Monday, January 9, 2012

Creatively Announce Your Engagement!

Would you like to announce your engagement in a way that is probably a lot more fun and interesting to your friends than announcing it on Facebook?  I found this on Huffington and thought it might offer a few creative ideas for those of you who aren’t into the “ordinary”.
1. The Funny Video

Who can resist opening up a video link from a friend with a description like "Penguins laughing!" or "Is this puppy drunk?" But when your pals click, they'll instead see a video of you simply saying, "He proposed." Video over. I know I'd crack up if a friend punked me like that. OK, if you want to extend the clip, you can tell the story of how the proposal happened and show off your new sparkler.
2. The Karaoke Song

This one takes some chutzpah (or a few drinks): Gather the girls and plan a karaoke night. Put in your song request, but don't share which tune you've chosen with your friends. Then, with your left hand in your pocket, take the stage to sing something wedding-themed, like "Going to the Chapel" or "White Wedding." For your big finish, take your hand out of your pocket so everyone can see your engagement ring.
3. The Pictogram

These are puzzles that use pictures to send a message. So instead of e-mailing "I'm Engaged," open up Microsoft Paint, slap on a picture of an eye + a picture of a man, + a picture of a car gas gauge (corny alert! Put the needle on full, since you'll be so full of love, aww...) + the letter D, and attach it to an e-mail to all your far-flung friends. Instruct them to sound out what they see--Eye Man Gauge D--and they'll eventually come to the right conclusion.
4. The Little Kid Who Can't Keep a Secret

Got a small child in your extended family? Of course you do. Whisper in her ear that you and your guy are getting married, and tell her it's a secret. Odds are, she won't be able to keep that info to herself and she'll start spreading the news in whispers. If she really is a good secret-keeper, try a different tactic: Tell her that it's her job to make sure everyone knows your good news by the end of the night. Don't be surprised if she spontaneously screams it out!
5. The Message T-Shirt

If you're changing your name, you can get a tank or T-shirt printed with "The Future Mrs. [your man's last name]." Show up to meet your friends wearing that but with a layer over it. At the right time, complain that you're warm and remove your outer layer. They'll figure it out fast.
6. The Facebook Photo Tease

Maybe you love the idea of posting a pic of your engagement ring on Facebook. Fine, fine. I aim to please, so here's a twist on that: Take a photo of your engagement ring, black out all but a tiny piece of it in Paint or Photoshop, and post that picture instead. Tag yourself. The next day, post the same pic of your ring with a different part of the ring visible and the rest of it obscured. Tag yourself again. Do this three more times, once a day. If no one else tags you in any photos during that period, those five pictures will show up in a row at the top of your profile. It'll be fun for your friends to literally put the pieces together.
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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Getting Through that First Year of Marriage - Part 2

One issue that is so often misunderstood is the concept of loving your spouse unconditionally. Every couple enters into their marriage commitment wanting and willing to give 100% to their relationship.  With that commitment comes the desire to love each other unconditionally. But because many couples enters into “unconditional love” with one or two faulty views, loving unconditionally in their married relationship actually becomes destructive to their relationship. Those two faulty and unhealthy views are:

1.    Unconditionally love the your spouse by doing whatever you can to make your spouse happy and avoid anything that makes your spouse unhappy (even if it makes you unhappy).


2.    Unconditionally love for yourself by doing whatever you can to make yourself happy and avoid anything that makes yourself unhappy (even if it makes your spouse unhappy).

The first misconception is wrong because it does not take your own feelings into account, and the second misconception is wrong because it does not take your spouse's feelings into account.

The healthier approach to loving your spouse unconditionally is for both of you to take the feelings of each other into account simultaneously. The more productive approach in loving unconditionally within a married relationship would be to: Do whatever you can to make you and your spouse happy at the same time, and avoid anything that will make either you or your spouse unhappy.

This is a healthy compromise between the two unhealthier approaches because it recognizes that the feelings of both spouses are important and should be accommodated simultaneously in marriage.

Incidentally, the problem you may be having with scheduling time together for dates, as discussed in “Getting Through that First Year of Marriage – Part 1”, may be a reflection of the fact that you are not following the healthier understanding of loving unconditionally. Right now, as you are scheduling regular date time with each other, you may be discovering that when one of you wants to do something badly enough, the other simply allows it to happen without any objection.

If this continues on a regular basis, you will find out very quickly that this only leads to a slow and subtle drifting apart!  Eventually you both will wake up and discover that you are strangers living under the same roof, living separate lives and doing your own thing…and those scheduled dates have virtually stopped!

Don't let that happen!  Develop as a couple a healthy understanding of what it means to love your spouse unconditionally, and keep following it for the rest of your married lives.  If you do, you will be more in love with each other in your Golden Years than you are right now!
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Friday, January 6, 2012

Getting Through that First Year of Marriage - Part 1

The first year of marriage can be so painful that divorce seems like the only escape. That's why more people divorce in the first year of marriage than any other. But the first year can also be a couples' best year of marriage. From my perspective, this is also a tragedy because it means the remaining years are not as good.
One of the most important things that a couple must do from throughout their marriage is to continue to date each other!  Unless you take time to "date" after marriage, you will probably not be able to meet the needs that were met before your were married. If your emotional needs are affection, conversation, and recreational companionship, which were among those that you met for each other before marriage, those needs will stop being met if you don’t make dedicated time in your schedule to be with each other.
Many women consider affection and conversation as emotional foreplay for sexual fulfillment. If you do not spend much time talking to each other, and being affectionate, it is almost a guarantee you that your sexual relationship will suffer, too.
A date should be the time you set aside to meet each other's important emotional needs. Be enthusiastic about what you have planned to do together. If either of you think the time together is a waste of time, more than likely you are not meeting each other's needs.
When you dated before marriage, what you did on dates caused you to fall in love with each other. You need to continue to do the same thing now, or you will lose the feeling of love that contributes to you believing that your love is unconditional.
Your dates don't need to be exactly what you did before marriage. In fact, you may be able to meet each other's needs without actually "going out." But if you stay home, be careful that your time home together doesn’t turn into working on personal projects. Even if your children are married and out of the house, go out to give each other the attention you both need.
When you look at your schedules, you may find that there is no time for dates. Solution…put the dates in first, and then schedule everything else around them!  You will have solved your scheduling problem.
You may find that your dates don’t meet your needs the way it did before you were married. If you find yourself in this boat, then keep doing something different until your needs are met. You both are dynamic beings and you will constantly be changing.  What worked at one point in time may not always continue to work.
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Thursday, January 5, 2012

How to Prevent Hiring That "Nut-Job" Officiant!

Hiring an officiant can be a very frustrating process, especially if you are looking for one online!  We all pretty much offer the same thing and make similar claims on our websites.  The only thing that seems to really differ are the officiant fees.  So how do you go about choosing the right officiant for you? The following steps in picking an officiant will be much easier and less stressful if you don't wait until the last minute to choose your officiant! "Huffpost Weddings" suggests eight steps you should take in deciding on an officiant...and I agree!

1. Be sure they're legit. Find out what your local laws require for an officiant to legally perform weddings.  Given the growth of the 'online officiant license' industry, it's best to get 100 percent OK from the township in order to avoid finding out you're not really married because the township doesn't recognize their license.

2. Ask your wedding experts for suggestions. A wedding coordinator will certainly have a list of credited, legal officiants for you to consider, and you'd get the benefit of your planner's experiences with that officiant. You'll have it on good authority that a certain officiant is wonderful and great to work with, or that a certain one is 'quirky.'

3. Don't just book an officiant based on what you see and read on a website. Always schedule an in-person interview, so that you can shake hands, assess the vibe between you, and ask lots of questions. "We rejected a few officiants who gave us the 'this is how I do it' routine, and booked the one who asked us what we wanted," says one recent bride. "We knew we wanted to customize our ceremony, and this officiant was willing to listen to us."

4. Check out the scripts. Most wedding officiants will be able to show you sample scripts of wedding ceremonies they've conducted, as well as lists of suggested readings and songs you might use in your ceremony. These might be in printed book form or as PDFs. Reviewing these gives you an idea of the officiant's style and range of ceremony content. Again, if you get a single script and a scowl, with a 'this is how I do it,' this is likely not the officiant for you.

5. Ask the officiant to read out loud. If the officiant has passed the first few tests, ask him or her to read out loud a small portion of a ceremony script. Some officiants are better public speakers than others. You want to book the officiant who speaks well, not one who delivers in monotone or stumbling, bumbling delivery.

6. Ask what the officiant will wear. Bright purple robes might make you run for the door, but most legitimate officiants will be happy to say, 'a dark suit,' or 'white robes' or show you photos of the ceremonial robe and sash you could expect.

7. Ask if you can customize the ceremony. Some officiants are quite strict about what they will and won't allow -- and some houses of worship require you to choose from their approved song list. So it's not always the officiant's personal fault that a rigid list of what's allowed is in front of you. But still, you want to make sure you can co-create a ceremony you love.

8. Check your gut. Does this officiant make you smile? Do you feel comfortable with this person? Or does he remind you of a scary professor? When you find The One, you just know...