The 5 Things You Need to Know Before You Start Wedding Planning

September 22nd, 2017

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Photo: Krista Lee Photography

While not everybody has a professional planner to lean on, whether it be because of budget constraints or just the desire to DIY, there are a few things all couples should know before starting the wedding planning process. Trust me, it’ll make planning your wedding a lot more fun for everybody involved!

1. Your wedding vendor’s fee is based on their estimate of how much time it will take them to service your wedding, according to their regular business formula.

Leave all the arguing, negotiating and compromising with your fiancé (or your mom) for before or after conference calls or meetings. We have to break it to you, but your vendors aren’t interested in hearing your fight over cake flavors or dinner menus. Plus, it’s awkward and embarrassing to witness that behavior. The pastry chef or florist isn’t going to create imaginary bids for things that haven’t been decided, so they only need to get an email with your final decisions.

2. Not everything can be DIY’d to make it look like a professional did it.

Some wedding tasks are best left to wedding vendors who do that job every weekend, with success. Your bridal hair and makeup is a great example. You’ve likely spent a fortune on photography, so your wedding is not a day for personal experimentation with your look. Unless you have a friend who is a stylist for a living, I wouldn’t suggest trying to recreate an “easy DIY hairstyle” on the day of your wedding, working on a deadline, with an audience of your bridal party. A hair and makeup artist for the bride is money well spent.

3. You’re going to have to tune out some of your friends’ suggestions.

Everybody has an opinion (or two), and your BFFs might have all kinds of fantastic ideas that likely aren’t practical for your venue or your budget. My suggestion? Nod, smile, and listen — then do whatever you wanted to do in the first place. You’re the bride. You and your fiancé (and maybe your parents) are the one planning this party.

4. The groom should have a say in the wedding plans.

More grooms are actively participating in recent years, but many are still participating to the extent that they’ll show up where, and when, they’re told to be there, wearing what the bride told them to wear. If your fiancé isn’t involved in the planning, but does actually express his opinion on some things, you should listen to what he’s saying. Don’t disregard his wishes, even though they might be few and far between — it’s his day, too.

5. Your budget is your own responsibility.

Yes, your wedding planner (if you have one) should keep a spreadsheet for you, and if you told the caterer your “max” per person is a certain number, they should respect your wishes. But ultimately, it’s your job to keep an eye on what you’re spending overall, because it’s the choices you make that add up to the total. You’re the one signing all the contracts and agreements — you should know what you’re committing to spending.

This article was written by Sandy Malone for Brides.com.

What to Practice Before Your Wedding Day

September 18th, 2017

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Photo: Kristyn Hogan

Practice makes perfect…at least that’s what they say right? Turns out, your wedding day is no different. You’ve got to put in the work to ensure everything falls into place perfectly. From scheduling a hair and makeup trial to learning how to bustle your wedding dress, here are 10 things you’ll definitely want to practice before your big day.

1. Your first dance

We always encourage our clients to take dance lessons if they have “two left feet”, says Jenny Orsini, Owner and Creative Director of Jenny Orsini Events Inc. “Having formal lessons under your belt before the wedding can alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with dancing in front of a large crowd.” Plus, it’s always good to get the basics down.

2. Vows and speeches

This one pretty much goes without saying! Even if you’ve written down notes and will have them with you at the wedding, it’s still a good idea to practice reciting your vows or saying your speech out loud a few times so you get comfortable with it.

3. Your hair and makeup

A hair and makeup trial is an absolute must, according to wedding planner Leah Weinberg, owner of Color Pop Events. “It’s important to make sure that your stylist knows what you want and can successfully achieve it. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than a bride who isn’t 100% comfortable and feeling amazing on her wedding day.” We agree!

4. Posing for the camera

Weinberg also recommends that couples do an engagement photo session in order to not only help them get comfortable with the photographer but with each other in front of the camera as well. “For most people, weddings are really the first time a couple will be professionally photographed together so it will make everyone much more relaxed if you get a little practice session in first.”

5. Your walk down the aisle

Anything you can do to tame your nerves is a good thing, right? That’s why Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner encourages couples to practice their walk down the aisle. “Having butterflies on your wedding day is completely normal and being able to walk through the ceremony figuratively as well as literally prior to the wedding day will hopefully allow you to be more ‘present’ once the big moment arrives.”

6. Bustling your dress

Although when you have a wedding planner we can usually figure out how to bustle your wedding dress without any instruction, notes Charleston-based coordinator Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer of Pure Luxe Bride. However, it’s definitely a good thing for you, your mom and maid of honor to have down just in case!

7. Tying his tie/bowtie

Don’t worry; this one is for him to master! Because, as event planner and designer Kristine Cholakian Cooke of Simply Charming Socials points out, every guy could use a refresher on tying a tie or bowtie before the big day.

8. Walking in your wedding shoes

Always practice wearing and walking in your weddings shoes, advises Jyl Deering of Chancey Charm Boston. You’ll want to break those bad boys in and ensure they don’t give you mad blisters (because that would suck).

9. Ending conversations gracefully

Sounds strange, but trust us, this one will come in handy. As you greet your guests, you’ll find that everyone will want to hold a conversation with you, explains wedding planner Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel Events in Phoenix. “If you let them go on too long it’ll take your night away.” She suggests practicing phrases and sentences that warmly and concisely express your gratitude for your guests’ presence and then a polite closure that helps you move on to the next table. “Something like, ‘I am so happy you could be here! Thank you for coming. Please, enjoy your dinner and the bar is over there when you’re ready for a refill.’ This makes you a gracious host and happy bride all at once!”

10. Deep breathing and remaining calm

“You’ll use this a ton on your wedding day, but if you can master it sooner, the more at ease and relaxed you’ll feel throughout the planning process,” notes Chancey Charm Charlotte wedding planner Miranda Tassi.

This article was written by Elizabeth Mitchell for Brides.com.

5 Factors That Predict If a Marriage Will Last, According to Divorce Lawyers

September 14th, 2017

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Photo: Morgan G Photography

Nobody enters into a marriage believing it’ll end in divorce. Yet some marriages end this way. While there’s no surefire way to know which marriages will last and which are headed for divorce, there’s one group of people who have observed some trends: divorce lawyers. Here are some factors that might predict the length of a marriage, according to the people who have witnessed them fall apart.

1. The price of your engagement and wedding

Weird but true: According to an Emory University study, people who pay more than $20,000 for an engagement ring are three and a half times more likely to get a divorce than those who spend under $10,000. Former divorce lawyer and Wevorce founder Michelle Crosby has observed this with her own clients. “Those brides that blindly focus more on the ring, the dress, and the party instead of the importance of what it takes to have a healthy partnership are more likely to one day sell that ring to pay for their divorce,” she says. Divorce lawyer James J. Sexton agrees. “There’s a joke among divorce lawyers that the expense of the divorce is generally proportionate to the expense of the wedding,” he says.

2. How long you’ve been together

The movie The Seven Year Itch is based on a real phenomenon: Census Bureau data show that couples are most likely to get divorced around seven years of marriage. At this point, Crosby says, “couples are no longer excited by their relationship, and all those idiosyncrasies that were initially endearing become intolerable over time.” Other studies, however, have suggested there’s really more of a four-year itch. Either way, the longer you’ve been together, the more your partnership has proved itself.

3. Your age difference

It’s becoming more common for women to marry younger men, but for whatever reason, these marriages seem less likely to last. One study found that women three or more years older than their husbands are 53 percent more likely to get divorced than those who are just one year older or up to three years younger. Crosby can also confirm this one. “We’ve found that if a woman is much older than her husband, they are more likely to get divorced,” she says. Sexton has actually seen this work the other way around, though, with older husbands and younger wives. “When people with an age difference marry, they need to think more about what that difference will look like in 10 or 20 years and less about what that difference looks like during courtship,” he says.

4. Whether you’ve rolled your eyes at each other

One study analyzed couples’ conversations and found that when they showed signs of contempt, like eye-rolling, they were more likely to end up divorced. Crosby recommends a “five-to-one ratio” to undo the effects of contempt: “For every negative interaction, you need to compensate with five positive exchanges with your partner.”

5. Your incomes

Several studies have found that money is one of the leading causes of stress and conflict in relationships. Maybe that’s why lower-income couples are more likely to divorce. Sexton says having two very different incomes or socioeconomic backgrounds can also put a strain on a marriage. When you watch marriages fall apart, he says, “you see a trend where one party was raised in a household with resources sufficient to enjoy ‘the finer things’ and the other was raised with less.”

That’s not to say, of course, that you’ll get divorced if any of these things apply to you. But it’s possible that they’ll present challenges that you and your spouse will have to work through, and preparing for them can’t hurt.

This article was written by GLAMOUR for Brides.com.

The 5 Things Your Wedding Vendors MUST Know About You and Your Fiancé

September 12th, 2017

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Photo: McLellan Style

As you are selecting vendors for your wedding day, you’re putting together a team to help you execute the perfect vision. You’ll want to work with vendors that understand your style, taste and expectations. To make sure you’re on the same page with your vendors before signing your contracts and sealing the deal, here are the five things your wedding vendors should know about you and your fiancé before you book them.

1. Your Level of Involvement

Some couples will want to be more hands-on while others will want to sit back, relax, and wait for the wedding day to come around (and let the vendors take the reigns). Be sure to let your vendors know if you plan to be diving into every little detail or if you’d like to have them take more of the lead.

2. Your Must-Haves

When you’re negotiating the terms of your package with your vendor, let them know your must-haves. Whether it’s a photo album from your photographer or it’s having your band start earlier and play during cocktail hour, they should be in the loop and clear of your expectations.

3. Your Max Budget

Since there are some items your wedding vendors will present you with as “add-ons” to your package, you’ll want to discuss with them what you’re able to spend and see what can be included.

4. Your Deal Breakers

Be upfront and honest about what your deal breakers are when working with a vendor. Are you annoyed when vendors show up late or don’t answer your phone call within 24-hours? This is something to bring up with them so that expectations are clear.

5. Your Preferred Contact Method
If you’d like to be contacted via email or if phone or text is better for you, let your vendors know that when you meet them for the first time.

This article was written by Jen Glantz for Brides.com.

Who Gives the Toasts at the Wedding Reception?

September 7th, 2017

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Photo: Kristyn Hogan

The wedding toasts are an integral part of the reception, just like the first dance and wedding cake cutting. If you and your groom are figuring out the flow of the reception, you should decide in advance when the toasts will be happening and how they will occur. With just a bit of planning, the toasts and speeches very well might become some of your most treasured wedding memories. But who should you ask to offer a toast at the reception? Luckily, we are here to answer these questions for you.

Who usually gives toasts at the wedding reception?

Toasting the newlyweds is one of the most poignant wedding-day moments, a chance for guests to raise a glass to your happiness and good fortune as you embark on a new life together. Traditionally, the reception toasting order goes as follows:

1. The first toast is customarily given by the best man. Following his toast, the maid of honor (or matron of honor) may offer a toast, too.

2. Next, the bride and groom may offer a toast together, or you can each make individual toasts. Stand side-by-side and take turns speaking—toast each other, then raise a glass to the wedding party, family members and guests to thank them for sharing this special day with you.

3. The newlyweds’ toasts are followed by their parents. If the bride’s parents are hosting the wedding, they should speak first, toasting the couple as well as the groom’s parents. They should then welcome and thank the guests.

This article was written by Heather Lee for Brides.com.

When to Rent Wedding Decor and When to Buy It

September 5th, 2017

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Photo: Kristyn Hogan

When you’re spending so much money on a single day, it can be tempting to buy everything you need for your wedding to curb the feeling of you’re throwing away your money. But some things are simply better to rent. How’s a bride-to-be supposed to know the difference?

First, before you buy anything, says Jesse Tombs, managing partner at Alison Events, ask yourself three very important questions: How many of each item do you need; will you be able to sell the item or must you keep it after the wedding day; and can the item be used for a gift at a later date? Beyond that, Tombs says, follow these guidelines for items that are black-and-white rent-or-buy.

3 Items You Should Always Rent

1. Table linens. Not only are linens expensive to buy, says Tombs, but “they are a pain to clean, fold, press, and store. Renting linens is the smartest way to go, because they come pressed and ready to use.” And after the wedding, they go right back to the vendor, with no cleanup or storage required.

2. Tuxedos. Says Tombs, “I don’t own a tux, because I only wear one, two, or three times a year.” If a wedding planner who regularly attends swanky fetes doesn’t own a tux, that should tell you that you don’t have to either. Renting your day-of attire ensures it will arrive a “few days before your event ready to go, and will look great and be pressed.”

3. Votive candle holders. “Buying simple glass candle votive holders may seem like a great investment,” Tombs commiserates, “but what are you going to do with 300 wax-covered glass votive holders after your wedding? Are you ever going to use them again? Is it worth the minimum savings to have them for keeps? Renting them is cost effective and allows you to not have to worry about clean up and storing them.”

3 Items You Should Always Buy

1. Napkins or table runners. While purchasing all your linens might be madness, buying the smallest fabric items may save you money. “Depending on how large your guest count is, buying these may be less expensive than renting them and you can use them again,” says Tombs. “They don’t take up a bunch of room, and you can get something that is truly custom and one-of-a-kind. You can keep them and use them for holidays for years to come.”

2. Jewelry and accessories. Admits Tombs, “I don’t get these celebrities who borrow jewelry for their wedding days. Don’t you want to own the necklace you wore on your wedding day? I know I would.” Sure, not everyone can afford a $1 million bauble, but you can “buy something you can afford, treasure it forever for its sentimental value, and let it become part of your family heritage,” says Tombs. “That has so much more meaning in my book!”

3. Custom wedding signage. While you can rent generic signs to point guests in the direction of your ceremony, reception, and more, creating something custom ensures you have something you can hang on your walls forever. “Last year, we had a client who created a custom a neon sign that now hangs on a wall in their living room,” says Tombs. “It’s something you can keep forever to remember your big day!”

This article was written by Jillian Kramer for Brides.com.

Skincare Tips for Brides Straight From an Expert Dermatologist

September 1st, 2017

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Photo: Joe Buissink

When you’re planning a wedding, there is a lot to think about: The venue, the dress, what kind of deodorant to put in the bathroom baskets. With so much on your mind, it’s easy to forget about one of the most important things…your skin.

True, some skin issues can be covered with makeup (that’s 90% of the point of trials, after all) but if there is something that’s bothering you, or that you want to perfect before your wedding day, it’s better to be safe than sorry and get to the dermatologist, STAT. Too many brides wait until the last minute to address their skin problems, says Dr. Shereene Idris of Wexler Dermatology, and there isn’t much that can be done to fix any major issues. “It’s trial and error, so you don’t want to try something a month before your wedding in case you, God forbid, have a complication and it didn’t sit well with your skin type,” she says. “Time is of the essence when you’re talking about brides, so you want to make sure theres time to recover in the worst case scenario.”

Since brides are all working on a deadline, Dr. Idris suggests adding “booking a skin consultation” to your to-do list around the same time you’re looking at venues and trying on dresses. Considering you can’t change your wedding date because of an unforeseen skin issue (though wouldn’t it be great if we could all plan our lives around knowing when we would break out?) it’s important to give yourself enough time to get it all figured out and ensure that doesn’t happen. Here are seven skincare tips your dermatologist wants you to know the minute you get engaged, most important of which is to get to their office as soon as you’ve had your ring fitted.

1. Start Early

How early, exactly, varies from bride to bride, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. “If somebody has severe acne issues, they should come in the second they get engaged,” says Dr. Idris. “If you have relatively decent skin, and you just want to up your game and look better for the big day, I would say give yourself six months ahead of time to see what treatments are best for you and figure out the best glow you can get from each treatment.” Whatever treatments you decide on, it’s best to go in for a consultation early to figure out what your options are and make sure that if there is anything major you want to to, you’ll have enough time to complete the process with enough time to recover.

2. Know What You Want to Fix

In general, there are two main types of skin issues: Pigment and texture. If what’s bothering you is primarily pigmentary, you can get away with hiding it with makeup, but you can’t cover texture quite as easily. “If you have acne scars, the second you get engaged come in and we’ll start working on it,” says Dr. Idris. “If you have active acne, you need to get that under control in order to treat the scars from it. So anything medical, anything textural, any underlying condition needs to be treated and addressed as soon as possible because it takes a couple of weeks or even months to get acne under control.” Color issues can be fixed too (yes, even those that can’t be covered with makeup), but don’t require quite as much treatment time.

3. Build a Relationship With a Dermatologist

The last thing you want to worry about in the days leading up to your wedding is trying to find an emergency dermatologist to help fix a last minute pimple or stress rash, which are common occurrences when your anxiety is high and your immune system is low. “Can you imagine the week before the wedding you have a massive zit and you go to a person you hate and they do something that doesn’t sit well with you? That’s why it’s important to build that relationship ahead of time,” says Dr. Idris. Plus, it’s easier for a doctor to treat you if he or she knows your skin, so it couldn’t hurt to book a consultation early on so you can familiarize with each other.

4. Don’t Try Anything Crazy Without Consulting a Doctor

One of the most important skincare tips: No at home chemical peels, crazy routine changes or harsh new treatments. Double check with your dermatologist or esthetician before doing anything major to your skin, even at home.

5. Avoid Playing Esthetician

Do yourself a favor and leave the skin fixing the professionals. “Don’t pick your skin,” says Dr. Idris. “And don’t pop that pimple because you will end up with a bigger crater and a bigger scar.” You’ve been hearing this same advice from every doctor and magazine article you’ve ever come across for your entire life, and it’s more true in the months leading up to your wedding than ever.

6. Stay Away From the Tanning Bed

This should be a rule of thumb all the time, but it’s especially important during your engagement because you don’t want to add any new damage to your skin before the big day. Opt for a sunless tanning lotion that will darken the surface of your skin slightly over time, or a spray tan two days before the ceremony, instead.

7. Don’t Bargain Hunt

Dr. Idriss has dealt with the aftermath of brides who have tried bargain botox or other “special deals,” and cannot stress enough how important it is not to skimp on major skincare treatments, especially in preparation for your wedding. “You never know what you’re getting,” she says. “Go to someone who’s certified and who’s reputable, and make sure you know what you’re getting injected with or touched with. Even when it comes to lasers, not all lasers are created equal so you really have it make sure you know where you’re going.” Bottom line: “When a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t do it.”

This article was written by Zoe Weiner for Brides.com.

Nick & Kylea at The Barn at Sycamore Farms

August 30th, 2017

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Photo: DC Events & Design

Angela is simply the best in the biz! She made us feel like rockstars on our special day. Angela and her team were incredibly easy and fun to work with. We would highly recommend Angela Proffitt to anyone looking to have a memorable event that you will never ever forget!

Nick
Groom

Wedding Responsibilities of the Groom’s Parents

August 28th, 2017

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Photo: Kristyn Hogan

With so much focus on the parents of the bride during the planning process (especially if they’re paying for the celebration and serving as hosts), it can seem like the parents of the groom don’t have much to do as the big day approaches. But their child will be walking down the aisle, too, so there are a few responsibilities that fall squarely on their shoulders. So what goes on their to-do list? Is there such thing as wedding etiquette for the parents of the groom? Lucky for you, we have outlined their roles.

Host the Rehearsal Dinner

Traditionally, the groom’s parents are the ones to plan and host (read: pay for) the rehearsal dinner, as well as any coinciding welcome party for the rest of the guests. They may opt to employ the couple’s wedding planner to help with the event, or can plan it on their own. The rehearsal dinner itself can be as formal or casual as the groom’s parents would like it to be, but should tie in with the wedding’s theme in some way. When it comes to invitations, they should come from the parents of the groom, signifying that they’re hosting the event.

Help with the Guest List

There are a lot of family members and friends to organize as the guest list comes together, and the groom’s parents should be a part of the process. They should provide the bride and groom with the mailing addresses for any relatives or friends who are being invited to the celebration, and should assist with following up with guests who don’t RSVP on time.

Arrange Family Photos

The day of the wedding, the parents of the groom should make sure their relatives know where to be for any family pictures, and should help make sure everyone is present. Since the bride may not know everyone included in each shot, the groom’s parents should step in to keep track of who goes where.

Walk Down the Aisle

In a Christian ceremony, the parents of the groom walk down the aisle together, immediately after the seating of the grandparents. In a Jewish ceremony, the groom’s parents escort the groom to the chuppah.

Cover Expenses (only if they want to)

While these expenses are not always covered separately from the rest of the wedding budget, there are a few items that are traditionally paid for by the groom’s parents: The marriage license, the officiant fees, the bride’s bouquet, boutonnieres and corsages for immediate family members, the evening’s liquor, entertainment, and the honeymoon. Of course, budgets these days are handled in many different ways, so the breakdown of expenses can vary widely, and the bride and groom may pay for all of the above themselves.

This article was written by Terri Pous for Brides.com.

If You Want to Have a Divorce-Proof Marriage, Do These 7 Things

August 25th, 2017

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Photo: Joe Hendricks Photography

All marriages begin with great happiness, joy and hope. When we say “I do,” we expect that our relationship will last forever. No one goes into a marriage thinking, “We’ll be in love for a while, then break up and start all over again with someone else.” But that’s the reality for most of us. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce. The great majority of us don’t give up. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75 percent of women and 80 percent of men who have a failed first marriage will remarry, usually within five years. But the odds get even worse for second and third marriages. According to Skip Burzumato, assistant director of the National Marriage Project, and psychiatrist Mark Banschick, author of The Intelligent Divorce, approximately two-thirds of second marriages end in divorce. Banschick says the divorce rate for third marriages is 73 percent. If that weren’t bad enough, most intact marriages aren’t necessarily great marriages. Ty Tashiro, author of The Science of Happily Ever After, says the majority of marriages fail. They either end in divorce and separation, or devolve into dysfunction. Only 3 in 10 marriages remain healthy and happy.

No wonder people are discouraged. Singles are afraid to try again and those who are married worry that it’s just a matter of time before they hear these dreaded words: “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore. I want a divorce.” I’ve got some good news for those who haven’t given up on love. You can have a great marriage that lasts forever and I’ll show you how. My wife and I beat the odds. We’d both been married and divorced twice before we met, fell in love, and married. I’m happy to report that we’ve now been together for 36 years and we’re more in love today than when we first got together. Here’s what we learned:

1. Pick the right partner.

This may seem obvious. Of course we want to pick the right partner. But most of us are drawn to people who are not right for us and many perfect partners are invisible to us. For many years I would be drawn to women who were sexy, exciting, dangerous, and not the right partners for me. I ended up feeling irritable, depressed, and hyperactive. When I met Carlin she was invisible to be as a potential partner. She was taller, older, and didn’t have “the look” that turned me on. It took us time to realize that we were perfect for each other. How many people have you looked right through because they weren’t your type?

2. Don’t let fear and lust sabotage your relationship.

Since Carlin didn’t fit my old stereotypes and stimulate those parts of my brain that would immediately inflame my passions, I began to back away. I told myself she just didn’t have “it,” that the chemistry just wasn’t there. It took us both a while to realize we were afraid of a real, healthy relationship. I began looking at other women and had a one-night stand that almost sunk Carlin and I. We hung in there and began to learn what a healthy relationship was really like.

3. Learn the 5 Stages Of Love.

I had always though there were only two stages of love. The first stage where we fall madly in love (or at least lust), and deeper stage of love where we get to know each other and enjoy the affection that only comes when we know the other person.

After being married to Carlin for nearly four decades, I realize there are 5 Stages of Love:

Falling in love
Becoming a couple
Disillusionment
Creating real, lasting love
Finding your calling as a couple

4. Embrace the incompatibility of Stage 3.

In my two previous marriages, I became disillusioned. Things started off wonderfully, but after being together a number of years, it seemed that we just weren’t compatible. Sometimes we fought, but mostly I just stuffed my feelings hoping things would get back to the way they used to be. It wasn’t until Carlin and I hit the “disillusionment” period that I realized this was an opportunity to go deeper rather than get out and move on. I learned that we had projected a lot of our illusions on our partner and we now had a chance not only to become real but also to heal a lot of the wounds we each received from our childhood relationships with our parents.These wounds created a faulty love map that has kept us from having the real, lasting love we crave. In Stage 3, we have the opportunity to heal these wounds and become fully ourselves.

5. Love your partner like you wish you were loved as a child.

I’ve always believed that childhood needs are for nurturing and care, but when we grow up other needs become more important — things like good sex and good communication. But it turns out, our core needs don’t change as we grow up. According to Mark Brady, Ph.D., author of How Parents Screw Us Up (Without Really Meaning To), there’s one big question that all brains want answered (adult’s brains, children’s brains, all brains, really), and they want it answered, “Yes.” And they don’t want a lukewarm “Yes,” or a “Maybe Yes” or a “Getting-to-Yes Yes.” They want a substantial, resounding, unequivocal, “Hell YES!” Yes. Brady says that the brain’s big question is “Are you there for me?” He tells us that our children’s brains (and our adult brains as well!) are continually asking this basic question, whether we’re aware of it or not. The question takes many forms in children’s brains and resulting behavior, of course: “Do I matter enough that you’ll put me first when I need you to — ahead of your job, ahead of your friends, even sometimes ahead of yourself? Can I count on you to attend to me in the ways I need you to? Do I truly and deeply matter to you?” These questions are being asked — nonverbally, through behavior often — and when they get answered “Yes,” our children can relax and begin to feel safe, just as we are often able to do in our own intimate and business relationships. But it’s clear we don’t outgrow these needs. Adult still want to know every day, “Are you there for me?” Canadian psychologist, Susan Johnson thinks about it this way: “These safe bonds reflect deep primal survival needs for secure, intimate connection to irreplaceable others. These needs go with us from the cradle to the grave.”

6. Answer your partner’s bids for love every day.

Take a moment to think about the importance of emotional connection between a child and parent. A baby cries, and a father responds with attention and comfort. A little girl is disappointed when her basketball team loses, and her mother listens to her story and gives her a hug of support. As parents, we recognize the importance of hearing the request for connection that our children are constantly asking for and responding positively. We may not always do it effectively, but we know it’s important. There are times when we’re too tired, stressed, or preoccupied to connect deeply, but we know that our children need this kind of support to grow up to be confident, caring adults. However, we often don’t recognize that the need for emotional connection between loving partners is just as important as the connection between a parent and a child. This is what marriage expert John Gottman has demonstrated. We never outgrow our need to have our partner respond positively to what he calls our “bids for connection.” “In a committed relationship,” says Gottman, “partners constantly ask each other in words and deeds for support and understanding.” He says that these bids “can be as simple as ‘Could you get me a beer?’ or as profound as ‘I need you’ after a scary medical diagnosis.” If you want your relationship to last, be tuned to your partner’s bids for connection and respond positively.

7. Learn how to save your midlife marriage.

If you’re going to have a marriage that lasts you have to get through mid-life together. It turns out that isn’t an easy task. Most couples are looking forward to the time after the kids are grown. “This is our time,” many hope. But mid-life is a downer for many.

This article was written by Jed Diamond for Brides.com.

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