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Communication, Relationships

5 Tips for Keeping Sane, Happy & Healthy While Planning Your Wedding

Amidst the hundreds of moving parts which need to come together for your wedding day, stress and tension are bound to creep into your life and relationships with your fiancé, family and friends. Dealing with financial issues and family dynamics while planning a major event with your partner can, at times, make you feel like you are inside of a pressure cooker—about to pop. However, if managed well, the stress involved in planning your wedding can be viewed as a positive challenge and can be used as a building block toward creating a solid foundation for your marriage. I’m here to offer some wisdom from the coaches at Joy of Romance, Inc. to keep the joy alive and the challenges at bay from engagement to honeymoon.

1)    Get and Stay Focused.

First things first, get organized from the beginning with a clear list of things that need to be done, budgets that need to be monitored and lists that need to be kept up to date. Choose from an array of online organizers, which include timetables, budget spreadsheets and checklists. The best know free wedding planning tools are by and By keeping these lists online, you will also be able to monitor the items that have been delegated to others. Schedule regular periods throughout the week to update your progress. Have a binder or a portable file folder with hard copies of the lists and any floating papers connected to the wedding.

If you can afford it, call in the experts to help plan and execute your dreams. Wedding planners are there to make sure on your wedding day you get to fully enjoy the beauty of being the bride. The fewer responsibilities you take on as the day approaches, the more fun you will be able to have. That being said, release the reigns and delegate whenever possible. Many friends and family want to help, so it’s a win-win. Let go and trust them with their part.

2)    Master Your Communication and Empathy Skills.

In the beginning, have a conversation and clarify what a wedding means to you and to your partner. Have you had a picture in mind since you were a kid about what your wedding would look like? What are the most important aspects of a wedding to you and your love? Does your vision and your fiancé’s vision blend well together? If not, work on coming to some mutual understanding and create a unified vision before involving anyone else in the planning.

Going forward don’t ask for input from others on topics that aren’t up for discussion. Once you have made up your minds on the key elements of the wedding, kindly convey what you’ve decided to your family and explain to them why it is important. Hopefully, they will see that you were not only thinking of yourselves but gave thought to both families with your decision.

Emily Post recently gave some good advice when she spoke at a conference of wedding planners, she encouraged engaged couples to “openly entertain any idea for five minutes” without judging it. Find out why it’s important to the individual suggesting it. Appreciate their input and when it’s not one of you and your fiancé’s non-flexible points, let them know you will consider their idea. Letting others be involved in the process makes them feel needed and important, thus building good will amongst family members and friends.

Emotions run high around weddings. When there is a sticky subject, always let the individual’s whose family is involved approach their family first without bringing their partner along for the discussion. Recognize when a subject becomes a big deal for a family member, there are often deeper needs and feelings triggering their resistance. It is worth asking them why it matters to them. If you don’t think they feel comfortable or are able to voice their feelings, you might want to provide possible reasons and see if they agree. Once their true feelings and needs are on the table, it becomes easier to make sure their overarching needs are being addressed.

3)    Building Bridges and a Strong Foundation.

A lot of wedding planning advice states, “this is your wedding and you should have it the way you want it.” In fact, if you truly feel that way, it might be best to elope. Weddings are about bringing together two families and many friends to celebrate your love for one another. There are a lot of bridges that can be built during this process if you keep this viewpoint in mind. You have an opportunity to set the stage and create close alliances between your families. Use this precious time wisely.

As a couple, planning your wedding is also an excellent way for you to learn how to work together harmoniously, deal with conflicts proactively, and create a road map for how you will treat one another henceforth when bumps in the road arise. Make sure to avoid any statements or actions that are disrespectful of one another or your relationship. Have the courage to bring any and all significant concerns to the table. This might be a good time to do some relationship counseling, like our coaching package called Rules of Engagement Training to learn each other’s relationship and communication patterns.

4)    Toss Perfection Out the Window.

Often too much weight is put upon the actual wedding day needing to be perfect. From the onset of planning, talk to your partner about what matters most and keep that end goal in the forefront of your minds. Keep it fun, choose to see the challenges as opportunities to grow closer together and strengthen your relationship and enjoy seeing your families come together to celebrate your new life as husband and wife.

Have realistic expectations and know things will not go exactly as planned. There is much to be said for having a point person you trust who will remain calm during the “storm” on the day of your wedding and will be responsible for crisis management so you don’t have to hear about potential problems. Remember some of your fondest memories might actually come from the unexpected twists of fate that might occur that day. Choose to let go of anything that isn’t going “as planned” and stay focused on celebrating your love.

5)    Know Your Limits and Schedule Romance.

Be aware of the signs of excess stress, like irritability, fatigue, trouble sleeping, stomach issues and headaches. If you begin feeling overwhelmed or stressed, schedule some quality time to take care of yourself. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first. Keep up with the basics: eat healthy, drink plenty of water, exercise, avoid excess caffeine, alcohol and sweets, and get good sleep. Do a little extra pampering when tension is high. Go watch the sunset, get your nails done, do some meditating or schedule a massage.

Create love rituals. Start by discovering what you and your partner’s love languages are. Feel free to email me at Joy of Romance to get a short quiz or read Dr. Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” to learn which are your top two languages. The five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts and physical touch. It’s important to know both of your love languages because that is the most effective and efficient way you and your partner should be expressing your love to one another. As a couple, it’s important to incorporate those ways of giving love in order to feel truly loved and appreciated.

On top of designing rituals around your love languages, it’s fun to incorporate doing the simple things that are good for both of you and will help you build a healthy life together. You can keep the stress levels down by exercising together, taking turns giving each other massages, grocery shopping and cooking healthy meals together, walking after dinner, stretching and learning how to dance together, if you don’t already know how. By having a healthy set of love rituals in place now, it will be easier to keep them up once you are married.

Hopefully utilizing these tips will help keep you sane, healthy and happy during your wedding planning!

Joy M. Nordenstrom is founder of Joy of Romance, Inc., a certified matchmaker, relationship coach, wedding proposal planner and special romantic event and vacation planner. Joy emphasizes making relationship maintenance fun, sexy and intelligent by educating individuals on a practical, scientific and passionate-based approach to maintaining their romantic relationships.

Joy received an MBA in Entrepreneurship, and a BA in both Communications and Economics, with a minor in Psychology. All degrees are from Mills College in Oakland. Joy is a certified matchmaker from the Matchmaking and Behavioral Science Institute in New York City.

Joy coaches internationally via Skype and in-person locally in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a new mother and lives with her fiancé and their son in Sausalito.

To learn more, visit, follow @joyofromance on Twitter, become a fan at Joy of Romance fan page on Facebook, subscribe to the vodcast Intelligent Love: 411 for Men on iTunes and/or email directly at

2269 Chestnut Street, Suite 330
San Francisco, CA 94123


Communication, Relationships

How Failure Creates Happy Couples

“I’m so sorry, honey,” he muttered with slight embarrassment, “I thought you were being thoughtless and deliberately coming home late again.”

When our partners do something we don’t like it’s easy to bring up the other times this has happened and assume we’re being treated poorly. However, rarely are those who are not meeting our hopes and expectations doing so deliberately. They’ve just made a mistake. They’ve failed.

The times when people behave badly deliberately are usually motivated by hurt feelings or unmet needs; and honest, open conversations can get to the bottom of this. In relationships there has to be room to mess up, think about me rather than you, and have things happening in my life that get in the way of the promise I made to you. For trust and intimacy to deepen there has to be room for failure, followed by forgiveness.


My intention is to be home for dinner at 6pm. On the way I notice I need gas and oh, I’ll get a bottle of wine to surprise the man I love, which means I roll in at 6:30. Late again. The other day I was late due to a work delay, and the time before that my friend Debbie called with an emergency, and the time before that I just completely spaced out. To me, these are all very different experiences. On every occasion I felt terrible, like I’d failed and did my best to get home as soon as possible. The man I love sees one thing: I’m consistently late and he’s feeling unimportant.


If you’re the one coming home late, what approach from the person you love would work better?

A) You walk in the door and they loudly say “I’m sick and tired of you acting like I’m not important.”
B) You walk in the door and they give you the cold shoulder.
C) You walk in the door and they walk out.
D) You walk in the door, they give you a big hug and ask gently: “What happened?! I know you’re doing your best to get home on time.”

Most of us would prefer option D. We’ve done our best and still failed, which feels bad. Having our good intentions acknowledged can lead to a much more enjoyable evening and give us room to be honest if we were being a bit thoughtless. Failure is normal and part of being human. We have to get things wrong in order to learn, and this applies to all of life. You’re destined to make some mistakes, whether or not you’ve done this before. The question is how do we embrace and get comfortable with owning our errors, and our partners’ mistakes?


The first step is the hardest, and that is to decide what type of friend/lover/wife/husband we want to be. Not because we ‘should’ be more forgiving, curious, and caring but because we want to be.

The second step is easier: ask questions, be committed to getting curious about why your partner did something, rather than deciding for them.

The third step is even easier: choose to believe what they share with you, be willing to step into their shoes and see the world through their eyes.

The final step is the most fun: Tell them you get it. You understand. And check in that they understand your perspective. It can actually be quite enlightening to sit together, see two sides and have both be true!

Failure becomes a great way to know each other more deeply, love more honestly, and experience greater acceptance. If that sounds good to you, then you’ll probably relish practicing the steps above. In the words of actor Will Smith’s grandmother: “Don’t let failure go to your heart, and don’t let success go to your head.” Ah, wise woman.

Clara Chorley is the CEO and Founder of Clarity Unlimited. She has an extensive and unique background as an international business consultant and coach, speaker, humanitarian, and explorer. Clara grew up in England, has lived all over the world but now resides in San Francisco. She has traveled and worked all over, helping increase the leadership effectiveness of a number of top tier companies. Clara believes that putting people first is foundational to the successful implementation of any organization’s vision. Developed over two decades, Clara’s powerful 4-step process: The T.U.R.N.™ has helped thousands of professionals transform counterproductive  behaviors into invaluable skills for greater clarity, focus and action. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, Clara Chorley is been an avid volunteer. She is author of the book “The T.U.R.N ™” and has been featured in the documentary film “Achieve Your Ultimate Success”.  She is trained in Voice Dialogue, is a certified facilitator, and member of the National Speakers Association.

Communication, Money

Living an Inspired Life Together

Now that you have had or you are planning your perfect wedding day it’s time to plan to live a rich, full and delicious lifestyle?
I have an experiential exercise that I have taught to thousands of people in many countries all over the planet that has profoundly impacted many couples to live a prosperous and abundant lifestyle.
Here is what I would like you to do. I want you to sit down with your partner and use your creativity and imagination just like when you were a little girl or boy growing up. I want you to suspend any disbelief and thinking “how are we going to do this?” and “How will we create that?” and “Where is the money going to come from to pay for it all?” Just be like a little kid dreaming of bright and possible future.

I want you to think and feel where would you love to travel to on the planet and what would you love to see, feel, hear and experience; and start writing them down on paper. Map out the most inspiring places on the planet that you could possibly go and visit. Because when you surround yourself with things that inspire you then you will live an inspired life together.
Where would you like to go and explore across the planet? How about going scuba diving or snorkeling in Australia? Exploring the Great Barrier Reef? Planning a trip to go over to London, England and touring some of the old churches, museums and art galleries, Take a photo of the two of you standing in front of Big Ben, hopes on a train or a bus and going to explore the original statue of Michelangelo’s David which is located in the museum Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy. Then it’s off to hear the roar of the engines of the Monaco Grand Prix Car Race! This will definitely get your husband’s attention, feeling the power and sound of these engines.

How about taking a romantic dinner boat cruise down the Nile River for a memorable evening? How about going on an adventure to one of the most romantic Restaurants on the planet? It’s located in the beautiful Canadian Rockies. Imagine having lunch or dinner at Canada’s highest-elevation restaurant, the Eagle’s Eye towers above the Kicking Horse Resort in Golden, British Columbia. Diners take the ski gondola 1,200m (3,936 ft.) up to 2,410m (7,905 ft.) above sea level to reach this dining room with a 360-degree view of the nearby Rocky, Selkirk, and Purcell mountain ranges. This will be a “Mark the Moment” day. After lunch or dinner you can sit by the fire and read each other a poem or gaze into each other’s eyes and tell each other “The Gift I see in you is…” and the other person sits and listens and can only respond with “Thank you”.

How about planning a trip to the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. Who knows – you might see a killer whale or two or some beautiful birds and sea life animals.
How about planning your second anniversary by going to Niagara Falls or to the top of the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario? Dog sledding in Canmore, Alberta for an afternoon of fun, excitement and adventure? Planning a shopping trip to New York or over to Paris for a fun weekend getaway?

Think ahead and it’s now your fifth anniversary together – what about going to a Sandals Resort or a Club Med. If you have children try a Beaches Resort which is perfect for a family vacation.

Have you ever thought about traveling to Africa and going on a African Safari together and possibly experiencing up close and in person lions, cheetahs, tigers and giraffes? Have you ever wanted to go and catch a live show on the strip in Las Vegas or attend an opera or who is your favourite singer or band? How about getting tickets and sitting up close?

How about hiking the West Coast Trail on beautiful Vancouver Island. Have you thought about space travel with Sir Richard Brandon’s Virgin Galactic? How about attending a First Nations or Native American Sweat Lodge Ceremony or attending a traditional Pow Wow? Have you thought about going and seeing and experiencing a live hockey, football, soccer, wrestling, or golf game before. Would you want to go on a yoga or spiritual retreat someone or a silent mediation?

Deep inside our heart and soul, we have a purpose and we have dreams, visions and callings and inspiring places we would love to visit on the planet that we would love to bring into reality. But along the journey of creating our dreams we occasionally run into mental, emotional, or physical roadblocks. These roadblocks or chaotic hindering can arise from not having our life organized. So many people don’t plan to fail they just fail to plan. As you start to build your lives together it is important to have a direction of focus of where you would like to go in your lives. Remember relationships and life has its peaks and its valleys. It’s important that you create and live an inspired life together because over time if you decide to have children or already have children you want to be positive role models to your children. Let this exercise awaken you to possibility of creating and living an inspired life together.  Writing or typing is the first step in making intangible ideas become tangible realities. Masters of who create inspiring lives focus on the ever-finer details. No one will build your dreams for you. Dream building is up to you.  Write out where we would love to go on the planet. Clarity of vision and intensity of consistent action produces amazing results.

Biography of Darren Jacklin

Darren Jacklin displays his uncanny ability to increase income, wealth, and success by uncovering hidden assets, overlooked opportunities and undervalued possibilities has captured the attention and respect of NBC, CBS, Sharing Success TV, The Manifest-Station TV, authors, entrepreneurs and marketing experts world-wide.

For almost two decades, Darren has traveled the planet and dedicated his life to discovering the most advanced principles for producing specific and measurable accelerated results. As a World Authority on “Making Your Dreams Real” he has trained personnel from more than 130 Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, AT&T, Air Canada, as well as high school and professional athletes from more than 36 countries.

Darren is known around the world as the Mega Manifestor. Tell Darren what you really, really, REALLY want in your personal or professional life and he can show you how to get it! He has helped people to manifest dream jobs, relationships, joint venture partners, automobiles, vacations and so much more.

Darren is deeply committed to personally impacting lives. His goal is to reach and impact more than 100 million peoples’ lives each month.

Darren Jacklin
World Class Professional Speaker, Corporate Trainer, Best-Selling Author, Television Celebrity
1.415.592.0356 Office
1.888.423.5932 Toll-Free in Canada/USA

Communication, Relationships

Experiencing Spiritual Union


In an earlier age the poets and sages knew that falling in love is an experience of the Divine. When two people become enraptured with each other, they feel ecstasy and the delight of a timeless state of being. Any sense of isolation, pain or anxiety dissolves into the bliss. The Sufi poet Rumi expresses it beautifully:

“Lovers share a sacred decree –
to seek the Beloved.
They roll head over heels,
rushing toward the Beautiful One
like a torrent of water.”

In the past few centuries the spiritual dimension of love has gradually been lost, especially in the West. Modern psychologists tell us that falling in love is illusory and that romance is a “projected fantasy” we conjure up in an attempt to feel immortal and invulnerable. However, according to the ancient seers, all love is a spiritual path. In fact, love is spirit. When we’re in the romance phase of a relationship, we have a brief experience of who we really are – an expression of the Divine. Our sense of being separate, isolated individuals disappears and we know that we’re in inextricable part of an infinite universe.

Of course, wisdom tells us that the initial euphoria of infatuation fades away. But that doesn’t diminish the value of the experience. Falling in love is an opening and a chance to enter a state of timeless bliss. In this transcendent space we know that the entire universe supports us and always has. If we decide to take the next step and enter into a marriage with our beloved, we have the opportunity to deepen both our partnership and our experience of spiritual union.

Why We Get Married

There are many reasons people get married, but I think the best reason is because they deeply love each other and dedicate themselves to each other to fulfill a spiritual love and destiny that they could not attain on their own.
Many marriages are actually a way of forming a complete person out of two incomplete persons. When such marriages are successful — a tricky business, since it happens on a hidden, unspoken, sometimes unconscious level — the spouses can say “we are one person” and actually mean it. But the deepest union goes a step further and becomes a mutual partnership of two people who each want to be whole. This kind of marriage, a spiritual union, is about filling in our own gaps, growing to fulfill our individual potential, but with an intimate ally. Relationships become whole as we become whole.

Heart Meditation

One of the most powerful tools for deepening our connection to our spiritual essence and wholeness is meditation. There are many kinds of meditation practices, including the Primordial Sound Meditation practice taught at the Chopra Center. Here I wish to share with you a guided heart meditation. Read through the instructions then find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably by yourself for a few minutes and not be disturbed.


There is a center in the body where love and spirit are joined, and that center is heart. Within the heart is a subtler center that experiences spirit, but you can’t feel spirit as an emotion or physical sensation. Spirit lies beneath the layers of sensations, and to experience it, you must go to the heart and meditate upon it until everything that obscures spirit is cleansed. In the words of the mystical poet William Blake, you are cleansing the doors of perception.

As you sit comfortably with your eyes closed, just this moment let go of all your thoughts and the outside world. Focus your attention on your spiritual heart center, in the middle of your chest.

Be aware of your heart as a space. The heart center is a point of awareness where feelings enter. In its essence, the heart is pure emptiness, pervaded by peace and a subtle light. This light may appear as white, gold, pale pink, or blue. But don’t strain to find a light of any kind. All you need to feel is whatever is there.

Resting your attention easily on your heart center, breathe gently and sense your breath flowing into your heart. You may want to visualize a soft, pastel light or coolness pervading the chest. Let your breath go in and out, and as it does, ask your heart what it needs to say. Don’t phrase this as an order . . . just have the faint intention that you want your heart to express itself.

For the next five or ten minutes, sit and listen. Your heart will begin to release emotions, memories, wishes, fears, and dreams long stored inside. As it does, you will find yourself paying attention.

You may experience a flash strong emotion – positive or negative – or an ancient memory. Your breathing may shift. You may sigh or feel tears come into your eyes. Let the experience be what it is. If you daydream or drift off into sleep, don’t worry. Just bring your attention back to your heart center.

Whether your heart speaks to you in sadness or fear, delight or pleasure, its message is exactly what you need. If voices of anger, worry, or doubt start to arise, allow them to speak and then let them go, easily and comfortably. You are learning to be with your heart in order to heed its spiritual meaning.

As you practice this meditation, spending a few minutes each day to connect to your heart center, you will begin to get glimpses of your heart as it really is: silence, peace, a warm glow, or subtle light. Even if these glimpses are fleeting, you will find that your life outside of meditation is starting to change. At unexpected moments, you will feel a wave of joy and well-being sweep over you. You will begin to walk with more buoyancy in your step.

These are signs that the constriction most people hold around the heart center is releasing its grip, letting go of the fear and tightness that keep spirit from entering. In truth, spirit doesn’t enter since it is always there. But making contact with it is like being penetrated with light and insight; this is the flow of love.  This is the experience of wholeness.

Co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost leaders in the field of mind-body medicine, Deepak Chopra, M.D. is a best-selling author, teacher, and co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Nestled in the lush, coastal setting of Carlsbad, California, the Chopra Center offers a wide variety of retreats and workshops that fuse the healing arts of the East with the best in modern Western medicine.

Each year Deepak and the Chopra Center staff travel to beautiful locations throughout the world to lead signature events including the classic meditation retreat, Seduction of Spirit; the self-empowerment workshop, SynchroDestiny; and the Journey into Healing mind-body workshop. For more information, visit or call 760.494.1639.


Falling Forward by Darren Jacklin

I believe that every person you meet comes into your life for a reason. I believe that it’s not what happens to us in our lives it’s what we do about it. Sometimes while I am in front of my live audiences I share with them stories of people who have impacted and touched my life. I am truly blessed to have had so many wonderful life experiences.

A few years ago I was doing a Public Seminar and a woman stood up and started complaining about how tough and difficult her life was. She started to become the poor me victim. A woman behind her a few rows asked out loud, Your life is difficult compared to what?

The woman who was speaking turned around and said, and so you think your is more difficult than mine? The woman said, I don’t think anyone in this seminar today has ever experienced what I have been through and I never wish it upon them but people I believe that everyone can truly learn from my experience.


I asked the woman to stand up and share and she accepted my request. She began with this:


“A year ago my husband and my three beautiful young children awoke one early summer Sunday morning feeling adventurous and excited to go on our two-week family vacation. We got up and packed our SUV and drove off a short while later. As we were traveling down the highway a group of people coming home after a long night of Saturday night partying decided to cross the centerline of the highway.


“At that moment our lives changed forever. My husband and three children were killed on impact. I was in shock – I was pinned in the vehicle helpless, not able to do anything. The emergency crews arrived to pry the vehicle open with the Jaws of Life. I was freed from the wreck and taken away. Later I had to return with the coroner and police officers to identify my husband and three children. This event changed my life forever.


“When I returned home, after the emotional shock started to wear off that is when it really hit me. I had to go into my children’s 3 bedrooms and pack all of their personal belongings; I would pick up things like a zip lock bag of their first hair cut trimmings; their first letter to mommy and daddy; their first little footprint that they made for me in Pre School; their first note to Santa Claus; their first picture and the note that says I Love You Mommy. I would pack up these keepsake items and save them. Some of the clothes I donated to our church and Salvation Army.


“Then I had to go into the bedroom I shared with my husband and look around at all of the memories that we had built over the past 20 years of marriage our life together.”


I asked her how she got through this experience or if she ever would. She replied confidently, “It’s not what happens to you in your life it’s what you do about it. My husband and children would never want me to go on living my life with pain and misery. Nor would they want me to be medicated for the rest of my life.


“I am blessed to have had three beautiful children some people today in this seminar and in this world will never be able to give birth to a child. God gave us the miracle of three. Some people in this seminar and in the world will never find their soul mate I lived with mine for over 20 years and we were also best friends. We lived in a Beautiful neighborhood had great careers and did many wonderful things together.


“I could sue those people who were in that other automobile for what they did but instead I have forgiven them. I could write letters to the Editors of Newspapers and blame Law Enforcement for not putting up more Police Road checks to catch drunk drivers. I could go to a medical doctor and get a prescription to take medication for the rest of my life. But I have chosen to be a Victor vs. a Victim.”


At that moment, the entire audience stood up and gave this woman a standing ovation. It was an experience that I and many in that room will always remember. People hugged each other in that seminar. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. That day had an impact on so many people’s lives, including mine.


So the next time that you think your life is challenging and difficult, the next time the man or woman you love upsets you or you have an argument or things aren’t going the way you believe they should be going – ask yourself this question. “Compared To What?”


It’s not what happens to you in your life; it’s what you do about it.



Darren Jacklin’s uncanny ability to increase business income, wealth and success by uncovering hidden assets, overlooked opportunities and undervalued possibilities has captured the attention and respect of NBC TV, Elevision Network, Sharing Success TV, best-selling authors, entrepreneurs and marketing experts.

Darren Jacklin, is called a Mega Manifestor. Tell Darren what you really, really, REALLY want in your personal or professional life and he can show you how to get it! He has help people to manifest dream jobs, relationships, joint venture partners, automobiles, vacations and so much more.

For almost two decades, Darren Jacklin has traveled the planet and dedicated his life to discovering the most advanced principles for producing accelerated change. As a World Authority on Making Your Dreams Real he has trained personnel from more than 130 Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, AT&T, Black & Decker, Barclays Bank, Air Canada, as well as high school and professional athletes from more than 36 countries.

Darren is supporting his fiancé Clara Chorley in her lifetime vision of building villages in Africa. For more info about Darren Jacklin, check out his website at

Communication, Intimacy

Love S.O.S. for Newlyweds

By Debra Macleod, B.A., LL.B.,
Sex & Relationship Author


I’m getting married next summer, but there’s a nasty issue between my maid of honor and my fiancé’s best man. They used to date (my fiancé and I actually met through them) but now they’ve broken up. It was a messy breakup since he cheated on her, they’re on terrible terms, and are both threatening to boycott our wedding if they have to stand up together. I told my fiancé it was only fair for him to ask his friend to step down (since he’s the jerk), but he doesn’t agree and now we’re arguing. What should I do? I don’t think my friend should have to stand up with a guy who treated her so badly.


Ah, I’m partially out of my league: With regard to the logistics of the ceremony, including presenting this ex-couple with options so they’re not paired together, I’d encourage you to consult a wedding etiquette specialist. These folks are experts at negotiating awkward wedding issues. Just do it soon! But now to what I think is the larger and more important issue, which is the fact that you and your fiancé are arguing over this. It pains me that lovebirds like you are being drawn into this drama. If your marriage is to last longer than the wedding ceremony, the two of you must learn to insulate your relationship from other peoples’ problems. Regardless of how this situation resolves itself, you and your fiancé should use this opportunity to have a heart-to-heart about prioritizing and protecting your relationship. That involves respecting and empathizing with each other’s feelings, compromising, and presenting a united front to friends and family. Realize that this issue will be a transitory one: your marriage, however, will last forever. If you can turn this argument into a chance to showcase the insight and skills your marriage will need to survive, you’ll be the wiser (and happier) for it.


My fiancé and I have been together for four years and living together for two. Since we got engaged last year, I’ve noticed that our sex life is cooling down. I’ve asked him about it, but he says he doesn’t notice a difference. I’m worried this is going to get worse after we’re married, since it seems that the change has happened since the engagement. What can I do to make the sex as hot and heavy as it used to be?


The bad news is that there’s probably nothing you can do to make the sex as “hot and heavy” as it was in first year that you were together. The good news is that this mild cool-down isn’t just normal, it’s also necessary if your relationship/marriage is to deepen in meaning, strength, and—yes—sexual intimacy. Sure, there may be a connection between your engagement and the cool-down, but that could be a good thing. Perhaps sealing the deal has made both of you subconsciously relax and realize that your commitment is for real. Perhaps you’re both starting to sense the gravity of marriage and it’s preoccupying you. Or perhaps your long-term relationship is simply moving out of the hormonal stage. Those are all positive, healthy changes that a couple can expect to experience. You didn’t say that you or he weren’t satisfied with your sex life; you simply said that, after four years, it’s starting to cool down. Don’t make this a bigger issue than it is. Relax, keep your perspective, and use your common sense. Sex is going to change over the years that you’re together—just wait ‘til you bring your first baby home! As long as you and your husband enjoy a mutually-satisfying sex life and keep intimacy a priority, all will be well. You don’t have to experience fireworks every night!


How do I get over my jealousy? Whenever my fiancé talks to a pretty woman (cashiers, waitresses, whatever) I feel a mixture of insecurity, anger, and helplessness. My fiancé seems to think it’s funny and puffs out his chest like it’s a joke.


Believe it or not, your fiancé’s reaction may be a good one. In my experience, men who are out to make their partner’s jealous are more subtle about it. My guess is that he’s doing his best to marginalize your jealousy because he knows it’s unfounded and doesn’t know how else to handle it. You’ve also indicated the type of pretty girls he’s talking to—cashiers and waitresses that you and he encounter in the normal course of a day—so it’s not like he’s trolling the bars at closing-time looking for “hot babes.” I think you need to cut yourself some slack here. Jealousy is a normal emotion and it’s at its strongest in the early years of a relationship. When you feel it, turn your thoughts to all the ways your fiancé makes you feel like you’re “the one.” Although some degree of jealousy is normal, you must maintain your perspective, use your common sense, and keep it in-check so it doesn’t start to consume you.



Debra Macleod is an internationally published author of five sex & relationship guides. Her sixth book will be out in 2010. She is a contributor to Cosmopolitan, Bridal Guide, Men’s Health, Playboy, and Fox TV. Having just moved to Calgary, Debra can be seen on Global TV, Breakfast Television and Shaw TV, and heard on the VIBE 98.5 fm. She is also the host of “Love S.O.S” spice-it-up intimacy seminars for women. Debra has been married for nine years and she and her husband, Don, have a son.


Let’s Start a Relationship Revolution

When it comes to marriage the only thing that matters is that you choose someone you can relate to and love out of authenticity not out of expectation.

With roughly half of all marriages ending in divorce – often bitter – and with both emotional and financial consequences for both parties and any children, we though it was time we gave you some info and techniques that will help you and your relationships.

You need to communicate. You need to plan. You need to be you. Don’t expect your partner to rescue you or make your life better. Marriage is a commitment by both partners to work towards a common goal. Our Team hopes you put some of our experts’ tips to good use.


A Life Long Affair

Creating Happily Ever After
Advice and tips on making your marriage a life-long affair

By: Dr. Brenda Wade and Darren Jacklin


On the day of the dream wedding, the beautiful bride and handsome groom share vows to love, honor and cherish. After celebrating in the company of friends and family and the honeymoon, we ask the question, how do you get to happily ever after? If your big day is approaching, you’re probably filled with joy, anticipation, and so much love you can’t stand it. So why is it that happy marriages seem to elude many couples? Even though statistics say around fifty percent of marriages won’t make it, it’s not that hard to create a marriage that will stand the test of time. We’re here to show you how an investment of a little time everyday will pay off and create your happily ever after.

The skills for creating a happy marriage

Hi, my names is Dr. Brenda Wade. I’m a psychologist, television host, author and speaker, and I want you to know I’m also a happily married wife and mother. A fairytale wedding won’t lead to a fairytale marriage, because real life isn’t make-believe. Along with my friend Darren Jacklin, mega manifestor, author and transformation teacher, we will show you how a good, satisfying marriage is about day to day growing your insight, skill and love. And I promise you, that is easily within your reach.

Marriage is just like any job. There is a purpose and a skill set that is required along with steps to practicing the skills.

First, the real purpose of marriage is to assist one another in growing to your full potential. You need a high “GQ,” or growth quotient score. In other words, you just keep growing so that the score gets higher and higher.

Second, you need insight and skill to successfully navigate your relationship. Just like obtaining a driver’s license requires that you have the basic skills to drive a car, a marriage requires equally vital skills and insight in order to flourish. Following is a brief quiz that will give you an idea of what it takes to get a license to love.

Do you qualify for a “Love License?” For a quick glimpse into your marriage and relationship skills, answer these questions.

  1. What were your parents’ patterns (or blueprint) for love? In other words, what did you see them do in their relationship? Was there abandonment, betrayal, superficial connection, or maybe one or both of your parents tended toward controlling or domineering behavior?

If you can’t answer this question in one or two concise sentences, you have work to do. Because, guess what my friend, you will repeat what you learned in childhood. Or maybe, like so many of us, you’ll go 180 degrees in the other direction as you attempt to not be your mother or your father. Mind you, this is not blaming or putting anybody’s parents down. Don’t forget, our parents could only emulate what they learned from their parents.

  1. What is the most effective way to communicate in a love relationship? For example, do you point out whatever my partner is doing wrong, by saying:
    1. “You never come home on time.”
    2. “You never listen to me.”
    3. “You aren’t meeting my needs.”

Any of the above are wrong, wrong, wrong. These constitute blaming, making wrong, and putting down types of statements. What we want are “I statements followed by a request.” Here you would identify your feeling and without blaming your partner, state what the issue is. Then you would make a request. For example, “I feel hurt when it seems as though you’ve broken an agreement we have made without checking with me first. Would you mind checking with me before you change agreements we’ve made?”

  1. While your partner is speaking, you should be:
    1. Listening for what’s wrong with what they are saying
    2. Preparing a rebuttal in your head
    3. Deciding if you agree with what they are saying or not so you can let them know.

Again, wrong, wrong, wrong. What we want is deep listening — not analysis or critique. Your goal here is to understand your partner’s feelings.

  1. The purpose of a relationship is:
    1. To have someone to have sex with?
    2. To have someone to be a companion?
    3. To grow in your capacity to receive and give love?

If you pick anything other than “c”, not that “a” and ‘b” aren’t great and fun, but I think it is obvious you missed the boat on this one since “c” is the deeper purpose. Even your driver’s license won’t help you if you only focus on sex and companionship.

  1. If you and your mate, find yourself in heavy water you should:
    1. abandon ship
    2. start bailing for all you are worth even if the ship is going down
    3. get help

So, how did you do? Is there room to grow? If you are like most of us, there’s always room to expand our skills and awareness. That leads us to a final step.

Third, consciously work to keep growing and stay on top of your game. Research shows that those who continually work at improving their marriage show two-thirds fewer divorces than those who take a hands-off approach.

Investing time and effort into developing your marriage does not have to be an elaborate, expensive or challenging undertaking. In fact, it should be fun. For instance, my husband and I make it a point to read personal growth or relationship books and share what we’ve learned with each other every night.

Another great resource are the many classes, retreats and coaching sessions offered nation-wide specifically designed to help couples grow their relationship. It takes a lot less effort, time and energy to keep your relationship in good shape than to fix it when things go wrong. Think of it like a garden—the most beautiful are those carefully tended to with weeding, pruning, watering, and sometimes, extra fertilizer for fruitful results.


Dr. Brenda currently appears as an expert on NBC’s Today Show and the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet on Fox.  She has appeared on shows such as Oprah and Good Morning America, and hosted the nationally syndicated Can This Marriage Be Saved.  Dr. Brenda produced and is the host of the national PBS Pledge Special Power Choices and is a regular contributor to Essence magazine and other major publications.   She currently hosts Black Renaissance on CW Network, Bay Area.  Dr. Brenda hosts exciting live Power Choices Breakthrough Retreats both nationally and internationally and founded the Power Coaches Program which provides breakthrough coaching services internationally.  Dr. Brenda has also authored 3 books: Power Choices: 7 Signposts on Your Journey to Wholeness, Joy, Love and Peace, Love Lessons and What Mama Couldn’t Tell Us About Love.  For more information on Dr. Brenda and her work, visit


Communication, Intimacy, Relationships

How To Stay Married!

By: Steffany Hanlen
Personal Performance Coach

The ‘Happily Ever After’ starts now.

After 10 years of marriage I think I may have it figured out. On June 29, 1996 I thought I was committing to a person, but the truth is I committed to a process called ‘being married’.

The big question on the day of the wedding is usually “will everything go well and will the food arrive hot?” Rarely is the question be “how will the marriage be after the big day…”? I had no idea, no matter what anyone told me, that I was in for the ride of my life. That ride started the next day, June 30, 1996…

Even with all the work and details involved, getting married is easy; staying married is not so easy. As the divorce rate hits 50% in North America it seems that more and more people are taking what seems to be the easy way out of a situation that, on the day they said “I do”, was never even a thought. Now that statistic is brought up more and more as a fact of life going into this important day.

Divorce is rarely easy, so is there anything that we can do before the nuptials to at least give the marriage a fighting chance??

So, how does one stay married after the magic of the romance and honeymoon period are over? Here are 7 things that may help newly engaged couples navigate the journey into the unknown.

Begin with the end in mind! Decide how you want your married life to be, look and feel. Discuss with your partner the day to day expectations you have about what you think marriage is and how you would like to create your life. Pre-marital courses are great as they allow you to bring up your thoughts, goals and dreams with in the safety of a facilitated program. Do this as soon as you are engaged. Bring up all your goals, fears, hopes and dreams. Be brave!! Put it all out there so your partner knows who they are really getting. If you are with the right person, the truth is what will bring you closer. It is easier to stick to something long term if you know what you are getting into in advance.

Take a truthful look at the marriage of your partner’s parents. Whether we know it or like it or not, we are products of our environments. Look at all the positive and negative aspects of each others upbringing and decide which qualities you want to bring into your own married life. When your new wife ‘becomes her mother’ don’t be surprised. It happens, especially when children are involved.

Commit to the process of being married, not the other person. If you are only committed to the ‘person’ as he or she is on the wedding day, then, when they grow and change…which they will, they may no longer be the person you married.

Irreconcilable differences is the legal term for, “I don’t know her/him anymore”. People change and grow. We learn, we unlearn, we make mistakes and we can hurt each other with unsaid or unmet expectations. If you go into the marriage and understand that this person also becomes your business partner in life, make sure that you listen deeply to their goals and do not make up a story about who you want them to be. If you are committed to being married, each of you can grow and change with the support of the other. Marriage is a process; it is not the end game.

Ensure you are fully disclosing yourself. This one is the hardest. For example, if you are bringing years of debt from schooling (or a shoe addiction) it is much easier to deal with this type of thing before you get married than to have to deal with it afterwards. We have the fantasy that if he/she loves us enough they will forgive us. Maybe so, but wouldn’t it be better for the marriage if the disclosure of ‘negatives’ happened prior to a lifetime commitment. This way a choice can be made with all the information.

Know that just when you think you have it figured out, IT will all change. Life happens. Sickness, health, death, birth, moving, job loss, menopause, weight gain, hair loss… If there is a chance that anyone of these things will happen to you, then have a plan to stick it out together. Be a team, a loss of a job or a birth of a child happens to both of you now.

There is no WE! Even though it seems society is created for couples, newly weds need to understand that a couple is still made up of a ‘you’ and a ‘me’! When you say WE should do something, make sure you assign one of you to actually DO IT. If ‘WE’ doesn’t get it done, then the blame game begins. This is one of the biggest traps I have found. If I hear my husband say, WE should get groceries, I now know to ask if that means he is stopping at the store, or should I. If I don’t ask for clarification, generally WE end up both at home with nothing in the fridge. It goes both ways. Saying ‘WE’ is a cover for not having the courage to ask for what you want. It becomes a habit to say would YOU do this please?

Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Your life partner is someone YOU have chosen. Sometime there are business conversations you must have. Emotions can run high so if a decision needs to be made on a sensitive topic like religion, children, money or politics, treat each other with the respect you want to be treated with. Take turns listening to each other without trying to figure out how to be right or get your own way! Also, if you find yourself in a battle of wills or arguing over things in the past, just remember, you decided that this person…and you need to get this…is the person YOU chose to spend the rest of your life with. You are still the boss of your own life and have chosen a partnership with another person who is still the boss of their own life. Your marriage is a third entity that needs to be honored and protected.

If you have entered this mature agreement called marriage with as much honesty and integrity that you have, don’t be afraid to speak your mind, give a little and love a lot!

On June 28th, the night before my wedding, I asked myself a hard question before I fell asleep. As I closed my eyes I said “If this person NEVER changes…can I commit the rest of my life to him?” When I woke the morning of my big day in the safety of my parent’s home the answer came to me loud and clear. It was “Absolutely, be a grown up, get your own needs met and take care of yourself” It was then I truly understood that I was creating the next stage of my life, with a man I loved and respected, exactly for who he was.

Gratefully we are entering our second decade of our marriage partnership and I plan to stick it out to the end. We have both changed, grown, gained and lost weight, lost hair and even a tooth or two. There have been good times and great times. The bad times, well they exist too. I am blessed that I know that if the bad times didn’t exist we really would not know how good we have it.