How to Create a Marriage that Feels Like a Honeymoon

 

how to create a marriage that feels like a honeymoon, love, romance, relationships, marriage advice, tips, dating your spouse, www.modernmarried.com

I know a fabulous copywriter (Hi Alexandra!) who is convinced that I can teach her (and you) how to create a marriage that feels like a honeymoon. I am convinced I cannot. Because I think a honeymoon, while beautiful and wonderful is one note in the long and beautiful song that is life. And even Celine Dion singing only one note would get annoying after a while.

However, if I was going to take Beautiful Alexandra’s challenge to create a marriage that felt like a honeymoon seriously, first I would deconstruct what it is about a honeymoon that makes it so magical.

I would start with –

  • You are starting a new chapter in life
  • You are stepping into becoming a new person (no longer a bride or a groom but now a husband or a wife)
  • You are going someplace new where you will experience new things
  • You are also purposely scheduling time together – alone. To connect. To kiss. To hug. To kiss some more.
  • You are sharing an adventure. Creating memories. Taking tons of pictures and probably doing quite a bit of laughing along the way.
  • While you are on your honeymoon, you are calling each other sweet names like honeypie and sweetums. (Don’t judge. Those were sweet to someone once!)
  • And you are actually being sweet. To each other. On purpose.
  • You are prioritizing your time together (over facebook, or shopping, or ‘the game’ or any other “thing- you-spend-a-lot-of-time-on-that-you-could-really-do-less.)
  • You are remembering sweet moments from your wedding, and why you fell in love in the first place and holding hands for no reason and did I mention the kissing? I love kissing ;-)

When I think of these things, these “elements” of almost any happy honeymoon (and if you had a sad one, I am sorry, it happens, request a do-over). I realize that you really can create a marriage that feels like a honeymoon and I can teach you how to do it, right here and now.

1.  Do new things with your spouse – once a year, once a month, once a week – pick a time frame that works for you and Do One New Thing. Make it a game or a contest. Make it fun to experience new things together. The same endorphins that are flying when you first met will zoom all over your relationship whenever you do a new thing. It will feel ultra-honeymooney.

2. Decide to grow. Say to yourself, “Beautiful Self that I adore, I am going to be a person who grows just a little every day.” Discover new things to love and experience awe over. Share those new things with your honey bunny. Ask him to share his new things with you. If you decide to grow, every year you will be discovering your spouse all over again. Just like a newlywed.

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3. Take a vacation. Even if it’s to the town next door. Even if its just a weekend or camping in your own backyard. Looking forward to it, planning it, and anticipating it is half the fun. Plan at least one romantic weekend a year. Have you had one this year yet? There is still time. Start planning now.

4. Date. Don’t just do a date night. Date each other. Invite each other out. Make a request, send a text, make reservations, get a baby sitter. Date your sweetie like you just found the love your life and you get to date him for the next 4 decades. Because you did and you can.

dating, marriage, love, romance, tips, advice, life coach, relationships, www.modernmarried.com

5.  Pick a Super Hero Name for your hunky hubby. Or just say “Hey! Hunky hubby!” Tell him you love it when he calls you Beautiful and you gleam when he calls you Brilliant. Invest creativity and love in what you call each other so it always brings a smile to your face. Like Sweetums in Cozumel. Or SexyPants in London.

6. Do one nice thing every day for each other. It might be washing the dishes or just listening to how the day went at work. It doesn’t have to be complicated or involve roses. It could be bringing home take out to watch <insert your favorite USA show here> (Wait, doesn’t everyone have a favorite show on USA? Anyone I know who actually watches TV watches at least one thing on USA.)

7. You know I practice the daily check in like it’s a religion. It’s my time right after work every week day to share my adventures with The Hubs and to hear his. It doesn’t have to be long, though sometimes it is. And you don’t have to solve the world’s problems, though sometimes you can solve one little one, for your favorite person in the world. All you have to is listen. Daily.

8. Kiss. (Now what would be super delightful is if you went to your honey Right Now and said, I read on the Internet that I should kiss you right now. MUAH!)

Don't ever stop dating your wife, don't ever stop flirting with your husband. marriage quote, www.modernmarried.com

9. Remember why you fell in love. Take a moment right now to remember. Then take a moment, every day and you will never forget again. Then tell each other things like, “you know what I love about you?” start a list, and keep adding to it.

remember why you fell in love every day, marriage quote, modernmarried.com

If you do those things, you will create a marriage that feels like a honeymoon. And it won’t be just one note like I originally thought. It will be the full range and voice of the entire choir.

 

I totally LOVE IT that you are reading this right now. WooHoo. What is even cooler is if you take ONE THING and put it into action. This week’s LOVEWORK  is easy….if you were going to pick ONE THING that would help you create a marriage that feels like a honeymoon, what would that be? When could you start?

What would you add to this list? Please share in the comments.

 If you enjoyed this post, please Like it! Pin It! or Tweet it! Our community of love and creativity grows thanks to inspired hearts likes yours. Now go love and be loved. XO 

Celebrating Turning 40 with 19 Life Lessons Oprah Taught Me

Spring nature background with grass and blue sky in the back

I turn 40 next week and I have been pondering life, love and the general status of my well being. I have a ways to go on the physical side (working out, eating healthier). However I have climbed the mountain of love and creativity and have planted flowers and they are blooming! Woo Hoo!

So as I reach this milestone age I thought about what I wanted to most share on my blog and then I remembered when I was younger and watched Oprah turn 40 on TV (She cried. Ugly tears. It was sweet and sentimental.)

Then I just thought about Oprah. I’ve never met her in person, yet she has had a huge influence on my life. When she read Simple Abundance, and started a gratitude journal, so did I. When she bought T-shirt sheets, I got T-shirt sheets. She had an episode once talking about vision boards. After that episode I looked up vision boards online, read a cool blog written by a fabulous wise woman who would eventually become one of my greatest mentors. She would in turn introduce me to the equally brilliant woman who runs the Life Coach School where I learned soooo much about managing my mind.

In my life, many, many roads lead back to Ms. O. Including the creation of this very blog! I figure, that you could do worse than to learn one or two things from her or the experts she has had on her show. So for my Birthday Celebration, I proudly present,

My all time favorite OPRAH-ISMS.

One of my favorite quotes is: Once a mind is expanded by a new idea, it never goes back to its original dimensions by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Oprahisms = really cool thoughts, spoken on the Oprah show that have expanded my mind in new dimensions

Here we go!

1. When someone tells you who they are, believe them. — People reveal themselves to you through their words and actions, and many times we make excuses or ignore key pieces of information. When someone tells you who they are, pay attention.

2. Sign your own checks. — No one will pay the same attention to your finances as you will whether it’s 100 dollars or 1 million.

3. You teach people how to treat you. (Really a Dr. Philism but he said it on the Oprah show!) When you accept someone else’s behavior you are telling that person that it’s okay to treat you that way.

4. Classic from Maya Angelou — Courage is the best and most important virtue. Without courage you can not practice any of the other virtues consistently.

Spring nature background with grass and blue sky in the back

5. The same behavior produces the same results.

6. No means no — when a person fails to hear the word no, it is a problem, always in every context, because a person who fails to hear the word no is trying to control you.

7. Do you want to be right or would you rather have peace?

8. Love is a verb. Is there admiration and respect? if there isn’t then there is no love. Love is not a feeling, it is behavior, it is how a person acts and how they treat you.

Spring nature background with grass and blue sky in the back

9. When the mother decides, the child will follow – this applies to all areas of life. When YOU DECIDE, everything else falls into place.

10. Children are little people with not as much life experience.

11. Another Classic from Maya Angelou — Say “I love you.”  You don’t have to be really well educated to be eloquent. You don’t have to be extremely blessed and talented to be eloquent. There is nothing more eloquent than a wife saying to a husband, I love you.

12. Through the grace of God, I am not my past.

13. With mud on your wings you cannot fly. [For me this means, complete your incompletions, let go of the past, clear up any messiness, whatever qualifies as mud in your life, is holding you back and it has to be cleaned and cleared for you to move on.]

14. Right this minute you have everything you need to make your dreams come true. Right. this. minute. you. have. everything. you. need. to. make. your. dreams. come. true.

15. Maya again (don’t we love her!?) You did then what you knew how to do, when you knew better, you did better.

16. There is no strength where there is no struggle.

17. One person CAN make a difference. (Yes that person may have an army of producers or a whole network, but it all started with one person and her dream for a better life and a better world. We are all the stars of our own lives and we can all start where we are with what we have right now, today.)

18. You can come out of difficult circumstances one of two ways, bitter or better and you get to choose which way.

19. Live each day with greater courage, greater intensity and greater kindness.

Spring nature background with grass and blue sky in the back

There you have them lovelies. My favorite Oprah-fied Life Lessons!  What would you add to this list? I would love to collect more Life Lessons for my Birthday! Did one of these make your heart sing? Please share in the comments.

I have to admit, it was kind of fun spending my big birthday with the Big O – even if it was just in my mind! What is super cool is spending my birthday with YOU – thank you for reading! And sharing, and loving. You inspire me. Birthday HUGS all around.

If you enjoyed this post, please Like it! Pin It! or Tweet it! Our community of love and creativity grows thanks to inspired hearts likes yours. Now go love and be loved. XO 

Turn On Your Passion: How to Keep Saying Oh Yes! after saying I Do.

Oh Dear Beautiful ModernMarried Readers, this week’s post is hot, steamy, sexy, and soulful. It’s also really practical, actionable advice from one of my favorite online friends. Ande Lyons is a little ball of light and love that wants couples everywhere to stay connected. We met on Twitter and it was “love at first tweet.”  I believe every marriage needs to have a healthy sex life to truly be happy, healthy and whole. Ande’s tips are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

Ande Lyons, www.modernmarried.com, passion, romance, marriage, love, advice, couples, desire, tips

By Ande Lyons, Chief Passion Curator @ BringBackDesire.com

Love doesn’t sit there like a stone, it has to be made, like bread: remade all the time, made new ~ Og Mandino

Congratulations! This is a wonderful time in your life – you’ve married your favorite person in the whole world and have set sail on a life together… filled with love, honor, cherishing… and great sex!

Okay, so the first three (love, honor, cherishing) you can definitely see happening for the rest of your marriage, but have you ever wondered how to avoid getting physically and emotionally bored with the same person over the next 50+ years?

Well, after 26 years with the same darling man, I’m here to tell you it can be done… and it can be better than ever, decades after you tossed that garter!

Here are some tips to keep your [not so newly] newlywed passion burning and your love and romance alive…

Stay in touch, literally! Sex therapist Dr. Ian Kerner emphasizes the importance of having as much physical contact as possible on a daily basis. “It may sound obvious, but once you’re married you tend to become less lovey-dovey and more complacent as you sit side by side, tapping away on your laptops, rather than holding hands or hugging.” Hugging, snuggling, holding hands and kissing for more than 30-60 seconds releases oxytocin in the brain, which not only makes you feel yummy, it also increases your feelings of attachment to someone.

Respect differences. No shocker here – but men and women perceive most things differently. Men need to be appreciated (“thanks honey!”) while women really need to be understood (“wow, I hear you…!”). Women love to tell stories, while men like to get to the point quickly. Women love to anticipate needs. Men are not subtle, nor are they good mind readers. Knowing your gender differences and clarifying and adjusting expectations in the right way makes it easier and a lot more fun to keep your love alive.

Change the recipe. The “shopping” phase is over… now it’s time to focus on creating fresh new recipes of arousal and desire… keep things hot by adding different spices. Participate in an adventure together that you’ve never done… whether it’s sailing for the first time or taking a cooking class. Preserving a sense of “play” and newness actually stimulates arousal and desire… and bonds you closer together.

Schedule intimacy. I realize this doesn’t sound at all romantic, especially while you’re in the early stages of your relationship when all you need is a “look” and you’re ready to go! But as life gets busy, children are born, and challenging times flow through your lives, the most important thing you can do for your marriage is to make “alone time” a priority. The best way to do it is by “scheduling intimacy.”

Intimacy isn’t just for night time; try afternoon delights and early morning risers… get creative! Turn your bedroom into a romantic oasis, or book a hotel for a quick getaway… during the day! And start the foreplay hours… even days in advance… use a few titillating text messages or a send a glimpse of a new piece of lingerie… and sharing a nice long kiss goodbye in the morning gets a couple off to a great start.

Share your needs. You have sexual needs and desires… and you need to share these feelings with your sweetheart. If you’re not sure what might turn you on, read some sex books or dive into a romantic erotic novel… they have plenty of fun ideas and examples of what you might try together.

If you’re shy, just point to the passage or sections in the books to show your darling what you find arousing. Learning to share openly in this way will benefit more than your sex lives. It will strengthen the foundation of your marriage and help you get through the peaks and valleys we all experience. You might try adding role playing to your intimate moments to keep things exciting and fresh. Don’t forget those buzzing little toys from the Far East. They come in a great variety, and they’re fun and effective!

Grow together. In The Kosher Sutra Rabbi Shmuley tells us “eroticism is the thrilling desire to connect: to know, to explore, to penetrate, and to comprehend.”  As you both continue to evolve, shift and change over the years, staying intimate helps illuminate every part of your lives together… so you don’t lose touch… emotionally, physically or spiritually.

After your walk down the aisle, life gets busy with daily routines, and sex can tumble away if you’re not careful. By putting these tips into practice you’ll keep the newlywed glow throughout your marriage!

Og Mandino quote, love doesn't sit there like a stone, it has to be made, like bread, remade, all the time, made new. marriage quotes, advice, love, romance, www.modernmarried.com

Ande Lyons is certainly familiar with the cry of ‘someone stole my sex drive!’  She and her husband have been loving each other for 27 years and, after navigating ALL the turbulent waves of life events, we’re still turned on and tuned in – with each other.  As the founder and Chief Passion Curator for BringBackDesire.com, she tastefully and playfully shares tips, tools and resources with women who want more sexual excitement in their lives.  Ande is the host of After Dark Radio Show, where she helps couples stay tuned in through her engaging and informative conversations with sexperts and relationship experts.

An enthusiastic and experienced entrepreneur with an MBA and several successful businesses to her credit, Ande is enjoying a well-balanced life (really!) managing her growing business while raising two wonderful boys with her darling husband.

 

Wasn’t that just YUMMY? My favorite tip was “stay in touch.” The Hubs and I *love* holding hands – now I know WHY!

This week’s LoveWork is easy. Choose one of Ande’s fabulous tips and GO FOR IT! Keep that spicy feeling alive.

QUESTION for the comments: What would you add to this list?

If you enjoyed this post, please Like it! Pin It! or Tweet it! Our community of love and creativity grows thanks to inspired hearts likes yours. Now go love and be loved. XO 

 

My Husband is My Super Hero and Other Sparks that Keep Love Alive

 

vintage striped paper

We laugh a lot at my house. Never *at* each other, always *with* each other. It’s a huge distinction. If you are feeling that something could be a little “off” in your relationship, check in with yourself and see if there has been any *at* instead of *with* lately.

We find that laughing together is fun. Fun makes us feel good and feeling good keeps the happily in the married.

So The Hubs has a Super Hero name – The Flash. (Originally because he takes super fast showers and lately because anytime he does something quickly it makes him smile whenever I call him “The Flash”)

Making hubby smile = always a good thing.

Do you have a super hero name for your hubby? Can you make one up? Try it this week and see what happens. You can even ask him, if you could be any super hero, which one would you want to be?

my husband is my super hero, www.modernmarried.com, love, relationships, marriage, advice, tips, inspiration

He calls me his rock star. Because he says I inspire people. And then there is the blog (Hello! Yes this one!)  And then occasionally, I am on the radio. It makes me smile every time he does this. Every. Time.

Making wifey smile = always a good thing.

We flirt with each other daily. We complement each other when we dress up, even if it’s just for work on any random Tuesday. This brings twinkles to our eyes immediately. So we start the day with Twinkles. Always a good thing.

When we do our daily check in, we ask questions, we share stories and we learn about what happens in each other’s universe when we are apart. Connecting over our daily adventures brings us closer together. Because we do this every day, we never really go that far – even if one of us is travelling half way across the world.

We tell each other (almost) every day – “You are my favorite person.” And we mean it. I like to chime in and add that I know a lot of *really cool people* and even including Oprah and Channing Tatum, he is *still* my favorite person. He likes to smile whenever I do that.

There is no recipe for marriage. There is no secret sauce. There is every day. There is a kiss when you leave for work, a hug when you come back home, a text in the middle of the day and the promise that you will do it all over again tomorrow.

vintage striped paper

I read a quote last week that really got to me. It said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

Apparently a wise man named Ghandi said that.

The beauty of marriage for me is the combination of the daily (what’s for dinner tonight?) and the always (yes that includes things like 30 years mortgages and dreaming of a house on a lake for the bucket list).

When I think about being married, one of my favorite ideas to ponder is that it’s so long. I love thinking about what my husband will be like when he is 80. I love knowing that every year we will be together. New adventures, different episodes, but always the same characters – The Super Hero and the Rock Star, loving life.

vintage striped paper

This week’s LoveWork – get super hero names for each other. Or something equally eye-twinkling that makes you smile whenever you think about it.

We love comments – what came up for you as you were reading this today? These are clues to lead you to your greatest happiness and we love it when you share!

If you enjoyed this post, please Like it! Pin It! or Tweet it! Our community of love and creativity grows thanks to inspired hearts likes yours. Now go love and be loved. XO

My Giblet Adventure (Video)

I just made this video where I document My Giblet Adventure. Yes, you read that correctly.   My Giblet Adventure.   The video below is 2.5 minutes of silliness about my serious journey as a weight loss coach and purveyor of permanent, peaceful weight loss. Starting December of last year, I began to question everything […]

The Real Truth Behind Successful Marriages – The Declaration of You Blog Lovin’ Tour – Part 2

real truth successful marriages, the declration of you bloglovin' tour, love, romance, marriage, life coach, advice, fall back in love, www.modernmarried.com

This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 200 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! – by clicking here.

Last week we defined a successful marriage as one where – “you feel nurtured, have reasons to smile most days, and going home to your partner is the best part of your day, no matter how fascinating your life is.”

This week we round off our Checklist for a Successful Marriage with 3 questions, 2 statements and no partridges in pear trees anywhere in sight.

Here goes –

1.      Do you make requests or complaints? Requests are cool. Requests are answerable. Can I have multi grain bread with breakfast next week please? Well, yes you can – it’s now on the grocery list. Done. Complaints are like service fees when you buy concert tickets – ultimate levels of uncool. There is no way to solve them. “I hate orange juice without pulp.” While good to know, there is nowhere to go from here. There is nothing the love of your life can do to help you with this issue unless you transform your complaint into a request – “Can we buy OJ with extra pulp next time?” Yes we can. I will get some without pulp for me and some with for you. Deal? See? Requests – get results. Complaints not so much.

 

2.      Do you know your spouse’s love language? I could not possibly overstate the benefits of learning how your spouse likes to receive love. Imagine you speaking French and me speaking Spanish – no matter how beautiful your French accent was and how incredibly witty I could sound in Spanish (which of course, I would) we would be unable to communicate until we both switched to English and actually understood each other. If you do *one thing* this week for your marriage – learn your spouse’s love language. Does he like compliments (aka Words of Affirmation)? Does she melt when you wash the dishes? (aka Acts of Service). Knowing this simple way to understand how your partner likes to receive love can do more for your marriage faster than any other tool I am currently aware of. All tools are good. All tools are helpful – this is one of the best. And no Gary Chapman doesn’t have me on a commission plan – I just think this is so simple and so overlooked I want people to know: you can be happy in your marriage; here is one way to get there. You can buy the book from Amazon here or take the quiz here.

 gary chapman's 5 love languages, www.modernmarried.com

3.      What is your Personal Declaration of Success? Do you know what success would look like once you get there? You know you are in Hollywood when you see the sign. I know I am in South Beach when I hear the ocean and see the supermodels. Having a clearly defined picture of what success is will do a whole lot to help you get there. Among other things, you will be able to more clearly recognize what success is not. Example – I like spending time alone with my hubby. We go out with family and friends to feed our needs for connection and community and we spend time home or travelling with each other to feed our need for personal connection. When we don’t spend time alone together I start getting cranky. Something is missing. When I know what that something is, then I schedule time alone together. If I had no idea what I needed, no matter how many romantic gestures the hubby made, I still wouldn’t feel satisfied. Make sense?  

 

4.      Start with Thank You. Possibly a tie with learning the love languages as for huge return on emotional investment by doing something very simple. Stop right now and think about the last time you thanked your spouse for something. Was it yesterday? A week ago? Longer? Your spouse does a thousand little things to keep your life running every day. Whether its picking up milk, turning off lights, coaching a softball team or paying a bill, taking a moment to thank them for something they do no matter how small will immediately 1. Put a smile on their face (and  don’t we love it when they smile?) 2. Shift the energy of your entire day. Don’t believe me. Try it. This week thank your honey for something every single day. See what happens…

 the power of gratitude, marriage, love, relationships, thank you, www.modernmarried.com

 

5.      Finally – Remember the Love. You married him for a reason. Remember that. Bring those reasons into your daily conversation as often as possible. Express love in all the ways you can – use multiple love languages. Connect physically, kiss, laugh, share stories – “I love it when we…” and share dreams “I’d love it if we…”

There you have it, the real truth behind successful marriages is that they are a daily activity, and there is no autopilot. You can’t microwave love. But you can text it, tweet it and hug it. ;-)

As you can see by all the elements of action that lead to success, reading about this stuff is AWESOME (of course!) but DOING SOMETHING is even better! Each week we have a suggestion for LoveWork – something you can take home and implement ASAP.

This week’s LoveWork is to take the question “What did you LOVE about being married today?” and share your answer with your spouse. For extra credit, you can ask them what they loved about being married today too.

We love comments – what came up for you as you were reading this today? These are clues to lead you to your greatest happiness and we love it when you share!

If you enjoyed this post, please Like it! Pin It! or Tweet it! Our community of love and creativity grows thanks to inspired hearts likes yours. Now go love and be loved. XO

TDOY_bloglovintour_banner

The Declaration of You, published by North Light Craft Books and available now, gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do!  Get all the details on this inspiring and visually beautiful book here.

 

The Top 6 Money Arguments for Couples – How to Move Forward as a Team

 

Money Advice For CouplesOh Dear Readers, I am so delighted to share Expert Financial Coach, Mindy Crary’s brilliant, yet straightforward advice with you today.

There are so many areas I am nowhere near an expert about and money is definitely one of them. Yet it is such a huge part of all of our marriages I knew I wanted to bring you practical, implementable advice so I set an intention, I asked the universe to send me the perfect person to share with the ModernMarried Family.

Two days later I received one of those email updates from Twitter saying I should follow Mindy Crary because 11 of my friends were following her already. I fell in instant Cyber-Love and invited her over. You can find a library of Mindy-Wisdom on her Creative Money Website here.

Without further ado, here are some great tips on how to move forward together without letting money get in the way!

how to solve money arguments in relationships, marriage, couples, love, trust

By Mindy Crary

Confronting money issues for couples is pretty common relationship territory. If you and your partner are like most couples, chances are, you argue about money sometimes. Numerous studies have shown that money fights predict divorce rates. Based on a 2004 study by SmartMoney Magazine, here is what sparks the six most common types of arguments:

The Top Money Issues

Here are the top 6 things that couples typically fight about when discussing how to manage and organize their money:

Merging Money. Should you merge everything you have and earn into one joint account, or should you maintain individual accounts and open a joint one for household expenses? Couples run into trouble not necessarily when they are not in agreement—but when they start reading into what the lack of agreement means. There as many different ways to merge your finances as there are couples in the world, so don’t get caught up on how you believe things should happen. It took awhile to become a couple, and it will take a while to “couple” your cash as well.

Dealing With Debt. One of the worst things about coupling is feeling like you’re dragging down the relationship with debt—which can feel even worse if your partner comes into the union debt-free. Whenever debt enters the relationship, it’s good to remember that no one is infallible—the debt is not a way to keep a “scorecard” in the relationship. People in mature relationships accept that solving the debt as a team not only strengthens the relationship, but helps reduce the debt more quickly.

Managing Spending. In many relationships, one gets labeled the “saver” and the other gets labeled the “spender.” Labels and categories can do real injustice to an in-depth, multi-layered relationship, and they never serve to make you feel closer to your partner. And it may not even be true: traditionally, women usually take care of most of the family’s daily expenses: the groceries, the bills, clothes for the family, while men spend on large purchases like mortgages, cars payments or home equipment. The spending amounts to roughly the same, it just played out differently based on the person. They key here is to remember that you’re simply trying to avoid surprises, which a budget goes a long way toward fixing.

Investing Wisely. Over many years, various studies show that men are more willing to take financial risk than women. However, investments are a secondary argument. The biggest issue is achieving agreement and understanding of how specific buckets of money will be used in varying timeframe—or how I like to ask, “which money will be used for what–? Once a discussion of goals and timeframes are clarified for different accounts and sums of money, it becomes much easier for couples to align themselves with common goals and objectives.

Keeping Money Secrets. Let’s face it; most of us have trouble not lying to ourselves, let alone other people. Lies about what we ate, what we spent . . . this is one of the fundamental challenges of a relationship, to be vulnerable and transparent in all areas (and not letting your own shame and money secrets degrade to such a point they damage you and the people around you!). If you knew that lying about how many books you downloaded on Kindle, even once, would lead to a less authentic, open relationship with your spouse, would you do it? Probably not. Each partner must keep in mind that most relationships aren’t destroyed by one dramatic act, but a series of small, even individually inconsequential acts that chip away at your foundation of love and trust.

Emergency Planning. Just like couples vary on the degree of risk they are willing to take, they also vary on the level of reserves they need to feel safe. The key here is to find the commonality; both partners typically agree that some level of cash reserves makes sense, so where is the middle ground? Once a budget is clarified, issues of emergency savings become secondary, since some level of savings has already been allocated within the spending plan. It helps to remember if there actually is an emergency, you’ll be distracted with supporting one another—and NOT worrying about how to spend the reserve!

Sometimes it’s hard to forgive money mistakes—yours, your partners—so the key is to get ahead of them before they happen! With honesty, open communication and a willingness to look at your finances objectively, couples can avoid becoming victim to the top money arguments, and move forward as a cohesive team.

Actions This Week

Review The List. I never look for agreement between couples, I just make sure that both parties have a viewpoint and understanding of each of the above issues. That’s the perfect starting point.

Look for Clarity. When I discuss controversial subjects with couples, they tend to think that they disagree on these topics, when actually–when they stop to listen to each other–the two viewpoints aren’t so dissimilar. Seek to understand your loved one before fighting to get your point across.

Go for Equity, not Equality. Equal means each person gets exactly the same thing. Equity means that each person might not be treated exactly the same, but that it all balances out in the end. A couple might not get exactly what they want in every single area of their finances, but you can still make it win-win with balance.

Mindy Crary (MBA, CFP® practitioner and financial coach at Creative Money) helps you become a lot more educated (never inundated) about not just your money — but the whackjob behind it. Mindy’s articles have been featured in Forbes, Crazy Sexy Wellness, Life By Me, Mind Body Green and Tiny Buddha.  Go to Creative Money and download Mindy’s free ebook, Getting Started With Conscious Spending.

This is Maggie back to say a huge THANK YOU to Mindy for sharing this wise advice! I love, love, love the idea of Concious Spending! And also how there are a million and one ways to merge your money – so don’t believe it has to be the way your parents did it.

 

This week’s LoveWork is to identify the one thing that causes the most money-pain in your relationship.  Name one thing you can do this week to start the path of changing that.

In the comments – please share any money questions you have or name one action step you can take this week to start solving a money problem.

 

Love Bigger – How to Pour Love Into Pain and Heal the Wounds that Keep You Stuck

 This post is part of a continuing series. You can find the first post about Dreaming Deeper instead of Bigger here and the second post about moving closer to the life you dream of by starting where you are here.

One of the most healing experiences I have ever had during my marriage was a day that I was very hurt and upset with the Hubs. I was both angry and hurt which is the worst combination to get any kind of clarity or calm resolution, but he was steadfast. He did not enter my little circle of drama. He acted as if he knew he loved me, he knew we would find a solution and all my emotion would subside eventually.

It’s possible that at the time I didn’t appreciate fully how his peacefulness contributed to my healing but thinking on it now, several years and life coach trainings later, I can see that it was so important.

I truly cannot remember what I was upset about, but it was a biggie. We had recently read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth (a great book) and he explains a concept in depth called “the pain body.”

His theory is that as we walk through life and experience emotional wounds, they become part of a larger “pain body” so to speak. So that if someone cuts you off in traffic, your level of annoyance is not just determined by that one moment, but by every other time someone has cut you off. This is why the response is often not proportional to the miniscule experience when compared to the totality of one’s life.

Well on this day, many years ago, I was having a huge activation of my pain body as whatever was happening was nowhere near as serious as my reaction to it.

Finally I remember him trying to soothe and comfort me and when he finally got through to me I said (through tears) something like, “Well that’s all fine now, but what happens when this wound re-opens and I get angry like this again?”

And he said the most magical words that have ever come out of his mouth. He said, “Well then we will just have to pour some love into it. The wound may not go away, but we will keep pouring love into it until it gets smaller and smaller.”

Oh Dear Readers, that was one of those moments when if I wasn’t already married, I would have slapped a ring on that man’s finger faster than you can say Las Vegas!

I calmed down. I started breathing. I started pondering the idea that we could never avoid hurts, being human after all. And having grown up watching Star Trek, the Vulcan idea of suppressing all emotion did not agree with my passionate Latin DNA. So I kept turning the thought over in my head: we accept that pain will happen and when it does, we will pour love into it.

I think that may have been what the Founding Fathers felt like when they signed the Declaration of Independence. I suddenly felt free. I suddenly felt like the prison of past pain could no longer have a hold on me. I didn’t have to be scared of it, or try to avoid it or pretend it wasn’t happening if and when it did. All I had to do was be ready to pour love into it when it came.

Freedom. Liberation. Calm. And a strange peace came over me. Somehow the act of declaring our plan, made the plan almost unnecessary. I can’t remember ever having gotten as deeply upset as I was that day. The wound was getting smaller and smaller with every kind word, nice gesture, act of love, word of encouragement and hug. As the wound got smaller, the pain body got smaller too. I might have a reaction, but it wasn’t as extreme.

I was free.

That day, that moment is forever etched in my heart as a turning point in my life.

I know I won’t be in your living room for your turning point, but I can offer you my map.

What Loving Bigger Looks Like (for me)

  • Assume the person has your best interest at heart. What they are saying may not make sense to you. Ask questions until you understand why it makes sense *to them.*
  • Breathe. When you feel inclined to cry out or raise your voice, stop and breathe. This gives you just enough time to remember at least one reason you married this person. One virtue you admire above all others can thaw the ice of a painful moment.
  • Whenever in doubt as to what course to take, choose love over fear. This means trust him when he has to go on a trip for work. Give her space when she is having a bad day and needs to write instead of talk. Don’t assume it means she loves you any less, (fear) remember that she is a whole person living a whole life that you are an integral part of (love).
  • When there is a breakdown – stand in your love for your partner and from that place of love, speak or be silent. Listen or offer to take a break from the conversation, take yourself out of it for a moment and listen for their pain and when you hear it, answer with compassion.
  • Stay present. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is just be there for the person as they work out whatever is happening in their head (or their heart).
  • Ask questions like, “what would love do?” “what would generosity in this moment look like?” “what is the highest, most loving thing I can do right  now?” Make a up a question that resonates for you, that you can pull out and use whenever you are having an emotional moment.

Now it’s your turn: This weeks’ LoveWork is to decide what “Loving Bigger” looks like for you. It may be a short list – holding hands, talking for 20 minutes every night, date nights on Fridays, done. It could also be a long list of how you treat yourself first and then your partner. Think about it during your commute to work or your next walk in the park. Name one way you “Love Bigger,” please share in the comments.

Why Get Married? 5 Powerful Reasons to Say I Do

 

This week a dear friend asked if religious reasons were not a consideration and all legal paperwork was taken care of, would I still get married? If so, why?

I loved this question and answered it for myself and then asked The Hubs what he thought. His answer was 98.2% similar to mine. Yes I measured. He basically used different words to say the same thing.

So today dear readers, I answer the eternal question – Why get married?

1. FAMILY – for me personally what I make marriage mean is that I am part of a family and having grown up without one, I like that meaning, it works for me. Although it is my life’s work to support people who want to be married to do it better, happier, loving-ier, I also don’t believe everyone should get married or needs to be married to be committed. I do believe if that if you decide to get married, there are habits and practices that can help you be married happier including, the daily check-in, questioning everything, and decluttering.

 

2. MY DECLARATION TO THE WORLD – I am also hugely in favor of re-defining marriage as I write about often. The history of marriage is the story of an idea that has always evolved as society has evolved. In present day that is largely forgotten, but still remains the truth. It’s also telling me and the world, I am doing this. This is what I am about. When I thought about the answer, it reminded me of incorporating my business. A formal sign to myself and the world, that my relationship is sacred and I am committed to it, I am all in. For reals. (Not to say someone else couldn’t be all in without doing that, just that it signals that *to me*).

 

3. SCIENCE – not the sexiest reason to get married. For Sure. But here it is: Studies show married people live longer, have better health and more wealth overall than single people. Overall, good marriages are good for you but bad marriages are bad for you. Marital stress and conflict affects your immune system as deeply as smoking. As deeply as smoking, yes you read that correctly. Which is why we are here every week with tools, ideas and smiles to share, we want to make good marriages better and keep those immune systems healthy!

 

4. SEX – Well it had to come after science didn’t it? I mean really. The University of Chicago has published a study confirming what I already knew (being a married person and all). “The most satisfying sex in America is in the bedrooms of people who are married for life.” For me the feeling of safety, security and loving acceptance that I have with my husband makes the physical connection easier, stronger, and more powerful. My mother in law reads this blog, so that’s about all I am going to say about that. Click here to read more results from the study.

 

5. SOUL – We are starting our 6th year of marriage and I still get excited when I see The Hubs every morning. I love the feeling of belonging that I have because I have declared myself to be his wife. Knowing he has vowed to be my husband for as long as we both shall love just makes me smile. That silly-goofy-happy-smile that could be annoying if it wasn’t so sweet. It just makes my soul happy. Being married makes my soul happy. That’s the only reason I need really.

Why did you get married? Please share in the comments.