Living in Love Retreat

On April 26th, 2013, posted in: Events by

living-in-loveWe are Ed & Betty Coda, authors of the Amazon best-selling book, Passionate Parent Passionate Couple. For over 30 years we have been presenting couple retreats and classes to improve couple communication and we firmly believe that every marriage can and should be a permanent passionate love affair!

We know that couples who stay successfully and happily married have made marriage their mission. They choose not to ‘settle down’ but instead adopt a proactive approach to put the fun and delight into being a man and a woman in love. This day and a half parish-based event provides the inspiration and insight that enables each couple to create the lifestyle and marriage they have always dreamed of. Clearly there is a difference between loving and being “in love”. Living in Love offers liberating insight into how differently men and women prefer to achieve intimacy and helps couples get in touch with the resources that draw them to each other and fuel their passion. The weekend is a series of presentations followed by questions for reflection and discussion so that couples can explore the topics together in complete privacy. There is no group discussion or counseling.

Topics include:

  • Dreams an Memories
  • Formation in the Family
  • Cultural Barriers
  • Trust
  • Reconciliation
  • Affirmation
  • Signs and Wonders
  • Living in Love
  • Mission

Time Table: Sat 8 am – 9 pm; Sun 8 :30 Mass – 4 pm

Cost: $150 per couple. Includes all materials, refreshments, and a romantic Saturday evening meal. Full payment is required to secure your reservation (fully refundable or transferable). Discounts are available in special circumstances and payment will be waived upon request. Register at

Accommodation: The retreat will take place in a facility large enough to hold those enrolled. Couples sleep at home.

Hours: Hours are flexible and can be adjusted to meet the needs of the sponsoring facility over a weekend.

Click here to register!

Passionate Parents in Love Webinar

On April 26th, 2013, posted in: Events by


Passionate Parents in Love

Friday May 10th, 2013

10am PST / 1pm EST


Sign up at

YMEQ is thinking of questions like this that keep our relationship sizzling- or least ready to sizzle. I can’t wait to get home tonight. Lover, my biggest regret is that we did not Facetime at all. I am sure we could have figured out how to make that work even if for the few minutes when I woke up and called you at 2am in the morning. I tremendously miss our dialogue and knowing what you are doing throughout the day. Somehow I still don’t feel like we are starting over. It’s like ok there is a drought and gap, but tomorrow the sun will come up and I will be again in sync with you. Obviously the biggest issue is missing the cuddles and closeness of your touch. I so miss your body next to mine. It is a longing, soft, yearning feeling. So secure and warm and the world is ok feeling. I think of the smell of vanilla extract and running through a field filled with spring flowers on a warm spring day. The smell of fresh cut grass. ILYWMWHASAMABAS Eddie

Precious Eddie
Your MEQ is instigating our dialogue by getting it done so that I had to make it my first priority, also. The biggest effect is obviously not having you by my side. This trip with you so far away and a 6 hour time difference was especially disconcerting. I was always trying to figure out what time you were on and whether I could call you or not. It’s just a constant mindfulness of wondering. But one thing is so evident and that is how my brain makes everything I do a gift for you. I find that I want to please you and surprise you. Like getting the car safety checks done. Something you would usually do. I wanted to amaze you, but one word of warning – you better praise me for it unceasingly!!!!! Sharing this with you makes me feel a longing underneath piled high with expectation of how exciting it will be to have you experience what I have done. The rumbling in my whole body of getting in touch with how it will feel to have you next to me again. To present to you the great gift of order in our life – getting rid of things we don’t need to deal with right now so we can concentrate on those things that we do need to accomplish. This makes me feel so excited with such an urgency. Like anticipating a huge event that we have been looking forward to like Christmas Day. I am super charged. I you, Ben


Just hearing Betty’s excitement gave me a surge of energy. I knew how doing a “car thing” was so huge for her and I knew she must be experiencing the joy and excitement of having the perfect gift for someone you love. I just wanted to grab her through the phone and squeeze her and kiss her all over the face. I was feeling sooo loved.


Eddie’s letter helped me to get away from the busy-ness that I was caught up in and focus back on our being side by side again. That longing and warmth and vanilla-ness that we experience by being close made me so eager for evening to get here. Back to what is really important. The grace that is our aura. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Many couples ask us, “What is the best way to keep passion and intimacy thriving?”  Most of them are surprised by our answer because it does not involve sex!  The answer we always give is dialogue.

Dialogue is a technique which we use often and strive to use daily that involves writing and then sharing with each other our feelings in response to questions that we have chosen together.

We have learned that there are two basic levels of communication.  The typical level in everyday life is communicating, talking and sharing for information.  “How was your day” or “I have something important I want to tell you”, etc.  You are usually communicating facts, thoughts, opinions, or judgments, all of which are important, and do build a certain amount of intimacy.

But, the second level is a very special way to communicate for deeper intimacy because it involves just the two of us, sharing real present feelings.  (By the way, if you say ‘I feel that…” you are NOT communicating a feeling, you are usually communicating a deeply held conviction or judgment and which is still at the information level.)  So what and how do we communicate feelings?  We use a very tender and powerful way to do that – dialogue.  We start by deciding on a question.  It can be direct like “How do I feel when we go on a date?”  Or it can get much more complex like “ What do I like least about our relationship right now, and then we add “How does my answer make me feel” or “How do I feel sharing this with you?”  Notice that even when part of the question involves an opinion or judgment, we bring the focus back by including a feelings question.  For instance, thinking of what I don’t like about our relationship might make me feel discouraged, or frustrated or possibly even angry.  But then thinking of sharing what I don’t like about our relationship and imagining how my lover might take it, might make me feel insecure, or hesitant or even regretful.  The bottom line to dialogue is to start off the writing in the form of a loveletter with only one or two sentences on the issue and then spending 75% of the time on the feeling!

Why is sharing on a feeling level so important to us for intimacy?

  1. Judgments and opinions can be accepted or rejected or argued with because everyone can have a differing opinion or perspective. On the other hand, feelings are neither right nor wrong, good nor bad because they simply well up inside of us in response to a situation or person or thought. They have no morality because they are not chosen. So, when I say I feel insecure like when I think I forgot something for our trip, or like when we forget to pay a bill – that is my feeling, the real me at that very moment and it CANNOT be argued with!  I give the gift of me to my lover by describing insecurity to the point where he or she can almost physically experience who I really am at that moment.
  2. It also gives us time to “smell the roses” together.   Through the process we not only get away from all the distractions and to do’s of the day, but more importantly get in touch with our inner selves to the point where we can really let go of our own egos and become other-centered.
  3. Finally, you can’t love what you don’t know.  It is freeing and exhilarating to be loved for who you really are and not for who you think your partner wants you to be!  Much more on that in later posts.

Dialogue has been such a huge part of us being passionate lovers that we have decided we will dedicate most of our blogs to sharing our dialogues with you.  A few weeks ago a lady came up to us after church and asked if we were newlyweds!  We told her we have been married almost 44 years and she was shocked.  Right then and there we realized that while our book has fantastic information; right now for our website readers, we need to share how to make true love and passion real in everyday life!  Our blogs will share our dialogues in hopes that it will encourage you to do yours! This is our current gift to you.

Passionate Parent Events

On April 4th, 2013, posted in: For Parents by

The purpose of the study group is to explore with parents and teachers the context of teaching & parenting as practiced in the Ho`ala Philosophy for Education.  Participants will consider ways of structuring their homes and classrooms to support mutual respect, cooperation, and effective action.

Some examples of topics covered:

  • How adults can support children in shifting inappropriate attention-getting behaviors;
  • How to set up logical consequences;
  • How to use natural consequences effectively;
  • How to set up effective family/class meetings;
  • How to promote clear and effective communication, and more.

Classes are held one night a week for 5 weeks.

Session One:  The Agreement System-Effective Discipline

Parents will learn about Ho`ala’s The Agreement System that teaches students to be responsible for and conscious of their own choices and their own behavior.  Unlike many discipline systems, which use fear or intimidation to shape behaviors, it is designed to raise awareness of how one’s actions affect self and others.

Session Two:  Seeing Children’s Behavior and Needs

All children need to experience belonging and significance.  To fill those needs, they can develop behaviors and habits which work temporarily, (attention getting, power struggle, revenge, assumed helplessness.) but don’t work in the long run.  This session provides useful insight into how such patterns get set up and why they persist.

Session Three:  Nurturing Children’s Real Needs

How can we feed children’s needs for belonging and significance?  This session provides ways to provide children with what they need to move from neediness and struggle to confidence and cooperation.

Session Four:  Avoiding Unwanted Behaviors

Parents often unwittingly perpetuate children’s behaviors.  This session shows how to avoid getting more of what we don’t want.

Session Five:  Applying it to Academics

Children want to learn, can learn, and will learn.  Parents can learn to foster children’s intrinsic self-motivation, but sometimes it’s not easy. This session presents some insights and prescriptions for encouraging lifetime learning and success.

For more information please call Ho’ala School 808-621-1898, or River School 707-253-6813.

Sharing feelings is a major way to share the real you. Thoughts, judgments, opinions and ideas are all decisions that you have incorporated into your life. You can decide to change any of these at any time. For instance, I might have my favorite restaurant. But the one time I get a meal or server I don’t like, it goes on the not-so-good list! On the other hand, feelings are inside you and spring up spontaneously. While I might be very upset and frustrated about the lack of service at a restaurant, Betty may be feeling peace and joy at having quality time to just be together. The longer it takes, the better for her. Intimacy is sharing the real “you”. As soon as I realize that Betty has a different perspective and is not feeling the same frustration that I am, my whole mood can shift and I can spend time enjoying her.

Dialogue is the way we spend quality time getting in touch with the “real” us and we only commit 20 minutes out of our day to do it. (10 minutes of writing time and 10 minutes of reading what we have written to each other and then sharing on our response) This is an example of how we use this technique in our everyday lives:

How do I feel when I think of sharing our dialogues with the world in our blog?

My lover Betty,
Your most endearing quality today is your drive to accomplish all that we have to do. You inspire me! Lover, when I think of this question I immediately wonder if we can reveal all. We have fights, dry spells, and times of disillusionment and if we really are going to do this I know we would have to be real about all of it. Just thinking about that gives me a knot in my stomach. It is sweaty palms and pits. It’s a vulnerable insecure feeling. Like when someone is choosing kids for their team and you are standing there not sure if or who will pick you. On a scale of 1 to 10 it is an 8 right now. Sweetheart, I love this idea, but my heart is pounding the more I think about it. I love you with my whole mind, body, heart and soul, Eddie.

My Sweetheart Eddie, OMG – what a powerful question!! Your Most Endearing Quality (MEQ) today is your focus and concentration on getting our tasks accomplished for our website. When I think about sharing our dialogue I feel a little nervous and have sweaty palms. My head says all those things that it should like this will be good for the world and this is a great way to get our message of Couple 1st Parenting out to everyone, but I notice that I just took a big sigh about thinking these things. My nervousness is like butterflies in my tummy like thinking about talking in front of a large group of people. That hesitancy in my heart that flows over me making me ask, “What are you doing?” It’s like a grey overcast morning when I’m not sure what the weather will be like and if it will ruin our plans for the day. For you it might be like calling a new client and you want to make sure you say all the right things. I ❤ u, Ben

Ed- I was surprised at how similar and yet different our feelings were. I could totally relate to the butterflies in the stomach and the hesitancy in the heart. I felt totally understood and relieved by Betty’s response to my letter as well.

Betty- I told Ed that I could feel that feeling of waiting to be chosen on the team. So unsure and scared. It actually comforted me to have him be unsure of sharing all of our ups and downs through this idea; together we can do this. I no longer had any aloneness about being open with “the world”!!

For more information about Dialogue go to the Couple tab on our website.

We just had the honor and blessing of presenting a Living in Love Weekend on the island of Kauai. It was refreshing to hear once again one of our favorite inspirational concepts of the experience which captures one of the grandest differences in the way that males and females seek and attain intimacy in their couple relationship.

The masculine way is to achieve closeness through touch and non-verbal communication that he celebrates by talking. The feminine way is to achieve closeness is through conversation and verbal communication that she celebrates by making love.

Ed- My feelings are like a jumbled wad of rubber bands inside me. I can easily tell Betty what she should have done, give her my opinion on a subject, or figure out her problem. But when she asks how I am feeling, my heart seems to stand still while my brain has to start to look inside.  Sometimes I just can’t describe the feelings that come over me and often it is easier to just make love in order to express how I am feeling.  Then it seems so much easier to talk about anything and really listen as well.

Betty- I have to talk first! Sometimes it is sharing a treasured memory of our dating like the first night we sat in front of my parents’ home and talked ‘til 3 in the morning. Sometimes it is just catching up on events in our life when I don’t think I know the whole story of what happened. Sometimes it is clearing the air from a misunderstanding and sometimes it involves sharing a hurt that I need healed. SOMETIMES it is just one of these things and SOMETIMES it could be ALL of them!!! SOMETIMES it can happen throughout the day and SOMETIMES it’s right before we go to bed!!! Then, I am ready to communicate and celebrate  my love non-verbally.

Many people we know including ourselves really want to live a happy, joy-filled life.  The irony is that if you spend your life striving to live a happy, joy-filled life you may seldom find it!  The reason is that happy and joy are feelings.  Feelings come and go like the wind and they are reactions to people, places and things in our lives.  For instance, assume you are experiencing one of those care-free, peaceful summer days when the sun is shining, and you don’t have a care in the world. You are sitting on a lawn chair with a good book ready to just relax when suddenly you see a toddler walking off a sidewalk between two parked cars and heading toward a busy street.

Where did that carefree, lazy day happiness go that you were just experiencing a few minutes before?  Of course, this is an extreme example of how fleeting feelings are, but it emphasizes how we can’t depend on just feeling happy. 

The secret is that we have to make decisions and choices to put ourselves in the presence of persons, places and situations where we usually experience happiness and joy.  The more often we recognize those places and choose them, the more we can experience happiness and joy.  Ed– HOWEVER, nothing is that simple because we are all human, too.  Some of the places I experience great joy are with my lover of 43 years – my wife Betty.  When we are having a severe disagreement, I don’t necessarily feel happy or joyful.  However, when we reconcile and make up, I do experience times of GREAT joy. Betty– I experience great joy when I am with family. Of course when I see them making choices that go against the values I wished we had instilled in them, it sometimes breaks my heart, but then I see the many GREAT things they do, and a flood of joy washes over me!

After attending a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend in 1976, and recognizing how much we were taking our relationship for granted, we committed to attending at least one renewal experience a year to spice up and recharge our marriage.  Ironically, as part of that commitment, we chose to attend the “Smart Marriage Conference” in San Francisco two years ago.  At that conference we attended a talk on “What do those with the most successful marriages have in common?” We were not surprised to hear that they attend at least one directed retreat or enrichment activity per year!  Many self improvement experiences today are designed for individuals, but we suggest always attending as a couple so that you can glean the positive concepts that both of you can use to enhance your marriage.  Some of the experiences that have given us the biggest boosts include: Worldwide Marriage Encounter, Living in Love, PSI, Christopher West TOB, John Grey, John Assaraf and parenting classes offered by Ho’ala Educational Centers.  We have also attended several retreats sponsored by our Church and we know many churches offer them. 

We never attended any of these because our marriage was failing or in trouble.  We did learn early on however, that your marriage is either growing or dying, there is no standing still. That is why good marriages can be the leading cause of divorce in our estimation.  Those are the people least likely to want to make their marriage better!  That is exactly why the divorce rate is so high.  Don’t become a statistic. Find something in your area and start growing your marriage today!

I’d like to share one of our key truths about making dreams come true. The truth is that “As you move toward your dream it moves toward you!” Some people are led down a path that makes them think they manifest things by themselves. We always believed that you must Dream, Pray then Go! That is exactly how Passionate Parent Passionate Couple came into being.

The more you do to make your dream real the more God responds to you. Writing it down is usually the easiest first step, but then you must take active and passive action. Active action involves the steps you take to move toward your dream. Passive action is being ready to recognize and respond to the gifts that God sends you along the way.

For instance, in 2002 at a seminar I (Ed Coda) wrote in a journal that I would write a book. Betty, however, was not excited or ready when I shared that with her.  In 2007 we were both attending a function where we were given a coupon for a “free” book-writing seminar. That is where God delivered something that inspired both of us to be on the same page about writing our book!

If it is your passion, dreams are like seeds planted.  The more you water and fertilize by taking action steps, the bigger and faster they will sprout and grow.  However, the rain and sunshine you have no control over.  These are the passive gifts you must be ready to receive and that’s why you have to pray.  Some seeds or dreams happen instantly and some are like oak trees which may take years. 

In summary, find your passion and start to dream. Pray every day to know what active action steps to take and to recognize and accept the passive action that comes to you! Remember that dreams are like seeds that germinate on their own schedule and time frame so never give up.


Check for yourself.  How do you act when a reckless driver cuts too closely in front of you?  What do you do when someone makes a joke about you in front of others?  What do you do when your spouse or loved one does not show up or is very late to meet you?

These typical situations generally cause intense feelings.  For instance, when the car cuts you off, you might get tingles on your hands; feel instant fear and panic which can often turn into anger or even rage.  When someone jokes about you, you might feel embarrassed, confused, even hurt if you take it a certain way.  When your loved one is late you might feel anxiety, fear, and insecurity thinking that something bad may have happened, or even dread at the thought of losing someone.  

All of these feelings are neither right nor wrong; good nor bad – they just are normal feelings.  Unfortunately, most of us stuff and stifle the feelings and simply act out what the feeling makes us feel like doing!  Like honking a horn, stepping on the gas to catch up and hand gesture the other driver.  Or get even by telling a joke or hurtful story about the other person.  When someone is late, some people pace and start practicing what they will say when the person shows up.  Others might get fearful and even cry at the thought of what might have happened.  

It’s only when we become aware of and notice and acknowledge our feelings that we can start to choose our behaviors instead of just reacting.  Saying our feelings out loud is the best way we know to master them.  Feeling spoken out DO NOT have to be acted out!

What are some of your favorite family traditions?

Traditions. They are a vibrant part of our lives in our childhood. They may get adjusted as we join our life to another when we marry. They blossom and bloom as we develop our new family traditions with our children’s input. It’s easy to create new traditions with children because anything you do twice becomes a tradition. Traditions give great memories and provide security and stability in the family.

Our Easter Traditions include dying Easter Eggs on Saturday with coloring kits or food coloring and designing our own colors. Waking on Sunday morning surprised with the arrival of the Easter Bunny’s baskets and the hunt to find ALL of the eggs. Then we get to church early and experience the joy of alleluia and the resurrection. Everyone is filled with happiness. Our Easter banquet has lamb roast and always deviled eggs tinged with Easter colors. The afternoon is filled with the laughter and the camaraderie of playing cards and games.

This Easter was a blend of traditions and accommodations to other people’s schedules. Some needed to be with spouse’s families which we support whole-heartedly, because of our own experience as a young couple of eating 2 Easter dinners in an attempt to keep peace. No one needs that stress!  And this year we managed to carry out all of the traditions with the Master’s Golf Tournament sometimes in the background and sometimes in the foreground. Really! What a Blessed Day!

Too often it is easy to get caught up in the ” burden” of parenting.  We are so busy with our own lives that we only seem to notice the annoying things that our kids are doing.  We are constantly yelling “stop”, “don’t do that”, or “why can’t you behave?”.  At these times parenting can seem like a burden and responsiblity.  The quickest way we know to turn that around is to start catching your kids doing something right instead of always catching them doing something wrong!  Observe them until you see anything positive at all.  It might be tying a shoe lace, or washing hands without being told.  It could be that they are simply being quiet and reading a book or coloring.  Whatever it is, immediately and genuinely say, “Wow, it is sure great the way you …” .  After a few times of doing this it will get easier and you will start to notice more and more positives.  You will also notice that your kids seem to get along and cooperate better.  AND if you keep it up you will suddenly discover that your kids become a great resouce and help to you.  You will also start to experiencing the true joy of parenting.

With love from Ed & Betty Coda

Thanks for your love and support.  Because you have downloaded our book, we are now up to number 2 in the Child Care category for books on Kindle.  We are so thankful.  Love Ed & Betty

Having children who grow up to be caring, loving, other-centered people.

Realizing that it’s not what job they do, but how they treat other people.

Keeps us on our toes to be the best model for them possible.

Gives us many opportunities to be the best listener for them.

Let’s us play and learn to be a team.

Provides chances to have dreams and goals that improve our life and matter to more than just ourselves.

Encourages us to practice the attitude that children are a resource and a joy rather than a burden and a responsibility.

Allows us to improve the quality of our life while inspiring our children to improve the quality of their own.

Gives us the chance to provide a home where they feel significant and listened to.

Creating our home as a refuge and place of lots of affection and safety.

Being conscious of our spirituality because they are living examples that spirituality is caught not taught.

What would you like to add?

Did you ever wonder why we have greater than a 50% divorce rate in our country?  Do you see 50% of married couples fighting and bickering and ready to split at the drop of a pin?  I doubt it.  Mostly you see couples living their life, following daily routines, settled down, and then all of a sudden one spouse or the other says they want a divorce.  This is exactly the symptom of a good marriage.  All relationships are either growing or dying, there is no standing still.  Once couples think they have a good marriage, they stop growing.  It’s that simple.  Communication drops off, they sit side by side, but watch TV or get locked in their own book or work.  They take each other for granted more and more.  Sooner or later one or the other wakes up and asks, “Is this all there is?”  Without even trying they set themselves up for a thrilling, fresh, outside relationship.

The good news is that it only takes a decision to do the same in your own marriage. The most successful couples know that they have to create new and fresh ways to keep their relationship growing.  They set aside specific time for intimate conversation and they use outside influences like marriage retreats and directed mentoring at least once a year.  Do you have a good marriage?  Watch out!

Especially in this season where so many of us experience so much joy there a countless numbers who experience emptiness, loneliness, and depression.  It is also the time when the idea of divorce runs rampant.  Why?  It’s because somewhere along the line we as a culture and society have forgotten that Love is NOT a feeling BUT a Decision.  The loving feelings always follow the decision! 

This is the way the relationship goes. You decide to look at that attractive body and suddenly you feel a tingling.  You decide to approach and get a yes and the feelings cascade into giddiness and joy.  As long as you decide to pursue, new, different and magical feelings seem to happen every day.  Then things are getting too serious and you start to feel smothered or trapped, so you decide to “cool off” and not see each other for a while, to date other people (all decisions).  What you feel then, will either drive you back to each other or be a final farewell.  Those who do DECIDE to get back together are usually the ones who end up marrying.  They have decided that they can’t live without one another. Unfortunately, once married they often stop marrying.  They slide into routines, they get into ruts, they take each other for granted (all decisions), and suddenly they feel empty, alone, depressed and think they have fallen out of love. But what they really did is NOT make all the little decisions to put each other first like they did when they were pursuing.  You have to decide to write love notes, to pull yourself away from the TV and computer, to buy those flowers, to light candles and wear attractive night clothing, to treat each other with respect, to say no to outside influences and temptations. Decide first, feelings follow…