Monday, August 24, 2009

Bon Appetite...Savor this marriage.

Posted by Michele Olson
The minute I saw the movie trailers for the movie Julie and Julia, I knew I would be there the moment it hit the theaters. It just looked like my kind of story. Based on two true stories, it tells about the recent life of Julie Powell who feels lost in the cubicle world and decides to do a blog about cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook.

The parallel story happening is the life of Julia Child. I’ve seen Julia Child growing up through the years, but many of us in the 70’s knew more of her from the Saturday Night Live Dan Aykyrod skit about how she had “cut the dickens out of her finger.”

What I didn’t see coming in the movie was the great marriage stories portrayed by both couples. It’s worth seeing from that viewpoint alone. Paul and Julie Child married in Sept. 1946, she in her 30s and he in his 40s. Their love of food is second only to their great devotion to one another. Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep do a great job of bringing endearing moments to life in the film. How wonderful to think about the fact that Paul and Julia child understood the sense of play and wonder that can be true of marriage.

Here are some quotes that were on that really show the beauty of their marriage.
Savor them like you would a tantalizing Julia Child meal. Bon appetite!

Julia: "Valentine cards had become a tradition of ours, born of the fact that we could never get ourselves organized in time to send out Christmas cards."Source: Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme. My Life in France. 2006. pg. 301.

Paul in 1967: "How fortunate we are at this moment in our lives! Each doing what he most wants, in a marvelously adapted place, close to each other, superbly fed and housed, with excellent health, and few interruptions."Source: Marilyn Mellowes. "Julia Child."
Marilyn Mellowes: "... Paul reveled in his wife's success ... He underwent a coronary bypass. During the surgery, he suffered several small strokes. The strokes had affected his brain. He completely lost his French and verbal fluency. "Whatever it is, I will do it," Paul had said. He had acted as her manager, served as her photographer, tested her recipes, proof-read her books, and was content to let the light shine on her, not on him. Now, the man that Julia had counted on for so much would need her support in his struggle to survive."
Source: Marilyn Mellowes. "Julia Child."

Julia: "Paul married me in spite of my cooking."Source: "TV's French chef taught us how to cook with panache." 8/14/2004.
Laura Shapiro: "Her new career crashed like a meteor into the center of their marriage. New roles sprang up and grabbed them -- she the star and he the support staff -- but they were determined to maintain what Julia called “that lovely intertwining of life, mind, and soul that a good marriage is.” “We are a team,” she often said. “We do everything together ... Whenever she talked about her career, she said “we,” not “I,” and she meant it literally. Paul attended all business meetings and participated in all decisions, helped rework the recipes for television, hauled equipment, washed dishes, took photographs, created designs and graphics, peeled and chopped and stirred, ran errands, read the mail and helped answer it, wrote the dedications in all her books, accompanied her on publicity tours and speaking engagements, sat with her at book signings, took part in most of her press interviews, provided the wine expertise, baked baguette after baguette, and in general made a point of being at her side on all occasions, professional or social. When he wasn’t needed, he disappeared happily into his own world, painting and photographing and gardening ... Every morning they liked to snuggle in bed together for a half hour after the alarm went off, and at the end of the day, Paul would read aloud from the New Yorker while Julia made dinner. “We are never not together,” Paul said once, contentedly.”Source: Laura Shapiro. "Just a Pinch of Prejudice." from Julia Child. 2007.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Are NFL Marriages Ready For Some Football?

Posted by Michele Olson is headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin. We say Green Bay, you say
_ _ _ _ _ _ _!

Yes! you are correct. The Green Bay Packers…the name that puts our town on the map. When you live here, even if you don’t like football, it becomes infused into your life in one way or another. Add in the size of our city, long winters and a long tradition with a hallowed team and you could say we are all about football.

The sad news is, the rate of divorce for N. F. L . players is between 60 and 80 percent! Higher than the general population but comparative to athletes in other sports according to a recent New York Times article by Greg Bishop.

Just like the general population, football players face the day to day challenges of marriage. On top of that they also face larger than life salaries, groupies, fame and the fact that all this is happening to young men who don’t often have the maturity level or life experience to handle it.

Those players getting older are often faced with life after all the fame and money which can also take a toll on marital relationships. Then there are the emotions and roller coaster life of the spouse and children involved.

While many first recommendations may jump to counseling, we would like to propose that NFL and other sports teams adopt healthy relationship and marriage education as a part of their training. Communication and conflict resolution skills work for single players, seriously dating, engaged and married men. We also have programs that would integrate the whole family, including step families. The whole organization would benefit from staff learning interpersonal skills as “teammates” and employees at the same time.

What a win-win for every team!

Do you have any connections to a professional sports team and you’d like to know more of what we could bring to the table? Let’s talk!
Are you a follower of our blog? Take a look and scroll down the right hand column. Why not become a follower today?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Adding to the Beloit College List

Posted by Michele Olson

Every year since 1998, Beloit College in Wisconsin has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It’s a list that states many of the cultural touchstones that have help shape the lives of the current year’s freshman college class. It’s actually become more popular for anyone who is older than typical college age. We read the list and marvel at how much society quickly changes.

For example, the young adults have never known a time when condoms weren’t advertised on TV. They have never had to “shake down” an oral thermometer. There has always been flat screen TV’s in their lifetime and there has always been blue Jello-O.

It got me thinking that I would love to see some new points hit the list in the next few years. Take a look at these:

1) Seriously dating and engaged couples have always known that marriage preparation education can make a big difference in the success of their future.
2) Starting in grade school, students have always had a class on healthy relationship education that includes how to resolve conflicts in a healthy way.
3) Society as a whole places great importance on learning communication skills and has always embraced marriage education for all.
4) Couples have always been attending a marriage workshop every year, considering it as important as their yearly doctor check-up.

Now that would be a list!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone knew communication and conflict resolution skills as well as reading, writing and math? What can you do today to help make that happen? A great first step is to get your own Marriage Myth Buster Guide. They’re free and we’d be happy to send you one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Add A Little Humor to Your Day

Posted by Michele Olson

There are many comic strips that comment on marriage and relationships. One that tickles my funny bone is a strip called Pickles.

Yesterday's cartoon finds Earl and his wife Opal sitting on the couch. Opal finds something in an article that talks about the keys to a long-lasting marriage. Earl in true "Earl" fashion comments that if they don't have two TVs, it's all a bunch of hooey.

The comic strip is the creation of Brian Crane, and his real life in-laws are the inspiration for these characters. Even though he had the desire to be a cartoonist and had an art degree, he didn't tackle the world of comics strips until he was in his 40's. At times he was willing to give up, but his wife Diana kept encouraging him to keep going. He also comments through the characters he's created on day-to-day things he observes in his own life as a husband and father. Noticing that his wife couldn't put her make-up on without sticking out her tongue became the subject of a comic.

It's great to take an endearing look at some of the day to day things in a relationship that can either become the basis of an argument, or be seen as part of the dance of an intimate journey.

Meanwhile, it's always healthy to laugh at ourselves. Brian Crane and the characters of Pickles can help us do that.

What about you have a favorite comic that reflects on marriage?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Pointing Fingers, Just Pointing Something Out

posted by Michele Olson

Does it matter if you live together? The answer is Yes and No.

Does that clear everything up?

A recent Washington Post article by staff writer Ellen McCarthy talks about living together and gives some good info from Denver psychologist Scott Stanley, who has spent the past 15 years trying to understand why pre-marital cohabitation seems to lead to lower levels of satisfaction in marriage and more likelihood for divorce for some people.

Many co-habitors will point to great success stories from co-habiting or tell of being saved from a lifelong union to someone who turned out to be a nightmare. But statistically from a study he conducted, almost 19 percent who lived together before getting engaged had at some point suggested divorce compared with 10 percent for those who waited until marriage to live together. This study mimics other reports that find the same trend in outcomes.

Stanley has coined the phrase: Sliding vs. Deciding and even has a blog by the same name. There seems to be a difference between someone who is thinking about a lifetime commitment and getting engaged and cohabitating, as compared to people who just sort of fall into living together as a next step in their relationship.

The bottom line that is particularly interesting and may be something to consider: cohabitation may make some risky relationships more likely to continue. For some people, living together is not harmless and it will affect their future in detrimental ways.

That means if you are going to cohabitate, you owe it to yourself to understand it before you just do it to save some money on bills, or assume it’s not a big deal.

Knowledge is power. Be powerful and intentional in your relationships whether you cohabitate or choose to not live together until marriage.

Are you cohabitating? Did you slide or decide to live together? Are you considering whether or not to cohabitate?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lay-offs and Marriage. Can You Relate?

posted by Michele Olson

Elizabeth Bernstein wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal this week called:
You Drive Me Crazy: What Layoffs Do to a Marriage. With unemployment at an all time high, many couples are experiencing what is usually a retirement type of adjustment- a lot of time without a normal schedule.

Issues that wouldn’t normally come up in a relationship for many years can now be a day to day reality. In addition to the financial stresses, there are emotional ones. The WSJ article points out that one spouse may feel embarrassment over being laid off, pull away from friends and family, and expect their needed closeness to come solely from their spouse.

There can also be challenges if both spouses lose their jobs.

e-how has some great tips on maintaining a happy relationship when your partner gets laid off.

Tell us your story…are you experiencing a lay off in you relationship? Do you have some tips to offer?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Editors of the Christian Science Monitor Get It !

posted by Michele Olson

I was thrilled to run across an editorial from the Christian Science Monitor’s Editorial Board published yesterday.

They get it.

They’re asking you to get it too.

Sure, it’s tough road we have chosen; to get the word out about the importance of healthy relationships and healthy marriages. A lot of people don’t question the decline they see going on around them. Let me rephrase that. They question it…they just don’t understand that there are real and tangible things they can do about it.

The article points out what has been happening and what is a part of; the healthy marriage program begun in 2005 when Congress committed $100 million a year for five years to promote an improvement in communication skills and conflict resolution. These skills keep marriages together, which keeps families together, which in the long run affects many of the ills of society like poverty, unwed childbirth, incarceration, drug abuse etc.

The current budget proposes keeping the legislation. Before he was president, Mr. Obama wrote: “Policies that strengthen marriage for those who choose it and that discourage unintended births outside of marriage are sensible goals to pursue.”

The Editorial Board strongly states that the president needs to take a stronger stand on behalf of this program so it doesn’t quietly slip away in Congress.

Will you join their call and let your voice be heard ?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Would You Marry for Money?

Posted by Michele Olson

The Beatles told us that all we needed was love. Turns out in our day-to-day world, a little of the green stuff doesn’t hurt either.

The question is….would you marry based on money? Not so fast with that answer!

A recent survey by Prince and Associates showed that two-thirds of 1,134 people polled nationwide would marry an average-looking person they liked if they had money. Money = at least 1.5 million. Survey respondents by the rest of the world standards “have money” with incomes between $30,000 and $60,000.

Russ Alan Prince, who is himself wealthy from studying the wealthy, explains it this way: “People want to have the good life. Most people get upset because it’s politically incorrect---well, so is life. People want the money; it’s not a big secret.” Russ is an editor of Private Wealth magazine and the president of Prince & Associates, Inc., the leading market research firm specializing in private wealth.

If you are not a regular watcher of VH-1 you might not have seen the reality show Megan Wants A Millionaire.
From the website:
The role of a Trophy Wife has evolved over the years...but one thing is certain, in many ways they are the quintessential status symbol for a successful man. She has the talent to make that man even more powerful with her endless beauty, charm, and support.

It takes a very special lady to be just that woman. She must be young, she must be beautiful, she must be sexy, and above all else she must love money. That being Megan Hauserman.

Oh please. Don’t hold back. Blog away on that one.

Need more?

I found a CNN article on “Why Marrying for Money Isn’t a Bad Idea” which highlights a book called “Smart Girls Marry Money: How Women Have Been Duped into the Romantic Dream—and How they are Paying for it.” This book is by Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake.

The article points out that marrying for money can have pure motivations, considering the fact that bank accounts and debts do matter. Some women want to have a family, stay home with their kids and have a very comfortable life and as this author points out, that takes money.


Would you marry for money?

Did you marry for money?

Would you advise someone to marry for money?
Do men marry for money too?

Blog away!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Is Marriage and Healthy Relationships Fun and Games?

Posted by Michele Olson

Remember the old game; Truth or Dare?

If you didn’t want to tell the truth about a question asked, you had to do the dare set forth.

Here’s a new game for couples along the same lines, but instead you are asked to be authentic…to tell the truth.

For couples that love games or feel this would be a great tool to get to some subjects they haven’t been able to talk about…here’s a nice solution.

The board game is called Authenticity.

From the website where you can also see a news story on the game:

The game of Authenticity was created to provide couples that are dating, engaged or newly married the opportunity to learn more about their mate in a fun, interactive yet informative format. To achieve the full benefits of the game you and your mate must be completely authentic.

Since the object of the game is not winning or losing, but connecting…the competitive people who love games may need to be reminded to stay in the spirit of the endeavor. All in all…what a great way to get to know one another and have some fun along the way.

Do you and your mate like to play games? Can you keep it fun and not too competitive?
Share in a comment!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

More on Laura Munsons Article

posted by Michele Olson
Yesterday's blog was about Laura Munson's approach to her husband's midlife crisis and his declaration:
“I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy”
Her approach to this statement was nothing short of brilliant. It wasn't easy and it wasn't without pain and discipline on her part. Wow. Refreshing.
She is a writer, and has a blog. She has received much comment about her NY Times article on her personal blog because she has touched a chord with many people.
Because she's a writer, she has written a book on her approach. I hope some smart publisher is seeing that she can really touch people with her writing and publishes her work.
Go Laura. Thanks for the wisdom.
Go everyone who wants to do everything possible to keep a low conflict marriage together when there is not abuse.
It's so worth it.
Can you relate?

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Totally Different Take on a Mid Life Crisis

Posted by Michele Olson

There is no shortage of great information regarding healthy relationships and marriage, but every once in a while some info comes along that is out of the norm.

It really makes you stop and think.

This is one such story. Told in a very matter of fact way, I think you will enjoy this modern love story posted by Laura A Munson in the New York Times.

We’ve all seen it.

They have it all, and all is going well and then a spouse drops the bomb shell…
I don’t love you anymore.”

Her reaction and how she conducted herself will give you food for thought.

Read Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear and let us know what you think.