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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Six Stages of Relationship

In her book, "Building a Reality-Based Relationship", Dr. Kovacs has done a good job classifying the six stages of marriage. Her list:
1. Honeymoon
2. Expectation
3. Power struggle
4. Seven-year itch
5. Reconciliation
6. Acceptance

Dr. Kovacs points out that these stages can be applied to any relationship. In my last blog I talked about the importance of accepting yourself as worthwhile, a unique individual with purpose, strengths, and weaknesses that make you who you are. To the degree each person in the relationship can come to terms with this individuation and accept and nurture it in the other the relationship becomes powerful and satisfying.

The question,"How can I be who I am and still be loved by you?" is basic to every stage of relationship. It is also what makes relationship the therapeutic process for us all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What Relationship Skills Do You Have?

No one in today's world functions without relationship. Buying, selling, renting, learning, all require relationship skills. To make friends, maintain closeness, achieve intimacy, to be liked, to be sought after, require special relationship skills. How skilled are you at relationship?

We learn how to relate from the day we are born. If we are lucky enough to be born to a loving family, our chances of success increase. The basic step to learning means coming to terms with yourself. If you feel valued just because you exist and if you believe you are capable and worthwhile, it is easier to learn the self-discipline you need to stay open to learning.

If you grew up feeling less than others, you must be willing to trace that perception to its source. Did you lack nurture and respect? Understand that you are unique and special, a once in history event. There has never been anyone like you before and will never be again. When you can begin to feel the importance of who you are, relationship skills can be quickly learned. Build those skills on respect for yourself and others.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dating Is Important to Relationship

Young lovers spend hours talking to each other about anything and everything. Affairs begin when two people begin to talk to each other freely. They talk about what they like to eat, funny things they have experienced, their dreams, things they care about, what they dislike. They tell each other their stories. When this kind of sharing stops, the relationship begins to die.

That is what dates are all about. My book, "Becoming Soul Mates" is written in a way that a couple can open it almost any place, read those two pages and have something to talk about. Setting aside a 20 minute talking time each day and going on a short get-away every six to eight weeks would do wonders to rediscover your partner's individuality. The next challenge is to accept and encourage the differences.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Writing Christmas Cards by the Sea

For almost ten years we have turned Christmas card writing into one of the highlights of celebrating the holidays. We rent a special condo called Sea Walk at Sea Ranch. Winter on the California north coast offers special discount prices and often wonderfully mild weather--first two nights regular rate, third night free.

We spend the first day writing cards at the dining room table in front of a large window with a spectacular ocean view. We take breaks to walk an ocean trail to a favorite log where we sit talking about life, death, the sea, politics, religion, and how out of shape we may feel. This time of year a few tiny flowers gallantly push their colorful petals into view,but they must compete with bright red, yellow, and tan toadstools more at home in the damp cold ground.

This year we drove on a rainy Sunday and took the Sebastopol route so we could eat brunch at The French Restaurant again. The food was as memorable as it had been the last time we ate there. These "get-aways" nourish the sweetness of our relationship.
I recommend them.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Building a Reality-Based Relationship"

"Building a Reality-Based Relationship" is the title of a book by long time marriage family therapist, Liberty Kovacs,PHD. Dr. Kovacs realized people must want to understand each other if they hope to have a successful marriage.

I highly recommend Dr. Kovacs' book which is crammed with short exercises to help you get to know each other. By the time you become adults you have formed perceptions about money, affection, sexuality, power, household chores, and much more. Where and how did you get those perceptions? What values do you have?

Relationship provides an opportunity to understand the journey to individuation and knowing ourselves and others. That makes the effort more appealing and worth hanging in there. You cannot become soul mates without it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Relationship Can Overcome Loneliness

I watched as the airplane circled and landed on a vast stretch of snow. A young man stepped out with his gear and stood alone watching the plane disappear. As I watched I felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness. It was the movie, "Never Cry Wolf".

The only other time I felt such an overwhelming sense of loneliness I watched my son standing alone on an airstrip as my plane took off. He was a couple of thousand miles from home and knew no one there. Relationships, wherever we are,can make the difference between feeling unbearably alone in vast space or feeling connected to others and the strength and beauty of the universe.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blog Jog Day Nov. 21 at 12:00am

Thank you for stopping by my Blog! Please explore all this Blog has to offer, then jog on over to If you would like to visit a different Blog in the jog, go to

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Lesson from Ted Robinson

Elva and I met Ted Robinson, author of "Water in My Veins" at our writers' group. Later I read his autobiography which is a series of true short stories from his life that teach life lessons.

Ted's father died when Ted was a small boy. His grandfather, who was deaf, took responsibility for the family and became the father Ted didn't have. His grandfather had lost his own wife and soul mate. He told Ted, "GIVIN' BEATS GETTIN' EVERY TIME". Everyone who aspires to become a soul mate can learn from his story. By giving up his life to save the family he really saved his own life.

blog written by Everett Anson

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Guest Blog from My Soul Mate

When Elva and I teach classes on marriage, I often wonder what people in the class think about me. What type of a mate am I? Do they think I am a mousy compliant man who could easily be turned into a soul mate? Or am I handsome, strong, loving, intelligent, kind, and respectful, the perfect man every woman wishes she could meet?

The truth is I am neither. I am a jerk sometimes and a nice person at times, Just an ordinary guy who often doesn't listen and can be preoccupied with my own interests.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Get-Away to California's North Coast

The French Garden restaurant

We had been planning our latest get-away for awhile--a two night trip to Gualala, a small town on the gorgeous California North Coast. Over the years that magical part of the world has become our get-away haven. Again, nature smiled on us. Mild sunshine wiped out the cold rainy weather we had been having. Walking beside the ocean with no jackets, we soaked up the warmth and the beauty of the ocean storing it in our memories for the coming winter.

We have a number of choices for routes to our destination. Last spring we chose to go through Sebastopol. On the west side of town we passed a restaurant called The French Garden. We stopped for lunch and the exquisite food was a delightful surprise. I had the best beet salad I have ever eaten. This trip we planned to arrive at The French Garden for brunch. We were not disappointed. I savored each mouthful of the seafood and spinach quiche. I have never eaten a better quiche. The restaurant grows most of their food at a nearby farm.

This trip has been a time of renewal of intense love, energy, and gratitude for every day of life we have together.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What You Need to Know About Enmeshment

Everett shows off his fish.

When couples become so close they cannot do anything apart therapists call that enmeshment. To have a good soul mate relationship, you must also have a life of your own. That means having friends of your own as well as friends you share with your soul mate.

Everett has lunch every Wednesday with the guys he worked with in engineering before they all retired. They have a lot of laughs and support each other through the challenge of aging. I have friends I meet for lunch and occasionally I spend a weekend at a Women's Retreat. Once I went to Hawaii with a friend to a 10 day "Heal the Healer" conference. It was great.

Monday Everett went fishing with four friends at Pyramid Lake in Nevada. When the men got home Tuesday afternoon the wives joined them for a fish dinner at one of their homes. We had a good time and now we have some new friends.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Meet My Soul Mate

Let me tell you about my soul mate. He grew up the 6th child in a family of 5 boys and 2 girls. Born in 1931 in rural Nebraska in the middle of the great depression, his family struggled to survive after his father lost his farm. Struggling for just food and shelter left its mark.

Everett lives his life with intensity, constantly pushing himself to be better, to do more. No man is loved more by his children, his grandchildren, and his wife and yet he doesn't feel like enough. I see his struggle and how hard he tries to let go, relax, enjoy, and believe in himself. He is thoughtful, helpful, loving, dependable, and kind. He can be fun when he lets go of the intensity. He is able to do that more on our getaways. At those times we talk for hours. We learn together.

Everett and I began our life together naive and lacking many relationship skills, but we learned and are still learning. Our relationship reminds me of a kaleidoscope. We think we know each other and a twist or turn reveals another beautiful color. Learning to be soul mates is worth all the time and effort you give it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More from Susan Osborn

In her book, "The System Made Me Do It", Susan lists challenges that can also be applied to relationship:

.....Lead without being on top
.....Compete without doing others in
.....Learn as much as you can without getting in over your head
.....Be computer savvy without sacrificing face-to-face communication
.....Love both yourself and others
.....Respect life in all of its forms

I would add another challenge from our experience. Love God with your heart, your soul, and your mind. Getting priorities straight will make the rest much easier.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Systems Advice Applied to Relationship

In Susan Osborn'a book, "The System Made Me Do It!", she talks about how to change systems. Some of her advice can be applied to creating good relationship:

"Honor different ways of looking at the world. Eliminate unnecessary conflicts by building structures based on harmony. Convene meetings to practice using tools for conflict management. Confront differences, not each other. Engage in exercises to reduce defensive behavior. Focus on common ground rather than on who is right and wrong."

Ah! If only we had learned these principles as children growing up, there would be fewer divorces and more soul mate relationships.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What Do You Talk About?

Everett and I have spent hours talking to each other about everything from what happens to people when they die to what we like to eat. We have told each other our stories and they never get old. Last week Ev shared something I had never heard.

We were talking about how we developed a sense of self when we were children. He said when anyone came to their house to visit, he would run to the bathroom, wash his hands and face and comb his hair. He wanted to look presentable. None of his four brothers or two sisters did that and no one ever told them to. That was a part of his own developing sense of self.

Our getaways provide opportunities to sit and reflect, share our ideas and opinions, and talk about the books we are reading. As we grow older we talk about values, lessons learned, our hopes and fears for our family. We continue to be very different persons, but our connection gives us blended wisdom--a soul mate benefit.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Another Get-Away at Wally's Hot Springs

We just got back today from another get-away, our time to relax, talk, read, and talk some more. Here is my description:

Immersing ourselves in the beauty
of a high mountain valley
Big bushes, not quite trees,
gather to protect the marshes
Birds, ground squirrels, and
bunnies play in the grass
Big fancy houses pretending
to be old farmhouses catch our eyes
Three-car garages guard
the new kings of the land.

Hot springs caught in pools
bring storytellers together
from all over the world
Soul mates watch the moon rise
as they share with each other
what life is teaching.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Advice from Antebi's "Secrets"

The book, "The Real Secrets Women Only Whisper" has 11 chapters beginning with "Friends and Enemies" and ending with "Beauty and Aging." Antebi's chapter on marriage is excellent. I can't say the same for her chapter on sex. A warning, "Keep This Book Away from Men!" decorates the front cover.

Here is more of her sage advice:

"It's not the size of the house that will make you happy but the love in the home."

"If you sell your soul when you're young, you'll pay the price when you are old."

"Couples who go to pre-marital counseling are thirty percent less likely to be divorced than those who don't."

"If you act like a lady and look like a lady, you are more likely to be treated like a lady."

For a good read, ladies, check out this book. You will have a lot of laughs and learn at the same time.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Relationship Advice by Donna Estes Antebi

Author Donna Estes Antebi chose an intriguing title for her book, "The Real Secrets Women Only Whisper". The book contains gems like this:

"It continues to be a man's world in many ways. You need to know it, understand it, and find a way to make it work for you."

"It's not difficult to convince men to leave when the going gets rough, so don't push your limits."

"If you don't want to marry a bartender, then don't sleep with bartenders!"

"Sex has a way of disconnecting the brains from the hearts of even the most intelligent women."

"Don't live with a man unless you plan on marrying him. It's as simple as that."

Reading this book, like watching old movies, glaringly exposes the tremendous change in values that has occurred in my lifetime. Perhaps it has become increasingly difficult to develop soul mate relationships. For more about this interesting book check my next blog.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Relationship According to Morrie

For a reminder of the importance of setting stellar priorities in relationship, check out the movie,"Tuesdays with Morrie." The movie is based on Mitch Alborn's best-selling book.

The story is about Alborn's reconnecting with a beloved professor, Morrie Schwartz, who has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. After seeing this upbeat story you will never forget the importance of prioritizing relationship. Morrie valued life and showed how to live it fully. A great story and a great lesson in relationship.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Who Do You Hang Out With?

You can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends. If you want a long-term soul mate relationship, choose your friends thoughtfully. I read a study today which said divorce goes up 75% if those around you are getting divorced.

It makes me wonder how influential are movies and other media we see? What causes a change in values? I watched my granddaughters play with their dolls this week. They were saying, "These two are sisters. This one is their step-father's daughter from his first wife so she is their step-sister. This one is their half-sister born after their mother married their step-father. My granddaughters are 9 and 11 years old. Their parents are not divorced, but they have friends in the neighborhood whose parents are. I have heard other children play divorce.

Is this a reflection on changed social values and expectations? Will children who play divorce realize that to reap the joy of long-term relationship means commitment and hard work? Will they fantasize soul mate relationships that will elude them?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Marriott Hotel in Green Desert

The monsoon season brings fierce thunderstorms and heavy rains that paint the Arizona desert green in August. The magnificent Tucson Marriott hotel sits on a hill overlooking the city and this surprising resurrection of life in the usually arid vegetation.

Everett and I spent a memorable night at this grand resort mecca. We sat out on the large terrace watching the city lights appear in the distance while listening to guitarist, Gabriel Romo Francisco, play his guitar. As we listened a road runner stopped by to see what we were eating. We will never forget this very special night or our morning hike in the desert through the saguaro and other cacti bursting with blooms.

Often when I wish Eric lived closer to us, I realize he has broadened our world by sharing his love of the desert. We always look forward to the two times a year we see him. How else would we have seen a mother coyote trotting along the desert trail with two pups or a road runner curiously skipping around the Marriott terrace?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Get-Away to Tucson

Visiting our son in Tucson, Arizona prompted another lovers' get-away. We decided to go through Tioga Pass, something neither of us had done. We marveled at the high mountain lakes and sheer granite walls that cradled them. We ate our lunch at crystal blue Tenaya Lake where patches of snow reminded us that this high country had no passable roads for much of the year.

Brooks and streams criss-cross lush green Tuolomne Meadows and collect in small ponds and lakes. We spent that night in Bishop. At a one-of-a-kind restaurant called Whiskey Creek we had chicken stuffed with artichokes and creamed spinach served with rice and asparagus. Very good!

We made our lunch each morning before leaving. Thursday's lunch we ate while delayed by road construction on desert highway 247 south of Barstow. We spent that night with long-time friends in Palm Springs.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

You Need to Know about "Gray Divorce"

Born between 1946 and 1964, baby boomers already have a divorce rate triple that of their parents. They have started a new trend dubbed "gray divorce" splitting up after 20 or more years of marriage.

What does that mean? Are the baby boomers creating a cultural change or are they caught in one? Is it a part of a new value system? Are people still looking for an illusive soul mate, but not realizing they need to learn how to become one? Do people grow apart gradually and then find it difficult to get through the stressful transitions in life?

What is the chance of becoming soul mates in short term relationships or during the stress of aging? I welcome your comments.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another Comment on Unconditional Love

Jacque was unable to access the comment box. She says: We have been truly blessed to have experienced the response to unconditional love. It cleared the path for relationship. We are grateful for understanding the concept and for the loving growth it helped to produce.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Adventure Trip-Gold Lake Forest Highway

Saturday night we stayed in a "studio" room at a river resort in Graeagle. That meant the bed was in the wall and we had to take it down. Mooing cows woke us in the morning. We spent the day going from one stunning lake to another, fishing some, but mostly scouting. What a joyous day filling up with the splendor to carry home with us.

That night we found a place with a balcony overlooking the roaring Truckee River swiftly flowing through rugged canyons. We climbed down to the river and found a couple of chairs at the water's edge. Ev caught a fish while I sat writing.

Friendly people met us at these serene get-away places. Campgrounds, river resorts, and lakes level people. We all share the peace, beauty, and tranquility that enable us to feel joy in the present and let go of responsibility for tomorrow.

All of this joy shared with my soul mate! Who could ask for anything more! Long live unconditional love!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Four Day Adventure--Alturas, Modoc County

Tiny Alturas, the largest town in Modoc County, usually rolls up the streets well before midnight. Classmates, who had gathered for a high school reunion (classes 1951-1968), celebrated under a full moon most of the night. We felt like joining them. We asked John, our motel manager, about possible fishing lakes. He told us how to get to two small lakes-Blue Lake and Clear Lake.

We left Alturas early Saturday morning, turned left off of Hi.395 at Likely, a little town, maybe 75 population. Drove about 12 miles to a bridge, turned right, drove 5 or 6 more miles until we reached a fork in the road. We ended up at a pristine mountain lake where the only sounds came from forest creatures. It reminded me of the awesome silence of backpacking in our younger days.

Shallows along the shore made bait fishing difficult, but I watched in amazement as a beaver swam through my fishing line only a few feet from me. Later, a loon proudly showed off 12 babies as they swam close enough for us to take their picture.

We set out to find Clear Lake. Drove over gravel and rocks with cows beside the rocky road peering curiously at us. The game warden warned us to be careful, because this is wilderness area and the narrow gravel road goes along steep cliffs. We had to give up finding Clear Lake. We agreed this side trip was a great throw-back to our backpacking days, but without the packs. Our car did suffer some, I am afraid.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Four Day Adventure--Great for Relationship

Four days of just going north to explore the northeast corner of California. Starting point: Fair Oaks on Thursday, July 22nd. We decided to go Hw.65 through Marysville to Hw.70 and Lake Oroville. Then up the Feather River Canyon to beautiful Lake Almanor. The first night we spent in Chester at a Best Western motel.

The nest morning we drove to Hw.89 north through Lassen Ntl. Park. Gorgeous yellow snow flowers blended with green meadows and vegetation alongside the large patches of snow that were reluctant to give way to summer.

We stayed on 89 to Burney Falls about six miles north of Hi.299. We had heard that it was spectacular and we weren't disappointed. It could be as world famous as Yosemite Falls, Niagara Falls, and others. From there we turned east on 299 headed for the largest town in Modoc County, Alturas. I had no idea there were still roads in California where travelers rarely meet a car and no cars overtake you. We traveled past farms, through mountain passes and large fertile valleys. PURE SERENITY!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unconditional Love-More from Monty (the Debate)

3. We love our children..correct? We do expect certain things from our children...correct? If our children do not meet these conditions, do we quit loving them? Some parents might quit loving their children, but the majority will continue to love their children no matter what reality is. These parents have unconditional love. They do not say, "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine." Though these parents may have the desire, they do not enforce it.

4. The most outstanding example of unconditional love is God's love for us.....God desires I accept the fact that He died for me, but it is not a condition of his love. God's love is true love. There are no conditions attached.

Unconditional love does exist. Can it exist between husband and wife? I believe it can. It may be rare, but if husband and wife work toward "serving" each other through God, then they can achieve unconditional love. Can unconditional love exist the moment a couple meet? God works in strange ways!

Unconditional Love-Monty joins the Debate

I tried to put this on your blog but it said the message could be no more than 300 characters.

Conditional love versus unconditional love. To me, conditional love would be, "You scratch my back and I'll scratch your back. Unconditional love would be, "I'll scratch your back whether or not you scratch mine. I expect nothing in return."

I believe there is unconditional love. Here are four examples:

1. It has been said that we cannot have love for animals or inanimate objects...only for our fellow humans. Seeing as how I do not believe this, I can use objects and animals as examples of unconditional love. We love a vase...what exactly do we expect from the vase in return for that love? Most os us expect nothing. If I love a wild fox (pun intended), what do I expect in return from that fox?

2. At the church we attended in San Diego, there was a man whose wife was epileptic and in a wheelchair. The lady's body was terribly contorted. The only thing this lady could do for herself was talk. Her husband loved her and met all of her needs until the day she passed away. The man expected nothing in return. Even though the lady did love him, it was not a condition to be met for him to love her. There were no conditions attached to this man's love. This was his wife and he would love and care for her no matter what. Look for more from Monty...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Continuing the Controversy About Unconditional Love

Join us. Do you believe there is unconditional love? An interesting insight into this debate is my husband, Everett's story. We met when he was in the navy and I was a 21 year old school teacher in San Diego.

Here is how he tells it. "It was the first time I had felt such strong feelings for a woman. I asked myself, could this be love or could it just be the horny feelings of a sailor who has been out to sea and away from women for too long?"

"Then I thought, what if Elva were in an accident and was confined to a wheel chair and had to be taken care of? I felt actual pain at the thought. Yes, I would want to be sure she was treated well and had everything she needed. I would want to be the one to do that. It must be love."

That sounds like unconditional love to me and we weren't even soul mates yet.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Discover the Convenience of Being a Follower

I have a friend, Frances Kakugawa, who writes an interesting blog. I don't want to miss her posts when she makes them, so I became a follower. That has been convenient and I look forward to her new posts. Each time she puts a post on her blog I get an email letting me know. It's that easy.

I checked out my blog and discovered how easy it is to become a follower. While checking it out, I accidentally became my first follower. If you enjoy reading my posts, why don't you click the follower button. I would love to have many readers interested in learning how to become soul mates.

How Do You Measure Love?

Is it helpful to set up an evaluation form to check out how each person is doing in relationship? Maybe, if you are working with a good marriage therapist.

If you and your partner want to evaluate your relationship on your own, focus on what each of you are doing right. Years ago, I heard well-known clinician, William Glasser say, "There is no such thing as constructive criticism." I thought he was wrong.

I have learned that when it comes to relationship, he is right. People do not respond well to criticism even when it's meant to be helpful. Sometimes they will obsess about something their partner or parent thought would help. Years later they may bring it up again and declare accusingly, "but you said......" Not good for relationship!

Encouragement works wonders. Notice what you and your partner do right.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Controversy Over Unconditional Love

"Contrary to popular opinion," declares author Bob Quinlan, "there is no such thing as unconditional love." This statement reminded me of of my husband, Everett's warning to me during the first year of our marriage. He warned, "We will no longer love each other this much after we have been married a long time." After 55 years of marriage he happily admits he was wrong.

Unconditional love happens after two souls have evolved together over a period of time. His needs are my needs. My needs are his needs. We are so much a part of each other that his joy is my joy. When it comes to doing tasks, we are more likely to say, "You have done more. Let me do it," instead of "I do everything around here."

If author Quinlan continues his investment in his lovely wife for many years,I think he will be able to say, "I'm glad you were right, Elva."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Business Techniques Applied to Relationship

According to author, Bob Quinlan, the same principles you use to make business successful can work to make relationship successful. I read all 233 pages of his book, "Earn It Empower Yourself for Love" last week while vacationing at Wally's Hot Springs in Nevada.

I agree that relationship must be prioritized. You must invest in it if you want it to evolve into a satisfying soul mate experience. I don't believe you can earn brownie points. Attention has to be a current every day commitment. If you take your partner for granted you cannot expect closeness to continue. Neglect will endanger the relationship.

Author Quinlan emphasizes earning love. Somehow that concept doesn't fit for me. Certainly loving relationship implies interaction. It cannot survive if one-sided. If Quinlan means relationship has to be give and take, I agree. Do you think people can earn love?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Earn It Empower Yourself for Love

Last Friday Bob Quinlan, a friend, launched his new book with a seven piece band at a Borders book store. The title is "Earn It Empower Yourself for Love". The preface of the book promises to redesign the reader's attitude by teaching him to use powerful basic business principles and terminologies to make relationship work.

I plan to begin reading Bob's book next week. I am hoping to find some new tips to share with you. We can use all of the help we can get to aid our evolving relationships. Because no two people are alike, it is great to have relationship tips from as many authors as possible. If we get one idea from a book that can help us understand ourselves or our partners better, it is worth the price of the book. Don't you agree?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Robin and Gary Renew Their Vows

I promised our own story next, but when I saw Robin and Gary's pictures I wanted to share them. Robin wrote, "Healthy happy marriages are very rare these days. Couples need to remember to fight for their marriages and do their individual parts to help make their marriage work! God knows my husband and I have been through it all....separation, the loss of a baby and parents. It was our will and the grace of God that helped us stay together and make it work. We are happier than we have ever been!"

The pictures were taken in Las Vegas where they renewed their vows on their 10th wedding anniversary. They are on their way to becoming soul mates, don't you think? Commitment is essential.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gems from "Fighting for Your Marriage"

"Don't expect to be your beloved's soul mate before you've been there as your mate's soul unfolds--Soul mates evolve as lovers grow together and coauthor their own relationship story." This quote is from Howard Markman, one of the authors of "Fighting for Your Marriage."

This is another way of saying, you don't find a soul mate, you learn how to become one which is the premise of my book, "Becoming Soul Mates." The book, "Fighting for Your Marriage" also has easy-to-learn help for learning to become soul mates. Check it out at your local book store.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Being There for Your Partner

There is a chapter in "Fighting for Your Marriage" titled "Being There". The suggestions sound like common sense ways to support our partners, but often we overlook the obvious.

For example, when I see Everett struggling with something I might blurt out, "What's wrong?" His response, "Nothing." How much better to offer to talk. "Would you like to talk?" When you do that you listen supportively.

The book suggests:
Focus on your partner
Pay attention, do not multitask
Touch your partner while listening
Let your partner know you are listening
Do not interrupt
Make your partner feel understood

I would add that you can make him/her feel understood through reflective listening. Do not give your partner solutions or advice or tell him/her what went wrong. Trust him/her to work out solutions to his/her own problem. Support that. You will find more about how to do reflective listening in my book, "Becoming Soul Mates".

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fighting for Your Marriage

I recently received a new book called, "Fighting for Your Marriage". It is actually a revised updated edition of an old book titled, "Enhancing Marriage and Preventing Divorce" by Markham, Stanley, and Blumberg. The size of the book, 428 pages, is a bit overwhelming, but the print is reader friendly. This updated version of the book addresses the significant changes marriage has gone through during the last decade.

My book, "Becoming Soul Mates" was published in 2003. Although the basic truths for making relationship work haven't changed, certainly the negative influence of technological communication and change in lifestyles make a revised approach to talking about it desirable. This book has done that.

I will share some thoughts from "Fighting for Your Marriage" in the days ahead. Look forward to that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Relationships Need Some Space

Some couples take togetherness to the extreme. They don't understand that spending time apart can contribute to growth and differentiation. For a guy to get away for fishing or hiking or golf with friends can actually give him new energy and appreciation for the woman he loves. Women benefit from getting away as well.

I recently spent a weekend at beautiful Woodleaf attending a women's retreat. I did a workshop on Saturday afternoon on "A Little Love Can Create Miracles". I enjoyed making new friends and enjoying women young, old, single, married. We knew each other by first names and not by labels--all women coming together to celebrate our faith and love of God.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Importance of Change in Relationship

The premise of my book, "Becoming Soul Mates" is that you don't find a soul mate, you learn to become one. To become soul mates you must accept the fact that relationship constantly changes as you go through the stages of life. You need not feel sad about that because as Anne Lindburgh says "all living relationships are in process of change, of expansion, and must perpetually be building themselves new forms."

A part of the excitement of a growing relationship is the kaleidoscope effect changes bring. New knowledge, new challenges, new discoveries, new growth in your partner and in you. People who try to hang on to the "honeymoon stage" or the "child-rearing stage", for example, will never be successful at becoming soul mates.

These changes are often called the stress points in relationships. Unfortunately, both partners may not change at the same time. This stresses the left-behind partner and may lead to infidelity, disconnection, and even divorce. If you can survive these changes your love deepens, trust grows, and your relationship matures. You may even realize you have become soul mates, comfortable with giving your partner freedom to grow.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wholeness of Each Person--Separation or Soul Mates?

Borrowing from Anne Lindbergh again, she describes wholeness. "With growth, it is true, comes differentiation and separation in the sense that the unity of the tree-trunk differentiates as it grows and spreads into limbs, branches and leaves.
But the tree is still one, and its different and separate parts contribute to one another.

I like this picture of the soul mate experience better than when two people at a wedding extinguish two candles after lighting one together. Unfortunately, it does not happen that quickly. It takes years for individuals to grow a tree whose branches enhance the tree that has just been planted. Strong branches make a strong tree.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Anne Morrow Lindbergh On Relationship

In her book, "Gift From the Sea", Anne Morrow Lindbergh reflects on the seasons of life and love. As the sea gives up its gifts of beautiful shells, so does her mind bring up its treasures. She uses shells as symbols to describe the stages of life as each woman grows toward wholeness and fulfillment.

Just as I do in my book,"Becoming Soul Mates", she stresses the importance of filling up, nurturing your own soul. She puts it this way: "I want to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out my obligations and activities as well as I can."

I would go even farther. I need to be at peace with God and the significance of life--to know that I am a once in history event and that at every stage of life I am becoming who God created me. Interestingly, the stage of life I am now living is in many ways the hardest. I am painfully conscious that my time is limited and so many goals remain. At the same time losses occur more rapidly, less energy, less hearing, poorer eyesight, friends dying. Growing old takes courage, but wisdom increases.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poetry, Weddings, and Renewal

The ocean rushed toward me purring
Playful white caps danced on its surface
or pretended to spout like whales.

As I lay watching on the window seat
the ocean filled my ears and I fell asleep
as the purring became a part of me.

After reading Poet Frances Kakugama's book, "Teacher You Look Like a Horse", I have been motivated to write poetry again. Sea Ranch spawns poetry, weddings, and renewal. Whenever we come here in the spring, Everett finds a bride and groom to gift with my book, "Becoming Soul Mates". We gave 2 books away this weekend.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Return to Sea Ranch

A get-away to Sea Ranch over the years has taken us out of the many distractions of our every day life and given us the chance to return to the simplicity of first love with its exciting conversations unburdened by deadlines and responsibilities. This kind of return to the sea never grows old.

We have just returned from a two night trip unlike any other. We left our cosmetic case sitting on the dresser in our bedroom. It contained the medications that go along with this season of our lives, but we managed to survive.

I read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gift from the Sea", a beautiful book I have had on my bookshelf for years and had never read. In the next few days I will share some of her wisdom regarding relationship. Look for it right here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Will Menstrual Apps Save Relationships?

Today's newspaper reports that menstruation apps for men are a booming market. "PMSBuddy", for example, boasts "saving relationships one month at a time". These devices allow men to track menstrual cycles of the woman in their lives. During PMS time a female symbol appears sporting devil horns. If my husband bought such a device I'm afraid his IPod would end up in a garbage can and my "horns" would be extended far beyond the "menstrual cycle".

I read the article in amazement. I thought if men put as much effort into learning to talk to and understand a woman, they would accelerate the process of becoming soul mates. They would also increase the fun and joy that getting to know and accept each other brings. What do you think?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Little love Can Create Relationships

Dateline recently showed the poignant story of teacher Karen Longoria. Karen gave birth to triplets 3 months early. A year later she was divorced. Two of the children developed spinal muscular atrophy, a progressively crippling disease. Two months after they were diagnosed Karen was diagnosed with cancer. She had moved her family back to her home town of Grafting, Wisconsin where unemployment had doubled. People were depressed and discouraged.

Karen had rented a small house that didn't accommodate the children's wheel chairs. The town people formed a group "A Circle of Friends". They found the family a place to live for a month. Hundreds of people gutted and rebuilt the house making it wheelchair friendly. Seventy workers a day worked to finish in a month. All material was donated. It miraculously changed the town's depression to hope and faith. Many new relationships began.

A volunteer interior decorator who had lost her little boy 19 years earlier said, "It was the first time in 19 years that I didn't feel pain. I felt joy." That is what love can do.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Little Love Works Wonders

A number of years ago, a client shared an incident from her childhood. She was the 4th child in a family of 6 children. The other members of the family were loud and boisterous. She was small, timid, and shy. She was the classical invisible child in the family. One Sunday morning at church when my client was about 8 years old an older couple asked her parents if they could take her home for dinner and to spend the afternoon. They made her feel like their special guest. She said, "It was the first time I had ever felt special. It changed my life."

A small act of love caused a life long feeling of worth. Amazing, what a little love can do!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Little Love Can Work Miracles

"A Little Love Can Work Miracles" is the title of a workshop I will lead for the Fair Oaks Presbyterian women's retreat at Woodleaf on Saturday, May 1st. Attendents will figure out their love quotient and share stories about the power of love.

Many years ago when I taught first grade at Wilson School in Sanger, California I discovered that some of my little students did not know it was their birthday on that special day. Those children came from large farm labor families. I realized many children had never received a letter or card so I decided to send birthday cards to all of my students.

I continued to send cards to all of my students after I left teaching. Over the years they responded with telephone calls, letters, and visits. Sadly, I lost many through the years. Now I am reconnecting with some of them on facebook.

One student, who called to thank me, said that until he started getting birthday cards he had never felt special. It was especially important to him while he was serving in Vietnam. "Now," he said, "I want to do that for my children and grandchildren."

Sending birthday cards, such a little act of love, and to think that all these years later, it is being passed on to new generations!

Share some of your love miracle stories.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lovers Say "I Love You"

It is not only necessary to love,
It is necessary to say so.....French proverb.

If you resist telling those you love that you love them, what are you afraid of? They will take advantage of you? You will become vulnerable? You will lose power? You will look weak? Anyone can say those words whether they mean it or not?

Lovers tell their special person "I love you" over and over again. I have heard those words every day for many years from the man I love. I never get tired of hearing them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Building Loving Relationships

What is it all about? What goes into building good relationships? Scott Peck in "The Road Less Traveled" defined love this way: "The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth." I am not sure what that means, but here are some of the basics necessary for great relationships;

shared goals and values
continued courtship
ability to resolve conflict
openness and honesty
good self-image
fun and laughter
dignity and respect
feeling loved and loving
being responsible for our own feelings and behavior

Can you add more? What do you think of this list?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lovers Expand Their Capacity for Feeling

We have a mind and a will. Our emotions do not make our decisions for us, but they are very important to our understanding of who we are. Our emotions tell us what perceptions we have and when those perceptions need to be corrected and changed.

We need to ask ourselves. What is going on for me right now? Why am I making myself feel so angry, hurt, disgusted, disappointed or whatever the feeling is? Usually you can figure it out. Then examine the perception. How realistic is it? How important is it? Has it happened before? What can you do about it? Get down to the soft feelings underlying the reactive feelings. Then you can talk to your partner from softness rather than blame. You can use your mind and your will to decide what to do.

You can learn more by reading chapter 8,"Resolve the Complexity of Talking About Feelings" in my book, "Becoming Soul Mates".

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

Apparently, love agrees with Tim McGraw. Tim, who describes himself as country music's tough guy, has become a family man. "I try to be home every night," Tim tells People Magazine. "I really like being there in the morning."

Tim describes his wife, Faith, as "tolerant and forgiving". He credits her with saving him from himself. They have 3 daughters Gracie 12, Maggie ll, and Audrey 7.
Love can create miracles and soul mates as well. Do you think love has turned Tim and Faith into soul mates?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ogden Nash on relationship

Here is Ogden Nash's advice:
"To keep marriage brimming with love in the loving cup
When you are wrong admit it,
when you are right, shut up."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Will Elin and Tiger Restore Their Marriage

Tiger Woods blew up trust in a monstrous explosion that rocked the world. Picking up the pieces and reestablishing trust would border on the miraculous.

Rebuilding trust after infidelity must be the most difficult task any couple can face. I have worked with couples who work hard to make that happen. Incredible anger, grief, attack, and pain continue for weeks and even months. It takes a strong commitment and steel guts to succeed. Do Elin and Tiger have what it takes? Will Elin even want to go through that kind of hell?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher

Carrie Underwood glows with the excitement of new love. "Being with Mike is so easy," she has been quoted as saying at the Grammy Awards. NHL star Mike Fisher checked with Carrie's parents before asking her to marry him. They plan a summer wedding.

Being "in love" can feel intoxicating, but it cannot get them through the challenges all couples face. Hopefully, they will get premarital counseling and learn more about how to become soul mates. I wish them well.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Soul Mates Rate Top Priority

One day a friend said, "I envy you, Elva. It is obvious that Everett adores you. I feel loved, but I would like to be cherished." Women I counsel often express the same wish. One of their biggest disappointments in relationship is not feeling high priority and cherished by their lover.

When you first meet someone to whom you are attracted, the relationship can border on obsessive. You feel special and important. As the relationship deepens couples often lose that intense "in love" feeling. They may no longer prioritize the relationship. Perhaps children, work, or some other activity becomes top priority. Is that happening to you? Talk to each other and change your priorities if you hope to become soul mates.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Don't Choose A Lover Like You Would A Horse

Shortly after we married, when Everett felt loving one day he told me how much he loved me. He began listing all of the things I can do. Then, looking very pleased with himself, he said, "A man has to choose a wife just like he would choose a horse. You look in his mouth and see how good his teeth are."

Horrified, I wouldn't talk to him for the rest of the day. He couldn't understand why I reacted to his "compliment" that way. After 54 years of marriage we both laugh at his naivety. A woman wants to believe she is attractive to her lover. She doesn't feel special just because she is "nice" or "competent". She wants him to think she is beautiful, sexy, and desirable.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Conflict is Part of A Good Relationship

How can I be who I am and still be connected to you? The big question. People are different in many ways. That means inevitable conflict from time to time. The closer you are to someone, the more certain it is that there will be conflict sometimes. That is true of friendship in any form. Conflict provides opportunity to stretch and grow.

Everett and I are not fighters. Our natural response when there is conflict is to withdraw and not talk. In the 54 years we have been married we have learned to hang in with each other and talk things out. We can even raise our voices sometimes and not be afraid we will offend each other or lose the love we cherish. Respect is essential. No name calling or blame. Conflict is not a matter of right and wrong.

We learn from each other, accomodate each other when we can and sometimes simply agree to disagree. The important thing is that we feel safe with each other. In fact, there is no one with whom I would rather be.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Celebrating Love on Valentine's Day

What is it about red roses, chocolate, and valentines that makes love seem so easy and everything seem so right? Valentine's Day on a Sunday is an added bonus unless you are a child.

We took full advantage of this day to celebrate love. A bluebery pancake for breakfast, attending church, then a small lunch in a restaurant overlooking the river, watching yesterday's Olympics all afternoon, and finally clams,garlic bread and champaigne for dinner.

How did you celebrate love on this Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Only Two More Days!

Today I bought a Valentine table cloth. I have had a hard time finding pretty luncheon table cloths, so I was excited when I actually found a red one with hearts on it. Saturday we will get some flowers and clams. We already have the champaigne. We are both looking forward to Sunday. We will go to church together in the morning. I always look forward to a day I can spend with my soul mate. How about you? What are you looking forward to?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Excellent Ideas for Valentine's Day Celebration

I just discovered a blog full of ideas for celebrating Valentine's Day. It is If you are looking for ideas, take a look at this blog.

Eight More Days!

If you are becoming soul mates, Valentine's Day is one of your favorite days of the year. It gives you a chance to express your love creatively. You can select a funny card, a sexy card or a mushy card. Sometimes we give each other one of each. We have come a long way from the time Everett said, "Get in the car. I want to show you something." He drove to a nearby store where cards were sold and led me to the card counter. "Here" he said picking a card he had obviously found before. "If I bought cards, this is the one I would give you. Now we won't have to buy it." He believed cards were a rip-off which took advantage of people's feelings. I loved cards! Now I even get a card from him on Easter. The first time he did that he had a satisfied look on his face as he said, "and you didn't even get me one."

Cards are certainly a big part of Valentine's fun. Even Ev has fun with them now! It's all a part of becoming soul mates.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Countdown Continues

So what will you do on that Sunday to make your loved person feel special? If you live in the north area of Sacamento "Becoming Soul Mates" is available at Flower Power at the corner of Madison and San Juan. Others can order it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Twelve More Days until Valentine's Day

Just 12 more days until Valentine's Day, the day of lovers. Hopefully, for you every day is the day for love. Are you reading my book, "Becoming Soul Mates"? If you are, let me know what has helped you the most. I am finding that more and more experts are making the same point. Initially in relationship you believe your love cannot get stronger. People in happy long term relationships all say the same thing, love grows as you learn to accept your partner and love him/her just as they are. After being married for 54 years, I can tell you Everett and I are truly soul mates. Difficult times can be opportunities for growth and learning which lead to stronger relationship or you can use them to blame your partner and disconnect in a way that can lead to destruction of love. Becoming soul mates doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of being loved and accepted. People don't just fall in and out of love.

I hope you enjoy the count-down to Valentine's Day. We will.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Day Lovers Remember

If you are a lover, you probably have already been anticipating Valentine's Day, the day to celebrate love. Our celebration of Valentine's Day has become a tradition. Champaigne, steamed clams and garlic bread on a festive table with fresh flowers in the middle.

You probably have your own way of celebrating--perhaps something unusual like a gift of chocolate covered strawberries. You might consider buying my book, "Becoming Soul Mates" and find a couple of pages to read and discuss. You can open it at almost any point and find two pages to read and talk about. Together you can talk about how much you love and feel loved. A great day to celebrate love!
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Do Nice Guys Finish Last?

I know a guy who seems to do many of the things good lovers do when they are dating. He respects his date, is attentive and loving, focuses on her wishes and needs, notices what she likes and provides it. He even writes funky edgy poetry to her if he really likes her. He is one of those rare men who tries to do everything right.

He says, "I'm not sure women really want a "nice" guy. I think many women want a man who is a challenge, a man they can "tame". Sometimes I think women take advantage of a guy like me."

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What Good Lovers Do

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate yourself as a lover? We will begin a discussion of what good lovers do. I would like to get your input.

Good lovers turn up the energy level. They focus on each other. They communicate with their eyes. They touch freely. They talk and listen. They pray for each other. They want the best for each other. They flirt with each other. They enjoy being together.

How are you doing so far? More next time.......
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Sexist Men Alive

People Magazine's "the sexist men alive" are not necessarily good lovers. We will begin talking about what makes you a lover. Some of the men on the list can offer some answers. Johnny Depp, this year's winner says he is happiest when he is with his family. The family is rarely apart. Simon Baker has a genuine smile and likes to laugh. Matthew McConaughey is kind, adventurious and lives his life with passion every day. Bradley Cooper manages to be manly while still being sensitive. He knows how to make others feel attractive.

This is a start. Are you a good lover? We will talk about what makes a good lover in future blogs. Check with friends on facebook, what do they think makes a good lover?