Lisa Merlo-Booth's Straight Talk on Relationships

Lisa Merlo-Booth's Straight Talk on Relationships


It is a way of walking in this world. Each time we show the courage to act with integrity we set a ripple effect in motion across the waters of the world. Commit to acting with integrity everywhere in your life.
If you don’t respect yourself enough to be treated well, then your partner certainly won’t respect you either. In fact, the people who are being hurtful and disrespectful are the first ones to say they don’t respect their partners because their partners don’t stand up to them. Stand up.
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If I get defensive every time my partner comes to me about something s/he doesn’t like, eventually s/he’s going to give up, blow up or bubble over with frustration and resentment. The same is true if s/he gets defensive with me. It is a recipe for divorce. Learn to take in feedback with courage and to repair any hurts with compassion and a . Hold others accountable to do the same.
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They make mistakes every day—even with the best of intentions…just like you and me. Rather than emotionally beating our partners up for being human, realize all human beings make mistakes. Talk to them about what happened, ask for what you need to repair it, and leave contempt out of the equation.
For each rule, decide what limit you will set if it is broken. Choose one rule at a time to enforce starting today. Be strong and set the limit when necessary–even if it means having conflict in the relationship.
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Don’t rationalize, defend, minimize, or dismiss your actions, or your job and relationships will pay the price.

And refuse to hijack someone else’s upset by talking about yours—that becomes infuriating to be around.

Own your mistakes, apologize for them, and repair the damage.

And then be proud you dared to show up with such inner strength.
Defensiveness doesn't have to poison your relationship or life!

I’m excited to bring what I’ve learned while coaching thousands of individuals and couples over the last 20 years to those of you in my online community.

I've been busy behind the scenes creating a course on how to stop defensiveness before it ends your relationship, ruins your reputation at work or causes you unneeded frustration.

Are you interested in learning more? Join me on May 5th for a live discussion to learn all of the details!

Register here:

This week's Weekly Tip:

Relationships do not have to be difficult, love doesn’t need to hurt, and marriage should not be a battlefield. However, countless songs will tell you differently, as will many people—including professionals. This idea that love is hard, though, is a setup. People believe that it’s normal to have daily tension, big blow-ups, and frequent angst or upset in your relationship. “That’s passion!” some will say. “Fighting is healthy—it means you still care.”, others will say. The fact that you should have far more good days than bad, though, seldom is stated.

Here’s the thing when it comes to relationships: relationships should leave you feeling better in them than they do away from them. If your relationship leaves you feeling lonely, fearful, unhappy, or bad about yourself, something’s wrong. Although all relationships will have challenging moments, they are only moments. There should not be a constant, low hum of discontent and certainly not a loud, constant grumbling of upset, tension, and dissatisfaction.

Radically New Relationships™ have an ease about them. Subsequently, living in them is easy, and being a part of them is fueling, not grueling. Each partner cares about the other’s experience—in and outside the relationship. They are both quick to be accountable and repair any hurts or mistakes. Both partners give support as much as they receive it—and they appreciate the reciprocity. Feedback is seen as a gift, not an attack or an invitation to fight, and therefore personal growth is an inherent aspect of the relationship.

Radically New Relationships™ are the future. No longer is marriage a necessary business transaction. Women are making their own living and no longer need to be “provided for.” And men no longer need to feel the weight of being “the provider.” Women don’t need to be s*xy, in a relationship, skinny, or “nice” to be worthy. Men don’t need to be players, disconnected, and aggressive to be “real men.” Let go of the old scripts about what it means to: be a male, female, husband, wife, or have a great relationship. Stop playing by old rules expecting new results: Go radical and change the game in your life and relationships.

Challenge: Don’t settle for the old template for relationships. Create a relationship that honors both of you, feels great to come home to, and feels great to be a part of way more times than not.

🔵 Is defensiveness keeping you from enjoying great relationships? 🔵

In my practice, I have seen first-hand how defensiveness eats away at relationships. It is also something I personally struggled with in the past.

This is why I'm honored to share more about a course I have developed to help you (or someone you love) overcome defensiveness.

Join me for a free event on Thursday, May 5th at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

Coach and author, Leisa Peterson, will interview me to uncover what I've learned in the realm of defensiveness after working with clients worldwide for over 20 years. You will also be able to ask me your own questions!

Register today to join us:
Hold yourself and others accountable for being relational.

Set limits when necessary.

Be kind always.

And don’t ever lower the bar on the basics—for yourself or others.
Chances are high that you or someone close to you is struggling with defensiveness, and you may or may not know the toll it is taking on your relationships.

Being defensive in relationships makes reaching solutions, compromise, and repair nearly impossible.

It is totally frustrating when you or someone you live with cannot take in feedback.

That's why I've created a course that will help you overcome defensiveness so you can thrive in your relationship.

Want more info? Join me on May 5th for a live discussion to get your questions answered.

Register for free:

Does criticism from your spouse or co-workers make you feel triggered? You aren't alone.

One area that is tripping up so many people across the board that can greatly harm relationships at home and on the job has to do with defensiveness.

But defensiveness doesn't have to ruin your relationships or your reputation.

I've been working behind the scenes to develop a course to help overcome defensiveness so you can thrive in your personal and professional relationships.

This course is going to be a game-changer!

Want to learn more? Join me for a live discussion to learn all about how this course can help you change the game.

Sign up for free:

Dr. John Gottman named defensiveness one of the “Four Horsemen” because it is one of the most damaging communication patterns.

When left unchecked, defensiveness causes relationships to self-destruct and leads to divorce.

However, that’s what I’m here to help you avoid.

I truly understand how valuable this work can be for whomever this is resonating with. I struggled with defensiveness for far too long in my life, and when I finally tackled it—it was a game-changer.

So if you're interested, DM me “I’m interested” to be notified as soon as I am ready to share more about what I’m up to. This is going to be a game-changer!

Straight Talk on creating relationships that fuel you rather than drain you

Operating as usual


A basic, foundational principle for every couple trying to recover from the brink of divorce is: If your partner is leaving you because of your actions, don’t keep doing the actions they are upset about.

For example, if your wife is on the verge of leaving you because of your anger and bullying, then the last thing you want to do to get her to stay is to blow up and bully her.

Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity?

When what you’re doing isn’t working, change your moves.

Don’t be insane.


This week's Weekly Tip:

Harmful messages regarding relationships have been around since the beginning of time. These messages keep men and women locked in an unhealthy, antiquated relationship paradigm. This paradigm—created when marriages were about strategic alliances, not love, and wives were property "owned" by their husbands, not separate, equal individuals—is not conducive to mutually fulfilling relationships.

Although we have come a long way from the days of women being the property of men, our relationship paradigm has not. The history above—entrenched in deep gender socialization, patriarchy, and misogyny (The Big Sham)—has ingrained many relationally detrimental beliefs in men and women alike.

These beliefs include:

• Men should be the head of the household; women should be the primary parent.
• Women should be "nice" and nurturing and "not make waves."
• "Real men" are stoic, unemotional, and strong (i.e., aggressive).
• The ideal woman puts the needs and welfare of others above herself.
• Men should do the heavy financial lifting (breadwinners), and women should do the emotional heavy lifting.
• Women owe husbands s*x, and husbands should want s*x often while not getting too emotionally "hooked."

The teachings are endless, and their impact is immense. These beliefs have harmed countless marriages, families, and individuals throughout the years and will continue to do so as long as men and women adhere to them.

These antiquated straight-jackets no longer work for men or women. The fact is that women want emotionally available men yet, don't know how to effectively ask for, and stand behind, this desire. And when women can move past their pull to 'not make waves,", sadly these teachings have rendered many men at a loss about how to meet this requirement. Culturally, women are tired of aggressive, silent, and emotionally disconnected men in their lives, and men are tired of being in a tug-o-war between cultural pulls to "man up" and marital pulls to "warm-up."

Contrary to what some believe, women don't want to turn men into women; they want to share their lives with psychologically strong, emotionally connected, highly competent partners who are strong enough to be fully human and emotionally engaged. And if the men can't meet them, many of these women are willing to either search for someone who can meet them or find peace living on their own. Given the power and longevity of these antiquated messages though, men are sadly struggling to show up even when they want to. The pressure, still today, to "be a real man" continues to grip many men. Consequently, more and more men are left feeling relationally duped, disconnected, and often alone.

These old beliefs are killing men, women, and families, and our culture is playing along. It's time for men and women alike to stop allowing messages from The Big Sham to take away their right to genuine happiness and connection. Creating Radically New Relationships™ and a Radically New Culture™ are yours for the taking. They require you to be courageous enough to change your relationship paradigm from one of hierarchy, control, and antiquated toxic messaging to one of loving mutuality, powerful partnership, and intimate connection. Which paradigm will you choose?

Challenge: Change your relationship paradigm. Let go of antiquated beliefs, dogmas, and behaviors that keep you in a painful relationship loop. Choose to create extraordinary relationships that leave you feeling strong, engaged, worthy, and happy. You deserve great. Take steps to embrace a radically new relationship paradigm with your thoughts, actions, and deeds.

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This tugs at my heart strings. Share the love...❤️❤️❤️


You matter, you are worthy, you ROCK! Don't ever forget it. Surround yourself with those who cheat you on not break you down.


How you handle the conflicts in your life dramatically affects the quality of your life.

Conflict often has a bad rap. Conflicts, however, can be builders or destroyers. Addressing upset head-on with honesty, compassion, and accountability enhances relationships at every level: Individuals feel heard, solutions become possible, and trust is built. These skills are game-changers.


Defensiveness is a normal reaction to being attacked. But when your spouse brings up a complaint or shares their hurt feelings, your life is probably not in immediate danger.

But how you respond may be a real threat to your marriage. Defensiveness is a form of self-protection that can create distance and despair in your relationship.

Join me and Lesli Doares as we identify ways defensiveness shows up and reveal how you can handle it when it does.

Tune into the conversation here:


Most people struggle with at least one big challenge when it comes to money. And finances are one of the major struggles for couples! So much so that they know it affects their ability to build wealth but they aren’t sure what can be done to change it.

That’s why I’m excited to let you know about a powerful online workshop with Leisa Peterson that will help you bridge that gap once and for all.

It’s called Free Your Mind from Scarcity.

Through her extensive research, writing a book about the topic, and working with thousands of students, Leisa has developed a way of daily practice that enables you to consistently drop away self-limiting patterns and tap directly into the miracles of alignment, flow and abundant-thinking.

You can register for the workshop here:


Happy International Women's Day
When woman rises, all women rise. May we all be committed to helping all women rise.


Trying to stop the hurt from hurting will not happen by causing more hurt. Heal your hurt, don't pass it on.


This week's Weekly Tip:

There are countless “good things” in life, such as:
• Eating healthy.
• Being kind.
• Having fun.
• Enjoying a glass of wine, a cigar, or a night of gambling.
• Exercising.
• Going to church.

Even the best things in life can turn your life upside down if done to excess. Eating healthy and exercising are potent acts of self-care—until they become acts of obsession. Having fun and enjoying a night out with drinks can be a tremendous stress reliever and a great way to connect—unless they become a crutch to help you escape. Similarly, being kind can be wonderful—until it results in you over-giving to others and them taking advantage of you. And yes, believe it or not, turning to the church can be a great source of comfort—until it becomes a spiritual straight jacket that leaves you in constant judgment of everyone around you.

Practice moderation. Regardless of whether you’re talking about going on a diet or eating healthy, having a drink, or exercising, be determined to avoid the extremes. Extreme behaviors throw your life and your relationships off-kilter. Be careful of allowing healthy life choices to spin into unhealthy life obsessions.

Challenge: Pay attention to moderation in all things. Notice the places where your choices are taking on a life of their own. If you struggle controlling something, chances are you’re letting a good action turn into a bad habit. Do what you must to reign that habit in and get your life back under your control. And always remember that even a good thing can turn into a bad thing if you’re not careful: Be careful.

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Because finances are such a common problem in relationships, I‘m inviting you to take advantage of this awesome opportunity from Mindful Millionaire author, Leisa Peterson.

Your beliefs about money can create great prosperity or debilitating scarcity in your life…

But much of this depends on your unconscious conditioning.

When you can identify the beliefs, habits, and patterns that are sabotaging your success...You can take simple measures to break free from those limiting effects.

That’s why we’re excited to let you know about a powerful online workshop with our friend and colleague Leisa Peterson that will help you bridge that gap…

It’s called Free Your Mind from Scarcity - Clearing Your Energy for Prosperity.

You can register for the workshop here:


Trying to hurt someone who hurt you is called retaliation. Relationships have ended, jobs have been lost, lives have been ruined and wars have been started due to retaliation. Take the time to heal yourself—write, take walks, talk to close friends, get into therapy, and stop justifying your poor behavior because of the poor behavior of others. Revenge keeps you stuck.


Decide what will help you heal and take one baby step at a time towards coming out on the other side stronger and happier than before. There is a way—you just have to allow yourself the space to discover it. Tune in, don’t react.


This week's Weekly Tip:

Speaking your truth to others is an essential component of any healthy relationship. Regardless of whether your truth is about dissolving a marriage, firing an employee, or standing up to hate, how you speak your truth is paramount to how others will receive it. If you want your message to be well received, you better pay attention to how you deliver the message. Too many great messages get lost in the delivery.

How you speak about an issue dramatically influences how others will respond to that issue. Snapping at people doesn’t lead them to hear you better. Getting angry and reactive won’t slow them down to think about what you’re trying to tell them. Rolling your eyes, yelling, ordering others around, giving people the cold shoulder, etc., does not help others hear your message. All of these reactive responses lead people to tune out, not tune in. Your angry communication may lead others to “yes” you or get them to shut up, but don’t confuse that with your message influencing their actions, thinking, or behavior. Few people genuinely listen to others who are reactively firing messages at them.

Don’t let a great message get lost in the delivery. Learn to pay attention, not only to what you speak but how you speak it. Hold others accountable to do the same. Stop normalizing “hot responses.” Don’t justify your snapping, controlling, or angry outbursts because of someone else’s actions. If you want others to listen, be more effective in how you communicate.”

• Lead with kindness, not criticism.

• Make a direct request rather than making an angry complaint.

• Speak your upset with a Grounded Powerful Strength rather than an aggressive one.

• Take a breath and calm your energy before snapping, rolling your eyes, or making rude comments.

• Take the time to listen to others rather than trying to force them to listen to you.

Challenge: Be mindful of how you speak—especially in the most difficult of times. The more reactive you are in your communication, the less impact your communication will have. Create impact.

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Explaining, deflecting, or defending your actions in response to someone’s upset are losing moves every time. Find the internal strength to own your actions, repair any damage they may cause, and learn from your mistakes. These moves will change not only your relationships but your entire life.

NOTE: If you or someone you love struggles with taking in feedback, defensiveness, or being accountable, I encourage you to learn how my newest course can help:


Feedback from others—be they a boss, lover, or friend—is a gift from them to you. Their feedback signifies that you are important enough to attempt to work through issues. Your tendency to shut down, be offended or passive-aggressively give them the cold shoulder is a sign of disrespect to them and insecurity and fear within you.

The good news? It is something you can change! If you want to start mastering conflict in a way that builds rather than harms: Register now for my newest course:


Everyone has their “edge”—that knee-jerk move they do when they are at their worst; it is the survival move you learned when you were a child.

Children know what they live, and they live what they know. As a child, you watched the adults in your life interact every day. You saw how they fought or didn’t fight, how they handled feedback or defended against it, and how they acted when they were angry or upset.

Every day you took in the spoken and unspoken “rules of the road” regarding behavior in your family and learned how to manage relationships by watching how they managed theirs. What you watched play out every day, you learned to copy and take on.

The thing about your edge is that it can be very effective, at the moment:

• Raging shuts people down and stops an argument in its tracks.

• Silencing avoids a more significant blow-up and can keep you “safe” from a rager.

• Acting out passive-aggressively avoids a direct confrontation.

• Acting defensively every time someone attempts to hold you accountable for your behavior eventually gets people to stop trying to talk to you about their upsets.

You make that knee-jerk move you do because it works—in the short run. No edge, however, works in the long run.

Edges harm relationships, block intimacy, break down trust and wear down healthy connections. Many people are unaware of what they do because it’s such an automatic move that they’ve never given it any thought.

Knowing your edge is pivotal to changing it.

How you live your life and show up in your relationships is 100% your responsibility. It’s your job to work on your “edge”—to dull the sharpness, round the edges, and become a safe, reliable, relational spouse, parent, friend, boss, employee…human being.

Challenge: Take the time to slow down and become aware of your edge, how it shows up, and what triggers you to act out this edge. Next, do the work you need to do to manage your edge, so your edge doesn’t end up driving your life.

If you're ready to do the work, my new course, Defensiveness Archetypes, shows you how to identify which archetype you are and what's driving your need to be defensive. Tap into how to change your responses to conflict for greater peace, connection, and success at home, in the office, and in the world.

Sign up here:


You are enough, and you matter despite your difficulty taking in feedback. Taking in difficult feedback with accountability, courage, and compassion is one of the most challenging aspects of adulting; it is also one of the most important. Without adulting, there is no way to get to extraordinary relationships, kickass jobs, and life-nurturing friendships. And, like it or not, being able to stay in a challenging conversation respectfully and entirely is your first step.

NOTE: If you or someone you love struggles with taking in feedback, defensiveness, or being accountable, I encourage you to learn how my newest course can help:

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