Are you looking for ways to breathe new life into your relationship? In today’s episode, we’re exploring the power of integrity to heal problems and generate passion in your connection with your partner. What does it mean to be honest? What are you actually committed to in your relationship? How do you turn a major problem – for instance, infidelity – into a catalyst for growth and even deeper intimacy?
My guest today is Katie Hendricks, co-author of the book Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment. Having worked with thousands of couples with her partner, Gay Hendricks, Katie is experienced in helping you make the shift towards a relationship in which you and your partner are bringing out the best in each other. There are some tough topics in this episode – and our goal is to show you how to easefully and gracefully challenge your assumptions about what’s possible for your relationship.
Katie discusses the following topics:
- Conscious Loving means to be awake and engaged, with a free choice to communicate clearly and authentically about feelings. How do you bring out the best in your partner? Do you want your partner to be their biggest and brightest self in the world? Where does that idea create fear in you, and is it getting in the way of your being able to encourage your partner?
- Along those lines, how are you choosing yourself as well? Are you allowing yourself to get smaller in your relationship? Are there different choices that would be more aligned with what you want to create for yourself in the world?
- How would you know if you are experiencing “Conscious Loving”?
- Are you repeating destructive patterns in relationship, perhaps that you saw modeled by your parents or other adults (this could be from the media and entertainment, as well as within your actual experience)?
- Are you caught in any of these “traps” of unconscious loving? Seeing a limited possibility for a relationship, having the viewpoint that relationships are hard work and require compromise, letting your partner get away with destructive patterns? Is your partner letting YOU get away with destructive patterns?
- A starting point for overcoming the traps is to come back to a place of caring and respect, for yourself and for your partner. Can you challenge these negative assumptions and patterns? How would you act if you were coming from that place of caring and respect?
- The Responsibility Principle is one that is often misunderstood. People generally confuse responsibility with blame and burden.
- Responsibility is being able to claim your creativity, and instead of blaming, you get curious and creative. Are you able to respond to what’s happening? Are you responding from a place of being curious, or are you reacting out of fear or anger?
- What about a relationship that has gone through infidelity? Part of being honest in this situation is learning to communicate about the pain and being in the experience of what that means in the present. Learn to listen, and both people should take responsibility for what created and led up to that event. It is time to re-examine your commitment – what are you committed to? What are the micro-commitments that you’re making to each other? Can you say goodbye to the old incarnation of your relationship, and re-commit to the new incarnation?
- In spite of the infidelity, the relationship can be even stronger, and commitment takes on a new meaning.
- In particular, both partners must commit to revealing instead of concealing. Look at all the times when you are tempted to not be truthful in your life. Can you be truthful in a way that is gentle for your partner, and for yourself? Whenever you are tempted to “conceal” – recommit to the path of revealing – revealing who you actually are.
- It’s the committing and recommitting that gets you toward your goals in the relationship.
- In Katie’s seminars, she teaches people to recognize the body sensations of feelings not being expressed and teaches them to open up. Can you tune in to what’s happening in your body when you start to conceal something? What’s the deeper feeling within you? Could you express that? Even a simple statement like “I’m feeling…” could free you from that pattern!
- Notice how much more energy becomes available for your relationship when you commit to speaking the truth about your experience in those moments!
- The point isn’t to be perfect – it’s a process that we repeat over and over again; however, following the path of Conscious Loving can help you experience more intimacy and fun along the way, even if you aren’t yet highly skilled at it.
- If fear is getting in the way, how does it shift if you see your partner as your ally?
- When you practice conscious loving, you will generate more energy to create with your partner because you’re spending less and less time with power struggles, conflict, and keeping score—-all those old “games” that destroy relationships.
- Katie explains the “upper limit” problem in regards to your capacity to expand into giving and receiving love and positive energy each day. Can you honor your body’s need for rest and integration when things are getting better and better? If you don’t allow for that integration time, you may unconsciously create “problems” to give yourself that time.
- A common relationship problem is criticism and blame–#1 relationship killers! That criticism can be verbal or non-verbal, but it should be replaced with a commitment to appreciate your partner. Note that criticizing YOURSELF is just as toxic to your relationship!
- Focusing on appreciation is the ONE thing you can do in your relationship to effect change today. Strive for a 5:1 ratio of words of appreciation to words of criticism.
- Katie has a sequel to her book coming out in October 2015: Conscious Loving Ever After: How to Create Thriving Relationships From Midlife and Beyond. I hope to have her return to the show soon to tell us more!
Links and Resources:
http://www.neilsattin.com/hendricks is the direct link to this episode. Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide. If you download the guide within the first week of this episode’s airing, you are automatically qualified for a chance to win a signed copy of “Conscious Loving”!
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