Coupling Connection - Dr. Jenn Oikle
Coupling Connection - Dr. Jenn Oikle

Welcome to RelationSmarts!

A Dating, Mating and Relating E-Newsletter

May 29, 2006

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Coupling Connetion - Successful Relating
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Coupling Connetion - Passion Perks
Coupling Connetion - Reading List
Coupling Connetion - Book Reviews

Every other week, we'll be delivering smart and fresh relating tips. We know you are busy, so let these quick ideas inspire you to create your ideal relationship! Each edition will include helpful information in these three categories:

  • Dating – tips on finding and keeping the perfect partner
  • Mating – take the Passion Perks challenge and perk up your love life!
  • Relating – tips on making your connection Extraordinary

Be sure to scroll down and check out news of note and announcements for singles and couples! We'll be keeping you abreast of relationship happenings you may find useful.

RelationTip: Remember, information is only good if you USE it. Research shows that if you don't use a new piece of information within two weeks, you won't ever use it! So if you want an extraordinary relationship, try something new today!

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Dating: The Broken Road

I love country music. Crazy but true. I used to hate country music, but if you are a real romantic, there is nothing like the country love ballad. Man, there’s a million country love songs that can touch you to the core. Why should you care? Because recently there was a popular hit by Rascal Flats that has an important lesson for you.

Check out these lyrics from “Bless the Broken Road”:
I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms

This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

Within those highlighted words lies perhaps the most critical (and most hard learned) dating lesson of all. So, what’s the lesson? Listen up, because I want you to memorize it and make it your mantra: “Everything is unfolding as it should be. My true love is on his/her way. So rather than lament, I will ask, What is the lesson I am supposed to learn from this?”

I know, every time a hopeful new romance turns south, or your latest internet flame goes cold, or your 67th new date heads nowhere- it’s easy to be disappointed and become discouraged. Believe me, I have been there. But there is one very simple shift in your perception of the situation that has the power to change your entire dating experience. When you honestly put your faith in the above mantra, you realize that the path to true love is not direct from A to B (otherwise we all would have arrived by now!). Instead, there are certain number of broken roads you will NEED to travel before you arrive there. Why? Because these roads, these “failed” relationships, are not failures at all. Instead, it is through them that you are absorbing the lessons that you HAVE to learn before you will be ready for your One to arrive. I know, it kind of sucks. But here is what I suggest you do: just accept the fact that there will be pain, rejection, and disappointment along the way. Rather than fight that- I want you to embrace it. Recognize that until you meet your One, every other relationship will end, as it is meant to! Holding on to it will only prolong the time until your perfect partner arrives.

Instead, this is your job: Every time you begin a romance, I want you to consider it an opportunity to learn an important lesson that will prepare you to be able to love your soul mate more deeply when they arrive. In fact, without this lesson, your soul mate may not even recognize you! So, I want you to be on the lookout for what that lesson might be. And when that romance comes to an end I want you to know deep in your bones that it ended because they were NOT THE ONE for you. Period. End of story. Rather than drive yourself to depression wondering why, why, why, and what if, I want you to be sure you have learned the lesson that person was brought to your life to teach you. Because as long as you have absorbed that lesson, a breakup is a cause for celebration! Honestly!! I know it’s hard to believe- but that ending means that you are one person, one lesson closer to your perfect partner arriving. How exciting is that?! But if you didn’t learn the lesson- you’ll have to be held back a grade and repeat that lesson, until you get it! Ouch- You don’t want that!

So, to put it another way, I am challenging you to completely alter the way you view the dating process. Instead of the usual loss mentality, I want you to embrace, really internalize this central concept:

Let’s pick a number. Any number. How about 10. Ok, from now on I want you to act as if you KNOW, without a doubt, that you will have to meet, become attached to at some level, and then let go of 10 partners BEFORE your true love will arrive. This is because you have 10 very critical lessons that you need to learn so that when they arrive, you will be fully prepared to give and receive a deep, rewarding, and mature love. If you do this, your soul mate will arrive on time, as soon as it is possible (they are doing their 10 too!). When you don’t do this- you will cause yourself more pain, and it will be longer before you will be ready for your soul mate to arrive. Or, even worse, they will arrive, but because you didn’t learn your lessons, you will not be able to create the ideal relationship. Let’s not take that risk!

I know that these ideas and concepts may be very foreign to you, and even sound insane. But I want you to REALLY think about what it would mean for your life if you decided to adopt this belief and make it your own. We’re all so used to being victims. But you are the creator of your destiny- and at any moment, YOU chose how to think, feel, and behave. This mantra has the power to free you from pessimism, doubt, and fear. Instead, you’ll operate out of a deep belief that everything is right in the world and your soul mate is on his/her way, bringing you a sense of peace, confidence, and curiosity. All things which will make you more attractive, not to mention feel more content, in the meantime. Then, you just need to keep doing your job and learning your lessons until they arrive.

If someone had tried to share with me this message 7 years ago, even 3 years ago, I would have rolled my eyes and smirked, “Yeah, right.” But I am sharing it with you now because my life has shown me that this is the truth. Having traveled many broken roads, and finally reaching my destination, I can clearly see that I wouldn’t have been ready to receive my soulmate if I not gone through all of those experiences and collected the wisdom each partner was attempting to share with me. But because I was prepared, when my perfect partner arrived, we were able to grow a beautiful love filled with joy and gratitude. But I also see with equal clarity, that because I resisted the lessons, and clung to these hopeless attachments, that my journey was lengthened and filled with more heart ache than necessary. I had to repeat lessons several times! But you don’t have to!

Action Step: Remember, every broken road is leading you straight to your perfect partner. And instead of being discouraged, your choice can be “Bring on the Next!” Consider adopting and living by the mantra: Everything is unfolding as it should be. My soulmate is on his/her way. What is the lesson I need to learn from this?

Relation Strategy: If this concept is hard for you to embrace and employ, consider joining one of our Dating Success Groups! Get the knowledge, insight, guidance, and support you need to make the best dating choices to lead you to your perfect partner! Groups are forming now so if you are interested, Email for more info by Monday June 5th!

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Mating: The Siren Solution

Women often complain that their husbands aren't very loving and affectionate. Furthermore, they are often frustrated that their guys are often not thoughtful and helpful enough around the home. As a result, many women aren't "in the mood" when it comes time for sex. What these women have forgotten is the
"Siren Solution." When women have complaints like these author Michelle Weiner Davis recommends trying an experiment for two weeks. She challenges them to act and dress sexier, to be more affectionate, responsive and passionate, even if they don't feel like it. She also encourages them to initiate sex more frequently and then, notice how their partner responds.

What are you likely to find? That your guy will be more loving, more emotionally intimate, AND more helpful around the house! Which will put you in the mood more often. Plus, you may have forgotten how good it feels to be seen as an attractive, sexual woman, which will boost your positive sense of self. All of this can rekindle the positive cycle of passion.

You see, many women forget that sex is an important need for men. When that need is met, men tend to feel cared for and attended to, which makes them more open and willing to meet your needs. A win-win situation.

Passion Perks Challenge: Turn on your Siren Solution this week!

Relation Tip: Check out Davis' book: The Sex-Starved Marriage: A Couples Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido

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Relating: Slaying the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse!

Dr. John Gottman is a marital research GOD. At the University of Washington, he has spent his lifetime studying what causes happy couples' love to thrive and unhappy couples' love to die. And, he has learned to predict with over 90% accuracy which couples will go on to divorce! Pretty important stuff- so for the next four letters we are going to cover the four most corrosive, harmful behaviors that will lead you down the path toward divorce. Dr. Gottman refers to these four danger signs as the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. If you recognize any of these behaviors habitually turning up in your relationship, it's time to find a more positive alternative- pronto!

These behaviors typically happen in a sequence so we will discus them in that order: criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling.

Criticism: Everyone has complaints about our partner, things that we wish they would change. And that's normal, we need to express our complaints in order to have our feelings heard and our needs addressed. But when complaints turn into criticism, they are lethal to love.

Criticism is any statement that implies that there is something globally wrong with your partner, probably something wrong about who they are, or something that is part of their personality. Whereas a compliant is a specific statement about a behavior and it's effects.

For example, a complaint might be: "I'm upset because you talked about yourself all through dinner and you didn't ask me anything about my day. That hurts my feelings."

A criticism might be: "You talked about yourself all through dinner and never asked me anything about my day. How can you treat me this way? You always do that! What kind of self-centered person are you? What is wrong with you!"

You can recognize criticism because they tend to be global versus specific (you always or you never versus today you) and personal rather than situational (you are self centered rather than at dinner you didn't ask me).

Criticism is so corrosive because you are attacking who you partner is as a person, rather than focusing on a behavior that you find unpleasant. This character assassination leaves very little room for your partner to respond positively. Instead, it automatically triggers defensiveness in your partner, starting a spiral downward, creating judgment, distance, and hurt rather than feelings of understanding and intimacy.

Action Step: Start paying attention to whether you typically use compliant or criticism with your partner. Work toward replacing criticism with complaint- a specific statement about your partner's behavior and it's effects.

Relation Tip: To effectively express a complaint try this structure: "I feel X, when you do Y."

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News For Singles

New Groups Forming Now! Dating Success Groups

Ready to find The One, but not sure how to do it? Want an affordable, fun way to successfully navigate your dating journey?

Then, make your dating an adventure that gets results by joining a group of supportive peers and getting expert guidance! Email for more info by June 5th!

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*NEW* Singles Workshop and E-course!

Sensational Singles:

How to Maximize Your Happiness and Create the Life That You Desire

Learn to empower yourself to create the happiness you deserve! In this course, you'll learn the benefits of happiness, the nine choices you can make to live a more joyful, satisfied life, and three tools to help you get there.

Dates for Singles University course to be announced soon. Email for course outline or for info on E-course.

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News For Couples

Relation Fact: A new study suggests that there may be a genetic component to infidelity. A new twin study showed that if one twin commits adultery, the other twin strays 55% of the time, compared with 23% of the time in the general population. The tendency to remain faithful appears to be a component of personality, which is governed by a number of genes and social factors.

Relation Strategy: If infidelity runs in your family- you may need to pay special attention to your commitment and employ strategies to keep your commitment strong.

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*NEW* Couples Assessment

How Strong is Your Relationship Foundation?

Just like any building, a relationship requires a strong foundation to survive and thrive over the long term. The “Building a Strong Relationship House” Inventory
provides a powerful, in-depth look at the factors essential for you to create a satisfying relationship with your partner. It assesses your relating style, relationship background, and the dynamics of your current relationship to give you a comprehensive plan for developing the most rewarding relationship possible. You’ll learn which relationship habits are holding you back as well as strategies to break those patterns and strengthen your bond. After completing a series of questionnaires, you will have a one-hour phone feedback session. Comes with a personalized Relationship Plan Report. Can be taken individually or as a couple. Individual cost: $45, Couple cost $65. Discounts apply when combined with any other service. Email for more info.

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* Have you tried a tip or tool from the Relation Smarts E-newsletter? We want to hear about it!? Let us know what your experience was like. Did it improve your connection? Or no? Email us! *

Do you have a topic, idea, question, or concern you'd like to have addressed in an upcoming newsletter? Email us!

Know someone who could use a little RelationSmarts? Feel free to forward the newsletter to family and friends!

May your relationships bring you the happiness you deserve,

Jennifer Oikle, Ph.D.

www.couplingconnection.com

coupling@couplingconnection.com

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