Are you looking for wedding vows ideas or for a marriage poem that could be suitable as a reading for your wedding ceremony? If so, here is a heartfelt poem, ‘I Promise’ by Dorothy R. Colgan, which might fit your … Continue reading
This is the time. This the end-of-the-year, beginning-of-a-New-Year time when people reflect on their past and their future. They make resolutions with new goals, ambitions and directions for a new year and for their future. Often we consider these to be personal/individual. However, we invite you to consider including New Year’s relationship resolutions too. These would be new goals, ambitions and directions for your relationship and for your marriage. Doing this can help you keep your relationship from stagnating as it keeps you both moving forward with new ideas and renewed energies directed within your relationship. Whether you are engaged and getting married soon, or been married for many years, this is a great time to sit down together and plan next year’s ideas for relationship adjustments or improvements as well as plan for new fun and exciting experiences you can share together. You can also use this time to reflect back in general on your shared past and envisioned future to improve emotional intimacy and strengthen your love bond.
Relationship tune-up plus
Essentially you can use this time of year to do a relationship check-up and tune up- it’s like giving it a boost to boot! Sometimes it may seem awkward or you may feel like “it never seems to be the right time” to discuss such topics with your partner. But, this is the time of year when it’s not only appropriate, it’s expected for you to set New Year’s resolutions. So, it’s the right time, without awkwardness, for you both to share your views and discuss ideas for your New Year together!
Need some conversation starters? Have no clue about what you can adjust or improve in your relationship? Don’t know what new fun or exciting experiences you can have together? Here are some ideas that may directly apply to you or that can inspire you to think of additional ideas for your own relationship.
New goals, adjustments, and improvements in the relationship
- Changes with chores for one, the other, or both of you
- Changes with physical expressions of love and/or sexual activities – type/frequency/initiation
- Changes with time spent together and/or apart/time management
- Changes with routines
- Changes with child rearing
- Changes with financial management/bills/what big ticket items/expenses to save for
- Changes with how you treat each other and encourage each other/what, when, how
- Changes with an addiction that affects your relationship
New fun or exciting experiences together
- Try a new sport together/Take newbie lessons
- Decide on a local attraction you both like and get a yearly membership there (some places also offer extra perks like reciprocal discounted or free privileges to other similar type places for the year as well, like other museums or zoos or gardens)
- Go to one of your “someday I want to go” places so you can cross one more thing off the list
- Join a health club and exercise together
- Learn to play the same or different instruments, then jam/play together for fun, or entertain your friends and family
- Plan a day trip to explore a new-to-you town or city
- Plan a Valentine’s day experience
- Plan a visit to far away family members or friends you’re longing to see again
- Plan on a monthly fun activity you want to regularly participate in (card game, bowling, biking, sailing, book club?)
Don’t feel like you have to make all sorts of changes and plans. Discussing and setting just a few New Year’s relationship resolutions together each year can be enough to strengthen and grow your relationship. Anything you both agree to and feel excited about will re-invigorate your relationship as you begin to realize more fun, more respect, and a deeper love connection with one another.
Learn more tips and skills towards realizing a successful marriage at FLPremaritalCourse.com
“I’ve Got Your Back”
Trust is an essential ingredient to having a successful relationship and a fantastic marriage, but it takes time to create trust in relationships and to feel it. It also takes intention and effort to maintain it. When looking up definitions of ‘trust,’ you’ll find that it essentially means to have a firm belief in the reliability, truth, safety and strength of someone or something. Let’s look at each facet of this diamond that makes up trust, which is at the heart of each great relationship.
The ideal would be for each partner in a relationship or marriage to have the very highest level of belief and trust in their partner. In order to achieve that, each of you would need to repeatedly and consistently exhibit behaviors that would show the other that you have these admirable attributes…
• Reliability: consistency and dependability
• Truth: honesty
• Safety: protective and causing no harm or danger
• Strength: the power to resist strain and stress, potency, toughness
The main point of view of holding a firm belief that you trust your partner is that you can count on them, that they have your back, that they are looking out for you, and that they are supportive and there for you even when you express bad feelings or encounter negative events in your lives. In the traditional wedding vows this is expressed as “in good times and in bad.” Betrayals and disloyalty erode trust, especially if the couple does not fully discuss and work through those negative occurrences to re-establish enough trust again.
To improve feelings of trust in your relationship, it can be helpful to identify examples of behaviors representative of each attribute identified above and then work to improve those as they contribute to increasing trust with your partner.
For instance, here are some examples of behaviors in relationships that could demonstrate their related attributes, but you may well think of others to strive for that are more meaningful for you.
• Reliability: on time to meet you, calls or texts as agreed upon, regularly does a chore or task as expected or requested (you can count on them)
• Truth: honest about past experiences, present day issues/feelings/experiences, future needs/dreams, someone you can talk to and expect sincere reactions from (there for you, not deceptive or betraying, supportive with your negative feelings)
• Safety- someone you can safely talk to without feeling ashamed, demeaned, dismissed, avoided or rejected by, someone who values your safety and well-being, someone who does not verbally or physically abuse you (“I’ve got your back”)
• Strength- someone with the smarts and stamina to be tough in the face of life’s adversities and that can be a partner to help you both pull through any rough times, a tough go-getter that will pull their weight in the marriage to help you both get ahead and be happy together (looking out for you/looking out for us)
You may notice that these attributes are often held by our best friends as well. A good friend is usually seen as someone you can count on, feel safe talking to, and who you expect to be in your corner, as you would be for them. Is it any wonder that great marriages often start with a strong foundation of true friendship as well?
To gain more relationship skills for a great marriage, go to http://FLPremaritalCourse.com
Did you know that Florida offers several perks to couples who take a Florida premarital course as part of their pre-wedding preparations?
They do! We’ll tell you about them here and also provide you with several tips to help you avoid problems with getting those perks when you’re applying for your Florida marriage license.
Before getting married in Florida, you will need to apply for and get a marriage license in any Florida county. The license is only valid for 60 days, so make sure you obtain it and marry within that time frame. You don’t have to get married in the county where you obtain the marriage license though, because the marriage license can be used in any Florida county. After the wedding, your wedding Officiant just needs to submit your completed and signed marriage license back to the county where you obtained it.
Florida resident couples who plan to marry in Florida qualify for a discount on their marriage license fees of $32.50 if they show proof of having taken an approved premarital preparation course. As an added bonus, the state will also allow them to waive the usual Florida marriage license 3 day waiting period.
However, a few couples may experience challenges with getting these perks when they go to the County Marriage License offices or when talking with the clerks if they are not properly prepared. To help you avoid any difficulties, follow these suggestions.
1. Complete your Florida premarital course within one year of the date you apply for your marriage license.
2. Verify that the Florida premarital course provider is registered/approved (listed as a provider) in the county where you will apply for your marriage license (“your county”). There are only certain types of providers that are authorized to provide premarital counseling services or premarital preparation courses by Florida Statute. However, it is not enough to use the services of one of those licensed professionals or clergy. The provider, their program, or their Church organization also must be registered/approved in your county.
- Check with the provider’s website, send them an email, or call them to ask if they are a provider for your county.
- As a further check, contact the county directly. Go to their online listing of providers if they have one, or call their marriage license department to make sure they can find the provider on their list. Please note that the provider may be listed in some counties under one or another of the following possibilities for the name: provider’s name, instructor’s name, company’s name or church name. Because of this, and sometimes due to errors with spelling a name, it can sometimes be tricky for some clerks to locate any particular provider’s name. If you are prepared ahead of time and know what name to use or what page number on an online list your provider is found on, then things are likely to go smoothly at the marriage license office.
- In a rare scenario of a clerk still being unable to locate your provider’s information, note the clerk’s name for future reference, and we suggest you speak with a supervisor, and/or call your premarital course provider to ask for their assistance. They can often help to resolve the issue.
3. Take printed copies of your Certificates of Completion from taking an online Florida premarital course, or take original Certificates for each of you to the marriage license office. Most Florida counties will take a printout/copy of the certificates. Just a few counties in Florida state that they require original certificates. Be sure to find out if you are getting a marriage license from a county that requires an original Certificate so that you can arrange to get an original Certificate, if needed. (Although we’ve heard of a few couples who have presented a printed out copy of their digital certificates and obtained their marriage license without incident even though they were told they needed to present an original certificate- to be on the safe side- we suggest that if they say they want an original certificate, take an original certificate).
4. If you are short on time, consider this other idea. You can apply for a marriage license from a neighboring county that accepts a printed out/copy of the Certificate of Completion instead of a county that requires an original certificate. Your provider or the county directly should be able to tell you which type of Certificate of Completion they require.
Envision Love, LLC (also known as FLPremaritalCourse.com) is listed as a provider in most counties of Florida. We are found on county provider lists using either our instructor name Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams or using our company name Envision Love, LLC. Go to http://FLPremaritalCourse.com to find out more and to enroll in our Florida premarital course. You will not only get the perks of learning how to have a successful marriage, but also get the perks that the state of Florida offers you!
What is a postnuptial agreement anyway?
It’s not as common to hear about these as it is to hear about prenuptial agreements. A postnuptial agreement is largely like a prenuptial agreement, but it is agreed to and signed by each member of the couple after the couple is already married. Keep in mind too, though, that courts may continue to favor prenuptial agreements over postnuptial agreements (search ‘postnuptial agreement’ on http://www.americanbar.org to read more about this difference).
Traditionally, prenuptial agreements conjure up images of disputes before the marriage as couples argue about financial issues and try to decipher whether their partner loves them for themselves or just for their money (in the case of a large disparity in income or assets between individuals). But prenuptial agreements as well as postnuptial agreements can be helpful and increase intimacy and trust as couples communicate about important issues to arrive at decisions that will cover financial and property matters in case of either one’s death or divorce. These agreements, if done properly with the assistance of lawyers, essentially make matters easier and clearer if those situations should arise. Having such an agreement can help alleviate the unknown in court and adjust some of the decisions a judge might otherwise have to make to be more in line with what a couple has pre-specified.
Did you know that one issue that can be addressed in postnuptial agreements can be matters about ownership and/or custody arrangements about your beloved pet dog or cat in case of a separation or divorce? It may surprise you to find out that in most U.S. states, including Florida, pets are still legally treated as property to be equitably divided during dissolution (divorce) proceedings. And what you consider equitable is not necessarily what a court would consider as equitable under laws they would need to follow. So instead of your pet being considered a valued family member with potential arrangements made for shared custody or visitations, most courts will determine your pet to be similar to a toaster or a car with a decision imposed as to which person will get this property (pet) and that’s that from then on.
Overcoming the Stigma Associated with Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help you and your partner reach decisions about many things, including property division, alimony, bills, and even your family’s pet. Although you make many discoveries about each other and make decisions about all sorts of issues both before and after your marriage, sometimes couples avoid discussing certain uncomfortable topics. Postnuptial agreements can help couples reach agreements on touchy subjects and can be used after months or years, as your situation changes- for instance, you can include decisions about pets that came into your lives prior to your marriage as well as pets that joined your family after your marriage.
Keep in mind that making such formal agreements can be seen as another responsible thing that you do as part of becoming a responsible married couple. After all, you buy life insurance even though you don’t plan on dying young or leaving your spouse before you’re both old and grey. So even though you don’t plan on divorcing your spouse either, think of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement as a useful tool that can help you both in case things do not go as you both currently envision for your future rather than as an assault on your love and commitment. You can decide things before animosity and strong emotions cloud your judgment. Remember too that most contracts like a car lease or a home mortgage have clauses that specify what happens if something goes wrong, even though you don’t plan on defaulting on loans or having a need to break a lease when you sign those documents.
Similarly, drawing up a suitable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be a prudent thing to do. And, you’ll both like knowing that you are determining and agreeing together as to what is equitable for your lives, rather than leaving it entirely in the hands of the courts.
If you still decide you don’t want to put your wishes down in a legally drawn up document, at least take the opportunity to have pointed discussions with your partner about financial, debt, child, pet and property issues. Communicating about such important issues that are not necessarily part of your daily dialogue can go a long way towards strengthening your bond and creating a mutual resolve towards a shared vision for your marriage.
For advice about current laws and legal questions about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, consult an attorney in Florida for assistance. Enroll at http://FLPremaritalCourse.com for additional premarital preparation. Most counties in Florida accept our Certificate of Completion that qualifies Florida residents for a discount on their Florida marriage license and a waiver of the 3 day marriage waiting period.
Two Families, One Thanksgiving
Now that you’re both becoming part of two families soon, you will want to discuss your couples thanksgiving traditions. Where and with who you will be spending this holiday tops the list of talking points.
So, where will you spend Thanksgiving?
Since each of you are probably used to spending the Thanksgiving holiday with your own family it can be a challenging conversation trying to figure this out.
Here are some alternatives to consider as you and your partner work out your Thanksgiving plans. Use the below possibilities as a springboard to your discussion. You may come up with a different plan that will work for you. Be prepared to brainstorm and negotiate as you narrow down to the best idea for your Thanksgiving holiday this year.
1. Spend it with one family and call the other one’s family.
2. Split the time and spend some of the day with one family and the rest of the day with the other’s family.
3. Arrange to invite both families (if nearby) to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday altogether at one of the parent’s houses.
4. Invite both families to all eat out together at a Thanksgiving buffet dinner (neutral territory).
5. Celebrate a just-the-two-of-us Thanksgiving. Then either call or video chat with each other’s families.
6. Celebrate with friends only. Either call or video chat with your families.
7. Make the Thanksgiving holiday do double duty and have it also become a party related to the wedding, such as an Engagement Party or Bridal Shower where you can also invite close friends as well.
8. Agree to take turns going to each other’s families every other year.
9. Take turns going to each other’s families but agree to some uneven schedule you both agree to, such as three years here, then one year there.
10. Just make a decision for this year. Agree to table discussion about future years until those years arise. Decide on any criteria (such as financial if travel costs are involved) you both think would be important to include to help you achieve a mutually satisfying decision in the coming years.
11. Celebrate Thanksgiving always with one family but celebrate a different important annual holiday with the other family.
12. Celebrate Thanksgiving on two different dates during Thanksgiving week, for example on Thanksgiving day and on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Arrange to spend time with each family on the different dates.
Whatever you decide, the most important thing is to listen carefully to each other’s feelings and ideas and then to arrive at a mutually agreeable decision that you’re both happy enough with. Agreement on any other Thanksgiving-related issues will just be gravy on top.
We would like to thank our customers this Thanksgiving holiday season. Thank you for taking our Florida Premarital Course and for including strengthening your relationship for marriage as part of your wedding planning. We wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving.
“One day, in your search for happiness, you discover a partner by your side, and you realize that your happiness has come to help you search.” ~ Robert Brault
This is a sweet love quote from Robert Brault. It’s a clever play on words calling your loved one “your happiness” and with it also meaning that person is your happiness. Then they also get on board on a voyage with you to jointly continue seeking happiness together. Onward life voyagers!
You can start an online voyage of new discoveries to enhance your marriage by taking our online premarital course together at FLPremaritalCourse.com – only you and “your happiness” can find out the interesting places you may go!
By Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams
You’re engaged and planning a wedding.
It’s certainly an exciting time! However, be aware and be careful to not let this happen to you… Some couples encounter a problem in the months and weeks before their wedding day. One or the other begins to feel disconnected to their partner.
Why would this happen if you are both in love, happy and perhaps spending even more time together than usual? Several things can factor into this feeling of disconnect…
Often it’s because couples end up spending less quality time together. Some couples spend less time together during the wedding planning phase, and others may even seem to spend more time together. However, the time is increasingly shared or diverted to others and task-oriented towards completing wedding arrangements through meetings with vendors, family, and friends. If you let it, it can be easy for time alone as a couple, connecting with each other and having fun, to dwindle.
Chores that must be done while wedding planning also take up a good portion of the couple’s enjoyable and romantic time. Chores are not necessarily fun, yet they must be done. Planning the logistics is often heavily placed in one person’s hands (traditionally the bride’s). This can also make one person very busy with tasks and to-do lists, not only distracting them and taking them away from their partner, but also feeling more resentment if they start feeling upset that they are doing more than their partner. Even when brides and grooms help each other to do the many tasks involved in planning a wedding, they are usually focused on just getting those things done, not in sharing intimate moments of meaningful interactions together.
In other cases, the disconnect can be related to the sometimes difficult process of negotiating through arguments and problem-solving with each other to finalize all of the decisions needed to realize a successful wedding day.
It’s hard to feel enamored with each other if you’ve been disagreeing on a line item on your list for the past several days.
What are some ideas that can help you both avoid feeling disconnected or alienated from each other while planning your wedding?
Schedule private time together for an enjoyable activity regularly (at least several times per week). Lunch together, mini-golf, time in the bedroom cuddling or more, and beach-time swimming and smooching all count. So does a half-hour of uninterrupted “just talking” time that does not involve wedding task talk or blaming talk.
Seriously consider using a wedding planner to handle many of the aspects you are trying to do yourself. If you don’t think your budget allows for this, develop the to-do lists together with your partner and agree early-on as to an equitable division of the tasks, before the going gets rougher.
Try to keep and encourage a sense of humor, comedy, and mischievousness with each other while out running errands and doing mundane chores off your to-do list. Keep the mood light and playful as often as possible while doing the chores. For example, try putting on a comedy show on the TV as background noise, listen to a funny song or to a compilation of these, have some jokes ready to tell each other, and make it a point to find and share funny things you’ve seen on video websites or on other social media with each other while working on wedding-related unexciting or repetitive-type tasks. The idea is to make your time together less boring, joyful and more fun.
Here’s one more idea for taking a break from the mundane and decreasing the feeling of disconnect with each other. Take a premarital preparation course. This is just-the-two of you time. And a premarital preparation course typically includes new topics for discussion that help you each learn more about each other. This type of communication often increases feelings of intimacy and connectedness. Some premarital courses are found online and offer more interactive and lighthearted content and exercises (for example, ours at http://FLPremaritalCourse.com). This makes it easier to fit into your wedding planning schedule and also improves your enjoyment of spending this quality time together- all while you both gain marriage boosting skills that further you towards having not only a dream wedding, but also a dream marriage!
Here’s some thought provoking marriage advice from famous Oscar winning actor, Michael Caine. Now an octogenarian, Mr. Caine shared his cheeky and insightful views about the secrets to having a long-term and happy marriage during an interview with Esquire Magazine. He had several interesting perspectives. Let’s take a look.
Celebrity: Actor Michael Caine
Length of Marriage: Married to his second wife Shakira of 42 years
During the interview, Mr. Caine was asked about the important elements to maintaining his successful marriage. Well, his first answer was to always have two bathrooms! We told you he was cheeky! So, the gist of this suggestion was to avoid sharing a bathroom with your wife or you will probably have trouble getting in there for your own shaving, teeth brushing, and other needs. Interestingly, we have first-hand knowledge of another couple who were very happy after they married, not just because of the usual love and marriage reasons, but also because their new house came with two bathrooms so they wouldn’t have to share one bathroom and toilet anymore. So, perhaps there is really something to this idea, even though we haven’t come across this while reviewing marriage research studies yet!
Next, the actor reported that he and his wife are both equal partners and indicated that this was “terribly important.” Mr. Caine indicated that they both work hard each day in their own way. In their case, he stated that she is not “the little woman” but that “she runs the whole business” while he works on screen. This highlights the importance of valuing the work and efforts that each partner of the couple does for the good of the family, the unity of the couple, and the success of the marriage.
This is in stark contrast to having inequality in a relationship. Inequality in a marriage often contributes to lack of respect towards one spouse initially and then to mutual lack of respect. This all prompts instability and distress in a relationship. What might “inequality” look like? It’s when one person starts to feel and act as if they are “more (important) than” their spouse. They also use words and actions to convey this and may become more controlling and possibly even aggressive in time. So with his second idea, Michael Caine shares an insightful ingredient to marriage success- become partners that are both working hard, both equally valued by each other, and working towards a shared vision as a couple.
His final tip for having a successful marriage is: “You must not lead parallel lives.” Mr. Caine explains that parallel lines do not meet and suggests that in a marriage that would be the equivalent of leading more and more separate lives. This would be where perhaps your spouse doesn’t go with you often and then doesn’t know some of your friends. Also, you start spending less and less time together and leading separate lives (parallel lives). He reports that in his marriage, they are usually spending time together and know each other’s friends. He states that “you’ve got to introduce your wife to everything.” To summarize: Avoid parallel lives and introduce your husband or wife to everything so that you generally are participating in life together as a couple, rather than leading separate lives.
And although it is important to have some personal time and interests as well, both for balance and respect in a successful marriage, certain things will create parallel lives that can work against you if you are trying to have a happy marriage. Destructive parallel life behaviors can include keeping certain relationships secret, not inviting your spouse along (they can say yay or nay, but at least ask), and spending more and more time away from your spouse and with others instead.
So it turns out that Mr. Caine shared some good marriage advice from his experience in a 40+ year marriage. Hopefully another one of his legacies can include touching the lives of some couples with his suggestions as couples endeavor to likewise have their own successful, multi-decade marriages.
Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams with Envision Love, LLC offers a fun and interactive online premarital preparation course that provides couples with more ideas and opportunities to bolster their relationship. Visit http://www.FLPremaritalCourse.com to get started on the path towards enjoying a long-lasting and happy marriage.
September is National Courtesy Month!
In celebration, we’re challenging each other at the office and our readers to come up with and use new ideas to increase courteous attitudes and behaviors towards loved ones. Let’s start with the basics.
What is courtesy? A quick online search pulls up definitions that include ways of thinking, feeling and acting, which express politeness, civility, and respect. Here are some ideas to get you started…
- Instead of demanding that your partner do you a favor (“Get me …”) or assuming that your partner will do your “usual” favor for you (such as making you coffee, or fetching you something you asked for)… politely ask for the favor including the word “please” and also be sure to include a heart-felt “thank you so much” after you have been the lucky recipient of the favor being done for you. Stop thinking of these usual favors as entitlements. Remember that the other person is actually choosing to do you a favor- so be polite in your requests and be purposefully appreciative.
- When you’ve asked for or received a spontaneous favor from your loved one, challenge yourself to come up with an idea to reciprocate by doing some nice favor for your loved one during the next few hours. That way you can help make them feel well cared for and appreciated by you too in the same day. If they haven’t asked you for any favor, ask them if they’d like this or that until something strikes their fancy and do that for them. These little things count and they add up over time.
- Think of things you are doing that are the opposites of being polite and change your ways to being the more polite version of you. Convince yourself that you can do this for a week, and before you know it, you’ve done it for a month. A year? Get courtesy to start snowballing in your household! Here are some examples to get your ideas flowing.
- Contribute to the niceness of your living space by putting away things or cleaning up without being asked to.
- Help your mate with a task so you are instead doing it together. That will make it more fun and get it done faster when done with your help and companionship.
- Stop using offensive words when communicating with your partner. Avoid cursing, being rude, yelling at, or criticizing your partner. Instead, choose to contribute to the emotional well-being and self-esteem of your loved one. Encourage and praise your partner for all that you cherish about them.
- Give undivided attention to your loved one when they are talking to you. Put the cell phone down, mute or turn off the television, possibly even make a physical connection, such as with a touch to their shoulder or hand. Make eye contact and listen wholeheartedly to show respect and care.
All of these suggestions go a long way towards showing more love and respect towards your partner. However, they are just the beginning. We’re sure you can come up with some clever or new ways to make your loved one feel more respected. So make this National Courtesy Month be just the first of many months and years where you both benefit from courtesy as a vital part of your relationship.
Go to FLPremaritalCourse.com to learn more strategies for a long-lasting, happy relationship. Please share with your family and friends too!