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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

two words to stop saying...

My husband and I help couples communicate more effectively through our relationship coaching company. I also lead corporate training seminars to help organization's become better at communication. One of the biggest discoveries that needs to be recognized is that little words matter! Especially when we are trying to ask for a behavior change.

There is a need for all of us to eliminate the two words ALWAYS and NEVER. These are called "qualifier" words. The problem is using these two words will create permanence in the very behavior you are wanting to stop. Now, if you want to create permanence that’s a different issue. Please understand the difference.

Let me explain how this works. In a personal setting, if a couple accused the other spouse of an action they do not want to see any more like “She ALWAYS nags" or "He NEVER helps out with the kids…” Why should that person change? You just created permanence. Even if they tried a few times to change, they would be accused of never or always. In a corporate setting, when your supervisor says "You are ALWAYS late" or "You NEVER meet our clients needs." Permanence was created again. Everyone involved will just be frustrated.

How can we change this? Marie Montessori was a famous educator in the 1800's. She advised: "Tell the behavior you want to see NOT the behavior you don't want to see." What is the thing that you really do want to see from the other person? Find the time or few times that the person actually did the behavior you wanted to see. Then ask if they can create more of that behavior.

Here is the correction to our previous examples:
"You've helped with the kids on Friday night - how can I see more of that behavior?" Or "I noticed you made it on time to work 3 times this month. That is what I need to have happen everyday."

People respond much better when you see the things in them that they are doing right. Seeing the strength in someone else will make them desire to "fix what's wrong by focusing on what's right."

Remember, our little words can make a BIG difference.

Cara Lane
Communication Coach 

Cara Lane can be summed up in two words = infectious enthusiasm. Cara’s high energy, expressive style will be a joy to your learning on life. She has won the hearts of people and has become known nationally as “America’s Speaker Sweetheart.” She has also toured the world and has become an internationally known motivational speaker and trainer. Cara Lane is the award winning top trainer for the world’s leading seminar company. She's a leader an ambassador for Weight Watchers. Cara has given over 10,000 hours of instruction on communication training. Check her out at here!

Monday, April 28, 2014


I have a confession: I’d rather be honest than not, but honesty is scary… and I dislike hurting people more than I like honesty, especially when being honest means facing peoples unpredictable and unexpected responses... So what do you do when you’ve been avoiding honesty for so long that sorting out how you really feel is like brushing a rat’s nest from you hair? I get quiet and contemplative. I get still. I get real… and since I’m being honest, I can honestly say the last six months of my life have been my darkest. You see, we had two miscarriages three months apart.

If I’m honest, there is nothing in the world I wanted more than to become a mother, to watch my husband become a father and to see my parents become grandparents. I couldn’t contain the joy I was feeling at the thought of this new adventure. It bubbled from my glowy skin and the bounce in my step. These two pregnancies and babies were wanted with more zeal and passion and love than anything I’ve ever wanted in my life. Contrast that to their end… no heart beats… shattered dreams… hopelessness… and deep, dark, isolating sadness.

If I’m being honest, I can tell you that today is one of the hardest days I’ve had on this journey. For the fifth time this month I learned of another pregnancy announcement for an October baby, the same month our second baby was due. All the while, the fifteen people (yes, fifteen!) who were pregnant and due within weeks of our first baby are now having their babies… My feeds on social media are full of joyful news every day… and my heart wrestles with the happiness I feel for their new babies or new pregnancies, and the sadness I feel for our loss. And since I’m being so honest, it’s the worst juxtaposition my heart has ever felt. It’s hard. And I wish I was in a different place…

If I’m being honest, I should mention what a trooper my husband is. And how supportive my parents and friends are. If I’m being honest, I’d share that these two losses were significantly harder than the two years of what we called infertility thinking we weren't able to get pregnant. And if I’m being honest, I wish I could fast forward through the next few months… though, I know the pain and the work will be worth it (though how has yet to be revealed).

If I’m being honest, I’d share that I am a changed person from these experiences. It’s too soon to tell how quickly or how well I will rebound, or how permanent the emotional damage will be. But honestly, I have a strong desire to be okay… to feel whole and normal again… and to mend my broken heart.

If I’m being honest, I’d say that I am scared to death to be pregnant again, and the thought of another miscarriage takes my breath away. Honestly, though, the thought of never being a parent is as equally void of air…

So, while I’m being so honest I’ll share that my fragile heart is desperately clinging to any shred of hope, to anything that resembles distraction or happy news…


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

how to show your love & why it matters...

After taking a 2 month “sabbatical”, I am glad to be back on Sweet Vanilla Bean! So, let’s get right to it. My last four posts came from something I wrote entitled "5 Ground Rules For a Better Marriage." Those 5 marital ground rules that can reinforce your marriage today include:

1)   Never go to bed angry.
2)   Say “I’m sorry.” always!
3)   Go on a date at least twice a month. 
4)   Say “I love you” often!
5)   Hold hands in public.

In my last post entitled how to make your words mean something, I shared the importance of positive words towards your spouse. Life giving words such as saying “I love you” often will cause you and your spouse to appreciate each other rather than tear each other down. Your marriage benefits from positive words and will change the course of your relationship every time.  

One of the most important points from this post was, I believe you won’t even get to the showing love if you never do the saying of love. Ironically, the glaring difference between husband and wife is the husband says, “Tell me you love me.” The wife says, “Show me you love me.” This difference poses a conflict at times. On the other hand, if handled carefully and intentionally you can use this difference for you and not against you. This leads us to today’s post entitled, “How to Show Your Love Matters.”  
One of the practical ways you can show your love matters is to hold hands in public. Now, I understand that there might be some out there that say, “Our marriage relationship is private so I don’t like to flaunt it publicly to others.” I respect anyone who holds to this conviction. Conversely, to be clear, holding hands in public for example is much different than making out in public. 

They say a simple touch goes a long ways. In a marriage relationship, a simple touch goes far beyond any projected distance. In fact, something like holding hands in public solidifies your relationship and has the potential of breaking out of the marriage mundane.    

Here are 3 quick tips on the importance of showing your love matters:

Love is a workout. This is not an endorsement for Olivia Newton John’s classic, Let’s get physical. Rather, similar to working out in a gym or jogging a few laps around the park 3 times a week, whenever you work hard and consistently at something, eventually you will see results. Demonstrating love is not a one-time thing. It is an on-going workout. When you show your love towards your spouse beyond February 14th for example, you will see the results you have always longed for.

Don’t give up in well doing. If your marriage relationship is on the rocks right now, something like holding hands in public may be a monumental task. Maybe for you, something like smiling at each other may be a first step towards forgiveness and reconciliation. Either way, showing love to each other is something that never ends. With this said, don’t give up even if it’s a “small thing.”

The small things matter. Showing your love can take on all kinds of forms. I suggest that whenever you do the small things, your marriage relationship takes on a strong shelter. They say, “Dogs are not man’s best friend; flowers are.” Try showing you love your wife by giving her flowers without being in the doghouse and see the surprise on her face that will go a long way!     

Try out these 3 tips this week and see your marriage relationship grow stronger than ever before. Showing your love is an on-going priority. Work it into your everyday and see your marriage blossom into an enjoyable relationship.   

Rob Lane 
Marriage Mechanic

Rob is proud that his wife Cara plays an instrumental part of what he does. They have a combined 20+ years helping individuals and couples with their relationships and marriages. Rob has a BA in Christian Education from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and is an Online Psychology Professor for Grand Canyon University. Rob is also certified marriage counselors in the PREPARE/ENRICH program. He is a non-denominational ordained minister and officiates wedding ceremonies. Rob combines his experience and education along with his unique approach that is sincerely relational, empowering, hopeful, honest and compassionate. To learn more about Rob, The Marriage Lane and his approach read here.
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