Life Coaching for Married Couples: How it Can Help

When one hears the term “life coaching,” it can have a very different connotation than other forms of counseling. Especially that of marriage or relationship counseling, which is generally considered to be a deeper, more personal experience than that of a life coach. As well as focusing specifically on a couple’s communication with one another.

But did you know that couples all across the country are receiving positive results from their joint life coaching sessions? While the terms might have gotten muddled down along the way, life coaching is actually a viable options for couples of all statuses. Whether you’ve been together a few months or decades, a life coach can bring the insight needed to help your relationship succeed. In whatever capacity that’s preferred.

Why a Life Coach?

Life coaches have an immense amount of experience dealing with others on a personal level. Including finding a proper way to help them help themselves. Whether done as a couple or in separate sessions, life coaching can be just the cure your relationship needs to get past whatever rough patch it’s been going through. Additionally, a life coach can help you work on other areas of your life — whether as a couple or separately. By intermingling these topics, many couples have been able to find more success and in quicker fashion. Rather than just working on the relationship itself, they’re able to find positive movement in various areas of life.

While it might be the first go-to practice that comes to mind when thinking about relationship work, life coaching can be a great way to bridge communication gaps without cutting off other aspects of one’s life.

To learn more or get started today, head to our marriage and relationship page.

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Marriage Counseling Austin: Being Clear about Sex

In marriage counseling sessions, couples many times express sincere attempts to be tactful, to be “nice.” There’s nothing wrong with being kind, thoughtful, and considerate, we should all be. There’s also a time to be clear, to be firm with one’s partner in all of your interactions, yes, even when it comes to sex. Following is an edited conversation in couples counseling I had with a client who wasn’t very happy with her partner.

In the movie, “The Notebook” Noah (Ryan Gosling) asks Allie (Rachel McAdams, “What do you want.” Her response “It’s not that simple,” is what many people who spend their lives living for whatever everybody else wants fail to ask themselves.

Marriage Counseling Austin:

Client: My husband doesn’t get it about sex.

Coach: How so?

Client: He thinks groping equals foreplay.

Coach: What have you done about it?

Client: I’ve tried explaining nicely that I need a connection with him first. I feel guilty, is there something wrong with me sexually?

Coach: Sometimes a woman needs to be much more direct with her man. He’s not listening, but that’s his problem, your job is to make sure you’re very clear what you like and what you will not tolerate.

Client: But that doesn’t sound very nice.

Coach: You’re right, sometimes people can’t hear “nice” so you have to be firm.

Client: But maybe there’s something wrong with me.

Coach: There is, you’re not asserting yourself. Quite often, men understand one thing when it comes to sex, “me want, me get.” It’s different for women, you have a need to feel connected, to feel sexy and attractive, to feel loved and safe. There’s nothing wrong with this, you need to honor your own sexuality. Stop getting your cues about what is right or wrong from anyone else; listen to your own instinct and be an advocate for yourself.

Client: But what if he doesn’t listen to me?

Coach: First make sure you’re speaking loud and clear, you’re not doing that yet. If he still doesn’t get it you need to search for other ways to get past his indifference. Is it okay with you that your partner doesn’t listen to what’s important to you?

Client: No it’s not okay, I need to start being firm!

It won’t be an easy thing for this lady to change what is likely a lifetime habit of being overly tactful, it’ll take work and she’ll likely get push-back from her husband because he’s used to her being a doormat. He will want to keep the arrangement they have developed over the years. Regardless, it’s crucial to both her peace of mind and to the relationship that she change, if she doesn’t her resentment will increase and will spill over into other areas of her marriage and life.

Life Coach Austin, David Cantu

Marriage Counseling Austin 512-653-4316

Love Coaching: Neither One of You is Perfect

Love coaching for a better relationship! It’s an easy thing in relationships to get carried away by the imperfections of your lover. It doesn’t take a lot of skill to point out to your partner what she does wrong and to imagine that the true fault in your love life has much more to do with her than yourself. Love and relationship coaching is about looking at yourself, asking yourself what things you can do to improve your partnership or marriage, and better appreciating how your partner loves you.

One of the things we focus on in love coaching is communication. A key for improved communication is empathy, better understanding your partner’s point of view. People naturally want to express what they do, what they want, what they think. This is well and good, but when it comes to closeness, it’s far more important to put energy into what your partner feels, needs, and wants. This is not to say that your needs are unimportant, rather that the most powerful way for you to get your needs met is to make sure you understand where your partner is coming from. As you better understand her, you make it far more likely that she will want to reciprocate to help meet your needs.

A client recently and expressed frustration that his wife felt unheard and unimportant to him, she told him she felt very little hope that he would ever change. When I asked what his response was to her complaints about him, he said he tried to explain that she was very important to him and that he did listen to her. He went on to say how she then became angry with him. I explained to him that his response was very natural, that he was in the best way he knew trying to reassure her. Then I suggested to him that it was the worst thing he could do and that he made a difficult situation worse. In amazement he asked how that could be so. I told him that basically he had called his wife a liar. In shock he asked “what?” I told him that what he needed to do was appreciate her better by recognizing what she said and acknowledging the truth of her feelings. His response to me was, “but she was wrong!” That idea is what was getting my client in hot water. He sees himself as attentive and as a good listener, but he’s ignoring that she “feels” unimportant and unheard. The fact of whether she’s important to him is not the issue. The moment he defends himself he is in fact telling her that her feelings are wrong. The result is likely to be a fight, tears, blame, withdrawal, and frustration. I gave my client a love coaching homework assignment: “Go home, tell your wife you haven’t been really listening, that you haven’t acknowledged her feelings, that you’re truly sorry, and that as of today you’re going to practice being more attentive.”

Fortunately this client really loves his wife, but he didn’t realize that he was focusing on her imperfections rather than the things she does right. He realized that he was behaving as if his words and actions were truly perfect and all that needed to happen was she needed to listen to him. In the coming weeks, with a bit more tweaking and love coaching, he’s highly likely to become a much better listener. Marriage and family counseling can really help couples. For a marriage counselor, give us a call at 512-653-4316.

What Does Chemistry in a Relationship Mean

Chemistry in a relationship is like a performance; one is electrifying and another is boring. But no matter what, for love’s sake, you have to keep working at it to make it better.

Chances are you’re reading this because you’re in a relationship lacking in chemistry and wondering whether to stay or go. Maybe the chemistry was once there, but you no longer feel “in love.” Or it was never there and you suspect you made a big mistake. Consider this: Maybe the real issue isn’t so much the lack of chemistry but some other problem you haven’t identified.

How do you define chemistry? I think of it as a strong attraction that includes love, lust, infatuation, and a desire to be involved intimately with someone. Chemistry is emotional desire for relationship. It is outside of the realm of reason. With it, you may be attracted to someone who you know, intellectually, is not good for you. Without it, you may be with someone you respect but are not attracted to. At best, you can have both chemistry and love; at worst, you may have chemistry and misery or no chemistry and misery. Regardless your definition, chemistry is unconscious; we don’t “choose” who we’re attracted to. Even so, we aren’t helpless. We can do much to understand and manage it. Following are guidelines that can help you navigate the minefields of attraction.

1. Do you have to have chemistry for a successful relationship? No, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you will learn to love someone. Yes, it’s possible; but if you aren’t attracted to her, you may come to resent your decision. Be honest with yourself; do not choose a relationship primarily because “she’s a good person.” This is a formula for disaster. On the other hand, if the attraction isn’t there, it can grow. Many times people grow to love one another as they get to know each other better.

2. Because it’s unconscious, searching for chemistry in a relationship is a hit-and-miss proposition. You can find it, but you’ll have to be patient. How will you know you’ve found it? You won’t be arguing with yourself whether or not you love him. If it’s a debate, then either the chemistry is missing or he’s a poor partner for you.

3. Once found, you’ll have to be patient again – or you may make a mistake you’ll deeply regret. Chemistry isn’t the end-all, be-all solution it may appear to be. Because it’s unconscious, feeling deeply attracted to someone can be a result of childhood issues you’re unaware of or haven’t resolved. A big red flag is when you see a problem in your partner and you tell yourself things like, “This isn’t such a big deal; I can handle this,” or “I know he has a problem, but he’s working on it,” or “He really loves me; I’m sure we’ll work it out.” Ignore these problems now and you’ll have much bigger ones to contend with later.

4. If you’ve made it past these hurdles, you have one more challenge: The test of time. I’ve been coaching and counseling couples since 2000. One of the comments I hear most often is, “We’ve been married for years, but haven’t felt ‘in love’ since the early part of our marriage.” The “high” of new love rarely lasts more than a couple years. Once over, you’ll need to replace it with something more substantial: caring, respect, forgiveness, and an ability to communicate. These things can be learned, but you’ll have to work hard at them. Some may be difficult skills for you to master. You can definitely do it; roll up your sleeves and get to work!

5. Can you recreate lost love? Yes! In order to do so you must have one essential ingredient – willingness on the part of both people involved. My experience with couples is once a person has “given up,” has decided in his heart he no longer wants the relationship, the chances of rekindling love are minimal. You don’t have to have a lot of willingness; faith the size of a “mustard seed” can be enough. Counseling to help resolve underlying problems and to motivate you can be helpful. Keep the faith!

David Cantu
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Chemistry in a Relationship – Is it Love? How Do You Define it?- Article © 2009

Embrace the Power of Surrender

The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender. ~ William Booth

Concerning relationships
, surrender does not mean giving up or defeat but a commitment to love. To yield is not always a sign of weakness – it can be an indication of great strength and wisdom. This is because a fearless refusal to fight rests in the awareness that hostility is a formula for pain and suffering. Regardless who wins in a war everybody loses.

Most of the fights
we experience are with friends and family. Confident surrender – especially in these situations – says I love you and I refuse to fight or hurt you. It also says I refuse to believe that you mean me harm. The interpretation of attack is one of the biggest mistakes our egos make in relationships. Surrender acknowledges one’s own shortcomings and other’s, and it either atones or forgives. Its power is in its ability to heal and create peace. We all have the power to surrender; we need only the courage and discernment to practice it and to realize its effectiveness.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin Texas
The Power of Surrender © 2007

Bhagavad-Gita
(from chapter 18)
Give me your whole heart,
Love and adore me,
Worship me always,
Bow to me only,
And you shall find me:
This is my promise
Who love you dearly.

Creating Peace Love and Understanding

For even as love crowns you, so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. ~ Khalil Gibran

We will always
face times of sorrow and pain. The question to ask ourselves is: What do I want to do about it? Sorrow and feelings of anger and frustration challenge me to be a greater person than I was yesterday. If I’m willing to look within myself, there’s a chance that I’ll find meaning in my experience. With new meaning I’m able to create a new day, a new life. The alternative is inevitably more of the same, more sorrow and pain. What do I really want? What am I living for? These questions asked in honesty will provide the answers I need; they are internal answers hidden behind emotions. Am I willing to slow down and move beyond the feeling? Am I willing to go where I haven’t been able to go until this moment? Yes! That’s why I live! I live for more love, and joy, and peace; that’s the meaning of life. I live to find new answers and greater connection with others, greater love. That’s what keeps me going. That’s what keeps us all going! Thank God for the pain. Not because I enjoy it, but because now I can know greater glory. This is the peace that transcends understanding. This is love.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin
Sorrow, Love and Peace © 2006

Philippians 4:7
(NIV)
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Signs of True Love, Eternal Love

Love is the emblem of eternity. It confounds all notion of time, effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end. ~ Germaine De Stael

All that I fear or cherish
is finite and temporary. It will end. As I embrace this truth, I find myself dwelling more and more on something that endures: love. Not the emotional love that can be wildly erratic – up and exciting one moment, down and frustrating the next. Rather, true love that is infinite and eternal. As I place my focus on this love, I create for myself the opportunity of a rapidly evolving life, one in which each day finds me more peaceful and fulfilled than the last. This is the truth that will set me free.
David Cantu
Life Coach Austin Texas
Eternal Love © 2005

1John 4:16
(NIV)
… God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

Moving From Emptiness to Happiness

So, instead of going to heaven, at last–
I’m going, all along. ~ Emily Dickinson

We frequently attempt to prove our value
to ourselves and to others through external accomplishments. We may get college degrees, lose weight or work eighty-hour weeks. We do this in order to make the emptiness go away or from a mistaken belief that it will result in happiness. But we get only fleeting glimpses of joy this way; the emptiness remains. Our real goal has been love and fulfillment.

Action is necessary,
but not sufficient, to fill the emptiness. Doing and accomplishing things does not create happiness. This will come only with love and meaning. The absence of love is toxic and debilitating. It can however, be learned. Yes, it is better to give than to receive, but the experience of receiving is an essential foundation of life. By receiving love we learn to value ourselves. Self-love, then, is the seed for love of others and the prime ingredient that fills the emptiness. Only with the confidence of love are we able to embrace the possibility of joy and fulfillment.

Fulfillment does not come
with the achievement of goals; it is not a finite end but an ongoing process. It is the result of living in the present moment rather than in the illusion that some future event will result in happiness. The accomplishment of goals brings feelings of satisfaction and pleasure, but they are temporary and we soon revert to the same general state of emptiness or happiness in which we lived before the event. Goals are good as long as they are in accord with our true desires, a part of a meaningful life rather than an end.

Be true to yourself;
identify that which is most significant to you and nurture it. Live your life with gratitude, enthusiasm, and a giving heart. Be fearless; know that both pain and pleasure are essential facets of life, not to be shunned. Accept them equally, but do not obsess with either. Surely, the emptiness will vanish, happiness will be yours.
David Cantu
Marriage Counselor Austin, Texas
Moving From Emptiness to Happiness © 2009

Psalm 23:6

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.