Tag Archives: marriage tips

4 Important Reasons To Smile At Your Husband Every Single Day

4 Important Reasons to Smile at Your Husband

I’ve been looking forward to sharing another article from Carlie Kercheval ever since she gave us this popular post on free and frugal ways celebrate our anniversaries (that’s been shared nearly 150,000 times)!

As a military wife and homeschooling mama of three, time is scarce.  So that’s why I’m so grateful she’d take a moment out of her jam packed schedle to write this post for us.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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Over the last 14-plus years of our marriage, I cannot think of a day that we were together that I didn’t smile at my husband.

To many, smiling is no big deal. But the truth is, it can make your husband feel loved, respected, empowered and desired. And I know for me, it is important that my husband feel all of those securities in our marriage (and more).

I remember the first time my husband made me laugh after our wedding. It was the first night of our honeymoon in Kaua’i. While he had made me laugh countless times prior to our first night as a married couple, something was just so fresh and new about it all.

I remember the smile on my face that night, full of love, respect, and desire for my new husband. And so does he. As a matter of fact he references it often. He tells me how he already knew I was the one he’d spend the rest of his life with, but that my smile that night somehow made it that much more concrete.

4 Reasons To Smile At Your Husband Every Single Day

1. Because you love him. It’s as simple as that. You love that man – and he loves you. What’s not to smile about? Even when you are going through a tough time in your marriage, don’t forget to smile at the one you vowed to spend the rest of your life with. It will help carry you through some of the roughest times with great joy and peace.

2. Because you want to empower him.  In this popular Ted talk, the hidden power of smiling was revealed.  Did you know that one smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate?  ”Smiling can help reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine, increase the level of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphin and reduce overall blood pressure.”  Smiling is contagious so becoming a smile inducer for your husband unleashes all the health and life benefits that come from this powerful facial expression. 

3. Because you respect him. I can’t think of another man on this earth that I respect more than my husband. I value him in a way that I didn’t think I could ever value another human being. I know for sure (because he’s told me) that when my husband is sharing his dreams with me or asking me to help him and I look at him and smile – he knows in his heart that I respect him as a man and as my husband. And that makes me happy!

4. Because you desire him. If you’ve spent any length of time here at The Happy Wives Club, you know that sexual intimacy is a large part of a happy marriage. And it should be. One of the wonderful blessings about being married to my best friend is the simple fact that I am also able to have physical and emotional intimacy with him! How awesome is that? And believe me, when your husband feels desired, it makes him excited to be an active part of your marriage!

YOUR TURN: How does your smile make your husband feel? I am excited to hear all about what a smile can do to brighten your husband’s day! Share with me in the comments below.


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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.

5 Things Baking Cakes Taught Me About Marriage

5 Things Baking Cakes Taught Me About Marriage

Prior to traveling to Minneapolis yesterday for press and to host a Meetup/book signing, I reached out to some of the bloggers in the Minneapolis area.

Immediately, I received an email from a food blogger, Amanda Rettke, and her spirit was just infectious.  I later learned she’d recently released a book on cakes and when I saw the beautiful colors on the cover, I knew I wanted it.  

Now, if you know me, you know I do very little baking (or cooking for that matter) but her book cover made me want to whip out my baking pans and get to work.

In thinking about all the layers and the delicious icing on a cake, for some reason, my mind went immediately to marriage.

An odd combination, I know.  But if I’ve learned anything in my 10 years of marriage, and 37 years of life, it’s that there is a lesson to be learned in everything…even baking cakes.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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(P.S. Minneapolis Residents: Watch me tomorrow (4/10) on Twin Cities Live at 3pm and then meet me -and Amanda Rettke- at 7pm. More Info Here.)


This could easily read, “5 Things Writing a Book Taught Me About Marriage.”  But an opportunity to write about a loving marriage and freshly baked cakes…what combination could be sweeter?

When I wrote my recently released book, Surprise-Inside Cakes, I had no idea I’d really be the one in for a surprise.  Writing my book made my marriage stronger.  If you don’t mind, I would love to share what I have learned with you.

5 Things Writing a Book Has Taught Me About Marriage:

1. We Are a Team:  It wasn’t always this way.  As a matter of fact, it used to be ‘my way or the highway’.  That (most obviously) got us into a really bad place and we eventually sought out help and support.  

One wise friend asked, “Are you two on the same page?  Such a simple question that offered up some significant insight.  The answer was no.  But we wanted to be, and therefore we made the effort to be.

When the opportunity to write this book was presented it all happened very, very quickly.  Even though my book is about cakes, making cakes, decorating cakes, decorating the inside of cakes, sharing my love and passion for all things surprise-inside cakes… everything that my husband does NOT do, I could not have done it without him.  As a team we tackled the long nights of me working in the kitchen while he did bedtime routines.  As a team we figured out the financial sacrifices that had to be made.  And as a team we celebrated the first milestone.  (With cake of course.)

2. Leaning on Him Makes Me Stronger: This was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn, and honestly is one that I continue to struggle with. Crying into my husbands shoulder offered me no comfort, I was convinced he would see me as weak and pathetic.  But it is in his nature to want to protect me and shelter me.  He couldn’t always solve my problems, but he most certainly wanted to be given the opportunity to try.

3. Having a Mutual Value System is Key: At the end of the day, after all the trials and tribulations, we needed common ground.  For us it was our faith.  We both feel so strongly in who we want to be in this world, but yet have very, VERY different approaches in how to achieve that.  I am more in-your-face, while he is a quiet (but oh so effective) leader.  Having a mutual ground, or place where our visions intertwined reminded me of my purpose when I would veer off course.

4. Listening to Him is Beneficial:  When I was making the 20th cake in 5 days and it was 11pm, and I had been on my feet for 14 hours straight, and things were not turning out, I would often turn to my husband.  I would ask him “Why isn’t this cake working?” and of course he wouldn’t know.  But what he did know is that I needed someone to hear me.  That I needed someone to ask me questions.  That I needed his perspective on the whole.  Thinking through him helped me regain my vision.

5. Our Time Together is Precious:  Hearing a word like DEADLINE on a regular basis can often mean that time is focused on the task at hand.  Which also meant that time with my husband was put last on the list of priorities. The book needed to be written.  The pictures needed to be taken. The kids needed support or meals or to be driven places.  There was always a need, but simply being there for my husband wasn’t one of them.

But I was wrong, there IS ALWAYS a need to remain present in our love.

You have to MAKE time together and be intentional with your relationship. Even in the middle of deadlines and school functions.  Share a kiss and a grateful hug.  Make sure your spouse knows they are appreciated!  Even better, plan a date.  You would be surprised how refreshing a romantic date is in the midst of a trial!

I was reminded of a quote I heard in church.

“You will never drift together, you will only drift apart.”

Having the opportunity to share my passions with the world is truly a dream come true.  I wanted to spend time on it.  I treated it like a treasure! I am so grateful for my understanding and supportive husband throughout the entire process.

Looking back I now can see that every trial that arose in the process has brought my husband and I closer together.  And for that, I am so thankful!

I am so excited to share this book with the world, and so thankful that I get to do it with my husband by my side.

Please do head on over to amazon and check out the book, it’s available for Kindle (for 60% off!) and in hardcover!


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6 Scientific Questions to ask about your marriage

6 Scientific Questions to Ask About Your Marriage

6 Scientific Questions to ask about your marriage

I am a research junkie. There are few things I love to do more than dive into stats and numbers.  

People are always shocked when I tell them I’ve never read a novel (at least not that I can remember).  

In the 80s, when I was required to read novels in school (think Uncle Tom’s Cabin), I’d head to the bookstore and pick up those yellow and black workbooks I loved so much (aka Cliff Notes).

I could never seem to work my way through a novel but I’d happily sit in the hallway, on the second story of our home, and read through the Britannica collection sitting on the shelves.  

My parents and I had a a contentious relationship (that’s putting it mildly) because I only responded to fact.  So when they’d tell me something was so because they “said so,” you can imagine how well that went.

Now, that I’m older, I still can’t seem to make my way through a novel, love nonfiction and can plug numbers into Excel spreadsheets for hours on end without ever getting bored (which came in handy as a hotel general manager).

Needless to say, awesome posts like this one from Cheri Gregory make me a do a happy dance!  Enjoy (I sure did ;) ).

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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I love research.

Sure, some people manipulate statistics to “prove” whatever they want.

But I love solid studies about relationships. To me, they’re an easy way for me to learn how to have the best marriage possible. (I’ve already paid enough tuition to the school of hard knocks!)

I’m not saying that we should slavishly adhere to every conclusion generated by every study.  Each couple and relationship is unique. 

But some statistics can be valuable tools for reflection and, as needed, recalibration. Here are six questions, based on scientific research, that I keep in the back of my mind:

1.  Is our ratio of positive-to-negative interactions at least 5:1?  If not, why?  Sometimes our ratio drops because we’re in a difficult spot in our marriage. Other times, it drops because we’re going through a tough season of life. Either way, conscious attention to this ratio helps me be more intentional about adding more positivity to my words and actions.

2.  Are we averaging an hour (or more) a day together?  During some seasons, this was all-but-impossible. But we kept it in mind as our goal. We didn’t want to settle for 15 minutes becoming the new normal for our marriage. Now that our kids are out of the house, we are eagerly “making up for lost time” because we’ve hung on to the belief that more time together is better.

3.  Do we communicate respect even when we disagree?  Of John Gottman’s “Four Horsemen” of destructive marital communication, the worst is contempt.  Gottman calls it the “single greatest predictor of divorce.”  Since we want the opposite of divorce, we aim for the opposite of contempt. We consciously express respect, even (or should I say especially!) when we’re at odds with each other.  (This is vital for me: I tend to be very sarcastic, and sarcasm easily comes across as contempt.)

4.  Have we laughed together today?  Laughter triggers the release of happy hormones in our brains, counteracting stress chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol. Daniel constantly tells me, “You’re just so dang funny!” which, of course, only encourages me to crack more silly jokes and look for the funny flip side in every difficult situation. When neither of us can muster up a laugh, we watch favorite comedy videos together to remind us how much fun it is to laugh.  (Bonus: #4 double-dips with #1!)

5.  When was the last time we walked down memory lane? Playing the “Remember when…?” game often gives a much needed redirection to our focus.

  • “Remember when we lost 5th gear on the Accord one hour into a ten-hour drive?”
  • “Remember when we brought home a second cat and the two of them fought all night long…all over our bed?” 
  • “Remember those bargain brand blueberry muffin mixes we used to buy, with blueberry-flavored “bits” instead of berries?”

Reminiscing is a powerful bonding activity. It reminds us why we got together in the first place and how much history we’ve built together. 

6.  What’s something new we can try together? Daniel and I have finally found a way to exercise together:  While he goes on a 3-hour bike ride, I drive to his destination and wait to pick him up. Okay, so maybe this doesn’t quite qualify as “exercising together,” but it is something new that we’re enjoying immensely. While he rides, I hang out at Starbucks and write; then, we enjoy lunch together and head home. While we love the many comfortable routines of our relationship, intentionality with newness keeps our routines from becoming ruts.

A few free downloads for you:

What questions do you ask to keep your marriage happy?


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Happy Wives Club Book



THE BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club bookI 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.

5 Ways to Keep the Spark Alive in Your Marriage


Earlier today, I had the pleasure of sitting with a wonderful group of women in Atlanta as a part of my 12-City Coffee Talk Tour (I’m in Chicago today if you can find the time to join us). 

What I’ve loved most about going from city to city and speaking with women in this community is being surrounded by such positive energy.

I can’t even explain how encouraging it is to connect face-to-face with women who believe in the power of love, the beauty of marriage, and the joy of a lifelong union.

During our conversation, someone said, “Marriage is hard work.”  Her comment reminded me of something a couple I once interviewed said, “Maybe the work in marriage is in getting it not to feel like work.”

That led us to an insightful conversation about the difference between “work” and “effort” and how the outcome of those two things can vary greatly.  I look forward to sharing more from that conversation with you this week.  

As I read this guest post by HWC contributor, Aesha Roberts, I thought, this ties in perfectly as a great example of the type of efforts we can make consistently to keep the spark alive in our marriages. 

Simple and small efforts that can yield great reward.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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I recently read a shocking statistic about marriage in a post from the New York Times: According to research, the passion and happiness a couple feels after they say “I do” typically only lasts two years.

As a happy wife who has been married for 7 years I can confidently say that it doesn’t have to be this way!

Research in the science of love reveals that it’s really simple to keep the spark alive in your marriage.  I’ve boiled it down to 5 simple practices that can take as little as 5 minutes per day.

You’re probably doing some or all of these things already, but when we do them with purpose and intention they become powerful! 

5 Ways to Keep the Spark Alive In Your Marriage

1) Appreciation: Look for new things to appreciate about your husband. For example, watch him for 48 hours and then say, “I love watching you (fill in the blank with something amazing about your husband).” This will help you see him in new ways and make him feel loved and valued. 

2) Spontaneity: I admit that this is a challenge for me, given the way that I love to plan everything. However, I experienced how amazing it can be to do things on the spur of the moment when my husband arranged a double date complete with a sitter in a matter of hours and whisked me away to enjoy a fun date night!  

3) Novelty: Simply doing something in a new way can re-ignite the passion in your relationship. For example, instead of just going out to dinner, try restaurant hopping. Go to one place for appetizers, another for your main course and another restaurant for desert. 

4) Variety: As much as my family loves the organic roasted chicken I make for dinner, they don’t want to eat it every night! The same could be said about many of the routines we have in our marriage, especially in the bedroom. Be intentional about spicing things up, especially between the sheets! 

5) Surprise: This can be as simple as stealing a passionate kiss when your husband least expects it, or as elaborate as planning a weekend getaway to a local bed & breakfast.  

It’s easy to get used to the things that make us feel good about being married such as routines, comfort, and security. The good news is that keeping the spark alive in your relationship doesn’t have to be complicated! Start with these 5 simple tips, 5 minutes per day and watch the love and passion in your marriage go to another level!


5 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong Through Crazy Work Schedules

5 ways to keep your marriage strong through crazy work schedules

If only we could figure out a way to keep life and crazy work schedules from impacting our fabulous marriages, we’d be golden!

Unfortunately, the reality is if we don’t figure out how to manage our work schedules, they will quickly manage us.

This guest post by the always wonderful Paula Rollo can help whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, businesswoman or a combination of them both.

When workloads begin to encroach on your marriage and time with one another, feel free to push back and say, “Not in this house,”

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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It can be tough to connect when one or both of you are working extra long hours.

My husband has had a crazy work schedule for most of our marriage, and so we’ve learned some important lessons along the way about how to thrive in a marriage when your time together is minimal.

At some points during our marriage we had conflicting work schedules, and other times my husband was working 55+ hours a week while I stayed home with the kids and even started working from home.

Our schedules are still subject to change, because of the industry my husband works in, but we’ve got a much better handle on how to keep our relationship thriving, even when our time together is not as much as we would like for it to be.

5 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong Through Crazy Work Schedules

1. Maximize the Time You Have Together - Don’t spend your time together lamenting that you don’t have more time! Instead, find fun things that create conversation and a relaxing atmosphere for you and your spouse! We try to have a game night at least once a week. This allows us to have fun and spend time chatting while doing something relaxing and entertaining for both of us. (I wrote about our favorite 2 player board games here if you want to check it out!)

2. Remember, It’s Only a Season – Even if it is a very long season, it is still just a season! Like I mentioned above, my husband has worked very long hours and had an unpredictable work schedule for most of our marriage. It is so easy to get frustrated with the scheduling during this season of life, but when I find myself getting upset I like to stop and remind myself this is just a season.

Four years with a difficult schedule is a long time for us, because we’ve only been married for 5 years and we’re only 23 years old (for those doing the math, yes, we did get married when we were just 18!). When I gauge the length of this season by those standards, it seems very long. BUT when I consider the “forever” that I have to spend with my spouse, picturing 4 years of wonky scheduling doesn’t seem like so long when compared with 70 years of marriage together! It’s all about the perspective.

3. Don’t Take Tiredness Personally – I remember for a long time I would get offended if my husband came home from work and went to sleep straight after dinner. Sometimes, he would even fall asleep in the middle of me talking to him.  This was tough for me to handle as a new wife, but then one night, we were lying in bed talking, he fell asleep in the middle of one of HIS sentences. Right then I realized, he’s just tired.

I learned that it doesn’t mean he’s bored of me, or doesn’t enjoy my company. It simply means he’s worked for 14+ hours straight today and he needs his sleep. Learning to understand that his tiredness had nothing to do with me, enabled me to be a much more gracious wife!

4. ‘Thank You’ Goes a Long Way – Remember to thank each other for working so hard. I can speak from experience that it can be rough running everything at home, but remember to thank him for all the work that he is doing to provide for the family. It’s a simple thing, but “thank you” can do a lot to encourage him after a long day of work.

5. Brainstorm Together – If the schedule is really not working for either of you, spend some time brainstorming together to see if you can come up with another way to make ends meet that wouldn’t be so difficult on one or both of you. Sometimes, even just exploring your options and figuring out that you are currently doing the best thing for your family, can help encourage each of you to keep going when the schedule gets tough!

How do you keep your relationship strong even when the work hours are not ideal? Share your tips in the comments!


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3 Tips for Playing on His Turf During Super Bowl Sunday

3 Tips for Playing On His Turf During Super Bowl Sunday!

It’s that time again. Super Bowl Sunday is upon us and husbands everywhere are preparing for the big day!

I am very proud to say that this Happy Wife is preparing for the big game as well. No, I’m not planning the menu nor shopping list for a big Super Bowl party.

I have taken an online crash course in football and am planning to seduce my husband with my newly acquired football prowess. ;)

My husband will be one of the 100 million plus viewers tuned in to watch the grid iron gladiators go at it. This year as he sits down to enjoy the game, he will be in for a huge surprise!

Instead of focusing on the commercials, food or falling asleep as I usually do while watching football, this year he’s going to be knocked off his recliner when he discovers my attempt to learn more about something he enjoys. The course for women from Sports Basix was far worth the investment as I’m sure it will pay off great dividends in our relationship.

3 Tips on Learning More About His Interests

Broaden Your Horizons, Deepen Your Appreciation

Must I share all of my husbands interests? Absolutely not. Does it help to learn more about my husband’s interests. Absolutely! It gives me a deeper appreciation of who he is and gives us new things to talk about and explore together. When I discover why my husband enjoys an activity, I discover new things about my husband.

Show Your Spouse You Can Take One for the Team

My husband is not interested in fashion at all, but he researched fashion guru, Tim Gunn and even went so far as to try and setup a lunch with him for me. I was floored that he would take the time to learn more about someone just because I enjoyed them.

I was not a hiker before we married. Handsome hubby let me know that hiking was one of his loves. I strapped on my hiking boots on our honeymoon and now look forward to family hikes.  Take the time to show your man you want to enjoy his favorite things with him too.

Give Him Space and Show Respect

If you just can’t get into what he’s into – that’s okay.  Even though my handsome hubby went through great lengths to try to contact Tim Gunn, he has not watched more than one episode of Project Runway with me. You know what, that’s okay too.

He does respect my weekly Project Runway time and he gives me the space to enjoy it. Every once in a while he asks, how was your show?

I may not be by his side for every game but at least I was willing to become a student of the game in order to be a better student of my husband. I may not become an avid fan of the NFL or college football or any sport for that matter, but my handsome hubby knows that I am his number one fan and I am willing to play on his turf.

Question:  What have you learned to do to play on your hubby’s turf?

The Right Way to Recover From a Fight {3 Practical Tips Worth Remembering}

The Right Way to Recover from a Fight

It is not often the prolific yet down-to-earth Kathi Lipp is able to guest post for us here at Happy Wives Club.

She’s the author of The Marriage Project and a ton of other wonderful books, she speaks, she teaches and when she’s not doing one of those three things she’s wife, mom and friend.

I’m honored to have here today with some very practical advice. 

Purposing to agree to disagree or resolve an issue without it resulting in an argument is always the goal.  But when that fails…here are 3 tips to recovering quickly…and the right way.

Until Monday…make it a great weekend!

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It had been a rough day.

My husband, Roger, and I both had surgery within the past month, and neither of us was getting a lot of sleep.

On top of being tired and in pain, we were both feeling the pressure of not accomplishing the things we needed to get accomplished with work, kids, church and life.

And that’s when the fight happened.

No, it wasn’t a knock-drag-out kinda fight. (Roger has much too calm a personality for our disagreements to escalate.) But he felt he was right and I wasn’t respecting that, and I had a different view point and didn’t feel I was being heard.

It lead to some not so uplifting and encouraging words.

These tensions happen to the best of couples. But how do you recover when there is obviously something strained between you? Here are a few techniques that, after the initial blow up, I use to help me (and us) get back to normal:

1.    Step Away

No, this doesn’t mean stomping off in a huff and slamming a door along the way just to make sure he knows that you’re mad. (Trust me, he knows…) This means getting a glass of water from the kitchen, taking the dog for a walk, or any other tactic to get you out of the red zone to stop you from escalating the situation.

2.    Stop Making Your List

Yep – it’s easy to start tallying all the ways your husband said the wrong thing, said it in the wrong way, and at the wrong time. This is where as an adult, I need to start looking at how I contributed to the blow up. Yes- I may have had valid points, or even been in the right, but this isn’t a customer service rep who isn’t helpful, this is my husband who I love and will be dealing with for a long time. Figure out your pattern and how it can be more constructive next time.

3.    The Objective is to Resolve – Not to Win

As long as you’re fighting, no one on either side will be heard and nothing will be resolved. Start sentences with phrases like, “When you said ___________, I felt ___________.”  Or, “What I heard you saying was _____________.”  These sentences keep you from blaming, and give both you and your husband time to work towards a resolution. And a resolution is the only way that either of you “win”.

Small conflicts in a marriage are healthy – and help you practice for when the bigger issues come up. Take these three steps to heart so that you and your husband will feel closer after a disagreement, not further apart.

Question:  How do you and your husband recover from a fight (or disagreement)?


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12 Ways to Make Your Love & Marriage Last

12 Ways to Make Your Love and Marriage Last

I would not be exaggerating in the least to tell you that Maggie Reyes is one of my absolute favorite marriage bloggers.

She blogs over at ModernMarried.com and I absolutely love hearing stories about her and her husband as they clearly love, adore and respect one another.

The last time she wrote a guest post here and told us all to “Give some vitamin F2 every day” in our marriage, that post instantly went viral – shared more than 50,000 times within the first 24 hours.

When it came time to release my debut book, she not only joined more than 200 bloggers on a blog tour hosted in honor of launch week but she coordinated the entire thing.  I loved the post she wrote for the blog tour so much that I asked if I could share it with you. 

I could go on and on about how much she has meant to this community but instead, I’ll just let you meet her on your own.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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I believe you can have a happy marriage.  It’s why I’m a proud member of the Happy Wives Club and encourage you to join us if you haven’t already.  It’s why I love the Happy Wives Club Book and hope millions read it. 

There was a time I thought I would be single forever. Then there was a time I thought I didn’t know how to be a wife.  Now, years after getting married, I can honestly say that happy marriages are possible and all around us. And I want you to have one.

Thinking about what makes a happy wife, a happy life and a happy marriage, I finally realized it was time to write my own manifesto.

The following is my verbal declaration of intentions and views on what makes love last.

12 Ways to Make Your Love & Marriage Last

  1. Check in EVERYDAY. Asking “how was your day?” is the key to being part of your honey’s life. Don’t take that question for granted. Don’t grunt and say okay and move on to “what’s for dinner.” You married the love of your life so you could be with them every day right? Remember that.

  2. There is no auto-pilot for love. Flirt. Kiss. Hug. Remember that you create your relationship with every text, every wink, every “good morning” and every “can’t wait to see you tonight after work.”  Never stop creating and you will never stop loving.

  3. Dream Deeper instead of bigger. Dreaming deeper is asking how you would like to spend your time, not your money, and then finding ways to do more and more of that every day. What makes your heart sing? Do that. Trust me on this, it’s not the car you drive, it’s how you drive it.

  4. Forget “the institution of marriage” and remember “the family of us.” We are all making it up as we go along. And that’s okay, you are in this together!

  5. Pour love into pain as often as needed. Forgive. Forget. Let go. Move on. Love more. Open your heart to receive love when you need it too. If you aren’t sure how to receive, say so. Use your words. Listen with compassion. Believe that it will all work out in the end. It will.

  6. Remember that feeling you had on your honeymoon? So much joy and laughter and love. Feel that now. Yes, right now. If your honey did something hyper-annoying right before you read this, then just close your eyes and remember the feeling you had back then. Take a deep breath and remember that feeling. How can you bring it forward to today? Take turtle steps if you need to.

  7. Say no to negativity. No criticizing, complaining or eye rolling. Ever. Make requests not complaints. Remember at the end of a request you may get what you asked for. At the end of a complaint all you get is an argument.

  8. Keep the sexy going. Studies show married people have better sex. You are married. The odds are in your favor. Practice.

  9. Make deposits into your emotional bank account every day. Run little errands, bring coffee, take the dry cleaning. Be kind. Act like a team. Remember you are on the same one.

  10. Make space for friends. Your husband may not want to know that your favorite color of lipstick was discontinued. And he definitely does not want to know which star of Downton Abbey you think is the cutest. Even if your husband is your best friend, make time for girlfriends. They can help you keep your marriage stronger.

  11. Let go of the idea of perfection. Expect marriage to be crooked and chipped and weathered. Expect it to grow and change and surprise you. Expect to be disappointed every once in a while. It happens. Nothing is wrong. That is life. Expecting perfection is the root of so much pain. Expect largely imperfect love instead. You can write your own love story and it can be beautiful, even if the curtains are dusty and the plates are chipped.

  12.  Believe in the power of love and of that force to get you through tough times.  Love is the highest power of all.  Use it. 

QUESTION: Have you written your own marriage manifesto?


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7 Simple Ways to Create a Marriage That Rocks

7 Simple Ways to Create a Marriage That Rocks

7 Simple Ways to Create a Marriage That Rocks

It is rare for our home page to be turned over to the husband of one of our members.  But the few times it has happened, it has always been a genuine treat.  Today is no exception.

Byron Davis is a life and career coach, the founder of Live Your Epic Life, and most importantly, a phenomenal husband.  I know this about him because I know him personally, as well as his beautiful wife, Annett. 

He adores his wife.  Is never afraid to dote over her in public.  Respects her.  And is her greatest supporter.

Annett and Byron were college sweethearts, and although they celebrated their 17th anniversary last year, I can honestly say they still remind me of two newlyweds.

I have watched their relationship over the years and their love -and marriage- is the real deal.  And now he’s joining us to share some simple tips on creating, and maintaining, a beautiful marriage that lasts a lifetime.

Until Monday…make it a great weekend!

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There are a few times a year when it just feels right to declare epic shifts and we desire to push the reset button on purpose in order to reboot our lives.

The first month of the year is one of those times. Now is the perfect time to refresh our minds, our bodies, and our marriages so that we continue to make our marriages “epic” by intentionally making the rest of our lives the best of our lives!

7 Simple Ways to Create a Marriage That Rocks!

1. Keep Your Marriage A Top Priority

I realize this first one should go without saying but everyone knows how “life” goes. We get busy and over extended and the first two things we seem to always neglect are our health and our marriages. Get clear about the 2 or 3 things you and your spouse love doing together every month and protect those times together. Put them in your schedule immediately before the tyranny of the urgent sets in.

2. Renew Your Vows In A Fun And Creative Way

Renewing our vows is always a special time. If you have not done it in awhile, why not have some fun with it. Instead of the traditional “church” or scenic park, why not arrange to do it on the back nine of a golf course, or on surf boards, or on the top of Mount Whitney. I think you get the drift. Make renewing your vows an epic and creative event to commemorate the bond between you two.

3. Put Your Spouse First Then Your Kids

Just like it makes sense to place your oxygen mask on before you place the mask on your kids (in case of an emergency plane landing), it’s important to take care of the health of your marriage before you attend to the kids.

This is great advice for two simple reasons: 1. If you truly want the best for your kids, then be sure to model the best in front of your kids. 2. The more strong and happy you are with your spouse the stronger and happier the whole family will be. My family is one of the happiest I’ve ever seen, and I truly believe it’s because my wife and I laugh and have fun together (it rubs off on the entire family).

4. Have a “State of The Union” Address

The first month of the year is a great time to take a walk in the park with your spouse and dream about how you want your year to play out. Highlight the blessings and milestones over the past year and establish what new and exciting things you will look forward to together. When you connect through this sort of exercise it puts both of your heads and hearts on the same page which instantly deepens the relationship without any more effort.

Here’s how we did ours (with all the questions we asked included)!

5. Change The World Together

Decide to be “that couple”, you know the one that gets all of your couple friends to volunteer for a day or do an epic bike ride or walk for a cause. When you both work together on something neutral like this, it brings you together in a unique sort of way that celebrates the “philanthropist” in both of you. Lead together. Don’t just do it together. Together, get others to join you.

6. Out Give Each Other

When both parties decide to try to out give each other unconditionally, it brings out the creativity in how you express appreciation for one another. Out giving each other also causes you to be more observant and in-tune with each others needs, wants, and desires. This regular kind of attention to each other develops a servant’s heart and a deeper appreciation for what each of you brings to the relationship.

7. Become Each Others Biggest Fan

This one is powerful. Ladies, take it from me, a “man’s man”; sometimes we are insecure little boys at heart and the one vote of confidence that trumps all others is yours. When you encourage and correct us (by making it seem like it was our idea, in the ninja sort of way that you do) we feel like we can take on the world and would do anything in turn to support you. When both parties are in on the act, the more you give, truly the more you’ll also receive.

Make Today Epic,


Question:  What things do you intentionally do to make your marriage rock?


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4 Ways to Find the Sweet Spot in Your Marriage

4 Ways to Find the Sweet Spot in Your Marriage!

4 Ways to Find the Sweet Spot in Your Marriage

Love, love, love Tracey Goss!  She’s incredibly funny.  A brilliant writer.  A husband-adoring wife.  And a proud momma.

She’s also the sister of our health & fitness editor, Olympian and fitness expert, Annett Davis.  And you know we love us some Annett Davis around here!

Pull up a seat.  Grab your cup of coffee.  And enjoy the beauty and wisdom of this post.

Oh!  And the “Turn off, Turn in, Tune in, Turn on,” is common sense at its best.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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Have you found the sweet spot in your marriage?  

Maybe I should have titled this post The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Sweet Spot In Your Marriage because what I am sharing with you today is exactly what propelled my marriage from mediocre -declining as fast as my debit card right before payday- to one of the greatest joys of my life!

1. Rose-Colored Glasses.  Sure I know the idiom “she’s looking at him through rose-colored glasses” is used as a condescending dig. I remember the moment I reached for the pair of rose-colored glasses which had been tucked away a few years after I said “I do.”

Looking through those magical lenses helps me to see all of the positives that drew me to my husband in the first place as well as some additional bonuses that have developed over the years. That grey hair he has acquired around his temples drives me wild!

2. My Momma Taught Me to Take My Seat!  The artist formerly known as Prince had it right when he penned these words, “I don’t care where we go and I don’t care what we do.  Just take me with you!”  As you might have gathered by the title of tip number two, my mother was responsible for Prince’s platinum single.  Well, not really, but her marital advice has proven to be worth more than platinum.  She advised me to say “yes” whenever my husband invites me to join him – wherever he goes. Time together no matter where it is spent is precious.

3. If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Say Something Funny!  That’s our new mantra!  One of the best ways to avoid being entrenched in a heated conversation is not to worry about making a point nor having your way.  Forget your pride and don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself.

Recently, my handsome hubby spontaneously asked me to prepare and take our kids to school on a day which was originally deemed “dad’s day” to drive.  (You know the drill, pack the lunches, make sure the uniforms are ready to go, and oh yeah – get yourself dressed and ready for work as well.)

At this point, I had three options:

  1. Sanctimoniously give him a speech about the importance of making said request the night before at the latest (the old respect my time whine).
  2. Give him the silent treatment, which I am not particularly good at nor fond of.
  3. Don’t take myself or the situation so seriously.

I decided to join him in the kitchen (where he was loading the dishwasher, to lighten the load he had just dumped on me) and tell him how hot he looked sharing the housework with me in his boxer briefs.  We both had a great laugh and enjoyed each others company for the rest of the morning.  We began our day with a wink and a smile instead of a snark and the stink eye.

4. Turn Off, Turn in, Tune in, Turn On.  This is probably one of the most universally ignored bits of common sense with which woman-kind has been blessed.  Turn off the computer, washer, television, telephone, reading lamp, Kindle or whatever is usurping your last bit of energy.  Turn in to bed with your hubby, so you can tune in to one another.  Leave some gas in your tank for him so that you can turn on your “love engine” and I guarantee you, you’ll enjoy the drive!

Your Turn: We all have our own directions to finding that sweet spot in marriage.  I’d love to hear how you stay the course and manage the bumps in the road on the way to marital bliss! Let us know below in the comments.

Your fellow Happy Wife, Tracey Goss, the “Ringmaster” @3BrosFlyingCircus.com


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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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12 Great Lessons for the First 12 Months of Marriage

12 Great Lessons for the First 12 Months of Marriage

12 Great Lessons for the First 12 Months of Marriage

Earlier this year, I was at a conference in Chicago and overheard someone sharing the purpose of their blog, “It’s all about doing exactly what you want to do in life; what you’re passionate about.  

“It’s about crossing everything off your bucket list long before you kick the bucket.  Living your best life now.  That’s why it’s called Why Not Girl.”

One week later, I received an email from a wonderful friend of mine who said, “There’s someone I want you to meet.  You’ll love her.”

Wouldn’t you know it, the woman was the “Why Not Girl,” Lauren.  

We were introduced over the phone, talked about love, life and marriage and I instantly knew I wanted her to write a guest article.  

If you are a newlywed, this post is just for you!  And if you’re not a newlywed, please consider sharing this with all those you know who are in their early years of marriage.  Enjoy!

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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I thought to myself, “What a great concept!  Encouraging women to conquer their fears and pursue their greatest hopes and dreams.”

My husband Chris and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary last weekend.  While we were spending time together on the balcony of our hotel overlooking Monterey Bay I began thinking of the last 12 months of our lives together and everything that we’ve been through.

Not only had we been married, but we also decided to both take on new jobs (I was starting my own company as well as packing our bags to move from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area).  Talk about taking on a lot of change!

But with all of this, I realize that with each month that has passed by, we have both learned a lot about ourselves, the other and how we want to have a happy marriage.

12 Lessons for the First 12 Months of Marriage

Lesson from Month #1 (November): Sharing family time during the holidays is essential.  We’re lucky that we both get to see our families at Christmastime, but we made the decision to alternate families for Thanksgiving.  It’s definitely rough on the family that doesn’t get us this first time around, but it’s a fair way to see them when one set is on the East Coast and the other is in Southern California.

Lesson from Month #2 (December): Before you throw something out, ask first.  When you’re packing up to move 2,500 miles away, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of boxes that suddenly take over your apartment.

But even when you are so desperate to get the job done, it is a good idea to ask your husband if something holds a special meaning before tossing it to make room for all of the new dishes you just got off your wedding registry.  You may not know the hidden beauty of that “ugly” candy dish.

Lesson from Month #3 (January): You don’t always need to talk, especially in the car.  Just because you are not in constant conversation doesn’t mean that your husband doesn’t like talking to you.

Chris and I drove along Route 66 and there were definite stretches of time where we just listened to audiobooks.  I sometimes wondered if it was because he didn’t have anything to say to me, but I quickly learned that a great story narrated by Edward Hermann from Gilmore Girls is just too good not to listen.  (FYI, definitely listen to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.)

Lesson from Month #4 (February): Gifts don’t need to cost much.  Since I’m working on building my own website and have given up a steady paycheck, it was hard to justify spending a lot on a Valentine’s Day gift for my husband.  But I also didn’t want him to think that he is going to lose out in the gift department.  So I made him a handmade gift and it turns out that he loves it more than anything I could buy him. 

Lesson from Month #5 (March): Make your own party.  Being an Irish girl from the East Coast who lived in Chicago, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed in the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations here in San Francisco.  But with the help of my husband, we learned that we’re both really creative and can easily have a good time with some beer, green food coloring and each other.

Lesson from Month #6 (April): Celebrate our independence.  Both of us have lived on our own and lead pretty busy lives.  I think it’s safe to say that we absolutely enjoy being with each other, but we also appreciate the time we have to ourselves.  It keeps us who we are and also gives us tons to talk about over dinner.

Lesson from Month #7 (May): Take-out delivery is just a phone call away.  I’m not the best of cooks (fortunately my husband is).  But for those times that I have all intentions to cooking him the best meal after he’s been gone on a work trip and it doesn’t turn out as planned, it’s nice to know that both of us are not against having the great new Indian food place supply us with dinner.  Thank you, Grub Hub!

Lesson from Month #8 (June): Patience is a virtue.  This rule applies even on the golf course. While my husband is a spectacular golfer, he knows that I’m not.  We’ve learned that perhaps nine holes may take as much time as a full round and if a group comes up behind us, there’s nothing worse than a frazzled wife with a club in her hands.

Lesson from Month #9 (July): We may never become regulars of anywhere.  While we may want to one day have a place where everyone knows our name, we realize that it may not be anytime soon.  Right now we’re having a lot of fun exploring the area and doing as much as we can.

Lesson from Month #10 (August): There’s nothing like home sweet home.  Even though both of us like our independence, it’s always nice to get back to see the family.  It puts a lot of perspective on where you are now and where you hope to be 35 years from now.  Thanks, Moms and Dads for showing us two great examples of a happy marriage.

Lesson from Month #11 (September): Good things come to those who wait.  We don’t get summer now until September and while the transition in seasons has been hard on me, I do need to remember that we’re not shuffling through snow for five months out of the year here.  I need to stop complaining on how cold it is.  Heck, it’s not like we have to wear down coats here.

Lesson from Month #12 (October): Time flies when you’re having fun.  If this is the case, then this has been the most fun year of my life.  That being said, I think we both have made a mental note to savor every second that we have together.  If life is going to fly like it has been, then it’s up to us to keep pausing to remember how we felt a year ago and what we hope we feel forever.

 Question:  What were some lessons you learned (or are learning) in the first year of marriage?


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