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We had an interest in writing about marriage, so we decided to start. Now we’ve been writing posts for “creating and keeping the best love, romance and marriage” for a whole year! Thanks for reading and for your queries, and for your comments of support. It’s been a wonderful journey, and so we thought we’d share with you some of the things we’ve learned along the way.

1. THE greatest thing we’ve ever done for our marriage is give away what marriage wisdom we have. We find this to be true whenever we do pre-marriage coaching for a couple, and perhaps even more so as we put our heads together for the creation of this blog. In fact, it can be a great marriage boost for you too. We’ve blogged about you getting out there and doing this in our post, Spreading the Jam.

2. There is an INCREDIBLE community online that informs, encourages and stands in support of marriages and what they’re meant to be. We had no idea of the degree that this was available until we began to introduce our blog. Perhaps you don’t either, but there are compassionate, motivated people who will support you in your quest for a great(er) marriage with their content and interaction. You’re not alone. For starters, check out this year’s 10 Top Marriage Blogs by Stu Gray.

3. SEX is a powerful word online. We have a post titled, Sex it Up to Live it Up, which is our most read article by a long shot. We hope that those searching online for something about sex find wholesome material and advice, and we want to be a part of that resource. An online friend who has done this as an almost exclusive focus provides leadership for the site The Marriage Bed. SEX, by the way, is also a powerful driver of success in a relationship, which is what our article above is all about.

4. It’s easier to read and retweet about marriage than it is to ACT. Knowing what to do is not the problem people face. However, applying what you know to your situation and doing it is. We Dare You to Move. Another thing: people who need help in their relationships comment with criticism on the very posts that hold the truth that would help them! It sounds strange, but we know this dynamic can be very hard to see in the mirror.

These are four things that we now know. They call out loud and clear to us from our first year of blogging. More than anything we want to thank you again for reading our blog. It’s been your interest that has kept us writing.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! With all the focus on today, we’d thought we’d start to look at tomorrow a bit early. In order to make today the best it can be for you and your Valentine, consider February 15th. That’s right, looking into tomorrow could help you pull out the stops on your efforts today. Consider…

Tomorrow is the day…

… when you could look at your spouse and experience pain in your shins as you kick yourself, or when you could pat yourself on the back for how your love and thoughtfulness paid off.

… when you could see other couples and think, “I bet they had more fun than we did yesterday,” or you could know, “The great times we had can’t be beat!”

… when confusion about your relationship could reign supreme when it comes to what he/she wants from you, or when you could have a sense of clarity about where you’re at and what you can do.

… you could experience a torrent of doubts and questions about your love-life and its success, or you could revel in a new-found sense of connection and security regarding your relationship.

… you will have added another unmet expectation to the pile lying on the floor of your relationship, or added another memory worth talking about for years to come.

… when your spouse could wake up to their normal life with a sigh, or with a great big smile on their face.

Good thing you still get to choose. Go have a great day, and a great tomorrow!

People’s experience and cultural norms merge together and gain a voice, affectionately known as “They Say…” People accept these truisms, live from them and, sometimes, find them to be true. However when it comes to marriage and relationships, we advocate a counter-cultural approach.

What if your dreams about love could come true, and not what “they say”? For example,

1. They say: “Sex, money, kids and religion are the scenes of the most arguments in a relationship. Beware.” What we believe about these subjects is central to who we are as individuals. What we feel about them and how we express those feelings are embedded in the core of our identity. Hence, discussing these topics requires the most vulnerability, trust and understanding. So when we do what it takes to develop that trust, understanding and vulnerability,

Then we say: “Sex, money, kids and religion can be the scenes of the most fulfilling and enriching conversations available. Enjoy!”

2. They say: “Just wait a few years, that kind of affection and tenderness towards each other will wear off.” People’s experience has led them to believe there is a honeymoon phase in a relationship and a subsequent decline as reality sets in. However, what “sets in” is a result of what was sown into the relationship, not the result of an unavoidable relational dynamic. So when we take the time to invest affection and tenderness into our relationship today,

Then we say: “Just wait a few years, and WHATEVER you’re sowing into the relationship now, you will be reaping.”

3. They say: “It takes two to work on a relationship.” Usually said of a relationship in trouble, this is often based on an excuse, “If he/she isn’t willing then what hope do I have in trying?” In reality, what one person does in a relationship has a dramatic effect on the other. It maybe a harder road to hoe, but when promise to do whatever it takes in good times and in bad,

Then we say: “No matter what, lead your marriage. Lead yourself to become the best version of yourself for the sake of the other person, and he/she is bound to follow. And even if not, you’re the better for it.”

Of course, all this “they say / we say” commentary is more or less irrelevant to your experience in love. Really, the only question that matters from here is, “What are you going to say?”

We all know, too well perhaps, the same words spoken in different ways can say very different things. For example take the question, “Honey, can you come here?!” and put it to different tones of voice. Or place varying emphasis on different words. You can make it sexy, scolding, a plea for help, or anything in between. Anything you want really.

Think of the myriad of things you say to your significant other in the run of a week, and the variety of ways those things are said. What drives the content, quality and therefore effectiveness of these interactions is not only in the words you use but in HOW you say them.

In fact, some experts say that as little as 5% of what we mean is in the actual words we use. This explains the often falling short of text messaging and email. It also explains what we mean when we say, “I got yelled at” when no one was shouting at all.

If the manner in which we say something counts for so much in a single exchange, think of the accumulative effect of all you say to your partner over the years. It is this accumulation that drives how you feel about each other and seeds the atmosphere between you with all things gracious, needy, or greedy or anything in between. Anything you want really.

Valentine’s Day, our favourite holiday, is fast approaching. You might be thinking about what you can do or give to your husband or wife already, or maybe you’re saying, “What? Already? Where does a year go?”

Valentine’s Day is all about romance, and wooing your sweetheart. There are the traditional methods of flowers, chocolates and a dinner out, but we’d like to provide some more “creative” ways to say Happy Valentine’s Day, for the first 14 days of February.

Here’s the last of our list. (See part 1 and part 2 here.) All of them are very simple to do, but some ideas may require more planning than others. Enjoy!

On the eleventh day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Watch the sunrise together. Find a great lookout, take along your favourite morning beverage, and enjoy. Perhaps stop for breakfast on the way home to give your spouse’s day a great beginning.

On the twelfth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Be a concierge for a day! Take a day to be at your spouse’s beck and call. This could mean being the chauffeur, picking up some needed groceries, making some phone calls or needed reservations on their behalf, and perhaps end the day by preparing a hot bubble bath. Whatever it is, pamper your spouse to let them know they’re worth it.

On the thirteenth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Take an online personality test with your spouse and compare your results. Here are a couple of free suggestions:
The 5 Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman. This test helps you discover how you express and interpret love. It’s different for each of us, sometimes especially so in marriage!
Out of Service, by Jeff Potter, has a number of personality tests. Find one that interests you, or try “The Big 5” test.
Jung Typology/Humanetrics This test is based on Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers typological approach. Be sure to click on your “type description” after you “score” your test results.
After you take a test or two, reflect on how the combination of your personalities contributes to your relationship.

On the fourteenth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Re-establish your favourite Valentine’s Day tradition, whether it be chocolates, flowers or a special dinner together. And take some time to get feedback on this Valentine’s season. What did they enjoy, what surprised them the most, and what didn’t really hit the mark? End your feedback session and reaffirm how much you love Valentine by saying, “Just wait until next year!”

We hope you enjoyed our list! May it inspire you to start a new tradition and celebrate the 14 Days of Valentine’s every year with your spouse. Let us know what ideas you try and how they worked for you in the comments below.

Valentine’s Day, our favourite holiday, is fast approaching. You might be thinking about what you can do or give to your husband or wife already, or maybe you’re saying, “What? Already? Where does a year go?”

Valentine’s Day is all about romance, and wooing your sweetheart. There are the traditional methods of flowers, chocolates and a dinner out, but we’d like to provide some more “creative” ways to say Happy Valentine’s Day, for the first 14 days of February.

Here’s part 2 of our list. (See part 1 here.) Ideas are in no particular order, but some ideas require more planning than others. Enjoy!

On the sixth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Give the gift of “I love you because…” Write them a note that you’ll be sharing a multitude of reasons why you love your spouse today, and then proceed to do it. Try to give a new reason to begin each new interaction with them throughout the day. We recommend brainstorming a list of a few ideas, because you might just find your sweetheart looking for excuses to call or interact with you!

On the seventh day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Try a walk together. Find a nice park or pathway to stroll along, hand-in-hand. Try geocaching or letterboxing if that is something you would both enjoy. End your walk by thanking your spouse for the time you spent together and share what made it meaningful to you.

On the eighth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Give your spouse a loving massage. Watch a YouTube video on how to give a scalp massage, a foot massage or a back massage. Then try out what you’ve learned on your spouse. Massage is a very personal thing, so make sure you know if your spouse likes light touches, a deep muscle rub, etc. and then indulge them accordingly.

On the ninth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Shoulder your spouse’s load today. Take care of their home responsibilities, whether it means taking care of the evening meal, doing the dishes or a load of laundry, or bathing the kids. Let them watch their favourite tv show or curl up with a good book while you handle it all for them.

On the tenth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Try on some new lingerie, or a new pair of sexy panties, boxers or briefs. Whisper your secret in your spouse’s ear in the morning, letting them know the time of the unveiling. Again, build the anticipation for a great surprise!

To be concluded tomorrow…!

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know what ideas you try and how they worked for you in the comments below.

Valentine’s Day, our favourite holiday, is fast approaching. You might be thinking about what you can do or give to your husband or wife already, or maybe you’re saying, “What? Already? Where does a year go?”

Valentine’s Day is all about romance, and wooing your sweetheart. There are the traditional methods of flowers, chocolates and a dinner out, but we’d like to provide some more “creative” ways to say Happy Valentine’s Day, for the first 14 days of February.

Here’s our list, in no particular order. All of them are very simple to do, but some ideas may require more planning than others. Enjoy!

On the first day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
The gift of intention. State your intention to make this Valentine’s more special than you ever have before. Write them a little note for them to read before they go to bed, or just tell them over your evening coffee. Remind them they’re worth it, and they’re in for a Valentine’s like no other. You’re building anticipation for a nice surprise heading their way.

On the second day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
There’s nothing more connecting than a long, gentle kiss, or and lengthy, affectionate embrace. Try both! When you greet your spouse after your work or her work today, do so with a kiss. Count to 10 in your head before you break the connection. Follow up the kiss with a long hug until you can feel your spouse relax in your arms. The best thing is the connection you make will last the rest of the day.

On the third day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
Buy a package of small post-it notes, and write something on each one. Write small phrases like, “I love you,” “My sweetheart,” “You are beautiful/amazing,” a drawn heart, and the like. Post them everywhere your spouse might go throughout the day – the bathroom mirror, inside cupboard doors, on the steering wheel, beside light switches, everywhere! The entire day will remind them of your love, and make them smile.

On the fourth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
A good gift is a combination of something that’s wanted, and something that’s needed. Try it today. Does your spouse need something from a cosmetics store? Or is it black socks or nylons? Or do they need a new book or journal? Get them they’re favourite brand, or the slightly more expensive version that your mate may have always wanted. Knowing what they need shows your thoughtfulness.

On the fifth day of Valentine’s, my true love gave to me…
When was the last time you went for a coffee with your spouse? Take an hour (or two!) and visit your favourite tea or coffee shop, or try a local shop that’s new to both of you. Spend some time just sipping and visiting.

To be continued tomorrow…!

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know what ideas you try and how they worked for you in the comments below.