Take A Pause To Decide Your Next Steps Ep 72

Take A Pause To Decide Your Next Steps | Marriage Coach


Welcome back AwakenYou listeners, how are you this week? I’d love to hear how everyone is doing as we just welcomed in summer last week and are so very close to the close of the first half of 2022. I have been embracing a bit of peaceful reflection while contemplating my plans for the second half of this year. I believe our life is full of cycles and that it is helpful for us to consider where we might be in a cycle and to honor what actions that cycle might be calling us into. Right now I am in this cycle of looking back and feeling pride for all of the things I have done to get myself to where I am today. At the same time, I am sitting in the present being grateful for all that is in my life while also looking forward to reconsider where I want to go. As I’ve eased into accepting this space, because I did a bit of kicking and arguing with it as this cycle entered my life, it’s been interesting to watch what unfolds. Kicking and screaming because these cycles don’t announce themselves, often you wake up inside of one and are left wondering why you’re feeling like you took a nose-dive into laziness. With this, I want to suggest that all of you consider what it is you are needing right now in your life and whether you will honor that need or fight against it. Is your soul asking you to take a pause in order to decide your next steps in your life, in your marriage? 

Maybe one of your next steps needs to be taking a look at how you are thinking about your marriage, without trying to figure out why you are thinking these thoughts but simply observing. If you go back to an oldie but goodie blog post, which I have also provided an audio version for those who prefer to listen, about the Self Coaching Model in that episode I teach you about a tool I use that helps you see how your thinking is affecting YOU. As we start to see our thoughts about our spouse and our marriage we notice how these thoughts are making us feel, we start to see how we then show up in our marriages and the result that these thoughts are creating for us in our marriage. My Abundant Love Free Mini-Course is the perfect place to start the process of examining your thoughts, how they’re serving you and then I share a practical and fun way to start creating your own Love List of thoughts that help you create more of what you want in your marriage. Go download the course now, the link is in the show notes, and start the process of creating more abundant love in your marriage!

This week I decided to divert away from what I originally planned to talk about this week because as I go through this time of pause I see so much evidence of resistance to the value in this process. Not only can I look back in my own life and see evidence of the fear of stopping to reconsider or re-evaluate, but I also see it active in the lives of my clients so I want to talk about it today and share how you can start taking the steps to do the same in your own life.

I felt called to talk about this topic because it has always been a struggle for me to take real breaks without an old familiar thought popping up for me that links taking time to be as being lazy. Knowing I’m not alone in this process I wanted to share a few tips to help you along your journey to understanding the importance of being able to pause so you can decide your next steps or maybe in the pause alone, you find your next steps. What I mean by that is often we are so busy focusing on what’s next that we don’t allow our brains to shut down and reset, while in this reset process this is where the next steps start to formulate themselves. Today I want to take some time to think on a few things around taking time to pause and if you are thinking this episode is a waste of your time then I want to suggest that you are the one most needing to continue on listening.

Why do you need to accomplish?

I know the need to accomplish seems so obvious and valid but have any of you noticed how fleeting the gratification is that comes as you cross off completed tasks from your to-do list? It’s about as long as it takes to cross or check that to-do off, or less, before we’re on to the next to-do, while maybe even adding another one on to the pile!

Many of us are conditioned to believe our value comes from doing things but let me ask you this, is getting things done one of your values? Let me share this as someone who has worked to quiet her over-achiever voice, crossing things off the to-do list will NEVER increase your value or worth, it’s inherent and it needs to come from within, not from what you do or what others tell you. You may even be thinking that getting things done IS one of your values and if you are I want you to consider taking time to discover your top values – one of the things we do in the very beginning of my AwakenYou program, what this does is it helps us to check-in with what we think is important.

Take some time to look at your need to accomplish and how it might actually be getting in the way of what you most want to accomplish when you look back on your life. I promise you that when you look back you won’t be highlighting all of your hours spent at work, pulling all the weeds, getting all your closets organized or whatever is on your current to-do.

When it comes to your marriage, is it possible that you are using your accomplishments as a way to prove yourself worthy? Are you comparing to-do lists? Are you doing as a way to prove your spouse’s lack of accomplishment?

Are you lazy?

I want to suggest that you take some time to write about what you consider lazy to be, it might be a bit eye-opening. Do you want to think of yourself as lazy or do you want to think of yourself as powerful, accomplished, and worthy? 

If taking time to be was actually an integral part of getting MORE done, how would you look at taking time “off”?

In your marriage: are you doing more to prove the opposite to your spouse?

Do you trust yourself?

So many voices demanding your time and energy. Which way should you turn? Which action should you take? Who needs to be prioritized? Most of us don’t trust ourselves enough to say no to the demands while saying yes to ourselves. We continue to tell ourselves we’re going to do something, like take some time for ourselves, and then don’t take the steps to implement, evaluate and create our success, which ultimately leads us to not trust ourselves. 

It’s like we make the goal so insurmountable that our failure is inevitable. Could we instead take a smaller step like pausing and telling someone you have to think about it when you have someone ask for your time. Pause before you say yes, or no, pray about it, meditate on it, do you want to change your current plans to take the time to yourself, saying no to yourself, and say yes to them? Baby steps my friends. Constraint and one step at a time.

In your marriage: what is it you want to do in your marriage, how can you come up with those small steps that will get you moving forward?

Trauma and busy-ness

Something I’d like you to consider is if your busy-ness is connected to some past trauma or voice of someone else, because if it is, and it’s likely it is, how can you take your power back in your present life? How can you recognize this old coping mechanism of running from the pain and give yourself a giant hug of loving kindness while recognizing that it’s an old pattern. You can grant yourself time to pause while also teaching yourself that you are not lazy and how to trust what it is you need. 

As you begin to open up to the possibility that taking a break is exactly what you need in the moment and trusting that when that need is fulfilled you will jump back into your next step with exuberant commitment. 

The work of working on our marriage relationship includes the work of compassionately recognizing old trauma reactions so that you can slowly release them and start to embrace the love relationship that feels light and airy. 

When it comes to our lives we need to look at where we are, where we’ve come from, and where we are going while also taking time to learn how to listen to our inner wisdom. When we are able to see how our thoughts fail to serve us, how we strive to make others accept us as worthy without taking the time to do so for ourselves, that’s when growth occurs. Other people will think we’re lazy and not accomplishing enough when we honor the cycle of settling down and resting, it’s when you can be ok with what they think that shows you the progress you’ve made. It’s when you trust yourself to take the time when your body and brain needs it and to come back even stronger, this is what proves you are growing and making progress. What if this time you are going through right now is exactly what you need to make the most of that time that is coming up? 

I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.


Are Our Marital Problems My Fault? Ep 71

Are Our Marital Problems My Fault? | Marriage Coach

Hello AwakenYou listeners, I am coming off of a week-long celebration of my birthday, but who am I kidding, I have been celebrating all month! I actually really celebrate this life every day, I have so much to be grateful for, and today I want to celebrate you. Thank you all so much for showing up every week, taking what I share, and applying it to your life. If I’ve learned anything it is to celebrate our wins, no matter the size because it’s in those small wins that the big goals are created and if we don’t go back to see what we’ve accomplished, we’ll keep reaching in the future for our joy which is a never-ending joy thief. Before I dig helping you move beyond thinking your marriage problems are all your fault I want to remind all of you of my free Abundant Love Mini-Course. In this course, I teach you about how our thinking affects your marital relationship and as you examine those thoughts you will create a love list resource that helps you re-direct your thinking when you see that it isn’t serving you, like thinking that your marriage problems are your fault. You can download the course today by going directly to this show’s notes and begin building positive thoughts about your marriage. Today I want to take a look at something that comes up when individuals start doing the work of changing their marriage without changing their spouse. Often when people start this work they are excited to finally do something that is all about them and their own personal growth while at the same time, they are unhappy in their marriage. When they begin feeling better about themselves and they are taking bold steps to take their power back in their marriage they start to see things change and they begin to ask themselves “Are our marital problems all my fault? I mean, here it is me doing the work, them doing nothing and our relationship is feeling better, what’s the deal if it isn’t my fault?”

This episode is above all inspiration for all of you out there doing the challenging and rewarding work of changing your marriage without changing your spouse. I know this work can have lulls of loneliness where we wish our partner would step it up and take some of the ownership in the relationship. But here’s the thing, that is why you are here, you’re not interested in settling, you want to create your best life, you’re tired of dreaming and not creating. You are a leader and an influencer and yes, sometimes it does get lonely, you want the team to cooperate, or at least in the way you think they should cooperate. Let’s look at what if it is all your fault, what if your spouse was a relationship master and they married you, then we’ll go back to your reasons for doing this work, and lastly, I will share some hope for down the road.

What if your relationship problems WERE all your fault?

Let’s go there. If all of the things that aren’t working in your marriage are your fault then this would be easy because it would mean that your spouse is a relationship master and that they know all things relationships AND they chose you! That’s fun!

In all seriousness, that would be fun because that would mean that they would be all in on this work that you are doing and everything you bring up in conversation about what’s not working for you would be met with cool level-headed curiosity. If they were a relationship master they would be all in on working with you to create what each of you want in your marriage, so why do you think they aren’t doing this work with you?

There could be several reasons your spouse isn’t doing the work with you. It could be you chose to do this work yourself, for you, and when you’re thinking you’re the problem, well that’s one of the things we’re digging into! We’re looking at why you’re thinking this, where else this shows up in your life, and how it’s making you feel (guilty, full of shame?). When we look at it simplistically, it’s no wonder you feel like you’re chasing your tail when you think that these problems must be all your fault!

More often some of the reasons they may not be doing the work with you are that they don’t want to invest the time and energy to look inside, they don’t think they’re the problem or they don’t think there is a problem and possibly, they are doing the work. It’s quite possible they are watching you from a distance, observing the changes you are making, listening to how you speak or don’t speak, and contemplating how they are going to participate in this process. It’s possible they are sitting back to see if this is going to last, should they let their defenses down or should they keep the walls up for a bit longer to see where all of this goes. What if that was what was going on behind the scenes?

Come back to your reasons for doing this work

Truth be told, as you do this work for yourself, it doesn’t matter what their reason is, what matters is that you want to change, grow and get better while letting them be who they are. Because this work changes you from the inside out, that change can’t not change your marriage and how your spouse shows up in it. When we show up differently, everyone around us reacts to us differently. When we come back to our reasons we can stay focused on how we are feeling and as we grow self-confident and courageous we get better at sharing how we are feeling with our spouses and being less afraid of how they react when we open up and share. Again, we are opening up and sharing to support the team, if you think they’re not interested or that they think what you’re doing is worthless we let it be, we are developing a firm belief in ourselves and the work we are doing while letting them have their own personal opinion.

Hope for your future

Sometimes the reason our spouses aren’t doing this work is fear of revealing their own weaknesses, possibly one of the reasons it took you as long as it did to start this journey. Fear of discovering that they are the problem, maybe even validating our own inner fear – that there is something wrong with us. The good news is that often when you start opening up to what you want, when you start becoming vulnerable and real, it gives them permission to eventually do the same, allow it to marinate, and take its time to happen. 

Many times what I see happen is either the partner sees so much growth in their spouse that they want the same results and decide to work with a coach themselves then eventually many of my clients end up coming together to continue this journey as a couple. The other steps in tenderly, cautiously, and a bit defensively until they start to see that this work isn’t about beating them up for what they are doing wrong, but instead they learn that it’s helping them to open up to what they actually want.

What I want you to know is that no matter what they do, the goal of this work isn’t to “fix” them in your marriage, but to step into the partner you want to be, the partner who shows up as fully lovable and who is showing up making sure they are giving as much as they hope to get. All the while, as you do this work of being the best loving spouse you can be, the spouse who shows up in the way she would show up for herself, you get to continually evaluate and re-decide whether you choose your spouse or not. You become more committed to what you want in the relationship and share that with an open heart. You get to invite them along on the journey to a happier, more loving, fun life together. No one person is ever at fault in a relationship breakdown, it is a relationship where both people want to examine themselves and be honest about how they are showing up for themselves and their spouse while doing the courageous work of being open and honest about each person’s needs and desires.

Next time you think that your relationship problems might be all your fault I want you to pause and wrap your arms around yourself in a warm, compassionate hug. You, my friend, are awesome, you are beautiful and you are growing into your potential, I high-five salute you. March on!

I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.


Going From Conflict To Deeper Connection Ep 70

Going From Conflict To Deeper Connection | Marriage Coach


Conflict exists between all of us.

It doesn’t need to be a problem.

But for most of us, it is.

We keep it bottled up, pretending it doesn’t matter.

We argue for our perspective.

Or we just walk away.

There is a better way, and when we understand that conflict is normal and why it’s there, we can start looking at it.

When we can take an honest look at it and find the courage to share what is going on for us, we can discover reconnection, leading to an incredibly richer connection than we had before the conflict.

This week learn how to understand your conflict better while stepping towards a deeper connection with your spouse.

Episodes referenced in this episode:
Ep 23: How To Process Emotions

Books referred to in episode:
Getting To Zero: Jayson Gaddis

Download my free Abundant Love Mini-Course to help you to start thinking, and feeling, differently about your marriage.

Register for my free monthly Marriage Masterclass, where every month I talk about different ways you can change your marriage without changing your partner. Next month we will be talking about The Secret To Changing Your Marriage Without Changing Your Spouse: Creating Better Boundaries, register now! 

More resources and how you can start the process of Awakening Your True You and being the partner who creates your best vision of what marriage looks like for you: https://christinebongiovanni.com/

Join my AwakenYou newsletter for weekly marriage tips and early announcements of upcoming offerings.

Book your free mini-coaching session here.

Show webpage: www.christinebongiovanni.com/70

I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.


Drink Less, Connect More with Caroline Holke Ep 69

Drink Less, Connect More with Caroline Holke Ep 69 | Marriage Coach

Caroline Holke has always had a pretty good life on paper- happily married with 2 kids, a leadership position in corporate marketing, and plenty of good friends and family. But she wasn’t quite happy. This led her down the path of self-discovery which started with examining her relationship with alcohol. 
Today she is a Drink Less Coach. She helps women get rid of the sh*tty parts of drinking and this doesn’t mean that quit drinking. 
Most people focus on what to DO to cut back on their drinking, Caroline has a skill for helping her clients tease out what thoughts are driving their drinking in the first place. Addressing the habit at the root cause is what helps create sustainable change. 
She works with her clients 1:1 to develop a plan on how to unbelieve these limiting thoughts and create a life that they wouldn’t dream of numbing out of. 

Caroline Holke Coaching

Caroline’s Drink Less Craving Hack

Book your free coaching session with Caroline



If you’ve been thinking about cutting back on your alcohol consumption or even ending your relationship with it, then listen in to see what Caroline has to say about her process of doing so. In this interview we also talk about the impact alcohol can have on your marriage relationship, depending upon your reasons for wanting to drink.

I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.