I have something really, REALLY exciting to share with you today! This may seem a little on the personal side, but I'm here to tell you about an experience I recently had that has literally changed my life forever, for the good.
After almost 10 years of marriage, I have grown to love and respect my husband, Mike, even more then the day I married him. Life's experiences, the good and the bad, have brought us together and taught us so much more about each other. We have 4 wonderful children together. We both adore our children. Mike is the type of Dad that rolls around on the carpet with each of them as soon as he gets home from work to wrestle and snuggle with our kids. He calls them routinely when he has to be out of town on business trips and asks to talk to each of them. He often lays in bed with each of them and chats with them about their day until they drift off to sleep. He is the type of husband who can tell when I'm on overload mode and suggests I go get a hotel for the night so I can get some peace and quiet and a good night's sleep. He is the type of husband who strives to meet not only my needs but many of my wants as well. Bottom line, he's more then I could have ever hoped for in a husband, a father, a provider for our family.
Despite Mike's many, many wonderful traits (and hopefully my wonderful traits??), these past few months we have had a handful of things here and there that we just didn't see eye to eye on, things that weren't clear cut where one person is obviously right and the other is obviously wrong. Things regarding parenting, and communication. Although these things weren't "serious issues" such as infidelity or other not so fun topics that couples might go see a counselor over, they were issues that I really wanted to figure out so that we could be solid as a couple. I adore Mike, I plan on spending the rest of my eternity with Mike, I plan on enjoying grand babies and retirement with Mike, but I wanted all those years to be grounded on a solid foundation of us knowing how to properly communicate with each other and navigate discrepancies where neither one of us was "right" yet we needed to know how to come together in agreement.
All the years leading up to this past year you could say were possibly easier. We didn't have quite as many kids, Mike's career wasn't quite as demanding as it is now, my business wasn't quite as big as it is now etc. All of these things might be a big part of the reason we were starting to more often run into situations where we didn't quite see eye to eye. I was starting to feel like I wasn't being as appreciated as I should be sometimes, he was feeling the same way at times too. I was starting to just "keep the peace" in certain situations because I didn't want to have a "disagreement" over little things and I'm sure he was doing the same thing, but even though they were seemingly small and insignificant things, I noticed I would feel a little resentful or bitter here and there because we weren't seeing each other clearly, we weren't seeing eye to eye, neither of us was feeling like we were being properly valued or appreciated.
So I did it. I took the leap of faith and booked an appointment with a "Relationship Coach" as he likes to call himself. Some people call it a counselor, but Dr. D calls himself a relationship coach, for several reasons. It takes a bit of the stigma away from the word *counselor.* The word "counselor" or "therapist" insinuates something is majorly wrong or something- it just doesn't sit well with most people, and although Dr. D can handle those types of situations, many relationships don't have major things wrong, they have "basic" things wrong. The term relationship coach is exactly what Dr. D is- he coaches you through relationships and helps you learn the tools to have incredibly successful relationships- not just "survive-through-life-without-killing-each-other" relationships, but relationships where you can't hardly wait to get some alone time with your spouse, relationships where you are so excited to spend time with them that setting up a date night with each other is the first thing on your to do list every week, a relationship where no matter how big the problem is that you have to resolve with your spouse you can do it lovingly and peacefully while preserving the integrity of the relationship and only focusing on the problem without pulling all the past problems into the discussion and turning it into a major argument!
In a nutshell...after meeting with Dr. D for ONE session, our relationship was 150% better, SERIOUS. Dr. D guided us through the building blocks for all relationships and how relationships as a whole work. He taught us how to build a relationship where both partners would feel solid in knowing that they were valued by their partner above anything and everything else in life (with the exception of God). He taught us how to figure out and understand how each of us, as individuals, wanted to receive and give love. He taught us how to work through any problem or disagreement in a very loving, completely non-confrontational manner where no hurt feelings would be added to the equation and only solving the problem would be focused on. He taught us how to have monthly (sometimes weekly) meetings where we take stock of what's going on in our lives, help each other in anything we may be struggling with, set new goals together and follow up on past goals we set as a couple. Most importantly, he taught us how to communicate. Going to Dr. D was like gaining the knowledge of the best, most world re-knowned "relationship-self-help" books combined with Christian principles, but getting it explained to you in perfectly digestible English- and for us, a couple with absolutely no time to read self help books who is literally in the trenches of sleepless nights with 4 very young children, he was exactly what we needed!!
Mike and I ended up going to meet with Dr. D 3 times. We could keep meeting with him for the rest of our lives because each time we met, even though after the first time we really didn't have any "pressing issues" to discuss, he still had a wealth of knowledge to teach us and coach us through that helped every single relationship in our lives, not just our marriage. Mike, who is a mand of few words, would talk and talk and talk to Dr. D about anything and everything- I was in shock about how much my not so talkative husband was talking! Due to time and money, we won't be meeting with him every single day like we would like to, but he's given us an abundance of tools and knowledge to not only make our marriage strong and incredibly solid, but make it amazingly enjoyable, make it the type of marriage you long to have...the one you thought might only be for the movies. It's also very nice to know that if/when anything might ever come up in our marriage or any other relationship for that matter, he is always there and we can have a follow up session any time we please.
I have felt very impressed to share this somewhat personal experience with all of you because I am guessing at least one of you out there has felt the same way Mike and I did. Maybe you feel like you aren't quite seeing eye to eye with you spouse? Maybe you long to have a marriage where you can't hardly wait to see each other instead of sometimes avoiding each other because of a disagreement? Maybe you don't feel like you are being appreciated as much as you should be?
Dr. Alfred Dodini, Dr. D, as many like to refer to him, sent along a few questions for all of you...here they are:
1.) Did your parents teach you everything you needed to know for success in dating, courtship and marriage?
2.) Do you have a trustworthy source of advice in these areas?
3.) Do you wish you had consulted with a relationship coach before you got engaged or married?
4.) Are you considering poking yourself (or someone else) in the eye with a sharp stick if things don't get better in your relationship?
If your answers were: No; No; Yes and Yes, Dr Fred or (another recommended Relationship Coach if you live outside AZ) can help with individual or group couples coaching. I'm going to give you Dr. D's info because no joke, Mike and I have been very open with our friends and family about this experience, we have nothing to hide- almost every single one of them has asked us for Dr. D's number for themselves. I figured one person out there reading this post in the AZ area might feel the same way- so I'm going to spare you from having to even ask me for his info.
One last thing before I give you Dr. D's info. One of the main reasons many people don't go to see a relationship coach- money. Let's face it- we could ALL use a relationship coach on our side in life. Do any of us have perfect relationships with every single person around us? I didn't think so- so why don't we all spend the money on getting ourselves a relationship coach? We spend money on getting personal trainers for our bodies, we spend money on parenting classes to be good parents, we even spend money on a new refrigerator...why oh why do we not value our relationships, especially our marriage above all these many other things we are so willing to spend money on? I'll be honest, that's one thing that caused me to hesitate too, but I will whole heartily say- the $300 I ended up spending on 3 sessions was the best $300 I have ever spent in my life, EVER.
OK...so I'll get off my soap box about why every person needs a relationship coach and just give you his info. Dr. D offers individual coaching/counseling sessions, couples counseling sessions as well as group sessions where 4-6 sets of couples meet together and learn together- like a marriage class where you can ask questions etc. If you don't live in the AZ area, Dr. D is well connected in many states and might even be able to give you a good recommendation somewhere else.
Here's his Info:
Alfred C. Dodini, PhD, MSW, CFLE
2356 E. Willis Rd.
Gilbert, AZ 85297
website: www.drdodini.com- click here to read his Bio
2356 E. Willis Rd.
Gilbert, AZ 85297
website: www.drdodini.com- click here to read his Bio
And I'm happy to say, Dr. D will be making a guest appearance here on my blog from time to time with some fabulous relationship advice!! Stay tuned!
I am so happy to report that Mike and I are using the tools Dr. D taught us on a daily basis- it has made a world of difference. It's not to say that Mike and I never have dissagreements, but we are soooo much better at successfully navigating through them...and we both feel a LOT more appreciated, understood and valued in our relationship. I have a hot date tonight with my Mike...and I'm excited to see him!! I'm so happy to have learned these things while our kids are still young so that we can hopefully be an example of what a strong marriage is made of for our kids! Thank you Dr. D!! ;)