I've Been There....

I've been married to my wife, Tina, for almost 30 years. I am no stranger to relationship struggles.

We met at a business meeting in 1992. I flippantly told her "you're late" when she arrived to which she responded, "I always believe in a grand entrance." The rest was history. I knew in that moment, THIS was the woman I would spend the rest of my life with.

Our early dating life was an adventure. Travel, parties, lots of friends and fun. We were living life for sure. Before we knew it we were engaged.

We attended Engaged Encounter which, at the time, was required for us to get married in the Catholic Church. We were astonished to see so many couples at this workshop that had not had the hard conversations about finances, raising children and other critical topics. Questions that should be a no brainer for a young couple, right?

We had done some pretty intense personal growth classes together so we felt we were way ahead and marriage would be a piece of cake!

We soon found out, in our first year of marriage, how arrogant we had been thinking marriage would be easy.

We got pregnant with our first child right away which added to our challenges. Raging hormones and buying our first home while in the midst of a nasty custody battle for my oldest daughter from a previous relationship, presented a fair share of stress on our relationship. We struggled to manage conflict the best way we knew, but coming from 2 VERY different backgrounds made it nearly impossible to resolve our disagreements. Our baby ended up being colicky, adding sleep deprivation to our already stressful relationship.

We tried counseling.

Although 50 minutes every other week in a little room with a stranger helped us resolve a specific issue from time to time, we never learned the tools to manage conflict when it came up outside that room. We had no tools, no strategies to navigate our communication in every day life.

I was working as a top facilitator for a large personal growth seminar company and was on the road 2 weeks a month. It put a HUGE strain on our marriage. Tina had just given birth to our son and she was left at home to take care of kids, the household and her business as Mortgage Broker. When I was home, I was so exhausted. I was emotionally unavailable. To say she was resentful was an understatement.

We tried counseling AGAIN.

For a little while, things got better. We bought a big house that soon became "party central." We went on fancy vacations and camping trips with many friends. Bought an RV, ATV's and all the toys. The kids had a blast, we were making memories, AND we didn't seem to fight on vacation. At least that's how we justified it.

I had started working on building a corporate coaching/ consulting business to allow me to be home and more available for my family. The seminar company I was working for didn't like that and told me to "shut it down" or I couldn't work for them any more. It would have been out of integrity for me to stand in front of a room every weekend and tell people to go after their dreams in a big way if I wasn't doing that myself. So, during the market crash of 2007, my company, Brainstorm was born.

The timing sucked, the mortgage company Tina worked for, folded in the crash. We were facing financial ruin, but we had to just keep swimming. Tina jumped in to help with my business venture and we fought and struggled for several years before Brainstorm started to see a profit. We even tried to take on a business partner, such a disaster!

Working together to build a business while trying to keep finances and family afloat was tough! To make matters worse, Tina was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer and although we got the "all clear" after a year of surgeries and treatments, she was left with debilitating depression that contributed to a lot of unrest for both of us in the relationship.

This time, I tried going our Pastor for help. Pastor Kevin was supportive and he urged me to "suck it up" just for another 6 years until our son turned 18. I begrudgingly obliged as I also believed a home with 2 parents was a much healthier option for kids. We agreed that if we still wanted out in 6 years, we would address it then.

As we slowly watched everything we worked for be reposessed inlcuding our beautiful home, things finally came to a head in 2012. Tina had gone online and printed out divorce papers and handed them to me. In that moment I was holding divorce papers in one hand and a list of "stuff" we were negotiating to split in the other hand. We even fought over who was going to get the dog!

I spent sleepless nights in emotional agony. I felt like my entire life's mission was to make my wife happy, yet she wasn't. It was an impossible feat and yet I was pissed that I was failing at it.

As I resentfully watched her sleep peacefully, thinking about our impending divorce, it dawned on me. I realize I just wanted to be HEARD. The more I thought about that I wondered if maybe all she wanted was the same. I set out to figure out how we could learn to communicate respectfully without either of us being wrong.

Although I coached my clients on accountability, this particular night, I decided to take my own advice. If this was going to be better it had to be up to me and my ultimate commitment to the result. I decided to take off the armor and put down my sword.

I started listening, which created a space for Tina to listen. When I stopped yelling, she stopped yelling. When I stopped saying yes to things I didn't want to do just to make her happy, she stopped asking me to.

Once we started using these new communication tools in our relationship. Things got better. I started using these tools with my coaching clients and they started seeing tremendous results too! These were the tools we were seeking each time we went to a counselor. Finally something tangible we could use to save our marriage and IT WORKED!

To make a very long story short, we didn't file those divorce papers. Instead we started working on the vision for our relationship. Before we knew it those 6 years I promised my Pastor had passed.

We spent time during COVID strenthening our relationship skills. We thought that if we could Rehab our Relationship through all our trials and setbacks, we could help others do the same.

So utilizing my 28+ years of experience with human behavior and coaching people to live the lives they wanted, I developed this program to help couples do just that and it took off. Tina and I were living, breathing examples of what is possible no matter the background.

Now we live in our dream home we built in North Idaho. We get to do all the adventurous outdoor things we love like boating, hiking skiing and spending time with friends. We are cherishing family time like we never have before. Through all the ups and downs, we have figured out the secret to a successful marriage and are proud to have raised 3 incredible humans whom we love to spend time with whenever we can.

I look forward to helping you do the same.

It's Not Always Perfect...
Perfect Isn't Possible....

It's Perfectly Imperfect and We Wouldn't Have it Any Other Way!