Compatibility. In relationships. And in business. Ask Me Anything

Rachel Lamson
Jun 7, 2018

Ever heard of the 80/20 rule in relationships? It's the idea that no two people are 100% compatible and that 80% is about as good as it gets. When it comes time to tie the knot though, all of a sudden that 20% can feel like hanging off a cliff - dangerous and terrifying. Your thoughts begin to spiral and you worry about that crazy high divorce statistic you keep hearing about.

That's where my business comes in. Divorce can be traced back to unmet and unspoken expectations and assumptions. I guide couples in voicing and figuring out how to compromise on or meet those expectations. 

I am a young female entrepreneur. The advantages are energy and knowledge about social media (the cheapest and fastest way to market). The disadvantage, especially as a short young female, is perception.

Ever have someone react negatively to your age in business? My response, with perhaps a bit of a smile, is often: "You can either assume that because I am young I am inexperienced and unable to help. OR you can assume that because I am young and already successful in my professional field, I must be very good." 

Ask me anything

securetheknot.com

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Where do you find your clients? How can they get in touch with you?
Jun 10, 11:06PM EDT0

Hi Kristen,

Any clients interested can either text or call 317-981-9323 or email ForKeeps@securetheknot.com

They can also visit securetheknot.com for more information

Jun 11, 9:50AM EDT0
Were there some couples who called their wedding off after premarital counseling?
Jun 10, 9:19PM EDT0

Hi Mareyahfaye,

I haven't had it happen. It's possible but unlikely. The way I run my coaching is with the goal to work through any potential future issues, not cause a break-up. 

Jun 11, 9:49AM EDT0
How good or bad can it get when a couple builds a business together? Especially when they’re not married yet and can most likely break up?
Jun 10, 7:28PM EDT0

Hi Skululul,

I regret that I can't give a solid answer here; there are too many variables. It depends on the individuals, the business they are building, and their long-term goals.

I'd recommend they seek a unbiased counselor or coach before they begin building a business. To hash out their plans for the future. I'd be willing to do this, please email me if you are interested ForKeeps@securetheknot.com

And maybe see a lawyer to create a plan just in case of a break-up; this is always a good idea when money is involved.

Jun 11, 9:48AM EDT0
When a married couple is about to get divorced, what are the chances counseling can improve their relationship to stop the breakup?
Jun 10, 4:21AM EDT0

Hi Jgawcen,

The focus on my business is premarital coaching and I don't know the statistics on the effectiveness of marital therapy at different points in the relationship. 

However, I can offer my personal opinion from experience as a mental health therapist. If a couple waits until they are about to get a divorce to try counseling as a last ditch effort, it's not likely to help. Once they have made the decision to get divorced, both parties have to be extremely motivated to recreate that relationship. But at that point, they've already started (in their minds if not in reality) to build a life apart. 

Couples should seek marriage counseling long before divorce is on the table. Unfortunately, counseling in general still has a negative stigma among many people and many couples wait until it's too little too late.

My best advice is seek counseling as soon as the problem feels like more than either of you can handle. Don't wait until one of you says they are leaving. 

Jun 10, 9:50AM EDT0
How does a professional start a consultation business like yours?
Jun 9, 7:42PM EDT0

Hi Angie,

I wish there was some secret formula but like most businesses, it started with seeing an unfulfilled need (in my area, the only options for premarital counseling are either from religious institutions or with a marriage therapist), creating a plan, a website, and starting to build a brand. 

Jun 10, 9:43AM EDT0
What is the one piece of advice you give to all couples in premarital counseling?
Jun 8, 11:17AM EDT0

Hi Mabhierox,

The #1 piece of advice that I believe applies to all couples everywhere is what my parents shared with me:

Each of you must give 75% and expect only 25%.

At first it just sounds like another thrown out there saying. But when looked at closely, I think it's a beautiful way to have a relationship. If each person genuinely expects 75/25 instead of 50/50 then it's rare that either person will ever feel like they are doing too much and the other isn't doing enough. 

The problem with 50/50 is that partner's perceptions are not the same. Maybe partner A does 10 things that take 1 hour and partner B does 1 thing that takes 3 hours; both feel like they did more. Rather than aiming for 50/50 and then feeling disappointed that it's not coming out 50/50, aim for 75/25. Genuinely. 

Jun 8, 3:08PM EDT0
Who goes to premarital therapy, what does a typical session look like, and what can you expect to get out of it?
Jun 8, 10:41AM EDT1

Hi Barbara,

Thank you for the question! Everyone who is engaged should consider premarital coaching. I specifically market toward people who are nonreligiously affliliated, are interfaith, of the lgbtq community, and/or on their 2nd (or 3rd, 4th, etc) marriage. That's because there tend to be few options for premarital counseling outside of a religious institution. However, I am open to all couples.

My basic, two session, package looks like this:

1st meeting - I get to know the couple and go through 20 areas of comptability. This allows me to understand the couples strengths and areas that could use improvement as well as their goals, hopes, and fears for their future together.

Packet - I send them a personalized set of hypotheticals, questions, and scenarios that are designed to be engaging, develop open communication, and make sure no expectations are left hidden to hurt them later. They go through these at their leisure and I encourage couples to turn it into a few date nights. 

Follow-up - I then meet with the couple to explore what went well, what they struggled to compromise on, and then I will assist them in working through any important areas they felt they were not aligned. 

Each couple will get something different out of the coaching because they get what they put into it. But expect to get a sense of very deep closeness, a sense of peace for your future, and increased confidence that you won't be a divorce statistic. 

For more information on sessions please visit securetheknot.com/services

Jun 8, 3:03PM EDT0
What are some important things to know about your partner’s values around money before marriage?
Jun 8, 2:25AM EDT1

Hi Chunky,

I have close to 50 questions that I pull from for couples to review related to money. The most important questions differ from couple to couple but here are a few top ones:

How much debt are you each in? And what are your plans to pay it off?

Is money that is earned from odd jobs or overtime personal spending money or still part of the family money?

Is it more important to have experiences with little saved or have a lot saved but skip experiences?

How will concerns about finances be handled? 

If you are wanting more questions, specific to your relationship, please visit securetheknot.com or call 317-981-9323 to set up an appointment

Jun 8, 7:56AM EDT0
How should couples typically deal with infidelity? How does one discuss past relationships with their current partner?
Jun 8, 2:00AM EDT0

Hi Alex,

Great question! Infidelity is a tricky issue and has to be addressed on an individual basis. To give a brief overview answer, there are two types of cheating - a singular mistake or ongoing cheating. If it is ongoing, you eventually have to realize your partner is getting more out of cheating than their relationship with you. And for your health, it's not a good relationship to stay in. A singular mistake, on the other hand, is human; couples who are motivated to work through it should set strong boundaries to avoid future mistakes, decide what they need to rebuild trust, and have continual open conversations. 

Discussing past relationships can be very tricky. Some people need to know, others would prefer it stayed in the past. If one or both partners feel it is important, I suggest starting off the conversation with these two questions:

1 - What did you learn from past relationships that will help us in our relationship?

2 - What happened in past relationships that might negatively affect our relationship?

Last edited @ Jun 8, 8:06AM EDT.
Jun 8, 8:02AM EDT0
What is the best business advice you've ever been given? How do you apply it to your own business?
Jun 7, 9:29AM EDT0

Hi Sue,

I am still new to the business owning scene but so far the best advice I have been given was related to marketing. 

I attended a business seminar where the speaker commented on how entrepreneurs often get lost in the details of their product/service and get so focused on telling people how great their idea is that they miss the selling points and market incorrectly. In this instance, their passion gets in the way. He said to (1) focus on what will make your potential customers happy and in what way do they want it phrased and then (2) to create a marketing plan without even mentioning your specific product/service. Part 2 forces you to really look at your strategy and get out of the mindset that "what I'm offering is just so great everyone will want it."

I continually work to figure out how to best market to my potential clients. It's a hard sell - trying to help couples realize they might have marriage struggles before they are even married. And I readjust my marketing plan everytime I hear another good idea. 

Jun 7, 12:44PM EDT0
What are your thoughts on people who marry bases on being compatiable financially and culturally but with no love between them ? Do you believe in the concept that love will develop over time?
Jun 7, 2:50AM EDT0

Hi James,

What an interesting question! There are many cultures that have historically and some still currently focus on marriages for finances/social class/ culture instead of love. 

Love always takes time to develop (I personally do not believe in love at first sight). It comes from usually first a physical and/or mental attraction, followed by common interests and dislikes, the mutual respect grows, they support one another, they bring out the best in one another, and on and on until it develops into love. 

Two people whose interests are aligned, have mutual respect, and are willing to put in the work could absolutely grow to love one another. 

But there are different types of love and I would imagine in some cases it would be a more friend-like love than a romantic love. I think there is something to romantic love that is either there or it isn't. 

However, this is just my personal opinion and not based off any studies that I know of. 

Jun 7, 12:38PM EDT0
When you are doing premarital counseling for a couple and you think they're incompatible, how do you break the news to them?
Jun 7, 1:07AM EDT0

Hi Schnider2k,

With the exception of abusive relationships, I would never tell a couple they are incompatible. This is because I believe compatibility can be created through hard work and compromise if they are motivated. It isn't my place to tell couples whether they should be together or apart; I am available only to guide them in having those important discussions and working through any snags. 

On the other hand, if a couple goes through premarital coaching and is hitting walls and argues at every turn, they may realize they are not going toward a future they will be satisfied with and may decide to part ways. 

Last edited @ Jun 7, 12:27PM EDT.
Jun 7, 9:15AM EDT0
Do you often feel like you have something to prove when dealing with people who questions how good you are at your work because of your age?
Jun 6, 6:04PM EDT0

Hi Meriton,

Every now and then  I do face a bit of skepticism from being young. It comes up mostly with working with older individuals. I don't go out of my way to "prove" myself to them though. 

I validate their concerns and remind them that the most important aspect of any form of counseling is comfort with the counselor/coach. I encourage them to give me a try and if after a few sessions they still feel my age is a problem then I will happily refer them to someone with more years under their belt. I have yet to need to do this though. 

Jun 7, 12:30PM EDT0
If Premarital counselling your full-time work now?
May 28, 5:36AM EDT0

Hi Chandabatool,

Not yet! I work part-time as a mental health therapist for adults. I found my passion for working with couples and realized many of the issues couples face when seeing a marriage therapist could have been avoiding by seeing a premarital coach. 

I do hope within the next year or two for this to be my full-time career. 

May 28, 8:56PM EDT0
Why would people need PreMarital Counseling? How do your premarital counselling programs work?
May 28, 12:32AM EDT0

Hi Mayeth,

Every person who gets married has an idea in their mind of what marriage is. They get this idea from their own families/friends, media, books, and their own private thoughts. AND we tend to assume that someone who connects with us on so many levels has the same idea of what a marriage is.

Unfortunately, more often than not there are areas where that assumption is incorrect. Then they get married without expressing these ideals and when their partner falls short they are disappointed. If this happens too often then it leads to dissatisfaction which then leads to a whole slew of problems (think cheating, falling out of love, emotional distancing, etc) and eventually divorce. 

The way I do premarital coaching is different from premarital counseling. Premarital counseling usually involves someone giving the couple a lot of advice. Premarital coaching is about the couples developing their own advice. 

I meet with the couple and assess their compatibility in 12 major areas and several minor ones. Then I create a set of questions/scenarios/hypotheticals which are designed to assist them in expressing important expectations. I meet with them in 1-6 follow up sessions to work through any areas where they struggled with incompatibility. 

This allows any couple to start their marriage knowing what their partner expects and vice versa. It stops a lot of arguments before they ever start. 

Please visit securetheknot.com for more details. I am available to provide coaching online. 

Last edited @ May 28, 9:00PM EDT.
May 28, 8:54PM EDT0
How do you market your business and reach new customers/clients?
May 27, 1:28PM EDT0

Hi Ena,

I am still working on this. While I have been in this field for several years, I am new to owning my own business. I am learning as a I go, but so far I have advertised through Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads. And I partner with a couple marriage officiants in my area to send their couples to me. 

My next plans are to reach out to big companies that offer great benefits to their employees and see if they want to add premarital coaching as a benefit they offer. Tension in relationships and divorce causes reductions in productivity. 

I am always open to other suggestions if you (or anyone else) have any

Last edited @ Jun 7, 12:55PM EDT.
May 27, 5:29PM EDT0

How long have you been practicing premarital consulting? What made you interested in this field?

May 27, 12:59PM EDT0

Hi Daniloza,

I just started my business a couple months ago as I recognized the need in my area for nonreligious counseling. In Indianapolis (and surrounding cities) the only options for couples are either religious institutions or marriage therapists. Many couples are not religious and most couples are put off by the idea of a marriage therapist before they get married. 

I've been teaching healthy relationships for over 8 years. 

I became interested in this field after working as a therapist for the last 2 years and realized I enjoy working with couples the most. But I find that they often come to therapy as a last resort. I hope to give couples a much better start so they can peacefully compromise at the beginning rather than fight until it ends. 

May 27, 5:26PM EDT0
What are you learning about couples as you interact with them, teach them and help them? What are you noticing about couples in general today?
May 26, 11:19PM EDT0

Hi Abdirizak,

Great question! The best thing I am noticing about couples today is that they are squashing stigmas and traditional gender roles in the best ways! What I mean is that previously it was considered embarassing to see a counselor but now people are embracing and appreciating learning more ahead of time. And with gender roles, it isn't just about the woman expressing emotional needs and men expressing sexual needs; it's both expressing all their needs. 

Every couple teaches me something new. I love realizing we are all so similar but also that every couple has their something unique. 

May 28, 8:48PM EDT0

What is one piece of advice that you can give to couples today to improve their relationships?

May 26, 9:24PM EDT0

Hi Bharatisarkar,

I would say to learn to apologize for being the cause of pain even if you don't want to apologize for the action.

For example, partner A forgot to call to say they were going to be home late and partner B had dinner all ready. Partner B becomes upset because they feel unappreciated. Partner A works a very high demand job which pays all their bills and feels like partner B is being unreasonable and ungracious. Instead of this turning into a huge fight where both get more hurt, partner A could say "I am sorry that my forgetting to call hurt you, I never intended for you to feel unappreciated." This validates partner Bs feelings without partner A having to concede they did something wrong. Then they should work on a plan to avoid this in the future. 

When couples refuse to apologize because they don't believe they have done anything wrong, they accidentally send the message to their partner that their emotions are invalid and unimportant. 

May 27, 9:08AM EDT0
If you had to recommend one or more books that you believe every couple should read, what would they be?
May 26, 7:03PM EDT0

Hi Mitch,

I am personally not a huge fan of self-help books. But what I do recommend is that every couple read a book together.

Instead of going to bed watching tv or playing on your phones, pick a book to take turns reading a few pages every night. It gives you a sense of closeness, something new to talk about, and reinforces your relationship every night.

My husband and I have been reading the Legend of Drizzt series for years. We used to get through a chapter a night but now it's only a few sentences before we fall asleep (we have a 5 month old) but it's still a wonderful way to end the day. 

Last edited @ May 28, 8:58PM EDT.
May 27, 9:15AM EDT0
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