Soul Talk: Powerful, Positive Communication for a Loving Partnership

by Nina Atwood

Love relationships are changing! Today we want a soul-mate connection, and it’s more difficult than ever to achieve.

Learn today how to communicate with your partner in a way that opens up your relationship, makes you feel more loving, and bonds you together forever!

Soul Talk will teach you and it will heal you. Start today so that you can discover the secrets that successful couples know about how to keep love alive – all centered around positive communication.

About the author:

Nina Atwood has over twenty years experience as a licensed therapist. She’s written and published three self-help books on relationship issues, including the highly successful Be Your Own Dating Service: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding and Maintaining Healthy Relationships (Owl, 1996) and the just-released Temptations of the Single Girl: The Ten Dating Traps You Must Avoid. Nina is a media expert resource on love who is frequently interviewed in periodicals such as Cosmopolitan, the Wall Street Journal, Men’s Health, and many others, as well as on numerous regional television shows and hundreds of radio shows.

What Soul Talk readers say:

Helped immeasurably
This book has helped me immeasurably. I wish I had read this book when I was younger. It gives practical ways to build and strengthen relationships - not just romantic ones. I have used it in my business and with my children. I particularly liked the parts about "empty listening". I have found those techniques to be very helpful and effective. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in building better relationships with others. - “gwcpa”, Amazon reader

Accolades for Soul Talk
As the owner of a large furniture dealership in Dallas, Texas, I was looking for new information regarding communication skills dealing in both personal and business relationships. I read SoulTalk and can honestly say that it is the best book ever on communicating and "listening". My entire company has read it and they all feel the same way. This book has helped my organization communicate much more effectively with each other, with their clients and in their personal relationships. I was so impressed with the book that I have formed a Business to Business Women's Group to work through and apply the book, and to help each in our own businesses and networking. Nina is even a part of the group and she has been an incredible asset! I recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their business and personal lifes through better communication skills. - Mary Spencer, President Spencer Furniture

Straight-up. A real eye-opener.
This is the stuff we all knew intuitively as children but forget by the time we are old enough to appreciate it. Ms. Atwood helps us connect or reconnect with a spouse, a friend, and really anyone else in our lives with the most powerful tool we have at our disposal - our natural and uniquely human ability to communicate. - “the4ms4”, Amazon reader

Possibilities for the Soul
Nina really teaches us about communicating in a healthy way. None of the steps are particularly difficult - it's breaking old habits. Her "listening empty" and "intuitive listening" techniques are fantastic and a real reminder to truly hear what the other person is trying to convey. Repeating what you think you have heard in a positive way and not accusatory and ready for rebuttal takes practice. All of these lessons can be applied to any relationship and has helped me deal with those at the office, clients, my son as well as with friends. My husband and I are still practicing! This book is a real gem and not one you give away or place on loan. The worksheets in it are invaluable and you'll want to "dog-ear", underline, and highlight or mark your book for referral later on. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve his or her overall communication skills - Lisa G. Jones, Amazon reader

Soul Talk is for Everyone
My wife of twenty years and I are happy to have found Soul Talk. It provides us with insights about our relationship that we had not considered. For example, I had not considered how the words I use might not be processed by my wife in the way I meant them. Our brains are wired differently and the book gives us exercises to practice communication that works. We would recommend each person read the book separately, compare notes by chapter, and then use the information to learn how to talk more effectively to each other. Any relationship will grow through Soul Talk.
– Michael R. Shepperd

What the other experts say about Soul Talk:

Soul Talk provides a clear path for any committed couple to become Soul Partners.”
- Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., bestselling author of Getting the Love You Want and other bestselling books

“Soul Talk is a must-read for today’s lovers.”
- Dr. Pat Love, bestselling author of The Truth About Love and Hot Monogamy

Read on if you want to begin using these transformational tools
in all of your relationships!

Love Relationships Are Changing!

Many years ago, love was simpler. The stories were different, but the themes were the same: a. guy meets gal, b. guy proposes to gal, c. guy and gal get married, d. guy and gal have children, e. guy and gal live the rest of their lives together. For the most part, that’s how it worked. Men and women didn’t question this process – it was assumed to be the natural order of things.

If in the natural order of things you met and married someone who turned out to be someone you could love, that was a bonus! That’s right, at one time, and in many non-western cultures today, love was not expected. Romantic love, feeling “in love” certainly was not expected, nor was it the norm. But all of that changed over the course of the last 100 years or so, especially in western cultures. Now, love is not only wanted and desired, it is expected!

The problem is this: romantic love has a short shelf-life. That’s right – the earliest stage of a relationship – what is referred to as the Enchantment Stage – is the shortest and most fragile. So if this is the most important stage of the relationship to you, and if you think it will last forever, you are headed for a huge disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for falling in love! In fact, I think it is a powerful and vitally necessary stage of a relationship. My husband and I are in love today, eight years after meeting, and well into our marriage. We expect to always be in love, but not the same way that we were in the very beginning. Our love has deepened and grown roots that are immeasurably more valuable than those early tingles we felt for each other.

Growing those roots was not automatic – it was something we worked at as our relationship progressed, through the medium of positive, powerful communication.

The problem with falling in love is what happens after that stage. It is no longer a given that because you fall in love you will marry, and that after marriage you will stick it out no matter what. Thus, many couples lack the tools to weather the post-enchantment let down. So they break up, experience long term painful conflict, and/or divorce.

The biggest challenge in love relationships today is that couples want and expect fulfillment. If you don’t find it, or if you have it and lose it, there is a strong tendency to bail out. But in reality, there is a huge opportunity for growth at the very stage of the relationship that you might feel is the most fragile – the post enchantment stage.

The second huge change in relationships is this: Men and women now see themselves as equals. This new attitude is vastly different from that of men and women in the old model of love in which men were perceived as the head of the household and women were financially dependant on their husbands for their survival. In the old model of love, little communication was needed. Men and women understood their roles and acted them out with little thought and no need for conversation.

Wow, has that changed!

Now, men and women see themselves as equals, with no distinct roles in life or in the family. Women work outside the home in huge numbers while men are stay-at-home dads – unheard of as recently as thirty years ago!

Because there are no clearly defined roles or rules for relationships, communication is now absolutely vital for success in love. Everything - and I mean everything - must be discussed, negotiated, and sorted out in order to understand how you will live life together in a loving way.

In today’s world, if you don’t know how to communicate effectively with your mate – and that means listening effectively and speaking in a loving way – your odds of success over the long haul are greatly diminished.

Here’s another problem in today’s relationships: Most people think that they are effective at communication – it’s the other person who has the problem! In the countless workshops that I’ve done, I’ve asked my audience this question: “How many of you see yourselves as good communicators?” Almost all hands go up. Then I ask: “How many of you have communication issues with others in your life, business and personal?” Again, almost all hands go up.

Why the lack of insight on the issue of communication?

Here’s why: Speaking and listening are intricate, complex processes that are guided by other intricate, complex processes. If it were not so, then we would all easily say what we mean, mean what we say, say it in a clear, concise way that others can understand, and hear what others say with perfect understanding. What a different world it would be if we could do that in all of our relationships!

Why can’t we do that? In a nutshell - human nature gets in the way. We are primarily emotive beings, and our emotions are primarily driven by fear – we are wired that way. It’s an ancient mechanism in the brain, but it continues to drive us today. I’m talking about the parts of the brain that are wired to constantly scan the environment looking for danger – the old brain, the amygdala – and unfortunately, it doesn’t know the difference between real danger and social threat. When it perceives a threat, the autonomic nervous kicks off a series of reactions: adrenaline floods the system, heart rate goes up, breathing becomes shallow, and the thinking part of the brain is cut off.

The result is that you communicate well until you feel emotionally threatened, and then all bets are off. Once you feel threatened, all of the defense mechanisms kick in, and they aren’t pretty – hostility, anger, yelling, criticisms, stonewalling, emotional withdrawal, etc. In an emotionally triggered state, you project these negative feelings onto the other person. It appears to you that the other person caused these feelings and is to blame for these feelings.

This leads to the commonly held belief that all negative interactions in your life are caused by other people. This results in the erroneous perception that communication problems reside in the other person.

A vicious cycle sets in – you disagree, you defend yourselves vigorously, you damage your relationship, you feel wounded, and you are less inclined to be open and loving after that, setting off more disagreements. Over time, love is eroded and may even turn into hatred.

Soul Talk gives you the tools to overcome these very real limitations, giving you the ability to communicate effectively with your mate and enjoy a long-term, loving relationship.


Continue reading if you want to learn more about how to improve your relationship today!

Tool One: Understanding the New Love Relationship

If you want to enrich your relationship, you must understand how and why love relationships are changing. Soul Talk begins with a brief history of man/woman love – where we came from and where we are headed. You will gain knowledge about gender differences from a historical perspective and how they affect your relationship today. This awareness will deepen your appreciation for one another and empower your ability to connect positively today.

Tool Two: Soul Partnering

There is more than one way to consider how you will partner in life – marriage and living together under a committed covenant, to name two. In Soul Talk, you have the opportunity to consider Soul Partnering as a framework for your relationship. In Soul Partnering, you transcend the common notion of soul mates (which is incomplete) and frame your commitment as one of devotion to supporting one another’s growth. Learn what it means to be Soul Partners and how this framework for your relationship can infuse your connection with powerful, positive growth for a lifetime of real love.

Tool Three: Understanding Context &
Establishing Intentions

One of the biggest problems couples have is failing to think about context in communication. Before you open your mouth to speak, realize that your partner’s current context may completely inhibit his/her ability to hear you:

  • Maybe she’s had a particularly hard day
  • Maybe he is feeling stressed by work demands
  • Maybe she’s in a depleted emotional state
  • Maybe he’s not physically well and is preoccupied with health worries
  • Maybe he or she is feeling powerless in some way
  • Maybe his or her wants and needs are not being met

Soul Talk teaches you the power of understanding context and what to do about it. It helps you as a couple to establish your basic wants, needs, and desires in the relationship – thus establishing the context for your future communications.

Another issue that couples face is intentions that do not align. Often one person is looking for something from the relationship that the other is not. Before going one step further in life together, you must clarify and align yourselves along common intentions.

Understanding your own intentions and those of your partner gives you an enormous window into your hearts and souls. It is vital for clear, loving communication.

Intentions = desired or anticipated outcomes to any transaction.

With Soul Talk, you’ll learn how to understand your partner’s intentions and respond to them appropriately. You’ll learn how to align your intentions so that you are on the same page in life and can focus on the joy and love in your relationship instead of the conflict. The book gives you powerful exercises to use as a couple to clarify and align your intentions together.

Tool Four: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction

Your happiness as a couple is in direct proportion to your ability to distinguish what is real from what is not, what is fact and what is fiction. We are by nature storytellers – in our own minds if not out loud. That means that everything that happens in our lives stimulates a story in our heads about it. You didn’t simply fail to pick up my dry cleaning today [fact]. You deliberately forgot it because taking care of me was not your priority! [fiction] It’s the negative stories you tell yourself about the relationship that do the damage. Often the facts themselves are of little or no consequence, yet when you are emotionally triggered you are focused on the negative stories.

Soul Talk teaches you how to distinguish fact from fiction so that you can focus on the love story that you are writing each day of your life together. This powerful distinction opens up communication so that you can resolve conflict that sometimes has persisted for years.

Tool Five: Listening Empty and Mirroring

One of the chief shortcomings of most long-term relationships is listening. In the beginning, you listen attentively to everything your lover speaks. As your relationship progresses, you listen less because you believe you “know” all about the person you are with. At first, this feels good. But as you change and evolve, this can lead to the frustrating dynamic of feeling misunderstood on both sides.

People are hungry to be listened to, really “heard,” and respected for ideas, thoughts, and feelings. So hungry, in fact, that they will often pay thousands of dollars to therapists for this experience! Couples seek counseling primarily because they have lost the ability to really hear one another.

Soul Talk teaches you how to give the gift of powerful listening to one another in your relationship, sometimes bypassing the need for couples counseling. In the book, you will be given specific, step-by-step listening exercises that you can begin using today to enrich your relationship.

Tool Six: Compassionate and Intuitive Listening

Sometimes it is difficult to articulate deeply held, complex feelings. It’s even harder to be on the listening end of that dynamic, struggling to understand your partner. Yet that is exactly what you must learn to do – understand the difficult and complex inner world of your partner. The problem is that it gets more difficult as a relationship matures.

In the beginning, communication was easy, almost magical. You listened attentively, you laughed a lot, you finished each other’s sentences. You understood each other on a deeper level than anyone else ever had.

Then one day, the unthinkable occurred – you had a misunderstanding! All of a sudden, the person who knew you best looked at you with confusion, unable to comprehend what you were trying to convey. You may have felt let down, hurt, angry, or other uncomfortable feelings. That easy, breezy communication that you shared may have felt threatened.

Most couples fail to transition from the first misunderstanding back to understanding. Over time, if you don’t correct the trend, you lose the positive feelings that you once shared. Misunderstandings lead to lack of connection and your bond is threatened.

Soul Talk teaches you how to transition back to that loving state of understanding that you shared in the beginning. You will learn how to listen intuitively – to understand not just what is being said but what is being felt. Your connection will strengthen, your love will deepen, and your relationship will thrive with this all-important tool.

Tool Seven: Speaking to Empower

Remember that old saying from grade school: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me. Well, now we know nothing could be further from the truth! The reality is that our brains are wired to respond powerfully to language and to words. We don’t just respond cognitively (the thinking brain); we respond emotionally (the feeling body).

Harmful words, even in print such as flaming emails, are perceived by the brain as a severe social threat, setting off bodily alarm systems on all fronts. The closer and more important the relationship, the greater the alarm experienced in the body. Critical words are the most harmful, particularly when they begin with the word “you.”

“You” statements are the most harmful in a love relationship, especially when followed by the words “never” and “always.” You may throw them out to one another as if there were no consequence for doing so. Yet the consequences are devastating if you don’t interrupt that pattern and create new ones.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the relationship dynamic of withholding thoughts and emotions, frightened of the consequences if they were expressed. This doesn’t work either and will lead to a severe loss of intimacy over time.

Whether you tend to hold back what you need to say, or whether you tend to throw it all out there in any way that you feel, the reality is that you need to be able to talk about what is important with your partner and vice versa. But you need to do it in a constructive way.

Soul Talk gives you the tools to discuss the issues that concern you, to bring them up and talk about them openly and honestly, while doing no harm. Soul Talk gives specific tools to men and specific tools to women so that you can cross over the gender divide in a positive way.

Tool Eight: Honesty and Letting Go

We all know that honesty is crucial for relationships - that is how we build and maintain trust. Withholding important communication eventually catches up with you, devastating your bond: affairs, financial problems, etc. But what about the small everyday withholds? Even those can harm intimacy and erode your bond if not handled appropriately. Yet it seems that most couples engage in some level of dishonesty with one another. Why?

In a nutshell, to keep your relationship together you may withhold vital information because of the fear that your partner will leave if the truth comes out. Unable to face the potential loss, you hold back for days, weeks, months and even years.

Soul Talk teaches the importance of transparency in a Soul Partnership – the ability to let the other person see what you feel and think on a day-to-day basis. This vital communication habit is essential to today’s relationships. We no longer are willing to accept the loss of intimacy and role-bound, rule-bound relationships that result from a pattern of dishonesty. If you want to break out of that pattern and restore true intimacy and love to your relationship, these tools are crucial for you to learn and practice. You will learn how to be honest with your partner in a constructive, not destructive way. You’ll learn how to influence your partner to listen and accept your deepest disclosures.

Tool Nine: Apology and Forgiveness

It is inevitable – if you love someone for a long time, you are bound to step on that person’s emotional toes, and vice versa. Over time, you can build up powerful resentment toward your partner if you don’t learn how to get rid of the emotional baggage along the way.

Soul Talk teaches very specific exercises and processes for handling resentment in a relationship. With these tools, you can rid your relationship of massive amounts of old emotional baggage. You can then use the tools to clear away small emotional wounds on a day to day basis so that you never again build up the walls of resentment.

Tool Ten: Gratitude, Acknowledgment, and Appreciation

A relationship is a living, breathing entity, pure heart energy in motion. Every word we speak, every look, gesture, and facial expression, every action and behavior – impacts one another. Like any living entity, a love relationship requires certain elements in order to grow and thrive. Of all the tools listed here and in the book, probably the most important is this: regular expressions of gratitude, acknowledgment, and appreciation.

In fact, this tool is so powerful that you could skip all the rest of the tools in the book and focus on this one and achieve the majority of your goals for a loving relationship!

The reason for this is simple: positive acknowledgment has a direct impact on the nervous system, in some very profound ways. It strengthens the immune system, it stimulates the release of neurochemicals that enhance positive mood, and it influences positive behavior. When your partner thanks you or expresses appreciation, you will feel compelled to do more of what he/she is thanking you for. Oddly, even if you haven’t actually been doing what you are being thanked for, you will tend to do it in the future. This is because we are so starved for this powerful verbal expression in a world that is increasingly more focused on attack and criticism. It is also because our brains are socially wired – we seek to do that which will increase our connections in relationships.

Soul Talk gives you the precise ways to use this powerful tool. It turns out that just any old generic thank you is not effective. You have to use specific words in order to touch the other person experientially, not just cognitively, and Soul Talk teaches you those words in simple, easy-to-learn exercises to practice with your partner.

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