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Relationships are messy + delicious. Learn about how Robyn D'Angelo, The Happy Couple Expert uses science to effectively help couples in Orange County, California to master the messiness of relationships while learning how to love + be loved, better.

How to Avoid Relationship Cardiac Arrest

The Blog

How to Avoid Relationship Cardiac Arrest

Robyn D'Angelo

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This weekly running group of mine has really forced me to up my game.

Meaning I've had to dust off my running shoes + get back out there.

What I was NOT prepared for, was how much training my body would need to keep up with this weekly physical activity.

So, I invited my husband to join me on a 3 mile "Rock" this weekend.

If you're not familiar with this term, it's what I call my run/walk sessions.

I run a little, I walk a little, + I repeat that until I meet my goal.

To be honest, walking during a planned run used to be unacceptable to me.

I used to proudly announce how my fitness regimen required me to "Wreck myself into wellness." (there was no room for walking)

Then I turned 30... then 35 …and now 37.

And my body has prematurely adopted what I call the "Fuck-it-Forties" (aka: when you turn 40 you naturally give less fucks about much of anything) and is forcing me to slow down, listen to it rather than what I think I SHOULD be able to do, simply because I once could. But I digress.

  My new apple watch ROCKS!!!

My new apple watch ROCKS!!!

While I was out on this ROCK with the husband, sporting my new apple watch (which is so rad, btw! I love not having to hold my phone to track my milage/pace) he asked me a seemingly innocent question:

Are you monitoring your heart rate?


GASP! My first thoughts (in no particular order):

What are you asking?

Am I that old that I need to monitor my heart rate?

Besides, who cares what my heart rate is, I can still run. See me running? I'm fine!

Does my huffing + puffing make me sound like I can't do this?

Is my face beet red, indicating that I can't keep up with you?


But I all that came out was a sharp,

"No! Why ... do YOU think I should be!?"

(my inner angsty teen had her arms crossed, nostrils flared, + daggers shooting out of her eyes at him with that one)

He gently went on to explain the importance of knowing the difference between STRESS + STRENGTHEN.

He shared with me, how important it is to strengthen not only my body when starting back at such high levels of physical exertion, but to also strengthen my lungs.

ok, I’m interested. Keep talking.


And then he said the words that nearly stopped me in my tracks:

“Most importantly, you need to slowly strengthen your heart.”


Of course me being the #LoveGeek sap that I am, started to tear up (or was that just sweat in my eyes? 😉 )


I must strengthen my heart. I must have a strong heart. Yes! I dig it. But there was more.

And this is where it gets really good. He went on to say:

"Can you imagine, if every time you set out for a run, it was a full on sprint? Your heart would only know massive stress. If the only time you needed it to show up for you, beyond a normal amount of daily movement, was to SPRINT, it wouldn't be able to handle it. You have to strengthen it, little by little, with incremental stress so that it doesn't seize on you.”

💥 KAPOW!!! 💥

(that was my mind being blown by the way, not my heart exploding, thankfully.)

"You're right! You're so right. On so many levels! I never thought about it like that. If I don't keep an eye on my heart rate, I won't REALLY know what is too much. Or what too little feels like."


His eyes lit up. Remember ladies, those two little words that EVERY SINGLE MAN needs to hear from us but rarely does, goes a long way. “You’re Right.”

He went on to share:

"Yes + you can really hurt yourself. You could go in to cardiac arrest! OR if you're not pushing yourself hard enough, you may never reach your goals of getting faster, stronger or increasing your endurance."

While I'm stoked to use this information to up my running game I was so grateful for the metaphor.

Because just like your heart, your relationship also needs to be strengthened before it's put under all that stress. It must have the foundation that can withstand the pressure.

If you don’t strength train your relationship, it can go into cardiac arrest.

In order to withstand the stress of big blow ups, painful arguments, frightening life circumstances, or any other MAJOR stressor on your relationship (birth of a child, death of a loved one, buying a new home, selling an old home, losing a job, starting a new career, health scare, etc) you’ve got to lay a solid, strong foundation + tend to that foundation OFTEN, to keep it strong.

So, if you’re constantly in chaos, confusion, + conflict, you’re constantly putting stress on the relationship.

So let’s talk about ways to strengthen, then stress.

  1. Warm-up. Start warming up to your spouse more often by verbalizing what you know about them + their experiences each day. ex: “I know you had a big meeting this morning, how’d it go?” or “Hey how was your run tonight, I know you were a little sore from this weekend’s rock.”😉

  2. Practice. Tell your partner how you feel, about the situation, + make your request. Using emotion words + those trusty old “I statements” you can actually have a conversation rather than a raging monologue. ex: “I feel …. (lonely, disconnected, irritated, etc.) when … (describe the situation: I come home + dishes are all over the sink, etc.) “Going forward, I’d like to create a system where dishes are done each night before bed so that we can both come home to a clean kitchen. What time are you free to have that 10 minute conversation tonight?”

  3. Cool-down. Make time to reflect + connect through out your day or at the end of it. ex: While lying in bed at night, after the kids are in bed, laundry is done, + you’re catching up on Ozark season 2, turn to them + say, “You know, it’s been so awesome the way you’ve helped the kids with their school work these last few nights. It’s really allowed me to focus on some of my other “to-dos.” And when I am productive, I find it easier to relax + connect with you at the end of our day. So, thanks.”

All of these are examples of conversations that strengthen the relationship, create connection + build intimacy.

Which is exactly what’s required to sustain the strain that shows up in EVERY relationship.

So, if you’re ready to get transformational relationship support so that you don’t have to TRAIN for the messiness of relationships on your own, click the button below + let’s chat.

Don’t let your relationship go into cardiac arrest - get the help you need, to create the relationship you deeply desire + deserve. TODAY.