“I do.” Well, until the money runs out. Or I get tired of picking up your socks. Or I find someone better. With a bigger house. And less emotional baggage.
Don’t remember those qualifications being in your vows? Neither does Kailen Rosenberg, a certified love, life and relationships coach at Kai-len Love and Life Architects in downtown Wayzata, who works with local couples to help put the love and commitment back into their relationships, no matter how superficial or dire the circumstances.
In the six years that she’s been meeting with couples, Rosenberg’s seen it all—financial issues, addiction, affairs—but according to her, most of these issues are just symptoms of a more deeply rooted problem: issues of self-image and the ability to give and/or receive love.
Luckily, her background as a personal/life coach, graduate-level training in love and personal relationships and years of personal experience have given her an insightful perspective on marital issues and a refreshingly unique coaching style.
“First of all, I don’t focus on what’s broken,” says Rosenberg, who typically begins each new assessment by asking her clients what is working in the relationship instead of what isn’t. According to Rosenberg, this simple technique serves to “shift the mindset to a more positive place,” allowing clients to view themselves—and their relationship—from a new perspective, and reminding them that they do have something worth fighting for.
Once the motivation is there, next comes the hard part: tackling the inadequacies, betrayals and animosity in the relationship—both real and perceived. Though this is an emotionally-trying process, it’s made undeniably easier by Rosenberg’s ability to empathize with her clients.
Unlike most therapists and counselors, who are bound by countless restrictions and regulations, Rosenberg is able to draw on her own experiences and bond with her clients on a much more personal level. “I use a lot of the stuff that I’ve been through in the past, the shoes that I’ve walked in,” details Rosenberg, “and a lot of times I can see how stuck [my clients] are, and I can tell them—‘don’t be ashamed, don’t be embarrassed, I’ve been there, and here’s how you can get past that.’”
Supplemented by weekly individual and partnered homework, Rosenberg’s positive approach has been undeniably successful. “Right now, we have about an 90 percent success rate with our married couples,” cites Rosenberg, who goes on to detail that many of her couples begin realizing progress in as little as 2–3 sessions—even if they’ve struggled with other methods of marriage counseling for years.
“My couples will come here that first day, and pretty much every time they’re on opposite ends of the couch,” she recounts. “And then each week, they get a little closer and a little closer, and [by the end], they’re smack in the middle, holding hands.”
And according to Rosenberg, this is exactly what motivates her to keep doing what she’s doing. “I’m ridiculously passionate about healthy love,” enthuses Rosenberg. “There are way too many divorces [going on]—divorces that I know never had to be if they had just gotten help when they needed it,” she laments. “But people have to know that just because you believe that you’ve fallen out of love or filed for divorce doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take just one more step, just to see what might be there. Even if it’s just a speck—a mustard-seed of love—it’s there, and that’s a start.”
For a taste of Rosenberg’s relationship coaching style, tune in this fall to “Lovetown, USA,” airing on OWN and BBC Worldwide, and watch as Rosenberg “helps six singles embark on a journey to find true love in their own backyard.”
Kailen’s Tips for a Great Marriage
1. Love yourself first. “You need to like yourself for who you are and where you’re at before you’ll be able to love anyone else.”
2. Focus! Time is short these days, so when you’re with your significant other, make it count. “Don’t just sit there and talk about kids or work,” says Rosenberg. “Really connect!”
3. Stimulate the senses. Whether it’s a steaming pot of spaghetti or a sensuous bubble bath, getting all the senses involved—sight, smell, taste—creates a more memorable experience.
4. Work together. Whether it’s cleaning the house or doing work around the yard, working as a team makes you appreciate each other and what you’ve built together.
5. Be mindful of what you have. The grass is not always greener, avers Rosenberg.
“What you have is health and the opportunity to give and receive love. Everything else is a gift.”