Saturday, July 20, 2013

Designing The Relationship You Want - Make Your Wife Love You - Step 4 Engaging - An Overview

The problem with relationships is that they are the advanced placement class in life. You can have everything else on the ball and still not do well here because... well... it's damn hard. In this article series we've explored how the path to fixing your relationship and your life starts with the unlikely step of sending them on a one-way desert island plane crash. And how the first step to creating that disaster is through a tool called the secret identity project.

Now the secret identity project is part one and it addresses the most important, most-neglected piece of the puzzle: your real day to day life. But there is another big flank we need to keep an eye on. And that is your relationship. So, this is a two-pronged attack.

In this article, I will introduce you to the concepts involved in what to do when you are not working on your secret identity project. (And you are working on your secret identity project, right? Just checking.) I call this wing of the attack: the rules of engagement. And there are four parts.

1) Understanding why she won't engage right now.

2) Evaluating her level of engagement.

3) Giving her room and reason to become more engaged.

4) Knowing what to do with a fully-engaged woman.

Understanding why she won't engage right now

Most men have no idea what leads a woman to engage. Ordinary guys have nothing to invite her to. And no, I'm not talking dinner and a movie here. The idea here is to create a personalized adventure that is all about you harnessing what is unique and best about you and taking it out into the world to make a mark.

Evaluating her level of engagement

To create more engagement requires increased awareness and responsiveness to the different levels of engagement she interacts on. The levels are red, yellow and green. In a future article I'll show you how to identify each and how to respond.

Giving her room and reason to become more engaged.

Working on your secret identity project is just one way you can create more space in your relationship. It will also increase the mystery and suspense around it because you purposefully don't share everything about what you are doing. You'll limit your interactions with her in a way that makes her pay attention and want more.

Knowing what to do with a fully-engaged woman

This is the missing puzzle piece that will keep your woman engaged and your relationship roaring hot for decades. And this is nothing more complicated than a basic expansion of your personalized adventure you started with your very first secret identity project. As you do project after project, you will find a natural direction and theme growing out of them. You will start to gravitate toward bigger and bolder work. And you will find yourself wanting and more and more able to make a major difference in the world. And wanting someone to share it with.

That's the plan. The next articles will show you how.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

When Good Character Needs No Defence

"Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree. The shadow is what we think of it and the tree is the real thing."
~ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865)

Times come and times go when we find ourselves either popular or maligned. Quick, it seems, our names may be dragged through the mud. Sometimes there is a basis for this, but most of the time people may be acting on misinformation or assumption or worse.

The reputation is quickly tarnished, but with faith our characters remain strong through testing ordeals.

When we are being attacked it is too easy to attack back, but the person of good character waits patiently and rebuilds their damaged reputation by the works of their hands and not by crafty works of the tongue.

Our characters are what are really real about us. If we become upset by the slings and arrows of those against us, and we cannot control our response, our character will be defined by the precise method of our response. That's fair enough.

What good is it to respond in a way that we malign ourselves?

Why would we respond unwisely, when we want to build a good reputation based on what we think is our good character?

Defending ourselves a lot of the time is seen for what it is - usually concern more for reputation than for character. To be of true good character we must necessarily rely on God by faith. We must be patient. And being slow to anger, we build the reputation of sound character by those who directly know us.

Those who do not know us may believe what they are told. Apart from not being able to effect what people believe who don't know us, what we don't know shouldn't hurt us anyway. We try to be more concerned with what we can easily control. What is beyond our control we need to accept is beyond our control.

Our focus should be on building a sound character by the inputs of our lives, not worrying so much about the results. If we invest in our relationships, and we learn to put others first, there is no doubt a good character is something we are developing.

But the best character test of all is when we are tested. In many ways we don't know what our characters are truly like until we are in the pressure cooker of life.


It shouldn't matter what others say about us, but oftentimes we get angry and respond unwisely. It's better to trust God when people say negative things about us. If we keep responding well, by loving others, no matter what, we will become known by our deeds of goodness. And nobody can wrest that away.

© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Steve Wickham is a Baptist Pastor who holds Degrees in Science, Divinity, and Counselling. Steve writes at: and

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Relationships: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Are you one of those who are no longer happy in your long-term relationship or marriage, but are weighing up how much of yourself you have invested in it, while you ask yourself the question, "Should I stay or Should I Go?".

This is the dilemma of, Too good to leave and too bad to stay, and the ongoing state of ambivalence which this engenders, can be very corrosive over a long period of time, and can also lead to illness and depression.

When you are involved in this kind of scenario you tend to become increasingly disconnected from your partner or spouse, and feel more and more lonely and despondent as time goes on. After a while you run out of strategies as to how to change the situation. When it becomes intolerable, one or other makes a decision to separate or divorce. The trouble is, often this involves breaking up a family and everyone facing the prospect of living in reduced circumstances.

From Intolerable to Intolerable

The move towards separation and the prospect of not being in each other's lives begins to feel more painful and eventually intolerable. It is at this point that you decide to "give it another go". Unfortunately, this usually means trying behaviours and approaches that have been tried and failed before. Soon the honeymoon is over (again) and the relationship begins to slide back to where it was before, and both of you feel even more despondent, hopeless, sad and demoralised, and decide once again that the only way ahead is to separate. The situation is again intolerable.

Once again you begin to move towards separation, and once again, when the prospect of actually living apart and sorting out contact arrangements and maintenance payments for the children is on the agenda, the pain increases and again,you decide to try again.

Consequences of Ambivalence

This kind of oscillation is not uncommon with couples. Sadly most couples generally do not access professional help to support them in moving beyond the impasse and to explore other ways of moving through the impasse. Eventually, one may finish up really rocking the boat by having an Exit Affair perhaps, whether consciously or unconsciously engaged in. Often this is the final straw to the other party and provides the impetus to proceed with the divorce or separation. Many decide to pursue the separation or divorce route, out of sheer desperation, because they can no longer stand the constant ambivalence, and, particularly if they have a milestone event like a 40th birthday, death of a parent or a New Year.

A Tale of Two Couples

As the saying goes, "If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you always got. Do something different."

I recently was seeing two couples for coaching, each of whom had been in this position of oscillating between staying or going for a number of years. They were all deeply unhappy and concerned that the situation was now affecting their respective children, (which it was) who in different ways were beginning to display behavioural problems.

In order to turn such a situation around couples need to be able to step aside from their problems long enough to learn some essential knowledge about relationship dynamics and also to acquire new knowledge and a range of relating skills to implement that knowledge. Couples also need to have a degree of insight into their own patterns which they have taken on board from their early environment, usually their primary caregivers, and which are no longer serving their relationship.

One couple, let's call them Jean and John stayed in the Karpman Triangle for a long time, blaming and criticising each other. Eventually however, they managed to take on board what I was teaching them, and started to do the work on themselves and now have made a great breakthrough and see what I was driving at for so long.

The other couple, Jack and Sally, played the game of "I'm leaving, let's get a divorce" for so long and then made up and recycled this about twice a year, that neither of them would stop their Game Playing at the same time, or long enough to actually do the necessary work of learning about their unhelpful patterns and reconnecting with each other in a more meaningful way. During one of their "let's get a divorce" swings, Jack actually went ahead and applied for divorce. They are now very unhappily divorced and putting so much time into making contact arrangements for their two children, that they both wish they had made the effort to stop fighting and to learn some new strategies to change their situation.

Underlying Problem

The underlying problem for both couples was that they were both unaware of the ways in which their unconscious patterns affected their relationships, and continued to blame each other. Jean and Jack eventually agreed to lay down their arms, and got into some alignment with each other while they learned some relationship lessons and skills. They are now relating on a much deeper and more intimate way and are well on the way to "Happily ever after".

Jack and Sally remained entrenched in their old patterns and refused to set them aside long enough to learn about how relationships work and acquire some skill in applying that. They appear all set to have some very unhappy years and then to go on to repeat the same unhelpful patterns in another relationship.

Getting Out of Your Own Way

No one teaches us this relationship stuff, but it is a wise couple who recognise when they run into trouble, that they have reached the end of their limits in terms of knowledge and skill; not necessarily their relationship. It is a milestone in everyone's personal development (although not everyone passes it) to review their early conditioning and review how they operate in terms of their life in the here and now, rather than how they were told their life and relationships should, ought, or must be. Instead of going to war with each other and perceiving each other as the enemy, they can become Allies and support each other to make their own individual reviews and adjustments perhaps with the help of a skilled Coach.

It Doesn't Have To Be Either/Or

With some professional guidance, couples can agree to have a controlled separation, while they work through any personal development issues they may have, which get in the way of the couple relationship. They could also commit to staying together for an agreed period of time such as 3-6 months, while they follow a coaching program. If after all this, their situation has not improved, at least they both know they have given the relationship their best shot, and can part with much less acrimony.

Grace Chatting is the Founder of Relationship Academy, where they teach lessons you didn't learn at school. With a professional background working with children and families, Grace is a Psychotherapist, Family Mediator and a Relationship Coach. She has set up Relationship Academy to deliver Online Video Courses and Programs for Singles and Couples and those who have Divorced or Separated. It is a work in progress but you can visit the website where you can sign up for a free video series offering a Blueprint In Building Happier Relationships and Families. You may also email Grace with any queries at

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Monday, July 15, 2013

A New Vision of Marriage?

On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court struck down, as unconstitutional, the key provision of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. It also dismissed a district court's challenge to California Prop 8, which had eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state. As one might expect, depending on which side of the issue you fall on, there was either rejoicing or consternation about the decisions of the court and what this means to marriage as a whole.