Some of My Favourite Relationship Resources

What are some of the most life-changing books and resources I’ve encountered in the past 25+ years of my personal growth and exploration journey?

It was very hard to narrow it down to just a few but here’s a start!

To be in healthy relationships, I think it’s essential that we have a healthy and loving relationship with self.  One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read on this is Susan Anderson’s book called “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing.”  She goes through the five stages of abandonment: Shattered, Withdrawal, Internalizing the Rejection, Rage and Lifting with a description of each and special exercises for healing.  I think everyone should read this book – whether or not you believe that you have experienced abandonment!  Her companion book “Taming Your Outer Child” is another keeper.  You will learn so much about self-sabotaging behaviour from this book.

Gary Chapman has written two very powerful books: “The 5 Love Languages” and “Love as a Way of Life.”  I encourage all my coaching clients to check out his 5 love languages so they can understand what theirs is, and the language of loved ones, whether it’s a spouse or a child.  When you understand your love language you can ask for what you need.  When you understand the love language of loved ones you can express your love in ways that are meaningful to them.  I think this is a real game-changer!  In “Love as a Way of Life” he talks about the qualities of being a loving person.  With descriptions and short assessments you can see if you walk the talk of being a loving person.  Again, a book that is very relevant to relationships

I learned about Alison Armstrong a few years ago from a male friend.  Since then, I have been to one of her “Queen’s Code” workshops, I’ve listened to audios, watched her videos and I’m a convert!  She has been studying men and women for over 25 years and she sees how women often expect men to behave like an ideal woman.  When they don’t women punish them and don’t honour who they are or what they are really good at.  I see this around me all the time and, through Alison’s work, I have learned skills and new understandings for really appreciating and connecting with men.  This is really important stuff!

Lastly, I really like a book by Daphne Rose Kingma called “Coming Apart: Why Relationships End and How to Live Through the Ending of Yours.”  She starts out with an examination of why breakups are so hard… and the overt and covert reasons we get into relationships.  The author doesn’t see ended relationships as “failures” but instead encourages readers to see them as opportunities for growth.  She offers a series of exercises to help with this process and to give closure.

I do customized coaching with my clients and I incorporate a lot of these resources.   It’s great to read books on relationships but it’s even more powerful working with a trained professional!

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True Love – Part 3

This is my third blog about Daphne Rose Kingma’s book called “True Love: How to Make Your Relationship Sweeter, Deeper and More Passionate.”

The third section of Daphne Rose Kingma’s book is called “The Transformations of Love” and this is where she addresses the higher meaning of our loving relationships.  On page 140 she writes,

“… it [the relationship] is the coming together of two persons whose spirits participate with one another, beautifully and painfully, in the inexorable process of their individual becoming.

In this respect, relationships are like relentless grinding stones, polishing and refining us to the highest level of our radiance.  It is this radiance which is the highest expression of love — this is why a relationship is a spiritual enterprise.”

She talks in this section about the value of consoling one another as we are presented with life’s tragedies and challenges; how important forgiveness and tolerance are toward your beloved; and the value of consecrating your relationship by doing special rituals and meaningful observances.  I like how she talks about the nuts and bolts and the reality of being in a relationship which is not all sunshine and roses all the time!

I think this is a gem of a book.  If you can get a copy of it, I highly recommend it!

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True Love – Part 2

Yesterday in my blog I talked about having come across a wonderful treasure: Daphne Rose Kingma’s book called True Love: How to Make Your Relationship Sweeter, Deeper and More Passionate.

Today, in Part 2 I will share with you some of the highlights of the second section of the book called “The Practices of Love.”

In the “Love Yourself” chapter she says,

All too many of us consider love to be the miracle by which, finally, we will become complete human beings.  This is the fixer-upper notion of love, the idea that we are not all right as we are, but if we can just get loved by somebody, then that will prove we’re ok.”

The truth is that to love someone else, and to be loved, we have to love ourselves first.  She talks about loving yourself enough to be authentic: having the courage to say what you feel and ask for what you want.  She suggests ways to cherish your beloved – like criticizing only in private, behaving yourself in public and praising the ordinary.  Many times we are so focused on things from our point of view that we forget to be compassionate toward our partner and what he/she may be going through.  Another example of loving behavior is to depart and reunite with loving gestures.  I have a friend in her late 70’s and her husband is in his mid 80’s.   They greet each other with a hug and a kiss and when they part, they do the same.  So often it’s the small gestures that mean so much.  It’s easy to take our partner for granted but making time for loving actions goes a long way even after decades of marriage!

Tomorrow I will talk about the third section of True Love called “The Transformations of Love.”  Stay tuned!

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True Love

I love bookstores.  I especially love the “relationships” section!  Yesterday I was browsing in a local bookstore (Russell Books on Fort St. in Victoria BC) and came across a sweet book by one of my favourite writers on love: Daphne Rose Kingma.  This little gem is called “True Love: How to Make Your Relationship Sweeter, Deeper and More Passionate.”

On page 2 of the Introduction, this paragraph caught my eye:

“We have been taught to balance a checkbook, stamp out ring around the collar, and put together a gourmet meal, but we have never been taught how to create a truly loving relationship.  Instead, with the help of romance novels, popular music, and the movies, we imagine that without any effort on our parts love will solve all our problems and make all our dreams come true.”

She talks about how love is a labor of love, and is also an undertaking.

The first section of the book is called “The Conditions of Love.”  Here the author gives us some down to earth reminders such as the danger of assumptions, that relationships have seasons and that everybody is wounded (“The Torn Ear Theory of Love” in which she shares her unconditional love for her cat Max after he was in a fight and got the battle scars!)  What I really like about her approach is that she busts the myths of romantic love and paints a picture of “true” love which is lasting and deeper than the infatuation many of us think will last forever.

I will share some of the highlights (from my perspective) of Section 2: “The Practices of Love” tomorrow!

Have you read this book?  What did you learn from it?  Please share your insights!

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Coming Apart

Hi have just read Daphne Rose Kingma’s book called Coming Apart: Why Relationships End and How to Live Through the Ending of Yours… twice! Every now and then I come across a book that causes a paradigm shift in me and this is one of those amazing books. Kingmas says the reason that we get into romantic relationships is so we can accomplish developmental tasks – both internal and external. Relationships used to be geared toward survival, but in this day and age they are for evolution – so we can get to know who we truly are. She says that relationships end when the developmental tasks of one, or both partners, are accomplished. I found this a fascinating way to look at romantic love and one that made it a lot easier to appreciate ended relationships, and to see the gifts in them.

I’m looking at hosting a group discussion of this book in the near future. I will keep you posted!

Have you read this book? How did it change how you look at the ending of relationships?

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