Author Archives: Kim Hall

About Kim Hall

Kim Hall created Too Darn Happy with the mission of helping you find happiness in all circumstances through the encouragement of faith, the practice of gratitude, and the discovery of joy, all spun together with fresh perspectives, practical advice, and a personal touch. She recently authored her first ebook, Practicing Gratitude and Discovering Joy-30 Days to a Happier You.

How to Fix the Fix-It Syndrome (When You Only Want Him to Listen)

How to Fix the Fix-It Syndrome

When I first saw the, “It’s Not About the Nail” video, I laughed my heart out.  And then realized, the reason it was so funny was for the first 8 years of our marriage, my poor husband was the one with the nail in his head.

It’s usually men who have the “fix-it syndrome” but in the case of my marriage, I was the one with the problem.  

What HWC contributor, Kim Hall, suggests here is almost identical to what I began doing to fix my “fit-it” challenge.

The beautiful thing about this “syndrome,” is the person trying to do the fixing means well.  It’s done in love.  And during the times when that way of expressing love becomes frustrating to your spouse (or vice versa), try this fantastic tip.

Until Monday…make it a great day!

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Have you experienced this before?

You and your husband are sitting together, enjoying a rare moment of quiet.

You turn to him and share about a problem you’re having, perhaps at work, or with a friend.

The moment you finish, your husband offers up his expertise in his concise and straightforward way.

He looks at you expectantly, waiting for your thanks, because he has just given you the best gift ever: a solution!

His expression quickly turns to dismay and puzzlement as he sees your anger beginning to flare.

“I just wanted you to listen. You don’t have to fix everything all the time.”

The fix-it syndrome has struck again.

This is such a familiar refrain in relationships that Jason Headley’s short and amusing, tongue-in-cheek video, “It’s Not About the Nail” went viral.

If you’ve ever felt similar frustration at not being heard, take heart.

There is a simple way to fix the fix-it syndrome.

First, it is helpful to remember that men and women are wired differently. While both sexes can be chronic fixers, men think more predominately in terms of problems and solutions.

Women enjoy discussing and empathizing, and especially like knowing they are being heard and understood. The process of solving the problem is almost as important as the solution.

Next time, instead of doing what you’ve always done and getting what you’ve always got, I invite you to do this:

Let your husband know what you want.

Tell him you just need to vent, for example, and need him to listen, that’s all.

Remember he is not a mind-reader.

To be even more proactive, give him the gift of this question he can ask you any time:

“Would you like me to listen, or would you like my help fixing this?”

It’s a fair and helpful question, and needs to be asked and answered with courtesy, compassion and respect, of course.

I can tell you that using that question in our household has contributed to much more peaceable conversations.

The funny thing is that whoever has the problem tends to be more open to advice, too.

As part of these conversations, you can these tips to avoid fights.

I also heartily endorse and echo what Kathi Lipp shared here recently: the objective is to resolve your difficulties, not to win.  After all, you and your husband are on the same team!

Question: How can you use these ideas to build a stronger marriage?

May you find happiness wherever you are! Kim @ Too Darn Happy


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the argument free marriage book


THE BOOK: Read the book that inspired the powerful TED talk and prompted author of The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman, PhD., to write the book’s foreword. Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, bestselling authors of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts said, “We’ve been counseling couples and writing marriage books for a long time, and we can say with absolute certainty, there has never been a book quite like The Argument-Free Marriage. If you think no such union exists, or if you’ve come to the conclusion that arguments are necessary in marriage, allow Fawn to challenge that notion and set you on a path to creating the greatest partnership in life: your marriage.”

5 Great Marriage Lessons from the Least Likely Place

Great Marriage Lessons

What I love about writer, Kim Hall, is her ability to uncover marriage lessons in the unlikeliest of places.

One of the greatest truths I’ve learned over my 38-year life is there is a lesson in everything.  And I mean everything.

I intentionally seek out the lesson in all things -good or challenging.  And based on the unlikely place where Kim found these, she clearly does the same.  

I’d love to know in what unlikely place (or person) you’ve discovered a life changing marriage lesson of your own.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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When you look for lessons in both good and challenging times, what you’ll discover will blow your mind. 

Have you noticed happily married couples have a certain look about them?

Their quiet strength and unique beauty remind me of the majestic and long-lived redwood trees.

The two actually have more in common than you may know.

1.  Bark for protection. Redwoods don’t do anything small, and their bark is no exception. It grows up to twelve inches thick and is naturally fire-retardant.

Marriage Lesson: Individuals in happy marriages cultivate qualities such as commitment, hope, and empathy, that form a similarly big and strong firewall of protection around the relationship. 

2.  Roots that spread out as well as down.  While conventional wisdom states that roots of any sort should go deep to provide the most stability, these giants actually rely on the additional strength of many to stay upright by weaving their roots into those of their neighbors.

Marriage Lesson: Finding mentors,  befriending other couples, and joining like-minded groups such as Happy Wives Club lends support to help your marriage withstand life’s storms.

3.  Canopy that supports a wider community. The large branches offer hospitality, safety, and room to thrive.

Marriage Lesson: A sound marriage provides similar benefits. In addition to sharing the joyful possibilities that begin with I do, your family is apt to be healthier, happier, take better care of themselves, and do better academically and economically. From that foundation, you can be a powerful force for good and giving.

4.  Plan for the future.  The redwood protects itself from drought by collecting literally tons of water from the fog that washes over the forest and then holds it in reserve.

Marriage Lesson: A carefully tended marriage, like a well-watered tree, is less apt to develop weakness and illness. Building up a reservoir of regular and satisfying communication, creating an atmosphere conducive to apology and forgiveness, and practicing gratitude can sustain relationships through difficult times.

5.  Capacity to inspire others. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

Marriage Lesson: As Fawn shares often, media and culture paint an unflattering picture of marriage full of unhappy and desperate wives. Healthy marriages are beautiful and inspiring, even with their blemishes and scars. They have the power to encourage and renew the spirits of those who hoped happily ever after might really be possible.

 YOUR TURN: What marriage lesson have you learned in the least likely of places?

May you find happiness wherever you are! Kim, your personal Sherpa of Joy at Too Darn Happy


JOIN THE 1,000,000 MEMBER CHALLENGE: If you haven’t already done it, what are you waiting for? Join the club! It takes only a few seconds and, of course, is free.

Happy Wives Club Book


THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book.  I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way.  It’s a marriage book line none other.  Guaranteed.

6 Surprising Benefits of Dating Your Husband

6 Surprising Benefits of Dating Your Husband

Oh, the joys of dating!  Sometimes when I hear people talk about date night, they make it sound so obligatory.  Because someone said they should do it once a week, they do it, but sometimes they’d rather not.

When I hear people talk like that about their date nights, I think, Oh, how I wish they knew how fun dating can be!  I think a part of the problem is so many think date nights need to take tons of planning or work.

Going (or staying in) on a date with your spouse should not feel like work.  You can do tiny things like a frozen yogurt date or a coffee date (where you just go to your local shop, order what you want and enjoy 30 minutes together just connecting).  

You don’t have to get dressed up or bring out the china.  Dating is about connection.  Yes, sometimes you may have the energy to plan a date that is a little more involved.  And other times you might not.  Go with whatever feels right for you, your spouse, and works with your schedule.

Dating is so important to keeping the fire lit in your marriage.  And as Kim Hall with shares today, there are also some great benefits you may not have considered until now.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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First, let’s talk about what it means to date your husband.

I love how Paula Rollo described this, and I’ll paraphrase: At the core, it’s about taking the time together to deepen and grow your relationship.

It’s that simple, and it can take multiple forms.

The point is to spend time together enjoying and paying attention to one another.

You already know dates help rekindle romance and build intimacy, but there are other surprising rewards as well.

6 Surprising Benefits of Dating Your Husband

1. Create shared stories. These can be about something big, like a weekend away at a luxurious B&B, or small, like the walk at dusk where you saw the sparkling dance of the fireflies.  Stories are the ties that bind you together and keep your family strong.

2. Build resiliency. Sometimes ants overrun your romantic picnic, or rain pours down on your trip. The ability to find the good in and laugh at most anything, especially when you share those moments, builds resiliency that will help you bounce back from bigger challenges.

3. Be a great a role model. The idea of dating your husband and thereby putting your marriage first can be a controversial one, as Fawn notes here. She makes this important point, though: “Being a living example of the marriage you want for your own children teaches them at an early age what love looks like (and what it doesn’t).”

4. Move out of your comfort zone. Growth occurs on the edges of your comfort zone; not on your comfy couch cushions. Sharing an activity on that edge is a good thing! It ultimately helps you develop more capability, flexibility, and maybe even more patience, all traits that make for a happier wife.

5. Open the door for more interesting conversations. My hubby and I find that long walks or car rides especially allow time for more expansive, uninterrupted talks. We might choose a topic from the news, Sunday’s sermon, or a current book, or just let the conversation meander. Even though we’ve been married over 31 years, these conversations help us to see each other—and our world—from a new perspective.

6. Move towards a goal. Whether you want to be more fit,  get rid of clutter, or set your sights on anything else important to you both, you will discover a great deal of shared satisfaction when you work as a team towards that goal.

While revitalizing and refreshing your marriage through one-on-one time is important and can be lots of fun, too, I hope these additional benefits provide even more motivation to date your husband!

YOUR TURN: What benefits have you discovered come from dating your spouse?

May you find happiness wherever you are! Kim, your personal Sherpa of Joy at Too Darn Happy


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Happy Wives Club Book


THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book.  I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way.  It’s a marriage book line none other.  Guaranteed.

Want a Happier Marriage? Research Says Do This, Not That.

*Welcome to week four of this 12-week series based on the New York Times® bestselling book, Happy Wives Club.  Join me each week as I share 12 principles about marriage I’ve learned from some of the happiest couples around the world.*


Want a Happier Marriage - Do This Not That

Over the years, I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting so many happily married couples.  It seems like nearly every day, I bump into someone that reminds me happiness is not by happenstance, it is created.

Recently, on a press tour in Toronto, I was rushing from one appointment to the next when a gentleman in his early 70′s stopped me on my way out the door.  “I just celebrated our 55th anniversary.  Want to know our secret?”

Although I had somewhere else to be, I couldn’t help but to stop and listen.  I was meant to meet him, in that moment, and allow him to tell his story he was overjoyed to share.  

You wouldn’t believe how often I meet a married person who wants to share their enduring love story. And one commonality I have found among the vast majority of these couples, is they are a part of the second school of thought written about below.  

In the 4th installment to our 12 Weeks to a Happier Marriage series, HWC contributor, Kim Hall, shares why there are two schools of thought on this oh so important topic – and how one helps to create a happier marriage.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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There tends to be two opposing schools of thought on having great expectations.

The first recommends having no or low expectations. That way, you’ll never be disappointed, and when something good happens, you are always surprised. 

The second promotes shooting for the moon, as the old saying goes, because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

According to Cognitive Neuroscientist Tali Sharot, it turns out there is truth to that old saying. In her TED Talk The Optimism BiasSharot reports people who have great expectations always feel better overall.

In order for these high hopes to positively impact your marriage, however, there are a few important factors to keep in mind.

1. Set your expectations optimistically. Optimism, like its close sibling pessimism, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Be sure your perspective is set to positive.

2. Share your expectations with your spouse. As Keith at Black and Married with Kids notesunspoken expectations can wreak havoc on a marriage. Alternatively, when you share and agree upon your outlook, you have harnessed the Power of Two.

3. Enjoy the anticipation as well as the achievement. Nicholas Sparks said it best in Three Weeks with my Brother:  “Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work’s important, family’s important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming.”

4. Respond with ability, whatever the results. There may be setbacks along the way that require conversations and maybe even a change in plans. For those talks, bypass the arguments and get to the heart of the matter as Fawn recommends.  Developing and practicing an attitude of gratitude helps soften these challenges as well, helping to keep your mind and heart open to possibilities.

5. Learn from your experiences. Each time you go through this process, you gain more wisdom, knowledge, and practice. Take time to step back, ask yourselves what you could do differently and better the next time, and do just that.

Having great expectations for your marriage is not the wishful thinking of fairy tale land. Rather, it is a deep expression of your love and respect for each other.

As Earl Nightingale wrote, “You are, at this moment, standing, right in the middle of your own “acres of diamonds.”

It’s your marriage—make it shine!

Comment: What great expectations have made your marriage happier?

May you find happiness wherever you are!  Kim, your personal Sherpa of Joy at Too Darn Happy.


JOIN THE 1,000,000 MEMBER CHALLENGE: If you haven’t already done it, what are you waiting for? Join the club! It takes only a few seconds and, of course, is free.

Happy Wives Club Book


THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book.  I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way.  It’s a marriage book line none other.  Guaranteed.

sour cream coffee cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

In a previous life, I was an innkeeper.

My parents, my husband and I ran a family-friendly B&B that routinely hosted 30+ individuals per weekend.

We were regularly trying new recipes for flavor and their ability to be made ahead.

When we found dishes that had a terrific home-style taste and that could be prepared at least a day or more before, we’d put them into the breakfast rotation.

Not surprisingly, this soft and moist-crumbed cake was a regular and popular feature on the buffet.

Even though I have had this recipe for over twenty-five years and feel like I’ve made thousands of them, it still is the one I turn to when I have company, or when I want to bring something to a friend, neighbor, or event.

The recipe makes one bundt cake, but I always double it so I can have one to serve immediately and one to put in the freezer for later.


Sour Cream Coffee Cake 

Yields 1 bundt coffee cake.

Recipe can be doubled to make two. (I highly recommend doing this!)


  • 2 c. flour (10 oz)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 lb. butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 c. sugar (7 oz)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c. light or regular sour cream (If doubling, you can use a 16 oz container)


  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. walnuts (optional)



Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into bowl. Whisk to combine; set aside.

Mix sugar and cinnamon for topping; set aside.

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs with electric mixer until well mixed. Add flour mixture and sour cream to butter/sugar mix. Beat slowly until blended. Stop beaters, and gently stir batter up from bottom of bowl to be sure all the dry ingredients are blended in equally. Batter will be quite thick.

Spread half of batter in well-greased bundt pan. If in doubt, go heavier on the bottom half. Sprinkle half of sugar cinnamon topping on top of batter, then sprinkle half of nuts over sugar. Drop spoonfuls of remaining batter into bundt pan, spread out evenly. Top with remaining sugar cinnamon topping and nuts. Press nuts lightly into top of batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool for about 30 minutes, until pans are cool enough to handle. Run a plastic knife around edges of bundt pan, flip onto plate and then back over onto cooling rack.

Let sit until completely cool. Cut and serve, or wrap whole and put in the freezer.

I cut the cakes into 20 pieces, which gives a nice size slice without being overwhelmingly large.

This cake keeps exceedingly well in the freezer.

May you find happiness wherever you are! 

            ~Kim, your personal Sherpa of Joy at Too Darn Happy

Strong & Happy Marriages Begin Here: Harnessing the Power of Two

Strong and Happy Marriages Begin Here

Earlier this week, I published this fabulous post by Maggie Reyes.  In it, she answers a very simple question:

What is the best marriage advice you’ve ever received?

After reading how unique her answer to this question was, I wondered if I asked three more of my favorite writers the same question, if they’d all have similar answers.

The answer, in short, is not even close.

Each response was so different, wonderful, visual and unique that I’ve asked each one to write an article for you sharing the best piece of marriage advice they’ve received along this journey called life.

I hope you enjoy this impromptu series that began on Monday, The Best Marriage Advice We Ever Got.  Part one was written by Maggie with  Part Two, what you are about to read, was written by the wonderful Kim Hall at

Every day, for the remainder of this week, I’ll publish a new article that answers this one question and I trust it will inspire us all.  I am SO excited to read them myself!  Hope you’ll join me here all week.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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When asked recently about the best marriage advice we’d ever gotten, I really had to stop and think.

We’ve been married for 31 years, so there was a lot of mental sifting and searching to do.

Then, I recalled the best marriage advice we’ve ever gotten wasn’t really marriage advice at all, but something I had overheard at a country fair years before.

Part of the entertainment at the fair was being able to watch the horse pulls.

Those of us that could make our way through the forest of jean-clad spectators would perch on the bottom rail of the fence with our elbows hooked securely over the top.

The team of large draft horses would be led into the dusty ring, hooked to the sled, and would leap forward at the command from their driver.

Their hooves dug into the dirt and muscles would strain as they worked to pull more weight than any other team.

This is quite a feat, given that the horses weigh in around 3,400 pounds each, more or less, and the loads start at around 3,500 pounds, and can top out at close to 10,000 pounds.

I heard a little boy ask his grandfather how the horses knew what to do.

The weathered farmer replied that in order for the gentle giants to do their work on the farm, they had to learn about harnessing the power of two.

He continued, sharing that the horses were trained to pull in unison and were immediately stopped if they strained unequally against the yoke.

The danger of them going their own way meant that not only would the work not get done, but if they physically fought the constraints of the yoke, there was also a great risk of injury to everyone.

Plus, the damage to the equipment and the possibility of unplowed and unplanted fields could be catastrophic to the financial health of the household.

The similarity to strong and happy marriages is unmistakable:

Knowing you always have a teammate provides a regular and refreshing drink of encouragement.

The whole is greater—and stronger—than the sum of its parts, to paraphrase Aristotle.

Pulling in the same direction means progress towards and achievement of goals.

A road traveled together makes for a more joyful journey.

And especially this: A load shared is a load lightened.

 My husband and I have subscribed to this powerful advice of Harnessing the Power of Two, and it has made for an incredibly satisfying journey.

COMMENTS: Please share one way you are Harnessing the Power of Two in your marriage!

May you find happiness wherever you are! Kim, your personal Sherpa of Joy at Too Darn Happy


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Embracing the Gift of Possibility in Marriage

Embracing the gift of possibility in marriage

I am fortunate.  I grew up believing anything was possible.  

My father was raised picking cotton in Houston, Texas.  Within 20 years, he became known as one of the greatest Motown producers in its history.

My grandmother was a blue-eyed, blond haired beauty in Germany during Hitler’s horrid reign.  She fell in love with my grandfather, an African-American serviceman fighting in WWII.

They had a child together, my uncle.  In the 1960s, it was so odd for an African-American man and a German woman to have a child together that the local circus in Germany inquired about acquiring my uncle to be displayed (not kidding).

Yet, they made it work and later moved to the United States as husband and wife.

I’ve always believed in impossible dreams.  I’ve never known otherwise.  However, for many of my friends and relatives, it is a harder concept to embrace.  

That’s why I love this post by HWC contributor, Kim Hall.  She gives a tangible step-by-step for taking a marriage from possibility-impaired to embracing the gift of possibility.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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What you experience in life shapes your beliefs.

These beliefs then shape your experiences. 

This endless loop of cause and effect can be positive, or it can leave you boxed in with beliefs like these:

Nobody can live debt-free.

Only college graduates are successful.

Being happily married is a fairy tale.

When you embrace these statements—and hear them echoed by culture as the absolute truth—you can become blind to seeing the joy in the everyday of your marriage.

Have you considered you might be possibility impaired in your marriage?

Possibility Impaired is a phrase I learned from real estate author Gary Eldred:

Who are the possibility impaired? This type of owner confuses his diamond in the rough with a lump of coal. These owners don’t see the potential that their property offers.

With a simple rephrasing, Eldred’s information offers terrific marital insight:

Who are the possibility impaired couples?  This type of spouse confuses her diamond in the rough with a lump of coal.  These husbands and wives don’t see the potential that their marriage offers.

If you have spent any time here at Happy Wives Club, you’ve read about the joy and satisfaction that is possible in marriage.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, obviously.

There is enormous effort, patience, lots of love and forgiveness involved.

There are the things you say that are just as important as the things you don’t.

There are the multitude of little things that add up to a marriage that lasts.

So how can you move from being possibility impaired to being open to the gift of possibility in marriage?

Begin by asking yourself these questions today:

What does being happily married look like for me?  You need a vision to work towards.

What has to happen for me to be happily married?  Your responses will help you plan for action.

What is one small thing I can do today to move towards a happier marriage? Start small and work forward.

The truth is this: If you are willing to entertain the possibility of being happily married, you will open the door to much greater joy in your own relationship. 

Questions:  Have you been possibility impaired in your relationships? What advice would you give to help someone see the possibilities of a happy marriage?

May you find happiness wherever you are!

Kim, your personal Sherpa of Joy at Too Darn Happy


JOIN THE 1,000,000 MEMBER CHALLENGE: If you haven’t already done it, what are you waiting for? Join the club! It takes only a few seconds and, of course, is free.

One Simple Idea That Makes Every Marriage Better

One Simple Idea That Makes Every Marriage Better

Love, love, love this idea by HWC contributor, Kim Hall from  

For the first three years of this site, I was almost the sole contributor.  Then earlier this year, I invited other happily married writers to join me.

Best. Decision. Ever.  

As I’m traveling the country this week hosting meet-ups with local Happy Wives Club members in 12 cities, it’s wonderful to not only write but to be able to enjoy reading articles like this one that remind us all how important the little things are in marriage.

If you haven’t already done what Kim suggests below, give it a try.  I did something similar earlier this year.  It truly is one simple idea that makes every marriage better.

Enjoy the post and I hope to see you as I continue to travel the country in the weeks ahead.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day! 

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Do you remember those colorful puzzles where you had to find everything that was wrong with the picture?  Maybe the side-by-side pictures in some magazines that ask you to find the differences between the two.

We leave no stone unturned in our search to figure out what is wrong.

Oh, the joy: A misspelled sign, a flying pig, an escalator to nowhere!

There was such a solid sense of satisfaction as you discovered and checked off each error.

But do you remember ever noticing the joy in those images?

Probably not, because you had your internal search engine programmed to find every mistake.

What you pay attention to about your spouse is very similar.

When you focus on your husband’s faults, it distorts the bigger picture and chips away at your relationship.

The solution is simple.

Shift your focus to the good to improve your marriage.

I’m not asking you to ignore issues.

I’m suggesting a different approach.

I want you to focus on being grateful.

Just once a day.

Because gratitude is the spoonful of sugar that helps marriage in the most delightful way. (Tweet that!)

I wrote previously about Darren Hardy’s Thanks-giving Journal.

Following an argument, he decided to write to his wife to let her know how grateful he was for her:

While he struggled at first to look for those blessings, he found his attitude had completely changed to one of deep love and thankfulness once he finished with his message.

Believing he had stumbled onto a great idea, he began a year long project.

Every day, he would spend a few minutes noting just one thing about his wife that he admired, adored, or enjoyed, and wrote it down.

At the end of the year, he gave his wife this Thanks-giving Journal.

She cried and said it was the best gift ever.

What happened?

He was paying attention to the good, to the woman he fell in love with so long ago.

He detailed for her how she mattered, both to him and others.

Not only did it change his daily focus, but it improved the quality of his marriage.

Look for reasons to express your gratitude towards your spouse.

I encourage you to write it down daily, because gratitude is a matter of practice.

Say it out loud, too, with words like thank you, I appreciate that, I am so grateful when you do that!

You just might re-discover more to love about your other half, improve your marriage, be happier, and give the most amazing gift to your husband (and yourself)!

Question: How often do you let your husband know you are grateful for him?

May you find happiness wherever you are! Kim at Too Darn Happy


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5 Simple Steps to Reducing Stress this Holiday Season

5 Simple Steps to Reducing Stress This Holiday Season

5 Simple Steps to Reducing Stress this Holiday Season

On Wednesday, when I sat down to write 7 Ways to Create a Stress-Less Marriage During the Holidays, I had no idea HWC contributor, Kim Hall, was writing this post.

As soon as I received her email letting me know this post had been written, I knew we had a series in the making.

Kim usually writes over at but when she guest posts here for us, I’m the one who is usually to darn happy.

I trust you had a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday, and hope this new HWC series will help usher in a holiday season filled with less stress and more love.

Until Monday…make it a great weekend!

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The Christmas season ought to overflow with peace, joy, and love.

Too often, however, it is overshadowed by stress and irritation at the towering pile of “to do” post-it notes and lists.

I want to encourage you that there is a simple solution though: P-E-R-C.

E-R-C stands for Eliminate, Reduce and Cope, and it’s a strategy I learned from Melissa at Whole 9 Life.  I later added the P, which stands for Protect.

Behind it is a simple and powerful principle of making intentional choices that respect your time, money, and relationships.

Here are five simple steps to reducing stress this holiday season:

1.  List everything you and your spouse can think of that you love, want, or are required to do: Gift giving, attending parties and events, mailing cards, etc.  You may need a calendar to keep track, especially if you have children in school.  Seeing the events on a calendar can be a powerful visual to help make decisions!

2.  Make a first pass and categorize everything with a P, E, R, or C.

Melissa describes the process:

Identify those you can Eliminate, those you could Reduce and those you must simply Cope with. Consider evaluating time, money and accepted obligations all at once; you may be able to eliminate or reduce more stress than you believed. (For example, if cleaning the house on your day off is a big stressor, consider revising your budget to hire a cleaning service. If you’ve accepted too many social requests, prioritize one or two that are the most important to you, and beg off the rest. They’ll forgive you, and you really can’t afford to take on any more right now.)

Protect, of course, is for those to-do’s that are a real joy for you, such as Family Tree Trimming Day or a Christmas Eve service.

This process may take more than one pass as you negotiate the sometimes choppy waters of guilt, pride, obligation, and finance on the good ship Compromise.

If you get stuck, create a Pro and Con list to help guide your decisions.  You can also ask yourself: Would I enthusiastically add this to my seasonal events if it wasn’t there already?

3.  Create a master list and/or calendar of the items you choose after going through this P-E-R-C process.  Creating the master list with your spouse allows you to put in writing what you will do and what he will do, allowing you to successfully divide and conquer.

4.  Find reasons to be grateful for the Cope items.  Intentional gratitude will help these items pass more quickly and joyfully, as opposed to responding with cries, criticism, and complaints, which will magnify your annoyance. Need help getting to grateful? Start here.

5.  Savor the season. :-)  Remember there will still be busyness, as well as obligations that aren’t exciting, but intentionally choosing how to spend your time and being grateful for everything will ultimately reduce stress and increase joy.  And really, isn’t that what we’d all like a little more of this holiday season?

 Question: How will you use P-E-R-C to help reduce stress this holiday season?


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3 Simple Steps to Connect More Deeply with Your Husband

3 Simple Steps to Connect More Deeply with Your Husband

3 Simple Steps to Connect More Deeply with Your Husband

OH how I love HWC Contributor, Kim Hall!  

When I first visited her site,, a couple years ago, my first thought was, “This gal sounds pretty darn happy!”

For some, I know that’s a turn off; they immediately assume the person is being disengenuous.  But I’m an optimist so it drew me right in.  

The more I got to know her, the more I realized how deep that happiness ran (and her passion for practicing gratitude daily).

This much I know about Kim: she loves her husband, she adores her family, she is living the life she most desires, and she’s pretty darn happy!

For those reasons (and so many more), I love reading everything she writes.  So without further ado…

Until Monday…make it a great weekend!

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Have you ever gotten into an apocalyptic battle a civil discussion with your husband about how you are being treated like a slave are not feeling appreciated?

Did you gain insight and perspective, or did one or both of you just ultimately walk away from the conversation with more hurt feelings?

Some time ago my hubby and I learned a better way to handle these situations, and we always come away feeling more enlightened and connected.

Here are 3 simple steps to connect more deeply with your husband:

1. Set the stage. Plan for quiet time together, just the two of you (no television or other distractions), perhaps by taking a walk, relaxing after a meal, or just getting comfortable.

2. Ask the question. The essence is this:“What do I do that shows you I love you?”

I encourage you to introduce it like this: “I’m curious. I’ve been thinking about the things that I do or could do that show you I love you, and I wonder if you would share something I do that makes you feel loved.

Your husband may need some time to think, possibly beyond today, especially if he feels he’s being pressured to give the “right answer”, which is probably not his true answer. Just be patient. After all, nagging probably doesn’t make him feel loved. :-)

3. Respond with loving action. . . even if his answer is not what you expected. There’s an excellent possibility he may not answer with the ONE THING that you are sure makes his heart sing. But then, that is the whole point of asking, isn’t it? Your goal is to gather quality information and act with awareness so your husband will feel deeply loved. 

If his answer surprises and/or disappoints you, this is NOT your cue to pounce on him like a tiger on wounded prey. Take a few deep breaths and get curious rather than frustrated.

Take the opportunity to share with him as well. Let him know something he does that shows you he loves you.  These actions can take many forms, such as leaving little love notes, gently touching your shoulder, taking out the trash, giving you his undivided attention, etc.

Once he shares what makes him feel loved, be sure to do more of that, and you will be delighted by the results!

Remember, it is what we pay attention to in our relationship that grows. 

QUESTION: What do you do that shows your husband you love him, or what does he do for you? I invite you to join in the conversation!

May you find happiness wherever you are! Kim @Too Darn Happy


3 Tips to Avoid Fighting With Your Spouse

3 Tips to Avoid Fighting with Your Spouse

3 Tips to Avoid Fighting With Your Spouse

When I read this post by HWC contributor, Kim Hall, the first thing I thought was “Yes!”  I have always been a true believer that arguments aren’t a requirement in marriage; quite the contrary.  

In the this post, Kim gives three things you can do to successfully get your point across without saying something you are likely to later regret.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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Does your marriage ever hit rough spots?

Perhaps they are about time, money, the kids, or different visions for the future.

Whatever the topic, there are often times hot buttons that can set you off, and the two of you head predictably down that old rocky path to nowhere.

Tempers flare, thoughts pop out, and words burn.

Instead of traveling down that rocky path, I have three suggestions that have worked in our home to avoid fighting, and I believe they will help create a smoother journey in yours as well.

1. When you feel like yelling, speak quietly. Take slow, deep, tummy breaths, and give yourself a few moments before responding.  Hang your jaw for good measure during those moments, too. Yes, you may look and feel silly—I always do!—but it makes it much harder to feel angry. Be very intentional about the volume and tone of your voice and the words you choose.

Food for thought: If a fiery response from your last argument were the last words you ever said to your spouse, would you be grateful or regretful?

2. When you feel like condemning, be curious and questioning. Did you know you can’t be curious and angry at the same time? Being curious helps keep you calmer and more relaxed. Being curious also helps to create an environment where you come together to solve a problem rather than being at odds over it. Asking quality questions will help you gather useful information that will illuminate and help solve problems.

Food for thought: If this was a good friend instead of your hubby, would you respond with more understanding?

3. When you feel like withholding affection, be abundantly generous with your loveThis requires letting go of hurts and annoyances and remembering that your relationship is bigger than dishes in the sink, dirty laundry on the floor, or trash that needs to go out. When you are talking things over, sit side by side. Relax your muscles and take more deep, slow breaths.  Recall how you felt when you were dating, and reach out and touch your husband. (No worries about mixed signals: Remember Sheila’s post about physical touch not being a down payment.)

Food for thought: If you had just five minutes left on this earth, would that change your perspective and behavior?

All of these strategies take practice.

Be patient, graceful and forgiving with yourself and your spouse.

Recognize your habits will take time to change, as they generally have taken years to form.

Practice will never make your communication perfect, but it will certainly make it more peaceful and productive!

Question: What tips can you share to avoid fighting with your husband?

May you find happiness wherever you are!

Kim @ Too Darn Happy


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Happy Wives Club Book


THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book.  I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way.  It’s a marriage book like none other.  Guaranteed.

Lets Dance - Happy Wives Club

Baby, Let’s Dance!

“Let’s take a dancing lesson with lots of strangers, and then we’ll practice our  brandy-new skills at the dance afterwards!”

Surprisingly, my suggestion for the evening wasn’t met with the same enthusiasm with which it was delivered.

I suspect some of my fellow vacationers imagined that we’d make fools of ourselves and be asked to leave the event faster than Fred Astaire could say “Would you like to dance?”

While searching for an impromptu date night idea, I had found a website for the Knoxville Swingdance Association.

Their message for beginners was welcoming and low-key:

No special shoes required

Dress comfortably

Most important of all HAVE FUN

They certainly were speaking our language!

Throwing caution to the wind, we headed to the Laurel Theater.

Friendly club members greeted us at the door, and we paid our two dollar entry fee.

We continued into the large, empty, dance space and nodded to the few college-age couples milling about.

In a matter of minutes, the room filled with smiling folks of different ages and abilities.

The students on the stage cued up the vintage music on their CD player, and our jean-clad instructors stepped to the middle of the floor.

They deftly demonstrated a couple of steps, and we attempted to follow.

As you can imagine, there was much laughter as we tried to keep time and keep from stepping all over each other’s feet.

Then, our teachers switched things up by having us move to the perimeter of the room.

Every minute or two they’d call on us to stop dancing and ask the women to move to partner up with the man to her right.

We’d do a few more steps, share a few more laughs and apologies, and the ladies would shift places again.

Thankfully, every man was a gentleman, and everyone was a good sport.

When the lesson was done, but before the free dance started, the instructors cleared the floor.

They then enthusiastically whirled, twirled, and rock-stepped into their high-spirited rendition of West Coast Swing.

A few moments after they began, one of the dj’s called out, “Snowball!”

The dancers broke apart, came to the fringes of the circle, and grabbed a partner.

This scenario repeated itself every few seconds until everyone was out on the floor doing the best they knew how.

There were moments of mild embarrassment and utter terror—I have to lead a stranger in dance steps I just learned?!—and frustration at the learning curve.

However, we deemed the evening a rousing success.

I highly recommend a “Let’s Dance!” date night, not only for getting your bodies and minds moving, but also for stepping out of your comfort zone!