Those of you who have been with me for a number of years know that I was a divorce attorney for over 20 years in Omaha, Nebraska. And now for the past 17 years, I’ve been doing work with couples helping them stay together. Funny, isn’t it?
Based on my over 37 years of working with couples, I’ve put together a Relationship Checklist for you. These are what I see as the most insidious things that cause the biggest problems (and issues that lead to problems) in a relationship. Some of them might not be the usual things that you think of…
Take a look at yourself, and at yourself within your relationship, as you go through the checklist.
Even if you don’t like all your answers to the Checklist, don’t despair, there is hope!
We see it all the time. Come to Sedona and do a Couples Retreat. One of our Angel Guides will speak with each of you separately, really getting at what’s going on, what the issues are and what both of you want. Then they’ll put together the perfect retreat that’s right for the two of you. Because each retreat is completely custom designed and because the sessions are all completely private (not in groups), you’ll get exactly what you need. It will bring you back into the love and connection you’re craving.
Many of you know that I was a divorce attorney for 20 years in Omaha, Nebraska. Then I came to Sedona in 1999, closed my law practice 6 months later and started Sedona Soul Adventures in 2002. Since then, our Couples Retreats have saved so many marriages (and spiced up so many more!). Isn’t it funny how that instant karma has worked out? I spent 20 years divorcing people, now I’ve spent 17 years helping them stay together!
After so many years of working with couples who were either divorcing, on the verge of divorce, or just trying to be more connected (and everything in between), I’ve seen the same things over and over again, and they aren’t necessarily the things that books and magazines talk about.
So I’ve put together a Relationship Checklist for you. These are what I see as the most insidious things that cause the biggest problems (and issues that lead to problems) in a relationship. Some of them might not be the usual things that you think of. Take a look at yourself, and at yourself within your relationship, as you go through the checklist…
Do you respect each other?
Do you respect your partner and does he or she respect you? There’s a big difference between feeling a crazy kind of love for someone and deeply respecting them. I’ve seen so many couples who have a passionate love for each other, but when it comes right down to it, they don’t respect each other. Do you respect your partner? Do you feel respected by your partner? If you don’t, the relationship is on its way to being over.
If you have a healthy respect for each other, you give each other the benefit of the doubt even when things get tough. You’re quicker to forgive those little transgressions, knowing that you basically hold your partner in high esteem.
Do you like each other?
This may seem almost the same as respect, but it isn’t. You can like someone and not respect them because you don’t think they’re a good person. You can also respect someone because they hold high values, but you don’t like them.
Do you actually like your partner? Do you think they’re a good person? Do you enjoy hanging out with them?
Last year I spoke with a man who told me he was completely, totally surprised when his wife told him she wanted a divorce, he couldn’t believe it. Later, I found out they weren’t going on vacations together for the last 5 years of the marriage because it was too unpleasant. If you can’t even go on vacation together and have a good time, something is wrong!
If you don’t like your partner, you’ve got a problem. If the thought of being with them when you’re 80 years old makes you wince, that’s telling you something is not right.
If you genuinely like your partner and like spending time with them, you have a much greater chance that you are going to make it through the long haul and through difficult times, and spend the rest of your lives together.
Do you fight fair?
The way that you disagree with each other says so much about your relationship. Some psychologists believe they can predict the success or failure of a relationship simply by watching a couple have an argument about something.
When you disagree, do you stick to the subject you are disagreeing about, or do you bring up stuff that has nothing to do with what you’re arguing about? Do you find yourself using phrases like “you always do this…” or “you never do this”? Fighting about something other than the current issue is not fighting fair and leads to huge build up of resentment. Resentment is poison to a relationship.
You can disagree and have an argument, and still come from the basic love that you have for each other. Being respectful while you disagree, really listening and trying to understand the other person’s perspective, while sticking to the subject at hand can actually bring you closer together as a couple.
Can you really talk to each other?
Does your partner “get” you? Can you talk to them about pretty much anything and have it be okay? Do they know all the little weirdnesses about you and love you all the same? Or do you hide things from them? Do you tell them how you truly feel?
I spoke with a man a year ago who told me his 30 year marriage had come down to “I go along to get along.” He wanted to do a Couples Retreat, but his wife didn’t want to. I spoke with him again a few weeks ago and things are worse (things like this never get better unless they are dealt with).
When your partner feels like they have to hide how they’re feeling and can’t be honest with you, they start to shut down emotionally. That’s when the love starts to stop.
When you know you are safe with your partner, that they will love you no matter what, love continues to grow and thrive.
Are financial issues a problem?
Financial issues show up in a number of ways — from there not being enough money, to one person being a spender and one person being a saver, to disagreements about how money should be spent. In this modern age, we also see a lot of situations where there is an imbalance, especially when the woman makes more than the man.
Money issues are a hot button for many people, and usually have a deep connection back to childhood. Money issues bring up all the different things we’ve already talked about — not communicating, not fighting fair, not liking the other person because they’re a miser (or a spendthrift), not respecting the other person because they’re not responsible with money, etc., etc. Money is usually just the tip of the iceberg of deeper problems below the surface.
When money isn’t an issue in your marriage, you’re free to bring in all kinds of abundance in your lives… not just financially, but emotionally and spiritually as well. It indicates that everything is flowing as it should be.
Do you have each other’s back?
I attended a couples workshop in Sedona almost 20 years ago and during a very emotional part of the workshop, one of the men said to his wife, “I’ve got your back.” Later, we broke up into our male and female groups and as we women gathered, a number of us remarked at how much that had touched us. About half of us said (through tears) that we had never felt that way in our relationship.
It can be a tough world out there and knowing that there’s at least one person who has your back is an incredible and amazing gift. And I will tell you after all these years of working with couples, it’s something that I don’t see very often. There isn’t that deep level of trust, of knowing that your partner will be there for you no matter what.
This trust, this knowing, seems to me to be the Secret Sauce of healthy relationships — really knowing that your partner will be with you through thick and thin. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death does you part. It’s like a rare, exotic flower that must be cultivated and cared for.
And it’s funny, because the woman who did the Couples workshop 20 years ago, my dear friend Ranjita, is also a minister, and she and my dear friend Yana officiated at our wedding a little over a year ago. Unbeknownst to us, she added a portion to our ceremony where she literally had us stand back to back and pledge that we have each other’s backs. It was very sweet and very powerful.
My prayer for you is that all of your answers to the above questions were the “right” answers. That you have fabulous communication, you can be completely honest with each other, and there are no hidden agendas or resentments.
If that’s NOT the case, I would urge you to do something about it – and do it now. My experience is that these things only get worse over time. Once the milk starts to curdle, there’s no turning back. It just smells worse and worse until you finally have to throw it out. And throwing it out is such a painful thing to do, when it’s your relationship that’s being thrown out.
We had a couple here awhile ago and he told me at the end of their Couples Retreat, that he thought it was hopeless and that he had already planned on filing for divorce when they returned home from Sedona. He had even hired the attorney, because he thought there was no way the marriage could be fixed.
At the beginning of the retreat, he was telling all of us that all of the problems were with his wife and he wanted us to “fix her.” Even though we discussed with him 4 separate times before they got here that it’s usually not about one person, it’s usually about both people, he kept telling us, “No, just wait until you get us together, it’s all her.”
After we did some clearing sessions with both of them separately, he suddenly burst into tears in his private session and said “Oh my God, it’s all me! I’m the one judging her and and wanting her to be someone else, even though I actually love her. It’s just like my mother used to do to me, I’m disapproving and judgmental.”
They came back into a love for each other that they hadn’t felt for years and they even did a re-commitment ceremony out in the beautiful Red Rocks of Sedona.
The marriage was completely resurrected and they came back 6 months later to spice it up even more. When you’ve got the love, the trust and the spice, you’ve got it all!
And even if all your answers feel like the “wrong” answers, they’re actually not! This is not saying that your relationship is over. This is valuable information that is showing you where you need to put your attention. You just need to do it while you can still salvage the relationship, that’s the key.
There is hope! We see it all the time. Come to Sedona and do a Couples Retreat. One of our Angel Guides will speak with each of you separately, really getting at what’s going on, what are the issues and what do both of you want? Then they’ll put together the perfect retreat that’s right for the two of you. Because each retreat is completely customized and because the sessions are all completely private (not in groups), you’ll get exactly what you need. It will bring you back into the Love and Connection you’re craving.
I hope this helped, and if you got value from this video, please take the time to like it, share it with someone in your life who think might get something out of it, subscribe to our channel.
And If you want an even more direct path to having the relationship of your dreams, click here to get your complimentary copy of The Sedona Guide to Couples Retreats today.
Or if you’d like to talk to someone about doing a retreat that’s custom designed for you call us at (928) 204-5988.
You can have the life AND the relationship you want – I know it.