Norma Jean: The Relationship Toolbox

"Slip out the back, Jack/Make a new plan, Stan/Hop on a bus, Gus, don't need to discuss much/Just drop off the key, Lee/And set yourself free."Paul Simon's hip song may have been a hit, but if you really look into the underlying forces at play between two people in relationship, you might want to consider approaching problems instead of contemplating 50 ways to leave your lover. Using deeper inquiry and a search for tools that might repair what's gone kaplunk, grinding the joy, passion and connection with your lover to a screeching halt is a viable option.Once people admit life is difficult and relationships aren't the be-all, heal-all tonic for their woes, vigilant effort's required to maintain a connection that presents, in best case scenarios, real opportunity for enormous personal growth and a fulfilling life -- for a higher love.Fleeing one lover for another as the blush of eros dwindles or expecting the bliss of finding a soulmate to carry a relationship on its sails is a fatal error many make, particularly in our culture where the guts of a successful marriage aren't examined or taught in schools. Regard the quality of your parents' union as the only example of a partnership/marriage one absorbs as a child, and realize that two individuals carry these models unconsciously into each and every adult love affair like the blind leading the blind.There are far more than 50 ways to leave a lover, but how many ways do we have to repair our weakened bonds? Fess up, we all need a little help, a toolbox of sorts to work through the junk that arises inevitably between lovers.Writing 12 hours a day for three years while isolated in a mountain retreat, Robert Abel claims he was called to write "the most valuable lessons in life you don't learn in school." The Relationship Toolbox contemplates the deepest issues in connection between two people and presents 72 tools to empower and inspire intimate partnerships, moving them into clarity.Entitled "Addiction," chapter one urges people to first admit their lives may be run by the pursuit of relief from a place that feels uncomfortable, unworthy and negative. He encourages folks to look where life has become unmanageable and how it may hurt others, one's health or one's intimate partner. A new sex interest, obsession or project may momentarily make us feel whole and happy but negative feelings, Abel says, are God's way of pointing to problems, a way of driving one to heal underlying feelings of shame and unlovability common to so many. To be available for a higher love is to recognize, admit and minimize these destructive behaviors and humbly ask for help from a spiritual source.Strengthening commitment to oneself and one's mate through thick and thin isn't as antique a concept as some like to believe. In their hearts, people aspire for a successful union and will agree that a good, healthy and loving marriage greatly benefits every other area of life and community. Old-fashioned? Yes.To order The Relationship Toolbox, call 303-978-9019 or visit the Web site at

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