Monthly Archives: June 2015

Making and Keeping Agreements and Commitments

Making and keeping agreements and commitments is a fundamental ingredient of any relationship. It is one of the cornerstones of a committed love relationship. It is vital that partners know in the deepest part of their being that they can count on the promises and assurances offered by their beloved.

Not honoring the agreements or commitments you make is a betrayal of your partner and of your relationship. It constitutes a breech of trust. In a long-term, primary, monogamous love relationship we make agreements and commitments to each other AND to the relationship.

Think of the relationship itself this way: When you and your partner join the many facets of your lives together, you create a third energy, the relationship, that lives and breathes as its own entity; an entity that you are entrusted to guard and protect, nurture and care for. Making and keeping agreements and commitments is one of the ways couples make that happen.

Here are 5 Simple Steps to making and honoring agreements and commitments:

1.   Make agreements and commitments in good faith and with good intention.

2.   Only make agreements and commitments you believe you are able and willing to honor.

3.   Tell your partner the minute you become aware that you may not be able to honor an agreement or a commitment. Let him or her know that: (a) you made the commitment or the agreement in good faith and with every intention to honor it; (b) you have become aware that you are having trouble honoring it; (c) you want to renegotiate the agreement or commitment as soon as possible.

4.   Renegotiate the agreement or commitment WITH your partner. Invite his or her participation and feedback in this process. Remember: You made the agreement or commitment for a reason. Your partner has legitimate expectations and may be disappointed by having to renegotiate things. Be patient, compassionate, and listen to everything she or he has to say. The process of re-negotiating is as important as agreeing or committing to something new.

5.   Be gentle with yourself and your partner. This is a new skill you are practicing and it will probably feel uncomfortable the first few times. Find your courage and keep going.

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!


Original Content by Jackie Black, Ph.D., BCC ~

Stay inspired and in the know by subscribing to the RSS
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6-Point Plan to Fanning Flames of Romance and Passion

There are many myths about sex and romance in long-term relationships. There are also some universal truths and contemporary theories that should inform your personal attitudes and behaviors, and your responsibilities and obligations to your beloved and your relationship.

You have no doubt longed for that “early time” in your relationship to return. So often I hear men and women say, “I want our love to be the way it was when we first met”; or “I want it to be the way it used to be”; or “I know it is possible, he was like that when we were first together.”

I hear so many of you talk about the “spontaneity” that once was; the sudden inspiration or creativity that transformed dull days and nights into magical adventures.

Now hear this! The early time in your relationship was not spontaneous at all—quite the contrary!!

You planned for many hours; thought about each other endlessly: what to do; where to go; what to wear; will you pick him up or meet her; include friends or family now or next time… You thought about each other nearly every moment, talked on the phone incessantly and talked about each other to others when you weren’t talking to each other.

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Oh no! Not the Big Wedding ~ Unless You Get Basic Marriage Education First

Wedding season is now in full swing!

Newlyweds throughout the world spend more time, energy and money on their weddings than on building their relationships and divorce-proofing their marriages!

According to the Journal of Family Psychology, premarital education is associated with higher levels of marital satisfaction, lower levels of destructive conflicts and higher levels of interpersonal commitment to spouses.

The results of a survey in four states in the U.S., strongly suggests that couples that received premarital education had a 31% lower chance of divorce.

What does it take to build a healthy, committed, joyful and lasting relationship?

It takes…

  • Individual and Shared Vision, Values, and Marriage Goals
  • Extreme Self-Awareness and Partner-Awareness
  • Understanding the influences of Your family, My family and Our family
  • Skills to Reduce Conflict, Repair Hurt Feelings, and Reestablish the Status Quo
  • Recognizing Disappointment and Disillusionment
  • Improving Listening and Communication Skills
  • Setting, Maintaining and Honoring Boundaries
  • Elegantly Crafting Agreements and Commitments
  • Willingness and Ability to talk about Sex and Intimacy, and Money

Getting married without Premarital or Newlywed coaching is like getting behind the wheel of a car without a driver’s license; or starting a business without a business plan.

Information and awareness prepares you for the inevitable challenges, conflicts and discontent that are normal and are to be expected when you begin to weave your lives together to create the rich tapestry we call marriage.

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!


Original Content by Jackie Black, Ph.D., BCC ~

Stay inspired and in the know by subscribing to the RSS
feed for Dr. Jackie’s weekly podcast, “Just Between Us”

Bride Prepares to Wed on Her 100th Birthday!

I couldn’t resist posting this YouTube video for you today! One of my colleagues sent it to me with a note that read: “Isn’t it grand that some people know you are NEVER too old for love?”

The title of this video is “100-Year-Old Bride”!

The video is Dana Jackson’s 100th birthday celebration which is also her wedding day–that’s right! She married Bill Strauss, 87, at the Rosewood Health Care Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

At first glance one could be judgmental, raise an eyebrow or have a disparaging thought about the content in this video. But on further reflection, I hope you agree with me that the message in this short video is life affirming and self-esteeming.

What do you think? I would love to have your thoughts!

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!


Original Content by Jackie Black, Ph.D., BCC ~

Stay inspired and in the know by subscribing to the RSS
feed for Dr. Jackie’s weekly podcast, “Just Between Us”

Declare June Marriage Renewal Month

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”
–Margaret Young

We live in a contemporary society that often ignores the value and importance of B-E-I-N-G.

June is known as the wedding month in the US and in many other countries around the world.

If you are a soon-to-be-married couple, I vigorously encourage you to spend much more time focusing on how to co-create a strong and lasting marriage than you do on your wedding plans. Once all the food is eaten and the guests have gone home the wedding will be over. But your married life will just be starting and you are in charge of how happy and satisfied you will be for the rest of your life.

While the Huffington Post reports that getting spicy and adding the element of surprise are hot wedding trends, the fact of the matter is that you will be much better served by learning how to keep the love you feel on your wedding day just as strong in year #10 as it was that day!

Staying happy in a relationship and feeling loving and satisfied for years and years can be tricky at best. Be very mindful and intentional about NOT getting sucked into the logistical ruts most couples fall into who is going to do what, when and how; rather than keeping those embers of intimacy and romance burning on and on.

Whether you are married for a few weeks or for a number of decades, declare the month of June to be Marriage Renewal Month; the month you will renew and revitalize your marriage; to reconnect to each other and recommit to whatever will nurture and support your life and your love-life for many more years.

Here are 3-Simple Steps to Renew Your Marriage this month:

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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.

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