tardiness on her part. Even if these exact issues aren’t similar to yours, I’m sure you can relate.

So why is it that some problems don’t seem to have any solution at all?

Problems Recur Because We Are Different

Yes, the above statement is simplistic. But if you keep it in mind, it can be profound and effective. Instinctively, we want our partner to be like us, or at the very least understand us. But understanding only comes when you are willing to give it. Next time you find yourself in one of those recursive arguments, telling yourself “Here we go again,” slow down and try to show some understanding.

Of course, it’s really never that simple is it, but if you keep reading, I can offer some insight on the subject.

A useful first step to resolving conflict is to make a map of your lover’s heart. What does he care about? What is most important in her world?

As noted, we should approach perpetual problems by offering understanding. And that’s all. You don’t have to offer any more than that, just the opportunity for them to feel like they have expressed themselves successfully and make sure they feel heard and understood.

We do it by giving understanding to our partner. Notice, I only said, “Give understanding.” This seems overly simple, but as a solution, it can work like magic. When your partner feels heard and understood, you may find that she loses interest in fighting.

How Do You Give Understanding?

Concretely, the first thing you do is ask questions. Remember when you first met your partner and you were both infatuated? Odds are you spend hours inquiring into each other’s lives, trying to learn all the detail you could.

Now try to remember how that made you feel.

I know that it made and continues to make me feel special. But when we fight, when we have conflict, we forget to ask questions. We focus on ourselves. In the early days, you enjoyed getting lost in someone else and temporarily forgetting yourself. It’s hard to remember to do that when you’re upset, especially when you’re upset about something that seems to come up over and over again.

After working with hundreds of couples, I can honestly tell you that questions make or break love. The healthiest couples I’ve ever worked with all tell me that they never stop learning about their partners. Happy couples remain interested and inquisitive about each other.

A Case Study

I remember one couple in particular who constantly argued about who would send in the rent check. Some of you may relate to that, some of you may think it was silly, but it was a big deal to them, on a constant basis.

At the end of our session, I guided the couple in asking questions. The husband learned that his wife was undergoing constant stress in her position as a stay-at-home mom. He gained insight into the pressure that she was under and realized that she felt overwhelmed in taking care of their children. The wife also had some “aha!” moments when she found out that her husband was sick and tired of his job and wanted to quit. He also felt guilty because he wanted to be at home more and wasn’t able to do so.

That information had been there the whole time, of course, and just one session allowed both of them to find out information that made a world of difference in how they interacted with each other and treated each other.

The next time I saw them, I asked if the rent check issue had come up again. And, of course, it had come up; neither of them had sent it. But this time both of them were invested in offering understanding to the other instead of accusing the other of forgetting. The wife knew that her husband was short on sleep that week. The husband recognized that being a stay-at-home mom with two children meant she was spread thin. They made a point of thinking about their partner and not just themselves.

This couple wasn’t able to truly listen to each other until they made the effort to inquire about the other’s world, priorities, concerns. What started as an ongoing problem turned into an opportunity for them to strengthen their marriage after ten years.

I find this dedication inspiring. Realistically, we face problems that may never actually end. You partner probably has quirks that he or she will not change. Transformation comes from compassion. When we face challenges, we can offer understanding through asking questions.

So Now What?

Next time you face conflict with your partner, try some of these techniques to implement what you learned today.

  • When your partner is upset, ask him or her why it is they feel so passionate about this specific issue
  • Make sure your partner knows and sees that you really want to understand
  • Listen for key points and then use active listening to gain clearer understanding

Here’s an example of how you can implement this technique.

“Honey, I’ve noticed that you get really upset when this comes up, but I don’t know why. Why is this so important for you?”

Now take a moment to be quiet and listen. Take in the information offered, and perhaps ask follow up questions to clarify so that you truly do understand.

“Wow, I never realized that me doing that made you feel unimportant. That certainly wasn’t what I wanted. What is it that you would like to see happen instead?”

You’ll notice that agreeing to do what your partner says is not part of this technique. Just listen and ask questions. Appreciate the situation and why it keeps coming up. Note what you learned. Trying to solve a problem keeps the problem the focus. Where there is understanding that is often an answer, and if there isn’t, there is still compassion, which is another word for love.

A word I often hear in these circumstances is “disconnected”. The prefix dis- means to turn away from. So when someone tells me, “I feel disconnected from my partner,” what I now hear is that “I feel like my partner is turning away from me.” When you turn away, you are not listening, and you are definitely not showing interest or compassion.

Feel free to leave a comment or a suggestion of your own.

How do you think you can apply this couple’s breakthrough to your relationship? Is there a problem you have in your relationship where you can apply this kind of understanding?

Improve the Romance with Feng Shui

At one point I was a 24 year old who hadn’t had a girlfriend.

I was shy, nervous, and afraid to speak to women.

This wasn’t ok with me anymore.

I made the resolution to solve it, to learn and do whatever I needed to handle this part of my life.

I went and grabbed tons of books, mp3’s, videos, and anything else. I needed a full makeover. (I know it’s funny to think of guy being this insecure and nervous, and putting in all this effort–but it was important to me).

In my research on dating – which ranges from neuro-linguistic programming, meditation, social rapport building techniques, visualization, marriage research, pick up, and Feng Shui – I found Feng Shui to be the least acknowledged and yet one of the most important. It is one of the fields of study that really helped me make my home an inviting space that made women see who I really am.A field that isn’t often touched on but powerful is Feng Shui.

Originally termed for how buildings reference other buildings, Feng Shui, as a concept, acknowledges the manner by which how we arrange our stuff reflects our consciousness; therefore if you change your stuff you change your life.

Your possessions as well as how you arrange them reflect your consciousness. A great example of how our possessions say something about our beliefs is illustrated in a the famous movie The Secret. If you recall, in the film, a Feng Shui coach shared a story about a man who wanted a partner but had many pictures of a lonely woman in his home. The Feng Shui coach advised him to replace the paintings with those of women who signified availability – as these would have a more positive reflection on his dating outcomes.

Very soon after making this change, the man was engaged to the love of his life.

Now, if you believe all this to be wuu wuu, think about how you feel inside a dirty house. If someone’s home smells bad and they have their stuff thrown about everywhere, do you want to be there? I am sure your answer is no and if that is so, it’s safe to say you probably also don’t want to date and live with that person either. Similarly, if someone’s home reflect similar values and is inviting to you, you are more likely to be romantically interested.

I am sure that if you’re like me- when you have people over you like to have a  clean space. I’m also sure you like the environment to be this way because you want them to feel good while in your home.

Your place and your things communicate who you are and what you want. By altering your environment you can influence how you are perceived and what you communicate about yourself – negatively or positively.

Many of us don’t know to what extent our belongings and their arrangement really do communicate who we are. In studying Feng Shui, I learned some simple techniques to really help aid me in this awareness.

In a moment, I would like to share some simple tips with you that really helped me in my dating life.

I have found that many women will quickly make lasting decisions about a man based on what he owns and how he shows it off. Men also assess whether they would want a relationship with a woman by her environment and what she owns.

When it comes to our homes and personal spaces, we are often not intentional with what we do and we don’t take the time to analyze what our space and our belongings may be communicating about ourselves to others. Bringing consciousness to your home, space, and possessions can bring a new sense of intentional creativity to your life.

Specifically when it comes to love and romance, there are very simple steps you can take. Take for example: A bed with two bedside tables communicates that there is room for someone else in your bed and in your life, candles in your space signify light and romance. Art that you choose to hang or display in your home can uplift you and share who you are to guests.

Obviously this makes a very simple example of some very complicated principles, but by just applying these simple suggestions you will dramatically what you are communicating to your guests. In most of my life I have found that simple tips are all that we need. These tips helped me find more happiness in the romance area. Since most communication is non-verbal, through making some simple changes we are communicating to the world our intention to have a partner, a happy home, and space that invites others into our lives.

Here are some fun and easy tips on how to apply Feng Shui in your personal abode – which will lead to positive outcomes in the rest of your life:

*Clear away clutter

*Buy new sheets that your ideal partner might enjoy

*Find an item or items that are symbolic of your intention (a small stone heart, images of couples, anything that conveys your desire for love and coupledom).

*Place different items in pairs around the home (two conadles, two small quartz hearts, two little statues).

*Hang pictures or display art that inspires you

*Find a scent that speaks to you and keep it in your space (I personally enjoy lavendar)

*Burn some sage. This is known as smudging and is traditionally used for clearing bad energy

Try these tips out and send your responses. Please share ideas of your own on how to organize your space and stuff for more success in love.

Deepen the Love by Listening to Your Body

How to Tune Into Your Body and Make Yourself Transparent

At some point during your day, take a moment to stop what you’re doing. Close your eyes, and put your attention on your body. Consciously feel what your body is feeling. Put your attention anywhere there is sensation. If you are seated, maybe you feel your glutes against the seat. Put your attention there. Then reach out to feel your feet, fingers, and then your chest, expanding and contracting with each breath. Allow yourself to feel your body.

As you practice feeling consciously, know that you are also practicing honesty, integrity, and even love. Love is attention, and by attending to the present moment of your experience you are giving yourself love.

As you continue experiencing and feeling, consciously work to be omnipotent in your own body. Feel as much as possible all at once. Feel your feet against the floor, your fingers and the cool breeze against them, the cool and soothing air entering your nostrils, lungs, and filling your chest. See how the multitudes of sensation make up your conscious experience.

If this is too much, gently bring the attention to one place, then two, then three, and let yourself be absorbed by the experience of being you right now.

Try this out, and then look for my upcoming Body Conscious Awareness Meditation exercise to help you further your practices of sensation and experience. For now, practice this simple technique and see how often you can be present to yourself in this way throughout your day.

If you would like help tuning into your body here are some paths that I have found to be helpful in aiding my own process: Tai Chi, Yoga, The Release Technique, nature walks, walking barefoot in grass, and meditation.

Body Conscious Listening

Perfect Communication Makes Perfect Love

Everyone agrees communication is essential to a healthy relationship. And that’s certainly true, but it is a very special type of communication that makes for a fantastic love. When you really think about it, we’re always communicating, so it’s not so much about just communication, but how you communicate.

An excellent example is what Drs. John and Julie Gottman call The Four Horsemen: Criticism, contempt, disrespect, and stonewalling. These are certainly communication techniques, but in this case they’re unhealthy and best avoided, as they communicate to a partner that we don’t care and that we are not present.

So you can see that it’s not lack of communication that can undermine a relationship. Everything we do communicates, be it love or fear, interest or disinterest, respect or disrespect. Learning to communicate only love, interest, and respect takes a special awareness.

So how can we develop those particular communication skills?

In my work with the Gottmans, I’ve learned that tuning into your own body is a great way to start learning about how you communicate. Most of the time when we communicate, we’re charging toward a resolution, we think that getting to the point is the most important thing and this is where most arguments go wrong.

Aristotle himself pointed out that the happy life is one in which the means is also an end to itself. I interpret this to mean we should make the present as important as the future, and as a result, you will have a happy life.

This becomes a key point in arguments, because so often we miss out on the “present” of the discussion, the whole point really, because we’re just trying to get to the solution without accepting or listening to what the other party is trying to say. This not only leads to an inadequate resolution, but usually means the argument will come up again and again, because nothing has really been resolved.
In couples coaching I hear again and again that couples argue about something that they thought was taken care of in a previous argument. Perpetual, recurring problems are very common for many couples, and I know that the solution has less to do with solving the issue than with learning a new way to discuss it. The three steps are to truly communicate the issue, listen to what the other person has to say about it, and then finally, and least importantly, resolve the issue.

Often, and unfortunately, couples typically want to get straight to the solution. Sadly, and not to show gender bias, this is especially true of men, who tend to be more results-oriented. Focusing on the resolution is like ruining a vacation by driving as fast as you can to the destination and not stopping anywhere along the way.

So how do you resolve problems, especially those that may have been hanging around for years, or even decades?

The simple answer is this: Learn to sit in the fire. Accept that you will have to face some discomfort along the way. You will have to feel your way through the problem.

When you talk (or argue) with your partner, it’s easy to focus on the destination and not the journey. The answer is in the means, not in the end. How we come to solve our disagreements and issues, come to a point of understanding, and ultimately how we come together is the journey of love. Seeing that happen is a truly beautiful thing.

In Dr. David Schnarch’s book Intimacy and Desire, he refers to the process of merging: the process of fully allowing yourself to be seen by your partner. Merging is opening yourself up, becoming so open-hearted and transparent that your partner can fully see you. An open heart is a truly beautiful thing, but for some reason (typically as a form of protection) as a human species we learn to shelter ourselves. We may present as open, but we’re ready to close in an instant. To be open, particularly to live open, requires a lot of conscious attention, awareness, and specific intention.
One of the steps toward merging is forgetting about the destination and appreciating the journey. That happens when we see that the means (listening and communicating) is more important than the ends (resolving the argument).

An excellent way to learn to tune into the present is by becoming more aware of your body. During arguments this is especially helpful, though often difficult to remember to do. A great part of the richness of life is feeling, and that means experiencing each and every emotion, not just the ones you like. Listening to your emotions can become a sacred practice, tuning into your body and your feelings, every sensation gives us a clue as to what is true and real, and it will also let you know what your body is communicating, whether you intend to or not.

When you tune into your bodily sensations, you can easily become lost in the experience. If you allow that to happen, what could be an argument with your partner can turn away from who is right into finding new ways to share and expose yourselves to each other. It can be beautiful and freeing to be transparent.

I first learned about being transparent through the book Conscious Loving by Gary Hendricks, Ph.D and Kathlyn Hendricks (click here for a recording of my interview with Gary). In this book, the authors suggest that by tuning into bodily sensations and sharing that awareness, we can open ourselves to telling the actual, unarguable truth. By communicating our awareness of our bodily sensations (I feel like this right now…), we take the focus off blame and turn the focus into an opportunity to share, open up, and begin merging.

I once heard the teacher Nirmala say, “Love is space.” When we learn to tune into our body, then voice our experience, we give space, we give love, and we open our hearts. Thus, we can merge with our partner.

If you would like to learn how to tune into your body here is one very powerful way:

Some time today, take a moment to stop what you’re doing. Close your eyes, and put your attention into your body. Consciously try to feel what your body is doing. Focus anywhere there is sensation. If you’re sitting, maybe you feel your glutes against the seat. Put your attention there. Then let that attention expand to your legs and your toes, your chest, your arms, and your fingers. Feel each breath. Feel the brush of the air as it moves against your skin. Feel the different textures of your clothes against your body.

As you practice feeling consciously, know that you are practicing a deep level of honesty, integrity, and even love with yourself. One form of love is attention, and by attending to the present of your experience, you are showing yourself love.
As you continue to experience and feel consciously, work to be in tune with your body. Feel as much as possible all at once. Feel the pressure of your feet against the floor at the same time as you feel the air entering your lungs through your mouth and nose. Learn to feel the different sensations as one complete conscious experience.

If this is too much at first, bring your attention to a single place, and then expand one sensation at a time to let yourself absorb into the experience of being you in the immediate present.

Give it a try, and then look for my upcoming Body Conscious Awareness Meditation exercise to help you further the practice of loving yourself through personal attention. For now, try this simple technique and see how often you can be present to yourself through the day.

If you are interested in other ways of tuning into your body, here are some other techniques I have found helpful in aiding the process: Tai Chi, Yoga, nature walks, The Release Technique, meditation, and even just walking barefoot on grass.

Fung Shui for Dating:



When I first began dating I knew I wanted a real special someone. I wanted my heart to break open, I wanted to fall in love. I wanted my first love.


I read everything I could get my hands. I read books, watched informational videos, and mp3’s ranging from; Marriage Education, Dating, Seduction, Kama Sutra, Rapport Building, Nuero-Lingustic Programming, Spirituality, Tantra, and anything else I figured would help me become confident at attracting a partner.


One area of study often overlooked in the field of dating is Feng Shui.


If you are unfamiliar with what Feng Shui is, it can be described as the art of organizing your things to help manifest, organize, and create a conscious flow with your stuff. Feng Shui is an art and science that acknowledges that things have an energy. Our stuff communicates who we are, what we want, and even our secrets. By moving and/or changing our things in our homes we influence how we are perceived, what we communicate with our source about ourselves, and impact our ability to manifest.


Have you ever had the experience of walking into someone’s home and not wanting to be there? I know I sure have. I can recall walking into a friends house and their clothes were everywhere, it reaked of cigarettes, and the television was blasting with negative news media- I wanted out of there like it was a life or death situation.


Imagine my friend bringing a potential romantic partner over to that a house. Do you think she would want to stay?


Of course not! Do you think she would still want to date him? I doubt it.


Our homes and the things we own say a lot about us. In talking to women I know that most women judge a man greatly by what he owns and how he chooses to display his stuff. Though most men don’t say it, they also look at what a woman owns to understand her and her world, and to assess whether they would want to date her.


I highly recommend reading some books on Feng Shui. I When it comes to our homes we are often not so intentional, not recognizing that the things we own and have in our homes say something about us. Our stuff reflects aspects of us. Bringing consciousness to how you arrange your things, brings a new sense of intentional creation to your life.


In the area of love we can arrange our bed so that there are two bedside tables. This communicates to potential partners that there’s a space for them. We can put some candles in our room- they signify light, love, and romance. We can hang paintings around our home that uplift us- so when friends, and potential partners come to our place they can see who you are and if they like what you choose to hang they and you are much more likely to connect on a deeper level.


These are some simple tips. I recall reading one Feng Shui book where a young successful man seeks the advice a Feng Shui expert. Upon entering his home she notices several paintings of a sad woman. Paintings depicting a woman being adored but several men, a woman teasing men, a woman who is not available.


While listening to the young man she hears from him that he often finds women that are unavailable. After hearing his experiences in love, she asks about the paintings. He proudly tells her that he painted them. The woman then points out to him that all the paintings are of a woman who is unavailable, who teases but doesn’t commit- just like the women he dates. She advices him to paint new paintings of happy women, women in love, couples, of images that inspire his heart and consciously bring to his mind what he would like in a relationship.


Several weeks later he reported being happily in a monogamous relationship with a woman he felt was the one.


Here are some tips I suggest:


*buy new sheets that your ideal partner would like

*Get some items that to you are symbolic of your intention (be it love, money, creativity, weight loss, happiness, family…etc).

*put a table on each side your bed

*pair different items in two’s around your home

*hang pictures that inspire you (they don’t have to be romantic- they can inspirational in any way)

*Clear away clutter (things you don’t use- try selling or donating them)

*Old pictures of past loves (why do you still have them?)

*Try smudging (open some windows, take some Sage, light it and walk around the house with it burning- this acts as a clearing)



Any ideas on how to organize your stuff for more success in love, money, creativity, inspiration?


The Power of Words

Recognizing the Power of Words

Recently I was reminded of just how powerful our words can be. Words are like incantations that we use to put others, and even ourselves, under spells. As someone who is frequently in a leadership position, I am always astounded by how my words can become like catch phrases that others repeat. This awareness has led to me becoming more conscious of what I say and how I say it.

In the book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz says that our words simply are a way we create spells for people. With words people can empower and uplift their children, their partner, or a whole a community. In Don Miguel’s works he advises people to be conscious of their words, to truly know the meaning of their words, and the way in which they impact the relationships we have with others and the world.

When you think about the relationships you have with other people, consider the level of love you show by how you talk about others. In the work of Drs. John and Julie Gottman, they found that for every 7 negative things said to a partner, the spouse/partner will get sick once that year. They refer to this as the 7:1 ratio.

When I came across these scientific findings I was not all surprised. Our words even carry the power to alter molecular structure. Dr. Emoto proved this with his work using water crystals. The water crystals that had loving words spoken to them were beautiful; the crystalized water that had been spoken to harshly was incomplete and twisted.

The Gospel of John says, “In the beginning was the Word.” To me, this means that everything begins with words, or rather with the vibration of our voice itself. If you commit to using words to bless and love your partner, imagine what kind of relationship you could have. If you put your focus on loving your partner with words, what can you give them?

In a study done over some years, psychologists took two groups of students: one group was the top students in the school, the other group was academically and behaviorally the worst. The teachers were told to tell the students that were ‘bad’ that they were good. The teachers were told to praise these students and give them lots of compliments. Similarly, teachers were directed to tell the students that were ‘good’ that they were not so good and that their grades were falling behind. What do you think happened?

You guessed it! The students that were ‘bad’ became great students. Their grades went up, their behavior got better, and their self-esteem dramatically improved. Meanwhile, the students that used to be good became more troublesome, their grades fell, and their self-esteem dropped.

If the words of a teacher have so much power over students, if the words of a scientist have so much power over water, imagine the power you have with your partner. If you want to create your ideal relationship, start with your words, your vibrations. Speak lovingly to your partner to build them up, to increase their own success, even to improve their immune system. If you show gratitude, gentleness, and warmth to your partner, they will return it. How can you lose?


Stop Fighting: For Couples Who Fight Too Much

Tired of having this too often?

Tired of Fighting?

Renowned, marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman discovered that 69% of couple’s problems are recurring.  This means the majority of the problems are recurring.

Ever had the experience of arguing over an issue over and over again?

I know all couples have. I’ve worked too many couples to kid myself.

It gets exhausting to fight about the same problems over and over again. I’ve heard so many couples say, “I thought we solved this issue, then it pops up again. I’m exhausted by this.”

In my relationship a perpetual problem we have is my cleanliness. My partner’s expectation of a clean house exceeds mine. Another one is her tardiness, she shows up late a lot. Four and a half years together and I can pretty much expect her to be tardy. Can you relate, are there are some problems that despite years together the problems continues?

Why is it some problems don’t have solutions?

Problems Recur Because We Are Different

I know the above statement is simple. Yet, it’s profound.  Many of us want our partner to be like us. At the very least we want them to understand us.

Understanding only comes when you are willing to give it. Next time you find yourself in one of those perpetual problems, slow down, and try giving understanding.

I know it can be hard, so keep reading and I’ll give you some insight on the subject.

What can we do to transform problems into opportunities for intimacy, connection, and deeper love? 

Here’s a clue to resolving conflict. Make a map of your lover’s heart, her life, her ticks. Inquire into his world.

How do we work with perpetual problems?

We do it by giving understanding to our partner. Notice, I only said, “Give understanding.” This means we just give understanding, nothing else. Funny enough, giving our partner time to share and be understood is like magic. When our partner feels heard, they often loose interest in fighting.

Luis, How Can I Give Understanding? 

We do it by asking questions.

Remember when you first met your partner? You were both enfauted and spent hours inquiring into each other’s lives.

How did that make you feel?

I am sure it made you feel special. When we have problems we forget to ask questions. We become self-centered. There’s nothing more sexy than asking questions and forgetting about yourself for a moment.

After working with nearly 300 couples I know questions make or break love. The healthiest and most successful couples I’ve worked with all say: “There’s always more to learn about my partner.” Happy couples never stop being interested in each other.

Case Study Into How Questions Work Magic

I recall one couple who had continually argued about who sent the rent check. Silly to some of us. Serious to them. At the end of our session wife and husband used the art of inquiry.

Husband learned that his wife had felt so stressed by being a stay at home mom. He gained insight and saw she felt overwhelmed by doing care taking for two kids. The understanding allowed him to see that his absence really wore on her. Similarly, his wife had some ‘a-ha!’ moments. She didn’t realized that he felt exhausted by his job. He wanted to quit. He felt guilty that he wasn’t home, and wanted to be.

Their insights had been there the whole time. Our session just allowed true listening to occur.

The following month they came into my office, and I asked them about the rent check issue. They said that it came up again: but this time both husband and wife were invested in understanding. They both apologized for not sending it out and gave each other understanding. The wife understood her husband had been short on sleep that week. He understood that being a stay at home mom to two daughters spreads her thin. They thought of the other.

It wasn’t until they were able to inquire into the other’s world that they were able to truly listen and understand each other. This problem was a beautiful gift and opportunity for them to deepen their ten years of marriage.

The dedication this couple has is inspiring. Often times the problems we have will never end. Your partner has quarks he/she won’t ever change. Transformation is in compassion. In hard times we give understanding through asking questions.

Some Ways to Implement Today’s Post

  • Next time a problem comes up, give this a shot. Ask him/her what they feel so passionate about this topic.
  • Tell your partner you really want to understand
  • Listen for key points. Then ask about what they said to gain clearer understanding.
Here’s a quick example:
Honey, I’ve noticed this issue really upsets you. I am curious, “What is so important about this for you?”
…quiet, listen.  (Then respond with understanding, and maybe another question).
“Wow, I never realized that my being late made you feel umimportant. It wasn’t my intention. I am wondering, what is that you would like to happen.”
Notice I didn’t say, AGREE to DO WHAT SHE ASKS
Just listen, and ask questions. Learn, ask. Note what you heard. Forget the solution.

Trying to solve problems, instead of understanding keeps problems. When there’s understanding, there’s usually an answer, and if not there’s compassion–which is love.

When we say, “I feel disconnected.” The prefix ‘dis’ means to turn away from. So, when we say, “I feel disconnected from my partner” what we are saying is, “I feel my partner is turned away from me.” When we are turned away, we are not listening, and we are not interested.

Your Turn, leave a comment.

How can you apply this couple’s breakthrough to your relationship? Is there a problem you have yet to apply true understanding?