Trust in Relationships

Happy Couple, Trust in Relationships

“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

Implementing LOVE in your Life Together

Love in your life If you’re here, it’s safe to assume that you’re happily in love and are seeking ways to strengthen your relationship further. But what is love?

Everyone has their own definition for love, whether it’s a feeling, a gesture or something more. Rather than define it, we’ve decided to use the word as a guiding method for implementing LOVE in your life and for relationship success!


Listening to your partner is key. If there isn’t proper communication in a relationship, problems can build up until they are beyond repair. By listening to each other, you will both be able to understand the needs of the other and work to ensure both of you are happy and comfortable in your relationship. Couples that have good communication are less likely to seek a divorce.

Overlooking our partner’s flaws is also a very important relationship skill. If you think about it hard enough, you can always find some flaws that your partner has. But, nobody is perfect! Don’t focus on the negatives, rather, appreciate all of the positive aspects that your partner brings to the table. Couples that are happier tend to be more positive, so do your best to hone in on the good aspects. And, if it’s something that truly bothers you, make sure you communicate it with your partner. After all, if you don’t tell them, how can you expect them to know that it bothers you?

Valuing your partner goes hand in hand with overlooking their flaws. Showing how much you appreciate them is important, after all, we all like to know that our company is desired and enjoyed. Relationships with couples that feel needed, loved and valued tend to be longer lasting.

Encouraging your partner’s interests goes a long way in maintaining a happy and healthy relationship. After all, everyone has different interests. Even if you’re not interested in all of the same things as your partner, being supportive of their activities or interests demonstrates that you care about the passions of your partner.

By keeping these things in mind, we hope we’ve given you another definition for the word, “love”! Discover more tips for marriage and relationship success by taking our fun, online Florida premarital course.


Traits of Happy Couples

couple painting together


Happy couples keep finding ways to improve their relationship

No matter how old you are or how long you’ve been together, there is always something you can do to improve your relationship. Couples in a relationship naturally want to experience nothing but bliss together. Learn the traits of happy couples, and start improving your relationship today!

1. Cultivating Common Interests

After the initial phase of excitement and passion, couples often realize that they don’t share as many interests as they originally thought. This can be a sad realization. However, happy couples accept the things they cannot change and work to develop more common interests together. By doing this, couples are able to find more activities to enjoy together that can spice up their life! It’s also important to develop your personal interests. This will allow you both to enjoy your own interests, without depending only on your partner to have fun.

2. Walking Together

Another characteristic of happy couples is walking hand-in-hand or side-by-side. By walking together, as a pair, couples tend to feel closer. Plus, it shows that there is equality in the relationship rather than one individual with dominant leadership roles. Couples that walk together realize the importance of their partner and place them ahead of their desire to get someplace or see sights more quickly.

3. View Your Partner In a Positive Light

Nobody is perfect — we all have our flaws. However, happy couples maintain a positive view of their partner. If you ever look for something your partner does wrong, you’re sure to find something. But, the same goes for the reverse. Couples that maintain their positive perspective pay more attention to the things their partner does right rather than wrong. These couples are much more likely to enjoy a long-lasting and successful relationship.

4. Saying Key Phrases

In relationships, you need to always show your significant other how much you care. Regardless of whether you had a terrible day, feel sick, or just had an argument, it is important to demonstrate that you want to be in the relationship. By always saying “I love you”, “Have a good day”, and “Good night”, you show your partner that they are genuinely important to you.

Learn more about fostering a successful relationship and prepare it for the next step (marriage!) by taking our premarital course.

Might You Want a Postnuptial Agreement?


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 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 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.

Getting Married Soon? Get Some Creative Advice From Guests

Love messages from friends and family

The guest book. An elegant wedding tradition.

Planning a wedding is such a monumental task. Although it takes place in a short time frame, a wedding is such an important life event. Since it represents the union of two individuals, it’s heartwarming to see everyone who attends. It’s nice to be able to look back and remember all of the guests that came to support you as you transitioned from single to married people. During the wedding planning stages, couples typically incorporate some sort of guest book to help them remember those who came to support them as they made their vows.

Add a spin to the tradition.

In many cases, wedding guests have ideas that can go a long way towards helping you get your marriage started on the right foot. But it can be difficult to meet and talk with every single guest, and advice that you receive verbally can be easily forgotten (especially when your guest list is long!). We encourage you to remember the people who attend your wedding and value what advice they can offer, especially those that come from married couples. Here are a few fun and creative ways you can engage your guests and have a great wedding momento.

1. Polaroid Scrapbook 

Have a polaroid camera on a welcome table and have your guests take a photo. Once their photo is ready, they can write their name on the bottom and put it into a photo album. Beside their photo, they could write advice and good wishes for the newlyweds. This is a great way to gather photos of everyone that attended the wedding and get some advice from all of your guests!

2. Photo Puzzle

Another fun and unique idea is having a photo puzzle with a photo the couple has chosen. As guests arrive, they can pick a puzzle piece and write on the blank side. At the end of the event, the newelyweds will have a puzzle they can put together, glue and frame. As the newelyweds put their puzzle together, they’ll read all of the advice and wishes that their guests have given them.

3. Jenga Game

One of the most creative ideas that we’ve encountered is taking a game, such as Jenga, and having your guests write advice and wishes to the couple on a piece. Throughout the years as the couple plays the game, they will receive the advice and remember their wedding. What a fun way to get some advice and recall the day your lives were united.

Planning your wedding is an exciting time, but don’t forget to plan your marriage for success too! If you’re getting married soon, take our Florida Premarital Course to skip the 3-day marriage license waiting period and get valuable insight and knowledge to help you achieve the marriage of a lifetime.

Engaged Begin to Plan Couples Thanksgiving Traditions

Bringing turkey to the table at thanksgiving

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.

Planning a Wedding: Prevent Feeling Disconnected with Each Other

By Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams

coupleimagelayingheadsoppositedirectionsYou’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 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!

Mother of the Bride Traditions

motherbrideMothers of brides are deeply rooted in wedding traditions. Their involvement can range from hosting the engagement party and assisting in wedding planning, to gifting a sentimental piece of jewelry or clothing for the occasion. Although some brides and grooms may forgo some of these, the mothers and fathers of each are held in high regard.


Hosting the Engagement Party: Typically, the bride’s family will host the engagement party two to four months after the proposal. During this time, the family and the couple works together to create a list of people to invite and works to ensure that everyone on their list receives an invitation to the wedding.

Coordinated Attire: In general, the bride’s mother is given the first choice of colors (that match the wedding scheme) and the groom’s mother will coordinate with her to make sure that they don’t clash.

Wedding Planning: While mothers on both sides of the family will usually take part in this process, traditionally it is the mother of the bride that is most involved in the process. However, in many instances, entire families take on different roles during the wedding planning process which reduces the stress and burden on the couple.

Sentimental Value: On either side of the family, from both mothers and fathers, couples are often given gifts with a high sentimental value. A mother may give their daughter or daughter-in-law their wedding dress, a piece of jewelry passed down by generation, or something else entirely.

Begin a New Tradition…

Traditions are important. They strengthen family bonds, honor our ancestors and welcome new family members. A joyful tradition provides positive feelings and memories which will be re-lived later in life, as the tradition continues.

Marriage Planning: While the wedding planning is underway, also consider the couple’s plan for marriage. Offer the couple advice based on your experiences, and encourage them to take premarital counseling. Take initiative and send them a premarital course as a gift! While there is no doubt to the importance of a wedding, every couple aspires to achieve a healthy and happy marriage. Your gift to them will provide them with the tools they need to make it happen. Couples that take a premarital course are 30% less likely to seek a divorce. Plus, by taking the course, they will get a $32.50 discount on their marriage license and get to skip the 3-day waiting period (which is especially helpful if the couple hasn’t had time to get their marriage license and their wedding is just around the corner).

Visit to learn more about this premarital course and get them prepared for the happily-ever-after that they deserve.

Friendly Competition in Couples


Competition: Too Much vs. Too Little

Competition, often associated with arguing and fighting, is usually considered a negative aspect within a relationship. But did you know that in a relationship where there is too little competition, there might be less passion? Utilizing some friendly competition can help you achieve a happy medium which will keep your relationship interesting and fun.

Spice Up Your Life With Friendly Competition

Doing activities together that provide a means to enjoy some friendly competition can go a long way in keeping your relationship interesting and exciting. In a 2009 study by Kelton Research, 80% of respondents indicated that they would enjoy playing video games with their partner. While it might not be the most romantic of activities, it provides both individuals the opportunity to compete against each other in a healthy way. MSNBC conducted a similar study which identified that 55% of respondents actually do play video games together as a couple activity. This type of activity provides a fun thing to do together, and can also be used to release tension and stress.

Competitive Activities

There are tons of fun activities that can be used. For example: ping-pong, pool/billards, darts, chess, tennis, foosball, various board games, etc. While many games were originally designed to be played by more than two players at a time, they can be easily converted to meet your needs.

How “Friendly Competition” Works

Playing against each other can be thrilling, but sometimes it can bring out undesirable outcomes. Put extra effort into being a good team player by being supportive, and offering genuine acknowledgements on their achievements (whether they win or lose in the end). Do your best to find activities that both of you are nearly equal matches in, so that the win/lose ratios for either individual is never too extreme. Remember also, that your significant other is your teammate for life. With that in mind, many couples enjoy teaming up with their partner against other opponents. If you or your partner feel this way, be understanding. You can always arrange to challenge each other at a different time.

Remember: While some competition can keep your relationship exciting, success only comes to those that have positive experiences. Both individuals in the relationship need to demonstrate respectful, supportive behaviors, and keep the game fun for everyone.



Romantic Marriage Proposal Ideas for Florida (Part 1)


Ready to pop the question to the love of your life? That’s terrific! Here are some ideas in and around the state of Florida to help you in your quest to deliver a fabulous marriage proposal that will end with the coveted “yes” you seek and start you on your journey towards a lifetime of love.

 Unique Proposal Ideas:  

  1. While on a romantic stroll next to the river in Hillsborough State Park, in Thonotosassa, FL. Or, if you’re more adventurous, pop the question while paddling your canoe in the river with glimpses of alligators who will bear witness to your profession of love. – Hillsborough County
  1. During a romantic gondola ride on the waterways of Ft. Lauderdale, FL near Las Olas. You can also arrange to include a message in a bottle for the experience.- Broward County
  1. At Discovery Cove in Orlando, and order the upgrade that includes a dolphin delivering a special message buoy such as one that says, “Be Mine.” – Orange County
  1. During the day or evening at Busch Gardens in Tampa, while enjoying a scenic Skyride that slowly travels over the park, animals and scenery below. – Hillsborough County
  1. By the Gulf of Mexico on the beach at sunset. Try Treasure Island Beach or Clearwater Beach for the momentous occasion. These are wider sand beaches where you’ll be able to more easily find an uncrowded spot for your little shindig and there are also restaurants within easy walking distance where you can continue the celebration of your engagement afterwards. – Pinellas County
  1. During a kayak paddle in the scenic waters off Fort Desoto Park in Tierra Verde, FL – Pinellas County. You’ll enjoy seeing mangroves and probably jumping fish, manatees or seabirds along the way.
  1. In Mable’s Rose Garden which features many varieties of roses, or on the waterfront courtyard/plaza of the beautiful Ringling’s mansion, Ca’D’Zan, at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL – Sarasota County
  1. While strolling the short but impressive Anhinga trail in the Everglades- Everglades National Park, Homestead, FL. The Homestead entrance will get you to the Anhinga trail. This is for the adventurous couple who will be thrilled to be up close to wild alligators and other wildlife in their natural habitats! It will probably be a better experience if you go during the fall or spring seasons (less rain and mosquitos). -Miami-Dade County

Then, once you’re engaged, give each other another unique gift. A gift for your future with long-lasting effects. Take our premarital preparation course at to learn more about each other, gain marriage-enhancing skills, and get a great start towards your happily-ever-after.