Monthly Archives: September 2006

Committed Couples: Keep That Spark Alive!

If you are in the majority of contemporary committed couples, I’ll bet, if you thought about it for a moment, you would discover that you spend more time each week watching television or commuting to work than you do alone with your honey!

In our demanding world filled with multiple priorities, responsibilities and distractions, everything and everyone else seems to be more important than attending to our most intimate and special relationship.

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

Do you and your sweetheart carve out quality, alone-time every week? Do you both take responsibility for it, or does the task fall to one or the other of you? Do one or both of you allow real interruptions to get in the way or spoil your planned time together?

Here are a few simple suggestions to get your own personal creativity going:

  • Meet once a week to look at your schedules and set aside time for each other.
  • At least once a week plan a Date Night. Once a month plan a Date Day (that’s right! A whole day from morning to evening). Once each quarter plan a weekend get-away. Once each year plan a week away together.
  • Mark your planned time in your calendar, just like a dentist appointment or an appointment with a client. Write it in ink! Mark yourself out for a block of time.
  • Take turns planning your dates each week.
  • One week you might send the kids to Grandma’s house or a neighbor’s, stay in, order a pizza and rent a movie. The next week you might get a sitter and go out on the town.
  • Do the grocery shopping and buy a bouquet of flowers for your partner
  • Write a love note and leave it for your partner to find.
  • Put the kids to bed, and, instead of watching T.V., doing laundry or other chores, go to bed early and share massages, talk or cuddle.
  • Turn off the T.V., turn on the stereo and have a talk.
  • Kiss your spouse Good Morning and Good Night every day. Just say, I love you.

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? Why did you fall 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. Embrace the moment and the gift of your love.

Until next time remember…

Only YOU can make it Happen!

Are You Too Busy To Preserve the Intimacy?

Intimacy isn’t an automatic response.

Intimacy isn’t a given because you love someone or feel loved by someone.

Intimacy doesn’t come with a commitment or with a marriage license.

The basic, fundamental element of intimacy is cherishing each other!

Creating, nurturing and maintaining intimacy in long-term, committed relationships is the toughest and the most worthwhile undertaking one can accomplish.

It requires intention, deliberate choice and deliberate action. Nothing about creating intimacy and truly being intimate with another person is unconscious.

Intimacy is the result of celebrating each other; celebrating each other’s presence and celebrating being in each other’s presence!

Be appreciative.

Offer acknowledgement.

Give the benefit of the doubt.

Be the most ardent cheerleader.

Be an enthusiastic supporter.

Applaud your partner’s efforts.

Extol his or her virtues.

Be generous of spirit and open hearted.

Always remember to be encouraging.

Be intentional. Be certain that your deliberate choice and deliberate action send the unmistakable message that you are happy to be with him and that your life is better and richer with her than it could ever be alone.

Until next time remember…

Only YOU can make it Happen!

The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, is a powerful reminder of our self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering.

According to don Miguel Ruiz, “We have learned to live our life trying to satisfy other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other people’s points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else.”

He goes on to say that we make thousands of agreements with ourselves and with others. In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, what we feel, what we believe and how we should behave.

In these agreements we say, “This is what I am. This is what I believe. I can do certain things, and some things I cannot do. This is reality, that is fantasy; this is possible, that is impossible.”

Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, is a powerful reminder of our self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. He tells us that if we want to live a life of joy and fulfillment we have to find the courage to break those agreements that are fear-based and claim our personal power.

We can do that by adopting these four new agreements:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate to others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy, as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

The only reason we are happy is because we choose to be happy. Happiness is a choice.

Please join me in challenging the old agreements and adopting these new four agreements. Let’s remind ourselves, and each other every day to choose to live a life of happiness and joy, free from fears, doubt and regret!

Until next time remember…

Only YOU can make it Happen!

A Few Thoughts About the Value of Communicating Well

I received a question from a reader about communication in relationships. He writes:

… “Why is communication important in a relationship? Is it the most important part of a relationship”?

First let’s agree that when we use the word communication we are referring to verbal and non-verbal communication.

Verbal and non-verbal language is an essential element for committed relationships, friendships, business relationship and virtually all other kinds of relationships. We depend on making ourselves understood to convey our wants and needs, likes and dislikes, thoughts and feelings, and to make requests of others

We communicate non-verbally with our faces and our bodies. For example, when we are listening, we might tilt our heads a bit or lean forward toward the speaker. The speaker would likely perceive us to be interested, and listening attentively.

Conversely, if we fidget, sigh, roll our eyes, make any of a number of faces with our mouths and lips (you know what I mean!), we could be accurately perceived by the speaker to be in disagreement, contemptuous, critical, disapproving, etc.

We communicate verbally with the words we choose, with inflection, pitch, decibel level, and cadence. And make no mistake, a speaker’s attitude comes across loud and clear when s/he speaks.

Here are a few key things to remember:

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Do what you say and say what you do.

Your thoughts and feelings, needs and wants, likes and dislikes are valid and legitimate. It is your job to own your internal experience. That means identify what is going on for you inside yourself, learn to language it and find the courage to express it. Ownership implies that you know and believe that you are Okay with who you are, and how you experience and react to your inside and outside worlds. Other people do not have to understand or agree in order for your experiences to be valid, legitimate and respected. This is about you!

Similarly, others express their thoughts and feelings, needs and want, likes and dislikes and their internal experiences are valid and legitimate. You may or may not understand. Please respect their experience(s). Your response? Agree to disagree. Accept without agreeing. This is about them! This is not about you.

When a need is unmet it becomes an issue. We have many opportunities to experience and express issues in our relationships. Common ways to respond, although unproductive and harmful, are to complain, blame and criticize. Next time you experience an issue try making a request. Identify what you need or want or what you want someone to do or say differently, then, make a request. Focus on what you want to happen, instead of what isn’t happening or what happened that you didn’t like.

Learn to tell your whole truth. Notice I didn’t say the truth. Your truth is your recognition of what you are experiencing inside yourself and outside of yourself at any given moment. If you are experiencing an upset or a disappointment you may know or understand less about what you are experiencing than at other times. Find the courage to say as much as you can about what you think, feel, need and want. When you have more clarity or additional knowing be sure to share them with you partner.

Listening is an essential and valuable skill. Becoming a good listener takes time and practice, and is enormously appreciated by others. When you are engaged in a meaningful conversation, say to you partner, “Tell me more.” This is a special invitation that conveys your interest, and intention to listen and really know them and understand the issue.

Communication is one of the essential parts of creating rich, meaningful relationships. Communicating verbally and non-verbally in a kind, responsible and respectful way furthers understanding, feeling valued, respected and cared for and increases intimacy and trust.

Until next time remember…

Only YOU can make it Happen!


Dr Jackie Black Newsletter

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