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12 Tips for Newlyweds

  1. Talk about the money. Communication is Job One in the survival of any relationship. If you truly plan to share a life, bare your financial soul to your partner, and insist your buddy tell you everything.
  2. Create a budget. You need to be on the same page about where the money should be going. Then it’s easy to decide what to buy and when. You simply ask, “Where does this fit in the budget?” Work together to make room, cutting a little of her golfing and his beer-with-the-boys to come up with the money.
  3. Don’t put one guy in charge. When one mate is excluded or totally abdicates responsibility things can get messy. Your partner might sail your love-boat onto a reef or grow resentful at always having to do the detail. You should each feel involved in the big financial decisions and understand the day-to-day details.
  4. Face up to your debt. If you can’t be debt free when you hook up, at the very least you should have is a plan for getting there. Never sign for each other’s debt. If your buddy needs help pay off the debt, do it without putting your name on the paperwork.
  5. Talk about your dreams and your goals. Whether you want to own your own home, start a family or go into business for yourself, you need to break your goal down into manageable steps.
  6. Build in some fun-money. Consider allotting each partner weekly or monthly fun-money that can be used for anything that body desires.
  7. Plan for emergencies. Without a stash of cash at the ready to deal with whatever life throws at you, you won’t have the means to cope. Have enough cash available to cover six months’ worth of essential living expenses.
  8. Maintain your financial independence. That idea of independence makes some people want to duck and hide behind words like love, trust, honour and team. But independence doesn’t negate any of those things. It enhances them because each and every day you’re choosing to be together. Keep your own financial ID by having your own credit history and savings.
  9. Talk to your HR department. 
 Reassess what’s available to you now that you’re a family. Update your beneficiary designations for your insurance policies and retirement accounts.
  10. Check your insurance
. Marriage indicates “stability” and can have a positive effect on your auto insurance rates. Combine all your insurance with one carrier and you’ll pay less.
  11. Make or update your Wills & PoAs. If you don’t have a Will, its time to make one. Ditto Powers of Attorney for both financial and personal care. Your spouse doesn’t have the right to speak for you unless you give him/her that right.
  12. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Marriage is tough enough. Don’t spend your relationship getting your britches in a knot over every little thing. If the small stuff adds up to big problems it’s usually because you don’t have a budget and aren’t on the same page when it comes to your priorities.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade is the host of “Til Debt Do U$ Part” and “Princess” on Slice. Gail blogs daily at her website, Gail’s book, Debt-Free Forever, published by HarperCollins shot to the top of the bestseller list in 2010. Her latest book, Never Too Late, is poised to do the same thing in 2011.


Keeping Your Love A.L.I.V.E.

A couple of years ago I officiated at an elegant wedding on a beautiful summer day in a vineyard in California’s Napa Valley. In the service I shared the famous quote on marriage from U.S. President Abraham Lincoln who said, “ninety percent of your happiness in life comes from your choice in a mate.” I then congratulated the well-matched bride and groom on their choice. Only later did I learn that poor Mrs. Lincoln suffered from post partum psychosis which was one of many challenges they faced in their marriage.

After more than 25 years as a relationship coach and international television relationship expert, having written four books on love and created the Power of Love and Money seminar series, I have worked with thousands of couples.  All of those couples have had something in common; they all faced challenges in their marriage, so have I and you will too – that’s called life. You have reason to feel hopeful and encouraged because I’m about to teach you a proven system to keep your love ALIVE and growing even in challenging times.

The A in ALIVE stands for Authentic, the best way to show up in your relationship is as your true self, expressing your true feelings and needs in a skilful way. (more on skill in a moment). Faking it in any way will build a wall, which ultimately destroys love. Authenticity keeps it real between you so your love can grow.

Love of course is symbolized by the L in ALIVE. Love itself has the power to motivate us to grow and work to become better people, so we can be better partners. That is the secret, the purpose of life is to keep growing.  Learning to love unconditionally gives us our best shot.

Insight allows us to understand ourselves and why we feel and think the way we do. If we can see it and feel it we can change it, if we need to. That’s why I is in the middle of ALIVE.

You are going to benefit greatly from reminding yourself of the meaning of the letter V in ALIVE, it means Victory. We want to hold the most inspiring outcome in mind and work toward it.  Make Victory your goal “ I commit to doing and learning what is needed to  create Victory in my marriage”.

The last letter in ALIVE is E. Well the rubber must meet the road, so Effective actions are necessary that’s why I created the power of Love and Money Seminars. I teach scientifically proven tools for handling feelings, like emotional intelligence. My male students learn the secrets of the female brain.  One student’s wife called to tell me her husband had become “her rock “since he joined the seminars, while another husband called to let me know that his marriage had been renewed because he had been able to gain insight into his angry behavior and transform it.

My message is simple, when we learn better we do better. That’s the key to keeping your love ALIVE.  I have a special wedding  gift for you: A free ALIVE seminar for you and your entire bridal party. Why? Because, there are two-thirds fewer divorces for those who get pre-marital coaching. That’s stacking the cards in your favor isn’t it?  Also, your friends and family will support you better if they also learn to keep love ALIVE. Just register at Congratulations and blessings!


Breaking Through the Romantic Fantasy Frenzy


He rides in on a white horse and sweeps her off to his castle where they live happily ever after. If you’re like most people, you probably buy into at least one of the common cultural myths such as everlasting passion and the eternally romantic notion of a ‘soul mate’.

Dr. John Demartini conducted this interview on matters of the heart and we’ve got it to share with you. Enjoy!

Q: We tend to have this fantasy that when we meet someone we should live happily ever after. Do you think this sets us up for disappointment?

These myths are perpetuated by stories, whether they are in childhood fairytales, popular movies or the idealized romances that live in your mind. If you continue to believe in any of these myths, you are living in a falsehood; they will run your life, shape your expectations and make you feel as if everyone else gets the fairytale but you.

There are a number of people who still believe the purpose of a romantic relationship is happiness. Relationships are about fulfillment, which is the blending of both positive and negative emotions and experiences. In the marriage vows we pledge to love for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, for better and for worse. These vows are not one-sided and neither should our perceptions be.

So if your idea of the perfect partner is more good than bad, I suggest you stop looking now. If you aspire to the movie “Pretty Woman” then you need a reality check. Quit expecting a lover to be constantly sexy, turned on, and available – never tired, irritable or disinterested. Try not to cling to the idea of the mythical spouse who’s only loyal, supportive and non-judgmental. The minute you start wishing for the perfect partner you’re living in a fantasy.

Years ago I had a wealthy client in New York who had written an exact list of the qualities of her ideal man. It ran like this: “I won’t date a man unless he has a minimum of $15 million, is at least 185.4cm tall, has brown hair and eyes, owns a large company, is socially prominent, has at least one beautiful house, loves the finest in everything, is utterly devoted to pampering me.” This went on and on. Her list was all positives without any negatives. She had a list that no human being could ever fulfill. She was looking for a Hollywood version of her fantasy, but what she kept attracting were men with no jobs or money who wanted her to support them. I received a call from her two years ago: “Dr. Demartini, is there any way you can come to Hawaii for my wedding? I’ve finally found my man!” I couldn’t make it, but in the back of my mind I was thinking that I had to meet this guy.

Sometime later, I was giving a seminar in California and bumped into her so I asked her, “how’s married life?” “Ahhh, he turned out to be another loser. Gotta go. Bye.” She didn’t want to talk about it. I suspect she found out the other side to her fantasy because every human has both positive and negative traits and love is embracing both sides. So the moral of the story? Replace fantasy with fulfillment.

Men have their fantasies too such as ‘she needs to look like the centre spread of Playboy and never grow old’. Hanging onto that dream will cost him love if he stays and money if he goes. If we live by impossible fantasies, we’ll experience extreme emotional swings, instead of balanced love. When fantasies fall apart, people tend to resent someone else for not making it come true. Yet they set themselves up for that disappointment right from the start by denying the negatives, exaggerating the positives and placing the other person on a pedestal. When you recognize that every human displays both positive and negative traits, you can say goodbye to all pedestals and start to enjoy the real joys of being in love.

Q: Can I expect my partner to change?

There’s a funny off-Broadway musical called I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Sound familiar? Have you ever thought you’d found the perfect mate and then spent the rest of life time trying to “fix” him or her? Futile, isn’t it? If you try to fix or change somebody they’ll just give you resistance, but if you honour and thank them for who they are, as they are, they will react in the opposite and give you assistance. Every human being just wants to be loved and appreciated for who they are.

Q: You often refer to the balance of support and challenge being healthy for a relationship. Explain.

The most successful relationships are ones that are balanced with support and challenge. We need this equilibrium of positive and negative in order to grow and evolve. It is crucial to understand that we all own and display all personality traits in equal quantities. Too often we expect our partner to be a one-sided being, but this leads to frustration, disappointment and withdrawal when your partner inevitably expresses the other side. It is wiser to ask the question “where do I have the trait I am judging my partner for” and “how does my partner expressing that trait benefit me in my day-to-day life”? As long as you answer; ‘I don’t have that trait and it doesn’t benefit me’, you will be caught. But as soon as you break through the limitation of your perception, you will assist your relationship to grow in maturity and mutual appreciation.

Q: To some Valentine’s Day is a cruel reminder of not having a partner. What would you say to all those who dread ‘V’ day?

It is a one-sided perception to think that a relationship will bring you happiness. Haven’t you ever got something you longed for (a new job or house) and instead of being happy you discover another set of crazies, a fresh set of challenges, unexpected problems? There are also negatives to being in a relationship. One of the greatest myths of all time is if I’m not involved with someone, I’ll be lonely. Have you ever been physically close to someone, even in bed with them, and felt a huge distance between you?

When you focus on yourself first, you can walk into a relationship empowered instead of being driven by a sense of need or desperation. A soul mate isn’t someone who gives you what you lack, but instead is a person who you can share your life and dreams with.

Q: What would you say to those people who feel that they are missing love in their life?

When you don’t understand human behavior you can miss the love that surrounds you 24/7. People show their love and appreciation in ways that reflect what is important to them. A father who has a high value on education will buy his child a book containing information sharing what he thinks is valuable to learn. When we give gifts to people don’t we give what we would most love to receive? So when you don’t honor the form of what someone thinks is important, you can miss the depth of love that is being shown to you every day.

Q: Can you give a last bit of advice to our readers?

Love yourself first. This does not mean that you need to build up your self-worth so you appear more attractive. For you to experience the affection that someone else has for you – warts and all, it is wise to cherish yourself fully. That means choosing to see yourself in 360 degrees with your unique expression of every character trait. When you embrace your dark and light, your supposed duality, then you are ready to experience unity. Remember, if you can’t love yourself and if you don’t value yourself then how can you expect someone else to?

HERE are the 10 most destructive relationship myths, adapted from The Heart of Love by Dr John Demartini. He says if you agree with any of the following statements, this generally indicates you are living a fantasy.

  1. A new relationship will make me happy
  2. When I find my soul mate I will feel complete
  3. The right relationship will last forever
  4. Once we get past these rough waters, it will be smooth sailing
  5. A good relationship requires sacrifice
  6. Great sex only happens at the beginning a relationship
  7. In the right relationship, I won’t have to work at it
  8. If I’m not involved with someone, I’ll be lonely
  9. Children complete a marriage
  10. Opposites attract

Dr. John Demartini is an international educator specializing in human behavior and social dynamics. He is the founder of the Demartini Institute, author of over 40 books and creator of The Demartini Method™. For more information regarding Dr John Demartini, his live events and products, contact the Demartini Institute: or visit

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



Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice

  1. Appropriate Timing is Essential. Don’t ask a man to do something that he is obviously about to do. If he is going to the store to pick up those couple of needed items don’t ask him to go immediately. Timing is crucial. If he is focused on something at the moment don’t expect him to go right away.
  1. Have a Non-Demanding Attitude. Remember that a request is not a demand. If you have a resentful or demanding attitude, no matter how cautiously you choose your words, he will feel unappreciated for what he has already done and will probably say no to your request.
  1. Whenever Possible, Be Brief. Avoid giving a list of reasons why you need his help. Assume that he doesn’t need to be convinced. The more time you take to explain yourself the more his resistance will grow. Long explanations make him feel as though you don’t trust him to support you. What you don’t want is for him to feel manipulated as opposed to having your trust that he will indeed rise to the occasion and help meet your needs.
  1. Always Be Direct. Venusians commonly make the mistake of thinking that they are asking for support when to a Martian they are not. Often women will present a problem rather than directly asking for support. She expects that her man will offer his support without being directly asked. Here’s a good example of being brief and direct as opposed to being indirect. You don’t want to say, “We haven’t gone out in weeks.” To a man that’s not a request it’s a complaint that says, “You have been neglecting me.” Simply say, “Would you take me out this weekend to a movie.”  Don’t say “The backyard looks like a mess.” Rather state directly, “Would you cut the grass?” or “Would you rake the leaves?” Bottom line, you want to be sure that what you are saying is stated in the form of a request and not a complaint.
  1. Try Always to Use the Right Choice of Words. One of the most common mistakes in asking for support is the use of could and can in place of would and will. “Could you empty the trash?” is merely a question. “Would you empty the trash?” is a request. Women often come to a point where they become reluctant to ask for support because they have gotten responses like, “Don’t nag me,” or, “Stop telling me what to do.”

In spite of how it sounds to a woman, when a man makes this kind of a comment, what he really means is, “I don’t like the way I’m being asked.” Men don’t like a subtle approach, “Can you fix up the yard.” Of course they can do that. Rather they want to be asked to do it because you want it done. “Please rake and bag the leaves this weekend,” is a direct request. It’s not a plea, it’s not manipulative, it’s a simple and clear directive.

The more honest and direct you can be the more likely you are in all instances of getting the support you seek

John Gray, Ph.D. is the leading relationship expert in the world and one of the best-selling relationship authors of all time.

John helps men and women understand, respect and appreciate their differences in both personal and professional relationships. His approach combines specific communication techniques with healthy, nutritional choices that create the brain and body chemistry for lasting health, happiness and romance.  His many books, videos, workshops and seminars provide practical insights to effectively manage stress and improve relationships at all stages of life and love.

John’s books have sold over 50 million copies in 50 different languages. His groundbreaking book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, was the best-selling book of the 1990s. It launched his Mars Venus book series that forever changed the way men and women view their relationships.

John Gray lives in Northern California with his wife of 26 years, Bonnie. They have three grown daughters and three grandchildren.  He is an avid follower of his own health and relationship advice.

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.


Learn to Love and Grow Your Marriage


Dear Brides and Grooms,

You are about to become husband and wife. Marriage is one of the best personal investments of your life. Research shows that married people enjoy greater levels of health, wealth and of course happiness. Now I’m going to help you protect your vital investment. Like anything else in life, it takes skills and education to be a successful wife or a husband, but most couples get their marriage licenses without having to pass a skill test. Would you like to learn how to create a marriage that grows, pays huge rewards, and lasts a lifetime?

In the next five minutes, you will read secrets which I normally spent three days or three months of coaching to teach my clients (and what I’ve spend the past 25 years teaching in person and on television).

The first thing couples in trouble say to me when they sit down in my office is, “we’ve grown apart.” But I want you to know that it is possible to grow together. In fact, couples who get qualified premarital coaching have two-thirds fewer divorces.

Here are the four secrets to growing your love over a lifetime: Insight, Skill, Action and Practice.

Insight – what do you believe about the most impactful aspects of your marriage – money, sex, and power? Whether you like it or not, we all form beliefs about life when we are children that then become hardwired patterns in our brains. The good news is that the brain is a programmable tool and you can change your beliefs. Follow these three simple steps.

  1. Write down what you learned about those three important areas – money, sex and power — as well as what you believe about women, men and love relationships. Hint: what was your parents’ marriage like? What are their beliefs in these areas? Take a look at your life; do you see patterns that you’ve been repeating? Nobody’s bad or good; we are just products of what we had a chance to learn.
  2. Take your old beliefs and change them to new positive beliefs that you want to see in your marriage life.
  3. Talk these over with your mate to build understanding and support to make these changes.

Skill – do you know how to talk things out to find solutions, prevent conflicts, and keep energy high and hot? In communicating about “touchy issues” or when you are upset, start with a soft open (i.e. I love you and I’m so glad we can talk things out together when we need to,) proceed to talk about how you feel with ‘I’ messages. Avoid ‘You’ messages, which tend to be blaming.

You might say, “I feel sad,” or “I feel hurt.” Then m­­­ake a request such as, “would you mind helping me take out the trash?” Close softly by reaffirming your love and faith in your mate and your relationship.

Action – these actions are marriage insurance:

  1. Create a plan for your life together, set your intentions physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. How do you want it to look and feel in those four areas?
  2. Write it down and create action steps to achieve those goals.
  3. Get support. None of us can achieve our dreams alone.

Practice – You know practice makes perfect and the same goes with your marriage. Every single day you should take time to share and connect with your partner. Make it a point to take a class once a year and regularly read books to grow your marriage, money and parenting skills. This is why I created the annual Love, Money & Seva Summit – to help couples grow together.

The more you grow together, the more energy you replenish in yourself and the more love you will experience as a couple. Being of service to one another, family, friends and community is strong glue for a fulfilling marriage. Go to for more information.

Dr. Brenda Wade regularly appears on CNN and NBC’s Today Show as a psychology expert.  Featured on shows such as Oprah and Good Morning America, she hosted both the nationally syndicated Can This Marriage Be Saved? and the national PBS Pledge Special Power Choices. A regular contributor to Essence magazine and other major publications, she also hosts Black Renaissance on the CW network. Dr. Brenda facilitates exciting breakthrough retreats around the world and guides the international Power Coaches Program. Dr. Brenda has also authored four books: Power Choices: 7 Signposts on Your Journey to Wholeness, Joy, Love and Peace, Love Lessons, What Mama Couldn’t Tell Us About Love, and 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Falling In Love.

Dr. Brenda founded of the Love, Money & Seva Summit which takes place every Labor Day weekend and the Power Coaches Program which provides holistic breakthrough coaching services internationally. Power Coaches use unique techniques to create immediate and lasting behavior change and help their clients to lead awake and powerful lives. |

Intimacy, Relationships

How to Have More Fulfilling Relationships and How to Create More Love in Your Life

By Dr John Demartini: Human behavioural specialist, educator, internationally published author and sought-after authority on maximising human awareness and potential.

Between positively and negatively charged particles is a center point of light. Between positively and negatively charged emotions is the center point of love. The center point is what every human being already is, yet elusively still seeks. True love is our ultimate objective, whether we’re aware of it or not. We may think we’re looking for something else, something material and fleeting, but even the pursuit of transient goals just leads us back to the truth of love. The purpose of all relationships is to dissolve the barriers that keep us from recognizing the love that already is and expressing the love we ultimately are.

We each have a hierarchy of values or priorities; from the things we think are extremely important, all the way down to the things we think don’t matter. Your priorities or values dictate your destiny. Anything that supports your highest values you call “good” and are attracted to; anything that challenges them you call “bad” and are repelled by.  Your values are based on the perception that something is missing, that a void exists. But actually nothing is missing, it’s just in a form you haven’t recognized.  You think you’re missing it; therefore, you seek it, and anything you think supports that search you call good and anything that challenges it you call bad. Our values determine the way in which we conduct our relationships.

There are three ways to conduct a relationship, and each one has an entirely different outcome.  A careless relationship is one in which you project and focus on your own values without considering your partner at all.  A careful relationship is when you think in terms of your partner’s values without considering your own…this one is called “walking on eggshells”.  Both are one-sided approaches that ignore the other person and create tension in the relationship.  But a caring relationship is one where you communicate your values in terms of theirs. You think of both sides simultaneously, expressing your love for yourself and each other. The definition of caring is knowing someone well enough to know their values and caring enough to express your values in terms of theirs.  Whenever something supports your values, you take away the rules, and when something challenges your values, you set rules. Nations do it, companies do it and you do it in relationships. You set up rules when your values feel threatened. Knowing both yours and your partner’s values assists you in mastering the art of communication. When you communicate with them, you want to make sure that you communicate what is important to you in a way that links with what is important to them. When someone takes the time to communicate in your values you are inspired to participate in the dialogue. When someone doesn’t communicate in your values, you switch off and the conversation becomes a monologue.

Often when we’re in a relationship, we unwisely think the other person is supposed to be like us but if any two people are exactly the same, one of them is unnecessary.  The purpose of a relationship is to teach us to love the parts we’ve disowned.  Each person has their own unique set of values and no two people have the same set.

Each person expresses love through his or her own values. A father who has a high value on education will express his love by purchasing his child a book containing information he thinks is valuable to learn. A mother who values beauty will show her love by helping her daughters or sons become more physically appealing. When we give gifts to people don’t we often give what we would most love to receive? When we honor our partner’s value system, we realize that we’re surrounded by love in forms we sometimes don’t even recognize.

So you are probably wondering how to identify yours and your partner’s values? Your life demonstrates what is truly most important to you. People will often tell you what they think is important but what they take action on every day is what is really important to them. We make time for what is important to us so if we value our relationships, we will sacrifice things that are lower on our priorities to spend time with the people we value. If however we value work and not relationships, then we will sacrifice relationships to spend our time working.

To determine your values ask yourself the following questions from The Demartini Value Determination Process™. When answering these questions, make sure your answers are what your life truly demonstrates:

  1. What do you fill your space with? Have a look at what you have in your office or in your home and see what you display in your most valued space.
  2. How do you spend your time? We always allocate time for things that are important to us so our days are divided up with our priorities. If something is not important we keep putting it off until tomorrow.
  3. How do you spend your energy? You always have energy for things that inspire you. Have a look at where you feel most vital and enthused in your day to day activities.
  4. What do you spend your money on? You will feel reluctant to spend money on things you perceive as unimportant. If something means something to you, you will always figure a way to pay for it.
  5. Where are you most organized? Everyone has areas of order and areas of disorder in their lives. The things that are important to you, you will spend time organizing.
  6. Where you are most disciplined and reliable? If something is important to you, you will be dedicated to doing it.
  7. What do you think about or focus on most? Your mind will always focus on the things that mean something to you. You may be distracted by a phone-call or a television program but your mind will constantly wander back to the area of highest importance.
  8. What do you envision or dream about most? What you envision and dream about will be in alignment with what is important to you.
  9. What do you internally dialogue about most (what you talk to yourself about most)? We all speak to ourselves and we dialogue internally about what is most important to us.
  10. What do you externally dialogue about most? Every person wants to communicate what is most important to them. If someone discusses something we don’t want to hear we will try to change the conversation to what is important to us.
  11. What are you inspired about most? We are inspired by the areas of life that mean something to us so if we value children, then we will be inspired by what children do. If we value business then we will be inspired by achievements in business.
  12. What do you set goals towards most? We will be willing to stretch towards goals that have meaning for us.

To discover what someone else’s values are, you just need to apply the same 12 questions and observe what their life is demonstrating. What do they talk about most, what do they spend their time doing, where are they most organized and disciplined, what do they spend money on and what do they fill their space with.

Once you know your values and your partner’s values, you have the key and potential to dissolving any tensions you may perceive in your relationship by simply asking how what they are doing is assisting you in the areas that are your highest values. Whenever you perceive that what someone else is inspired by supports your values, you open up to them. If you perceive that a person’s values challenge what is important to you, then you will resist them and want to change them to be more like you.

 The secret to a fulfilling relationship lies in your heart. You only require the courage to open it. Make sure you love yourself first.  If you’re not appreciating and loving the true you, it is probably not any easier for others to love you. For you to experience the affection that someone else has for you – warts and all, it is wise to cherish yourself fully. That means choosing to see yourself in 360 degrees with your unique expression of every character trait.  When you equally embrace your dark and light, your positive and negative, or both sides of your supposed duality, then you are ready to experience the truth and unity of love.  Remember, if you can’t love yourself, if you don’t value yourself and if you wouldn’t want to make love with you then how can you expect someone else to?

Dr John Demartini: Human behavioural specialist, educator, internationally published author and sought-after authority on maximising human awareness and potential.

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.


Relationship Revelations

Aha…new love. There is nothing more intoxicating than the blissful feeling of new love. The future looks bright and hopeful with this new love in your life. Life has prepared you for this moment of commitment – right? No! Maybe! If you are unsure about being ready for this life changing event then read on and make sure you are prepared for the happily ever-after life.

The happily ever after dream…but, what is really in store for this new formed couple? Why is there so much doom and gloom? Well the stats say that almost half of marriages today will end in divorce. But does this need to happen to YOU? We say NO!

The top three rules to making a “happily ever after” life.

Rule #1. Have fun! Your getting married and you are probably having fun in the relationship. Great, remember this time in your life together and most importantly keep the fun in the relationship. The ‘fun’ might change as the years go by, but ‘fun’ is a key building block to a long healthy relationship.

Rule #2. Listen !! We mean really listen. When you are listening find a way to hold your partner important. Not more important than you, and not less either. When you hold each other important in any discussion you are really listening for your partner’s different view point. It’s really quite amazing what you might hear… even when you think you’ve heard it all before or you are so sure what they are going to say or do.

Rule #3. Don’t judge…Evaluate your relationship before marriage and in your marriage. Evaluating improves your chances for long-term success. There are three key criteria in particular to assess yourself, your general preparedness for a long loving and enduring marriage. These three key evaluation criteria are; 1. you, as an individual – your traits and skills to handle conflict, related stresses and communication, 2. you and your partner’s abilities to communicate with each other and 3. the situation in which you and your partner are currently influenced by, such as family history and significant role-models in your life. These three factors can predict marital dissatisfaction, satisfaction or long-term success of your relationship.

So, to help you and your partner, here is an exercise to assess your compatibility and competency to endure the relationship hurdles:

  1. List yours and your partner’s five most fun activities – any similarities?
  2. Discuss how well you know your partner as well as your own likes and dislikes.
  3. Look at how familiar you are with your partner’s current life-stressors, such as finances, job or career, weight and fitness, passions or interests, relatives and family commitments etc.       Shock or surprise by any of the answers?
  4. Understanding the expectations of each other. How accepting of the situation are you? Are you flexible, willing to adjust and adapt? If your partner didn’t change, could you live with that?

You can Beat the odds! Blair and I consistently heard from family and friends “don’t work together if you are married – that will only spell failure”. Absolutely no one around us had anything good to say about a husband and wife successfully working together, but here we are twenty-two years later in marriage and twenty years as business partners, we are still alive and well and in love!

There is lots of hope for any of you who believe – in yourselves and each other!


Blair and Melissa have been happily married for 22 years. Aside from being husband and wife they also run a business together, Results Now Inc. a coaching and training company and have done so for twenty years. Blair and Melissa live in Edmonton, Alberta with their two beautiful daughters. If you wish to learn more about Blair and Melissa’s training, you are welcome to contact them at 1-888-663-2047 or visit their business website at