Three Ways To Create Connection In Your Marriage Ep 19

Three Ways To Create Connection In Your Marriage | Relationship Coach

Missing connection in your marriage is something many of us struggle with; I certainly did. Maybe it’s something you’ve always thought you didn’t have enough of in your relationship, or it’s something that you feel has slowly dissipated; either way, it is 100% possible to bring connection into your marriage relationship, the type of connection you want. The journey to feeling connected in my own marriage has been an interesting one and one I have struggled with since the early years of our relationship, I think even before we got married. I had a belief that really did not serve me one bit; I believed that we didn’t have any connection and that he needed to change for me to feel connected. I had a vision of what connection meant for me and that vision was all about him.

This belief kept me from creating the connection I wanted because I was looking at why he wasn’t creating it. When I was able to step back and see that this could be something for me to figure out, I started the journey to taking my power back.

My own thoughts about lack of connection produced many arguments and were the basis of many of our sessions when we worked with different therapists over the years. When I found coaching and started working with my coach, she shared a different perspective that completely changed my life. There was a point in our work together when my coach questioned my thought about connection with Jeff and asked me what connection meant for me. I, of course, had lots to say about what it should look like. She asked what I thought about the possibility of us actually having great connection exactly the way it was, I told her she was ridiculous. After the session her question kept chasing me, I asked myself “what if?”, what if we did have great connection? How would I show up if I thought we had great connection?

Needless to say, from that point on, I have been on a journey to create the connection I want in my marriage. One, please notice how that coaching session worked for me. My coach didn’t tell me how to create good connection, she helped me think about it differently, and when I was able to think about it differently, it allowed me to come up with ideas of how I wanted to create connection in my marriage. That is what we do together, you and I; you share what you are struggling with, and I help you see what it is you are struggling with from different perspectives giving you new ways to problem solve and create solutions that work for you. Secondly, connection is something we create for ourselves; it is an emotion. It’s possible to feel connected when you’re not having a conversation with your partner or when you are. It is possible to feel connected talking about the weather or talking about the law of relativity because connection is a feeling we produce in our minds; it isn’t what your partner is or isn’t saying.

Something is compelling about doing the work of creating connection in your marriage. When you do the work of creating the connection you want with your partner, what happens is you will notice your partner starting to participate in conversations. When you don’t judge how they should show up, what they have to say and how they say it, you can simply enjoy your time together, creating connection!

Decide what different ways you want connection in your life and through conversation with your partner discover which ones they are willing to fulfill.

As humans, we want connection; we want to be included with others. It’s something we do from an early age on through our life, including when we get married, we seek to feel connection with our partner. Along with creating connection with your partner, I think it’s essential to learn how to build a relationship “family” that meets all of our relationship desires. Over and over again, including in my relationships, I see people disconnect from connections they have established once they meet their partner. We start spending most of our time with this new person while forgetting to keep our other connections alive; we look to our new partner to fulfill all of our connection needs which sets us up for expecting our partners to fulfill connection needs that they might not be interested in filling.

Remember how you did things with your partner not because you enjoyed the activity but because you wanted to be with them? Not a problem but also notice how many of those activities you might not care to be included in anymore and how might this be true for your partner as well? I call this took the “turning the table” concept where we take what we are struggling with and change roles which helps us better understand what might be happening instead of our partner not loving us anymore.

This step is about creating a list of all of the ways you might want to connect with others, think broad and think about connection that you might be wanting from your partner but aren’t getting. A few examples might be:

  • Adventure travels exploring new activities and locations
  • An art and creative partner
  • Art festival companion
  • Food adventurer
  • Romantic connection, physical touch
  • Someone to tell life secrets to
  • Dream conversations about what is possible in life
  • World traveler companion
  • Political banter companion
  • An accountability partner to follow through on dreams you want to fulfill in this lifetime

Our partners will not want to fill all of your connection desires, and I don’t think we would want them to, just like you might not be interested in fulfilling that connection desire your partner has around spending the weekend in a boat on the lake throwing out lines with bait on them. You will also have some connection desires filled by multiple people and some that are filled by one; you might do outdoor walks with your partner and still have another friend who joins you in outdoor activities and can look completely different. A relationship “family” is your group of people who help you explore life and your interests together. Some of these connections may come and go over time, or your connection doesn’t happen very frequently. As you expand your relationship family, you might start adding new ways you might want to connect with others, and then you start that search for a new partner to fulfill your new connection. Through this process, you may also discover that some of your current connections are no longer working for you and decide to limit or deprioritize those connections for those that are more fulfilling for you and the life you want to live.

Let go of your expectations of what connection should look like

When I started questioning what connection might look like with Jeff, I stopped arguing with what was currently happening as well as what had happened in the past. Instead, I started being curious about what could happen today and moving forward. I started opening up to conversations that felt awkward in my head but led us to some interesting conversations and laughs. When I started questioning that car rides should always include fun conversations, I started to get comfortable with the silence. When I got comfortable with the silence, I started coming up with conversations.

When you can see that you have a handbook for how your partner should show up and participate in a conversation, that’s when you can start closing the handbook and start coming up with your own style of connection and conversation. Check out my earlier post about Why Our Marital Handbooks Don’t Work.

What if it is ok that your partner doesn’t start conversations and when they do, how do you participate? Are you curious, or do you shut them down? Remember that “Turn The Table” tool I talked about earlier? Do you have expectations of how they show up, but when the table is turned, are you showing up the way you’d like them to for you?

Without your handbook of how conversations should go, you can start getting curious about when conversations might be best received, and you can start planning intentional time to chat. Share your intention with your partner, learn how to ask great questions, check out my blog post How To Ask Great Questions to get you started. What do you want to know about your partner, what do you want to talk about, and start creating that which you want?

Find a structured “meeting” time or schedule that works for you, just like a work meeting, where you discuss relationship basics as I share in my relationship huddle meeting.

Suppose you and your partner haven’t scheduled meetings before, this concept might seem a bit awkward at first. I used to have a Friday night catch-up with my daughter when she was growing up, and I looked forward to those nights because we shared discussions about things that came up for us during the week, but we didn’t have the time to hash them out and then we would turn it into a family night where we did something fun after the conversation. The same concept with your hubby, we have busy lives, and things come up for us during the week but then when the weekend comes if we don’t plan with intention, everything slips aways only to fester under the surface and eventually erupt.

Remember that this is your idea, you are taking steps to increase connection in your marriage, and that it’s quite possible that your partner might not bring anything to the meeting. If this happens you might find yourself wanting to blame them for not participating and being a partner, but I would challenge you to think about him not bringing anything to the meeting is a problem. Instead you could make it mean that you have the power to change this relationship that you want connection in.

To get started, I want to suggest you read my article about The Relationship Huddle; it will give you a structure to get your meetings started, and over time you can shape them into your own signature version. There is a reason we come together in meetings at work; it brings us together to talk about important things going on, things that have happened, and things we want to create; how important is it to do this same sort of meeting in our marriage?

Lastly, I want to suggest that you be willing to do the work to get what you want in your marriage, no matter how difficult it feels.

A bonus tip for you today is around the idea of commitment to do tough things. We are all familiar with the statement that nothing worthwhile is easy (or something like that); as my listener, you’re here because you believe your marriage is worthwhile, your happiness is worthwhile, and I fully agree. Worthwhile is work and is intentional. It is completely ok to set it down here and there and decide you need a break from the work; no problem, the problem comes when we set it down and don’t pick it back up again. When we don’t pick it back up, we will continue getting our old result which brought us here. Creating exceptional relationships is work because it requires us to step out of the comfort of staying the same, do something that might be new and that someone else might have an opinion about.

Your man might think what you are doing is ridiculous until he starts to see how it isn’t. When he sees that you are actually creating connection in your marriage, better enjoying time together, feeling more involved in your relationship, and creating more physical intimacy, well, I guess that it’s not as ridiculous as he thought.

You, my friend, have the power to create the connection you want in your marriage, and all it takes is a little nudge from inside to make it happen. Trust me, all of those little nudges you take action on will add to you creating a marriage worth coming home to!


I am a life coach who works with individuals to break down relationship barriers by awakening their true self. My process isn’t about changing your partner, it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage. If you’re ready to take your life and your love relationship to the next level then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s decide together if this is your next step to creating the life you’ve been dreaming of

Five Steps To Ending Negative Body Image Self Talk Ep 17

Five Steps To Ending Negative Body Image Self Talk | Relationship Coach

Negative self-talk is a real thing, we all do it, but there is a practice different from believing the lies. A practice you can utilize to quiet those negative saboteurs while allowing you to hear them, recognize them, dismiss their lies and access the part of your brain that has your best interests in mind. This practice is what I call mental fitness, which resonates with many of my listeners because many of you are quite familiar with the required consistent practice of weight lifting to strengthen and grow muscle. Lasting results don’t come from a temporary practice, though beneficial and it will move you forward but stopping the practice only reinforces old muscle memory. You are all probably quite familiar with the phenomena of consistent training bring you slow, permanent results while watching those gains quickly disappear over a short hiatus from your program. Today I’m going to share several tips to help you end your negative body image self-talk but remember, the key is consistent practice and belief that the practice will win you results that set you free from the control you’re giving your brain over your body image sabotage.

One of the best things about mental fitness is that you can do it anywhere, anytime, with no gym membership required. Oh, you didn’t know that was possible in your physical fitness practice as well? I’m here to tell you that it is; all you need is to decide that your practice is part of your day-to-day life, and then you use that powerful brain of yours to show you how. Yes, your brain is what produces all of your results!

Let me share a huge result that I am quite proud of producing for myself. It’s been almost five years since I’ve looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. Now, that doesn’t mean that my brain never offers up some sort of lie about what it sees in the mirror, but it’s much quieter now than it ever was in the past. I don’t squash it down and try harder to look “better” or different; it’s more of a whisper now that I gently notice and then excuse the thought, reminding my brain of who I am and how magnificent I have been created to be.

Most of my life I have done everything I could to change what I thought was unacceptable about myself.

I exercised.

Educated myself.

I learned how to eat right.

I read self help books.

I learned the latest and greatest makeup tricks.

You know what? None of it mattered. No matter what I did, that negative self-talk and desire to change was consistent; nothing I did was good enough to satiate the negative body image monster inside my head. I was never good enough; no matter what anyone else told me, I believed them to be liars. So what did I do? I tried harder, searched for a new level that might bring that satisfaction; it was a negative body image treadmill that never brought me to my desired destination.

Then one day, I decided enough was enough and that I would change this lifelong energy drain. I decided to step off the negative body image treadmill. I decided to stop denying God’s perfection of creation while being all-in on my journey to self-love, knowing that it would take some time, I committed myself to it. If you haven’t listened to my very first podcast episode, I highly recommend you go listen after you finish here: How To Start Loving Yourself.

The process of loving yourself includes quieting the negative self-talk. Period. Today we are focusing specifically on our bodies and how we talk about them. I want to invite you to follow the podcast and come back every week because every topic will bring you closer to the self-love needed to break this cycle. This month’s expert interview, which will release the last Tuesday of this month, is with master certified life coach Martha Ayim. Martha helps people end their relationship with binge eating and within the realm of what we talk about in this interview is the subject of body image and negative self-talk.

The first step to ending the negative body image self talk is to just decide to stop.

My intention here is not to make you mad because if you are anything like I was, you have tried this route with very little success. The problem is that you did not implement the other tools of change that I will be offering you today; you didn’t recognize that voice as a saboteur. Instead, you believed it. Believing that voice will only send you into the self reprimand that keeps you stuck and in a forever loop of powerlessness over your own mind and body.

The solution is within you, but you have to be committed to the end result; you have to believe in the truth that you are fully lovable and valuable, and worthy. Again, the ticket is committing and implementing ALL five of the steps I am sharing here today.

You have done a beautiful job over the years protecting yourself for some valid reason or other, you have taught your brain well, but now it’s time to re-teach it. There is no longer a reason to protect yourself; these thoughts are no longer serving you. You are an adult who gets to decide what you want to think, you get to decide to manage your mind, or you can decide to let your mind manage you, your choice. One will help you grow and increase the joy you experience in this life, and the other will continue having you search for something outside of yourself for that joy that keeps escaping you.

The next step is to understand the cognitive dissonance you are experiencing when it comes to what you currently believe about your body image.

To better understand cognitive dissonance, you can read a post I wrote specifically about this topic called What Is Cognitive Dissonance? Cognitive dissonance is the gap between where you are right now and the person you are becoming. In this instance, it would be looking at who you are right now, what you believe, how you feel, and how you behave versus the person you long to be, the person who believes down to their core that they are valuable and whole with certainty while no longer believing the voice inside their head that says they aren’t good enough as they are.

Your brain is very comfortable with your current belief, so comfortable that it has stored it away as an automatic response. It takes work, energy to believe something different, to change that old belief and exchange it for a new one. It’s like a child who loves its binky and will kick and scream when you take it away, until one day the child discovers that life is fine without that binky and maybe even a whole lot better. The child can clear the gap of the binky/no binky dissonance because they haven’t been using their binky for as many years as you have been telling your brain the story about your body.

Recognizing cognitive dissonance allows you to enjoy the journey instead of fighting against it. Understanding cognitive dissonance allows you to have compassion for the process and to trust yourself to know that you will keep doing this work until one day you look back and see how far you’ve come. It’s like looking at the long journey to swimming across the big lake in front of your Airbnb rental, thinking that you will never get to the other side. One stroke at a time, you tell yourself, one more, then another, until suddenly you find yourself on the other side of the lake, giving yourself a high five for persevering and not giving up on yourself.

The third step to ending the negative body image self talk is creating awareness.

This is where my mental fitness program comes into play. My mental fitness program is a simple, easy-to-implement process of noticing, hearing, and then dissipating the saboteur voices that we have partnered with over our lifetime.

Awareness is the first step of change; you being here searching for solutions to your negative self-talk and acknowledges that you are tired of the self-sabotage and ready to do something different. When you become aware of the action you are taking that you don’t want to take without squashing it down, again, unsuccessfully attempting to run away from it, that’s when you allow your brain to start coming up with solutions. See, you’ve already started the awareness problem by listening to this podcast.

As you create awareness and start taking the steps, I recommend you notice that you will continue to fall into old thought loops, but now the difference is that you recognize them and self-correct. The more often you put this pattern into effect, the less your old thought patterns show up.

A warning alert I want to share with you, to re-enforce what I shared earlier when talking about cognitive dissonance, is that your brain likes its old way of being; even if it feels like garbage, it’s a default, you do it on autopilot, it requires no extra thinking or energy consumption. The process will be a bit more difficult once you implement these tools because you have to bring your pre-frontal cortex into the process through deliberate interception. This is the process of any good change, though, eventually, your new thought patterning will become more auto-generated and committed to the primitive brain, something to look forward to!

Awareness includes calling out those old thoughts; I want to suggest you write them down, maybe using your notes app on your phone. Every time you look in the mirror or shop window as you walk by and say something negative, write it down, and then correct your thinking and remind yourself that you are beautiful. Yes, even if you don’t quite believe it. A super useful tool to help graduate into more believable thoughts, if thinking “I am beautiful.” isn’t working, is the thought ladder; you can read about that tool in my post titled How To Get From Here To There. Maybe that ladder thought is something like “I am contemplating the idea that I am beautiful.” There you go, bonus, a sixth tool to help you end your negative self-talk battle around body image.

My fourth tip is to work on creating compassion and empathy around the process.

Compassion and empathy are emotions that will always serve you well and open you up to understanding; they are emotions that open up your mind to its creative process, helping you come up with solutions. As you move through this process, you will start noticing the emotions you are feeling; some emotions open you up, expand you while others close you down, keeping you from changing. To help you with the process of learning how to experience your emotions, actually feel them, let me suggest you go read my post “How To Start Feeling Your Emotions.”

In my AwakenYou coaching program, one of the exercises I teach my clients is how to process emotions. Emotions are our body’s signal, our awareness tool. Learning how to tune into your emotions will help you become aware of what you are thinking and why; it is one of the most powerful tools I teach. The process of feeling your emotions opens you up to what your brain is trying to tell you, what it is trying to do for you and when you’re able to tap into this tool, you start to understand why you are feeling the way you are and see whether it is actually serving you or if it is an old, outdated, deeply engrained response that you can now choose to change.

Compassion, curiosity, and empathy towards yourself will always open you up to learning something new and helping you move past what keeps you stuck in old thought loops.

Finally, my last tip I am sharing today, a tip that will help close the gap even faster, it is the tool I call my self mentor.

This tool has evolved as I have utilized it, just like any other tool you have learned how to use. When you discover any new tool, you’re an amateur, a bit clumsy; you’re not really certain of the power the tool provides, but as you continue to use the tool, the power starts to reveal itself.

The future self mentor is the person you are becoming; you create her. Maybe you gather photos of her, you write about how she shows up for herself, how she holds herself, how she speaks to herself, everything about her you begin to envision. You start asking yourself how that future version of yourself would act right now; what would she say when she looks in the mirror and sees what she sees. Would she smile and wink at herself? Would she pat herself on the back? Would she lift her chest and stand tall?

Start creating your future self model, a vision board for who you are becoming, and watch grow into her.

As you do this work and implement these tools I have shared with you today, you will find yourself having your own back without relying on your husband to tell you how beautiful you are and then not believing him anyway. Of course, you still love it when he does so, but now you wink at him, give him a big hug and say, “Right on, honey, I couldn’t agree more with your thought!”

Remember, friend, this is a journey, and if you want help along the journey, then I’ve got your back; it’s what I do, and I love what I do! If you have any questions about this process or want help implementing these tools and all of the other tools I use to help women change their lives, then let’s chat soon! Let me come alongside your process, sharing some extra accountability and guidance to reach your goal with ease. Book your program inquiry call today and I look forward to hearing from you and helping you create your future self vision!

If you’re interested in learning about my Mental Fitness six-week course, valued at $1495, then get on my mailing list where I will be sharing all about this life changing program. Even better, every week I am giving away one of these programs to one lucky listener who reviews the podcast and sends a screenshot of that review to christine@christinebongiovanni.com, I will enter you into a weekly drawing that makes you eligible to join. If you don’t win, no worries, I keep everyone in the lottery, only taking out those who have already won. Reviewing is simple, scroll to the bottom of my podcast page and click on the “Write a Review” blue text, take a screenshot of your review and send it to me! I can’t wait to hear from you.


I am a life coach who works with individuals to break down relationship barriers by awakening their true self. My process isn’t about changing your partner, it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage. If you’re ready to take your life and your love relationship to the next level then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s decide together if this is your next step to creating the life you’ve been dreaming of

How To End Your Power Struggle With Food

I have been on an interesting journey with food and today I am going to share a bit of my journey. I am sharing it because I want to bring hope to others who struggle with food and through my years of coaching athletes, I know that it’s a lot of you.

To begin, often times when I ask people if they struggle with food, if food has any power over them, I often get a mixed response. Some will say yes. Some will say no. Some cry out in the pain of their struggle. Yet as the conversation moves forward even those who stated that food had no power over them have discovered the truth, that it does.

Food has control over your mind when there is a whisper to go eat something and you can’t say no.

Food has control over your mind when you can’t sit down to relax without the need to include something to eat.

Food has control over you if you eat food that you made an agreement with yourself not to eat.

Can’t drive by the coffee shop without wanting to stop for a coffee? Where is your power in that moment?

Food doesn’t have power over you only when you wight more than your natural body weight. There are so many of us at, or close, to our natural body weight, maybe even below, who still have a controlling relationship with food.

My relationship with food goes way back to my early childhood developing into a disordered eating habit. This disordered eating revolved around control and resistance, wanting to look a certain way so that people would love me.

I’m not going to get into the deep complexity of my journey but am sharing that because most people have seen me as having massive control around food. Control I had, lots and lots of CONTROL.

In the past year I have been massively applying the principles I teach my stop overeating clients in an effort to truly experience their journey. To be able to teach from a place of sympathy and compassion for what they struggle with is what I am achieving. I am becoming an example of what is possible for everyone.

As I do this work, as I peel back the layers of mind opening acknowledgements, I move closer and closer to a state of complete freedom around food. As I do this work my mind is becoming free, free to spend energy on creating a more fulfilling life for myself and for my clients.

My process works like no other process you have tried to achieve this freedom.

My process works like no other process, but only if you’re willing to put in the work. It’s not easy but it is mind blowing, life changing and radically effective.

It is my belief that here in America, we have a food problem and the solution isn’t in controlling food, it’s in controlling your mind.

The prompt for writing about this came from one of my recent experiences, actually just a few days ago. It was a Sunday afternoon, I was getting ready to go to my brother’s cabin for a week. The day was beautifully playing itself out, until right before I hit the road. Jeff and I were enjoying an early dinner together when it came to me that we should’ve bought a dessert to share.

That was the just the beginning of a long, two hour battle, with my brain.

At that point my brain was driven to have me stop somewhere to get a treat. It was fully justifying every option I passed, I was heading to the cabin, of course you need a treat! My brain was fighting hard. It kept tugging me to pull over and it was determined to win.

At about ninety minutes in I couldn’t help but marvel at how many times I had allowed the urge, watched it dissipate and then BAM, it was right back in my brain.

I spent most of the drive watching my brain, like watching two toddlers in the back seat, lying, kicking, screaming, justifying.

I’m happy to say I won.

The long drive gave me the opportunity to really watch how this all can play out. I allowed myself to watch the play by play of taking the time to pull over, telling myself I’d only eat part of it, but of course eating it all. Possibly even purchasing more for the week, because who doesn’t relax at the cabin with treats?

The food is so powerful!

That is a lie, the power is in you. You have the power to reject the brain’s desire to seek pleasure at your own expense.

You are fighting with your brain, not with the food.

So stop giving your power to the chips, the fancy coffee, the dessert, the second serving, the food after the meal, whatever it is that is calling you into another battle.

You are stronger than the food.

Doing this work teaches you how to re-train your brain out of these old self taught habits.

Every step forward is a step forward.

Every step back should be taken as a learning experience that propels you two steps forward.

If you you live a life chained to the power of food, it’s time to start releasing the chains, I’ve got the hammer and the chisel!

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My Awaken(TheTrue)You program is for strong, success driven women who want to discover their true self, discover the missing key, find their purpose and then start building a legacy from pure power. I have made it may mission to show you how.

I’d love to offer a free call for you to work out whether or not my program and life changing promise is a fit for you. Either book your call now or send me an email with your availability before your subconscious primitive mind tells you to run and hide.

Please share this message with anyone who you think might benefit from hearing this message and I highly encourage you to get on my mailing list where I send out weekly tips on how to start building love and confidence within yourself.