Celebrity marriage counselor and relationship expert, Tina Konkin, is the Founder and Director of Relationship Lifeline. Tina has counseled many celebrity and high profile couples, and her organization has seen a success rate of over 90%. She has appeared on Dr. Phil and The Real House Wives. In September, she released her highly anticipated book, Love, Sex & Money: The R3 Factor of Great Relationships, which she co-authored with her late husband, Ron. Tina took some time to share with the world on TBAP about her life, work, and faith. Follow our conversation below!
Miranda ~ Hello Tina! It’s a pleasure to have you visit TBAP today. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Tina: I am a mother to three, a grandmother to three, the Founder and Director of Relationship Lifeline, and a coach to many. As an author, relationship expert, counselor, and conference speaker, I have facilitated hundreds of seminars for youth, adults, couples, and families for over 30 years. Coming from a background of abuse and abandonment, my passion has always been to help heal the broken-hearted by giving them a clear path so that they can live the life they’ve always imagined.
Miranda ~ How did you discover God? What’s your story?
Tina: Even though I accepted Jesus at the age of five, I can truly say it was an experience that would never leave me, and one that has never left me. I remember it clearly because, the first story I heard in our cold basement Sunday school room was the story of the disciples telling the children to go away. God clearly knew I needed to hear that, and especially the outcome: how Jesus chastised them for shooing the children away. At the age of five, I could not imagine the ending of that story. It was already ingrained in my little mind that “children should be seen and not heard.” When the most important man in the story stopped them and called the children over, I was astounded and in complete disbelief, even at my young age! From that day to this day, I have complete confidence that there is nothing I could ever do to lose His love or approval!
Miranda ~ What led you into relationship counseling and, how did you find yourself counseling high profile relationships?
Tina: When my oldest daughter turned eight, I began to reject her as a child. I lost all maternal instinct of nurturing her. I tried traditional counseling, but only lasted about two, maybe three sessions. I did all that I could spiritually: from prayer to fasting, to seeking pastoral counseling, but nothing seemed to get to the root of my very serious problem. In 1992, I was invited to attend a 5-day intensive personal growth seminar led by Dr. Phil’s partner. It was a life changer. Not only did it heal me and remove the rejection of my daughter, but it healed my damaged marriage as well. After the five days, we decided that it was what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives, so we went into training for two years, and the rest is history.
Miranda ~ What is the underlying principle that guides the manner in which you counsel couples?
Tina: At our intensives the underlying principles that we take couples and individuals through are rolled into something we call the R3 Factor.
R1 – Reveal: It’s about revealing your yesterday. You cannot change or heal what you don’t reveal or acknowledge. So it’s about people acknowledging and revealing what’s in their heart. This is something that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 19:8: “Divorce was allowed, because of the hardness of the heart,” and that’s where we start. We look deeply at the hardness of the heart. That’s the reveal! Once we can acknowledge and reveal, then we are in position to rewrite, which is the R2.
R2 – Rewrite: Rewriting comes through forgiveness and compassion—looking from a different perspective and seeing people how Jesus saw them when He was on the cross. He said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do,” and in an unusual way, He almost made an excuse for them. That is what we call Rewriting. You can excuse, not what happened and not making it right, and understand instead that the things that have happened are not necessarily because people are evil, but because their actions could have come from a place of “hurt people, hurt people.” That’s the Rewrite, something that only comes from and through forgiveness. And the third is to Renew.
R3 – Renew: Renew is about making life better than it was before. Renew is about tomorrow; it’s about starting the rewrite today and entering tomorrow with a brand new perspective, knowing that life can, in fact, be better than it was before. That’s why the renewing of the mind and heart—and as the bible says, “Think upon these: Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are good, whatsoever things are of good report, and whatsoever things are pure”—is so incredibly important. That’s the principle of the Renew; we renew the mind by being aware of what we put in it, and by being aware of how we look at things through it.
That being said, these are not independent steps. They are a perfect union of three: Change can only come through us seeing the Reveal and the Rewrite, and only then are we ready to Renew. Those are our underlying principles.
Miranda ~ In what way do you believe that what you do will change the world, especially for Christian Couples?
Tina: I believe that what we do is heal relationships—one broken heart at a time. The reason Relationship Lifeline is seeing over 90% success rate with couples who have already broken up, or who are in the process of breaking up, is because we look at the hardness of the heart—something Jesus said is the reason for divorce. So if we can fix that primary issue and get couples to look at themselves and look into the depths of their own hardness, they usually change, which changes the relationships; and when that happens, compassion comes in, and then they are able to fully apply the R3 Principles. The success rate is beyond even our wildest imaginings. We witness miracles in the room every month as we are privileged to watch couples regain and even rediscover love they thought they had lost forever.
Miranda ~ Why did you decide to write the book, Love, Sex & Money: The R3 Factor of Great Relationships?
Tina: My husband and I co-wrote the book because we knew that if people could only get the “love, sex and money” thing figured out, they’d probably have a great relationship. Money issues and intimacy issues in relationships usually play a huge part in the breakdown of the relationship, and when that happens the love disappears. Also, we wrote the book after realizing that it would be impossible for us to reach everyone who might need to hear this information personally, and not every person would be able to attend our 4-day relationship seminar. So we decided this book could bridge that gap and allow us a way to get this vital information into the hands of everyone wanting to better their marriage. It was and remains our hope to educate people about how damaging and destructive hardness of their heart actually is. The baggage that people carry into their marriages can be overcome; healing is possible.
Miranda ~ When you stepped into celebrity counseling did it change your perception of the world of celebrities in any particular way?
Tina: No, it didn’t change my perception. It only made me realize that we all have the same issue: hardness of heart. Hurt people hurt people and broken hearts are all the same, celebrity or not. There is one difference I noticed: celebrities live life in the public eye so, when they fight or get divorced or are cheated on, that news, more times than not, ends up in the newspapers or somewhere online. We, common folk, get to grieve and cry and fight in private; celebrities are forced to do that in public. The price of fame is great.
Miranda ~ Who are the people who’ve influenced you the most, in life and work?
Tina: I would say that my first Sunday school teacher was one of the first people who steered me toward my destiny, and then, along the way God has brought a lot of mentors into my life. Pastors and spiritual leaders that I know have had a huge influence on me. Funny enough, though, one of the biggest “life changing” events for me has to have been a 5-day seminar that I was fortunate enough to attend, that was led by Dr. Phil’s company.
Miranda ~ What are you most grateful for generally and right now?
Tina: I am most grateful for my family at this time. My husband passed away Christmas Day 2013, and I thank God for the family that I have. I thank God that 20 years before he passed away, we chose to heal our damaged and broken marriage. We chose to make our relationship work. It was not in my husband’s nature to take the easy way out, even after infidelity had rocked us to our core.
Miranda ~ What advice would you offer a person going into counseling profession, especially one who wants to help high profile couples?
Tina: I would counsel them first and foremost, to look at their own calling and purpose. This type of work is trying, and one can’t live on a surface level. It requires 110% focus and engagement every moment, and that is not for everyone. I would also advise that they look at “famous” people with the same eyes they look at everyone else. If you can remove their celebrity status and are able to treat them as broken people with hurting hearts, you will be ahead of the curve. Celebrities long to be treated like “normal” people. They desire authenticity, especially when they are being asked to be authentic themselves.
Coffee or Tea? COFFEE
Dresses or Pants? Dresses
Boots or Heels? Heels
Vegetables or Fruits? Veg
Music or Movies? Movies
Juice or Smoothie? Smoothie
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Cooking or Cleaning? Cleaning
About Tina Konkin
Tina Konkin is an internationally acclaimed leader and speaker on the topic of relationships. As the co-founder and Executive Director of R3 Lifeline, Tina regularly speaks for men’s & women’s groups, couples conferences, church groups, and business organizations, as well as personal coaching focused on relentlessly achieving a life that rises to it’s full potential of God-given gifts and purpose.