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The Best Marriage Advice We Ever Got

The Best Marriage Advice We Ever Got

The Best Marriage Advice We Ever Got

I must admit, I’m a bit of a ModernMarried.com stalker.  I love the main blogger and chief encourager at MM, Maggie Reyes.  

If you’ve visited Maggie’s blog, you know she has a gift for lifting the lowest spirits and shares her perspective on love with honesty and transparency but always without judgement.

She loves being married and her joy whenever she talks about marriage is infectious.  I just want to rub a little of what she’s got all over the world every day.

As the saying goes, “Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.”

She is wonderful.  She is a delight.  And her marriage benefits from that spirit of happiness daily.

When I stumbled across her post on the best marriage advice she ever got, I wondered if it was the same as the best marriage advice I’ve ever received.  It wasn’t.  It was entirely different which made it even that much more interesting to me.

Now, I’m not sure which piece of advice I think is better.  Maybe we’ll just call it a draw.  Both are words of beauty, something we can add to our marriage each and every day.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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When The Hubs and I were dating we went to a lot of workshops together.  My favorite of all the different classes we did was about connecting with your heart. It was a 6 week class. I don’t remember the name of the teacher, the place where we took it or what we studied. All I remember from the class is one sentence. One, glorious and powerful sentence:

You create your relationship every day.

That’s it. So simple.

The teacher said that people wonder why relationships die. They go out with someone, it’s all fabulous in the beginning and then suddenly something happens. The relationship gets stale.

He went on to say, relationships do not get stale. People forget – you create your relationship every day. What people do is stop creating and then wonder what went wrong.

Well I guess if you count all that, it’s a whole paragraph. 6 week two hour class – and one paragraph was all I got. Oddly enough, it was all I needed.

We left that class and promised, solemnly swore even. We will create our relationship every day. We will not forget and go stale. We will be fresh. Every day.

Once we decided we create our relationship every day then the next question was – how?

We decided to text each other at least once a day. We don’t like to call each other during the day when we are both focused and working, however we religiously text each other at lunch time.

Texts go something like this:

Hubs: 1:05 pm Loving my over-scheduled wife kisses.
Hubs: 1:21pm Nashville soundtrack is out.
Wifey:1:33pm Yay! Itunes! Late lunch kisses!

Hubs: 12:14 pm Manipulative Assistant Ellis is out on Smash. New showrunner making changes.
Wifey: 12:18pm Yay!
Hubs: 12:12pm And more musicals, not just Bombshell
Wifey: 12:20pm Yes! They all need jobs on different musicals – more songs.
Wifey: 4:52pm Lovey dovey kisses for my hubsicle!

Wifey: 9:02 am Off to sort mail
Hubs:9:03 am Just whistle while you work

We have fun. We make each other laugh. Sometimes The Hubs reads Entertainment Weekly during his lunch time. He has declared himself my personal news-machine hence the updates on my favorite shows.

We create. Fresh Everyday.

Just like Starbucks and Krispy Kreme.

When we get home we hug. We stop whatever we are doing and hug.

Hugs are sacred.

Then we leave the day behind, change clothes, open the mail and start with our Daily Check-In.

We go on dates. When a new movie is coming out we ask each other out. We plan it. As if we were dating. Because we are.

We plan vacations. We love -with zeal and devotion- planning vacations. Not just the vacation itself, but the planning of it. I love beautiful hotels and magical experiences. The spiritual retreat with my favorite author. The acoustic concert with my favorite singer. The Hubs loves guide books and maps. We both love making memories together.

Whenever handed lemons, we promptly make lemonade. On a trip to Costa Rica we accidentally locked our keys in our car. (Notice that I say we. The details don’t matter, we are a team and it happened to both of us. That ‘we’ really helps when there is a lemon parade. ‘We’ got in this together and ‘we’ will get out of it.)

Anyway, as I was saying, there we were not going anywhere in Costa Rica. For several hours.
So we took a hike. Literally. We hiked up a hill. Saw cows. Laid in the grass and looked at clouds. Laughed and hugged.

One of my favorite memories ever was created when our keys were locked in our car.

Lemonade. It’s the new classic coke.

Fresh. Everyday.

COMMENTS: Name one thing you do to keep your relationship fresh.  Drop your comment on the Happy Wives Club Facebook page where hundreds of thousands of women engage daily.

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.”

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.


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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.

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 ModernMarried.com.  Part Two, what you are about to read, was written by the wonderful Kim Hall at TooDarnHappy.com.

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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7 Ways to Make a Good Marriage Great

7 Practical Ways to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great

7 Ways to Make a Good Marriage Great

Here is one of the things I love most about this club.  We run the gamut from women in powerful corporate positions to stay-at-home moms to entrepreneurs to women pursuing every passion project imaginable.

When I first met Courtney Joseph, I was amazed at how much she loved being a stay-at-home mom.  And I mean she LOVES it!  

The pleasure she gets out of doing the dishes, folding laundry and cooking dinner, is the same pleasure I get from being an entrepreneur.  

When her husband comes home, it’s usually to a clean house with dinner on the table.

When my husband comes home, it’s more often than not to a “straightened up” house (if I get to it before him) and I’m a master “take out” chef.  

How we take care of our homes couldn’t be more different but how we love on our husbands is exactly the same: Just the way they like it!

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a corporate raider, this post has wisdom for us all.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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Back in November of 2009, I was featured on the Rachael Ray Show.  I was not featured because I had some depth of wisdom on marriage but rather I was “Exhibit A” of a “Happy Wife”.  Their producers zeroed in specifically on how I shared that it was a joy for me to take care of my husband. 

They sent a camera crew to my home to record me cooking, cleaning and taking care of our children with a smile.  It certainly didn’t feel television worthy, but to Rachael Ray, I was an anomaly.  During our interview, she sought to understand how a girl with a college degree could find fulfillment in this.  She even went so far as to ask the audience, with a show of hands, how many found this offensive?

This will only be offensive if you are comparing your marriage to my marriage.  But since you are unique and your husband is unique; then you have a unique marriage.  It’s important that we learn what works best in each of our own marriages as we seek to please our own husband and no one else.

Here are 7 practical ways to take your marriage from good to great.

  1. Tell your husband you like him!  This is different than just saying you love him.  It can be so habitual to say “I love you”, that it loses its meaning.  But truly does he know that you like and enjoy him as a person?  Have you told him lately?
  1. Praise his good decisions.
  1. Be gracious with his bad decisions.
  1. When you disagree with him, discuss it in private – not in front of the kids or friends. The respect you give him will draw him nearer to you.
  1. Work toward not being critical of your husband – compliment him. Your husband married you because you made him feel wonderful.  Continue to make him feel this way.
  1. Listen –- every husband is different. Open your heart and listen intently to his frustrations,     worries, and fears.
  1. Kiss him like you mean it!

This list takes a lot of selflessness and you may feel like your husband will never reciprocate – but a great marriage with deep intimacy doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice and developing healthy habits that enrich both of your lives so you can reap the blessings that God desires for you and your marriage.

So do it — try number one right now!  Text, email, facebook or tweet your husband and tell him you like him.  

Then when you see him next – praise him for a good decision he has made. Surely you can think of at least one – he married you right?  That’s a good decision!  He will walk two inches taller. 

Proceed to numbers 3, 4, 5 and 6 and trust me – he’ll LOVE number 7 and I bet you will too if you are practicing the first six.

Need more encouragement in your walk with God, marriage, parenting and homemaking?  Then join thousands of women who have begun the journey through my newly released book titled, Women Living Well: Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your kids and Your Home. Don’t forget to download your free Companion Study Guide >> here <<.


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Top 10 Marriage Advice

Top 10 Marriage Advice That Really Works

Top 10 Marriage Advice

It’s human nature to want to share our knowledge with those around us. Everyone seems to want to share their two cents about marital advice, whether it’s welcomed or unsolicited.

I’ve reached out to some of my favorite bloggers, closest friends and family members to see what advice they’ve received that has really had an impact over the course of their marriage.

“Marriage is not all about ‘What’s in it for me?’  If you feel that way, turn it around, and say, ‘What can I do for my spouse, without expecting back?’  Then do it.  Advice I got from Sheila Wraye Gregoire that completely improved my marriage, from the first few days I tried it.” ~Gina Badalaty, Mom Blog

“You can’t change people. The things your husband does while you’re dating that irritate you are still going to irritate you twenty years later. People can change, but YOU can’t change them.” ~Nicole Quier, One Punky Mama

“You are not going to agree on everything but you can disagree fairly.  Discuss one topic at a time and do not over-inflate your frustration by bringing other issues into the conversation.” ~Jessica Cohen, Found The Marbles

“Don’t argue about money because when the argument is over you are still broke.” ~Courtney Slazinik, Click It Up A Notch

“Always continue to do what you did to get them.” ~Sharon Moskowitz

“Stop and think if it will be a big deal in a few days, weeks, months, or years before you pick a fight about it.” ~Elaine Dahle

“Marriage is about knowing your spouses buttons and choosing not to push them.” ~Gevenieve Blair

“Let your spouse have his/her own hobbies that do not include you. Even though you
love each other, everyone needs a little break to be themselves for a bit.” Cindy Dudas, Whatever Works

“Decide if you want your spouse to do something – or do something YOUR WAY. . .because
once you try to correct them, you may find yourself doing it yourself.” Hillary Hoch Chybinski, My Scraps

“Things get crazy quick so make sure to set aside some time to just talk, nothing else
in the background…just talk. Communicating is key.” Lauryn Blakesley, The Vintage Mom

For our honeymoon, my husband and I took a cruise to Bermuda and somehow we got roped into participating in the ship’s “Newlywed/Not-So-Newlywed” game show. It was one of the greatest – and most embarrassing – experiences of my life.

The following day we ran into an older couple on the ferry. The woman was holding tight to her husband’s hand as she gave me the best advice. “Fall in love with your husband every day. It keeps your love interesting and at the forefront of your relationship.”

I wish I could thank her now. I remember those words every day and ten years later I’m still falling in love with my husband over and over again.

Question: What advice has someone given you that has helped you in your relationship/marriage? (NEW: You can now leave comments on this page – just scroll down and click through the Comments button below)


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