Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Ask the Experts

Monday, June 18, 2018

Some experiences that couples should go through before getting married.

Building a strong foundation for marriage or another long-term committed relationship doesn’t happen in an instant. There are certain experiences couples go through over time that help them understand each other on a deeper level. 
We date and spend time together to figure out if a person is right for us, but time together is important also because the experiences that we have together build a bond, piece by piece.
So ideally, what things should a couple go through together before taking a walk down the aisle? We asked marriage experts for their suggestions. (Note that what’s listed below are just that — suggestions. Every relationship is different, so this is by no means a be-all, end-all checklist.)

1. Take a big trip together.

“Whether you opt for a road trip across the U.S. or spend a few weeks backpacking through Southeast Asia, you need to see how it feels to truly rely on your partner when navigating novel experiences together. How do they cope with challenges like a flat tire or being immersed in a society without the ability to communicate in English? Are they able to roll with the punches and stay positive, or do they get pessimistic, moody or unreliable? This can be a litmus test for how they deal with the challenges that will arise later in life.” ― Spencer Scott, psychologist

2. Successfully resolve a big argument.

Can you talk about things in a mutually respectful way? Can you communicate and collaborate without shutting down, attacking, blaming or getting defensive if you don’t immediately get your way? Or can you notice such reactions and then take a breath, step back, soothe yourself and continue the conversation? Can you arrive at some solution that feels okay to both of you? Facing and working through differences and conflicts creates an important foundation for your relationship going forward. If you can’t deal with conflicts at some point during dating, then how can you expect to deal with inevitable conflicts that arise in even the best relationships after marriage?

3. Have an in-depth conversation about your childhoods and family histories. 

Understand who your partner is and what they believe in. Spend time understanding one another’s history, learn about their family, what they loved and didn’t love along the way. Are they open or closed off? Do they believe they should put their parents above the marriage? What do they value and believe in? The more you know and understand about each other, the more solid your relationship will be.

4. Make a shared budget and stick to it.

Finances are the No. 1 reason partners who share a household fight. Before commitment, you need to know if you can rely on your partner to stay true to a budget and effectively manage your shared pool of money. It might be a good idea to start small, like agreeing how much money you want to spend as a couple one weekend, then trying to have fun within that set limit.

5. Hit a rough patch — like a job loss, health scare or other stressful event — and come out the other side.

It’s easy to love when things are going well. However, it’s the thunderstorms and difficulties that arise that show us if the relationship is based on real love or infatuation. Ultimately, in every relationship, frustrations happen, storms arise and our unhealed wounds come out of the shadows for healing. It is important to have a ‘rough waters’ game plan when the inevitable problems, fears, anger or regressions hit. Nothing builds trust more than a good storm. That’s when you learn what you are made of, how secure the relationship really is, and how committed you both are. When it gets tough, do you fall apart, run away or hold hands and talk it out?

6. Go to couples therapy

Couples need to take the time to learn from someone that solidly understands the dynamics [of communication in a relationship]. The goal is to be able to transmit and receive messages in a way that remains respectful and doesn’t damage the relationship. This sounds easy and simple, but it isn’t ― especially when people are sensitive and tend to get feelings hurt or take things personally.

7. Live together. 

You’ll be able to find out how you live together, how compatible and how tolerant you can be toward one another. Sharing a living space will help you figure out what annoys and upsets you in regard to your differences, needs and priorities and whether the two of you can manage and accept them. Also, when you live together, you realize the importance of teamwork and respect while dealing with chores and responsibilities.
Managing shared lives is much more difficult than managing life by yourself. Through the experience of living together, you get to know your partner and yourself better. You are forced to develop boundaries, intimacy and relationship skills and hopefully you move toward personal growth.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Your Day, Your Way:

 Say Thank you in Style:

Tak! Merci! Danke! Grazie! Cheers! Thank you!
However you choose to say it, saying thank you to those who have helped you prepare and celebrate your special day is a must! While plain, traditional thank you notes can be beautiful in their own right, show your family, friends and guests how truly thankful you are by spicing up your notes with personal touches and a dash of modernity.
Writing thank you notes is not only polite, but is an easy way to let your guests feel appreciated. And while sending thank you notes for gifts received is appropriate, remember to say thank you to those who helped prepare for your big day, such as your bridal party, parents, ushers, officiant and wedding coordinator. Thank you notes come in all shapes and sizes and can show off you and your groom’s style. Personalization can be elaborate or simple, but doesn’t have to cost a lot.
Have monogrammed stamps made with your new initials and/or address to add to the front of a blank note card or use to seal the envelope. Give personalized notes to those special members of your wedding party, such as the M.O.H. that helped carry your dress around or the best man that guarded the rings with his life. Pick out thank you notes in a favorite color or fun font to add youthful flair to a simple monogram. Do you love your theme? Select invitations that have matching thank you note options or contact your printer to see if matching notes can be made.
Whichever style you choose, make sure everyone involved feels appreciated and knows how thankful you are to have them be a part of this event. With a little creativity, it’s easy to say thank you in style—your own style!
Brush up on the conventions of saying thank you for all occasions and learn how to add a pinch of style with “The Art of Gratitude” by Town and Country. 

Thank specific members of your wedding party personally with these beautiful handmade thank yous by Style Guide
Left: Add a personalized monogram to a traditional thank you with these hand-engraved notes with gold lining 
Matching your notes and invitations lets guests know exactly who it’s from while adding a bit of detail and flair to a plain thank you. 
Have a personalized stamp created with your monogram to customize thank you notes and other correspondence. The Peel & Stick stamp by has an interchangeable design. You can easily change it with the seasons, use a special design just for wedding notes or change the address when you move into that new place!