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Pay Attention to the check engine light!

First, we just wanna say, we are so, so, so pleased to have you here with us again! We are over-the-moon excited to begin sharing insight with you! Before we get there, though, we want to fulfill our promise from last week and take a moment to explain why we decided to name our newsletter Save the Date!:

We fell in love with this name not only because Thursdays are going to be your new favorite day of the week (and you’re absolutely going to want to save that date for sure!), but also because we hope to Save the Date! in real time as well. Perhaps you’re out at a restaurant and the two of you just can't seem to stop bickering. We hope that you’ll be able to pull some words of wisdom from out of these emails and Save the Date! Beyond that, even, perhaps you’ve been looking forward to an event all week, but your partner seems to be reacting to every mention just a tiny bit frosty, leaving you feeling hurt and confused. Again, we hope you can turn to your inbox and all of us here at Pivotal Approach to Save the Date! And even beyond that, we hope to help you with those every day irritations, annoyances, slights, and issues that build up in order to Save the (every)Date! time and time again.


And now, we have finally reached the moment you’ve been waiting for and we’re just going to dive right right in:

When problems arise in our relationships we tend to fear the worst. “Are we totally disconnected? Is this how it will be forever?” This is not unusual, one might even say it’s normal. We all want strong relationships.

We here at Pivotal Approach want to show you that your relationships have signals like the lights on your vehicle dashboards. Just like those lights, they serve an important purpose.

When those dash lights on the car first blink on I (Brett) immediately jump to the worst-case scenario. This leads to panic and I do everything I can to avoid facing the idea of major repairs. I may even go so far as to cover the light with masking tape, to “fix” it.

The problem is, the tape fixes nothing, and fools no one. Even for myself the anxiety lives on somewhere in the back of my mind, festering. In reality, most of the time the light is an indication of only some minor issue, and if I pause long enough to approach it with curiosity I not only know how to fix it better, I also relieve my anxiety. On the other hand, if I continue to ignore the lights, they can lead to that worse-case scenario I was originally imagining. I have learned that it’s infinitely better to address the lights as soon as they pop up in order to prevent damage.

So, what are some of the warning lights that come with our relationships?

  1. The feeling of disconnect or resentment in the relationship.

  2. Conflict that leads to distance rather than connection.

  3. Interacting less to get along more.

  4. Believing everything would be better if your partner would just change.

  5. Giving your partner consequences in order to get them to change.

  6. Believing you need to be “better” to have a better relationship.

  7. Blaming yourself or your partner for where your relationship is now.

  8. Hiding information from your partner to prevent their reaction.

  9. Pointing to being “too busy” as the reason for your struggles.

  10. Having zero conflict.

If any of these warning lights are showing up for you the Pivotal Approach team encourages you to pause. Don’t pull out the masking tape. Instead, be curious. Consider them. They are there to help you take care of your relationship, to learn something about yourself, and/or to understand your partner better.


We know things are getting just a bit long, and we appreciate your patience and continued interest this week! Last week you met Emma, this week meet Jenae. She is our technical guru for when things get a bit confusing, but mostly she will be the voice coming out of your inbox each week (why, yes, she is currently referring to herself in the third person). Without further ado, here she is, in, erm, her own words..?

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