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Victoria Beckham ‘Never Gave Up’ on Marriage to David ‘When Someone Else Might Have,’ Says Source

As Victoria and David Beckham approach their 19th anniversary, the couple is once again battling rumors of trouble in their marriage – and speaking out to squash the speculation.

“Over the years, Victoria has fought hard for her marriage, and for David,” a source tells PEOPLE. “She never gave up when someone else might have.”

After shooting down social media speculation about a divorce, the former model and designer, who shares four children with the soccer star, 43, spoke openly about how she balances her personal and professional life.

“I try really, really hard. I try hardest to be the best mother,” Victoria, 44, said at the Forbes Women’s Summit in New York City on Tuesday, according to Hello!.

“I am trying to be the best wife and the best professional. When I get home I try to put the phone down and spend time with the children and spend time with David,” she added.

“I have the support of an incredible husband,” Victoria continued. “We really are equal with everything we do at home with the children. When I’m away he’s the one doing the school run and doing the cooking.”

Her comments come just weeks after her and David’s rep told PEOPLE that the two were not heading for divorce.

“What nonsense. Journalist Chinese whispers and fake news fueled by social media,” the rep said. “There is no impending statement, no divorce!”

The power couple, who recently attended the royal wedding together, share children Brooklyn, 19, Romeo, 15, Cruz, 13 and daughter Harper, 6.

The duo met in the Manchester United players’ lounge in 1997. David was playing for the team at the time, but had not yet become one of the team’s most recognizable stars.

He has said he knew Victoria was ‘The One’ before even meeting her in person. While watching a Spice Girls music video on TV, Beckham proclaimed to a pal: “See the girl in the dark short dress? I’m going to marry her.”

The designer echoed her hubby’s statement: “Completely love at first sight. He told me he went home and wrote my number on so many other things in case he lost it.”

The duo married in a lavish 1999 wedding at an Irish castle, and despite often praising each other in interviews, they went on to endure speculation about the state of their union for nearly two decades.

“We’ve had our ups and downs,” she admitted to Vogue in 2013, adding, “but we’re so proud of each other.”

Two years later, the former Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer said she had effectively learned how to tune out the haters.

“I have never listened to, or commented on, the rumors about any aspect of my life,” she told Grazia magazine in regards to murmurs about a split.

“I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and beautiful, healthy, happy children,” she continued. “Yes, we travel a lot with our respective businesses and charitable commitments, but we always make time for each other as a couple and as a family. David and I have nothing to prove. We love each other, look out for each other and are strong as both partners and parents.”

She also spoke about how much she admires her husband. “My husband constantly inspires me and guides me – he has done so much good work,” she said of the man who serves as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. “I look up to him and have the utmost respect and admiration for all that he has achieved.”

In 2016, Victoria included some marriage advice in a letter addressed to her 18-year-old self published in British Vogue. “In marriage: have patience. Bite your tongue. Be supportive. And preserve a bit of mystique,” she said.

“Never let yourself go completely (at least brush your hair, clean your teeth, have a bit of a brow going on because you will always want him to look at you and feel attracted),” Victoria added.

Last year, the couple renewed their vows in a relatively private ceremony. In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, David opened up about the special day, while also admitting that “marriage is difficult at times” as he and his wife continue to work hard at their relationship.

“We have renewed our vows since ,” said David, who didn’t elaborate on when the ceremony took place. “It was a lot more private, about six people there in our house.”

The former soccer star said the secret to their 18-year marriage is making his relationship with Victoria a priority and working together through any hard times.

“We’re a strong family unit. We’ve got strong parents. We were brought up with the right values,” he said. “Of course you make mistakes over the years, and we all know marriage is difficult at times. It’s about working through it.”

He added, “We know each other better than anybody. People have talked about, ‘Do we stay together because it’s a brand?’ Of course not. We stay together because we love each other, because we have four amazing children.

“Do you go through tough times? Of course. That’s part of relationships. It’s part of marriages. It’s part of having children. It’s part of having responsibilities.”

Earlier this month, as rumors of a split began to circulate on social media, Victoria sent her “love” to David on Instagram with a photo of Harper.

“Morning cuddles x So much love 🙏🏻 We love and miss u @davidbeckham 💕💕💕💕,” she wrote in the caption.


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Amid Abuse Accusations, R. Kelly’s Ex-Wife Left Their Marriage with Help from an Online Quiz

When R. Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly was desperate for answers in 2009, after what she said was years of abuse from the rapper, she turned to the internet for help.

Andrea, 44, spoke out Wednesday for the first time about the alleged abuse she endured during her 13-year-long marriage to R. Kelly (née Robert Sylvester Kelly), 51.

Their relationship was tumultuous, with Andrea filing an emergency protective order in 2005 while claiming physical abuse, which she withdrew a week later. She filed for divorce in 2006, but ended up staying with him. Andrea said in an interview on the daytime talk show Sister Circle that her faith not only helped her persevere, but also pushed her to make a change on the day she contemplated suicide.

But, Andrea said, God moved her to her laptop, where she Googled “domestic violence” and found a support site.

“I’m thinking to myself, ‘I’m not that girl. I’m not the teeth missing, broken bone girl,’” Andrea said on the show. “But God said, ‘Keep scrolling,’ so I kept scrolling… kept scrolling. And at the end of the domestic violence awareness website, there was a questionnaire.”

The questionnaire included 17 questions to determine if your partner is abusive, and Andrea alleged, “Robert had done 15 to me.”

Domestic abuse questionnaires typically include queries about whether a person feels anxious around their partner, feels coerced into sex, is restricted from talking to other people, feels like they are in danger of harm and more. One example of such a questionnaire can be found here. People who think they may be at risk should also reach out for help using the number below.

Reps for R. Kelly have denied the multiple accusations against the rapper, including those from Andrea, telling PEOPLE in a statement that he “has close friendships with a number of women who are strong, independent, happy, well cared for and free to come and go as they please.”

“We deny the many dark descriptions put forth by instigators and liars who have their own agenda for seeking profit and fame,” a rep said. “All of the women targeted by the current media onslaught are legal adults of sound mind and body, with their own free will. Law enforcement officials in Atlanta and Chicago previously have made ‘wellness’ visits to check on the women in question and have found everything to be safe and sound.”

If you or someone you know think they are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now for anonymous, confidential help, available 24/7.


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How Gordon Ramsay Lost Over 50 Lbs. to Save His Marriage: ‘I Wanted to Get in Serious Shape’

Based on Gordon Ramsay’s attitude in the kitchen, it’s no surprise that he went full throttle as soon as he decided to lose weight.

The chef, 51, who recently revealed that he lost about 56 lbs. after his wife gave him a relationship ultimatum, wanted to jump right in to training for an Ironman 70.3 race — a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run — when he started his fitness journey.

“I wanted to get in serious shape,” Ramsay told The Times.

His newly-hired trainer, Will Usher, quickly dissuaded him, saying that he would kill himself at his current weight. Instead, Usher started Ramsay on each part of a triathlon, but at lower intensities. Eventually though, they were doing long-distance swimming, rowing, running and biking workouts, plus weight lifting and core work, and Ramsay has now completed several triathlons, including the Ironman 70.3 in Staffordshire, England.

“Will’s a beast,” Ramsay said. Together, they go for 75-mile bike rides on Sunday mornings. “Does it hurt? S— yeah. I wasn’t built to cycle.”

Ramsay also changed up his eating habits, but only slightly, and said he would never hire a dietitian.

‘No milk. Just because it’s sluggish,” he said. “Almond milk with Weetabix for breakfast. Smoothie with frozen berries, yogurts. Dropping milk and cheese has made a massive difference.”

Though he’ll still eat it occasionally, and believes in treating himself with pieces of milk chocolate to “give yourself a buzz.”

And Ramsay now makes sure to drink plenty of water before he starts eating.

“It just stops you eating a third more,” he said. “You feel better but eat less.”

Ramsay says his lifestyle overhaul is “hard … but the benefits are extraordinary,” and he likes himself again.

“The more I train, the more normal I am, the more I feel that I’m still unchanged. It’s just another little reminder of who I really am,” he said.


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The Sweet Spot: We Lost Our Newborn Baby. Can This Marriage Survive?

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Dancing with the Stars Pro Mark Ballas on His Hilarious Wedding Day Snafu & What Marriage Has Taught Him

 

Mark Ballas and BC Jean‘s bohemian chic wedding certainly looked picture-perfect, but one major element of their ceremony didn’t go according to plan.

PEOPLE Now recently caught up with the Dancing with the Stars pro ahead of the season 25, and he opened up about what exactly went awry during their Nov. 25 nuptials.

“I teared up when she walked around the corner and I saw her,” he recalled. “She walked the aisle to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen, which is one of my all-time favorites.”

So far, so good? Not quite.

“It was funny, because they played the wrong version — they were meant to play the symphonic string version, but they played the real version,” he said. “So all of a sudden she turns the corner and we hear: ‘Is this ?‘ ”

“Freddie ’s voice is booming through my ceremony!” he added with a laugh. “I turned to Derek at the time, my best friend, I was like, ‘They’re playing the wrong version!’ He goes, ‘Relax, man. You love Queen.’ I was like, ‘I do love Queen.’ ”

Of course, all’s well that ends well — and Ballas, 31, dissolved into tears pretty much the second he saw his bride.

 

FROM PEN: Confetti, Sweets and Dogs — How Julianne Hough Had a Picture Perfect Wedding to Brooks Laich

 

And in the months sine tying the knot, the happy couple actually learned something new about each other.

“Back when we were dating, we pretty much knew everything there was to know about each other — we’d traveled together, we’d lived together, we’d been through ups and downs together,” he said. “We’d kind of worked on all the things that we loved in our relationship and that we knew we needed to work on. We fought for this relationship, and that’s why it feels so solid now, but we never really spent much time in the kitchen. Then we became obsessed with these cooking shows and trying to eat healthier, and she’s become this amazing chef.”

“I come home and she’s like, ‘Look at these stuffed peppers I made!’ ” he added with a laugh. “She’s making incredible meals at home. I was like, ‘Who are you?!’ ”

Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Sept. 18 on ABC.


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Trisha Yearwood Shares Her And Garth Brooks’ Recipe For A Successful Marriage

Long before Trisha Yearwood was a lifestyle guru, she was on the top of the music charts, selling out concerts and performing for adoring fans. The “She’s in Love with the Boy” singer was, and still is, a critical success, and her working and personal partnership with Garth Brooks has something to do with it.

After two divorces, Yearwood realized that maybe the man of her dreams had been right in front of her for years. In the 2000s, after Brooks ended his marriage to his college sweetheart, he took time off from music and eventually romantically reconnected with Yearwood after nearly 15 years of friendship. A love blossomed and the pair became engaged in May 2005 and got married later that year. 

They recently celebrated their 11th anniversary. 

“We have been friends for such a long time. Our relationship is based on a very deep friendship that we’ve had, so we were in the position of knowing each other as friends before we ever went on a date,” Yearwood told HuffPost of their marriage during a recent Build Series interview. “I think a lot of times you are ― just speaking for myself ― down the road in your relationship before you really get to know the person well enough to get to know if you really like them or not, and liking someone is as important as loving someone. And so we laugh a lot. When we’re not all lovey-dovey and passionate, we’re still best friends, so it’s just the way it works.”

Yearwood, who stars on an Emmy-winning cooking show, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” and has a new line of products with Williams Sonoma, says Brooks is not just her husband but a true partner in life. 

“He’s whatever I need him to be; He can be my best friend, he can be my lover, he can be my shopper ― if I need a dress for an event and I don’t have time to go shopping, this guy can buy a dress and it’s gorgeous and it fits ― he’s fantastic,” she said. “He’s all those things that you need him to be and I think at the center of it is a true respect and love for each other, and a friendship.” 

Something else that helps Brooks’ case is his coffee-making skills

“My husband doesn’t drink coffee ― which I don’t trust people who don’t drink coffee, but I do love him ― but he makes my coffee every morning and he makes really good coffee, so he can stay,” she joked. 

Watch the full interview with Trisha Yearwood below. 

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Ben Stiller And Christine Taylor Split After 17 Years Of Marriage

Actors Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor are calling it quits after 17 years of marriage, the couple announced on Friday. 

“With tremendous love and respect for each other, and the 18 years we spent together as a couple, we have made the decision to separate,” the couple said in a joint statement to Entertainment Tonight. “Our priority will continue to be raising our children as devoted parents and the closest of friends. We kindly ask that the media respect our privacy at this time.”

Stiller, 51, and Taylor, 45, met in 1999 on set of the never-aired TV pilot “Heat Vision and Jack.” After a short engagement, they married in May 2000 in Hawaii. The couple have two children together; Ella Olivia, 15, and Quinlin Dempsey, 11. 

In 2013, Stiller opened up about his relationship with Taylor to Parade magazine. “[Our] relationship was a gradual thing that happened over a quick period of time, maybe seven or eight months,” he said.  “We just started hanging out with each other and it developed into, “Wow, this feels great. I really like this person. I think I love this person. I really do – I love this person.” It hit me out of the blue.”

News of the split comes as somewhat of a surprise, given that the “Zoolander 2” star told “ET” that the secret to the couple’s long-lasting marriage was “having a sense of humor.”

“I think you got to laugh. Because you know after a while you know life is life you know?” Stiller said in February 2016. “We all have to deal with what life throws at us, so you got to have a sense of humor about it. If you can share that, at the end, it makes a huge difference.”

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‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Star Jesse Williams And Wife Split After Five Years Of Marriage

Another one of Hollywood’s favorite couples has called it quits. “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams and his wife Aryn Drake-Lee have split after five years of marriage, according to People.

The two reportedly filed for divorce last week, although it’s unclear who filed, according to TMZ, which was first to report the news. The split is apparently “amicable.” 

The couple, who wed in 2012, have known each other for more than a decade and are parents to two young children, Sadie, 3, and Maceo, who they welcomed in 2015. 

Williams and Drake-Lee met long before he landed the role of Dr. Jackson Avery on the long-running ABC medical drama, while he was still teaching high school in New York. 

“I was a teacher when I met her, so she’s been with me through all the different facets of my career,” Williams told USA Today in 2010. “She’s stuck with me through thick and thick and thick and thin.”

Williams also made mention of his “amazing” wife in his powerful speech at the BET Awards in 2016 upon his acceptance of the Humanitarian Award, thanking her for “changing his life.”

The Huffington Post has reached out to Williams’ representatives and will update this post accordingly. 

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This ‘Millennial Marriage Proposal’ Is Guaranteed To Make You Cringe

What’s better than getting engaged? All the likes and comments you’ll get on your proposal photo, according to the millennials in the clip above. 

In a video from John Crist, the standup comedian pokes fun at millennials’ over-the-top proposals, elaborate engagement ring pictures and obsession with social media when it comes to getting engaged. 

“Wait you hired a photographer, right?” the actress in the video asks when her soon-to-be fiance drops to one knee and pops the question. What follows next is a few minutes of reshoots, re-proposing and reworking proposal camera angles to make sure the lighting is just right. All in the name of likes love. 

Because as Crist points out in the the clips’ description, “What’s the point of getting engaged if you don’t post it on Instagram?” 

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Jonathan Scott Of ‘Property Brothers’ Opens Up About His First Marriage

“Property Brothers” star Jonathan Scott is opening up about his first marriage.

In People magazine’s April cover story (featuring his twin Drew as well, whom he stars on several HGTV shows with), the 38-year-old dished on his first marriage to an airline crew scheduler named Kelsey. The marriage, which took place in 2007, ended two years later because the two were young and rushed things, according to Scott.

“She wanted to get married on 07/07/07,” Scott said. “So it wasn’t something that naturally happened. 

Though the marriage ended, the “Property Brothers” star said he gained lot from the experience.

“I think that one of the biggest things I learned is that you can have two good people who are just not good for each other,” he said. “I’m glad that we found that out early. You know, we didn’t have kids or anything. And it really helped me understand what I wanted in a relationship.” 

These days, Scott told People he’s dating 28-year-old Jacinta Kuznetsov, a producer for his company Scott Brothers’ Entertainment.

Perfect, unexpected night on Miami Beach #peaceofmind

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Jonathan’s twin Drew is also off the market. The “Property Brothers” star proposed to his fiancee, Linda Phan, in December 2016 after more than five years of dating

Watch the video above to learn more from the Scotts’ People interview: 

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The Relationship Blind Spot That Could Tank Your Marriage

Beware the relationship blind spots: seemingly harmless issues that can derail a marriage if you’re not careful. Pastor John Gray of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, has spent time counseling many married couples, and, as a married man himself, he points to one common example of a blind spot that can ruin everything: thinking that you can maintain prenuptial friendships without any changes after marriage ― especially friendships with members of the opposite sex.

As Pastor John explains, this is a relationship blind spot he knows personally. “I have somebody that’s like a sister to me. We talked all the time, we never dated… We’ve known each other 28 years,” he says. “But, unless she was friends with my wife, we couldn’t be friends anymore.”

Yes, Pastor John knows how that may sound.

“Some people are like, ‘That’s crazy. Your wife needs to get over it,’” he says. “No. Because one of the blind spots is that pre-existing relationships somehow trump your marriage. They don’t.”

If your spouse takes precedent over your parents, Pastor John reasons, why wouldn’t the same be true for a friend? “When you get married, you forsake everything else to build that,” he says. 

The key, he continues, is not to make any assumptions about how your partner may feel.

“Some spouses are okay with platonic friendships of the opposite sex, and others are not,” Pastor John says. “Deal with that blind spot, because that can became a very real point of contention later on.”

The pastor is starring in a new series on OWN, called “The Book of John Gray.” It premieres April 15, but you can watch the first episode in full right now on WatchOWN.tv. 

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Rumour Has It singer Adele confirms marriage

Adele has confirmed she is now married to long-term partner Simon Konecki, ending weeks of speculation.
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2011 Clip Of The Obamas Talking About Their Marriage Will Make You Miss Them Even More

In today’s edition of Obama Relationship Goals, let’s take a look back at the first couple’s 2011 Oprah Show appearance, when then-president Barack Obama reminded all of us about the love and respect at the foundation of a solid marriage.

During the interview, the president and first lady Michelle Obama sat down to talk about their lives, their relationship and their time in the White House. Reflecting on his lead-up to the presidency, President Obama gave due credit to Mrs. Obama, his equal partner in every sense of the word.

“Obviously, I couldn’t have done anything that I’ve done without Michelle,” President Obama said.

The 44th president continued with a response to one of Oprah’s questions earlier in the interview. “You were asking earlier what keeps me sane, what keeps me balanced, what allows me to deal with the pressure. It is this young lady right here and our two daughters,” President Obama said, taking his wife’s hand. “When I come home, no matter what I’m dealing with, I know that I’ve got people there who, not only do I love, but whose company I just enjoy and who will bring me down to a level of basic humanity and humor.”

President Obama then summed up the couple’s relationship in two beautiful sentences.

“Not only has she been a great first lady, but she is just my rock,” he said. “I count on her in so many ways, every single day.”

Original airdate: May 2, 2011

See also: What Michelle Obama tells young couples about marriage

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Facing A Mixed Orientation Marriage With Gratitude And Hope

Many little girls, often daydream of walking down the aisle, on the most joyous day of their life – their wedding day. Heart racing, nervous smile plastered across her glowing face, never once thinking that the man she’s walking towards is hiding a secret that he’s too afraid to share.

Many young men envision meeting their soulmate, sharing their life with the person of their dreams, having a family, and living the life that’s expected of them – married to a beautiful woman and being a supportive husband and father. Yet some men are torn apart inside by the secret they keep that leads to heart wrenching guilt, shame, and fear of failing everyone they know.

Regardless of the scenario, whether it’s a man or a woman hiding their secret, at some point, the pain of pretending to be someone they’re not becomes greater than the transparent truth of living and being who they’re meant to be.

In that moment, all the years of love, parenting, and life building are diminished to a rubble of memories. Tortured wails of “How could you do this to me?” by an unsuspecting spouse, are just the tip of the betrayal iceberg that sinks the life once known by all concerned.

On the other hand, many couples in a mixed orientation marriage bravely join forces, standing tall in love, vowing to get support for overcoming the wicked temptation of same-sex attraction. Prayer, therapy, retreats, hard work, and tear-stained conversations litter the landscape of a marriage in defense mode, all in the name of “make it work, just make it work!” However, even the most resolute attempts to stay afloat in the life ring of “Until death do us part,” find many couples surrendering to the truth that fixing the same-sex attraction, or fixing it enough, as Matt the husband your about to meet said in his TEDx talk, isn’t going to happen. To quell the truth of a spouse embittered in their own internal tug of war with who they are vs. who the rest of the world expects them to be, is practically a death sentence in and of itself.

While both in-the-know spouses may give a mixed orientation marriage a fair shake, many are faced with the harsh reality, that denying the truth of the same-sex attraction only leads to deeper levels of guilt, shame, anxiety, depression, and more often than not ugly embittered relationships that lead to divorce. Matt and Luanne Nightingale are trying to walk the road less traveled, one of gratitude and hope, for unraveling their 25-year relationship.

Granted, it’s a common, and a completely acceptable, rationale human emotion to want to lash out, be angry, and desire the betrayer, pay, pay, pay for the lies they’ve laden into a 23-year marriage, that never really was the storybook version of the storybook marriage they thought they were living. However, by changing perspectives a little and dramatic shifts of thought, one begins to see the beauty of diversity, if one chooses to do so.

Even though the wounds are still freshly cut, and like many heterosexual spouses, Luanne is getting the raw end of the deal (a justifiable feeling that most heterosexual spouses feel) by having her little girl dreams of happily ever after shattered, the question remains, “Why me, why now, why to begin with?” As understanding, compassionate, and loving as she can be, it doesn’t take away the gut wrenching blow to the heart, self-esteem, and trust that Luann built in her marriage to the man that she loved.

When faced with the harsh truth, Luann and Matt faced eerily similar circumstances and questions that thousands of other same sex couples caught in this mixed-orientation marriage turmoil have faced. Heart-wrenching questions like, “Do we try to make this work?” or “How do we undo the damage, un-tell the lies?” and the ever so popular, “What does the future hold for either of us, our kids, our family?” Yet, they found a path.

Through open, honest, transparent communication, Matt and Luanne have chosen to accept the truth of Matt’s same-sex attraction – him a little more easily, her a little more painfully. Leaning into their relationship built on love, respect, support and brutal honesty, they’re now, in their own words, “Trying to do this well.” The “This well” being, creating an environment for themselves and their children where the family thrives rather than survives as their marriage unravels – she as a single, pained and saddened heterosexual mother, he as a single, excited yet sorrowful, gay father.

While brutal honesty and truth often slice deep into the jugular of life, transparency for being known for who you are is a blessing that eradicates guilt, shame, and self-loathing, opening one’s self, and hopefully others to the light of living truth for truths sake. In the light of Matt’s truth, his real truth, he and Luanne are building a new foundation that embraces the reality that who you are is who you are even though at times it hurts and brings up anger and confusion. However, both Matt and Luann have found that any attempt to fight your truth only compounds the darkness, hurt and pain which in turn, eventually manifests as a person living a pretend life having pretend relationships.

On Saturday, November 6, 2016 Matt and Luanne bravely, both in their own unique way, took the stage at TEDx Sonoma County to share their story, their journey, and their truth – a truth that demonstrates with respect, support, honesty, and a deep dive into forgiveness and understanding that both of them are trying to navigate the waters of unraveling a marriage of deception and lies, with dignity and love.

Selecting gratitude and hope as their guideposts, Matt and Luanne’s TEDx talk demonstrates their ability to find common ground in what could easily be a chaotic war of love gone wrong. Yes. This is their path of choice, but it does beg the question, “What’s possible when gratitude and hope are chosen over bitterness and you done me wrong thoughts?”

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Ruby Rose Opens Up About Her Sexuality And Thoughts On Marriage

“Orange Is The New Black” breakout star Ruby Rose is on the cover of Cosmopolitan this month, opening up about her feelings surrounding sexuality, marriage and what it means to be an activist.

Rose, who has previously described herself as “gender fluid,” generated a significant LGBTQ fanbase after her stint on the hit Netflix show. Now, Rose tells Cosmopolitan’s Laurie Sandell that speaking out about equality and LGBTQ rights are issues close to her heart.

“There are things that I’m always going to be very vocal about, like LGBTQ and animal rights,” the star told Cosmopolitan. “I have a platform and I can open up a dialogue, but I also know that I’m just an actor. I’m just another person with an opinion no better than anyone else’s opinion. I don’t overanalyze. I just write from the heart, post it, and hope for the best. Then I move on.”

Rose has also been linked to a number of different stars throughout her time in the spotlight, something she jokes about with Cosmopolitan when discussing her thoughts on marriage.

“According to the news, I’ve been engaged five times,” she quips. “For me, marriage is more about equal rights than the act of getting married. When you don’t have equal rights, it trickles down to kids who think, My aunt’s gay so she can’t get married, or I’m weird because I feel the same way. So it’s important to break down that barrier. I’m more interested in having a loving, healthy, long-term relationship with someone I might want to have kids with someday.”

Rose also opens up about being in touch with her own sexuality and the way that frames her own experiences as shenavigates the world.

“I’m very confident and in tune with my sexuality,” she continues. “I feel very blessed for that, because in different places around the world, people can’t be. I’m lucky I can explore. I have a very healthy sex life, and there’s something very empowering, strong, and feminist about being open and comfortable in that world.”

Rose is slated to appear on the fifth season of “Orange Is The New Black,” premiering on Netflix this summer and taking place over the course of three days.

Head here to check out Rose’s Cosmopolitan interview in full.

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Vanderpump Rules’ Scheana Marie Shay Reveals What Went Wrong in Her Marriage to Mike Shay

Mike Shay, Scheana MarieScheana Marie Shay’s decision to separate from Mike Shay wasn’t exactly an overnight decision.
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George H.W. Bush And Barbara Bush Celebrate 72 Years Of Marriage

Happy anniversary to George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush!

The former president, 92, and former first lady celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary on Friday. They are the longest-married couple in presidential history, followed by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who married in 1946. 

The couple tied the knot on Jan. 6, 1945 in Rye, New York while George was home on leave from the Navy during World War II. They went on to have six children ― four sons including George, Jeb, Neil and Marvin and two daughters Dorothy and Robin, who died at age three of leukemia. 

The couple’s story first began in 1941 when they met at a Christmas dance in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

In a 1994 love letter, George wrote to his beloved wife, “I was very happy on that day in 1945, but I’m even happier today. You give me joy that few men know. I’ve climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband.”

May this year be the couple’s happiest one yet! 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that John and Abigail Adams had the second longest marriage in presidential history; that distinction goes to Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. 

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How LSD ‘Microdosing’ Saved Ayelet Waldman’s Marriage

The novelist credits tiny hits of psychedelic acid with salvaging her marriage to Michael Chabon. And maybe her life.
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30 Hilarious Tweets About Marriage That Just Nailed It This Year

Married couples may like to think that their relationship is a unique and complex thing. But at the end of the day, it turns out that marriage is a surprisingly universal (and often hilarious) experience. 

To prove it, we’ve compiled 30 of the funniest and most relatable marriage tweets from 2016.

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Vanderpump Rules’ Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz Talk Lala Kent Drama and Marriage

Katie Maloney, Tom Schwartz, Watch What Happens LiveVanderpump Rules stars Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz are getting acclimated to married life.
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Cherokee Nation Will Now Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

The Cherokee Nation will now recognize same-sex marriage, according to an opinion issued Friday by the tribe’s attorney general.

Todd Hembree, the tribe’s attorney general, wrote in his opinion:

The right to marry without the freedom to marry the person of one’s choice is no right at all. The history of perpetual partnerships and marriage among Cherokees supports the conclusion that Cherokee citizens have a fundamental right not only to choose a spouse but also, with mutual consent, to join together and form a household irrespective of sexual orientation.

The decision followed a request made by the tribe’s tax commissioner for an official opinion on the issue a few weeks ago.

“We were increasingly being contacted by departments in the Cherokee Nation on how to handle certain issues with same-sex marriage,” Chrissi Nimmo, assistant attorney general of the Cherokee Nation, told The Huffington Post on Friday.

Native American nations are governed by Congress, not the federal courts. So the 2015 Supreme Court decision to recognize gay marriage in all 50 states did not legally affect the Cherokee Nation, but Nimmo said the bulk of Friday’s decision was indeed informed by it.

Hembree’s decision was also influenced by historical Cherokee Nation sexuality narratives. He wrote in Friday’s decision:

Our oral history teaches us also that the Cherokee and Euro-American worldviews differed dramatically regarding appropriate gender roles, marriage, sexuality, and spiritual beliefs. Indeed, while the majority of Cherokees subscribed to the traditional gender roles, evidence suggests a tradition of homosexuality or alternative sexuality among a minority of Cherokees.

“It think it’s a really interesting part of the decision,” Nimmo told HuffPost. “Through historical research, we were able to identify research sources that indicate there was some type of historical recognition of homosexuality.”

Hembree’s opinion nullifies a law the tribe passed 12 years ago called the Cherokee Nation and Family Protection Act, which banned same-sex marriage among tribe members. 

Though same-sex marriage is still illegal in some Native American tribes, like the Navajo Nation, Nimmo believes most tribes don’t take a stance on it either way. 

“I think you will see a mixed reaction [to Friday’s decision] like you do in the American public at large,” Nimmo told HuffPost. “Without a doubt, there will be tribal members and officials who support this and are proud of this, and there will be others … who don’t like it.”

The Cherokee Nation’s legal recognition of same-sex marriage will take effect immediately. Nimmo said Hembree’s decision is “binding and considered legally valid,” though it can be challenged by other Cherokee officials at any time.

“I don’t really know who would challenge it,” Nimmo added.

Supporters of the decision shared their excitement on social media:

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7 ‘If We’re Not Married By…’ Pacts That Actually Ended In Marriage

In “How I Met Your Mother,” Ted and Robin make an agreement that if they’re still single at 40, they’ll just marry each other. 

Spoiler alert: They do eventually end up together (with a whole lot of ups and downs in between). But to our surprise, this kind of thing isn’t just a pop culture trope; it happens in real life too.

Read on for seven stories of real couples who made similar “if we’re not married by…” pacts and actually ended up together. Some didn’t wait until the agreed-upon age, but that doesn’t make their love stories any less sweet. 

1. We made the pact as a joke in high school. At 30, we tied the knot.

“Brittany and I were in each other’s lives longer than my memory will go back. We were always good friends, but got really close in middle school and high school. Sometime in high school we started joking that if we were both single at 30, then we would get married. At 24 we started hanging out a lot. By 25 we were in an official relationship. And on our 30th birthday (yes, we share that) we were married. We didn’t force anything because of the pact we made. It all happened as it was supposed to. We celebrated our first ‘birthiversary’ earlier this month, and we are still madly in love!” ― Byron 

2. After some heart break, we made the marriage pact in jest. Now we’re 30 and planning a wedding.

“Rey and I met online and became good friends when we were both 23, and since we lived 2000 miles apart, it was only a friendship. After each of us had a few bad relationships and shared mutual heartaches, we jokingly made our pact; If by 30, if we were still single, I’d take the leap of faith, move across country and we would date for a year or two before getting married. We both tried dating others, but by 28, we reconnected through social media. Our friendship grew and when the pact was mentioned again, we both embraced it. I moved to Texas in 2014, and now at 30, we are happily engaged and planning a wedding for the spring of 2018.” ― Heather W.

3. We decided on age 33, but destiny couldn’t wait that long.

“Jason and I met in high school in 1996 (we were 17) and ended up going to senior prom together since neither of us had dates. We decided that we were such good friends that if we weren’t married to other people in 2011 by the time we turned 33 (our birthdays are five days apart) that we’d marry each other. Fast forward to 1997 when we had our first child before getting married on Valentine’s Day in 2000. We were both so scared of finding ‘the one’ so young that we fought it, but fate had plans for us and they couldn’t wait until 2011! We now have two children, 16 years of marriage and are looking forward to old age together. Even when we are angry with each other, we can find a laugh because our friendship is so strong. It’s pretty damn awesome.” ― Dawn-Maia S.

4. We agreed that if we were single at 30, we’d get together. At 34, we were married.

“I first met Burnill in fourth grade and didn’t like him one bit. When we were 13 we met again at a skating rink while I was on a date with his friend and he was on a blind date with my friend. We eventually started spending time together, and we became a couple at 16. We broke up and lost touch for about a year after, and ran into each other again when we were 18. That’s when we made our pact that if we weren’t both married at 30 then we would get married. After this I didn’t see him for about nine years until he found me on Facebook. At the time I was married and had two kids. About six years later, I was single and he contacted me again via Facebook. We got married at 34 and have one beautiful little boy together, along with my two older children.” ― Rae M.

5. We started out as best friends with an “if we’re still single at 30…” agreement. Six months later, we were husband and wife. 

“My best friend of 10 years said to me one day in a group conversation that if we weren’t with anyone by the time she was 30 (she was 25 at the time) that we would have to be together. As beautiful as she was/is, I never made a move because I used to date her best friend, so I thought the ‘girl code’ would halt my advances. Sure enough, once she said that, I was like, ‘Hold up, she’s possibly into me?!’ So I made the move! Six months after that conversation, we got married. It was a fairly easy transition. Currently married for three years with two children. I’m loving every moment of it.”― Korderius D.

6. We made the pact in college. Two years later we were married ― long before age 40.

“Sarah and I became best friends after working as EMTs on our college ambulance service. We were never single at the same time, so when I was 20 and she was 22 we made a pact to get married when I was 40 if we were both single. I made it to age 22 before asking her to marry me. Our wedding was in 2013 and it was a ton of fun ― she’s a private pilot and I’m in the Air Force so we had a formation flight before exchanging vows on the taxiway at the small airport where she learned to fly.” ― Ahmed H.

7. We agreed to be each other’s backup spouse if we weren’t married by 30. Just a few years later, we got married. 

“I met Sam in 2010 during our freshman year of college. At the time we were both seeing other people, but we became very good friends very quickly mostly because of our mutual interest in self deprecation. Sometime that year we were talking about the inevitability of our current partners giving up on us and decided we should probably have some sort of contingency plan so we didn’t die miserable and alone. We decided if we were both single when we were 30, we would give up on love and resign ourselves to lives of senseless banter. She and I were 18 and 19, respectively. We decided we did actually love each other, so we moved our timetable up a bit and got married in April of 2013.” ― Ethan W.

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Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Years ago, there was a ladies’ magazine with a regular column asking the question, “Can this Marriage Be Saved?” After reading about various marital woes, I concluded that if there was love, your marriage could be saved, but if not, then marriage would simply become a compromise.

Here are eight steps to help you answer the question, “Can your marriage be saved?”

1. Mutuality

Mutuality is the key to marriage, and the two most constructive sentences you can speak to your mate are: “Sweetheart… how do you feel about this?” and, “Sweetheart… what do you think about that?” By being mutual, you are telling your mate that you value and respect him, as well as his thoughts and feelings. Therefore, you are ready and willing to problem-solve together. Solutions don’t have to be competitive, but rather, evolve for the common good. Collaboration is the key to constructively reaching confident conclusions.

2. Time Out 

If you’re only fighting, you can’t find time to build intimacy. You need time out in which to reconnect in a loving way. That means no critical talk – no baiting or switching – and don’t play the blame game. If you can change the tone, even for a little while, you can begin to reengage tenderly. Delete from your dialogue sentences such as, “Get Out,” “I want a divorce,” “It’s my way or the highway,” and “You’re either with me or against me.” And. never escalate a fight to lower your own anxiety. That’s a sure way to raise it… and end up apart.

3. Look Inside 

See how you can help your relationship. Ask your partner, “What can I do to make it better? What do you need from me?”

4. Be Emotionally Proactive

Touch more, smile more, hug more, and have more sex. These simple acts of kindness and warmth go a long way towards helping you find each other again. Simply helping by unloading a dishwasher can ignite warmth and closeness in your spouse.

5. A Love Letter 

Write a love letter to your mate expressing your feelings, both positive and negative. Be descriptive in your language, and only speak about your feelings. Your opening and closing should be loving, while drawing your mate to your emotional sphere. This way, you can help him feel what you’re feeling when he does anything that you experience as hurtful. For example, you can write, “When you say bruising things to me, it makes my stomach feel queasy, as if I’m in a plunging elevator.”

6. Confront All Problems Together

You are a team. There’s nothing more disconcerting than hearing from a friend that your spouse is having a problem that you weren’t privy to. Make time weekly for my empathic process, where together you can discuss difficult things with empathy and trust.

7. Trust Is Based On Experience

Never betray your spouse’s trust. Never discuss your sex life and always be respectful of your husband’s shortcomings. Men and women equally hate to hear their personal life bandied about among their friends. If you break trust, for example, by having an affair, and you want to keep your marriage, end that affair immediately.

Finally, if your marriage is overwhelmed by destructive behavior – mental or physical abuse, anger, addiction, affairs, and so forth – and has become insupportable, seek professional help, and when necessary, divorce.

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Eva Longoria Dishes on Her New Clothing Line and Marriage to Jose Antonio Baston

Eva LongoriaEva Longoria has been busy this summer.
The 41-year-old Telenovela actress not only married Jose Antonio Baston in May, but she’s about to launch her very own clothing line with The…

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Here’s Some Surprisingly Positive News About Marriage In The U.S.

Here’s some heartening news about marriage: The U.S. divorce rate fell for the third consecutive year in 2015, dropping to the lowest it’s been in 40 years, according to a report based on Census data released Thursday.

The divorce rate ― represented as the number of divorces per 1,000 married women aged 15 and older ― was 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women in 2015, a slight dip from the divorce rate of 17.6 in 2014. The rate is down 25 percent from 1980, according to the report, which was released by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Marriage and Family Research.

“We may have reached the low point in the decline in marriage,” Susan L. Brown, a co-director at the center, told The Huffington Post. “Over the past few years, there has not been a further retreat from marriage among the US population.” 

What’s more, marriage rates remain stable, with 32.3 marriages for every 1,000 unmarried women, up from 31.9 in 2014. 

Though divorce rates have fallen among young people (35 and under), they’ve increased for middle-aged and older people, Brown said. 

“Many of these Baby Boomers experienced the divorce revolution of the 1970s as young adults and then got remarried,” she told HuffPost. “The gray divorce rate for those in a remarriage is 2.5 times higher than for those in a first marriage.”

Meanwhile, younger generations are marrying later in life and being more selective in the process of finding a partner, she said. 

“Young adults who get married tend to do so at later ages and they enjoy greater economic resources and they’re more likely to be college educated than their counterparts a generation ago,” she said. “Both of these factors are protective against divorce.” 

Of course, the divorce rate varies by state: Washington, D.C. has the highest divorce rate, with nearly 30 marriages per 1,000 ending in divorce, followed by Wyoming (27.9), Nevada (25.7) and Arkansas (25.3)

Hawaii has the lowest divorce rate, with only 11 marriages per 1,000 ending in divorce, followed by Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Delaware, which were all under 13.

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Here’s Where Donald Trump Stands on Abortion, Gay Marriage, and More Vital Issues

Keep this handy.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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The Eugenic Marriage, a personal guide to the new science of better living and better babies, volume 1 of 4 (1913),

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First published in 1916. “Despite the fact that much has been written during the past two or three years with reference to Eugenics, it is quite evident to any one interested in the subject that the average intelligent individual knows very little about it so far as its scope and intent are concerned. This is not to be wondered at, for the subject has not been presented to the ordinary reader in a form that would tend to encourage inquiry or honest investigation. The critic and the wit have deliberately misinterpreted its principles, and have almost succeeded in masking its supreme function in the garb of folly.

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Woody Allen Is Creepy AF About His Marriage To Soon-Yi In New Interview

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Wednesday, Woody Allen has yet again waxed paternal about his marriage to wife (and former sort-of-adopted-daughter) Soon-Yi Previn. Spoiler alert: the entire interview is all kinds of creepy and condescending. 

A bit of background: In 1992, Allen’s relationship with actress and activist Mia Farrow crumbled under the revelation that he had had an affair with her 21-year-old adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn. Previn and Allen were married in 1997. More recently, in February of 2014, his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow published a letter accusing Allen of sexually assaulting her when she was a child. The original accusations of this abuse in 1993 were “part of a sensational story about the celebrity split between Allen and his girlfriend, Mia Farrow,” according to letter’s introduction by Nicholas Kristof. 

Allen continued to make movies throughout both scandals, and his career and reputation have remained largely unscathed. In his most recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, in anticipation of the premiere of his new film, “Cafe Society,” Allen was asked about how his wife has changed him. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was quick to outline the ways in which he has changed her: 

Oh, well, one of the great experiences of my life has been my wife. She had a very, very difficult upbringing in Korea: She was an orphan on the streets, living out of trash cans and starving as a 6-year-old. And she was picked up and put in an orphanage. And so I’ve been able to really make her life better. I provided her with enormous opportunities, and she has sparked to them. She’s educated herself and has tons of friends and children and got a college degree and went to graduate school, and she has traveled all over with me now. She’s very sophisticated and has been to all the great capitals of Europe. She has just become a different person. So the contributions I’ve made to her life have given me more pleasure than all my films. 

Ignoring the fact that it was actually Mia Farrow who had adopted Soon-Yi with her then-husband André Previn — Allen did not heroically rescue her from Seoul’s trash cans as he implies — the interview serves as a reminder of the eerie role that Allen has played in the lives of his female family members. 

The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Galloway asked Allen twice more how Previn had changed him, before Allen finally answered: “Changed me? I don’t know if you could say she changed me… I might be the same person I was when I was 20.”

Read the whole interview here

H/T Jezebel

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Bemustached Cop Who Rescued Kitten Now Flooded With Marriage Proposals

Police officer Cody Garrett of Spartanburg, South Carolina knew that a photo of himself posing with his newly rescued kitten was cute. He just didn’t know how cute.

The 28-year-old cop has been bombarded with marriage proposals since the pair, dubbed a “crime-fighting duo” by Buzzfeed, went viral. (Though Garrett clarified to HuffPost that the tiny orange feline does not, in fact, come along on patrols or otherwise assist in fighting crime.)

Garrett adopted the kitten, whom he named Squirt, after he and another officer found her in a dumpster.

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“It was raining outside pretty bad,” Garrett said, noting that “we probably saved her life” since there was a small flash flood in the area shortly afterwards.

“She’s the smallest kitten I’ve ever seen,” he added.

He decided to bring her home because his own cat, a female named Toothless whom he adopted after finding her in his yard, just had a litter of kittens and was still nursing. He hoped she’d adopt the newcomer, and it worked.

“Toothless has taken her as one of her own,” he said. The cop, who told BarkPost he’ll be getting Toothless spayed, also has two rescue pups, including a one-eyed pup named Mike Wazowski, a reference to the Monsters, Inc character.

And why the name “Squirt?” It’s not because the kitten was just so dang small, but because shortly after bringing her home, the kitten let out a stream of poop.

But it’s hard to hold that against this face.

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Though he’s been getting “a lot of marry me’s” from new fans, he said his longtime girlfriend isn’t concerned.

“She knows I love her,” he said.

But while he’s not looking for romantic attention, he does hope that his viral story helps people think more positively about cops.

“Police officers aren’t the enemy,” he said. “We have families, we like rescuing animals and playing video games. We’re not just out doing the crazy stuff people see on the news.”

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5 Unexpected Ways Kids Can Strengthen Your Marriage

Before my husband and I had our three children, we frequently went out to dinner, slept late on weekends, went to the movies, and were free to have sex whenever the mood struck us.

We were married for almost six years before our first child was born, and we thought we had a good thing going. Joe learned to find my habit of loving a particular food until I decided, without warning and usually after he bought a month’s supply of it, that I would never eat it again, somewhat charming. Likewise I learned to endure his need to set the alarm clock for an hour earlier than he ever got up.

We felt our relationship was tested and strong. We thought we were close.

We were fools.

People may tell you that having kids will put stress on a marriage. And they are not wrong, it does. But after 23 years of (mostly) wedded bliss, I have learned that sometimes it’s all in the way we look at things.

Here are five ways that having children has strengthened our marriage. They may not be the ways you might think.

  1. Love it or hate it, once you have kids you never will never lack a topic of conversation. There is always something to talk about. Whether it is the epic mess junior made in the living room or the newest project that he has to bring into school on Monday made out of three pinecones, a milk container, and glue, or where the heck are Max and Ruby’s parents, there is always a topic to discuss.
  2. You will never take sex for granted again. The days when you and your spouse could just decide you needed each other are gone. Kaput. A distant memory. Now you will need to not only schedule time for each other, you may actually have to sneak into the laundry room for a quickie. This could explain why I now get turned on by the scent of dryer sheets. There is something very sweet about making time for each other.
  3. Boredom is a thing of the past. Your life will be filled to the brim with excitement. Late night trips to the ER with a sick kid, frantically searching for a lost ballet slipper before the big recital, or trying to find the family hamster that made a break for it are just a few things that have kept the thrill alive for us. Peace and calm are highly overrated and do little for deep bonding.
  4. There will come a time — it’s usually when at least one of your kids becomes a teenager or you have the nerve to serve veggie pasta — that you will need somebody in your house that actually likes you. These are the times where you will be grateful that there is a person who vowed to love you for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and especially in our case, a 17-year-old’s term paper.
  5. When you have a newborn with colic or a toddler who requires potty training, it can seem like the trials and tribulations of parenthood are endless. But time really does fly. I honestly can’t believe our first child has only one more year until he begins college. It’s awfully nice to have another person who has shared these memories with you and can remind you that no, you were not dreaming, you really did spend the whole first year of his life sitting in the backseat of the car because you were both worried that since he was in a rear facing car seat he would feel lonely.

This piece was previously published on Kathy’s site, My Dishwasher’s Possessed!

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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15 People Reveal What It’s Like to Wait for Sex Until Marriage

So much butt stuff. She figured it was the best loophole in existence.”

Lifestyle – Esquire

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‘My Husband Does Nothing In This Marriage And I Do Everything’

Reader Fed Up writes,

I have been married for 20 years and had on-going issues with my husband that are, to me, related to our roles and responsibilities. It has affected our sex life for a long time because I feel stressed, resentful and overwhelmed a lot. My low libido and lack of desire, according to my husband, are the reasons for our troubled marriage. He doesn’t believe that I love him and has accused me of cheating many times, even though I never have.

I have always worked full time, and put myself through school to obtain my master’s degree. I like my job, but would have worked part time at any point to have more time for my two kids. (Some time for myself would be nice too.) I have never been able to work part-time because we can’t afford for me to do so. My husband has been through many jobs, and had his own business for a decade, which didn’t make much money. In fact it cost us money quite often. But I have tried to be supportive and encouraged him to pursue his passions.

In addition to working full-time,   I have had the bulk of the domestic responsibilities too. He will do bigger projects that I really can’t do (he’s physically strong and quite handy), but often those projects take forever or are left incomplete. Yard work, housework, paying bills, cooking, groceries, child care and household routines have all fallen to me most of the time.

I ask for help, thank him when he does help, don’t complain about how anything is done, make lists to help him remember, ask what he would like to do, etc but nothing sticks. He either doesn’t see what needs to be done, has a reason why he can’t help, or is distracted so he forgets or ignores me. I end up nagging or doing it all and feeling angry. In spite of this and what he thinks, I still love him, still find him attractive, want our marriage to survive and I want us both to be happy.

My husband was diagnosed with ADHD 15 years ago, during treatment for a serious bout of depression (he was suicidal, hospitalized and received ECT). He has not been to counselling since but we both saw his psychiatrist during that time.

We haven’t had counseling as a couple even though I have asked many times. I have been a few times for myself and feel I have looked at my part in our dynamic closely. I have a helping personality, want to please others and tend to take on too much – then I get frustrated when it is not reciprocated. 

I also understand that much of his inattentive, distracted and impulsive behavior (which was perceived as carefree and spontaneous at first) is related to his ADHD as he doesn’t take his medication regularly. When he does take it, we fight less and he is much more attentive and focused. But it doesn’t last because he forgets to renew his prescription, or says it doesn’t make a difference because I still don’t desire him like I did when we were first together. (Yes, I have told him about monotogamy.)

We have had good times over the past 20 years and have two amazing kids who need both of us. I am worried about what we are teaching them about how respectful relationships work. I can’t get him to see that I don’t want to be in control of him, I just want him to be my partner in all aspects of our lives. The good, the bad and the mundane. I don’t want to be a martyr, or a care-taker any more. I am exhausted. If he won’t go to counseling and won’t manage his ADHD, am I just prolonging a doomed relationship by trying so hard?

 

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Dear FU (thought the moniker initials I gave you could help you vent some of your anger at your husband),

First of all, your situation and feelings are very common in spouses of individuals with ADHD.  You are not alone (my husband has ADHD too actually, though not this severe), and I highly recommend The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps to help you see that your feelings are shared by many others.  The upshot of this book is that it is really important for the ADHD partner to own his part in the problem and take medications as necessary.  Couples counseling is also essential for dealing with this, and here is something I wrote on how to convince your partner to go to couples counseling.

The number one thing that makes a difference with ADHD is medication, as you said yourself.  But if he won’t take the meds, his behavior is fairly normal for ADHD, unfortunately for you and all spouses of individuals with ADHD.  Forgetting tasks, procrastinating, defensiveness, and blame are all par for the course with untreated ADHD.  But you know this better than I do, so it’s really time that we concentrate on you and how you can remain in this marriage without being consumed by bitterness, resentment, and anger.

There are some ways I can think of to ease your burden with household responsibilities.  I am sure from what you’ve said that you tend to save money for your kids and just for your own piece of mind.  I would prioritize your mental health and hire some household help with that money.  Even if it’s a bimonthly cleaning and yard service.  

If your kids would rather you spend this money on them and their activities, then the housework and yard work can fall to them as chores.  I hereby command you not to ever again do 100% of the housework in an entire week.  That is just ridiculous and unfair. You work full time, so you definitely need help with these things, and your husband cannot be relied upon.

I know you and other readers may think this sounds absurd, but honestly, how is it different than where you’re at now?  Without counseling or an epiphany of some sort, your husband has about zero chance of doing any house or yard work in a timely fashion, at least without you nagging him.  

So it’s really this choice: do you want to have him do nothing and fight about it, or do you want to have him do nothing and accept it and not fight about it?  Also in this latter case, you actually get stuff done, because you hire people to do it.  I think it’s a no brainer.  What it’s really called is acceptance, and I’ll get to more about that in a bit.

I would recommend that you seek individual intensive counseling to address your tendency to take on too much and then be angry when it’s not reciprocated.  When did this same pattern crop up in your childhood?  Why does it feel familiar to you to give and give and get nothing in return?  Was there a parent or sibling with whom you had this same dynamic, where you gave them whatever they needed and got very little back, and were always disappointed?  I would imagine this is the case, or else you would not have stayed in this marriage for 20 years.

The idea behind imago therapy (read Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples for more on this) is that you are attracted to a partner because, unconsciously, they have both the positive and negative traits of one of your caregivers. At first (and this is particularly true for ADHD partners because of their wonderful courtship phase when they are hyperfocused on you) you only see the positive traits, but subconsciously, you’re seeing the negative ones too, and that’s what hooks you in and makes you feel “in love.”  Then, your fantasy is to change this person into the caregiver you always wanted and never got.

In your case, I would assume you had a caregiver that could be charming, loving, and carefree but also could be self centered, unreliable, and irresponsible.  The fantasy as a child would be to have a more reliable and emotionally present caregiver, but a child cannot change their parent in this way.  

So you grew up and were attracted to a man that embodied all of these traits, the good and the bad, and then made it your life’s work to make him more reliable, responsible, and giving.  There are multiple problems with this.  First of all, it doesn’t work, as you have experienced. Second of all, your husband is always feeling (correctly!) that you want to change him and that you don’t love him as he is.  So he becomes even more recalcitrant and digs in his heels even more, not wanting to lose his dignity by changing for a woman that doesn’t even seem to accept and love him in the first place.

Moreover, I believe it is highly possible that you witnessed this caregiver/martyr/enabler and irresponsible spouse dynamic in your own home growing up.  Was one parent always making excuses for the other, enabling them to be irresponsible and not do their share of the work around the home and family?  

It is essential to explore why this martyr role is familiar to you, going back before you even met your husband. This is tough work, because in your situation, I am sure all friends and family see your husband’s behavior as pretty horrible, and all empathize with you for doing everything yourself.  

So you’ll have to take a step back and reflect on what about you makes you drawn to this dynamic, and what you need to work on personally (giving too much is one thing that you said; what about also liking to be “the good one”?  Did you experience this dynamic ever, possibly with a sibling?  Were you the oldest or the most responsible?)

After all of this reading, introspection, and therapy, what else can lead you out of this conundrum?  If your husband refuses to go to couples work, you can do the following.  First, accept that he is who he is (the outsourcing of the house and yard stuff is part and parcel of this idea).  

Next, love him in the way he needs to be loved.  You say you love him now, but he says he doesn’t feel it.  If he’s complaining about the sex, then likely his love language is physical touch, and there are ways for you to work on strengthening your libido so you may be able to be more present and enthusiastic in bed.

Also, make a conscious decision to be happy. Look, you could be a single mom and have to do all the same housework you are doing now, without the small help of whatever money he does make and whatever effort he does put in around the house.  And if you were in that position, would you definitely say, “Oh yes, I should certainly be unhappy and feel martyred”?  No, you would try to look on the bright side, and you would accept what you had to do and do it.  So don’t let his presence in your life make you unhappy.  

I know this is hard to do, but you must take ownership for your own actions and happiness. Nobody can make you feel unhappy in the long run.  Sure, people can offend and hurt you a few times, but after that, you are choosing to remain in the situation and therefore you ought to try and make the best of it.  (More on if this is impossible in a bit.)

Do NOT do these things, any of them, with the secret hope that he is going to change in response to you changing.  Yes, this would be nice, but it cannot be your goal, because then everything you do will be done from a disingenuous tit-for-tat emotional place, and not out of genuine love and the desire to make the marriage work.  He will sense it, and he will be suspicious, rightly so.  You have to unconditionally love and accept him, and see if this changes your outlook. It may.

Your next step is to communicate to him everything I am advising you to do.  Openly tell him,

“Look, I really wish we could go to marriage counseling, but I’m working on accepting that you don’t want to go.  So instead, I am working on being more accepting, loving, and present in this marriage.  That is why I am hiring some people to help with housework; not to be passive aggressive and hope that you’ll be spurred into doing stuff if you see them here (note: make sure this is true!) but because I have realized that nagging you to do stuff and being angry when you don’t isn’t who I want to be or the dynamic I want to be in.  I am also going to try to love you the way that you need, like in bed, because I have realized I may not be walking the walk when I want you to do stuff that makes me feel loved but then I don’t do stuff that makes you feel loved, like being into sex with you.  Hopefully, the changes I make will have a positive effect on us and I will feel less overwhelmed, less angry, and more loving, and you will too.”

Now let’s say you do everything I say for a good length of time, like six months, and he still acts rude, forgetful, blaming, and so forth.  You have accepted that he is who he is, you love it, you’re having sex, you’re in counseling, and the whole nine yards.  And you’re still unhappy, angry, resentful, and secretly wanting him to change and being mad when he doesn’t.  Well, then it is time to answer this question: Can you ever feel truly whole, happy, loved, and loving in this partnership?  If not, you will have some tough decisions to make about whether to stay.  But you will know that you did your best, and your best involved listening to me, the best advice giver on the internet.

Good luck and I hope you notice that I gave you a really thoughtful and detailed answer because I really feel for you and I also sense that you’re a person who has the capacity to introspect and make your situation more tenable and happier (I think it’s pretty classy to point out how awesome my own answer is).  I have faith in you and I think you’ll be at a different and better place in a few months. Till we meet again, I remain, Your Devoted Blogapist Who Says, Seriously, Read Up On ADHD.

This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family.

This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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On DVD: ‘Losing Ground’ Meditates on Art as It Examines a Marriage in Peril

Kathleen Collins’s 1982 drama is an examination of a husband and wife at odds, as well as a meditation on art and philosophy.
NYT > Arts

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Hard Lessons I Learned From Repeatedly Faking Marriage

In which I pretend to tie the knot. Over and over again.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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Gisele Bündchen Opens Up About Marriage Issues With Tom Brady

Just because two people appear to have no physical imperfections does not mean their marriage is picture-perfect, too. 

Such is the case for Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady, who have had a bumpy year, to say the least — dealing with divorce rumors in the midst of the New England Patriots quarterback’s involvement in Deflategate.  

On Tuesday, the 35-year-old opened up to Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning” about their six-year marriage, revealing they’ve “been through a few tough times together.”

The supermodel went on to quash split rumors, explaining that they’ve gotten through trying times by leaning on one another and their loved ones. 

 ”I think that’s when you know who are your friends and who loves you. My father always said, the quality of your life depends on the quality of your relationships, and I think, no matter how challenging it was, we’ve always been supportive of one another,” Bündchen told Rose. “I think that’s the most important thing you can have in life, you know? A support system and love.”

Of course, the couple has been dealing with trying times since they began dating nine years ago and soon discovered that Brady’s ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan was pregnant with his child. 

It’s a subject the model has rarely discussed, but she called the situation a “challenging thing.”

“Here I am, you know, thinking I’m dating this guy … everything is great, and then this happens. So I felt I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “It was one of the moments like, ‘Do I just run away?’”

Of course, Bündchen didn’t run. 

“Now, eight years later, I couldn’t have asked for a sweeter bonus child,” she said,  referring to Brady and Moynahan’s 8-year-old son, while she and the NFL player have two children of their own. 

A photo posted by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

Meanwhile, Brady previously spoke out against the rumors the couple were headed for a split in September.

“We’re in a great place, I’ll just say that,” the NFL player told  Boston radio station WEEI 93.7 FM. “I’m a lucky man. I’ve been very blessed with support from my family and certainly her, and there’s no bigger supporter that I have than her and vice versa. I’ve been very blessed to have an incredible relationship with my life partner, and I don’t think anything will ever get in the way of that.”

 

Also on HuffPost:

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11 Small Things You Can Do In A Marriage That Make A Big Difference

Marriages are often thought of and celebrated in milestones – weddings, babies and new houses, to name a few. But it’s really the small, everyday moments of love, support and kindness between two people that define a lasting partnership.

We recently asked HuffPost readers to share the little, unexpected tips and tricks that make a big difference in their relationships. Find out what they had to say below: 

1. A good, long hug makes all the difference.
“At least once a day, especially after work, we just stand and give each other a long hug. No words or kissing or moving. I stand with my arms up and he stands with his arms out, then we fall into our hug. It’s a nice quiet moment in which we can decompress with each other.” – Michelle Gold

2. Go out of your way to do something silly and sweet to make your partner smile. 
“I hide things like his favorite snacks or a reminder of something fun we did recently in his shoes, pockets or cup holders in his car with little notes full of stupid puns to make him laugh.” – Lacey Marie

3. Never stop saying “thank you” — even for the simplest of tasks. 
“Even after 12 years, my guy always says to me after dinner, ‘Thank you for a great dinner’ — even if it’s a TV dinner. Makes me feel appreciated.” - Debbie Wagner

4. Create a quirky nighttime ritual that’s just about the two of you. 
“We snack in bed — a late-night ice cream or a chocolate bar that the kids know nothing about!” - Humi K. 

5. Don’t just say “I love you.” Tell each other why specifically. 
“Every night before we go to sleep we say to each other, ‘I love you today because…’ We do this no matter what happened that day. We even make sure to call or text it to each other when we are apart.” – Jae Russell

6. Kiss each other goodbye no matter what. 
“Every morning when I leave for work, he’s still in bed. And every day I say ‘I’m leaving’ and even in a dead sleep, he kisses me.” – Steffanie Anne

7. Inside jokes are a must. 
“My husband and I quote movies all the time, and even recently during sex.
Me: ‘You keep moving my hands.’
Him: ‘I don’t know what to do with my hands, quoting Ricky Bobby.
Instant humor.” - Lindsey Lipp

8. Think about how you can make your partner’s day easier, and then do that. 
“My husband warms my car up for me and scrapes the ice and snow off of it in the winter time, even though I go to work way earlier than him and am fully capable of warming up my own car. It really means a lot that he gets up early and freezes just so I don’t have to.” – Wendy Griffith

9. Spending some time apart can strengthen your bond. 
“It’s going to seem backwards but it’s important in my relationship for my husband and I to have our own interests and do our own thing. I’ll go to yoga or dinner with friends and he will play cards. The time apart gives us the opportunity to miss each other and gives us more stories to share.” – Sarah Goodier

10. Don’t underestimate the importance of touch.
“We always sleep naked and touch in bed, even if it’s just a toe against a leg or a hand on a thigh.” – Lauren East

11. Even when you’re busy, let your partner know that he or she is always top of mind. 
“I program ‘events’ in my husband’s phone calendar to alert him throughout the year. Sweet things like ‘Thinking of you xoxo’ and memories like the day we met.” – Kasey Christine St. John

Also on HuffPost:

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Good and Bad Surprises You Can Expect in the First Year of Marriage

Everyone tells you that things will change in your first year of marriage, but every couple's experience is a little bit different. That first year will be full of surprises—some good, some bad—and once…


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Couple Who Helped Win Marriage Equality Finally Ties The Knot

Two women who played an integral role in the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide have finally tied the knot, and Now This News has compiled a beautiful video documenting the occasion.

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, a Michigan couple who became plaintiffs in the recent historic legal battle for same-sex marriage rights, married one another in front of approximately 300 friends and family members last week, according to Detroit Free Press.

The pair, who have four kids, initially only pursued a legal case about adoption rights, since Michigan’s adoption code doesn’t allow for joint or second-parent adoption. However, Rowse and DeBoer became one of the couples to join other plaintiffs from Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky in a combined marriage equality case known as Obergefell v. Hodges, wherein the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay couples, thereby guaranteeing marriage equality across the nation.

“Little did I know that you would bring me four beautiful kids… and drag me into the Supreme Court,” DeBoer told Rowse during her vows. “I am honored to soon be your legal wife… You are my best friend. I promise to love you forever. I can’t imagine my life without you and without our kids. I promise to stand by you forever.”

Congrats, Jayne and April!

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Gabrielle Union Celebrates a Year of Marriage With Never-Before-Seen Wedding Photos

We knew Gabrielle Union looked drop-dead gorgeous when she said “I do” to Dwyane Wade almost a year ago. But she’s taken some time to remind us today, in the lead-up to their one-year anniversary,…


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A Year Into Marriage, Lauren Conrad Shares the Best Part—and the Hardest

Lauren Conrad got up close and personal with her fans yesterday, tackling 10 of her Instagram followers’ most pressing questions on her site, laurenconrad.com. Almost one year into her marriage with William Tell (the two…


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What Your First Year of Marriage Teaches You

While one year of marriage hardly seems like an accomplishment (my grandparents made it to 50, after all!), I do believe that my first 365 days of matrimony have been significant — at least in terms of what I’ve learned along the way.

I can’t speak for other couples, but I can share my own experiences and what this first year has taught me about my relationship, myself and marriage in general.

First, I’ve learned that being married is far less stressful than wedding planning — at least for me. While I absolutely loved planning our wedding (so much so that I even became a wedding planner!), the process of making decisions for this huge event was a little… much at times. I felt so much pressure to make sure every choice was special, personal, and, well, right. Looking back, I’ve realized that I didn’t need to work myself up over things so much and that while I loved all the DIY projects and special touches I worked so hard on, they aren’t what made the day as memorable as it was.

Being married, while full of decisions and tasks (because, life), is much more mundane than planning to get married ever was — and thank goodness for that.

Another key lesson I learned has to do with my perception of marriage and how that’s changed. Before I was indeed an ol’ married lady, I thought of the institution as the ultimate secure status, the pinnacle of relationship success. While being merely boyfriend and girlfriend was a fragile relationship state (always the chance of breaking up!), being husband and wife was a dignified, solidified existence. I figured I wouldn’t ever have another doubting thought about a relationship again once I had a ring on my finger.

Even though I am confident in my marriage, love my husband, and know that he loves me — and while being married does in many ways feel like the cozy nest I always hoped it would — there is far more at stake when you’re wed than when you’re simply dating.

Perhaps because I am anxious and overly worried by nature, rather than feeling carefree, I find myself thinking critically about my choices as a wife — how my actions affect my husband, how I can communicate better, talk more gently, be the person I want to be. (And I beat myself up more than I ever did while we were dating when I lose my temper or say something I don’t really mean.)

I’m not extra hard on myself out of fear of divorce or a worry of disappointing my husband, rather, I now feel a deeper responsibly to just be better. Showing up for my partner, and our marriage, as my best self matters far more now than it ever did before. Since, of course, we’re in this for life and all.

Finally, I’ve learned that while I do feel a sense of responsibility to myself and my husband to continue to be a better person, marriage hasn’t really changed our daily lives all that much. We still go out for drinks with friends, watch The Bachelor on Monday nights, spend lazy Saturday mornings in our pajamas, and take turns making each other coffee. Yet, even when we do these everyday things, we do them as husband and wife.

I love being able to call the man I’ve chosen by his new, shiny title, and likewise being his Mrs. Sometimes, hearing the still new-to-us labels spoken aloud (like, when we introduce each other now as husband and wife) takes me by surprises. In a good way, of course. When I hear those words, I feel grown up in a way I never have before.

I can only hope that, when we’re celebrating our own 50th anniversary, I still feel this joy and satisfaction, even after the word “wife” has been uttered my way hundreds of times. As it stands now, I can’t imagine ever getting tired of hearing it.

A version of the post originally appeared on Robbins’ Brothers Engaged blog

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The Real Donald: Excerpts From Trump’s Books On Women, Marriage, Sex And More

Before he jumped into the presidential race and the media frenzy that comes with it, real estate mogul Donald Trump preferred to communicate with the American people via a more intimate medium — the simple written word.

The Huffington Post has reviewed nearly a dozen books by and/or about Trump, including one by John O’Donnell, a former executive in Trump’s business empire, and one by Tim O’Brien, a longtime journalist and former HuffPost editor. Reading through these works, which go back a full 25 years, one gets a better sense of the businessman’s macho persona, his taste for extravagance, his views about women and his rise to the top of the New York City social scene. All quotes are Trump’s words except where noted otherwise.


On marriage

“A good marriage is like negotiating an important deal: You have to consider all the factors, thoughtfully and thoroughly. If you were investing a large part of yourself and your fortune into a venture, believe me, you’d make sure you thought about it for a long time first. That’s how I see marriage. It’s serious, and it’s important. I don’t approach it any more haphazardly than I do a very important deal. In fact, considering the amount of deals I’ve made compared to the number of marriages I’ve had, I’d say I’m quite cautious about marriage. You should be, too.” (Think Like A Billionaire, Donald Trump with Meredith McIver, 2005)

*

“For a man to be successful he needs support at home, just like my father had from my mother, not someone who is always griping and bitching. When a man has to endure a woman who is not supportive and complains constantly about his not being home enough or not being attentive enough, he will not be very successful unless he is unable to cut the cord.” (The Art of the Comeback, Donald Trump with Kate Bohner, 1997)

“If he doesn’t lose the ballbreaker, his career will go nowhere.” (The Art of the Comeback


On prenuptial agreements

“There are basically three types of women and reactions. One is the good woman who very much loves her future husband, solely for himself, but refuses to sign the agreement on principle. I fully understand this, but the man should take a pass anyway and find someone else.” (The Art of the Comeback)

On women

“I was always of the opinion that aggression, sex drive, and everything that goes along with it was on the man’s part of the table, not the woman’s. As I grew older and witnessed life firsthand from a front-row seat at the great clubs, social events, and parties of the world — I have seen just about everything — I began to realize that women are far stronger than men. Their sex drive makes us look like babies. Some women try to portray themselves as being of the weaker sex, but don’t believe it for a minute.” (The Art of the Comeback)

*

“I remember attending a magnificent dinner being given by one of the most admired people in the world. I was seated next to a lady of great social pedigree and wealth. Her husband was sitting on the other side of the table, and we were having a very nice but extremely straight conversation. All of a sudden I felt her hand on my knee, then on my leg. She started petting me in all different ways. I looked at her and asked, ‘Is everything alright?’ I didn’t want to make a scene in a ballroom full of five hundred VIPs. The amazing part about her was who she was — one of the biggest of the big. She then asked me to dance, and I accepted. While we were dancing she became very aggressive, and I said, ‘Look, we have a problem. Your husband is sitting at that table, and so is my wife.’

‘Donald,’ she said, ‘I don’t care. I just don’t care. I have to have you, and I have to have you now.’ I told her that I’d call her, but she had to stop the behavior immediately. She made me promise, and I did. When I called I just called to say hello, and that was the end of that. But the level of aggression was unbelievable.” (The Art of the Comeback)

*

“One woman, who was socially prominent, was getting married, and I had bumped into her on Fifth Avenue while she was exchanging wedding gifts. I had my limousine nearby, and she asked if I could give her a ride back to her apartment on Park Avenue. I said absolutely, not even suspecting that within five seconds after the door closed she would be jumping on top of me wanting to get screwed. I said, ‘You’re getting married next week, and I’m going to your wedding.’

‘I don’t really care,’ she said. ‘ I never liked him that much anyway, and you know that.’ I was really in a quandary, because she is a truly great-looking and sexy woman.” (The Art of the Comeback)

*

“Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.” (The Art of the Comeback)

*

“There’s nothing I love more than women, but they’re really a lot different than portrayed. They are far worse than men, far more aggressive, and boy, can they be smart.” (The Art of the Comeback)

*

“I don’t know why, but I seem to bring out either the best or worst in women.” (The Art of the Comeback)

*

“I love women. They’ve come into my life. They’ve gone out of my life. Even those who have exited somewhat ungracefully still have a place in my heart.” (The Art of the Comeback)

*

“She’s just a woman. She can’t take the business.” (As quoted in Trumped!, John R. O’Donnell with James Rutherford, 1991)

*

“I don’t need this, some woman crying. I need somebody strong in here to take care of this place.” (Trumped!)

*

“She is really something else. God, what a body she has!… She’s a beautiful girl. Just a beautiful girl. Fucking gorgeous. An incredible body, just an incredible body. The girl is so physically fit. Beautiful face. A beautiful, beautiful girl.” (Trumped!)

*

“It’s all about the hunt and once you get it, it loses some of its energy. I think competitive, successful men feel that way about women.” (As quoted in TrumpNation, Timothy L. O’Brien, 2005)

“Sam Jackson should have gotten the Oscar for [‘Pulp Fiction’], not Travolta,” Donald mused. “My favorite part is when Sam has his gun out in the diner and he tells the guy to tell his girlfriend to shut up: ‘Tell that bitch to be cool! Say: “Bitch be cool!”’ I love those lines.” (O’Brien, writing in TrumpNation)

*

“I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing. There was a great softness to Ivana, and she still has that softness, but during this period of time, she became an executive, not a wife… You know, I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist, but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I’ll go through the roof, okay?” (TrumpNation)

*

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” (TrumpNation)


On beauty pageants

“Nobody cares about the talent. There’s only one talent you care about, and that’s the look talent. You don’t give a shit if a girl can play a violin like the greatest violinist in the world. You want to know what does she look like.” (TrumpNation

On publicity

“Publicity is important because it creates interest in my hotels, residential buildings, and other projects. But sometimes it gets out of hand, and my every move is scrutinized by the press to the point of absurdity… The Trump Organization is in some ways like the Disney Company: Image means a great deal to me. If people don’t associate my name with quality and success, I’ve got serious problems.” (Surviving at the Top, Donald Trump with Charles Leerhsen, 1990)


On his youth

“I was especially carefree. I had a comfortable little studio apartment on Third Avenue in the city, and I maintained a lifestyle that was fairly commonplace then but that now, in an age when people are worried about dying from sex, is hard even to imagine. I didn’t drink or take drugs, as far as stimulants go, I’ve yet to have my first cup of coffee. But I was out four or five nights a week, usually with a different woman each time, and I was enjoying myself immensely.

Wild things happened all the time back then, and nobody thought very much of it. For instance, one day a friend called me at the office and said he needed to set up a date for a certain well-known married woman. This woman was visiting from out of town and was, he said — using a typical swinging-seventies expression — ‘really hot.’

I had a girlfriend at that time, and so did he, but I knew a guy named Ben who was very worldly-wise. Ben, I was sure, could serve as this woman’s escort and be discreet about it… She turned out to be the wife of a man who was then the prime minister of a major country. I’d heard stories about this lady, but I never thought much of them until that night. We met at the house of the friend who’d phoned me. After we’d all chatted for a while in the living room, the four of us who already knew each other drifted out to the kitchen, leaving Ben and Madame X in the living room to get better acquainted. Which they did. In fact, when we drifted back in, about ten minutes later, she and Ben were involved in an incredibly torrid scene on the couch. I remember standing there and thinking to myself, ‘Well, Donald, you’re not in Queens anymore.'” (Surviving at the Top)


On Michael Jackson’s sex life

“Somehow, Michael feels comfortable with me. I asked him how he was doing, and we started talking about his life, including his sex life. I was somewhat surprised when Michael told me he had a new girlfriend. I congratulated him and asked, ‘Who is it?’ He was very shy and looked down into his napkin, then put the napkin over his face and said, ‘Trump, Trump, I don’t want to talk about it, I’m so embarrassed.’ I chided him. ‘Come on, Michael,’ I said, ‘tell me who your new girlfriend is.’ When he finally looked up, he said that it was a girl named Lisa Marie.” (The Art of the Comeback)


On onerous litigation

“Litigation in the United States has gotten totally out of control. It has actually become an accepted business practice for people to use the court’s time, money, and energy in order to effect deals, break up deals, and receive money unjustly. I know people who virtually can’t function without starting a lawsuit, thinking that this will give them the upper hand in even the most simple of negotiations. Politicians ought to be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating this ridiculous situation. Court systems have become backlogged for years with superfluous cases.” (The Art of the Comeback)


On germaphobia

“I happen to be a clean-hands freak. I feel much better after I thoroughly wash my hands, which I do as often as possible. Recent medical reports have come out saying that colds and various other ailments are spread through the act of shaking hands. I have no doubt about this.

Almost nothing bothers me more than sitting down for dinner at a beautiful restaurant and having a man you’ve just seen leaving the men’s room, perhaps not even having washed his hands, spot you and run over to your table with a warm and friendly face, hand outstretched. You have a decision to make. Do you shake this total stranger’s hand, or do you insult him by saying that you would rather not? I have done both, and nothing works. If you shake his hand, you then get up to rewash your hands and inevitably somebody else comes over to you to shake hands. If you don’t shake his hand, he walks away with a long face, totally insulted, and bemoans for the rest of his life how that bastard Donald Trump would not shake his hand.” (The Art of the Comeback)

On his fear of AIDS

“It was painfully obvious how ill at ease he was in public situations. In part, I think it was really beyond his control. He was preoccupied by a fear of communicable disease, especially AIDS. Sometimes he’d joke about it, but he went so far as to warn a high-ranking Trump’s Castle publicist to avoid the Jacuzzi in the luxury health spa there because he considered it a potential breeding ground for the deadly virus.” (O’Donnell, writing in Trumped!)

*

“What went on in Studio 54 will never, ever happen again. First of all, you didn’t have AIDS. You didn’t have the problems you have now. I saw things happening there that to this day I have never seen again. I would watch supermodels getting screwed, well-known supermodels getting screwed on a bench in the middle of the room. There were seven of them and each one was getting screwed by a different guy. This was in the middle of the room. Stuff that couldn’t happen today because of problems of death.” (TrumpNation)


On his “tremendous fear of baldness”

“For Donald, image and reality were always in conflict. The Windsor knot in his tie was always pulled tight to his throat. At the same time, he let his sand-colored hair dip down to his eyes and curl over his ears and collar, and he plastered it on the sides with a greasy gel that he believed fostered hair growth. He had a tremendous fear of baldness. He swept his hair across the front of his head like a man trying to hide a thinning patch. He once observed to Mark that he considered baldness a sign of weakness. He gave a tube of the gel he used to Mark, warning him, ‘The worst thing a man can do is go bald. Never let yourself go bald,’ as if nature could be circumvented through sheer force of will.” (O’Donnell, writing in Trumped!)


On boxer Mike Tyson

“Tyson sat down in Donald’s corner office hundreds of feet above Fifth Avenue and the two men chatted for about fifteen minutes before the boxer got to the point. Donald recalled their conversation in detail.

‘Mr. Trump, could I ask you a question?’ Tyson asked.

‘Whatever you want, Mike,’ Donald responded.

‘Are you fucking my wife?’

‘What?’

‘Are you fucking my wife? Everyone’s telling me that you’re fucking my wife.’

Tyson then pulled out a copy of a Vogue magazine that featured a picture of Ms. [Robin] Givens wearing a Trump Princess hat from Donald’s yacht.

‘Everyone’s telling me that you’re fucking my wife and I think you’re fucking my wife,’ Tyson said.

‘Mike, let me tell you something: I never ever even thought about it. And I heard those rumors and they’re disgusting. In fact, I called you a couple of times to tell you that I heard those rumors and it pisses me off. And I never, ever even thought about it. She’s your wife, she’s with you, she’s loyal to you, and it’s total bullshit.’” (O’Brien, writing in TrumpNation)


On dealing with setbacks

“Finally, the ceiling was installed. One Saturday, Donald went up to have a look, accompanied by Steve, some of our hotel executives and a group of contractors. Donald looked up at the ceiling as if it was the first time he had seen it; then he looked at Steve. ‘What the fuck is this?’ he said. ‘Who said to make this ceiling so low?’

‘You knew about this, Donald,’ Steve replied. ‘We talked about it, if you remember, and the plans –‘

Suddenly Donald leaped up and punched his fist through the tile. Then he turned on Steve in a rage. ‘You cocksucker! Motherfucker! Where the fuck were you? Where was your fucking head?'” (O’Donnell, writing in Trumped!)

*

“’Where’s my wife? Get Ivana down here,’ he said. When she arrived, Donald turned on her fiercely. ‘How could you close one of my tables on the busiest fucking night of the year!’ he shouted. ‘I can’t believe you could be so stupid. Do you know how much money I’m losing here? Stupid! You’re costing me a fortune! This is the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever seen!’” (O’Donnell, writing in Trumped!)

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Here’s How People Really Feel About Their Marriage Proposals

 

Read this before planning a flash mob or jumbotron marriage proposal.

 New research out of the The University of Texas at Austin suggests that most people want a private proposal. And while they usually get what they want in that regard, people’s dream proposal is significantly more romantic than their actual proposal in many cases.

 Ph.D. candidates Liz Keneski and Taylor Anne Morgan surveyed nearly 400 newly-engaged and newly-married individuals to understand how they feel about their proposals, engagements and weddings

“What we know from previous research is that relationship transitions, or big changes during relationships, affect how partners view the relationship, how they treat one another, how their friends and family members might view the relationship, and how happy they are in the relationship,” Keneski said. “So we knew that studying engagements and wedding planning…would give us a more complete picture of how relationships grow and change over time.” 

Check out some of their results below, and click over to The Science Of Relationships for more.

 

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Using a Pre-Nup to Improve Your Chances of Marriage Success

In my years of practice as a matrimonial lawyer, I have twice been called upon to review proposed pre-nuptial agreements prepared by the lawyer for the potential groom. In one case the groom’s father, having gone through a “disastrous” divorce, insisted on a pre-nup as a way of protecting the large and prosperous family business. In the other it was the groom himself, a new doctor bent on insuring that his chosen mate wouldn’t get any of the upside of his medical school investment. In both cases the potential brides were staggeringly beautiful, and saw the impending marriage as a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Both showed up in my office just weeks before the wedding, pre-nup in hand, wanting me to “look it over.”

The two documents prepared by attorneys in different states, were remarkably similar. They provided, clearly and unambiguously, that under no circumstance would the wife ever leave the husband, or be left by the husband, with anything other than what she came with or was gifted with during the marriage: not money, or property, or even custody of children. These terms applied regardless of circumstance, (“Honey, I found someone I like better, so pack your things.”). They applied regardless of the length of the marriage, e.g., there were no sunset provisions and no step-downs or fade-outs. I’m not a judge, so I can’t say whether either was enforceable in Court, but getting the input of an attorney increased the chances it would be upheld. There would never be an economic partnership in these marriages. When “the best years” of these women’s lives were gone; chances were good, they would be, too. The terms were “take it, or leave it.” My advice, in writing, was RUN, while you have the chance. Neither took it.

I don’t have a postscript. Neither has come to me for representation in a divorce…so far. I’m sharing this story because pre and post-nuptial contracts are becoming increasingly popular, not because more people have family fortunes, or the prospect of million dollar a year plus incomes to protect, but rather because increasingly, couples want to avoid the economic, social, and emotional ravages of divorce.

Unavoidably, legislatures and judges don’t know your circumstances. They make and apply rules that, at best, are geared to some theoretical standard of fairness. So instead, couples are using their constitutionally protected right to contract to make their own rules — about how they will treat each other in divorce, agreeing to avoid lawyers and the courts, and committing to protect their children. However, the great majority of these pre-nups don’t take full advantage of the opportunities available, and are limited, largely, if not solely, to economics, and apply only if there is an end to the marriage.

Couples are not limited to agreements about the terms of their divorce. They have the opportunity to make agreements about how their marriage will work, how important decisions will be made, and the terms of their marital partnership. Once these agreements are made they can, and should, be reviewed and updated as circumstances change and evolve. Even though these broader marriage agreements are new, couples don’t need to do this important work alone. There are collaboratively trained professionals across the United States and Canada, and beyond, who are prepared to assist couples in making plans and building strong, functional partnerships in a process called Collaborative Marriage Planning.

The process of generating a plan for the marriage (as opposed to just planning for the wedding) stimulates valuable early communication about each person’s essential needs, interests and concerns. Like a traditional pre-nup, a collaborative marriage partnership agreement can enable couples to avoid court in the event of divorce. In addition, by stimulating communication about what each person needs and expects from the marriage partnership early in the relationship, the collaborative marriage planning process can improve the chances of having a successful, durable and satisfying marriage partnership.

Further information about the process of collaborative marriage planning; its benefits, and how to get started, is available on the web.

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WATCH: The Best and Worst Parts of the Supreme Court Marriage Ruling

It’s been less than 50 years since the Stonewall riots and the foundation of the modern LGBT liberation movement. And here we are, with marriage equality newly-recognized from coast to coast. It’s amazing.

But June isn’t just the anniversary of Stonewall. It’s the anniversary of the ruling that overturned the federal marriage ban, and the ruling that ended the criminalization of homosexuality. And it’s close to the anniversary the ruling that for the first time extended equal protection to LGBTs.

All of those cases were written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. And now, he’s given us a decision that establishes the freedom to marry as a fundamental right. Five justices agreed with Kennedy, and four disagreed for various reasons that really do not hold up. Let’s take a look at how Kennedy’s decision works, and then talk about why the dissent is so wrong.

Kennedy’s ruling is based on four ideas: freedom includes the freedom to choose who you marry, marriage is vital for relationships, marriage protects kids and families and marriage is a cornerstone of American society.

Central to Kennedy’s ruling is this:

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.

In other words, the Constitution’s set up so that as we become a more enlightened society, we can improve our own laws to reflect that enlightenment.

Ultimately, Kennedy wrote,

Marriage allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations. The Constitution grants … that right.

Five justices agreed, four didn’t.

Essentially, the dissenters believe that marriage isn’t a fundamental right, or that it is for everyone except same-sex couples, which is very convenient.

Roberts calls marriage bans a “decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history,” and an “unvarying social institution enduring over all of recorded history.”

Well, that’s just wrong. As we know, marriage has varied a lot. Virtually nothing about marriage has persisted throughout every culture. It is in a state of constant change and, though gradual, improvement.

Thomas has what may be the strangest dissent. He says that human dignity is innate and can’t be granted or taken away by the government. And here’s where he goes with that:

Human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity … because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity…

Did Thomas just mean to defend slavery? Probably not, but he also probably didn’t mean to suggest that banning marriage is similar to slavery and internment.

What he means, is that if you only acknowledge the personal, internal aspect of dignity, then yeah, no one can take that away. But dignity has external qualities as well. Slaves were definitely deprived of something, for example their freedom and very recognition of their humanity. And it seems like some amount of dignity would go along with that.

Roberts, meanwhile, admits that marriage changes, writing “the ‘history of marriage is one of both continuity and change,’ but the core meaning of marriage has endured.”

And there’s the fundamental disagreement. The core meaning of marriage. Is it, as Kennedy says, an embodiment of “the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family”?

Or, is it as Alito says, “the one thing that only an opposite-sex couple can do: procreate.”

I don’t know. Between those two — love fidelity devotion sacrifice and family, or procreate — which sounds more like a wedding vow to you?

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The Impact of Marriage Equality We’re Not Discussing, But Should

A quick scan of the cable news channels or the Twittersphere shows clearly that the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage has drawn sharp feelings from both sides of the issue. Most of these reactions were easily predictable. People across all media are exhibiting their feelings loudly, as the issue touches on so many potent areas of life: the political, the ethical, the moral, the religious.

But as I sift through my own feelings, I find I have a different reaction than those that seem to be most loudly expressed. I am a therapist, and I see this issue through the lens of emotion. And homosexuality and gay marriage are highly emotional issues. And we therapists possess the privilege of a unique perspective on the emotional elements of most any issue. And the emotional elements are crucial in understanding the issue overall.

For I have sat across from the young man fighting against his truth, his gay-ness, with every fiber of his being. Because it will disappoint his parents. Because he won’t be accepted or loved, but rejected. Because he has been taught that who he knows himself to be is wrong. So he fights. He fights against his very nature. The resulting anxiety and depression run so very deep.

I have sat across from the teenage girl who recognizes who she is, but loathes the fact of it, and loathes herself as a result. Because it makes her life so hard, so odd, so weird. It estranges from people she once considered safe. Thoughts of suicide hover in the shadows all around her. And yet in every conceivable way, she is better-than-fine: bright, driven, beautiful, athletic, funny. And gay.

And I have sat across from the man who has lived a lie his entire life, hiding beneath the trappings of ‘normalcy’: wife, children, house, couple of dogs. Family man. But he is tortured nonetheless. For he is gay as well, and he and those around him, he projects, would find this to be unacceptable. And now an entire family is drawn into the dark.

Unfortunately, I could share countless other stories, all sharing this theme: to be gay, to be attracted to someone, to love them organically, is not just unacceptable, but shameful.

Shameful.

With just a moment’s reflection, we all know that the forced constriction of anything authentic and genuine in ourselves will prove to be incalculably damaging. We should live in a place where one’s truth carries not a hint of shame, but joy. Only joy.

And everyone, every single one of us, deserves that feeling.

So this ruling suggests another wave in a sea change. For many people, many of my own clients in fact, can now comfort themselves with the fact that what they sense and know about themselves, this undeniable core essence of their being, is now lawful and allowable and acceptable by society’s standards. And sure, that’s good.

But it goes beyond just that, right? Because for the majority of us, our loves and attractions are actually celebrated, from crushes to dates to proms to weddings. And we don’t really need to give it a thought. There is a wild emotional divide between private shame and public celebration, and it is critical.

I like to think that a generation from now, if our sons or daughters are drawn to someone, male or female, and fall in love with that someone, that we will want to share in the joy that love will bring to their lives, and to our own.

Making ourselves unavailable to that joy ensures, and has ensured, the opposite: fear and judgment and ego, enough to keep therapists like me flush with clients for generations, treating toxic, wholly unnecessary feelings of shame and depression and relentless anxiety about something that is organic and authentic and actually quite simple.

This Supreme Court ruling is another step toward the openness we need as a society, openness that will undoubtedly have strong legs. Fewer pills will be popped to numb unnecessary pain. Fewer people will be compelled to live a lie their entire lives. Fewer people will feel a need to shield their deep reality in shame. Fewer lives will end tragically. This is no small deal.

So I celebrate today, for the emotional well-being of every gay person, man or woman,
who has suffered their love in lieu of celebration. I celebrate the deep breath they can finally draw, and the joyful, well-appointed weddings on the horizon.

Of course, upon sober reflection, we all know that legislation does not flip a switch on feelings, attitudes and emotions. These biases lag well behind.

So if you are the parent, brother, sister, teacher or friend of a gay man or woman and you find yourself bitter today, let me encourage you to turn a page. Allow yourself to open your heart and mind to them, for them and for yourself. Because the train has left the station, and you can continue to be a part of the pain and anxiety and costly emotional heartache, or serve as part of the joy.

Because love truly IS love. Simple as that.

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How Gay Marriage Could Improve Straight Marriage

SCOTUS’s decision to make gay marriage a constitutional right in all states is a landmark victory for the gay rights movement. But could it also be a victory for the institution of marriage in and of itself? Justice Ruth Ginsberg repeatedly argued that gay marriage is part of a civil rights continuum. But could it also be part of a continuum that improves what it means to be in a committed relationship?

“Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition,” said Ginsburg. “Marriage was a relationship of a dominant male to a subordinate female that ended as a result of this court’s decision in 1982 when Louisiana’s Head and Master Rule was struck down.”

“Head and Master” laws permitted a husband to have final say regarding all household decisions and jointly owned property without his wife’s knowledge or consent, until 1979 when Louisiana became the final state to repeal them.

Ginsberg repeatedly rejected the notion that extending marriage rights would somehow weaken the institution or deprive straight couples. “All of the incentives, all of the benefits that marriage affords would still be available,” said Ginsburg. “So you’re not taking away anything from heterosexual couples.”



Ginsberg is a hero in the struggle for civil and sexual rights. But hearing her arguments my friends and I would quietly chuckle over what wasn’t being said — the possibility that gay marriage could have an positive effect on heterosexual unions. Marriage between straight people comes with a long list of rigid status quo rules and assumptions. Whereas the LGBT community have more personal equality and freedom in their partnerships but no legal equality and freedom. Heterosexual marriages have been entangled in laws that give males far more privilege and rights, with wives treated like property. Whereas gay unions historically been formed from a more equal standing.

What ultimately forced me to crawl out of my status quo, hetero marriage box was one of its primary tenets: monogamy. After 20 years of being happily married, I found myself in love with my husband and also another man. My gay friends were the only people in my life who offered empathy — and, more important, saluted my creativity when I opened my marriage. We created a newfangled Brady Bunch of chosen family — my husband, his new girlfriend, my new lover, and all our kids — my gay friends applauded my innovation and gumption. They weren’t terrified, judgmental or confused — as many of my straight married friends were — they were congratulatory.

Being creative in your relationship, having to set up your own “rules” and agreements, is somewhat banal among gay people. Not having the luxury of clear-cut rights mandated by the courts, many of my gay friends have sat down with lawyers to create legal documents to protect their property and loved ones. They wanted to have a definitive say in various what-if scenarios that hetero couples in traditional marriages are automatically awarded by the simple act of signing a piece of legal paper. That act in itself — having to secure your own liberties — raises your consciousness around your values and your relationships. Drawing up legal documents — or even just jotting down notes on a legal pad from your couch like I did — forces you to really define who you love and what your relationship philosophy is.

It took me several years before I sat down with my husband and asked him if we could open our marriage. When I finally did, I was startled by the fact that I had been following and even hypnotized by a societal set of rules that were not even a part of my authentic value system. I had been asleep, dutifully engaging in society’s presumption of what a “proper” marriage is, as if in a trance. Much of my identity, worldview, and lifestyle have origins in thinking outside of cultural norms and traditions. Why had the institution of marriage seemed so untouchable?

I guess you could say I’m bisexual, but I prefer to just think of myself as sexual. I love the ambiguity of being queer — a term which encompasses several aspects of sexuality — but I honestly don’t feel hip enough to sport the term. But when I created the above-mentioned situation in which I got to have both men in my life, I felt wholly aligned with my queer collective of friends.

They were the only group of people who really understood my decisions and thinking. Even after divorcing my first husband, they understood that he is still someone I dearly love and who will always be chosen family to me. Because homophobia is so wretched and life-threatening, many gay people remain family to former lovers. They don’t chuck them on the pile of what straight people call “failed relationships.” In the gay community, longevity is not the only measurement of a relationship’s success. And in gay culture (at least of my generation, and I’m in my 50s) there is a loyalty and understanding that love is enduring and supersedes a marriage license, or lack thereof.

Not every gay relationship exemplifies nirvana — they too are afflicted with conflicts, hurt, and even domestic violence. But, quite frankly, gay people have been thinking out of the marriage box for centuries. Although they lacked the heterosexual privileges, tax write-offs, basic rights of parenthood, and medical visits, they did have one advantage: an opportunity to create their own relationship doctrines. Ginsberg argued that gay marriage would not change straight marriage — but in my progressive enclave of friends, we all hope that it does.

“Wide Open” Gracie X’s memoir is available September, 2015. To e-mail Gracie X go to GracieX.com.

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They Were Just Trying To Protect Their Kids, But This Couple Won Marriage Equality

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are one of the same-sex couples behind the Supreme Court’s historic ruling that all 50 states must allow gay marriage. But the two Michigan nurses barely thought about what they’re going to do for their own wedding.

“I do believe we have a wedding to plan and some kids to adopt,” DeBoer said, after learning of their victory Friday.

She and Rowse were at a live-streamed gathering in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with their lawyers and supporters, celebrating as other couples across the state headed to county clerks’ offices to obtain marriage licenses.

michigan marriage

Jayne Rowse (left) and April DeBoer celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 26, 2015, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The two women, who started their legal battle in 2011, ultimately joined plaintiffs from Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky in the combined case, now known as Obergefell v. Hodges, that the Supreme Court heard. Other couples were fighting to have their home states recognize marriages performed elsewhere. DeBoer and Rowse, however, were originally seeking changes to state adoption laws.

Four years ago, the couple met attorney Dana Nessel while trying to prepare wills that would protect their children. Michigan law doesn’t allow adoption by two same-sex parents, so each of DeBoer and Rowse’s four kids has only one legally recognized parent. Each woman has adopted two of their four children, who are all age 6 or younger.

When they filed their lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman encouraged them to expand the case to challenge the constitutionality of Michigan’s gay marriage ban. They did, and he ruled in their favor in 2014. Friedman, who had been appointed by President Ronald Reagan, reportedly cried as he told the Detroit News on Friday that he had been praying for the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We never could have in a million years anticipated that this case … would become a marriage case at all, let alone the seminal marriage case,” Nessel said.

The Supreme Court’s majority opinion notes that protecting children is a crucial element of the case for same-sex marriage. “April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse now ask whether Michigan may continue to deny them the certainty and stability all mothers desire to protect their children, and for them and their children the childhood years will pass all too soon,” it says.

Though their kids have always been the primary concern, that’s not to say that DeBoer and Rowse aren’t looking forward to the wedding. So are Ryanne, Rylee, Jacob and Nolan, who have been hearing about marriage for years. Ryanne, 5, is eager to dress up like a princess. Rylee, 2, wants to be the flower girl, though DeBoer jokingly worried that she will throw flowers at the guests.

deboer rowse family

April DeBoer (center), Jayne Rowse and their four children. (Photo courtesy of the family)

“To my beautiful children, we did this for you,” DeBoer said.

Polls show that public opinion has shifted in favor of marriage equality since the voters passed Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban in 2004. In a statement Friday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) urged the state to “focus on the values we share” and “respect the judicial process.”

“Our state government will follow the law and our state agencies will make the necessary changes to ensure that we will fully comply,” Snyder said. “As Michiganders we should move forward positively, embracing our state’s diversity and striving to treat everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

The victory for marriage equality does not end the debate over lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in Michigan, though, where it is still legal to fire someone based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Earlier this month, the governor signed a law that allows publicly funded, faith-based adoption agencies to cite religious beliefs as a reason to deny services to gay couples and others. And last week, a Republican state legislator introduced a bill that would require a member of the clergy to sign off on all marriages — a potential hardship for same-sex couples.

But on Friday, county clerks in Michigan performed gay wedding ceremonies with gusto.

couple marries

Ann Sorrell (left), 78, and Marge Eide, 77, who have been a couple for 43 years, embrace after exchanging vows in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on June 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DeBoer and Rowse hope their own wedding will take place before the end of the summer.

Nessel described her clients-turned-friends as “ordinary people who are all at once also extraordinary and who could not have represented this case or this cause with any more dignity — or any more humor, really — than anyone else that I know.”

The attorney not only scored a win for her clients, but also will benefit personally from the Supreme Court’s decision. Speaking Friday, she thanked her two sons for often going without her presence as she fought for other kids and she thanked fiancée Alanna Maguire. Nessel proposed in April, standing on a stepstool outside the court on the afternoon that the justices heard arguments in the marriage case.

“Meeting your future same-sex spouse during your fight for same-sex marriage is kind of the most awesome story ever,” Nessel said.

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Why Should We Support Same Sex Marriage?

2015-06-28-1435517022-4323939-samesexmarriageHP.gif

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Stephen Colbert Destroys Dissenting Justices In Same-Sex Marriage Decision

We have a feeling his monologues are going to be pretty great.

Not even into his “Late Show” tenure yet, new host Stephen Colbert can’t wait to dig into the current events and find the funny.

With the landmark 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in all 50 states, Colbert justifiably tore into the four dissenting justices.

As for which of the judges wrote the dissenting opinion, Colbert said, “I’ll let you guess which ones.” He then broke into a Frankenstein monster impression with an “ARGH, GAY BAD!” thrown in for good measure.

The four judges voting against legalization were Justice Antonin Scalia (gasp!), Chief Justice John Roberts (no!), Justice Clarence Thomas (shock!) and Justice Samuel Alito (what?!).

But Colbert insists the ruling is not great for everyone: “My condolences to gays with commitment issues who are asking their partner IF WE CAN JUST PLEASE TALK ABOUT THIS WHEN I GET HOME FROM WORK TODAY.”

In the end though, it’s great news, even if it took longer than it should have.

“It’s hard to believe that gay Americans achieved full constitutional personhood just five years after corporations did,” said Colbert.

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Supreme Court’s Nod to Gay Marriage a Psychological Boost to Couples: Experts

5-4 decision should help bring acceptance, respect for these committed relationships
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Why Marriage Equality Is Great For The Economy

Thanks to marriage equality, this could be a big year for Sophie Pyle’s company.

The founder of Tweet The Bride — a service that posts live Instagram and Twitter updates during clients’ weddings — expects the Supreme Court’s Friday decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the country to be a major boon for business.

“It just makes the wedding industry and the number of people getting married that much bigger,” Pyle told The Huffington Post on Friday morning. “There are that many more customers and weddings. I’m very excited about it.”

Pyle’s year-old business is based in Virginia, which was one of 37 states (and Washington, D.C.) that recognized same-sex marriage prior to the Supreme Court’s new ruling. Her clients don’t always live or marry nearby, and she often travels to attend ceremonies in other places. She has worked only one same-sex wedding — all the way in Denmark! — but she expects more in the future.


Just married in Copenhagen! #hamiltondevoss

A photo posted by #HAMILTONDEVOSS (@hamiltondevoss) on


The #HamiltonDevoss wedding in February was the fist same-sex wedding Pyle worked at.

Aside from the obvious benefits to the wedding industry, marriage equality could have a positive impact on the economy overall.

In the first three years of nationwide marriage equality, spending on same-sex weddings could add $ 184.7 million in tax revenue and 13,058 jobs to states’ economies, according to a report from the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute. The U.S. economy could get a $ 2.6 billion boost over the next three years.

New York, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2011, has already benefited from same-sex weddings, as data-driven news site Vocativ points out. In the first year after New York passed its Marriage Equality Act, New York City alone received a $ 259 million economic boost as 8,200 marriage licenses were issued for same-sex weddings and more than 200,000 guests traveled in from out of town to attend the ceremonies.

For those in the industry who have already worked with gay couples, the value of same-sex marriages is apparent.

“Those who embraced it benefited from it,” Chris Jaeger, a wedding industry marketing consultant, told HuffPost. “It’s a real positive thing.”

He recalled struggling to convince one of his a clients, a wedding officiant in California, to preside over same-sex unions. But that was five years ago, when the legality of same-sex weddings in California was complicated.

Times have changed.

“She [has] embraced it,” Jaeger said of the officiant. “Now there are pictures of her doing ceremonies with men marrying men and women marrying women.”

In the 13 states that had not recognized marriage equality before the Supreme Court’s new ruling, some business owners are just happy to finally have the opportunity to work with gay couples.

Jackie McGrath, owner of Sweet Treets bakery in Texas — where, until Friday, gay marriage was banned — said she was “ecstatic” to hear the news.

“We have a gay wedding this weekend. It wasn’t going to be official, but now it could be,” McGrath said, adding that she and her staff began working on a rainbow wedding cake on Friday, just after the ruling was announced. “We’ll probably give it out to customers to celebrate.”

Jenny Che contributed to this report.

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All The Celebrities Who Are Thrilled About the Supreme Court’s Decision to Legalize Gay Marriage

Love wins! The Supreme Court handed down a decision that legalizes marriage for same-sex couples—and Hollywood is THRILLED. Here are all the celebs who are celebrating on social media. (Come back for updates as the…




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Why Marriage Equality Is Great For The Economy

Thanks to marriage equality, this could be a big year for Sophie Pyle’s company.

The founder of Tweet The Bride — a service that posts live Instagram and Twitter updates during clients’ weddings — expects the Supreme Court’s Friday decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the country to be a major boon for business.

“It just makes the wedding industry and the number of people getting married that much bigger,” Pyle told The Huffington Post on Friday morning. “There are that many more customers and weddings. I’m very excited about it.”

Pyle’s year-old business is based in Virginia, which was one of 37 states (and Washington, D.C.) that recognized same-sex marriage prior to the Supreme Court’s new ruling. Her clients don’t always live or marry nearby, and she often travels to attend ceremonies in other places. She has worked only one same-sex wedding — all the way in Denmark! — but she expects more in the future.


Just married in Copenhagen! #hamiltondevoss

A photo posted by #HAMILTONDEVOSS (@hamiltondevoss) on


The #HamiltonDevoss wedding in February was the fist same-sex wedding Pyle worked at.

Aside from the obvious benefits to the wedding industry, marriage equality could have a positive impact on the economy overall.

In the first three years of nationwide marriage equality, spending on same-sex weddings could add $ 184.7 million in tax revenue and 13,058 jobs to states’ economies, according to a report from the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute. The U.S. economy could get a $ 2.6 billion boost over the next three years.

New York, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2011, has already benefited from same-sex weddings, as data-driven news site Vocativ points out. In the first year after New York passed its Marriage Equality Act, New York City alone received a $ 259 million economic boost as 8,200 marriage licenses were issued for same-sex weddings and more than 200,000 guests traveled in from out of town to attend the ceremonies.

For those in the industry who have already worked with gay couples, the value of same-sex marriages is apparent.

“Those who embraced it benefited from it,” Chris Jaeger, a wedding industry marketing consultant, told HuffPost. “It’s a real positive thing.”

He recalled struggling to convince one of his a clients, a wedding officiant in California, to preside over same-sex unions. But that was five years ago, when the legality of same-sex weddings in California was complicated.

Times have changed.

“She [has] embraced it,” Jaeger said of the officiant. “Now there are pictures of her doing ceremonies with men marrying men and women marrying women.”

In the 13 states that had not recognized marriage equality before the Supreme Court’s new ruling, some business owners are just happy to finally have the opportunity to work with gay couples.

Jackie McGrath, owner of Sweet Treets bakery in Texas — where, until Friday, gay marriage was banned — said she was “ecstatic” to hear the news.

“We have a gay wedding this weekend. It wasn’t going to be official, but now it could be,” McGrath said, adding that she and her staff began working on a rainbow wedding cake on Friday, just after the ruling was announced. “We’ll probably give it out to customers to celebrate.”

Jenny Che contributed to this report.

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With Gay Marriage Legalized, Lena Dunham Tells Jack Antonoff to Propose: Get On It, Yo

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On the Brink of the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision, a Quick Reminder That #loveislove

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Marriage: What to Do When the Sex Stops

Ben Franklin (Yes, the Founding Father whose face is on the $ 100 bill) had lots to say about sexless marriages, including this bon mot, “Where there is marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.”

Scroll through comments on any piece on sexless marriage and you’ll find those who say they’re perfectly happy holding hands or sleeping in separate beds. But unless both parties are content with that arrangement, the scenario is far from ideal.

Still, work stress, technology, Netflix, kids, sheer exhaustion, and just plain ennui can get in the way of that nightly or even weekly romp in the hay. Are you resigned to foregoing sex and possibly opening that door to, as Ben would say, “love without marriage?”

Marriage and family therapist Dr. Jane Greer, author of What About Me? offers a variety of tools to help couples get back in the groove. The radio host and creator of SHRINK WRAP with Dr. Jane Greer and the weekly call in show Doctor on Call (at HealthyLife.net, Tuesday, 2-3 pm EST) says the first step is to acknowledge the issue. Let the other partner know how you’re feeling about the absence of sexual intimacy. If one of you is unhappy with the reduced amount of sex, Dr. Greer suggests broaching the topic without attaching blame.

“We aren’t having sex the way we used to. We aren’t connecting. You seem tired. Is that what’s going on?” goes much farther than “Why aren’t you initiating?” Enter with curiosity and an open mind to change rather than blame or attack, advises Greer. If you know you are dealing with a medical issue, figure out options, factoring in the partner’s sexual needs, and find other ways to please each other.

Greer says most people have different sexual appetites and preferences. Couples need to deal with who wants more or less, factoring in the mood. “Sometimes when you’re not hungry, you’ll keep your partner company at dinner,” she says. “Acknowledge the differences in appetite and try to address the differences by being open to sexual activity that allows the partner to get his or her needs met. Let your partner know you’re sensitive to his or her needs.”

Parenthood is a period of time when roles are changing. Know that the transformation doesn’t have to mean no sex if you’re creative and willing to try new things or times. Explore different options. When a husband only sees his wife as a mother, he might be reluctant to relate sexually. Prioritize time for date nights, not just sex in and around the baby’s schedule.

Laurie Handler, film producer, sex/intimacy coach, and author of Sex & Happiness: The Tantric Laws of Intimacy, says partners may worry pre-planning takes out the spontaneity but notes you can be spontaneous once you’ve set aside time to do spontaneous things. If time is an issue, block out two hours to let go of thoughts about job responsibilities and family. “Couples aren’t having sex because life creeps into every nook and cranny. If you have an agreed upon time structure, you can be spontaneous and find time to relax.”

Handler also suggests couples take a dance class together. “Tango, swing, salsa, there’s nothing sexier than two people who are great together on the dance floor. The man gets to lead and the woman gets to follow,” she says.

In and out of the bedroom, take turns being the initiator, even planning the date. Switch off who is responsible for planning the adventure or finding the new restaurant to keep the spark alive.

“Many women are turned off to the idea of sex because of their body image or self-esteem once they become mothers or gain a few pounds,” Handler shares. “There are so many things people can do. The simplest thing is to set aside a time to do it. It’s not rocket science.”

For more information on Dr. Jane Greer, SHRINK WRAP,and Doctor on Call, visit http://drjanegreer.com/.

For more information on Laurie Handler and her Butterfly Workshops, visit http://butterflyworkshops.com/.

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Esurance Backs Gay Marriage With ‘Equal Dreams’ Commercial And Social Campaign

Esurance is kicking off LGBT Pride Week with an all-inclusive commercial and social media campaign.

The auto insurance provider is releasing a video, #EqualDreams, in which children and gay teen guests at a June 13 wedding are asked to describe their own dream ceremonies. The responses are both inspiring and adorable.

“At my wedding day, all my friends and family and my doggies and my friends’ and family’s doggies and my cousin’s doggies…will be there, and it’s gonna be the best day of my life,” one tot proclaims. Another adds: “If my husband doesn’t like the cake, he will buy his own cake.”

The clip, which is being released ahead of what officials hope is a victory for same-sex marriage at the U.S. Supreme Court this month, takes a more bittersweet turn when one lesbian guest speaks about her own experience growing up.

Esurance Chief Marketing Officer Alan Gellman told The Huffington Post in an email that his company, which has supported LGBT Pride events since 2005, created the clip “to show, in an emotionally compelling way, our belief that all dreams should be equal.”

He added, “It’s not just a belief. As a modern company, we act on that belief through our products and insurance offerings.”

This page contains materials from The Huffington Post and/or other third party writers. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”) has not selected or reviewed such third party content and it does not necessarily reflect the views of PwC. PwC does not endorse and is not affiliated with any such third party. The materials are provided for general information purposes only, should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisors, and PwC shall have no liability or responsibility in connection therewith.

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How to Have a Strong Marriage: 21 Pieces of Crowd-Sourced Advice

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Preparing Couples For Marriage: A Guide For Pastors For Premarital Counseling

Preparing Couples For Marriage: A Guide For Pastors For Premarital Counseling


Preparing Couples for Marriage by Les C. Wicker is a wedding scripture text and prayer book entailing premarriage counseling and marriage counseling topics along with the following topics: – marriage counseling – Christian marriage counseling – premarriage counseling – premarriage counseling online books – premarriage counseling – marriage counseling Christian – Christian counseling free marriage -wedding preparation checklist – wedding scripture – wedding scripture and prayer – wedding scripture texts – wedding scripture readings – wedding bible scripture
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Patrick Stewart Defends Northern Irish Bakery That Rejected ‘Support Gay Marriage’ Cake

“Star Trek” icon Patrick Stewart has come to the defense of Northern Ireland’s Ashers Bakery, which was found guilty of discrimination last month after refusing to prepare a cake decorated with a same-sex marriage slogan.

The case made headlines in 2014 after Belfast-based activist Gareth Lee requested a cake featuring “Sesame Street” characters, along with the message, “Support Gay Marriage.” Although the bakery’s owners initially accepted the order, they called two days later to cancel it, citing their religious beliefs.

In response, Stewart called the Ashers case “a deliciously difficult” subject in an interview with BBC’s Newsnight, adding that he “found himself on the side of the bakers” because nobody should be forced to write politically-relevant text that they didn’t support.

“It was not because it was a gay couple that they objected. It was not because they were celebrating some sort of marriage or an agreement between them,” Stewart is quoted as saying. “It was the actual words on the cake that they objected to, because they found them offensive.”

He went on to note, “I would support their rights to say, ‘No, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.'”

The remarks may come as a surprise to some fans of Stewart, who has previously spoken out in defense of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In January, the actor said his background in theater made him a natural LGBT advocate.

“I think this is where the theater is such an appealing world, because it embraces everything and always has. So there was never a moment where I made an intellectual choice that I would be a supporter of gay civil rights,” he said at the time. “It was always a natural and uncomplicated choice.”

H/T The Independent

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The Single Best Piece Of Marriage Advice Ever Given

Know someone saying ‘I do’ this month? Here’s what to tell them.

First, some numbers: I’ve been married (to the same person) for twenty-seven years. Those twenty-seven years have included six in which we were researching an anthology about marriage. That anthology (The Marriage Book: Centuries of Advice, Inspiration, and Cautionary Tales, from Adam & Eve to Zoloft) is 560 pages long. Those 560 pages include 529 entries that we arrived at after scanning—honestly—tens of thousands of books, poems, newspaper articles, letters, postcards, photographs, and songs.

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Is The Husband Supposed to Be the Leader In Marriage?

A few years ago, I attended the wedding of a dear friend of mine. Before the actual ceremony the minister took time to give a powerful bit of counsel to everyone who had gathered. His words affected me so deeply that they have prompted me to change not only how I approach my marriage, but also my relationships with family and friends.

From what I can remember, the minister said this:

In scripture, husbands have been called the head (or leader) of the household. The world scoffs at such an idea, but that is because the world has a perverted sense of leadership. The world thinks of a leader as the person in charge — a person who makes all of the decisions, forces everyone to do what he wants and then takes all of the glory for himself. But the world’s way of leadership is not God’s way of leadership. Leadership, the way God intended it, is a call to service. God’s leadership, simply put, is the rendering of humble service to those you love and giving the glory to God.

Too often, men seek solitude from or power over those they claim to love. This is perverted leadership. God calls men to a road that brings them in harmony with their wives and children. Yes, you will make decisions, but you will make them with the intent to serve your family — not yourself. Remember, the God who calls others to lead is the same God who washed the feet of His disciples. There is no unrighteous pride in God’s form of leadership — only perfect love.

Some may question the wisdom of this minister, but I have tested his words and found them be true. I have put his advice into practice in my own life, and I’ve realized that some of the most difficult times in my marriage have been the times when I myself have exercised a perverted sense of leadership — made demands, ignored my wife’s needs in favor of my own or withheld forgiveness. In contrast, the happiest times in my marriage have been those where I’ve “taken charge,” and more fully devoted myself to my wife — recommitting to serve her and see her needs as equal to my own.

That minister’s counsel has blessed not only my marriage, but nearly all of my relationships. As I’ve applied these principles to my life, I’ve come to realize that every relationship in life presents us with “leadership opportunities” — moments in which we are called to serve, guide, protect and love one another. Recognizing these calls to leadership (and acting on them) has made me a better husband, friend, brother and son.

I would like to extend this minister’s message to you: Start today and consider ways that you are being called to lead in love. While there are many types of relationships with different dynamics, I can promise you that as you sincerely recognize and meet the needs of those you care about, you will feel a greater sense of love and appreciation for those you serve.

This article was originally published on www.SethAdamSmith.com under the title “Is The Husband Supposed to Be The Leader?”

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Kendra Wilkinson Says Marriage To Hank Baskett Is ‘Amazing’

Sounds like the worst is behind them. Kendra Wilkinson’s marriage to Hank Baskett was in serious jeopardy as recently as seven months ago, but these days, the two are more loved up than ever.

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Jesse Tyler Fergusuon’s Genius Plan to Get the Supreme Court to Legalize Gay Marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court will likely rule next month on a case that could determine whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. In an effort to sway the nation’s top justices, Jesse Tyler Fergusuon has…




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Lessons From an Arranged Marriage

2015-05-27-1432754651-7609323-arrangedmarriage.jpgMy parents wed on a September morning in 1960 in a small farming village in Greece. My mother learned the news when the busses started to arrive delivering the guests. She was just two months past her seventeenth birthday. There was a rented white dress that was a few sizes too large, a severe brother who had brokered the deal, and a much older groom who wanted to bring a wife back to America. She had met him only once, and what she remembered from that encounter was that he’d told her to walk properly rather than skipping like a donkey. She was one of ten children, and normally the girls would be married off by order of age, oldest to youngest. It wasn’t her turn, but the family’s crushing poverty and crowded house allowed for an exception to the rules.

My father was born in a tiny mountain village surrounded by mountain ranges, where the earth glowed red and the wheat harvest produced a vibrant golden yellow grain. Bougainvillea, pomegranate, geraniums, fruiting trees abounded, but so did poverty, invading Germans, danger, and a suffocating feeling of entrapment. I imagine the idea of escape gnawed at him. He brought his baggage with him when he finally did run down the mountainside in the dark, hiding from soldiers, breath held. His baggage carried stories about his only meal being onions and bread, and the time his mother had one egg and split it between him and his cousin. He never forgave her for not giving him the whole egg. An uncle in America had offered to sponsor one brother, and my father lunged at the opportunity, leaving his family behind.

After several years in America, he returned to Greece for a wife. He needed someone to cook and clean for him and to take care of his needs. And so it began. A poor young girl in a rented dress too large, collarbones showing from hunger. A groom with a fancy wool suit and a cream-colored tie. It was the beginning of their arranged marriage, a marriage devoid of choice.

As a child, I came to understand that my parents would constantly be at each other’s throats. My mother was beautiful and fiery, like a caged animal pacing until it struck. My father gathered his suspicions like a bag of shrapnel until they would explode, striking anything in his path. He was often mistaken for her father, which only fueled his insecurity. He dropped me off at elementary school one morning, and before saying goodbye, he paused to ask me, “Do you think I’m handsome?”

Despite their constant fighting, distrust, and acrimony, they stayed together 50 years, until one morning, my father died in his bed at home after many years of illness. My mother had spent the previous 18 years caring for him after a debilitating stroke. She was the epitome of devotion and martyrdom.

These are the lessons I took away from my parents’ arranged marriage:

It’s better to pick your own spouse. When they were married, choosing who you married was unheard of. I remember a cousin in Greece “marrying for love” in the 1980s and it was high scandal in the family. I was always determined to pick my own partner, and vowed I would never marry a Greek man. When I came out as a lesbian, I realized that I would shatter all cultural expectations, and while I suffered some guilt, I knew that my happiness was at stake.

You can stay with someone for your whole life, even if you are completely mismatched. This was certainly the case with my parents, and for many years I carried this as a badge of honor. I took their commitment as proof of loyalty and stability. I was proud of my parents for never divorcing, even though they both suffered together for 50 long years.

Children do not benefit from unhappy parents. Despite being grateful that my parents never divorced, the truth is that my sister and I lived in a battle zone. We never witnessed a healthy, loving partner relationship. Neither of us had that model to refer to when picking our own partners. Our partnership model was one of strife, control, and distrust. It has taken me many years to learn how to be comfortable enough in my own skin to love someone enough to let them be comfortable in theirs.

It is okay to call it quits. I walked away from my childhood believing that staying together no matter what was the ultimate goal, a source of pride, and proof of honor. I still think there is honor in working extremely hard to stay together. But only if staying together supports you to feel whole as an individual. If, by being with someone, your soul and purpose are enhanced. Otherwise, it is much too easy to fall into stagnation, a forgetting of oneself for the sake of the staying together.

Children survive divorce. As a child, I often thought that the fighting would only stop if a family member died. I felt death would bring my family to their senses and help them to see what was important in life. Imaging death should not be a child’s coping strategy. I see now that divorce can be a healthy option. No one has to die! If parents are able to cushion and support their children, and manage to co-parent separately but cooperatively, children can thrive where they once withered.

Even though I have chosen my own partners, and luckily escaped the arranged marriages proposed in my youth, I still carry these lessons in my pocket. Always be true to yourself, and have the courage to ask, Is this marriage still working for me? If it is, great! If it isn’t, it is okay to begin anew. Don’t stay only because you once arranged it for yourself. Stay because you want to be there today. And remember, the world is a huge wonderful place full of unexpected surprises and people you have never met.

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Nikki Reed Shares a Wedding Video to Celebrate One Month of Marriage to Ian Somerhalder

Sure, they’ve shared wedding pictures and honeymoon photos, but this video is the most intimate look at Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder’s nuptials we’ve seen yet: A video posted by Nikki Reed (@iamnikkireed) on May…




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Crossing Continents: How to Move a Marriage

“Never take a damaged marriage overseas,” they told me at the spouse orientation the year my husband joined the Diplomatic Security Service.

Diplomatic Security, or DSS, is a little-known branch of the State Department that is responsible, as the name suggests, for keeping diplomats and other Americans safe overseas. DS agents like my husband are posted to Embassies overseas, sometimes alone, sometimes with their families. It’s a high-stress, high-stakes job (think Benghazi) involving long hours in strange cities, doing things you can’t necessarily tell your spouse about.

So this marriage advice, coming from a veteran DS spouse, made a lot of sense. Even way back then I knew that the constant moves required in the Foreign Service, the strange hours, the secrecy required of the job, would take a toll on the strongest marriage, so I could understand that a damaged marriage might not survive a Foreign Service career.

But that was back in the last century, before we’d had a baby. Before we’d had four babies, to be more exact. Before we’d suffered two miscarriages. Before we’d seen one baby through a serious illness. Before we’d been PNG’ed (that means “kicked out,” for all of you non-diplomats) from one country, and medically evacuated from another. Before I lost my hearing to a mysterious virus in China. Before he was selected for an unaccompanied tour in Iraq, leaving me and the four kids behind to fend for ourselves in Amman, Jordan.

Back then, a century ago, our marriage was as close to perfect as it is possible to get, with lots of hand holding and talk of “the future,” that shiny, happy unknown. Advice about damaged marriages had nothing to do with my reality, though I could certainly understand how it might apply to others. I nodded my head as she spoke, like everyone else in the room, but really, I was in a hurry to move on to more pertinent information, like how to host a dinner party, or how to ship a car overseas.

Now, though. Now, when I’m 16 years into the Foreign Service and 20 years into married life, I’ve had loads of time to contemplate that advice, and honestly, it’s the only advice I remember clearly from that day. Hosting a dinner party is the easiest part of the lifestyle. Staying married? Not so much.

In the end, it turns out that every Foreign Service marriage is damaged in some way. All of our marriages have places where they have been bent, bruised and maybe even broken over the passage of years and tours. The strain of the constant moves, the stress of constantly reinventing yourself, the feelings of inadequacy brought on in each new country, where you have to learn to talk and cook and drive anew – all of this weighs down our families, threatening at times to crush us.

Many of the broken bits I find in my relationship with my husband suffered their damage at the hands of the Foreign Service. My married life flashes before my eyes, and I see that time I was so very angry – over what, exactly, I can’t remember now – that I wanted to storm out of the house… but I had nowhere to go, no friends at all to run to, because we were brand new to the city. I remember the time I raged internally because I was stuck driving around our new middle eastern city, trying to find the emergency room, when he was nowhere to be found. I think back to the day they loaded me onto a tiny medevac plane, when I was soaked in blood from the waist down after a misdiagnosis led to a miscarriage – I’d only been in Central Asia for 13 days, and there was nothing he could do to help me except pray I didn’t bleed to death before we got to a country where they could operate on me. I remember when he was home from Baghdad for a brief visit, and I just sat sobbing on the bed, blubbering about how I couldn’t do it, and I wasn’t going to do it anymore, whatever “it” was. He looked on, scared and helpless, not quite even sure what was bothering me.

Yet here we still are.

All around me, I see friends giving up on crumbling marriages – not just in the Foreign Service, but in the regular world, too. Sometimes, when a friend or colleague announces her separation, I’m not surprised – from the outside, it was obvious that the relationship had moved irretrievably beyond the breaking point. Other times, though, I’m shocked – if it could happen to her, what’s to keep me safe?

Here’s the thing. Being sent to a new country with your same ole spouse can be a sort of living hell if you let it. Because you’re forced to rely solely on each other: no grandparents, no old friends, no aunts to rely on; nobody to come rescue you from each other. It’s just you and him, alone against the Foreign Affairs Manual. And at each new post, your relationship changes, in big ways and small. Sometimes I find work: an equal partner! Other times, there is no work to be had, and I have to rely on him to turn in the work orders, to cash the checks, to sign up for internet service. And he has to rely on me, too: to figure things out on my own without too much anxiety, to find the stores and make the friends and enroll in the schools. To be happy, no matter what craziness surrounds me. Because, like it or not, as the “trailing spouse,” I’m the backbone of the family. If that backbone snaps, well, it’s all over. And that’s a terrible, intimidating responsibility when you arrive in a new place, with not a word of the local language, a nasty case of jetlag and four lonely children. It’s hard to be the backbone when your husband is posted in a war zone and you have sick kids and a full-time job. It’s hard to not blame him for getting you in this mess.

I look back at the ravages wrought on my marriage by the Foreign Service, and yes, some of it will always seem awful. Some of it seems funny, or even ridiculous, in hindsight. But all of it – the whole collection of dents, the tarnished spots, everything ugly – all of it together has built this marriage, this crazy life of ours.

So yes, you could say that a decade and a half after that opening day lecture, I now recognize that my marriage is as banged-up as everyone else’s. It’s definitely not the same marriage I carried – carefully, hopefully – into the Foreign Service all those years ago.

But, you know what? We may have argued on that humid summer day about how exactly we should get to the top of the Great Wall of China, but we got there, and back again, together. I gripped the armrest and told him to slow down as he wound down that hill toward Tel Aviv, but he got us there safely in the end, and we held hands as we looked at the broad expanse of the Mediterranean, rolling our eyes as the kids argued about who was the first to touch the water. When I sat sobbing on the bed during his visit from Baghdad, he had no idea what the problem was. But he sat with me and let me finish, and then he kissed me and set about figuring out how to make it better. For me. For us.

We’re damaged, sure. But we’re damaged in the best possible way, together.

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Strength in Our 22 Years of Marriage

With today being my 22nd wedding anniversary, I am consumed with feeling nostalgic and hopeful; nostalgic for the wonderful years of memories we have had and hopeful for all of the new memories we have yet to create.

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Twenty-two years of happiness, of trying times, of struggling to make more money, of stress with our first jobs, of raising children, of stress with our second jobs, of building our first house, and of always loving each other… Those are the kind of years that make a marriage last.

I have learned a few essential lessons along this wonderful journey and I am fairly sure my husband has as well. One thing I know for absolute certain is that I wouldn’t trade those years for anything and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone. (Can I get a collective, “awwwww?”)

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Now and again, there is true strength in ignorance. We were the first of our friends to marry. Fortuitously or not, there was nobody to compare our situation to and nobody to guide or offer us advice. We did not realize if we were similar to our friends’ marriages and we did not have to listen to others tell us what we should or should not do for any given situation. We were undoubtedly on our own.

Our life together has spanned over two-plus decades. Upon reflection, I can say it is one sincerely filled with devotion, passion and a great deal of respect. Here is an abbreviated breakdown of what our history has (essentially) looked like.

1. Moving to a new city within 2 weeks of getting married.
2. Surviving an 8-year residency program.
3. Raising two babies (with me often as a single parent).
4. Coping with an unplanned autoimmune disease.
5. Struggling through several entrepreneurial endeavors.
6. Living in 4 different states together.
7. Losing grandparents.
8. Traveling to different countries (both together and apart).
9. Being scared with every hazard from the hospital.
10. Losing a parent.
11. Surviving our kids’ teenage years.
12. Building our dream home.

Life continues to get better and better as each year together passes. My husband and I have developed a special partnership and an extraordinary bond. He has become my truest friend, my confidant and my tower of strength. While those beginning years were certainly rough ones, our next phase is bound to be full of good health, countless laughter, fantastic travel and, most importantly, endless love.

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15 Essential Pieces Of Marriage Advice From Grandma And Grandpa

There’s a lot to be learned about love and marriage from the people who’ve been at it a long, long time — like grandma and grandpa.

We recently asked HuffPost readers to tell us the most important marriage lesson their grandparents taught them. Read their words of wisdom below.

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Obama Tweets Back To Girl’s Awesome Letter About World Peace, Marriage Equality

A 5-year-old has some suggestions for how to solve a couple of global issues, and the leader of the free world has responded.

Last week, Yasmeen, self described as “5 almost 6 years old,” took to writing a handwritten letter to President Obama advocating for world peace and marriage equality.

Please stop war for our world, instead have a meeting. Please give a speech to tell everyone they can marry who they want. Thank you,” her message read.

On Friday, Yasmeen’s aunt tweeted a photo of the note to the POTUS Twitter handle, and that same day, the President replied.

“Tell your niece I really like her letter. Couldn’t agree more!” his tweet read.

After launching his first Twitter account six years into his presidency, President Obama broke the Guinness world record on May 18 for the “fasted time to reach 1 million followers on Twitter.” As of Tuesday, he has racked up 2.44 million followers. However, he has just seven published tweets — among them, his encouraging reply to Yasmeen.

This just goes to show, “please” and “thank you” still go a very long way.

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7 Lessons on Love and Marriage From the Love & Hip Hop Wedding That Apply to Every Bride

Will your wedding feature $ 90,000 flowers (“with crystals—the good ones!”) or two $ 25,000 wedding dresses? Um, probably not. And those were only two of the outrageous expenses Mendeecees Harris and Yandy Smith accounted for in…




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Kim Kardashian Celebrates One Year of Marriage With Never-Before-Seen Wedding Pictures

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding unfolded one year ago today at Forte di Belvedere in Florence, Italy, following a rehearsal dinner at Chateau Versailles. To celebrate the one-year mark, Kim shared a bunch of…




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11 One-Liners That Accurately Sum Up The Whole Marriage Thing

Marriage means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Still, there are certain day-to-day similarities that couples can generally relate to.

We recently turned to Twitter to find some of the most hilariously accurate things said about marriage. The response was so great that we decided to do another roundup with witty commentary from our readers. See how they summed up marriage below:

1. “Marriage is basically like having a grown child who you’re constantly having to find things for — shoes, wallet, keys, contacts.”Ciara Hill

2. “Marriage is being pretty damn sure you could identify your husband in a pitch black room by his farts alone.” Laura Looch

3. “Marriage is when you eat food and ask, ‘Do you want some?’ but you’re hoping they’ll say no.” Gary Casper Muirhead

4.“Marriage is kissing your kid goodnight before your spouse and racing downstairs to get to the remote first.”Melissa Waldron

5. “Marriage is seeing who can pretend to be asleep longest when a kid or pet wants something.”Christine Wiedeman Summers

6. “Marriage is basically trying to remember when the other gets a haircut so you don’t forget to tell them it looks nice, even if it looks the same.” Paige Smith Radley

7. “Marriage is listening to your spouse tell the same joke to different people and trying to act amused every time.”Kathleen Snow

8. “Marriage is staying up late by yourself binge-watching Netflix while they snore loudly in the other room.”Mary Kathryn Elizabeth Drain

9. “Marriage is a partnership — she finds the bugs and I have to kill them.” Scott King

10. “Marriage is being able to say ‘go get your own ice cream’ and not really feeling bad about not sharing.” Whitney Van Zyl

11. “Marriage is basically stating very quickly all the things that you want or need done before the other person sits or lies down.” Jessica Kazakos

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What Would Life Look Like If Marriage Was a Maybe Thing?

Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence, regardless of where she was raised or what religion she does or doesn’t practice.




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Mad Mike Huckabee: Gay Marriage Fury Road

In the future, Christian civilization will collapse. Bands of militant homosexuals, dressed in leather and face paint, will roam the cultural wastelands, gay marrying anyone and anything in their path. Only one man stands between them and the total destruction of traditional marriage–Mad Mike Huckabee!

But first he has to tie the knot himself.

MAD MIKE HUCKABEE (played by Tom Hardy): That’s where you come in.

IMPERATOR FURIOSA (played by Charlize Theron): That’s where I come in what? Take off that damn face mask–I can’t understand a word you’re saying. Who do you think you are–Bane in The Dark Knight Rises?

MAD MIKE (removing the face mask): There, that’s better. Like I was saying, that’s where you come in. If we get married in a big public ceremony, it will revive interest in the traditional institution. I know this great little pizzeria in Indiana that will cater. Pepperoni for everyone!

FURIOSA: Yes, but why me?

MAD MIKE: You’re a woman, aren’t you?

FURIOSA: So?

MAD MIKE (winking): I don’t want to get graphic, but I have a tallywacker and you have a vavajay.

FURIOSA: So?

MAD MIKE: That’s the way God intended it to be! One man and one woman–just like it says in the Bible. I’m willing to overlook your crew-cut, prosthetic arm, and general lack of femininity.

FURIOSA: Gee, thanks. Actually, they practiced polygamy in the Old Testament. King David had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines.

MAD MIKE: Those were Jews, not Christians. You know how licentious they are. Talk to Mad Mel Gibson.

FURIOSA: Mormons practiced polygamy until the end of the nineteenth century. Some still do, in secret.

MAD MIKE: Mormons aren’t Christians either. Ask Mad Mitt Romney about that. And I thought you were against polygamy. You killed SPOILER ALERT Immortan Joe and liberated his five wives, didn’t you?

FURIOSA: My point is the definition of marriage has changed based on the needs of society. People used to get married at twelve or thirteen until they raised the age of consent.

MAD MIKE: It’s still sixteen in Arkansas, one of the lowest in the country–a fact I’m very proud of.

FURIOSA: Caucasians and African-Americans used to not be allowed to intermarry. The last anti-miscegenation law was repealed in 1967.

MAD MIKE: Obama was the product of race mixing. Need I say more?

FURIOSA: Catholic priests were allowed to marry until the twelfth century.

MAD MIKE: Again, not Christians. Those were Catholics. Talk to Mad Rick Santorum. Anyway, marriage was always between men and women, regardless of age, race, or number of individuals involved.

FURIOSA: Not true. The ancient Greeks had a form of gay marriage, and they invented democracy.

MAD MIKE: Democracy is overrated. Have you seen the Republican presidential candidates this primary season?

FURIOSA: You’ve got a point. Okay, Native Americans had Two-Spirit people.

MAD MIKE: You know what happened to the Native Americans. You want to run a casino in the desert and sell cigarettes, be my guest.

FURIOSA: Actually, a casino in the desert wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Maybe I can start my own Las Vegas.

MAD MIKE: You’ve been hanging out with Eve Ensler and her Vulvalini too much. Next you’ll be telling me women aren’t chattel. Speaking of Vulvalini, let’s discuss personal grooming. Does the carpet match the drapes?

FURIOSA: What?

MAD MIKE: Do you shave or wax?

FURIOSA: Neither. Although I’m thinking of getting a Brazilian to protest Jeb Bush.

Furiosa starts to climb back in her War Rig.

MAD MIKE: Hey, I thought all you female action/adventure heroines secretly suffered from baby hunger. Didn’t you see Avengers: Age of Ultron?

FURIOSA: I’m not the Black Widow and you’re certainly not the Hulk. He’s much larger…in every single way.

MAD MIKE: Now you’ve done it! You’ve insulted my manhood! You’re so mean!

Mad Mike starts crying,

FURIOSA: Stop! I can’t stand to see a grown man cry. Okay, I’ll do it–I’ll marry you.

MAD MIKE (slyly): You will?

FURIOSA: Yes.

Mad Mike immediately turns off the waterworks.

MAD MIKE: Terrific! Once we’re married, I’ll be head of the household, and you’ll be my submissive helpmate, just the way God intended it to be. Then we’ll go forth, be fruitful, and multiply. I want a big family–ten or twelve kids at least. Maybe we can even beat the Duggars’ record! Well, what do you say?

Furiosa hits him in the lug nuts with a tire iron. The last vestige of Christianity collapses. Oh, what day! What a lovely day!

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The Lies That Build a Marriage By Suchen Christine Lim (Paperback)

The Lies That Build a Marriage By Suchen Christine Lim (Paperback)


Overview With this collection of short stories, Lim delves beneath Singapore ‘s prosperity and coded decorum to reveal genuine people facing difficult issues that are normally strictly taboo in Asia, such as the mother who discovers her son is gay; the daughter who learns her two mothers are lesbians; and the niece who finds her dead uncle dressed in his wife ‘s clothes. Product details Isbn-13: 9789810587130, 978-9810587130 Author: Suchen Christine Lim Publisher: Monsoon Books Publication date: 2007-09-01 About Wordery Wordery is one of the UK’s largest online booksellers. With millions of satisfied customers who enjoy low prices on a huge range of books, we offer a reliable and trusted service and consistently receive excellent feedback. We offer a huge range of over 8 million books; bestsellers, children’s books, cheap paperbacks, baby books, special edition hardbacks and textbooks. All our books are dispatched from the UK. Wordery offers Free Delivery on all UK orders, and competitively priced international delivery. #HappyReading

Price: $
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Solange Celebrates Six Months of Marriage by Sharing an Intimate Wedding Photo

Happy six months, Solange! Beyonce’s baby sister just shared an intimate photo from her wedding with Alan Ferguson. The pic was captioned: “6 months to the date…but really…7 years to the date:)” A photo posted…




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It Took Getting Engaged For Me To Learn The Truth About Marriage Proposals

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Few people get to spend their workdays watching heartfelt proposal videos all day, and I count myself lucky to be one of them. As the Senior Editor of HuffPost Weddings, I also read tons of meet-cute stories, attend bridal fashion shows and scroll through hundreds of gorgeous wedding photos. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

When I first started doing this job two years ago, every flash mob, Jumbotron and writing-in-the-sky marriage proposal could bring me to tears. This is the best proposal ever, I thought again and again. How perfectly suited this Bruno Mars song is to marriage proposals! We featured flash mob after flash mob after flash mob. We — and our audience — couldn’t get enough.

Now, as Associate Editor Kelsey Borresen and I joke, it takes a lot to impress us. Run-of-the-mill flash mobs usually result in eye rolls. And don’t even get me started on the latest wave of fake arrest marriage proposals (who wants to be scared to death before one of the happiest moments of your life? No one).

When a staff writer from another department pitches a proposal video, they’ll often tell me it’s the “best marriage proposal ever.” Their copy exudes a lovely naiveté, the writing filled with over-the-top adjectives and pronouncements. I’m not really a fan of calling anything “the best ever.” Certainly there is something out there that is even bigger, better, more meaningful and over the top. Why put all our eggs in one Tiffany blue box — err, basket?

But after my boyfriend of 10 years (hey, I edit HuffPost Divorce too) popped the question recently, it became clear that, in fact, my proposal was the best proposal. He did it in a completely surprising way — on a Friday morning before I had left for the office, during a routine workday task. It was the last story idea in Kelsey’s morning pitch e-mail: High school sweetheart proposes to long-time girlfriend. I clicked and found out that the proposal was mine.

What followed (after the initial crying, tackling him to the floor and calling everyone I know) was a full day of surprises including lunch at our first date spot, dinner with our families (with a surprise visit from my sister, who flew in from Arizona), and a surprise party at my parents’ house with all my closest friends. It was perfect. And everyone I told about my proposal agreed.

In the week after we got engaged, I joked with colleagues that I was going to write a story called “10 Signs My Marriage Proposal Was The Best Proposal Ever” (that, or “Proof That My Marriage Proposal Was The Best Proposal”). What I realized in recounting the story again and again was that my proposal was the best proposal because it was just that — my proposal. My boyfriend — err, fiancé (still getting used to that!) — could have asked me to marry him in any number of ways and all of those ways would have been perfect because he is the perfect person for me, and me for him.

So go ahead — plan an elaborate flash mob, a scavenger hunt or simply roll over in bed and say, “Hey, wanna make this official?” Your marriage proposal will be the best proposal ever because it’s yours. And I promise, no more eye-rolling from me.

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Cheesing big time after the best marriage proposal ever.

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I’m In An Open Marriage And You Would Never Know It

By Gwen & Lark for YourTango

Everyone has a secret. Things we don’t want people to know because we are embarrassed, too proud or too private. We keep secrets because some things are too intimate and special for anyone else to know. But sometimes we keep secrets because we may feel like we will be harshly judged and don’t want to invite the criticism that may follow. Often, we just simply don’t know who we can trust with sensitive information because it might illicit unwanted gossip.

For example, you would never know I have an “open” marriage. I’m not the lady in the 4-inch heels at school pick up that wears skin-tight jeans or has DD implants. I don’t have wild parties where people stagger home with someone else’s spouse because they picked their car keys from a bowl on the coffee table. I’m just another mom who drives a sensible car, does the grocery shopping, wears clothes from Ann Taylor, goes jogging to stay fit — and occasionally has sex with men who are not my husband.

If I ever told you about this part of my life — which I probably wouldn’t unless you were an extremely close friend — your first reaction might be “What? How? But what about your kids?”

Surely, you already have an image in your mind about what an open marriage is.

It’s often mistaken for polygamy, where a man lives together with multiple women like the show Sister Wives or Big Love. Or you might think that it’s a convenient excuse for a husband to have sex with other women without losing the security of having a wife or the social complexities of having a mistress.

What most people who have never experienced an open marriage might not understand is that every open marriage is different. And it’s probably not what you think, unless you know someone personally who has one. (And you probably do, you just don’t know it yet!).

Not everyone in an open marriage is some kind of sex-addicted freak show. Between household duties, raising children and having a meaningful relationship with my husband, I do not have a lot of time to dedicate to having sex with other people, even if I wanted to.

I do not have sex with every man I meet. I do not want to steal your husband. I do not even want to have sex with your husband. I do not have sex at the grocery store or soccer practice or bring strange men into our home.

My open marriage did not start out as such. It was very much closed with a big, iron door and the thought of that ever changing never once crossed my mind in the first 13 years of our marriage. My husband, on the other hand, had been making threesome jokes for at least 10 of those 13 years and often wondered out loud about all the sex he missed out on in his youth.

He grew up in a very conservative family where sex before marriage was considered a sin. I had a similar upbringing but had secretly given in to my desires and had been with someone before I met my husband. I felt incredibly guilty about it because that’s not what “good” girls do.

But eventually the reasons against experimenting sexually with other people were overshadowed by the curiosity — and the exhausting requests by my husband.

We didn’t know exactly how this kind of thing worked, so we took a risk and asked some friends who we thought might know. It’s a delicate subject to broach, but we felt like a few conversations we had in the past left us with some clues that they were, if not in an open marriage, at least open-minded people when it came to sex.

Our hunch was right, and they told us about a place in town where we could go — what you might call a “Swingers Club”. After talking about it for so long, I was ready to at least go and have a look and was excited and nervous to see what it was like. The club itself was dark with a lot of scantily-clad women and sharply dressed men dancing or milling around the bar sipping drinks while lights flashed and stage smoke puffed up from the floor. Some people were sitting on the vinyl couches in a separate area behind the dance floor, chatting and caressing each other.

The beat of the music was pounding as hard as my heart was pumping in my chest. What am I doing here? Am I weird for wanting to know what happens here? Am I depraved? While most people hired a babysitter to go to dinner and a movie, we had left our children at home so we could watch come here and … what?

Pretty much anything goes in a club of that nature, but it’s different for everyone.

For our first foray, we stayed together and only exchanged touches with other couples. We had agreed in advance this was more of a reconnaissance mission than a full-blown invasion into open marriage. But that night things happened — I won’t go into detail out of respect for my husband — that sparked a change in what the both of us wanted and needed in our marriage. Our curiosity (and the subsequent desire to satisfy it) came from a place of safety and security in the relationship we had fostered over the last decade.

It has been a few years since our first visit to that club and our relationship has changed and grown with time, as all relationships tend to do. The rules of our open marriage have evolved and developed over time, where we now both understand what the other person needs ,and we feel comfortable with that.

The key for us is communication and respect. It also means that our relationship comes first. We spend quality time together, we date each other, we clean the house on Saturdays and take the kids to dance and soccer. And occasionally, if one of us is on a solo business trip or a night on the town with friends, that big iron door is flung open and we let ourselves have fun. We’re young(ish), good-looking and in good shape. And we enjoy it when it feels right and safe.

None of our outside experiences are kept private from each other.

We both know what the other spouse is doing, and sometimes we do it together. I’m happy to share with my spouse the details of any sexual adventure I might have, just as he would do for me if I asked (although we don’t always want to know). An open marriage for me means having new sexual experiences without guilt or shame.

As “open” as we are with each other about this aspect in our relationship, we are not open about it with our kids. Just like we don’t talk to them about the complexities of getting a mortgage, why and how we invest our money or what kind of birth control we use, we don’t talk to our kids about this small but delicate aspect to our marriage.

They’re too young to understand that if mom sleeps with the mailman (just kidding — he’s not my type) that that doesn’t mean Mom and Dad are getting a divorce. They don’t understand about commitment, unity or loyalty on the level required when discussing an open marriage. They’re kids — and they need to stay that way.

So they play with Barbies, Legos and fight with each other and don’t ever have to worry about whether Mom and Dad love each other. Because we show them every day when we eat breakfast together or dance around the kitchen or cheer them on that we’re a family and that’s never going to change.

But if the day comes when one of them says to me, “You know, Mom, this one time I heard a rumor… ” I’m not going to lie.

I will sit down with my child and answer any questions they might have and explain that for us, this lifestyle works. Maybe then they will be ready to grasp the idea that you can love someone, spend your life devoted to them emotionally, be best friends, lovers… and have sex with someone else on the side. But until that day comes, I’ll keep the secret between me, my husband and, well, you.

Unomum is our space to explore the many million issues of single motherhood, but it’s also for all the ladies — women stuck in shitty marriages, unfulfilled broads wishing for divorce, and happily coupled former single moms with a shit-ton of wisdom to share.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.

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My Business Almost Cost Me My Marriage

One Saturday afternoon while driving to the mall, I expressed concern to my husband over our relationship. Nothing was really wrong, we weren’t arguing or fighting. In fact, we weren’t really talking much at all — that was the problem. More and more, I felt as though I were living with a roommate, not a lover.

We’d sit side-by-side on our recliners each night, but never said more than five or six words to one another. There was no connection.

On this drive I looked over and said, “Babe, I’m worried that if we don’t get on the same page

“I’ve thought the same thing,” he replied.

I was stunned. I felt like someone had sucker-punched me in the stomach. He’d thought the same thing? He’d considered divorce? What? When? Why hadn’t he said anything? If I hadn’t said anything, would he have?

I swallowed hard and said, “You have? OK, then it’s a good thing we’re talking now. What are you feeling?”

My husband isn’t one to share his feelings or emotions, so I knew that I was making a tall request. And in a split-second, it was as if a dam had burst. He began telling me, firmly and deliberately, his perspective on our marriage.

Many of his concerns were valid. I’m not the best housewife. I’ve never enjoyed cleaning, which is why we have a housekeeper come twice a month. I do let my daughters dress themselves, which means that at times they walk out of the house looking a little crazy. I let dishes sit overnight and I’m ok with a pile of books and papers stacked at the bottom of the staircase.

And then he hit me with, “I resent your business.”

“I know this could blow up for you, I can see that. But I don’t see what your business is doing for our family,” he continued on. As he spoke, I heard his words in slow motion.

How could he be saying this to me? I thought we were making progress? Just this past year we had been accepted into a couple’s mastermind program and I thought he was finally starting to climb on board with the business — our – business.

But I said nothing. I listened. I validated. And then I shared my own concerns about our marriage.

I felt lonely. I felt like I was a single mom who happened to live with the father of her children. I wanted a partnership. I wanted to know that we were equally sharing the load of maintaining a household and raising our children.

He wanted us to establish roles. I wanted him to be more present. He wanted to see the financial impact of my business. I wanted to talk to him about the numbers. He wanted to see the numbers, but wanted nothing to do with business talk.

In talking for nearly two hours, we realized we both wanted the same things, we just wanted them in different ways.

My story isn’t unique. In fact, in speaking with many of my entrepreneurial colleagues, this story is the norm and the exceptions are those rare, unicorn-like partners who are completely supportive, 100% on board and who are interested in helping the business in any possible way.

The rest of us have to battle with a variety of scenarios ranging from not-at-all supportive to kind-of-supportive when it’s convenient and everything in between.

So how do we divorce-proof our marriages while also following our passion and confidently building the business of our dreams?

The truth is, you really can’t “divorce-proof” a marriage. There’s no set it and forget it system. It takes intentional action every single day.

Notice I used the word action and not work. Too many people say marriage is work. And that’s part of the problem. We’re treating our relationships like business transactions — scheduling, planning, creating to-do lists — rather than treating them as opportunities for loving acts of kindness.

Here are three steps you can take to ‘divorce-proof’ your marriage and keep your business:

1. Establish Roles

When my husband looked at me and said, “There are certain roles men and women have,” I literally rolled my eyes and considered slapping him in the face. What, are we back in the 1950’s? I immediately made assumptions about what “roles” he believed I should fill.

But as we began talking, I realized he didn’t necessarily mean that my role had to be the “traditional stay-at-home mom.” More so, he meant that we each needed to identify what position we were playing on our marital team.

Who was the dishwasher? Who was the checkbook balancer? Who cooked and on what days? Who made the bed? Who made the coffee? Who took the kids to school and who picked them up? Who gave them baths and who read the bedtime stories?

Once we sat down and went through our list of responsibilities and divided up the workload there was an immediate shift in our energy. We both breathed a sigh of relief.

As you consider your own relationship, ask yourself, “Do we have our roles and responsibilities defined or are we just leaving it up to chance, assuming one of us will get it done?”

If you’re each thinking the other should do it, but it’s never been clearly defined, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and resentment. Make the change right now.

2. Have a Monthly Money Date

As an entrepreneur, you should already be having a monthly money date with yourself to make sure you know exactly how much you’re bringing in and where it’s all going. But if you’re married, then you should definitely consider sequestering your love for a desert night out with your financial statement and look over the numbers together.

Not only does this keep you accountable as the CEO of your business, but it also helps your partner see how your business is (or can) impact your financial future.

A quick note: If you’re not making money in your business yet, that’s okay. Have your money date anyway and let your spouse know your projections for the following month or explain why you invested where you did and the return you expect to get. Transparency is key.

3. Make an Excuse

The most important of all, make an excuse to spend time with your spouse and to meet their needs! The chief complaint most partners make of their entrepreneurial mates is, “She’s always on the phone or computer working.”

Your partner only feels this way because his or her needs are not being met. If your spouse has ever said to you, “You work too much,” it’s their way of saying, “You’re not giving me what I need.”

Make an excuse every single day to do something for your partner. Shutting down your laptop an hour earlier, preparing a favorite meal or just sitting next to each other, holding hands while watching some mindless show. Think of your partner and do something that would make them feel thought of, loved and more important than your business.

Take action right now: Grab a sheet of paper and make a list of 30 simple things you could do for your partner. That’s your action plan for this month! Remember, your time and attention are the most valuable gifts you can give the person you love. Be sure and add that in a few extra times.

I almost lost my marriage because I wasn’t doing these 3 simple things. Ever since we’ve made these steps common practice in Casa de Luna, it’s as though a new relationship has sprung. My husband and I are working together as a team, he’s amazing with the kids – especially the few evenings each month when I have coaching calls – and overall, our house feels like a loving, supportive, encouraging home.

The key is infusing LOVE into each step. Because after all, isn’t that what we all want most – to love and be loved?

Now over to you. Which of these steps will you implement first? Do you have your own story of how your business has threatened your relationship? Let’s chat in the comments.

And if you’re looking for more tips on how to confidently build your business and still have fulfilling relationships, be sure to sign up for my FREE Confident Entrepreneur Webinar Series. We’re covering everything from time management, leadership, decision-making and more! Click HERE to sign up.

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Rachel Luna is the best selling author of the book: “Successful People are Full of C.R.A.P. (Courage. Resilience. Authenticity. Perseverance): A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Together & Achieving Your Dreams” available on Amazon and the Chief Confidence Creator at RachelLuna.Biz Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Effective Marriage Counseling: A Unique Approach

Many people believe that successful marriage counseling is a “hit and miss” proposition. However, as a practicing psychotherapist with over 35 years of clinical experience, specializing in the area of couples therapy, I believe the majority of couples I have treated have had successful outcomes, largely because of the methodological techniques I have used.

There is a false belief among patients and therapists alike who think that resolving a couple’s communication and problem-solving skills will alone improve and mend a broken relationship. Although effective communication and conflict resolution skills is a prerequisite to having a happy relationship, I have found that that there are two other steps that need to take place before one is able to focus on a couple’s communication skills.

First, a thorough assessment of the relationship has to happen. This assessment cannot be done in 45 minutes or an hour. I have found that long sessions — lasting anywhere from 3-5 consecutive hours in the beginning of a couple’s therapy — gives the couple and the therapist the necessary information and momentum to be able to grasp what the issues are (past and present) that need to be acknowledged, addressed and resolved.

I begin at the beginning when both people had stars in their eyes and when each could do no wrong. Despite the fact that we can’t change history, it is very important for the couple and the therapist to identify, understand and discuss what went wrong and what events and /or behavior caused the couple to get off track. Was it the birth of the first or second child? Was the couple experiencing financial or job related difficulties? Did one or both have physical, emotional, or psychiatric problems that changed the dynamics of the relationship? Was there a death or illness in the family? Did sex become a problem? Or did the couple simply grow apart?

Secondly, I see the partners individually, in order to discover who they are as individuals. I need to know about each person’s family history, their skeletons in the closet, including possible depression, anxiety and other psychiatric problems, early child sexual abuse, substance abuse and sexual or sexual orientation or gender issues. I also need to find out whether one or both are involved in extramarital affairs. And if that is the case, I would never begin couple’s counseling until that issue was resolved. Namely, the affair would have to end before couples counseling could begin.

And third, if one or both people have significant psychological or psychiatric problems, these need to be dealt with first on an individual basis. It is simply not possible to treat the couple’s communication and sexual problems, his affair, her depression, his addiction to pornography and cocaine all at the same time. And yes, I do both the individual and couples therapy, since virtually every couple that I have treated who needed some individual work preferred not to be referred to another therapist. Naturally, if one or both did want to work with another therapist individually, the marriage counseling would then be put on hold.

My patients understand this methodology and embrace it. When the couple and I are finally ready to meet together as a threesome, we are ready to focus on the “we” issues. I ask each person to make an agenda of issues that need to be discussed and worked through. The agenda items are then prioritized by the individuals and then and only then are they ready to learn the art of emotional communication and problem-solving. They then begin to tackle the issues one by one.

Couples are taught how to discuss and make compromises and trade-offs. They learn that the win/lose model is a disaster for marriages and are committed to learning how to reach win/win resolutions. I teach them ”how to say it,” ‘”if to say it,” “where to say it,” “when to say it” and how to do this respectfully. Role play is used extensively throughout. This is very hard and painful work. And as a therapist, I am very active and directive. My model has proven to be so successful that I will not accept new patients who do not agree to this process at the outset.

There have been a small percentage of couples who I have treated who have decided to divorce. In making this decision they are aware of what went wrong. Each person is clear about what they did or didn’t do that contributed to the end of their marriage. And most are then able to divorce without the rage and wrath that so frequently comes with the demise of a marriage, knowing that they at least tried to resolve their difficulties.

BUT WHAT ABOUT CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND CONFIDENTIALITY?

CASE STUDY– MEET THE JOHNSONS

Joe, 45, and Jane, 40, have been married for five years. This is a second marriage for both. The Johnsons were referred to me by Joe’s urologist for couple’s counseling. When I spoke to Joe’s doctor in order to rule out any medical problems, he told me that Joe’s testosterone level was normal and that he could find no medical reason for Joe’s lack of interest in sex. The couple had not had sex in over two years and Jane was becoming more and more depressed. Up to this point, Joe would simply not discuss this issue with his wife. When we all finally met, we were clear about their sexless relationship. The real question was why did Joe have no interest in sex and more importantly, could this marriage be saved. I intuitively knew that I would discover a wealth of information when I met with the couple individually.

JANE
Jane was convinced that Joe no longer found her attractive and was concerned that he was having an extra-marital affair. Her symptoms of depression were clearly understandable under the circumstances. However, she did not meet the criteria for clinical depression. Other than the sexual issue, Jane was a very happy woman and loved her life and her husband.

JOE
When I met with Joe alone the first thing that he asked me was whether everything that he told me would be confidential. I explained to him that I was legally and ethically bound to honor his privacy. Joe proceeded to tell me that he was gay and that he did not want his wife to ever know this. Although he was not sexually permissive, he did on occasion see a man who he had known for many years. Joe also told me that he loved his wife and did not want a divorce. However, he also said that he had no desire to have a sexual relationship with her. Although Joe would have one too many beers on occasion, he too seemed basically contented with his life.

THE DILEMMA
If Joe had seen his own individual therapist after our initial couple’s evaluation, I would never have known about his sexual orientation. I would have spent time trying to help the couple improve their sex life. I would have used the Master’s and Johnson techniques and would have encouraged them to experiment with sex toys, pornography and schedule dates for sex. This would have been a complete waste of time, money and energy for everyone. Knowing what I knew, I needed to help Jane accept the fact that her husband loves her dearly, does not want a divorce, but no longer has any interest in having a sexual relationship with her. She would then have to decide whether she would continue to live in a sexless marriage or not.

THE JOHNSONS TOGETHER

Joe and Jane met together for one session after the initial visit. Joe was kind but firm. He told her that he loved her, found her very attractive physically and intellectually and hoped to spend the rest of his life with her. He also told her that the problem was his and that he would understand if she wanted a divorce. Jane told him that she needed more time to think about the situation. I never heard from either Jane or Joe again. A few years later I bumped into Jane at an event. She whispered in my ear that she had divorced Joe and was now engaged to a wonderful man. “Our sex life is great,” she said.

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3 Rights Gay Couples Will Get If Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

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All These Celebrities Support Same-Sex Marriage Rights

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What You’ll Never Fix About Your Marriage (and Why You Don’t Have to)

I planned to tell my now-husband that it wasn’t going to work out on our third date. He was very sweet, respectful and handsome but my internal voice suggested we weren’t compatible enough.

He was in sales; I was studying to be a therapist. We had different views on religion. With his short hair and clean-shaven face he was more clean-cut than my previous boyfriends. And our first kiss had just been so-so. I had my doubts about where this might go.

On that date, however, as we shot pool and munched peanuts I ended up having such a great time that I decided to give him a chance, and that evening the kiss was delicious.

Over twelve years of marriage and parenting, our differences have, at times, been the source of conflict. But what I’ve learned to hold onto is that, it’s the doubt, judgment and criticism of our differences, that are toxic — not the number of ways we differ.

Of course, we all want to share some fundamental things — and to have a successful relationship we’ve got to have the basics — safety, love, trust and commitment. But compatibility is more about the ways we draw on one another’s strengths to build a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

More than, “Do we have enough in common?” or “Can he finish my sentences?” I think the important question is: “Am I open and willing to work towards finding the gifts in our similarities and differences?”

There are red flag issues like abuse or dishonesty, and then there’s the other stuff: I’m outdoorsy and he’s not, I’m neat and he’s messy, I’m a meat-eater and he’s vegetarian. These differences aren’t deal-breakers. In fact, our fixation on the ways that our husband is “too different” from us is the actual thing that keeps us from being compatible.

But what do we do when we find ourselves focusing on, and judging our marriage, for the qualities we don’t share?

Here are some tips for nurturing true compatibility:

  • Watch out for unrealistic expectations. Soul mates can be found, but more often they are co-created.
  • Pay attention to your focus. We invest our energy where we choose to focus. Choose gratitude instead of criticism as often as possible.
  • Cut your circular thinking. Train your mind instead of having it rule you. Practices like meditation are invaluable for this skill.
  • Choose curiosity over criticalness. What are the differences about? What do they add to the relationship? (Embrace those things.)
  • Get into your body: breathe, stretch, notice. Criticism is often more about fear than about true incompatibility.

Twelve years later, my husband and I are going strong with 2 kids, 2 dogs, 5 chickens and a guinea pig. Our differences have, at times, been the source of conflict, but in working through that conflict our love and commitment have grown.
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Another Chance At Love: Why My Second Marriage Totally Rocks

Your divorce diploma is still fresh.

The anger and bitterness rip through you like a terrible case of food poising.

The last thing on your mind is getting married again.

A few years go by. You start to date. Maybe you’re serious about someone. And maybe you’re a little gun shy about tying the knot again. I get it. I’ve been there, too.

After the implosion of my first marriage, which I thought would last forever, I never in a million years imagined that I would ever get married again. If my 19 year marriage could end in massive failure, what chance did a second marriage have? Three years after my divorce I was perfectly happy being the yoga teaching, empty-nested, crazy dog lady. 

Just as I was making plans to sell my house and move, I received an email from someone I hadn’t heard from or seen in 25 years. He wrote that it had been a long time and that he’d love to see me. My first boyfriend from high school, a blast from my past… of course I wrote back and gave him my phone number.

He called the next night and we met for coffee at 9 PM. We stayed up all night, traveling back and forth through time, remembering who broke up with whom. I fell crazy upside down in love all over again. He proposed two months later and we were married three months after that.

Nearly nine years ago we joined our families together, his four kids, my two kids (and my two dogs), and we embraced the extended families that accompany second marriages. 

We came together not has broken halves looking for our other half but as two complete and whole people. Our marriage is stronger than either of our first marriages because we respect each other and see each other as individuals.

That night in the coffee shop nine years ago, my husband said to me, “you are the same bold and brazen girl I knew in high school.” In that moment I knew I never had to be anyone other than me with him.

There is truth and authenticity in my second marriage which was never in my first marriage. My husband and I can be raw and real and vulnerable without the fear that our marriage is in danger or that our vulnerability will be used against us when we least expect it. 

A few nights ago we opened up a bottle of wine. It’s so easy to fall into conversation with my husband and talk about this and that. I watched as he poured me a glass of red warmth. A Merlot with a hint of smoke. We listened to Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven.

“Did we ever go to a school dance together?” he asked. Maybe we did. I don’t remember. Neither does he. He took my hand and led me around in a slow circle.

I remembered making out in the hallway in high school, my back up against the lockers, his body pressed hard into mine. My psychology teacher interrupted us and pulled me into his class room, admonishing me, “young ladies don’t behave this way in public.”

I remembered when I was 16 and my husband was 17. Damn… he could make my toes curl. At 51, he still can.

Sometimes love has a way of sneaking in through the back door when you’re busy making other plans. If you’re still on the fence about giving marriage another shot, take your time and trust your gut.

I had no desire to get married again and then BAM, there I was in the middle of a park with over 100 people watching me say “I do” to the man who once was the boy I first fell in love with.

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***

Writer. Sacred Bad-ass Warrior. Vanquisher of Fear. Slayer of Doubt. Peggy Nolan is an International Bestselling author of Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Choosing Happiness.

If you liked this article, you can download Peggy’s FREE eBook, “30 Ways to Boost Your Positivity and Increase Your Happiness” today.
Weddings – The Huffington Post
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Baby-proofing Your Marriage

Baby-proofing Your Marriage


The no-holds-barred truth about what having a baby can do to your marriage – and what you can do about it. In the months after a first child is born, all hell breaks loose. A crying newborn can reduce a grown man to tears, turn a sane woman into a bottle-wielding shrew, and otherwise test the strongest of marriages. It sometimes seems that a baby’s mission is to destroy everything it comes in contact with: your furniture, your clothes, your car. and your marriage. This funny, compassionate, opinionated guide addresses how the early parenting years impact marriage, using real-life stories from both men and women to tell the whole truth. It discusses in detail couples’ frustrations over the division of labour, changing roles and expectations, sex (or lack thereof), and dealing with parents and in-laws. With real quotes from real people, and the authors own combined experiences, it offers a positive, humorous and solution-oriented approach. * Addresses the impact of parenthood on marriage, detailing the insights of and lessons learned by both men and women. * Provides common sense, tried-and-tested strategies to address the negative impact young children can have on a relationship. * Helps you understand why this challenge occurs, exploring both the male and female perspective, and how you can address it. Written by three feisty women, who have been there and can vouch for the fact that complaining gets you nowhere, Baby-proofing your Marriage answers those nagging doubts in the back of the married person’s mind: ‘Are we the only ones bartering over who will do what and arguing about who has more free time?’ And offers you easy, realistic solutions to keep you sane and your relationship healthy.

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Marriage and Cancer: 10 Ways to Maintain Your Relationship After a Diagnosis

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Marriage is hard work. It requires a level of effort, dedication and commitment unparalleled to other relationships. One of the first pieces of marital wisdom I received from my parents was exactly that — “Marriage takes work. It’s not a stroll in the park.”

Marriage captures the ability of two people to rely on one another through both the good and bad times. It measures one’s character and integrity through the act of caring for another. As with any relationship, most marriages experience high peaks and low valleys. A diagnosis will bring out the best and worst of you and your partner. It has the potential to tear your relationship apart or bring you closer together more intimately than you could have imagined. As the saying goes, it’s not about what happens to you, it’s about how you respond. Upon receiving the news of a diagnosis, you must make the choice to not only fight the disease, but also fight for your relationship. Below are 10 ways to help your marriage after a diagnosis.

Commit: Above anything else, you must make the conscious decision to commit — both to your spouse and to the process. Commitment doesn’t automatically happen when you speak your vows. It is a choice that must be repeated over the course of your relationship. Your journey through cancer requires steadfastness and faithfulness to one another. You need to assume that life is going to get extremely bumpy and uncomfortable. Nearly everything you have encountered thus far has been butterflies, fairy dust, and roses and you’re about to endure some of the most difficult moments in your life. Both of you will be pulled in different directions and be influenced in many ways. When things get ugly, complications arise, and grief pours over you both, you need to hold tight to each other. Commit yourself to be there for one another no matter what happens.

Communicate: Continue to talk. Grief is expressed in a variety of ways and for some, it shows itself in silence. Though there will be times when you need to process on your own, don’t build a wall between you and your loved one. In an atmosphere of silence, assumptions are birthed and hurt will grow. Communicating can bring healing to your relationship. You will both experience different emotions from the moment you hear the news of the diagnosis, and being on the exact same emotional page will be a rarity. Keeping the lines of communication open will benefit your marriage by drawing you closer to one another and preventing hurt feelings in the future. It’s OK to express your fears and anxieties. And equally so, it’s OK to share your faith and hope. Be vulnerable and loving in your communication, and understand that talking things through will only benefit the bond you have with your spouse.

Prioritize: Life moves quickly upon receiving a diagnosis. Medical decisions will need to be made. You’ll need to find a team of doctors that you feel comfortable with. Treatment will be discussed, and you will need to choose which option is best for you. Eventually you’ll feel in over your head as the chaos circles around you. Keeping a list of priorities will help establish balance. Be aware of what tasks are at hand and stay on the same page as your spouse. Communicate what is most important to your relationship. Is it more important to preserve your fertility before beginning harsh treatments? Do you want to establish a medical banking account to manage expenses? Put yourselves first and be OK saying “no” to those around you. Your health and your marriage are number one.

Be flexible: Plans change… that’s life. When cancer rears it’s ugly head into your relationship, you need to start stretching. Many of your dreams, goals, and desires for your life and family will abruptly come to a halt. Keep a tight grip on your non-negotiables and let insignificant matters go. Change is difficult, but being flexible is more valuable than gold. Go with the flow. Some plans will fizzle and new dreams will come forth. Flexibility allows room for growth.

Stay on the same team: Cancer can bring out the worst in us. Anger is one of the most common emotions that patients and their families deal with. Remember that each of you process things differently, and that no way is better than the other. Allow each other space to grieve and be sympathetic towards one another. Remember that you are fighting cancer, not your loved one. Direct your anger towards the root of the issue, and don’t let your emotions erupt in an attack on your spouse. Though at times you’ll feel your partner doesn’t understand what you are going through, don’t alienate them and turn them into the enemy. You’re on the same team, and you each play a vital position. Work together at working through it.

Pursue: We’ve all heard that we should continue to date our spouse after our wedding day. Whether to keep things interesting or to continue to nurture the bond, pursuing each other is important to your relationship. This shouldn’t stop after a diagnosis. Though it will require a deeper level of intent, consistently seeking each other out will be rewarded. Make time for one another. Go out of your way to make your spouse feel special. Pursue your partner’s heart. Ask questions about how they are doing and be a good listener when they respond. Treatments and the subsequent side effects may get in the way of your typical dinner and a movie date night, but if you are creative you can cultivate new ways to deepen your bond. Remember that dates don’t have to be fancy or extravagant, and most likely won’t be for a while.

Be grateful: Have you ever met someone so full of gratitude that it made you reflect on what you’re thankful for? Having an attitude of gratitude in all circumstances will change your view of the most difficult times. Though you’ll have a large list of things you are angry, upset, and resentful over, make an effort to think of things that you are thankful for. Thanksgiving is one of the quickest ways to heal a hardened heart. Make a list. Whether in your mind or on paper, write down specific items you are grateful for. Be thankful for the details. Be thankful for all things big and little. Be thankful for the life and love you share with one another. An attitude of gratitude will transform your perspective and will strengthen your spirit throughout your battle.

Remain intimate: Intimacy isn’t always about sex. Though sex is one of the fundamental ways to be intimate with your partner, there are other means to stay connected. Unfortunately, cancer robs many people of their sexual function, yet marriages continue to blossom even without intercourse. When biology is thrown off, creativity is born. Adapting to your current situation will benefit you both. Be gentle with one another. Discover new ways to develop a more profound connection. Hold hands. Share secrets. Kiss. Being affectionate will remind your partner that you are invested in them. If you allow it, the intimacy in your relationship can reach new heights after a diagnosis. Vulnerability will welcome intimacy.

Remember your vows: Think back to the day you stood in front of your friends and family and made lifelong promises to your spouse. What did you say? More than likely, you vowed to stay by your partner in sickness and in health. While you probably had no idea that sickness meant cancer, you promised your partner you would not leave them when things got rough. You vowed to stand with each other no matter what. You vowed to love one another and cherish one another. There will be moments in your journey after your diagnosis that all you have left is the man or woman standing beside you. Think back to your wedding day. If you knew then what you know now, would your decision be different? True, authentic, raw love knows no bounds. You loved them then… love them now.
Weddings – The Huffington Post
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The Little Things in Marriage – Pink Daisy Anniversary Card Greeting Card

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The Marriage Secret No One Wants To Admit

By Lyz Lenz for YourTango

When one of my friends got engaged, he was over the moon. At dinner one night, he told my husband how much he was in love.

“It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before!” he said so sweetly that it was easy to forgive him the cliche.

“I know,” my husband said smiling at me. “It’s great being in love.”

“No,” our friend said shaking his head. “This is different than what you have. We never fight, ever.”

I winced, but my husband maintained his gracious smile. “That’s great! We can’t wait to be at that wedding.”

Six months after their wedding, I got a call from our friend. I could tell something was bothering him. “Are you alright?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “It’s just that we fought and it was really bad.”

After talking with him some more, I learned that a “really bad” fight meant that she walked out of the room on him only to return a half-hour later to apologize.

I told him about our fights. I told him how we had both slammed doors, said really horrible things, stomped, and not only left the room but left the house for hours on end, returning to fight again instead of make up. I told him how I, in a fit of anger, had thrown away an entirely good batch of cookies just so my husband couldn’t eat them. I had also hidden cookies, turned up the thermostat and left every single light on in the house (including flashlights and closet lights), just to irk my husband. Also, once, I air-conditioned the outside. I still haven’t apologized for that.

When I finished, we were both laughing and my friend was breathing easier.

When love is newly minted, it’s easy to be insular and believe that you and your partner have everything figured out, that nothing can ever shake you, you will never fight, and nothing so stupid as socks on the floor could ever make you raise your voice at that adorable face. I don’t mean to be condescending. It’s a great time. Every couple has it and it is my sincere wish that it lasts as long as possible.

But it doesn’t.

At some point in every marriage, you will find yourself sobbing into your pillow over toothpaste caps and if you don’t, you’re a Stepford Wife.

When Dave and I got married, no one told us about these ugly moments — when something as simple as sweeping the floor can cause you to question whether you’ve committed to the right “forever after.” A friend once told me that she felt horrible for questioning her choice of spouse until she told her mom, who has been married for 50 years. “Oh honey,” her mom said, “I ask that question at least once a week.”

In the early days of our marriage, I felt ashamed about coming clean about our arguments. Wasn’t I being disloyal? Wouldn’t people think horrible things about us? But the truth is, the more I talked to married couples, the more I realized how normal it is to occasionally slam a door, or hide a cookie, or lay in bed and wonder if you just committed to the same old remote control fight for as long as you both shall live.

I am forever indebted to a couple who told my husband and me a story about their epic battle over putting together a bookshelf. During the heat of the fight, the husband walked out of their apartment. The wife then decided the best way to make him sorry was to eat an entire pie his mother had made for him. When he came back, he found his wife, in the middle of the kitchen floor, her face covered in blueberry pie, crying. He grabbed a fork and joined her. They’ve been married for 20 years.

At the time, I remember feeling shocked. How could they say they had a good marriage when they were both that ridiculous?

That, of course, was before I stooped low and hid the cookies. Now, I cling to that blueberry pie story like a talisman. On my worst days, it reminds me, we can be both dumb and happily married. I’m not condoning acts of childishness or silly fights. It’s good to always keep perspective, but the truth is you can’t always keep perspective. In those moments, when you’ve lost all dignity and you are covered in blueberry pie and crying on the floor, just know, it’s OK. We’ve all been there, whether we admit it or not.

Recently, during a fight, I told my husband, “You know what? I’m OK with this fight. I know I have the rest of my life to spend making you learn how to do the laundry.”

“That’s right,” he said, “and I have the rest of my life to train you to turn the lights out in the house.” Then, we went to bed, still a little angry, but very much committed to figuring it out as long as we both shall live.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.

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Weddings – The Huffington Post
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The Fairytale Wedding-Invitation, Invite, Wedding, Marriage, Fairytale, Greeting Card

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Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants To Test Everybody For Syphilis Before Marriage

If one Oklahoma lawmaker has his way, people with sexually transmitted diseases will not just be getting married in his state.

Senate Bill 733, introduced by state Sen. Anthony Sykes (R), would require both partners to take a blood test within 30 days of applying for a marriage license. A license would be granted only if “in the opinion of the physician, the persons named therein are not infected with syphilis or other communicable or infectious diseases or, if infected, that such diseases are not in a stage which may be communicable to the marriage partner,” the bill says.

Problem number one: the potential public release of private medical information. The full text of the bill implies that the office that grants marriage licenses would also keep copies of the blood tests, according to Oklahoma’s News 9. This might violate the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is designed to protect the confidentiality of Americans’ medical records.

Problem number two: Oklahoma used to require a premarital blood test for syphilis but eliminated it in 2004 — for good reason. At that time, NewsOK.com reported, the Oklahoma State Department of Health said that some 300,000 blood tests in the past five years had turned up just five new cases of syphilis.

As recently as 1980, there were 34 states that demanded a premarital blood test, but virtually every state has repealed that requirement since. Today, only Montana still has it on the books.

Blood test requirements “were enacted in the first half of the twentieth century as part of public health campaigns to reduce the spread of communicable diseases and prevent birth defects. The laws required couples applying for a marriage license to be screened for certain conditions, commonly rubella or syphilis,” explains a 2009 study led by Kasey Buckles at the University of Notre Dame. “However, after penicillin proved to be a cheap and effective treatment for syphilis and vaccines were developed for rubella, these screenings were no longer considered cost-effective.”

In other words, Sykes is trying to revive an old and largely discredited idea. An attorney, he has served in the state Senate since 2006, two years after the Oklahoma repeal.

So far, his proposed legislation has been referred to the Judiciary Committee, which Sykes chairs. There are currently no co-sponsors.

h/t Salon
Weddings – The Huffington Post
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Wedding Planning: A Practical, on a Budget Guide to an Affordable and Memorable Wedding Celebration (Wedding Planning, Wedding Speeches, Marriage)

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

One of the most frequently asked questions that Linda and I have been receiving lately is “How do you know when to call it quits?” A lot of people, it seems are more concerned about getting out of a bad relationship than creating a great one. It could very well be that this focus may actually contribute to the creation of the conditions that make relationship break-downs (and break-ups) more likely. While it’s certainly understandable that some couples require pre-nuptial agreements in their marriage, when a couple’s primary focus is on the possible break-up of their relationship is more dominant than a focus on the deepening of their connection, they may be inadvertently contributing to the very outcome that they fear may occur.

And yet to deny that every marriage is vulnerable to the many possible pitfalls that can threaten relationships is naïve and potentially dangerous. One of the things that we’ve discovered over the years is that no marriage is absolutely divorce-proof. That doesn’t mean, of course that divorce just comes out of nowhere and occurs arbitrarily, but rather that any relationship, no matter how solid it is, can, if neglected, slip into a state in which it becomes vulnerable to conditions that can cause serious harm.

While it is important to be mindful of what steps can be taken to preserve an endangered relationship, it is of course, preferable to create a sustained reciprocal connection that makes such an outcome unlikely. Strengthening the shared commitment and practicing mutual generosity, compassion, honesty, kindness, and respect are all ways of maximizing the likelihood of not only staying together, but of experiencing greater fulfillment over time. Yet for a variety of reasons, many of us are unable to practice these skills and embody these qualities consistently. And even when we make our best efforts, there still may be factors that make it difficult or even impossible for us to continue in our attempts to salvage the relationship.

The truth is that not all relationships can or should be saved. There are such things as ‘deal breakers,’ those conditions that one or both partners find themselves unable to continue to tolerate in the relationship. Examples can include chronic dishonesty, untreated addictions in which there is denial and an unwillingness to get help, a change or revelation of a difference in one’s sexual preference, repeated violations of trust without a willingness to repair the damage, physical or emotionally abusive behavior without any motivation to change, or violations of a commitment to monogamy.

These are some examples of conditions that can be deal-breakers for couples but don’t necessarily spell the kiss of death if they occur. The key variable has to do with whether or not there is willingness on the part of the both partners to work on the issue and acknowledge the problem. A willingness to address a potentially relationship-busting condition doesn’t guarantee that the marriage will be saved, only that there is at least a chance that it might be. When destructive patterns are repeatedly played out without a committed effort on both partners’ parts to address them, the prognosis becomes very poor.

So, how do you know “when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em?” There is no generic answer to this question. Every situation must be considered on the basis of it’s own set of circumstances and the unique aspects of each individual and of the couple itself.
There are, however, a few guidelines that may be useful to consider when it comes to recognizing whether or not to keep on keepin’ on.

While some people may hang on to an impossibly broken-down relationship beyond the point where there is any possibility of its rejuvenation, many others make the mistake of giving up too soon. They choose to cut their losses and get out (or try to manipulate their partner into ending the relationship) before they have done all that they can do to keep it alive. While it’s easy to give someone the advice to hang in there and keep trying, this is easier said than done. One of the things that motivates us to leave a relationship is that the process of working through the difficulties can be painful, sometimes unbearably so, and if we haven’t developed a heightened capacity to tolerate this type of pain, the impulse to cut and run is very strong.

The time to strengthen our resilience and our ability to endure the emotional pain that these efforts often require is during the times when things aren’t horribly broken down. If we avoid dealing with upsets, disappointments, and differences during the better times, feelings tend to accumulate and when they inevitably break through our patterns of denial, they are much more intense than they were when the differences first manifested themselves.

The more practiced we are in dealing with differences, the more skilled we are likely to be in our efforts to resolve them. Still, even the most experienced and skilled among us sometimes need assistance in freeing ourselves from entrenched patterns. Recognizing when we’ve reached our limit in handling things is a critically important skill that allows us to know when we’ve got to call in the cavalry or in this case, professional helpers. A large percentage of the couples that we interviewed for our second book, at one time or another acknowledged their need for some form of help and got it. Several of them told us that without that help they doubt that they would have made it. So knowing when you need the help and getting it when you do is a vital aspect of the process of getting a marriage off of the rocks when it’s on them. Refusing to do this can be costly.

We encourage each partner to focus on doing his or her own work; that is, what each needs to do in order to develop the inner qualities that will promote the development of greater health, well-being and loving connection in the relationship. It can be difficult to resist the temptation to “confess your partner’s sins.” but doing so generally only generates more defensiveness and resentment in the relationship. It’s a far better practice to identify what your own work is in order to become a more loving, honest, courageous, compassionate, responsible, and committed partner and to get on with it. Knowing yourself well enough to know when you’ve given something your best effort and knowing when pushing yourself to do more is destructive to yourself is the most important thing that you can know at this stage of the game.

If you get to a point where you can’t give any more without burning out, it’s time to at least temporarily take a self-care break and get the restoration that you need. Reengage when you’re more replenished and keep hanging in there until one of two things happens:

  1. Your partner joins you in a commitment to do deepen the quality of your relationship by doing their own work. They will be more likely to be open to this if you are not focused on fixing or changing them and you continue to focus on yourself rather than them.
  2. The other possibility is that one or both of you may reach a point where you feel that you can’t continue the effort without compromising your own integrity, health, well-being or sanity. It’s possible to reach a point where you have lost the motivation, will, or even the desire to keep trying. The longer you wait to do your work, the more likely it is that you will reach this point because of a build-up of resentment, hurt, or despair.

There is always a risk in giving something your best shot. What you are at the risk of losing is the hope that everything will somehow turn out fine, because one way or another, things will become clearer to you. What you have the possibility of gaining is a relationship that has a foundation that can sustain you both for the rest of your lives, and the tools and wisdom that can grow your connection into ever-deepening love and devotion. The choice is yours.
Weddings – The Huffington Post
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Jon Stewart Says Mike Huckabee’s Gay Marriage Stance ‘Makes No F**king Sense’

Daily Show” host Jon Stewart appears to have a new hobby: tearing apart Mike Huckabee’s hypocrisy.

When the former Arkansas governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate was on the show last month, Stewart went after him for attacking Beyonce’s music but performing with Ted Nugent.

Now Stewart’s tearing apart Huckabee for the bizarre explanation he gave for opposing gay marriage. On Sunday, Huckabee said he can’t evolve on the issue because it’s a biblical matter.

“I can’t just ‘change’ with the ‘times’ if it means deviating from ‘biblical law,'” Stewart said (complete with the air quotes) in summing up Huckabee’s opposition to same-sex marriage. Then he pointed out a few other pieces of “biblical law,” at least two of which might not be as important to Huckabee.

“It’s why Huckabee never mixes fabric in his clothes or trims his beard or sleeps with another man’s slave,” Stewart said. “It would be wrong.”

Huckabee also declared that asking him to accept gay marriage would be like “asking somebody who’s Jewish to start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli.”

Stewart said that analogy “makes no fucking sense.”

“No one is forcing you to get metaphorically married to the biblical abomination that is this bacon-wrapped shrimp,” Stewart said.

And that led to one of the most unforgettable “Daily Show” interviews yet.

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Patrick Dempsey’s Wife Files for Divorce After 15 Years of Marriage

Today in sad news, Patrick Dempsey and his wife, Jillian Fink, are divorcing after 15 years, the couple’s rep confirms. “It is with careful consideration and mutual respect that we have decided to end our…




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Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams Have Split After Almost 6 Years of Marriage

Oh man, you guys, this news really bums me out more than usual: Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams are getting a divorce. "Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams have mutually decided to end their marriage of…




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Watch Centenarians Discuss Their 80-Year Marriage And Be Charmed

Armed with centuries of experience and wit between them, 101-year-old Helen and 102-year-old Maurice Kaye will make you forget you’re watching branded content for an insurance company.

They’ve been married 80 years and have stories to tell. Like when they first met at Helen’s mother’s shop and chatted for hours, interrupting business. Or the diamond engagement ring Maurice sprung on Helen years after they tied the knot.

The couple is joined by two other long-marrieds who describe their happiest moments for British insurer Beagle Street. One woman’s recollection of her husband, now 100, returning from World War II will bring a lump to your throat.

H/T AdWeek
Weddings – The Huffington Post
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A Question of Marriage

A Question of Marriage


What happens when a corporate attorney who also happens to have a reputation for being a notorious playboy gets backed into a corner? Jordan Cain’s father threatens to not only replace him as managing director of the family’s law firm but disinherit him as well unless he changes his playboy ways and gets married giving him ninety days! In Jordan’s mind desperation calls for desperate measures. When he approaches his best friend and magazine editor Payton Hollister with a proposition: become his wife in name only to help him secure his future and he’ll give her the money to start her own magazine. Having been in love with Jordan since the day he stormed in her office demanding she print a retraction of an article the magazine ran that featured him and a starlet skinny dipping in a fountain Payton agrees. When Jordan’s father gets wind of his son’s plans to marry the reporter he resorts to bribery in order to stop the wedding from happening. needless to say the couple encounter more than a few obstacles on their way to what eventually becomes their happily ever after.

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Giada De Laurentiis And Her Husband, Todd Thompson, Divorcing After 11 Years of Marriage

In a season typically rife with news of engagements, one couple has sadly called it quits: Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis and her husband, Todd Thompson, are divorcing after 11 years together, according to…




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We Have a Marriage Crisis

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Coming of Faith brings the voices of Muslim American women to the world through multidimensional storytelling and empowerment initiatives. This post was originally published on Coming of Faith.

There is a marriage crisis amongst Muslims and I think that is putting it lightly. I am even having trouble trying to put my feelings on this matter into words because I am at a loss of where to start. I am not really sure how this happened, nor do I know how to fix things, but I do know that change has to occur.

Once we hit puberty, we are instructed by the community to not interact with the other gender. The boys you once raced around the masjid with are now covered in cooties, and “Circle, circle, dot, dot” is not a good enough vaccine in Islam. However, it seems to work outside of the mosque, because the Muslim boys you go to school with have no trouble talking to non-Muslim girls. What’s up with that?

In high school, which is already a precarious time, this pattern continued and I found that I was much more comfortable with non-Muslim boys than with the group of boys I once used to play with. Once upon a time, we could spend hours playing board games together at family parties, but now we can’t even manage to get two sentences out to each other without feeling all sorts of awkward.

Enter college, where MSAs can provide an excellent space to forge friendships, make connections, and build a community in your new home. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the greatest experience with my MSA. I was judged for not being a hijabi by one group of people, but also judged for not drinking by another group of people. This was my first introduction to the idea of being “good enough,” and because I couldn’t find comfort with the majority of Muslims on campus, I found my niche amongst my non-Muslim friends who respected and valued all of my characteristics and idiosyncrasies.

After graduation, I moved back home and rejoined the community at my local mosque. At this point, aunties began to ask intrusively when I was getting married. They would make comments to my mother: “Shame, she has such nice features, but her color…she is too dark. Have you looked into bleaching creams?” and, “I don’t think she would be able to find someone from America, you’re better of finding someone from back home. You know if you find a doctor, there is still a chance she can have a good life.”

To me, they would say: “Oh, you’re going to graduate school? Why? What are you going to do with that degree? Don’t you want to get married? You don’t want to be smarter than your husband.” “You can’t be too independent, no man will want to marry you if he feels that he can’t take care of you.” “You shouldn’t be too strong. Lower your voice and walk softly. Be a lady.” “Have you learned to cook? What do you make?”

With every comment and remark, I stifled my desire to rudely retort with a sassy answer. “Of course I can cook, do you think I starved all those years I lived by myself in college?” “When am I getting married? Good question, why don’t you ask Allah. Let me know what He says.”

It was as though my life was now dependent on my ability to get married. But once again, the community I should have found comfort in was diminishing my worth; they were finding ways to tell me I was not good enough.

I did want to get married though, so I tried to go about finding a partner the “halal” way. I went to matrimonial/speed-dating events. Once, when I stated that I did not like a particular Indian dish, this one guy did not know what to say to me for the next two minutes. Another guy barely listened to a thing I said, and after a minute and half, asked to just sit in silence because he was exhausted from talking. Not everyone was like that though. I did meet some nice guys, but there was just was no chemistry. I couldn’t figure out was missing, but I just was not clicking with anyone. It was as if we were all back in high school again, overcome with bouts of awkwardness. In general, although there were a variety of guys at these events, it became clear that most were looking for a specific type of look…a tall, fair-skinned, non-hijabi who was well educated but wanted to stay at home with the kids. I’m short, dark-skinned and I am determined to use my education to help save lives, while also making time for my children. I don’t care if I marry someone who makes enough money to support the family: I am passionate about what I do, and I am not ready to give that up just yet.

I’ve tried Muslim matrimonial websites, and although I have heard of a few success stories, I just met guys from abroad who barely spoke English and wanted to know if I was an American citizen. When I called one guy out on all of his lies, he told me that I was an ungrateful woman who will never get married. Wait, what?! Just because I asked why he switched careers from medicine to owning a clothing store in Pakistan?

I wish I could tell you that I just have the worst luck possible, but I know of women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s with similar stories and experiences. What is going on? We teach children to not interact with the other gender and yet, when they become of marriageable age, we automatically expect them to woo one another and marry quickly. But how can that be possible when men are taught to value superficial things, such as beauty? Even a degree is just for the name of it. This is not acceptable.

I just want a decent guy, with whom I have chemistry and an undeniable connection. I want someone who will be my partner; I want someone who respects me, all of me. And it’s a shame that I find that respect amongst non-Muslim men, while I struggle to find it with Muslim men. Why is it that I am bombarded with messages about not being good enough for Muslim men, yet non-Muslim men value my education, strength, voice, independence, and just about every characteristic that makes me who I am. I want someone who will be my spiritual partner, someone who values Islam the same way I do. But I am not sure where I am supposed to find him and I’m not the only one looking.

We have to change our standards, system, and community. We have to find a way to cut through all of these cultural traditions and values so that we can begin putting an emphasis on the right things that make a marriage strong. Something has to give, because I am tired of hearing that I am not good enough when I know that I am more than good enough. I am worthy of love, of a partner, of a good person, and that’s more than what is on a biodata.

Yasmine Shaikh is a spunky, loud-mouthed individual with an opinion for everything. 2014-12-26-silhouette150x150.jpgShe has a hard time hearing “No” and does not like to let things stop her. That said, she is devoted to her friends and family and is passionate about helping people. She grew up in a small New England town and is keen on experiencing life.
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Two Christmas Marriage Proposals, to Make the Magic Last Just a Little Bit Longer

After all the buildup, it’s hard to believe that Christmas is over. In an effort to keep the love going just a little bit longer, I tracked down pics from two Christmassy proposal stories. PROPOSAL…




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Should We Bring Marriage Into Our Love Lives?

I once wrote an article about how love fits into marriage but after co-writing, The New I Do, Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels, with Vicki Larson, I realize that a better question to ask is how our outdated paradigm applies to the way people in love couple these days.

For the first time in literally thousands of years, marriage in our Western culture has viable, socially acceptable, competition and the pressures (and necessitation) of marriage have diminished greatly.

In the past 50 years, the marriage rate in the U.S. has fallen dramatically. In 2008, a mere 26 percent (one quarter) of people in their 20s were married as compared to 68 percent (two thirds) in 1960.

We have not stopped coupling in our culture (although staying single is a perfectly acceptable lifestyle choice for younger adults). Rather, increasing numbers of up-and-comers have rejected tradition not legalizing their unions; even when they go on to have children.

Having lived with two serious boyfriends at different points in my life, I understand this choice and in many ways, I think it makes sense. There are things you learn about togetherness in general and your partner in particular that you might not learn any other way. There is also a stronger sense of commitment (albeit unspoken in most cases) in a relationship when you live together.

What’s the advantage to shacking up over marriage? You can have a lovely relationship, be very committed in the moment, and yet, if or when you break up, you can simply go your separate ways back out into your single worlds. It’s certainly easier and cleaner to split when you don’t have all the legalities to contend with: Maybe just a few dishes, airline points or pieces of furniture to split, but nothing small claims court can’t handle.

But here’s the rub: Big problems emerge when couples make other kinds of long term commitments that do bind them legally — like buying property together or worse, having children together — without having protections in place. As outdated as marriage can be, one thing it does do is provide important protections to both parties if a breakup occurs.

No one knows that better than the one who got the raw end of a real estate deal (with no recourse) or the one who got booted out on the street with a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old. While there are laws that protect children in those situations, there are not the same protections for partners as there are for spouses.

As we watch the pendulum swing toward a less structured paradigm, I think we’ll start seeing and hearing more about this kind of fallout. And it won’t be pretty.

Why can’t we have more options than risking so much by coupling but avoiding marriage or opting for security by marrying someone we may not want to be with forever? It’s not as if it’s never been done before.

The Romans had three different levels of marriage: Confarreatio, the most formal option had more religious overtones; Coemptio, was a less formal and more business-like union; and Usus, was an informal marriage that occurred by default when a couple lived together for more than a year. (Confarreatio and Coemptio required ceremonies but Usus did not have a marriage ceremony).

Throughout history, people have married for all kinds of reasons that had nothing to do with love–primarily for business and monetary gain, for political gain and to procreate. Love was even seen as an impractical emotion in these relationships. The Greeks, seeing the insanity caused by those in love, coined the phrase “lovesick.” Indeed, some cultures even described love as dangerous when it came to setting up stable family structures.

Having spent the past two years (and more) researching the subject of marriage for my book, I can tell you that informal changes are actually happening to the institution behind closed doors.

Unbeknownst to family, friends, and clergy, young couples tying the knot are agreeing to themselves the conditions they want to see in place. Ryan and Lisa is one such example: These twenty-somethings are marrying with a purpose and an end date (rather than out of love “because it’s what you do.”). They agreed to have children together but they also agreed that their marriage would end when the kids are out of the house (the option to stay married was there, but not the expectation).

At the other end of the age spectrum, unapologetic third-time marriers (many of whom are Baby Boomers) are stating unequivocally that they want only the best parts of marriage. How are they doing this? Many are vehement about maintaining their autonomy. Some are choosing to live in separate houses, others are asking for open marriages, and still others are quite frank about needing practical things like someone to grow old with, someone with insurance benefits or someone who has financial security.

Far from breaking from traditional marriage, these seeming rebels are reverting back to ways of old. Yet, because they fear being judged, many of these couples keep these arrangements secret. But why? Are they really doing anything wrong? Are these couples harming themselves? Are they harming anyone else? Are they taking anything away from anyone?

If you think about it, marriages based on love often have the most fallout because love is fragile. Love can easily turn to dashed expectations (especially since expectations are so much higher for lovers than they are for friends), jealousy, betrayal and even hatred. These are the things that crimes of passion are borne out of.

Now, I’m not saying that love has absolutely no place in marriage, but perhaps love shouldn’t be in the number one spot. Perhaps we should rethink purpose-driven marriages rather than emotion-driven ones. Perhaps we should give individual couples the right to pick and choose aspects of relationship that they want rather than assuming that monogamy and forever are right for everyone. As things stand now, those who don’t play by the current rules are told they are doing something wrong, or they are looked at as odd, damaged or unlucky.

Whether you agree with this article or not, I hope this topic will get you talking with others about the shame-based all-or-nothing paradigm we have set up now.

We received a terrific compliment recently from a TV talk-show producer. He said that before he read the book, he was against the concept. He fully expected to disagree with us. But, when he read the book, he realized that what we said made good sense and he thanked us for writing it.

If you’d like to open your mind and read more about these ideas, pick up a copy of The New I Do, Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels. If you know someone who’s just about to get married or re-married, do them a favor and get them a copy of The New I Do. And, finally, if you or someone you know is considering ending their marriage, tell them to read this book first. There may be a creative solution to their problem in its pages.


A previous version of this article appeared in Susan’s Contemplating Divorce Column on PsychologyToday.com

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A College Education Might Be The Thing Standing Between You And Marriage

Blame the drop in marriage rates on declining American values, and you may be ignoring what often provides the push for couples to walk down the aisle: education.

That’s what Andrew Cherlin, a Johns Hopkins sociologist, argues in his new book Labor’s Love Lost. Cherlin told The Huffington Post that the move away from marriage has to do with the fact that those without a four-year college education face fewer job options and less financial stability, which causes them to delay marriage or eschew it altogether. A disregard of morals isn’t the culprit here.

And it’s not a subconscious choice: 34 percent of young adults cited financial security as the reason they weren’t currently married, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll.

Young adults with only a high school diploma aren’t earning as much as their parents and grandparents.

Between 1979 and 2007, young male high school graduates saw their real earnings fall by about 30 percent. Unlike their mid-century predecessors, men in this moderately educated group can’t expect to be as financially stable as their parents or grandparents, so they end up putting off marriage or avoiding it completely.

In 2013, marriage rates hit an unprecedented low, bottoming out at 50.3 percent. Compare that to 1950, when 82 percent of non-widowed women between the ages of 18 and 64 were married, and it’s hard to ignore the shift.

Cherlin ties this change to the “slow-motion collapse” of what we used to call the “working class” or “blue collar” family. Forty or 50 years ago, these families took on mid-level jobs that didn’t require higher schooling, so men were able to make enough to support a wife and kids. Many of those jobs have been lost with modern technology. (It’s worth noting that mid-century women weren’t given opportunities to be household breadwinners and often relied on husbands for economic stability.)

Without financial security, couples are taking increasingly complex relationship paths in lieu of marriage.

Nowadays, young men and women without college degrees are facing dimmer job prospects than ever, so they’re avoiding marriage. Without a stable income, it’s not advantageous for either partner — man or woman — to enter into a seemingly permanent union.

“More and more of the moderately educated young adults, those without college degrees, are having kids in living-together relationships, often ending those relationships after a couple of years, starting another one, perhaps having a kid in another relationship and building unstable, complex families,” he said.

Of course, this marriage gap wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t shift our norms since mid-century America. It’s now more acceptable and common for couples to cohabit and have children before marriage. But the big difference between college grads and those without a degree is that cohabiting college grads tend to be more economically stable and make it to the altar before they have children, while the less educated are having children before marriage and then breaking up.

Closing the marriage gap may involve putting more folks without college degrees on the path to stable, mid-level jobs.

It’s this “interaction effect between a changing economy and changing attitudes,” as Cherlin put it, that he argues has led to the marriage gap.

The remedies? Cherlin said that more education is needed — not in the form of four-year college degrees, but vocational education at community colleges that can put young adults on the path to entering the few mid-level jobs that are left. He also said that labor market interventions, like strengthening unions and increasing the minimum wage, might bring the moderately-educated closer to their college graduate counterparts when it comes to marriage.

“As far as I can tell, a college degree is really the closest thing we have to a class boundary in the US,” Cherlin said. “Certainly in terms of family life.”

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Making Marriage Work

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In honor of the fact that JoAnn and I are celebrating our thirty-seventh wedding anniversary this week, I thought I’d reflect a little on what I think has allowed our relationship to survive.

People express their understandings of a marriage in many different ways, but my friends Andrew and Claudia put it like this:

Each person takes turns being either a watering can or a flower. Sometimes we need to be watered, and sometimes we need to do the watering.

2014-12-17-WateringCan2.jpg I know. It’s a simple metaphor, but it works. Sure, sometimes I don’t feel like doing the watering, or I feel as though I’m completely out of water. I’m sure there are times when JoAnn feels the same way. But after thirty seven years, I’ve learned it’s worth finding the emotional resources necessary to nurture my mate — even if it means having to change my own focus or ignoring something that has irked me. In the end, making that effort comes back to me as a peaceful life, a calm environment, and a mate who digs deep for me when I need her. Being generous to someone I love seems a small price to pay.

I’ve known from the start that individual egos are the biggest enemy of a good relationship. Once someone begins to take umbrage, there’s a problem. Once the resentment begins to pile up, and both people become unwilling to water, the flower begins to wither. The key is making a conscious decision to break the cycle – essentially deciding that peace is more valuable than whatever is hanging up the conversation. I think JoAnn and I have done this (subconsciously) by creating an “ego” for our relationship, and considering how things feel (for each of us) before blowing into the china shop.

2014-12-17-WeddingWPic.jpgWhen we started out, we were just kids — seriously, we were 24 years old. In fact, now three of our four kids are older than we were when we got married. For whatever reason, on that day and for many days before it, we had a sense that we were right for each other.

For me, marriage wasn’t an emotional deal. I knew I “loved” JoAnn, but as I try to do with most things, I applied a little logic to my situation. My marriage theory was based on this thought: although I could probably approach any woman at a bar, introduce myself, have a fun conversation and end up having a “successful” evening, the fact is that I never approach that woman and I probably never would. Also, I knew that as a world-class procrastinator who never wrote a paper until the day before it was due, I figured marriage would create a series of deadlines to help me achieve my goals in life.

Both of those theories held true.

I also entered marriage with open eyes. When I told my father that I intended to marry JoAnn he said, “Son, you are going to meet three or four more women in your life whom you might find really attractive.” I said, “What? Are you telling me you don’t like JoAnn?” And he replied, “No, I love JoAnn, I’m just telling you what’s what.”

There will always be opportunities that we believe might make us happier, but trying to catch every ball may cause us to drop the one that is most appropriate for us. By letting me know that there would be understandable and common temptation, my father was trying to prepare me to acknowledge those possibilities and move on. Like an addict, I resolved to live my marriage “one day at a time” so that a lifetime of fidelity wouldn’t seem so daunting — and when the temptation to consider others arose, I made it through those days. On Wednesday I’m getting my 37 year chip.

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The hallmark of our marriage is that we’re kind to each other. We don’t yell. We don’t call each other names. We don’t keep score. This doesn’t mean that we don’t get angry, or leave each other space when one is feeling tapped out. It means that our kindness is defined by the swallowing of pride, of understanding and generosity. One of us will do the dishes when neither of us feels like it, because the dishes aren’t going to wash themselves. We take care of each other, and consider each other’s needs as equal to our own. It’s our agreement, and we both know we’re better for it.

People will object, “That’s easy for you to say, you married the right person.” But, the fact is we’ve spent years training each other. No one comes out of the box designed to co-habitate perfectly. We’ve learned to pick our battles. We’ve learned what isn’t going to change, and we’ve managed to get over it. We all have our nuances, things that can drive others crazy… or not. Our choice is to see those things as part of the process and move beyond them. Learning to trust and communicate about them, rather than suffering in silence, is one of the keys to moving forward.

2014-12-17-REGJEGLaguna_2013.jpgThere’s an old expression — “Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?” I like being both, and my wife knows it — so she humors me (until I admit that I was wrong).

Marriage is not 50/50 – it’s 90/90. Give more than half and it’ll make 37 years go by in the wink of an eye.
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