Relationship Fitness

S17: Focus E3: The Focus Core Assessment

In “Relationship Workout for Men,” Season 17 Episode 3 titled “The Focus Core Assessment,” Vince dives into the process of tackling the major dilemmas that can cause drama and disconnection in relationships. He introduces the Focus Core Assessment as a tool for identifying the core areas of a relationship where issues might be festering, based on the comprehensive topics covered in seasons 1 through 15. Vince emphasizes the importance of moving beyond subjective viewpoints to asking functional questions that unearth the facts and contribute to a constructive brainstorming process. This episode aims to guide listeners through understanding and addressing their relationship issues by identifying and modifying weak behaviors contributing to the drama, with a strong push towards commitment to relationship excellence and open, honest evaluation of compatibility and partnership behaviors.

Welcome to Relationship Workout for Men, a podcast dedicated to helping men be intentional in choosing a better partner, and being a better partner for the person they choose.

Season 17 Episode 3: The Focus Core Assessment

Okay, so we’re still trying to resolve that showstopper, the mother of all dilemmas that’s creating drama and disconnect between you and your partner. 

In the previous episodes, we discussed how we need to get out of subject-object thinking and start asking functional questions, diving into the issue, fishing for information and facts to feed the creative brainstorming process. 

So how do we do this, especially for issues that just seem to keep dogging the relationship showing up again and again? Well at a very high-level, and taking a very top-down approach, one place to start is with what I call the Focus Core Assessment. 

The Focus Core Assessment provides what you might call a checklist of questions to ask — that mirror the topics discussed in seasons 1 through 15 of this podcast — and help you to narrow down the core area or areas where the issue seems to be festering. Once you’ve identified the core areas, you can take follow-up steps to identify what weak relationship behavior is helping to fuel the drama in this particular area.

Then once you identify what you might do differently to help address the issue and reduce the drama, then you can take the further learn strategies for how to do this.

For instance, it could be that the issue sits around chemistry or emotional availability or how you communicate with each other?

That said, let’s dive into the Focus Core Assessment to hopefully provide more clarity, with some functional questions you could be asking either out loud or to yourself as you do your initial fishing to try to understand what’s going on.

Okay, a good place to start is reaffirming your commitment to relationship excellence, as was discussed way back in Season 1. 

You’re committed to being the best partner possible — and you really mean it. This means you’ll also reaffirm you care about her and the relationship. If you don’t care, then why bother? You’re just wasting each other’s time and emotions going through the motions.

You want to stay in front of the relationship train, finding answers, not stuck in boxcars throwing bricks at each other. 

Put another way, if you’re not committed to being the best partner you can be, this alone can put the brakes on how well you two will be able to address the issue at hand.


Next, you’ll want to check in with what’s going on in your mind, as we discussed in Season 2.

For starters, does anyone need to be right and win? If this is the case, then there’s a good chance one or both of your egos are getting in the way of finding a mutually agreeable solution to the issue.

Are there any judgmental thoughts and words spoken? Judging the other negatively can certainly rob oneself of the ability to be compassionate and curious about the other’s stories.

Anyone raising their voice? If so, this can be a red flag that someone’s hot button has been pressed, triggering a missed expectation, igniting a dormant Demon, and creating an avalanche of negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, frustration, irritation, impatience and/or downright rage? In fact, this can be a sure sign that there are judgmental thoughts spinning in the Demon-controlled person’s mind.

Does anyone physically feel awful? Perhaps a person is sick or has an aching bad back. Perhaps she is struggling with PMS. Perhaps the person just hasn’t been eating well, exercising, or getting enough sleep. Regardless, if a person’s body aches, then it can be difficult to keep the positive mental thoughts going. 

Is anyone not living in the present moment and not accepting What Is right now? In other words, is a person spinning on memories, or consumed by fear of what might happen in the future, or just plain resisting the facts as they are in the current moment?


Next, especially if you’ve only been dating for a few months or less, you may want to check your compatibility with each other, exploring the Chemistry, Dating Intentions, Emotionally Availability and Alignment.

Start with Chemistry, as discussed in season 3. How’s the sex going? Is the issue related to one or both of you not being happy in the bedroom? Has a steady stream of drama and problems robbed you both of feeling any connected intimacy together, robbing the desire to be physically intimate? 

Are you both aligned in your DatingIntentions, as discussed in season 4? In other words, is the issue somehow caused by both of you not being on the same page as to the type of relationship you’re both seeking? Are you both in the same dating bucket?

How’s everyone’s Emotional Availability, as discussed in season 5? Is the issue being caused by the influences of an ex? For instance, is one or both of you still in love with an ex? Is he or she still calling? Has an ex left an emotional scar that makes it difficult to trust or be completely open to a new partner?

Next, you’ll want to see if the issue has seeds in Alignment, as discussed in season 6. Is there a glaring misalignment in a must-have that is really bugging one or both of you? These can be tough to address if everything else in the relationship seems so right. It’s best to resolve a misaligned must-have sooner rather than later!


Once you look through the compatibility topics, you can turn your attention to the partnership ones. In other words, is the issue given life by a weakness in how one of both of you show up as partners?

Start with Kindness, as discussed in season 7. Is someone playing it all-about-ME, trying to maximize his or her position, versus seeking what’s fair? Is that person being a taker instead of showing generosity? Is gratitude missing as the other person is feeling unappreciated?

Next, check Integrity, as discussed in season 8. Is there any dishonesty, unfaithfulness and/or lack of reliability going on? 

Is one of you making a Weak Ownership Play, as discussed in season 9, denying there is anything wrong or simply placing all the blame on the other. If this is the situation, then you won’t be able to even start to have a fruitful conversation because you’ll never get all the facts out on the table, as the person not willing to take responsibility will likely be reluctant to share any incriminating facts.

Is Anger and Conflict getting in the way of being able to communicate, as discussed in seasons 10 and 11? If you’re angry, you’ll probably want to step back and start breathing so you don’t let your monkey mind get the best of you. You know that going aggressive, passive, defensive or avoidant won’t help to flush out new ideas, but instead will just get you fighting in the boxcars. 

Also, ask if Anxiety, as discussed in season 12 is putting one or both of you on edge, making anger and rigid thinking ever more present.

Finally, your functional questions will lead to asking if how you two are Communicating is impacting the conversation around the issue, as discussed in seasons 13, 14 and 15. Because you care, at a minimum you’ll want to understand each other’s stories. You’ll stay very aware to whether you’re truly listening to and understanding what she is sharing? Are you expressing your story and is she hearing it? 

Are you separating facts from perceptions, as you’ll also talk about how you both feel and even how your identities might be influencing your stories. Is your and your partner’s communication styles staying assertive and strong, not falling into weak aggressive, passive, or passive-aggressive styles. 

Have you been able to get both your stories on the table before venturing into problem-solving mode, where you’ll ultimately seek to find a resolution that is fair and mutually acceptable?

Wow,  I agree, that was a lot. There are just so many areas in a relationship where drama can be given life. No surprise as relationships can be very complex.

To help streamline the process, start by spending around 10-minutes completing Stage 1 of the Relationship Workout Program at, then proceed to spend around 30-45 minutes completing the Stage 2 Focus Core Assessment. This prepares you for Stage 3, where you’ll receive personalized recommendations and strategies for improving the quality of your relationship organized around these 12 core topics. 

Okay, so you have your Focus Core Assessment. You’ve been given tools and insights to help you along your journey to being the best partner possible. However, even with all this, there’s one more secret ingredient to issue resolution and that is Gumption, the topic of our next episode.

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