Friday, February 27, 2015

Do's and Don'ts of Disagreements with Your Fiance or Spouse

When it comes to disagreeing with your significant other, take into account there is a good way and a less than ideal way to deal with it. Whether you're engaged, newlywed, or married for several years, there is an art form to communication. So if a disagreement or argument is brewing follow some of these do's and dont's:
Do Listen- Regardless of what your significant other is telling you, hear him out. Give him the time and respect to share his thoughts with you. Also make sure to actively listen. Don't just be figuring out how you're going to reply afterwards.
Don't Be Judgmental- Even if you disagree with your spouse, don't laugh his ideas off. If you think it's silly or even impossible, keep it to yourself. Your spouse is sharing his thoughts and feelings with you, so be considerate of that. Figure out what part of his ideas you can support and discuss that first.
Do Take a Breather- If an argument is looming and you simply can't keep it together, excuse yourself to think things over. Find a place where you can calm down. Good communication doesn't work if you're angry. Once you cool down and feel level headed enough to have a low key conversation, go back and share your thoughts.
Don't Forget Your Body Language- What your body does is sometimes more important than what you say. If you're rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, or otherwise indicating your disinterest or unhappiness, you are subtly telling your spouse you don't like what he's saying. Pay attention to your body language and make sure it matches your words.
Do Use "I" Statements- I can't stress enough how important it is to speak from an "I" perspective, as opposed to a "you" perspective. "I'm feeling like I'm being misunderstood" comes across more effectively than "You don't understand me." It stems from your feelings and doesn't come from a place of blame. So practice your "I" statements.  
Don't Get Yourself Down- Disagreements are part of every relationship. If this is your first one, it's okay. It doesn't mean your relationship isn't a good one. You both have different thoughts and ideas. The more you practice some of these communication skills the better you get at listening and expressing yourself. And that is a valuable tool for many years to come.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Are You a Clutter Free Bride? Take the Quiz.

Planning a wedding takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. It also takes good organizational skills. If you're feeling disorganized, you might not be managing your time or workload effectively. You might also be adding more stress to your already busy life. Answer the following questions honestly to see if clutter is getting in your way:
1) Do you clean your living space regularly to a standard you're happy with?
2) Do you routinely throw out or give away stuff you know you don't need (e.g., junk mail, old clothes, etc.)?
3) Do you go through your mail and messages daily, responding or eliminating accordingly? This includes snail mail, email, and phone messages.
4) Would you describe yourself as neat and organized?
5) Is your wedding workspace organized and clutter free?
6) Do you feel calm and stress free when you are at home in your current surroundings?
7) Do you try not to worry about things you can't control?
8) Would you say you're usually calm and have peace of mind?  
Okay. So how did you do? If you answered in the affirmative for most of the questions, congratulations! You are most likely a clutter-free bride. You feel neat and organized, which gives you a better sense of control when it comes to planning your wedding. You're most likely on top of your wedding correspondence and moving right along with your to-do list. You also don't let negativity or feelings of guilt clutter your mind with unnecessary tension. This all spells for a confident and happy bride.
If you answered negatively for most of the questions, you might be feeling like a frazzled bride. Maybe your house is a mess, you can't seem to find important papers or remember vendor appointments. You're feeling overwhelmed because everything around you seems to be piling up with no end in sight. You don't like being at home because it reminds you of how behind you are with your to-do-list. You may also be feeling stressed out and anxious, continuously worrying about your wedding plans and maybe even life in general. If this is you, find someone to help you get organized and in control or hire a wedding planner to do it all for you. The key is to start de-cluttering your life somewhere. Remember: it's okay to ask for help!  
If your answers were mixed with both yes's and no's, then you might be feeling cluttered in some areas of your life and content in other. Being able to identify the areas you're not feeling as control in gives you the opportunity to focus on it and hopefully improve. Don't go through your inbox daily? Start by taking 5 minutes each morning to read, respond, and delete. You get it done and move on. Or maybe you're organized, but have trouble worrying about things you can't control. If that's you, start incorporating meditation or affirmations into your daily routine, to see if it helps with unnecessary anxiety. It's probably most common for brides to fit in this category. And that's great because you know exactly what you need to work on to be a clutter-free bride!

Friday, February 20, 2015

The #1 Mistake Recently Married Couples Make

So earlier this week, I wrote about the #1 mistake of recently engaged couples. You can read that blog post here. It only seems fitting then to write about the #1 mistake newlyweds make. Much like engaged couples who sometimes let the wedding planning process take over the excitement of the engagement, so to newly married couples might let the "formula" of marriage take over the relationship piece.
Consider this. Before marriage and possibly living together, your relationship revolved around getting to know each other, dating, and enjoying each other's company. Sure you had some heart-to-hearts and challenges that you faced along the way, but for the most part your courtship was exciting and fun. Now that you've tied the knot, however, you may be inclined to focus your attentions more on duty rather than relationship. Maybe it's, "Honey, do this, honey do that" or constant talk about finances or family. But the shift has definitely moved from relationship growth to relationship responsibilities. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with having a set of responsibilities. In fact, it's important for keeping an organized and well run home. And you certainly can learn more about yourself and your spouse when it comes to dealing with household matters. But being a newlywed, means you're at a critical time to grow as a couple, so you must continue to date.
Many newly married couples start to get the blues because they jump from being engaged to being married, when in fact, it would be more beneficial to go from engaged to engaging marriage. Don't stop being engaged with each other as individuals and only focus on the couple. Continue going out, having date nights, and enjoying each other's company. The last thing you want to do is begin your new life together with a rote set of marriage rules. It takes the fun, desire, and excitement out of your relationship together.
There is a time for everything: serious conversations, household chores, and even the occasional argument. But as a newlywed, let the love, laughter, and positivity reign supreme. It will help strengthen your relationship with each other and your marriage in the years ahead.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The #1 Mistake Recently Engaged Couples Make

Congratulations! You just got engaged! The thrill and excitement is all around you until someone asks you that question: So when is the wedding? In the blink on an eye, your feelings can go from blissful to stressful. You begin thinking you better pick a date, reserve a venue, and start looking for the dress of your dreams. After all, your family and friends keep asking you questions and telling you to get started early with your planning. And so, you begin.
If this sounds like you, stop the wedding planning. Especially if you've been engaged for a couple weeks or less, now is NOT the time to start preparing for your big day. Now is your time to enjoy being engaged. One of the biggest mistakes newly engaged couples make, is rushing into wedding planning. Certainly there may be cases when it's warranted, if you're planning a very short engagement or your fiancé is in the military and heading overseas, for example. But if you're the average couple with no real limitations or unusual circumstances, then set aside some time to just enjoy being engaged.
It sounds simple enough, but your engagement is an event in and of itself. And while wedding planning happens during an engagement, it is not synonymous with being engaged. Your engagement marks your love for each other and newfound commitment to spend the rest of your lives together. Now that deserves a little attention. Instead of showing off your ring and diving head first into wedding talk, focus on your relationship together. Take a week or two to enjoy the moment! Go out, share your love and story with others, talk about being engaged and what it means, and have fun relishing in the excitement of saying "yes." Once you both have soaked it all in and feel ready to ask the detailed questions, take a deep breath and begin. Make sure you're both on the same page too.
Planning your wedding is going to take a lot of hours, which will fly by. Setting aside time to enjoy your engagement early on is a great way to safeguard this special moment. Let people know that you'll be in "engaged bliss" for a while and will inform them when you start the planning process. Hopefully that keeps the wedding questions at bay and your love in the driver's seat.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Love Letters

For the longest time, I've been wanting to write letters to my little girls. Even though they are too young to read, I wanted to pen my love and memories to them. Life can be short or long and take many unexpected turns along the way. What better gift to give to someone you love, then a written testament to it? This week I bought them each a journal and started writing.
With Valentine's Day upon you, now is a good time to think of all the people you love. Have you ever written them a letter to express your love? It's one thing to use the spoken word, and quite another to use the written. Writing something down always makes it feel more real to me. Plus, it's tangible. I may not be around 60 years from now, to hug my girls, but I hope that they will always be able to pull out their journal, read from it, and feel my spirit hug them. 
What better time to write out your feelings then now, as you journey into the next chapter of your life? It doesn't have to be a journal or even a long letter. But a "just because I love you" letter. You might have written your feelings in a thank you note, a birthday card, or the like, but it's not the same. Receiving an unexpected, out of the blue love letter will brighten anyone's day. So get out a pen and decide who you can write to today. Your fiancé? Mom? Dad? Sister? Brother? Grandma? Best friend? You get the idea. Try it once and see not only the response, but how it makes you feel. It will definitely strengthen your level of gratitude. 
This is also a great time to make sure you have your wedding vows written out, especially if you're writing your own. Don't just jot it on a piece of paper. Make a big deal about it- this is the person you're going to marry. These are the words you will live by and cherish. Frame it and put it somewhere visible after your wedding, so you can see it everyday. And if you receive any love letters from others, do the same. If you don't want to showcase your letters, buy a special binder to keep them it. Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and much of it feels like it whizzes by. Taking a break to write a love letter slows things down and helps remind you of all the important "who's" in your life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

3 Myths About Wedding Planning Stress

Ever wondered about your wedding planning stress? Maybe many of the brides you know seem to be doing just fine. So why aren't you? Why are you feeling overwhelmed instead of happy? Why is it feeling out of control? Is it normal? To answer some of these, let's debunk three common myths about stress.
1) Stress is Bad For You- Yes, you read that right. Not all stress is bad for you. Sure, if you find yourself surrounded by stressful events and situations a majority of the time, it's probably not healthy. But sometimes stress is actually good for you. Consider this example: An athlete trains daily to be at her peak performance level. Every day she stretches her muscles, exercises longer, pushes herself harder to reach her athletic goals. There is no doubt that she is creating stress on her body to reach her goals. Is it a bad thing? No. Without stressing her body and muscles, she would never be able to compete at the level she wants. Stress is good when it challenges you to work on yourself, improve yourself or your relationships. Stress is also a necessary component to help you get things done. If there wasn't some stress and urgency about planning a wedding, you might never get anything on your to-do list accomplished. You can use wedding planning stress to your advantage in that sense. So before you start pulling out your hair over all the stress you're under, step back and see where you can learn and grow, and act on it in a positive way.
2) Stress is Not Normal- There may be some critics out there, who say if you're feeling stressed while planning your wedding, you must be doing something wrong. I beg to differ. I'm sure there are brides who feel calm, confident and as relaxed as can be. But there are many others who feel quite the opposite and it doesn't mean there is something wrong with them. Stress is a normal part of life. It's all around you and it can come from unpleasant and pleasant situations equally. Your engagement is a happy time, but all the emotions and busyness around you creates an atmosphere ripe for some form of stress. Same holds true for other happy events like buying a new house or having a baby. It's wonderful and stressful at the same time and that's okay. Stress becomes a problem if it's keeping you from going about your usual activities or leaves you feeling down and depressed most of the time. Then you might want to get some professional help. Otherwise, stop labeling yourself and know that stressed or not, you're a normal bride!
3) Stress Can't Be Controlled- As normal as stress is in life, don't think there aren't ways to avoid it or deal with it better. Wedding planning might be making you feel overwhelmed and out of control, but that doesn't mean you have to let it keep you in that state of mind. Stress feeds off of your reactions to it. The more you let it get to you, the more it will. If you find ways to nip it in the bud, the less stressful your life starts to become. Ask yourself, what part of planning your wedding is making you feel overwhelmed? Now try to find ways to work it out instead of letting it fester. It might mean adjusting your budget, hiring someone to help, or simply choosing to be less reactive if something goes wrong. Making such changes will not only help reduce your stress, but will keep it from getting out of control. I should say, that this isn't always easy. Sometimes the "Woe is me" approach is easier, because you don't have to make changes or work at it. But you suffer in the long run. Try something and make the changes instead. See if it leaves you a happier bride.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Wedding Stress Getting You in a Bad Mood? Get Out of it with These 5 Tips

Whether you're still planning your wedding or newly married, chances are you'll experience a bad mood at one point or another. And it stinks. Nobody wants to feel lousy or have an awful day. But just because it happens doesn't mean you have to stay in a bad mood. Here are some tips for kicking your bad mood in the rear and getting your positive frame of mind back.
Exercise- One of the most effective ways to turn your frown upside down, is to work it out. Physical activity naturally releases endorphins in your body, helping you feel emotionally and psychologically better. So pick an activity you enjoy and just do it. Working out will help you get rid of the stress, that usually comes along with a bad mood too.
Do What You Love- Just like some things put you in a bad mood, the opposite is also true. What activity do you participate in that always makes you feel good? Cooking? Dancing? Pottery? Whatever it is, test it out. See if doing what you love helps you forget about your woes until you're feeling good enough to deal with it.
Tap Into Spiritual Healing- Regardless of your beliefs, there is always a way to connect with spirituality. Whether you pray, meditate, or commune with the nature around you, sometimes it helps to be able to release your worries and bad karma to a Higher Being. There is often a feeling of a weight being lifted when you learn to let go of your problems. Same holds true for your mood. Choose to let the bad mood float away, and replace it with a happier one.
Tickle Your Funny Bone- An easy way to put an end to a miserable mood, is to laugh it out. Watch a funny movie, go to a local stand up club, or get on the phone with someone who knows how to make you laugh. Even if it's just a short term distraction, it may be what you need to get out of your funk.
Do For Others- It's no secret that you feel good about yourself, when you help others. So if a bad mood is getting you down, do a good deed for someone else. Visit a sick neighbor, deliver food to the homeless, or participate in any other act of kindness. It's a great way to feel better and help someone else do the same in the process. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

3 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas that are Totally Free

The hardest part of Valentine's Day for a lot of couples is finding an awesome gift that says "I love you," but is unique, unexpected, and doesn't break the bank. Move over chocolates and flowers, here are three ideas that are totally free and would still make a lasting impression. Keep in mind, that you can always add a store bought gift option, but if you do it right, these ideas can stand on their own.
Express Your Love in Writing- Whether a love letter, poem, or other written expression, taking the time to pen your love for another person is a treasure your partner will hold onto forever. Outlining all the things you love about each other is not only a great keepsake, but also a gentle reminder of why you're marrying this person in the first place. It's a good way to keep you on track emotionally as you plan your wedding and through life's more challenging moments.
Express Your Love Through Your Artistry- Are you a painter, musician, dancer, or another creative spirit? If you are, consider creating something special with your talents for your fiancé. Giving a painting, song or other art form of the thing you love to the one you love says a lot. The thought and time that goes into a work of art will not go unnoticed. Plus, it's cool to share your gift with those around you. 
Express Your Love Through Action- Are you aware of the little things your partner does day in and day out or the tasks she dislikes doing? From grocery shopping and cooking to cleaning the house or doing yard work, give your partner a break. You can do this one in the form of a "week pass" or just surprise her one day. Do the shopping, cooking, cleaning or whatever else would make her day. Let her know how much you appreciate all the things she does and give her a break for the day or week, if so inclined. It's a nice way to give of yourself and show your appreciation at the same time.