Do You Know if Your Relationship is in Danger?


By Ariel Minter

Co-founders of Passion Provokers, Jami and Marla Keller, have discovered that men rate their coupleship at least 2-3 points higher than their partner on a 0-10 scale.

This happens for many reasons, but it really comes down to a violation of hierarchy. Women most often do this by putting their children or their girlfriends above their partner. The most common example with men is that they become consumed with work or choose to retreat to their “man cave” when they have spare time.

Passion Provokers teaches that the most functional and healthy hierarchy is to keep your priorities in this order:

1.     Your Partner
2.     Your Children
3.     Your Job
4.     Your Extended Family 

When one partner violates the hierarchy (i.e. puts the kids above everything else, or is a “workaholic”), it hinders the sexual-emotional balance that every coupleship requires in order to thrive. (Tweet This)

“Women are generally 70% Emotional and 30% sexual whereas men are typically just the opposite: 70% sexual and 30% emotional,” shares Jami. 

Ideally, this means that you are “feeding” your coupleship in an even way. A woman can fill her partners sexual needs 70% of the time if he is able to fill her emotional needs 70% of the time. 

In our culture, most men have difficulty understanding (and being present to) the emotional needs of their partner.

“Often times, the man tries to fix the circumstances rather then being present to the emotions, and the woman feels neglected or unheard because she doesn’t need to be fixed, just listened to. After a long period of time of a woman feeling unheard, she typically feels a deep sense of loneliness, resentment, and even anger,” says Marla. 

The biggest challenge for both men and women is that these concepts are difficult: Sex is tangible. Emotions are complicated. (Tweet This)

This explains why women are rating their relationships at a 2 or 5, when their counterparts are saying it is a 5 or 8. On a scale of 1-10, that is an extremely big (and sad) difference. 

“In our experience, five or under means the relationship is in danger. When someone rates their coupleship between six and seven we often see that at least one partner is needing more. Rating your relationship as an eight or higher is ideal. What’s interesting is that often times, one person rates it as an eight and the other says five. That means one person thinks everything is perfect, while the other feels the relationship is in danger. If you and your partner are more than two points apart, then there is a problem with communication,” explains Jami. 

Here are four basic things you can do that will dramatically improve the climate of your relationship:

1.     Keep your partner as your number one priority.

2.     Share your feelings (an easy way to do this is to use a tool like the The Feeling Wheel App).

3.     Ask your partner how they are feeling (at least everyday).

4.     Actively listen. 

Even if you choose to follow these four ideas independently, you will be surprised at how your partner responds. These four steps have the potential to make a huge change for you. It certainly is an “easier said than done” process, but what do you truly value that didn’t or doesn’t take a lot of work? 

How would you (honestly) rate your coupleship?

If you’re in the “danger zone”, Passion Provokers can help. Your consultation is always free. Get started today. 

The Power of Why(?)


By Ariel Minter

I hadn’t understood or paid much attention to what “ideology” meant until I was a senior in high school. I’m sure this could come across as ignorant to some. The thing is, I just never had someone sit me down and explain that the way I think and what I believe are all products of the environment(s) I have been raised, who raised me, and who I’ve spent time with. 

My 17-year-old brain just thought I was creating all my beliefs and ideas on my own (of course). One of the most influential mentors and teachers I have had the privilege of studying under spent an entire year around teaching myself and my peers what that word meant and how key it is to challenge it. 

In the simplest of terms, ideology means “the science of ideas; the study of their origin and nature.” As the first semester progressed, he challenged us to challenge our ideologies. He did this by asking a simple question over and over again: Why?

I quickly became frustrated. I felt like everything I thought were my beliefs had in fact been a series of thoughts and ideas I had been surrounded by my entire life. 

Did I have the capacity for original thoughts? Was I really just a carbon-copy human of all the ancestors who were before me? I felt like there was no way to really detach. It was impossible to really have a true belief system unless I was to challenge everything I had ever known to be true.

I believe this feeling is what many describe as a “paradigm shift”. Very little, if any, of what I believed were things that I had personally found to be true. My thoughts on the most controversial topics (God, abortion, same-sex marriage, compassion, etc) were all bits of what I had been told were true. 

What did I know to be true vs. what had I been told was true? Where was the line? Was there a difference? I was crushed. Nearly every single belief that I considered mine were “truths” that I had been told. I had been told by those who raised me, my peers, the media. etc. I realized that what I thought were my beliefs were also heavily based simply on what year I had been born in and what kind of world I had been born into. These were all inherited beliefs, therefore inherited ideologies.  

It felt like everything was a big sham. A big fake-you. How could anyone really know what they believed if they didn’t challenge everything? And holy cow was that an exhausting thought.

I soon realized that it is much easier to be told truths than it is to go and discover them. Reverting back to my inner-three-year-old, it felt as though my response to every thought, every statement, every truth I had been told was “why?”. 

There are many things you cannot prove. You can believe in God, but common belief says it cannot be scientifically proven. You can believe in the big bang theory, but it cannot necessarily be proven. Believing in anything that cannot be proven is a choice. 

Understanding my own ideology is a never ending series of “Whys”. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to question everything all the time because it is exhausting, and it isn’t easy (or fun) to constantly be fact-checking. This just reinforces my belief that anything worthwhile is going to take a lot of energy.

I choose to believe in what I question. If I give something the opportunity to be questioned, even if this is interpersonally, then I have challenged it. Then I can have peace and conviction in who I am, because I know what makes me that person. 

The gift in all of this is how it can ease the confusion of differing ideologies. Life is full of dealing with people who believe differently than you. When you give yourself time to challenge your own ideologies, it is much easier to practice tolerance of others.  It is not natural to be accepting of opposing ideologies. Tolerance is something you learn, and it is taught too seldom. 

This challenge of “whys”  give you permission to disagree with someones lifestyle and just because you disagree you don’t hate them or fear them for it. It means you can have the hard conversations about your convictions, and it can be done in love instead of control. It means that even though you love someone, it doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they believe. 

I challenge you to challenge yourself. Write down statements of what you believe to be an absolute truth, then ask why. Have you found your beliefs to be true or were you simply told it was true? Do you practice tolerance?

Never stop asking why. 

Are You Spinning & Rotating in Peace or Chaos? 


By Jami Keller

The frost on the trees this morning is beautiful and foreboding, kinda cold to be out. I am thankful for the fire and blanket on my couch where I can look out and see the sunrise and the frost on the trees. 

There is nothing more alive than the sunrise. In it I have an amazing awareness of my own mortality. There are only so many of these in a lifetime…my lifetime.

The privilege of being present to the beauty and comfort is amazing. Even overwhelming. Just letting it be what it is and realizing the hugeness of it all. The earth rotating around the sun, spinning and rotating around the Milky Way that is spinning and rotating around a black hole that is spinning and rotating around a universe that is probably spinning and rotating around with other unknown universes in an omni-universe….and here I sit learning how to be conscious of my small piece of it all, spinning and rotating around my own life. 

The sun is getting brighter and the paleness of the blue sky is darkening. The promise of some warmth inspires hopes of getting outside. The adventure is no small thing. What will I do with this day? Just one of the few that I have been given. If I live a hundred years it would be 36,500 days. I turn 46 this month so that would be a little more than half left say 20,000 if I round up (hey, I could live to a hundred and two). 

20,000 days. what to do with them. What is the best use of the only real resource I have been given (time)? Ariel found a quote when she was fifteen. “You do what you do because of what you value most at the time.” I forget who said it, but I think of it often.

What do I value most? The truth is that I value the relationships I have most. I have stopped most of my dysfunctional behavior by being honest with myself, however I still find myself doing things or feeling a desire to do the old (dysfunctional) things. Because I value acceptance so much. And when you value the acceptance of others above things like honesty, integrity, and forgiveness…well, that’s when things can get messed up.

People need to hear that they are good, acceptable and loved. Appreciation and thankfulness are strongly linked to happiness and even longevity. Why, then, do we withhold it and give it only when we feel safe? Why do I wait to tell the ones I love the most that they are good, acceptable, and loved?

So, I choose to let people know that it is safe. It is safe to feel good and acceptable. I do not do this with words, but with my heart. In order to send this message you must believe it in your heart. This is done by forgiving all the pain and hurt and un-safety we have experienced. This is done by, despite all the dysfunctional past behaviors, choosing to be present. Choosing honesty, integrity & forgiveness over others’ approval. 

Set your heart on peace. This provides a base of safety for gratitude in your life. This base of peace and safety is shared by not letting others chaos disturb it and not allowing the spinning and rotating of everyones own universe to trump the power of being present. 

By seeing the sunrise over and through the frosty trees, I know that even in most painful realization of our limits (loss or pain), that it will be alright if we let it be. There is great power in just being safe for others.

What do you value most? Do your daily life choices express that?  Continue the conversation. Comments can be anonymous. 

Do you Allow Yourself to be Worthy?


By Ariel Minter

You always want to save yourself. If anyone tries to save you, you’ll walk away faster than anyone will be able to bank a memory. You do the saving in your life. You will save the world. 

And then you’ll save yourself. 

….from loneliness by rationalization. From anger by an outlet. By love from the past. From being too happy (God Forbid). And you’ll claim to love freely and laugh often but really those feelings are far too muffled to be considered enough. And you get too angry sometimes for an outlet and there are depths of loneliness that don’t require rationalization. 

You bought the idea that all girls needed a savior and all boys could be charming in their own need to be saved. You bought into being needed, in order to give yourself any validation. 

People ask you for help, well ask away. It’s what gives you meaning. 

You will accomplish it all on your own. You won’t ask for help. Apparently, to you, there is some sort of weakness in asking for anything. So everyone else is allowed to ask. But if you do, you’re weak. You’re losing. Losing against this false opinion you’ve built for myself.

And now is when you realize you haven’t really been living at all if you haven’t allowed yourself to be rescued sometimes. That (“How can someone really live if they’ve never been vulnerable enough to breathe?”), because you already know the answer (“You can’t.”). 

So you learn to love more than just the idea of something. And here you are. Asking for the same love and attention you give. And you get it. And keep getting it. Because you’re finally asking for something in return. And it’s too beautiful to question. Because. Because. Because. 

Because you are learning to love your weakness. Not because it remains the same, but because you are learning, and WILLING, to be vulnerable enough to breathe for yourself. Because you will let yourself be saved, instead of doing the saving all the time. 

Because you’re worthy of it all.

Help! Finding Out Your An Introvert Living an Extroverts Life


By Ariel Minter

With the “Holiday Hangover” finally subsiding, it is exciting to feel free for at least a month. To look at my calendar and know that I don’t have any dinner parties, work parties, or any other form of human beings coming together in celebration of the warm-fuzzy Holiday season, is true bliss. 

Growing up, I was always referred to as the outspoken and outgoing child (compared to my older sister, who preferred reading and letting me speak for the both of us in new social situations.). Through out High School and my families many moves, I lived up to those expectations and always felt as though I was socially driven to be around people and to devote most of my spare time to being with said people. 

I took until shortly before I was married that I realized just how uncomfortable and exhausting it was to entertain and be entertained all. the. time. I awakened my long lost love of novels, loved my bedtime of 9pm, and truly recoiled at the thought of “enjoying” the liberation of turning 21 and the social connotations that go along with that.

These realizations of who I really was vs. who I had (directly and indirectly) always been told I was really created a rift for myself. I can only assume this also was difficult for my friend base. All of a sudden, I “disappeared” from where/who I would normally spend my time. I began to harbor a sense of resentment towards the expectations these people in my life had of me. Which, as I can see now, was unfair in all aspects because that was who I always presented myself to be.

I don’t believe I am entirely introverted or extraverted, but I do believe that the more I truly know myself, the more I enjoy what many people understand as “introverted” activities. Large groups of people or any form of “marathon social events” leave me exhausted and depleted, whereas extraverted personality types often gain energy and thrive in such settings. 

Okay, so let me also add here that it is ludicrous to lump all extroverts and introverts into two categories. For example, not all introverts love to be alone and read, and don’t assume all extroverts are always at the center of a giant friend base (if you want to read the basic definition of the two, you can check it out by clicking here).

One of the reasons I am madly in love with my husband, and why we are married, is because we truly enjoy spending our Saturday nights together. Often times, this means we enjoy an ice cold beer as we play Yahtzee, cook dinner together and start a movie (which I usually end up falling asleep to about 45 minutes into it…I really do love my bedtime.). We enjoy our own personal free-time together as well, where I mentally engage with a Jody Picoult novel, while he is deep in Call of Duty.

The time I spend with my closest friends is usually spent in small groups, at each others houses, or to simply grab appetizers and drinks one-on-one. 

The beautiful thing about being a twenty-something is discovering who you really are, as opposed to younger years where you are constantly fighting to be the cookie-cutter of perfection. There is so much freedom in being who you are, because you decide. You live outside of the home you grew up in and you begin to create your own habits and traditions. You DECIDE who your friends are, and you get to be picky

Another beautiful thing, that is often misunderstood, is change. People are really afraid of change, especially people who are attached to who you were. In fact, I sort of freaked out when I realized I was changing (or becoming who I always was…I’m not sure which it was.). “Breaking up,” with people in order to be who you want to be is extremely difficult. It is also extremely necessary. 

The person I am becoming is constantly evolving. I do know that I love nights in. I love to read. I love getting to bed at a decent time. I love to be surrounded by a few people that I love a whole lot. I love alone time. I love going to the dog park with my family. I love quiet. 

That is not who I thought I was or who I thought I would be three years ago. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s liberating and amazing. 

Do you feel like you are breaking out of the definitions and roles you were assigned while growing up? Have you realized you weren’t who everyone told you you were, or assumed you were? Are you “breaking up” with a familiar lifestyle or friend base?