I worked with a couple in Walnut Creek who had been together for 20 years. They were at a cross roads in their relationship and wanted help.

He was a successful business man who had three start ups he had sold and was pursuing his most current passion. She is a fine artist. His criticism of her was she wasn’t a business woman. She would earn about $3,000 month and spend $2,000 on art supplies. She had two storage facilities full of supplies.

After our second meeting where I did my NESTing process I told him his assignment for the week was to get up on Saturday morning, take one of her canvases and paint a picture we could sell the next week.

Confused, he said, “But I’m not an artist!”

“I know, but since you expect her to be as good at being in business as you are, you should be as good at being an artist as she is.”  I explained.

It took a few seconds for him to mull that over and comprehend the depth of the burden he had been placing on her.

I told her she had to develop a comprehensive business plan on how she would double her business in the next six months while keeping her expenditures within 20% of her current expenses.

They both looked at each other and grinned. They got it, by George, the got it!

The List

What happened was truly amazing. Those who began to use the list faithfully began to date people who they were more than just attracted to. The relationships had more depth than they had ever experienced. Several told me they found someone to date they believed they wanted to spend the rest of their lives.

The great point of the list is the focus one puts on what is important to them personally. Most of those who use the list had always focused on the physical attraction rather than the true compatibility and long term potential of the relationship.

I think that everyone has become involved with someone and they know from the very beginning it would never work out, but they are distracted by the desire to be in an exceptional physical relationship. But after a bit of time the physical interaction dwindles but they’re tied together and committed to events and plans months out, then years out. The next thing they know they have children and years later they realize they never should have spent that many years together.

I truly believe there are no mistakes but for people to spend years together when they don’t truly love each other is not a healthy way to spend their lives. Yet it happens more often than not.

When I was 15 I begged my father to leave my mother. They were always yelling at each other. There were very few times when there was peace and quiet and I can’t seem to remember any time when there was laughter. My dad insisted on staying with my mother regardless and did indeed until he passed away at 72.

More than anything, their lack of a quality relationship shaped my life. How you live your life affects everyone around you.