Tag Archives: National Marriage Week

Why this may be the most important week of the year for your marriage

heart of seaweed  morguefileDo you think it’s a coincidence that National Marriage Week (Feb 7-14) and Random Acts of Kindness Week (Feb. 9-15) overlap this year? If it is a coincidence, it’s a happy coincidence and a reminder that daily acts of kindness are essential to a happy marriage.

I prefer the term “deliberate acts of kindness” rather than “random” ones, because if we are not deliberate about acts of kindness, they just don’t happen. Even if you want to turn your acts of kindness toward random people, you still have to be deliberate about it don’t you? Otherwise you’ll get distracted by your busy day and your “top priorities”. Your spouse deserves your special efforts both to be kind and to do kind things for them. Make a list of three small acts of kindness you can do for your sweetheart this week. Then, later brainstorm things you can do on a monthly basis. (Read Researchers say successful marriages come down to kindness.)

While we are on the subject of February holidays, Valentine’s Day is the most obvious. Even if you wanted to forget it, the flood of red and pink hearts at the grocery store will be an overt reminder. But don’t let the singles have all the fun. Remember it’s an opportunity to communicate your love, and it doesn’t have to be celebrated on Feb. 14th.

Rather than thinking about these separate holidays as items to be checked off a list with gifts to buy and actions to take, think of February as a time to take stock of your marriage and determine if romance, kindness and thoughtfulness are a part of your usual week. How were the holidays for your family? Are you spending time together each day, with a larger block of time each week, such as a date night? Is your home a happy place for your family to be? I know I often worry more about getting everything done than making sure I have positive interactions.

Talk about these things with your spouse. Discuss ideas for making things better, but don’t place blame.

If you’re having a night at home for Valentine’s Day, consider reading your marriage vows or looking at your wedding pictures. Similar to a company reviewing their mission statement; it might help you stay on track and recall your promises. (Check out Do you wish Valentine’s Day never existed?)

If you haven’t had much time together, ask yourselves if you could make a marriage retreat or weekend getaway a reality. For those with children at home, is there a family member or close friend who could manage them for a night or two? Offer to do the same for them if they have children.

Be as deliberate and non-random in your marriage as you possibly can, being generous in your time and thoughtfulness throughout the year.

“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect. I didn’t even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them–it was that promise.” –Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth

Lori Lowe has been married to her husband, Ming, for 19 years. She is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in various e-book formats here.

Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com.

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Tried-and-True Valentine’s Day Ideas

“Keeping the Sparks Alive” Series

With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, many of you may be over-thinking what would please your sweetheart.

I could give you links to gift ideas for husbands and gift ideas for wives, but I think you know deep down what will be successful. Let me break it down for you.

For men, if it has to do with food and/or sex, you are probably onto something that will please him.

For women, if it sounds romantic, you’ll probably make her day. It doesn’t have to be the MOST original idea ever, although she will find it romantic if you remembered something she saw and liked. The vast majority of ladies out there would be thrilled if their husband used one of these tried-and-true ideas:

  • Bring home her favorite flowers with a sweet note,
  • Draw her a bubble bath and light some candles (warm a towel in the dryer),
  • Give her a massage (with some great-smelling oil/lotion), or
  • Write her a love letter (my favorite gift suggestion), or even give her a special toast over dinner or champagne.
  • Or, follow up on one of those hints she’s dropped for you.

Even though I’ve had this post scheduled for a while, I keep seeing some of these ideas on other web sites. That’s OK. Don’t feel your gift has to be the most original. She really doesn’t want a gadget no one has heard of. What’s more important is how you deliver on your gift idea and make your sweetie feel she is the most special one for you.

It’s also National Marriage Week (Feb. 7-14), so even if you don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, do something great this week to celebrate your marriage!

Do you have any special plans for this week?

Related Links:
Hitched Magazine makes the case for celebrating Valentine’s Day. We’ve all referred to it as “just a Hallmark holiday,” but read why it might be good for us after all.

Photo Credit ©Peter Haken/PhotoXpress.com

Announcing a New E-book: Love Everyday—Thoughts on Loving Amidst the Chaos of Life

Just in time for Valentine’s Day and National Marriage Week, I’m excited to share a brand new resource with you that has been in the works for a couple of months. The free e-book, called Love Everyday: Thoughts on Loving Amidst the Chaos of Life, represents the collective efforts of 27 talented relationship writers. I was excited to be invited to be a featured author and editor of the project. You’ll find everything from humorous insights to practical relationship tips.

Please leave a comment below with your thoughts and share this e-book freely. I will leave a link to it in my sidebar as well, so you can send people here to Life Gems to find it if you prefer. If you are new to Life Gems4Marriage, welcome!  Please check out some of the more popular posts listed below.  I invite you to sign-up for free updates via RSS or email on the right column, and I’ll send you new posts whenever they’re posted for you to read at your convenience. You can also follow me on Twitter @LoriLowe.

How To Access the E-Book

Read Love Everyday by clicking on this link.  Then share it liberally by email, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, word-of-mouth and any other way you can. You can download to your computer and read at your leisure. You can even print it if you prefer a hard copy. It’s totally free and we urge you to help us spread it around the world.

I hope it helps nurture your own Everyday Love. Following is an impressive list of authors who contributed to Love Everyday. Each is passionate about marriage. 

  1. Dr. Michelle Gannon – Marriage Prep 101
  2. Paul Byerly – The Generous Husband
  3. Lori Byerly — The Generous Wife
  4. Denee King – She Just Got Married
  5. Corey Allan – The Simple Marriage
  6. Toni & Alisa DiLorenzo – One Extraordinary Marriage
  7. Stu Gray – The Marry Blogger
  8. Dustin Riechmann – Engaged Marriage
  9. Lori Lowe – Life Gems
  10. Chelle Stein – It Might Be Love
  11. Sheri Kruger – Zen Family Habits Serene Journey
  12. Mandi Ehman – Organizing Your Way
  13. Maureen Shaw – Feeling Flirty
  14. Trudy Sargent – Love Talk
  15. Isabella Mori – Change Therapy
  16. Cindy J. Taylor – Affair Care
  17. Alisa Bowman – Project Happily Ever After
  18. J. Money – Budgets Are Sexy
  19. Dan Miller – 48 Days
  20. Damien Riley – DamienRiley.com
  21. Samantha Mellen – Mama Notes
  22. Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income Blog
  23. Kathleen Quiring – Project M
  24. Jeff Nickles – My Super-Charged Life
  25. Brad Chaffee – Enemy of Debt Logos4You.net
  26. Nate Desmond – Practical Manliness
  27. Carrie Burgan – Make Mine Happen

 Thank you for your support of this project.

Celebrate National Marriage Week: Be a Marriage Advocate –Part I

In honor of National Marriage Week, which is celebrated this year from Feb. 7th to Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share a recent interview I had with Susan Dutton Freund, Executive Director of thinkmarriage.org. Her organization, based in Wisconsin, provides education, online tools and local programs to build healthier relationships. Susan is also part of a national movement to support healthy marriages.

Susan believes marriage education is “more important than ever.” She should know, after growing up in a high-conflict marriage, marrying and divorcing at a young age and raising two children on her own, and finally building a healthy and stable marriage in which to raise a family the second time around. She says our society isn’t preparing individuals for relationships as it did a century ago, when manners were taught in tight-knit communities by positive role models. “Today we live in a mobile society and are loosely networked,” Susan says. “There’s less emphasis on social mores, a do-your-own-thing mentality, separation from extended family, and an easy exit from marriage.”

Despite these challenges, a couple who works on their relationship can be successful, she says. “With a little time, thought, and effort, you can see really great things happen in your relationships.” Susan says a love letter is a tiny example of what should be in a good marriage—“pouring yourself and your affirmation, love and encouragement into another person.” She adds that a love letter not only makes your mate feel good, it also reminds you of your partner’s great attributes. That’s why her organization is offering interactive love letter kits for a nominal donation of $1.99. What a great idea for Valentine’s Day!

Susan says her organization teaches three positive messages, which she says have resonated within her community, and on a broader scale:

  1. Marriage is a public good that is beneficial to both adults and children. Research has shown married adults have more wealth, greater happiness and psychological wellbeing, lower rates of chemical abuse/addictions, less physical violence, better sex life, longer life, and better health. Children within intact families have greater academic achievement, greater lifetime earnings, lower rates of drug use, lower rates of teen pregnancy, higher physical health, emotional health, and fewer problematic behaviors.
  2. Divorce is preventable when you learn skills. Susan says two truly critical marriage skills are positive communication and conflict resolution. If a couple has these, they can manage other areas of conflict, such as finances, sex, housework and childcare. She adds that marriage retreats, seminars and courses are offered around the country to help couples improve these two skills.
  3. Children need both of their parents in their home to do their best. “As long as humanity keeps producing children, marriage will always be relevant,” says Susan. “Family is the building block of society, and when the family fractures, society fractures.”

 Stay tuned for Part II of our discussion tomorrow.

 How do you plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day and National Marriage Week?