15-Steps to Crafting Elegant & Effective Agreements

Couples join forces with one another by forming agreements. Agreements are expressed in writing or verbally during very intentional conversations.

Most of us have never learned how to craft effective, explicit agreements. It is a skill we were never taught, even though it is fundamental to all relationships and a basic life skill.

Below is a method I believe every committed couple should learn and use over and over again. It also works beautifully with any two or more people who wish to make agreements that honor who they are and their relationship, and ensures that they end up with a *Win-Win* outcome.

15-Steps to Elegant and Effective Agreements:

1.   Create and clearly articulate your joint vision with as much rich detail as possible. Be sure that both of you participate with eagerness and passion.

2.   Be sure that both of you are creating the agreement with intention and with a belief that you are well served making and honoring the agreement.

3.   Make a list of each person’s strengths, gifts, skills and talents that are available to be drawn on by each of you.

4.   Identify, with as much detail as possible, all the aspects of what it is you are coming to agreement about. A joint plan works best when you are both working toward the same joint vision.

5.   Be certain that each of you understands and acknowledges the actions (behaviors), attitudes, and responsibilities that are associated with the agreement for yourself and your partner.

6.   Decide together if the actions and attitudes are sufficient to result in the desired outcome(s). If no, identify what additional actions and attitudes must be included and by whom.

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Agreements: The Road Map for Success

Effective Agreements

Life is an ongoing process of creating agreements with others. An effective agreement means more than getting another person to do what you want. It means a true commitment from both people.

Successful Agreements

Your overall effectiveness in making and honoring agreements is greatly increased if you pay attention to three important elements:

  1. Clarify your personal values.
  2. Clarify your Vision as an individual.
  3. Clarify your Vision and Purpose as a Couple.

These three pieces will provide a strong foundation from which to commit to your agreements and achieve more consistent and satisfying results.

The Road Map for Success

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Your Life Circle—A Celebration of You

Rituals and celebrations are ways to intentionally create meaningful connections with special and important events and people. Many of us already celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and various holidays including rituals we may not even recognize as such.

I invite you to stretch beyond your comfort zone and experiment with the idea of ritual by starting with a ritual blessing yourself!

Here is an example of a ritual celebrating YOU! Dr. Barbara Ardinger created this Self-Blessing ritual. You can find the complete version of this ritual in her book A Woman’s Book of Rituals & Celebrations.

The Instructions:

Spend a few minutes gathering twelve things or representations of things (photographs or symbols) that you believe make an accurate picture of you. These things can include your daily organizer, car keys, a favorite object from your grandmother or a book you bought yesterday.

Sit in the middle of the floor and arrange the objects around you. Behind you place three things from your childhood; things passed down to you. Before you place three things new to your life; recent acquisitions, evidence of new interests. To your left place three left-brain things; things associated with numbers, logical thought, order, business, rational, logical and intellectual thought. To your right place three right-brain things; things associated with art, creativity, comfort and luxury, feelings, the religious or spiritual part of you life, beauty and nature.

If you can, distribute these evenly throughout the four quarters. Don’t worry if you cannot and your circle ends up lop-sided.

Now light a pink or green candle and set it before you. Read the following blessing or tape it beforehand and listen to it:

I bless myself
–and these things around me
–these things that make the circle of my life.
I bless myself
–and my past
For in blessing my past
–and these things that I bring from ages past
I become who I am now.
Good or bad, cheerful or painful, my past is a blessing,
–for it has formed me
–shaped me
–held me
–released me
–thrust me into the present.
I bless my past in me.

I bless myself
–and these things to my left and right.
I bless myself
–in my present
–the two halves of who I am today.
For in blessing both my intellect and my emotions
–and these things I gather into the life I live now
I recognize who I am now.
–Left and right
–rational and spiritual
–words and images
–austerity and comfort-
I bring divisions together.
My present blesses me
–for it is how I am in the world
–how I think and feel
–how I act and live.
It pulls me out of the past
–and thrusts me into the future.
I bless my life as it is today.

I bless myself
–and the things that point to what is to come.
I bless myself
–and my uncertainties, my potentialities, my future.
For in blessing what is new in my life
I move forward what I can be:
–unknown but shown
–unpredictable but mapped
–potential to be fulfilled.
My future is waiting for me
–more of who I am is waiting for me to be reborn.
I bless my life as it is now,
–every day of my life.

Sit quietly for as long as you want to, feeling the energies of the things in the circle of your life. Contemplate who you have been, who you are now, who you are becoming. Realize that you are blessed in your life, that you are a blessing to other lives.

At the end, blow out the candle, put all your things into their proper places and go on with your day.

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!

 

Original Content by Jackie Black, Ph.D., BCC
www.DrJackieBlack.com ~ DrJackie@DrJackieBlack.com

You are invited to stay in the know by listening to
Dr. Jackie’s Relationship-focused Podcast

Know When to Stop Dating Someone

If you date men or women long past the point when you are still exploring whether or not she or he is your ideal match, take heart! You are in the vast majority of people around the world. This phenomenon is not regional, generational, or related to education, or socioeconomic circumstances.

Being willing or able to recognize that someone is a good match or not a good match for you, and stop dating him or her, seems to be a universal dilemma.

Let’s review a few of my Dating Basics:

  • Dating is a process and you are dating to find your ideal match.
  • Recognizing that the men or women you are dating are not a match for you is the point of the dating process.
  • It is highly likely that you will date a number of people who will not be your ideal match and that many of the people you are dating will recognize that you are not their ideal match.
  • Ending the dating process is the only next logical step to take if we agree that the point of dating is to find our ideal mate.

Let me tell you a story that makes this much more complex than a philosophical question.

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Re-energize and Celebrate Your Love!

Relationships are like bank accounts. If you keep pulling money out without making deposits you will go bankrupt. What does the balance sheet of your love life look like?

You know, relationships are living breathing entities. Our investment of deliberate intention, and focused time, energy and attention is the order of the day. Your relationship can’t wait until it is convenient for you; or until you have finished everything on your to-do list; or until you are at leisure.

Being a successful Sweetheart and being a successful career person at the same time requires some serious intention, investment and commitment from both partners. Relationships grow and flourish when both people show up and make consistent deposits. One person alone, even if that one person makes huge deposits, cannot build and maintain a joyful, satisfying relationship for both of you.

Do you spend more time each week watching television or commuting to work than you do alone with your beloved? Or are you too busy to even have a beloved?

I think you’d agree that to keep that spark alive, you and your partner must spend quality, eyeball-to-eyeball time together.

Think back to when you first started dating. What did you do? What things did you both enjoy that you no longer make time to do?

Remind yourself, and each other, of all the reasons you fell in love.

Let your creative juices flow! Let your imagination go wild! Anything goes. This is the most important person in your life. Rejoice! Celebrate yourself and each other. Let this post-Valentine’s Day time be your good reason.

And if you haven’t met your special someone yet, the person who matches your values and makes your heart sing—remember, when you are actively engaged in the life that you love you more easily attract the love of your life!

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!

 

Original Content by Jackie Black, Ph.D., BCC
www.DrJackieBlack.com ~ DrJackie@DrJackieBlack.com

You are invited to stay in the know by listening to
Dr. Jackie’s Relationship-focused Podcast

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Hello. I am Dr. Jackie Black, your Couples in Trouble Expert. Since 1999, I have guided many formerly frustrated and desperately unhappy Couples in Trouble to happiness, closeness and having more fun together than they ever imagined. My years of experience combined with your commitment to your personal growth will enable you to welcome the results you have always wanted and never believed were possible in your marriage.

Learn more at DrJackieBlack.com