Proactive Partnership (8)
A ProActive Partnership relationship retreat is a sacred space in time dedicated to mutual reflection, discernment, and planning. Retreats are for couples who want to ensure that their partnership remains fulfilling, joyful, and responsive to their changing needs over time. Retreats are for couples who believe that their love relationship is profoundly important and want to be mindful and intentional about how they live each day together.
The retreat process evolved by integrating researched best practices in the areas of mindfulness, successful marriage, positive psychology, restorative justice, education, and existentialism.
Retreat participants dedicate focused, uninterrupted time four weekends each year for restorative conflict resolution, individual and mutual visioning and goal-setting, and planning for optimal resource utilization
The ideal time to jump into ProActive Partnership retreats is as soon as you and your partner believe you’d like to make a long-term commitment to each other. There’s no better time than now to address concerns, share dreams, and begin building a vision for your mutual legacy.
Absolutely! It’s easy to take our relationship for granted, to become complacent and entrenched in habits that don’t serve us or our relationship well. Retreats put rerun arguments to rest, reconnect your hearts, update your vision of the future, and renew your commitments to each other. Tough conversations are saved for retreats – where you create an optimal environment for successful resolutions, and home becomes a sanctuary where you enjoy your life together.
ProActive Partnership retreat curriculum is a comprehensive, carefully designed sequence of skills and resources that builds from one quarter to the next. Ideally, the entire process is learned and practiced over the course of one year. Couples who complete a full year of guided retreats will master the skills and habits necessary to continue retreating successfully without a guide.
Couples who do not complete the full process will be missing critical content. There is no fluff in this program. Each quarter’s content increasingly enhances the way you relate to one another and expands your vision for your partnership. That said, even couples who only complete a portion of the content will find significant benefit from their investment. If you need to pause in the process of learning the full retreat cycle, you may re-enroll and complete the program at a later date; and, of course, supplemental support and coaching is always available upon request.
In addition to your four retreat weekends, please budget approximately one hour per week to learning this process over the course of one year. Each quarter we’ll meet four times, face-to-face or virtually. Meetings will include a seminar in new content, individual coaching, a retreat debrief, and a mid-quarter check-in. There’ll also be fieldwork that you’ll complete on your own: outside reading, journaling, and viewing TED talks or other inspiring videos.
The location for your retreat is entirely up to you. Retreat conversations need to be free from interruptions and distractions. Where can you best relax and reflect, unplug from the outside world, and reconnect with each other?
Some couples retreat at home. There is an appendix in your retreat guide to help you prepare for an at-home retreat. Some couples prefer to get away from their everyday environment. You might house-swap for your retreat location, go camping, book an Airbnb or VRBO, a bed and breakfast, or hotel. Wherever you go, remember that the focus is on each other – not the destination. Choose a place that will inspire your best thinking and dreaming, where you can collaborate, play, celebrate and renew.
Each quarter, participants receive the relevant sections of The ProActive Partnership Retreat Guide, a 30-page workbook that leads couples through the entire retreat process. The guide serves as an ongoing record of agreements, achievements, visions and goals, and the evolving realization of your most important dreams and aspirations.
Each quarter, additional resources – recommended reading, pod casts, and TED talks – will be suggested to support skill development and understanding of the conceptual underpinnings of this work.
Typically my work with you happens before and after retreats. Each quarter during your year with me, I’ll introduce fresh content and resources before each retreat. You’ll have time to contemplate how this content relates to you personally and to your relationship. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and receive individualized coaching.
Then, you and your partner will retreat on your own. The retreat is your time to integrate new content and practice new skills in a safe and nurturing environment that you will create together.
After your retreat, we’ll reconvene to debrief, learn what’s working well, what needs more practice, and what other resources or supports might enhance and strengthen your confidence with this process. By the time our year together is complete, you’ll have the skills, strategies, and structure you need to maintain a self-renewing and resilient love relationship. You’ll have the blueprint for sustaining a secure and lasting love.
Foolproof Dating (8)
My mission is to provide encouragement, support, resources and insight for people who are seeking a loving life partner, people on their own mission to find the love of their life.
I know firsthand how difficult this search can be, especially if you have few examples of healthy relationships in your family of origin or circle of friends, or if – like me – you’ve experienced the agony and embarrassment of a “failed” marriage yourself.
My family tree is riddled with disdainful marriages and contentious divorces. When my apple fell from that tree and finally rolled away, I was unequivocal in my quest: I would figure out what I didn’t know about healthy relationships and find a partner to help me build one. I yearned to create a kind and compassionate family, and – more than anything – I wanted to leave a different legacy for my children.
Thomas Edison’s response to those who doubted the possibility of electric lighting became my dating motto: “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Jeez, if Edison could invent electric lighting in 10,000 tries, surely I would find my man if I, too, took notes, was patient and persistent.
And I did find my man after reading towers of books and dating dozens (not thousands) of guys. But it also took years. Because I had so much to learn and – in spite of my note taking – I sometimes succumbed to discouragement, repeated mistakes, and foolishly doubted my vision.
Now, I want to share what I’ve learned to make your search more expeditious. I’d like to be your ally and advocate as you pursue your quest to find true love and craft the relationship you long for. Foolproof dating is the first step: coaching for clarity and accountability – so you don’t repeat unproductive patterns, so you don’t sell your dreams short.
The second step – when you’re ready to explore commitment, is ProActive Partnership Retreats. But let’s take one step at a time.
At home, we have a sign in our kitchen that reads, “If I had my life to live over, I’d find you sooner so I could love you longer.” My mission is to help you find your love sooner, so you can love longer.
Dating can be exhilarating. Dating can be tough. There are so many moving parts. There are all kinds of ways two people may be attracted and compatible – or not: physically, intellectually, spiritually, sexually, emotionally, socially, fiscally. Even the most optimistic among us understand the necessity to compromise a bit on the nice-but-not-essential partnership wish list. But which factors, and how much compromise?
Relationships are often a catalyst for growth. They often highlight personal uncertainties and challenges that easily remain dormant and unexamined when one is single. It’s often difficult to discern if the discomfort and confusion that can arise in a relationship points to a flaw in this partnering or personal idiosyncrasies which, conscientiously, might need to be addressed.
Questions and possibilities, both daunting and exciting, can mix with emotions and set your interior world a-twirl. Your head, your heart, and your hormones can all go into overdrive. You know the feeling. You’re just a little bit – euphorically – out of control. That’s love! However, this love partnering is an enormously important, life-altering decision. You want to do your very best thinking, but – at this stage – it’s extremely difficult to help yourself. What to do?
You can share your dreams, questions, and concerns with family and friends, of course. But they all bring their own biases to the conversation. And who won’t look askance at you (and your partner) once you’ve shared any pernicious doubts you need to process in order to move forward? You could keep one foot on the brake and wait till things stop twirling but, if you’re time line is significantly different from your partner’s, your reticence may be a deal-breaker. You could jump in feet first: commit in haste, repent in leisure. Or you could enlist a dating coach to help you move forward in a measured and purposeful way.
Wouldn’t it be incredibly helpful to have an ally, advocate, and thought partner in this process? As your coach, I am dedicated solely to your happiness, well-being, and success. Allow me to help you…
- Fully define your relationship goals
- Be accountable for taking actions that align with your values and your dreams
- Be mindful and transparent with your level of relationship commitment
- Discern if a potential partner is a true contender
- Maintain your sense of autonomy in relationship
- Identify self-sabotaging dating behaviors
- Find the valuable learning opportunities in dating mistakes
- Distinguish a relationship mismatch from a call for personal growth
- Help you remember the compromises you vowed to avoid before the fairy dust took over
That decision is up to you. You may want to work together weekly for a while to get things rolling, then back off to once or twice a month – sometimes even less frequently – when things are moving according to plan.
Factors that may influence how much time you’ll want to invest initially include the amount of clarity you already have regarding the points outlined above, how much time you are able to dedicate to relationship fieldwork (dating), as well as where you currently are on the Foolproof Dating Continuum.
If you live in northern Colorado, I will gladly welcome you to my office or meet you at a neighborhood coffee shop for face-to-face conversation. If we’re farther apart, or it’s simply more convenient, we can easily arrange time to Skype for virtual conversations.
With or without a partner, it’s time to begin coaching when you’re ready to stop playing around and get real about what’s at stake here: your heart and your sanity, your self-confidence, the cohesive nature of your family, your financial future, your sense of safety and well-being, and the full potential of the unique gifts you bring to this world.
All those things are either fostered and nourished by a fulfilling relationship or smothered by a dysfunctional one. Doesn’t it make sense to approach this life-altering pursuit with a plan and a mentor?
Don’t you bake a better cake with a grocery list and a kitchen-tested recipe? Enough said.
The work we do together – a blend of mentoring and coaching – is a co-creative process. I bring expertise in the areas of healthy relationships, coaching, and teaching; you bring self-knowledge and a personal agenda. The overall trajectory of the work we do is something we’ll discern together in response to your needs and interests. In order to optimize the value of the time we spend together, your input will be essential.
That said, here some topics of conversation that we might begin with to gain insight and traction in your search for your life partner.
- Understanding the Foolproof Dating Commitment Continuum: Where are you now? Where would you like to be?
- Articulating your relationship deal breakers and essential attributes as well as ways to observe and measure these
- Defining your values, vision, mission and goals as an individual
- Articulating your vision for your love partnership
- Practicing restorative conflict resolution skills
- Clarifying personal ideals re: family, community, spirituality, home, resource management
- Exploring what explicit relationship commitments you could eagerly embrace
In addition to exploring these topics, I’d like to know a bit about your relationship history – not a blow-by-blow report since high school, but information about relationships of significance that have impacted your perspectives on dating, fostered growth and hope, or left you with doubts and fears. I can be a better ally and advocate for you when I understand your heart.
As your coach, I truly want what is best for you. I promise to provide a confidential, safe, and respectful place to explore whatever matters most to you. In exchange, I ask for your honesty and a commitment to do the work we design together in service of your goals.
Ultimately, when you agree to coach, you are making a commitment to yourself – to learn to know and respect your needs and desires better than you do today, and to take actions that align with your most deeply held values.
If you are prepared to make that kind of commitment, I am eager to begin working with you!
Coaching sessions can be purchased singly or in prepaid packages of 5 sessions for a discount. Prepaid sessions never expire and can be used for other coaching services or gifted to other people.
Coaching is significantly different from therapy. Coaching is founded on the belief that the client is whole, healthy, capable, and resourceful. The client and coach form a partnership as colleagues, and the coach becomes the client’s thought and accountability partner, ally and advocate. Coaching focuses on discovering possibilities and taking measurable, incremental actions to create the client’s desired outcome.
Therapy is grounded in a perspective of client pathology. For therapy sessions to be eligible for insurance coverage, the therapist must observe behaviors consistent with descriptions from the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. A therapist is a mental health professional with expertise aimed at helping clients overcome life-inhibiting disorders.
For a more detailed discussion see “Understanding the relationship between therapy and coaching,” by Patrick Williams. Choice magazine, Volume 5, #3.