Becoming BOLD – Breaking Down Barriers Ep 66

Becoming Bold - Breaking Down Barriers | Marriage Coach

Happy Tuesday, everyone, I am so excited to be with you; this is one of my favorite times of the week; I know, you’re not really here with me…or are you? It sure feels like it! Before we dip into this week’s conversation, I want to share some of my celebrations, not to brag but to honestly celebrate. I have shared here on the podcast that last year, I solidified my commitment to helping women find happiness in their marriage by enrolling in an Advanced Relationship Training with my coach Aimée Gianni and at the end of April, I received my proof of certification which feels so good to me because relationships had always been a struggle for me. Early on in that journey, I asked Aimée if she would ever consider some sort of mentorship, and guess what? She created a Master Coach Mentoring program focusing on relationships that seven other women, and I, said yes to. Last week we kicked off a year of intense training that I am still swimming in a bit of disbelief over. Me, all in on opening up and growing into my best version of myself, which includes opening up to some new and vulnerable steps in my marriage as well as becoming more masterful in being able to apply all of this knowledge in my coaching practice. Mostly I wake up every morning in awe of what I have created for myself and how this work is changing lives, not just the lives of the people I work with but the trickle-down effect that happens when we do the work of addressing our old coping mechanisms and become more open and honest with everyone in our lives. It is a beautiful thing, and while I shake myself into reality today, I want to talk about you and I becoming bold.

Becoming bold in calling bull crap on our limiting behaviors, recognizing the chains holding us back from flourishing into what is possible, and saying yes to ourselves, maybe for the first time. Today I am doing what I call a ‘free fall,’ meaning I am winging it and having fun with it. This free fall is not scary because I’m no longer afraid of falling to the ground and wishing I hadn’t done it, I am flying, twirling, and swooning in the air, and when it’s over, I will put my stamp of fun approval on it. How’s that for fun? Let’s see what comes out of this!

Today, I will share what I call the phases of becoming bold and how stepping into phase one with full commitment will naturally draw you into phases two and three and into an infinity of your own becoming bold journey. Are you ready?

Phase one of becoming bold

Phase one is the true turning point in our lives. It is the point where we are completely over living life as is, no longer wishing things would be different and taking the scary, bold steps of finding professional help to facilitate change. Before phase one, you have likely done SO many things to improve your life. Things like ending compulsive behaviors, ending addictive behavior patterns, and balancing your life out so that it appears to fit in a bit more with what society deems a good life, yet still, after doing these beautiful processes, you still feel out of line with yourself. Often something dramatic will need to happen for phase one to be put into action because seeking help for oneself isn’t something you feel comfortable with. For me, it was the possibility of a second failed marriage, not that I felt like I needed to save that marriage, on the contrary, it forced me to look within, and that is where phase one starts—looking within ourselves to begin changing our lives—deciding to end self-preserving behaviors that lead to self-betrayal.

This is where you step out of your discomfort of asking for help, decide that reading and listening to self-help can only take you so far, and decide to be all in on yourself and the life you dream possible. In this phase, you may be taking stabs at what might work and connect with you, but even when processes you try don’t seem to be helping, you believe in your journey and don’t give up on the search for what will be your best fit.

Phase two of becoming bold

In this phase, you feel secure in your path. You find a process that feels instinctively right for you, it moves you forward, and you see yourself taking steps forward into better knowing, understanding, and loving yourself. This phase is full of growing pains because you tear down everything you have built up over your life. With each wall you tear down, you feel freer and closer to who you are, to your truth. Your light shines a bit brighter, allowing you to see better the next obstacle in your path to where you are going.

This phase feels awkward because it is mostly about you and discovering yourself, it may feel like you are alienating your spouse, and maybe you are. I know I did, but Jeff was such a willing participant; he gave me the space to figure it out.

The beautiful thing about this phase for my AwakenYou clients is that they are doing this work alongside me, their guide. I am helping them along the journey, and part of that guidance includes mending, repairing, and building their relationship with themselves and their spouse.

Phase three of becoming bold

Here is where you become willing to open up to learning how to create the life you desire. At the beginning of the journey, most people feel disillusioned before phase one. They feel like they have done so much work to get closer to their core values, yet they still feel awful; nothing seems different except that they have let go of some of their destructive behaviors.

I like to call this phase the “tearing the veil” stage. It is the stage where we are ready to tear down the wall between us and our most intimate relationship with our spouse. We have done the work of tearing down many of the walls in the way of us having a loving relationship with ourselves, and now we come face to face with what seems like an indestructible barrier between where we are and how we want to show up in our marriage. There is so much here that I’m not going to get into today, but what I want to share is this barrier looks more impenetrable than it is.

Once we do this work on ourselves in phases one and two, we feel safe because it is work between ourselves and who we are today, who we were in the past, and who we are becoming. It is inner work but eventually, we come to the point where we feel mostly confident in ourselves, knowing we will continue to do that work, and we want to show up in a new way in our marriage, but we’re afraid of it. This is where I suggest we tear the veil and become bolder in taking ourselves into the intimate relationship in a whole new way. Open, unbridled, free, and amazingly elegant.

As you pass through each stage, you set down more of your insecurities and hesitations; you become bolder in your decisions to take steps towards what you want. You create more room to pick up bigger dreams, more significant challenges, new openings, and becoming open to stretching out because the willingness to become vulnerable actually creates safety. The more safety you create, the more willing you are to open up to what you want, and you begin to realize that your life and what you want to make of it is limitless.

So today, what I hope to have shared with you is permission for you to step into phase one without having to wait until it appears as though you have no other option. It is never too early to start working on your relationship with yourself, and it is never too late. This work is timeless, and it brings you closer to your youthful, happy, authentic self. I hope you will be bold this week and take one step towards your journey; there is no better thing to invest in than in your future self.


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! If you’re ready to take yourself to a place where you can finally fall in love with your life and your spouse, then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s talk about the next steps to making your dream life your reality.

How Past (Trauma) May Be Affecting Your Marriage Ep 65

How Past (Trauma) May Be Affecting Your Marriage | Marriage Coach

Happy Tuesday to all of you who stop by every week to gather more information on how to break through to new levels of understanding in your marriage. I know I don’t say this often, but I appreciate all of you who listen and take what I share and put it into action in your own life; you are the reason I show up every week, so thank you. This week I am sharing a personal growth experience/realization that I think will help many of you listening; if not personally, it might help you see something in someone else, maybe your spouse, friend, or co-worker. What I’m sharing today may help you better understand common behaviors of loved ones that you previously found yourself taking personally. It might help you generate more empathy for what the “other side of the table” is struggling with. Mostly I want you to consider yourself when listening to what I have to say today because wishing to focus on someone else’s behaviors could also be a sign that you are avoiding cleaning up your side of the relationship by looking to “control” the other. Today let’s talk about how past trauma may be affecting your marriage.

Before we dig into the heart of this discussion, I do want to recognize that I do not specialize in trauma coaching, and I am not a trauma therapist; what I am sharing is what I have learned in my journey of growth. I know that there are many things we can learn intellectually about development. Still, through persistent committed steps to continue the journey of growth and the desire to never settle into the comfort of being “ok” with ok, we will begin to experience the intellectual on a more visceral level. When this happens, I have a deeper understanding of myself, giving me a wider range of awareness of what might be going on for my clients.

To be clear, many of my clients work with various other mental health professionals based on what it is they are working on in their growth journey. There is space for all, and each professional compliments the others. There are times when working with my clients; I will discuss the possibility of wanting to find a more specialized professional to work through ways their past might be affecting how they are showing up in their current relationships.

The other space I will not dig into today is the difference between traumas. A definition that has helped me better understand the wide variety of types of trauma is an event that happens in one’s life that they are not emotionally or psychologically prepared for, causing an emotional response we call trauma. There is also Large-T, ex: car accident, war/combat, sexual assault, and Small-T trauma, ex: divorce, infidelity, loss of job but today’s discussion is primarily looking at how any trauma from our past might be interfering with the work you may be doing to improve your marital relationship dynamics.

How your past trauma (recognized or not) might be interfering with a marital relationship breakthrough

I’m going to begin with a bit about my story and how I came to understand this phenomenon more personally. As you all know, I have been a self-growth enthusiast my whole life, only to 100% discover seven years ago that the motivation behind my desire to grow was so that other people would like me. Seven years ago, we had a crisis in our marriage that had me letting go of what was going on in my marriage to focus on myself. I discovered life coaching in that journey, became a certified life coach, dissolved my 30-year fitness business, and started dipping my toes into relationship coaching. These are all decisions I have never regretted, especially deciding to go all-in on relationship coaching because that has been the work that has challenged my self-growth the most. Had I chosen weight-loss coaching, business coaching, or time management coaching, I might not have ever gone as deep as I have with my relationship with myself.

A few weeks back, I was taking time to write about all of the ways I help my clients feel powerful, and I was thinking about my journey and places where I got stuck. One of those places was getting past the intellectual knowledge of what I needed to do while struggling with some areas of implementation. I knew intellectually that I was protecting myself, not fully opening up to vulnerability. Still, there was a wall in the way of moving forward that I couldn’t identify on my own.

That wall was a developmental coping mechanism I implemented early in my life to protect myself from what was happening outside and inside of me. Once I started seeing the connection between how I would respond to threats as a child, once I worked through my desire to feel love from my parents, and how I project those responses onto others, I was able to open up to new responses to my adult life. Once I realized that protecting myself from the potential hurt someone else might impose upon me as an adult was coming from learned behaviors as a child: opening up to getting the love I needed and interpreting the response as me being unlovable, unworthy, insignificant, unwanted it started to make sense and I was able to start letting go of the old response. This recognition of my actions being related to old trauma allowed me to open up to something different because I knew that I create my own love as an adult. I now know that I am entirely lovable, wanted, worthy, significant, adequate, and whole. I now know that anyone else’s reaction to me and my desire to be loved has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them; if only the little ones could know this truth.

When I made this connection, what I knew on an intellectual level sunk in more clearly on an emotional level and opened me up to a new way of dealing with conflict in my marriage. I share this to possibly open you or someone you know up to the value of working through some of your past trauma; it’s significant, whether you believe so or not. It’s also some of the best work you can do, though initially it might feel awful but cleaning all of that stuff up will be the best work you can do. It is your life; you get to decide whether you open that door and walk through it; I’m just here to tell you that it will open up a whole new life you never imagined possible.

Some common signs that you might be responding in your marriage from past emotional trauma

Marital relationship work often brings up people’s past trauma; let me share a few signs that might indicate you have trauma to work through:

  • Continuing to be stuck and not getting how to move forward
  • Emotional upset, which is ongoing and intense
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Addiction
  • Having a difficult time regulating your emotions
  • Avoiding, disconnecting, withdrawing, extreme independence

Then there are the four common trauma response patterns that you might notice yourself resorting to; I’ve done them all:

  • Fight: arguing, fighting, being easily irritated and aggressive, moving towards the person you are in conflict with
  • Flight: withdrawing, avoiding, anxiousness, panic, fear, perfectionism, chronic worry
  • Freeze: disassociating: leaving the body, spacing out, not being able to move, shame, feeling stuck, depression
  • Fawn: needing others to like you (people-pleasing), conflict avoidance, saying yes when you want to say no, difficulty setting boundaries, prioritizing others over yourself

If some of these responses are familiar to you and you are struggling in your marital relationship, I want you to know that you are not broken and that change and a better life are available. I also know that if any of this resonates with you, you might have difficulty reaching out and asking for help, but what if that help was your ticket to feeling better and having a healthy, happy marriage? That is a ticket you will never regret purchasing, my friend. I’m here for you, and I would love to talk to you about what has you stuck in your marriage. I look forward to meeting you, and until then, ciao!


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! If you’re ready to take yourself to a place where you can finally fall in love with your life and your spouse, then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s talk about the next steps to making your dream life your reality.

Could It Be Marital Grief You Are Feeling? Ep 64

Could It Be Grief You Are Feeling? | Marriage Coach

Welcome to another beautiful week over here in AwakenYou world; I hope wherever you are listening to this episode that this may be the sunshine you were looking for in your day. Today’s topic is one that you might not think could brighten your day but keep listening; what you discover might loosen up something inside of you that feels like a warm ray of sunshine. It just so happens that I am experiencing grief around something in my own life, and when I uncovered grief, everything fell into place, and it made me think about all of you. I know for sure that there have been many times in my marriage when I was experiencing grief. As a matter of fact, I still do, but years ago, I didn’t know it, and if I had someone help me to see it, I would have been able to work through it differently. Today let’s see if it could be grief that you are feeling about your marriage under other possible emotions like anger, fear, guilt, shame, annoyance, frustration, sadness, and loneliness; what else are you feeling?

First, I want to share how I discovered grief in my own life because it might help you better understand your underlying emotion. A few weeks back, I had a general feeling of melancholy which Google defines as a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no apparent cause, and this is spot on. I even impressed myself with naming the emotion weeks ago, and now looking it up for you and seeing that it was actually spot on, I had this somewhat overwhelming sadness, but I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. I had ideas like the weather, but it didn’t seem quite enough; I was just “blah.” So what I did was I sat down with myself, some paper and a pencil by my side, and I processed emotions, going into the process wanting to discover what it was I was actually feeling. Go to Ep 23: How To Process Those Emotions and you can try it for yourself. Often I will use this process to look at an emotion I am feeling, get familiar with it, and get a better understanding of why it is there, but this day I went into the process not knowing what emotion I was feeling.

Similar to the process I described in episode 23, I turned into my body, described what I was experiencing, started asking questions, and, wham, grief came to me. I started crying, and what I was grieving was revealed. When this information was revealed I understood why I was feeling the way I was feeling and was better able to allow for it. When you practice processing your emotions, you get in touch with what is happening in your body and the actual messages that it is sending you. I highly recommend you process the practice from that episode regularly and watch what you start to learn about yourself and what you are experiencing.

Could you be experiencing grief in your marriage?

I highly recommend you use the process in episode 23 to discover whether you are feeling grief, and I also highly recommend you book yourself a free mini-session to have me walk you through the process.

Many of us associate grief with death, but grief comes in many forms: when you get a negative medical test result, loss of a job, divorce, and we also will often feel grief when our expectations aren’t fulfilled. That could be when you thought you would get a job promotion but didn’t or in the case of our marriages, when you thought you found the perfect mate to live a happily ever after and that isn’t what you are experiencing. Often we realize we are feeling some of the emotions I listed above, like disappointment, frustration, sadness, anger, and discouragement. Often, under these emotions is the grief of an unmet expectation.

All of the above emotions are valid and have a lot of information to share with you, but when you can process the emotion of grief you will find a whole new understanding of what you are experiencing. With this new understanding, I often see that people can give themselves the gift of space and hope to start creating something different. Space helps them settle into what they are experiencing, and hope allows them to see an opening of possibility.

Grief often helps you make sense of where you are at and gain insight into what is happening for you to start moving towards solutions. It brings in some compassion for yourself and for the expectations you may be placing on your spouse.

If you think you are feeling grief about where you are in your marriage I would love to share a mini-session with you to help you pull apart what is happening and how you might want to start moving towards what you want instead of pushing it away. Let’s normalize this emotion that you might be feeling in your marriage and then use it to get to where you want to be to celebrate a brand new beginning in your life!


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! If you’re ready to take yourself to a place where you can finally fall in love with your life and your spouse, then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s talk about the next steps to making your dream life your reality.

Three Positive Outcomes Of Working Together Ep 63

Three Positive Outcomes Of Working Together | Marriage Coach

Hello, AwakenYou listeners, and happy Tuesday! It has been a reflective week over here in my world. I am coming off of an intense beginning of April, which is also the beginning of the second quarter for any of you business-minded listeners, while I dive into my goals for this month. I am creating a course to bring live to audiences who want to learn how to change relational dynamics while also preparing to launch a deep dive into a year-long advanced relationship mentorship with my mentor and coach, Aimée Gianni which starts this coming weekend with live intimate training with a small group of outstanding coaches in Las Vegas.

So many of you have asked about how coaching can help you change your life and how your life would be better, so that’s what I am talking about this week: the value and positive outcomes of working with a marriage/love/life coach, whatever you want to call me. Let’s say it like this: a life coach specializing in bringing love, joy, playfulness, connection, and peace to your most important human relationship, the one with your spouse. Today I will share three different positive outcomes of hiring a marriage coach. Still, just like I mentioned last week in Ep 62: How To Change Your Marriage Without Changing Your Spouse, the actual positive outcomes far outweigh what I can include in this short episode.

Fully embracing YOU

This was not originally on my list of three outcomes, but as I started writing, I could not not include this one because, to me, this is the positive prize outcome above any other. Suppose you have ever felt uncomfortable in your own skin, felt like you need to agree with the crowd to fit in, and chose to run and hide from the idea of getting together with others because you fear you won’t fit in. In that case, this is the one thing that will propel you forward towards your life dreams the fastest. The freedom that will come when you feel free to shed the different costumes you don throughout your day and learn how to process the uncomfortable emotions you feel when asking questions because you don’t know what someone is talking about instead of acting as you do. Freedom to not agree with someone or not even have an opinion either way and instead connect on a deeper level by hearing more about their why. Freedom to say no to a gathering because you’re just not into it instead of saying yes and then debating over attending or not and ultimately ghosting.

The value you will get out of coaching from this one takeaway is the gold that keeps me coming back to my coaches. To dig into seeing the ways you might be abandoning yourself for the sake of what others might think, including your spouse, or to “keep the peace” will always open you up to living a life you love living.

Learning how to make ALL relationships work for you, even those you choose to “end”

Think about the top five people in your life that you have what you might call a “difficult” relationship with; maybe it’s your mom or dad, a sibling, your spouse, a child, a friend, a co-worker, or a boss. Imagine what it would feel like if someone waved a magic wand and dissolved any relational conflicts you have with these five people. How might your life feel “easier”? How might you have more time and energy to do those things you love doing by learning how to make these relationships work for you? Less overeating, or over drinking, overspending, or whatever your numbing action of choice is? Or how about the mental energy spent on thinking about how they need to change or time spent ruminating over their actions, or time spent in conversation with people you love about how awful these people are? Let go of those things, and you have magically opened up time to rest, workout, hug your spouse and children, be playful, and plan out your best life.

Being able to look at everyone with an empathetic view is a value that will come from working on only ONE of those relationships, and better yet: when you work on that relationship with yourself, whammo, you start seeing everyone else through a whole new lens.

The value of learning about emotions

Off the top, most of you might not see the value in learning about emotions and the impact they have on your life and your relationships when you start to understand their tremendous power and see how you are utilizing their power against yourself. Emotions are the fuel behind everything we do, the things we do that we love and appreciate, and the things we do that we aren’t so proud of. Better yet, once we see how these actions directly impact the results we are getting in our current life, it helps motivate us to find a better and different way.

Learning about emotions helps us become aware of common triggers to our familiar and not-so-proud responses. As we become more conscious and aware of the emotions we are feeling we start to become aware of what we need to do to start creating a new dynamic that makes us proud of how we show up, it has us planning our new responses instead of relying on deeply engrained ineffective responses. When we learn how to utilize the power of “positive” emotions and diffuse the destructive power “negative” emotions, we take our power back in all of our relationships. Then we have the power to influence others to show up differently.

There you have it, three powerfully positive outcomes you will get when you take the bold step of harnessing the power that is locked up inside of you and let it out. You will start showing up more comfortably as yourself, create new relational dynamics with all of the people in your life and learn how to use the power of emotions to move you forward instead of keeping you stuck. That value you cannot put a price on because it will pay you back in ways you never imagined, as in a love life brought back to life, a trusting relationship with yourself, and a better connection in every relationship, which might even lead you to that promotion you’ve thought you’ll never get!

If you have any questions about how to start working together, please reach out via email (christine@christinebongiovanni.com) or message me on my social channels. I would love to find time to get to know you better and discuss how you can start creating these results in your own life.


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! If you’re ready to take yourself to a place where you can finally fall in love with your life and your spouse, then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s talk about the next steps to making your dream life your reality.

How To Change Your Marriage Without Changing Your Spouse Ep 62

How To Change Your Marriage Without Changing Your Spouse | Marriage Coach

Happy Tuesday, fellow AwakenYou listeners; it’s great to be here with you today. I hope that today’s message inspires you to feel a little, if not a lot, different about what is possible for you in your marriage and in your life. I know that many of you are in different places when it comes to how you feel about your marriage, some of you feel pretty happy about your relationship with your spouse but want to tweak a few things, and then others are miserable. Some of you who feel unhappy wonder if you married the wrong person and if you should leave. In contrast, others of you are committed to staying in the relationship while really hoping that you can change this listless relationship dynamic into something more fun, exciting, and passionate. No matter where you are in the marital feels spectrum, I want you to know that it is completely possible to change your marriage without changing your spouse and today, I will share a few of the hows.

There are so many ways that I help you change how you feel about your marriage that has nothing to do with leaving your spouse or changing them. Actually, every single episode here in AwakenYou addresses ways that you can create that change. Still, there is often more to it than listening to episodes and taking stabs at creating the change on our own. Don’t get me wrong, it is entirely possible to listen to episodes like this, read some books, and create a new marital dynamic all on your own, just like it’s possible to change a lifelong disordered eating pattern all on your own, but enlisting the help of a professional will speed up the process and help you see things that only an outsider can see. So what holds most people back from seeking one on one help? Typically what I see is all sorts of fear. Fear that it won’t work, fear that there might be something wrong with them, fear of admitting they have a problem, fear of opening up the “pandora’s box” of their life only to find out that there is no hope for them, fear of stepping into something more amazing than where they are right now, fear it won’t last. Oh, and then there is all of the shame that they are feeling under that fear, the shame that is telling them that they are getting what they deserve in the love and passion department and that they should be happy with what they’ve got.

Okay, so back to where I started, today I want to share three different ways I help people change their marriage without changing their spouse, and I will most likely continue this episode in the future, but let’s see where we get with it today’s chat.

To begin, I want to share a bit of my own story when it comes to the work of changing how I felt about my marriage because I vividly remember when I refused to “succumb” to the idea that I needed to do things to change my relationship. These things include, but certainly were not limited to, wrapping my naked body up in saran wrap and greeting him at the door when he came home from work (no lie, thank you, Joy 😉), dressing up to make special meals served in candlelight, and folding all of his clothes “neatly” whatever that is and putting them away. I had a whole list of actions that I “should” take to make my spouse and me happy, but the problem was, at the time, taking these actions from a place of joy, passion, excitement was not at all accessible to me, and I wasn’t interested in faking it, it felt awful and cheap. Now, I am not saying any of these actions are good or bad; I’m saying that from the place of where I was ten years ago, these actions didn’t align with how I felt about my marriage at the time and my journey was about looking at how I felt about my marriage and why. My journey was about looking at what was going on inside myself instead of the helpless, powerless position of waiting for Jeff to show up differently so I could feel better. This is where we start.

Taking your power back

We are completely powerless when we require others to be different than they are for us to be happy. This is true in our relationship with ourselves, our spouses, children, family, friends, and co-workers. In AwakenYou we take a look at all of our different power leaks and one by one we seal each leak. We start by looking for some of the smaller leaks and with each power leak we seal, we gain a little more power or strength to search for the next leak and start sealing it.

This starts by checking in with ourselves, how are we feeling when our spouses are on the phone during dinner? Zap…power leak. We check in with ourselves again and notice how we are feeling when we go to bed and our partners don’t join us…zap, zap, zap…power leak. Then we check in again and notice how we feel when our spouses don’t initiate conversation but when their phone rings they seem to be in their element chatting away with the person on the other end of the phone…ZAP, ZAP, ZAP!!!

When we check in with how we feel we discover something about ourselves, we discover how we are thinking about what is going on in front of us and how it makes us feel. Once we have this information we start to understand why we’re acting the way we are and why we are getting the results we’re currently getting in our marriage. From here we get to work on learning how to accept where we’re at and deciding what we want to do about it. Do we want to change our actions and lead with a different emotion? Do we want to speak out loud to our spouses and share how we are feeling about the version of the story we see?

We begin to see where we are feeling powerless and then we have an opportunity to decide how we want to change the dynamic which seals the leak and supplies us with the power to do what makes us feel better.

Learning how to set boundaries

This goes hand in hand with taking your power back. You take the time to look at what you are doing in your marriage and why. Are you packing their lunch because you think it’s your job or because you love to make sure they have something healthy to take with them for the day? Are you having sex with them because you don’t want them to go looking for it outside of the marriage or because you want to learn how to explore your own emotions so you can open up to enjoy the experience fully? Are you going to another one of their boring work events because you feel obligated, or can you say, “Not this time, dear; I think I’m going to relax and take a long hot bath, but thank you so much for inviting me!”

Becoming familiar with setting personal boundaries will help you be more honest in your marriage and accept your decision so that you can have fun. Maybe you chose to say yes to that boring dinner, then accept your decision, stop looking at all of the ways this is going to be the worst evening ever, and start searching for all of the ways it is going to be amazing; you’ll be surprised at what a great time you can have!

Learning the tools to resolve conflict in a healthy way

Conflict is all around us, and it will always be a part of a healthy marital relationship. You did not marry your clone; yikes, that might be an interesting dynamic huh?!? The fun thing is that when you start to learn how to address conflict, it becomes an interesting way to start getting to know more about your spouse! When we close down or fight against conflict, we never get to see our partner’s perspective, which makes us very narrow-minded. Many of us crave more intimacy in our marriages, and having the tools to work through conflict helps us get to know our partners better and ourselves. It makes us think more about our perspective and why we see things the way we do because we will actually be presenting it in a way that helps our spouses better understand us, and the opposite is true for them. They get to voice their opinion because we are actually asking them about it because we are genuinely interested. From there, we get to decide what we want to believe, and it’s ok if we each believe something different. Go back a couple of episodes to Ep 60: Differentiation: Could Your Differences Be Your Marriage’s Assets? and discover how you can actually grow closer by learning more about your differences.

When we learn how to work through conflict, we start to become more in touch with our emotions; we better know what is starting to come up for us, which allows us to make better choices. When we feel some resistance coming up, we can note it, and then come back to explore that resistance during our quiet time. Then, as with all things that you are learning, with practice, it will take less and less time to understand what is happening to you. You will start to notice patterns, and with those patterns, you will learn how to deal with them more effectively with time.

These are three ways in AwakenYou that we work on changing your marriage without changing your spouse. We start with you learning how to go from powerless and hopeless to powerful and full of hope by looking at your relationship dynamics, how you are showing up in your marriage, and becoming clear on what that is creating for you in your life. We then get to the work of deciding what you want to do moving forward; we create a plan and start moving towards that vision. It is the most exciting journey you will ever go on, so buckle up and let’s go for a ride!


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! If you’re ready to take yourself to a place where you can finally fall in love with your life and your spouse, then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s talk about the next steps to making your dream life your reality.

Eight Stages Of Awareness and Behavioral Change Ep 61

Eight Stages Of Awareness and Behavioral Change | Marriage & Relationship Coach

Welcome my AwakenYou listeners! I have just returned from the Life Coach School Mastermind in Austin, Texas, and I am on fire to get this quarter going! This month I have several fun ways for you to learn more about yourself and the ways you can grow and develop a more connected relationship with yourself and your marriage. First, I want you to get yourself registered for this month’s AwakenYou Masterclass which is all about creating the connection you desire in your marriage. In this class, we will explore different aspects of connection and look at how you like to connect while also taking some time to recognize how your spouse likes to connect to understand better how they show up when you are in your element. Join us by clicking on the link provided and learn how to find more connection in your marriage.

I also want to remind everyone that this is the last week to throw your hat in the ring to win a $100 Amazon gift card! Yes, you heard that correctly; over the past three weeks, I have been giving away a $50 Amazon gift card, but this last week in celebration of AwakenYou in your marriage’s first anniversary I decided to double the gratitude, so, right now, please, scroll to the bottom of my podcast page and write a short review sharing what you love about AwakenYou so that other people can find the help they need to start feeling better about themselves and their life so that they can get back to a place where they love being with their spouse. All you have to do to get entered is take a screenshot of your review and attach it to an email to christine@christinebongiovanni.com, you can also send it to me as a DM on any of my social platforms or from my website. This is the last week to enter!

This week I want to talk to you about the different stages of awareness and behavioral change, which ultimately are the different stages or levels of awareness that you walk through when you are changing behavioral patterns. Specifically, today I am going to speak about emotional behavioral patterns because it is our emotions that dictate the changes we make. I’m going to talk about eight different stages of awareness that I see when most people are doing the work of changing behavioral patterns that they developed in the early stages of their life. Understanding these stages will help you better recognize where you are in the continuum of change in your own life and help you better understand and evaluate where you are to keep moving forward.

I think too often, we have an idea of what we would like our life to look like if things were going in a way that we think would make us happy. Let’s look at weight loss. With weight loss, what I saw over my thirty years of working with athletes is that we have an idea of where we want to be and when we’re not there, or we can’t seem to make it there in the amount of time we think is acceptable we give up and decide we have failed. In the recovery world, I like to share that relapse is a part of the recovery journey; it doesn’t indicate failure but when we make it mean failure, guess what happens? It takes us a whole lot longer to get out of our relapse.

It’s the same when it comes to changing the way we interact with ourselves and others that we are in relationship with, which we will be focusing on today. Let’s dig into these steps of awareness throughout our change process and see how we can use it to propel us forward instead of holding us back.

The first stage: no awareness or understanding of the problem or habitual dynamic

I wanted to include this stage because it’s where many of us start with the different ways we interact with ourselves and others. Our awareness is what we do; it seems normal like it is who we are and how we deal with life’s circumstances; it’s “in our blood.” Throughout these different levels of awareness, I will use an analogy that I first encountered in the first meditation app I used way back when I started meditating, Headspace, where they used a hole in the road analogy. In this first stage, imagine you are walking down the road, a road that you commonly use, and there is a big hole in the road that you fall in. You are angry at the hole, the people who dug the hole; you are in the hole for a very long time before getting yourself out.

The world has happened to you.

Stage two: awareness of the problem or habitual dynamic

You become aware of a different option, but you don’t completely understand it or that there would feel better than where you are. You walk down the same street with the same hole; you don’t see it; you fall in it and are utterly annoyed that this has happened to you again.

Stage three: awareness of the problem after an occurance but don’t do anything to create a different result

This is where you keep falling in the hole, blame the world, it takes you a long time to get over it, and you keep doing the same thing, getting the same result.

Stage four: awareness after occurance with an evaluation and steps to create a different dynamic

You know the hole is there; you think about it and how you will avoid it, but you still fall into it. When the hole is in front of you, you don’t actually see it, and you fall in, but now you see that it is your own doing, and it doesn’t take you as long to get out of the hole.

Stage five: awareness while the old behavior is happening and you continue with the old behavior

This is where you step into the hole, realizing you stepped in and just let yourself fall. It feels awful, but you get up, dust yourself off, see your part in the problem, evaluate and move on.

Step six: awareness during the old behavior while able to interrupt and choose a better option

This would look like falling into the hole, grabbing on to the ladder, that has always been available to you, and climbing out. At this stage, you are still evaluating how you can no longer fall in the hole.

Stage seven: awareness of the old dynamic as it is approaching but still fall into old behavior

This will look like seeing the hole coming but falling in anyway. You don’t make it a big deal; you catch the ladder and climb out, moving on with your day and evaluating how you will catch yourself earlier next time.

Stage eight: awareness of the possibility of old dynamic before falling into old behavior patterns and choose something different

This is where you see the hole coming, know it’s there, and walk around it. Eventually, you continue to walk around that hold and don’t even notice it being there.

The truth is that there are many mini-stages in between all of these stages. There will be times when you are at stage eight, and because of the circumstances, maybe lack of sleep, an illness, stress at work, the hole arrives, and you fall in it. As frustrating as it may be, you recognize that this was your own doing, you stepped in the hole, and you climb out and move on.

This is the process of change, and it is the process you will go through with any behavior you are trying to change. In our relationships with ourselves, we are constantly looking at how we treat ourselves, and those habits change as we let go of the more obvious ones. Then we go to work on the sneakier ones, the ones that seem helpful but are actually just as destructive. As we do this work with our own self-relationship we also do this with our outside relationships.

Everything we do here in AwakenYou is about growing your relationship with yourself so that you can learn how to have a better relationship with your spouse. What we do here is ultimately about honoring our true selves, and the better we get at that, the better we can show up in our marriages. I absolutely love this process, and every day I get to see for myself how this work makes me feel so powerful in changing my own relationship with myself and with Jeff. You deserve a better relationship with yourself and your spouse as well, and I hope that as you listen, you will discover that spark to create the change you have been dying to make. I’d love to help you find that spark; schedule your free coaching call or book a call to talk about our work in AwakenYou and how it will help you start to love your life and your spouse!


I am a life coach who works with women and couples struggling with how their lives and marriage feel through awakening their true selves. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your life and marriage, which will have you see your partner changing as well. If you’re ready to take yourself to a place where you can fall back in love with your life and your spouse, then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s talk about your next steps to a life you are crazy in love with!