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We worried we were just incompatible.

But (thankfully), we weren’t incompatible — we were just lacking the right tools.

We certainly never learned in school how to have a conscious, healthy, vibrant, thriving relationship.

And we’re guessing you didn’t either.

So it's no wonder most couples on the planet are struggling, miscommunicating, and stuck in less than ideal patterns.

Did you know 50% of marriages end in divorce (and most of those who stay together would certainly not describe their marriage as thriving)?

Our Story

When we first got together, it was wonderful.

We gave each other our kindest, most patient, fun-loving, and thoughtful selves. We hid notes for each other to find throughout the day. We stayed up until 2 a.m. enamored with knowing everything each other thinks and feels. We sprinkled our bed with flower petals. We snuggled for hours. We made time for dates and getaways, no matter how busy life got. We overlooked the more challenging qualities and focused on each other’s best.

Fast forward a few years. We own a house together. We are co-parenting our young son. Our lives are fuller than ever.

Despite us previously thinking we are the kind of people who would never get into an argument about things like the dishes and household chores, it was happening. 

Christine would nag and wish she didn’t have to play that role.

Bret would feel controlled and check out.

Christine would then feel even more frustrated.

And Bret would then check out even more.

We would try to talk about these cycles, but we both felt unheard.

In fact, talking about it only made things worse.

Oh, the fun cycles of a power struggle!

We had different views on parenting.

We idealized other potential partners — who looked especially appealing in moments like the above.

We had many moments when things were wonderful, and people saw us as a happy couple — but we would get really STUCK in certain areas.

One day, sitting on the couch, we looked at each other and realized: 

We love each other, but this is no longer bringing out our best.

We wondered if we simply weren’t compatible, if our differences were too great, and if life would be better and easier with somebody else. 

We knew we had three options…

Wish each other the best on our separate journeys

Keep hoping things will get better, but not actually do anything significant to change it

Dive in and learn everything we possibly could about how to have a thriving relationship.

That moment was the most powerful decision we ever made – 

We committed to doing whatever it took to experience the fullest potential of our love.

We still cringe at what we would have unknowingly lost and missed out on if we took the first or second path.

That night, we ordered countless books and audio and video programs and started attending couples retreats around the country.

We started applying new tools and nurturing our love.

And guess what?

Our relationship completely and utterly TRANSFORMED.

We communicated in radically different ways, we both started getting our needs met, and we found amazing ways for our differences to work FOR us.

We were best friends and allies again. We laughed and played together. We heard and appreciated each other.

Things actually felt easy. THE SPARK WAS BRIGHTER and our connection was deeper THAN EVER.

Friends were constantly telling us:

“You are our role models and inspiration.”

“You are the only couple I know who actually has an amazing relationship.”

“I wish we had what you guys do.”

Many years later, and it just keeps getting better.

This is truly the relationship of our dreams and has been for over a decade.

And to think we almost ended it
that evening, years ago.

From our own personal journey and from thousands of sessions we’ve now facilitated for other couples, we’ve discovered this:

Most relationships need a shake up, not a break up.

In other words, most couples have barely tapped into the potential for who they can be together — because they’ve simply been navigating their relationship via trial-and-error (and trying the same ineffective strategies over and over again), rather than being armed with proven formulas, tools, and a clear and easy roadmap for how to make things work SO much better (even when life is really busy).

We’ve now spent over a decade passionately studying relationships. We’ve pulled from the best resources out there and created the most powerful and effective tools we know about on the planet. We’ve studied the brilliant works of Dr. John Gottman, Dr. Sue Johnson, Drs. Gay and Katie Hendricks, Dr. Harville Hendrix, Dr. Helen Fisher, Dr. David Schnarch, Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, and countless others.

As coaches and counselors, we had been doing transformational and healing work with individuals for many years before we started working with couples. We each had our own private practice, Christine as an energy healer, mind-body practitioner, and life coach, and Bret as a psychotherapist at the hospital and other community mental health settings. After we created our own thriving relationship, we fell in love with supporting couples, and the results were exciting and undeniable. We realized that these tools really work and with couples in every stage and age.

Relationships are the one area of life where people experience the greatest unnecessary suffering AND where there is the greatest potential for love and joy.

There is simply no greater catalyst for healing and growth we’ve found.

 

We opened the Center for Thriving Relationships nearly ten years ago because we want every couple in the world to avoid all the stress, frustration, confusion, and pain that comes from not knowing the way.

We know firsthand: even with the best of intentions and a whole lot of love, it's easy to get really stuck in our relationships and bring out each other's worst - when, with a little help, we could instead bring out the best.

We’ve now been so fortunate to help thousands of couples around the planet create thriving love that keeps getting better. 

The Center for Thriving Relationships has been featured in ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS news. We’ve led sold-out retreats for the past 8 years, and couples repeatedly tell us that the Thrive in Love weekend marked the defining moment in their love story. 

In 2018, Christine also gave a TEDx talk that has been shared around the globe all about how to cultivate more joy, a value we hold dear in relationships.

It is the greatest honor and delight to watch couples who felt really disconnected and discouraged to fall in love all over again.

And their biggest regret? That they waited so long. We at the Center for Thriving Relationships are on your team and here to ensure you get from wherever you currently are in your relationship to wherever you would love to be.

About Bret Eartheart

Founder, Licensed Therapist, Thriving Relationship Coach

With laser wisdom, Bret’s specialty is helping couples identify exactly what’s not working, transform the core issues that lie underneath recurring problems, and discover a clear and deeply rewarding pathway to new levels of love. As a licensed social worker and marriage therapist, Bret has extensive experience helping people from all walks of life dissolve long-standing conflicts or challenges and gain profound new insights into their lives.

Bret received his Masters of Social Work from Indiana University and is a licensed psychotherapist. He is also a certified Conscious Loving Coach through the Hendricks Institute and has been trained in diverse modalities: cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR, Emotional Freedom Technique, mindfulness, men’s work, hypnotherapy, breathwork, and beyond. In addition to working specifically with couples, Bret is passionate about helping parents work together more effectively and entire families develop flourishing relationships that support and bring out the best in everyone involved.

Bret has been facilitating healing and transformation since the 1990’s. People describe him as having an exceptionally calming, accepting, caring, grounded, fun, and sage-like presence and depth that helps them see things clearly and goes right to the core of who they are meant to be, individually and together. 

About Christine Eartheart

Founder, Thriving Relationship Coach, Author, Speaker

Known for her infectiously positive energy, inspiring presence, and abundantly loving heart, Christine is in awe of the healing, transformation, and growth that are possible in our relationships.

Through her coaching and teaching, she will skillfully help you break free from whatever unhealthy patterns are holding you back so that you can experience all the love, joy, and connection available to you.

Christine adores the heart and soul of relationships, as well as teaching clients about the neuroscience of what actually happens in your brain during times of stress, conflict, and connection. She has spent years devouring research and the very best strategies available for what it takes to experience our optimal life and relationships.

Christine is a graduate of Indiana University and has received countless certifications in diverse healing modalities. She is passionate about all-things-relationships, as well as Positive Psychology (the science of happiness), energy healing, and mind-body practices. 

Christine is a beloved teacher and facilitator and, in addition to supporting clients in thousands of breakthrough coaching sessions, she has led hundreds of workshops, trainings, and group circles over the past 15+ years and also founded and runs JoyPotential.com

Our Team

Amanda McKenzie

Licensed Therapist and Thriving Relationship Coach

The most delightful combination of warm, kind, caring, sparkly, brilliant, grounded, and wise, Amanda offers individual and couples therapy and coaching to help you overcome hurdles, communicate harmoniously, become emotionally aware and empowered, experience exponential personal growth, and reach your relationship potential.

Amanda has a holistic understanding of mental health and relationships and realizes the many components of them (environment, genetics, trauma history, nutrition, mindset, belief system, strengths, lifestyle, and more). 

She is passionate about healthy communication, boundary setting, emotional intelligence, and helping you heal from the past to live more wholeheartedly in your present and enjoy your relationship more fully. In addition to her training through the Center for Thriving Relationships and being stocked with countless relationship tools, Amanda may also weave into her sessions elements of Positive Psychology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Mindfulness, and EMDR (a powerful modality to overcome trauma). 

Amanda earned her BA in Psychology/Pre-Medicine and her MA in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Cincinnati. She has also completed a Birthing from Within® childbirth educator training intensive, which she finds helpful in supporting parents-to-be and mothers navigating the postpartum experience.

Andrea Golden

Thriving Relationship Coach

With tremendous kindness, wisdom, depth, and warmth, Andrea will pour her heart into supporting you with all your relationship hopes, goals, and dreams. After working closely as a Co-Founder of two schools with families and parents for over a decade and raising her own daughters, Andrea developed a passion for helping people communicate effectively, work collaboratively, and develop healthy and resilient relationships. 

She has spent over twenty years studying communication and relationship skills as a teacher, administrator, manager, and freelance writer and researcher. Prior to becoming a couples coach, Andrea earned her Masters degree from Ohio University.

Andrea is particularly interested in Dr. Sue Johnson’s innovative work on Attachment Theory and how it relates to couples, as well as the relationship science of Drs. John and Julie Gottman. 

When not supporting couples, which is work that she finds both inspiring and deeply rewarding, Andrea can be found behind the lens of her camera or at home with her husband of 30 years, their two teenage daughters, three cats, and their new puppy, Arlo.

Julie James

Thriving Relationship Coach

When Julie is in a room, it instantly becomes brighter, and she has an exceptional ability to delight and connect with people of diverse backgrounds. In addition to experiencing incredible breakthroughs in your sessions, you can also expect to laugh and feel uplifted, as these are some of Julie’s specialties! 

Julie earned her Masters in Applied Health Science with a focus on Human Development and Family Studies from Indiana University. 

She has taught classes at Indiana University in Marriage and Family, Birth and Parenting, Family Studies, Stress and Resilience, and Career and Professional Development for over 15 years. 

Julie is energetic, strengths-based, compassionate, solution-focused, and exudes positive energy. Outside of her enthusiasm for supporting couples in creating thriving relationships, Julie is passionate about the environment, hiking, organic gardening, writing, reconnecting people to nature, and holistic healing.

Tris

Tris Bolstridge

Operations Manager and Project Specialist

We are incredibly fortunate to have Tris on our dream team! Always with a warm smile, Tris works behind the scenes on a variety of projects to make everything with the Center for Thriving Relationships run smoothly, helping us serve even more people. When it comes to insurance and billing inquiries, Tris is the friendly contact who will help make sure your questions get answered. She is also your contact for any issues you might experience- whether it is with any of our websites, services, products, or general questions. 

Not only is she amazing with details, she is wonderfully creative, thoughtful, talented, and insightful, cares greatly about others, and has a huge heart. Prior to joining our team, she earned her Computer Science degree from George Mason University and worked as an Information Assurance and Security Engineer. 

When not working with the Center for Thriving Relationships, Tris loves road trips, traveling to interesting places, having fun with her three kids, learning new things, and sharing her healing gifts as a certified Reiki Master Practitioner/Teacher and holistic practitioner. She has always been passionate about helping people grow and transform and loves that all of her life roles afford her the opportunity to do just that.

Kate Ransford

Program and Events Manager

It is truly a dream come true to have Kate on our team! She loves meeting new people, and you will instantly feel like you are her friend within moments of connecting. A true extrovert at heart, she values authenticity and meaningful connections and approaches life with a positive attitude and openness to new things. 

Kate leads our efforts with our programs and events and is based in Chicago where she lives with her wonderful husband and two sons. 

If you have any questions about our counseling and coaching services, online programs, or an upcoming retreat, Kate is your gal. She will also be the friendly voice you hear when you schedule a free consultation.

Kate loves witnessing the transformation of couples who participate in programs and events at the Center for Thriving Relationships. You will likely see her working in the background at our events, so please introduce yourself! 

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