Thursday, May 27, 2010

Now That's a Bachelor Party!

posted by Michele Olson

Say the word “bachelor party” and you’ll likely hear hooting and hollering. The same can be said this day for a relatively new term; “bachelorette party.” Women used to have bridal showers and spend the night before their wedding dreaming of the day ahead, but now bachelorette parties are also very common.
Looking into where bachelor parties originated, it seems they can be traced back to the
5th century B.C. when Spartans celebrated out a groom's last night as a single man. Spartan soldiers held a dinner in their friend's honor and made toasts on his behalf. In 1896 a party thrown by P.T. Barnum’s grandson, Herbert Barnum Seeley for his brother was raided by police after rumors circulated that a famous belly dancer would be performing nude.

The term bachelor first appeared in reference to an unmarried man in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in the 14th century. The term bachelor party didn't appear until 1922, however, when it was first used in the Scottish publication Chambers's Journal of Literature, Science and Arts to describe a "jolly old" party.

A bachelor party used to be a black-tie dinner hosted by the groom's father, with toasts to the groom and the bride. The hazing, humiliation and debauchery is a more recent phenomenon which started in the 80’s, probably in response to movies that served as a suggestive training ground. (1984 Bachelor Party movie starring Tom Hanks)

The question becomes; is that really the way to toast a marriage? Here’s a big shout out and salute to Erik Pedley. This 26 year old from Germantown had his story told by John Kelly in a recent Washington Post article.


Erik and his best man Bobby Goldbeck and their friends did have a bachelor party, but it involved helping out a school as a group of guys. They aren’t “drips” as the article mentions; they’ve been to the traditional bachelor parties and had some fun.

But they started to question whether the money that was going to be spent could be put to better use, and no hangovers would be had the next day. So that’s what they did. They all got together and found a school that needed some manual labor done and volunteered to show up and work together.

Lucky girl to marry this guy. I predict some happily ever after with that kind of beginning.
What do you think? Is it time to overhaul bachelor and bachelorette parties?

Did you do something innovative at yours?
Share on this blog!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Seven Steps is a Good Start

posted by Michele Olson

I’ve been invited to five weddings over the next few months. As an old married lady of 32 years, it does my heart good to remember back to those pristine days of wedding planning and dreaming of happily ever after.

Back to the days when everything was possible because you had age and time on your side. Heady, glorious days. I wish those same feelings for all those couples who will be saying “I do” in the next few months, a time of the year when many weddings take place.

Sheba R. Wheeler writing for the Denver Post reminds us that the “I do” is only the beginning.

If it were only true that you could have a lasting marriage with only seven steps, we would be ready to eradicate the divorce rate. But it’s a good beginning to start with these seven steps as she talks about in her Denver Post article;
"I do" is only the beginning: Seven secrets to a lasting marriage
Communication, conflict-management and negotiation skills are more important than ever.

In her article she points out that with all the complications of this modern world have come more complications for healthy relbationships. It’s true. For the majority of my marriage; there couldn’t be fights about texting, FaceBook, or computer time. And when my husband and I got married; there were only a couple of channels to choose from.

Couples today need even more skills to deal with everything that is available, the ability to resolve conflicts and communicate effectively takes on even greater importance as time goes by.

Citing several helpful books, the seven areas highlighted include:

· Paying attention to every day annoyances. The famous ones like how to hang the toilet paper roll or squeeze the toothpaste tube, or those that surface in your relationship do matter. They all can convey one message, “you don’t respect me.” That’s why they matter.

· Know when to talk about things. The minute someone walks in the door or in the middle of an irritating moment is probably not the time to say “I wanted to talk to you about this.” Instead, pick a good time, when you are both able to concentrate and listen.
· Use technology to possibly start a topic of conversation, but not have the conversation itself. Save that for in person. Walks are a good time to really talk.
· Stoke the passion. It’s easy in the beginning, but find some things that work for you as a couple to keep the fires burning.

· A 10 minute rule. Spend at least that much time in a day talking about things other than the kids, your job etc.

· Give men affirmations. We ladies tend to get it from sisters, mothers and girlfriends whereas men look to their wives. Of course as any woman would tell you, she would like them from her husband too.

· Don’t live together unless you are planning a married future together. Living together without a plan to marry is more likely to lead to divorce once you do marry.

So there you have it, read the article and get more details on the seven areas.

I would have to add an eighth: take a couples check up at

What do you think? Do you agree with the seven, or would you say something different?
Let us hear from you with a blog response!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Statistic Gone Wrong

posted by Michele Olson

Statistics can be scary things. Like most things in life, you really have to take them with a grain of salt. They are extremely sad when they are thrown at families that were going forward with hope, making their way only to hear a statistic that they are likely to fail.

That’s the case with an autism statistic that has been bantered around for some time. If you have an autistic child, you probably have heard that divorce rates among marriages with autistic children can be as high as 80%.

That’s just discouraging.

But here’s some encouragement.

As reported in the Baltimore Sun, and using data from nearly 78,000 children ages 3 through 17 recorded by the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, researchers found that the parents of autistic children are just as likely to be married as the parents of their peers.

No one even knows for sure where the 80 percent figure first came from. But it's been perpetuated for years.


Are there more challenges for parents with children of autism? There are definitely challenges for many child hood conditions but as far as anyone has reported, the perfect child has yet to be invented, and the hardship factor depends on many things including the temperaments and circumstances of life for the parents and children.

A good start for any challenge is two married people who know how to communicate and resolve conflicts in a healthy way, no matter what life holds.

We can help with that. Visit for information and tangible ways to increase your ability to communicate as a couple.

Think about it. We’ve never heard of anyone who was sorry they worked on their marriage. We have heard from many people who were sorry they didn’t.

Do something good for your marriage today. Any why not become a follower if this blog? Look in the right hand column and follow!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Love Lucy wonders Is Your Spouse a Louse?

posted by Michele Olson

Here’s a YouTube peek at an episode of I Love Lucy. Lucy decides to take a marriage quiz for fun entitled: Is Your Spouse a Louse? It’s pretty comical and fun to watch. During the quiz, Lucy and Ricky reveal people they dated before they married. It leads to a big misunderstanding.

Quizzes can be a fun thing in your marriage if you use them to get to know your mate instead of looking for things to be upset about. Here’s a short 10 question quiz from Reader’s Digest that will help you see if you and your partner are truly on the same page when it comes to the issues that are most important to you and your marriage.

It covers the topics of:
Staying in touch, managing disagreements, romance, sex life, attraction to others, values and goals, household chores, power, finances and having fun.

Take the quiz as a couple and use it to talk about how you can get even closer in all of these areas. If you have trouble being able to communicate effectively, we recommend a online or in person workshop to help you get the skills you need to communicate and resolve conflict effectively.

Let us know what happens….leave a blog comment.

Don’t forget to get a good laugh with Ricky and Lucy too!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Short Quiz, How Well Do You Know Your Spouse?

Posted by Michele Olson

Short Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Spouse?

Whether you’ve recently walked down the aisle or you’ve been married for years…how well do you know your spouse? Take this short T, F quiz* to see how you are doing.

I can name my spouse’s best friends T or F

I know my spouse’s favorite type of music T or F

I know my spouse’s most stressful childhood event T or F

I know my spouse’s most embarrassing moment T or F

I know what my spouse would do if he or she won the lottery T or F

I know what my spouse’s ideal job would be T or F

I know my spouse’s ideal place to live T or F

I know the things that currently cause my spouse stress T or F

I know the names of the people that have irritated my spouse recently T or F

I know some of my spouse’s life dreams T or F

I am very familiar with my spouse’s religious beliefs T or F

I know my spouse’s favorite and least favorite relatives T or F

I feel like my spouse knows me pretty well T or F

I trust my spouse T or F

My spouse trusts me T or F

Were you able to answer “True” to more than half of the questions? If so, you know your spouse fairly well. This is the perfect time to find out the answers to the questions you didn’t know. It gives each of you questions to ask of each other. Enjoy the conversation. Get to know your spouse even better.

Care to share? How did you do on the quiz? Were you surprised by any of the answers?

*Quiz from Alabama Cooperative Extension System; The Healthy Marriage Handbook –Adapted from Gottman, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, 1999

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Could a Blanket Make Your Marriage Better?

posted by Michele Olson

There’s a video sweeping infomercial TV viewing and YouTube that can’t help but bring a smile to your face…and the word marriage is a key part of the sales pitch!

Have you seen it? It’s the Better Marriage Blanket and it promises to deal with a rather delicate marriage issue; your partners offending molecules under the covers that may be causing discord and disharmony.

Did I say that delicately enough? It’s passing gas, tooting, cutting the cheese and oh so many euphemisms for a four letter word.

Not sure that when asked in divorce papers the reason for the end of a marriage, this would ever be the issue, but it could be right up there with how you each squeeze the toothpaste tube and hang the toilet roll.

So, who created this wonder product that promises to absorb the odors with an activated carbon fabric, the same type that is used by the military to protect against chemical weapons? (I love that part of the “sell”)

Margaret Eby writing for iinterviewed Frank Bibbo, a former biology teacher and husband.

Frank’s words:
I bow-hunt for deer, and to do that you have to get really close to them, close enough that they can smell you. They’re pretty sensitive. So I started buying these military surplus chemical protective suits, from the army surplus store to block my odor. One time, I noticed that if I passed wind in there you couldn't smell a thing. And a light bulb went off. I took a couple of the suits, cut them into pieces, sewed them together and made a blanket. My wife and I used it in our bed for years, and it was great. Fifteen years later I made the first prototype and had a number of them produced. Complete article.

WebMD offers some secrets to gas control, starting with what you eat. If the blanket is not for you, that’s also a good way to deal with “the issue.”

Interesting that the blanket is touted not just as a blanket that controls odor, and include the fact it’s applicable for people sleeping together, instead it’s touted as the Better Marriage Blanket.

Taking a yearly marriage check up and marriage workshop every year is a great way to keep your marriage strong.

If you have some “for better or worse” problems that involve those offending molecules, then this may be just what you need.

Although we wouldn’t recommend it as an anniversary gift. That would stink.

Remember you can blog anonymously; any comment on offending molecules and your marriage?
Has it been a big problem for anyone?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Talking About Remarriage

posted by Michele Olson

If you are divorced, your likelihood of remarriage is quite high.

National Center for Health Statistics (2002) shows:
54 % of divorced women remarry within 5 years
75 % of divorced women remarry within 10 years

15% of second marriages ended after 3 years and almost a quarter after 5 years.

The divorce rate following re-marriage is higher than that for the first marriage.

In the US, 47% of first marriages end up in divorce and 60-80% of remarriages end up in divorce.

Remarriage is an important opportunity for healthy relationship education.

If you are remarried or considering remarrying here's a book for you:
The Remarriage Check-up; Tools to help your marriage last a lifetime.

A marriage and divorce or a marriage and death of a spouse is a painful experience in life. You want remarriage to be a great experience. The key is education. It gets even better. You can take the Couples Checkup online at and then use those findings to help you discover ways to improve all aspects of your marriage by build on your strengths.

The topic of step families is also addressed. Everyone I have ever spoken to in a step family acknowledges that it is quite an adjustment, in addition to the adjustment of marriage. The well qualified authors of this book encourage you to get issues solved before they become problematic and the Couple's Check Up and this read are what you need to make that happen.

Remember, buying on line Couples Check up and books at helps support our non-profit. You can't go wrong!

Are you remarried or thinking about it? Share your thoughts! Have you read The Remarriage Check Up?

Let us hear from you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Look Back at Marriage In America

posted by Michele Olson
Been to a museum lately? Here at the headquarters in Green Bay, WI we have access to a great museum called the Neville Public Museum. A recent visiting exhibit caught our eyes; it’s called Here Comes the Bride: Weddings in America. It’s a traveling exhibit from the Rogers Historical Museum in Rogers Arkansas.
The exhibit explore such themes as: courtships and engagements; weddings in early America; 19th- and 20th-century wedding attire; decorations and gifts; the ceremony; the honeymoon; royal weddings; ethnic customs; and modern changes in weddings.

It seems to be a reasonably priced exhibit to bring to your town, and may be something you can work with your city to exhibit while giving you the opportunity to talk about Marriage Education then and now…and how marriage is changing through the years.

While love is eternal, marriage through the ages is continually changing. Is it changing for the better or do you long for the good old days?

It’s probably all in your perspective. One positive thing is the idea of marriage education. Most of us were brought up just hoping our relationships worked out, that we picked OK people, and that happily ever after would be our destiny.

Today we know that through marriage education and learning healthy relationship skills -like how to really communicate and solve conflicts, we have a much greater chance of having a mutually satisfying relationship.

While we cherish all the traditions of marriage, we can also feel good about the future of marriage if people are willing to prepare for their marriage by doing things like taking a pre marital check up.

Be sure and check out Here Comes the Bride; Weddings in America if it comes to your town…or consider hosting it as a way to bring some attention to your marriage message of today.

It’s the perfect blend of something old and something new.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Helpful Bookstore

posted by Michele Olson

There's nothing like a good book. There's nothing like a good book that can help you improve your relationship. We're happy to announce that now has a bookstore under the Store Tab at our website.

Why else should you care? is a non-profit. When you purchase a book through our bookstore, that helps us.

Talk about a win/win!

You get great information and you help our non-profit.
You'll see on this blog some book recommendations, they are all available on our website.

One of my first recommendations is How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It by Pat Love and Steven Stosny. You'll find us quoting a lot of info from Steven Stosny on this website...he has a lot of helpful things for couples and people in general.

The basis of How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It involves a very simple idea that could revolutionize marriages if couples would get it.

Men don't like to be shamed. As a woman, don't do anything that shames a man in your actions or words.

Women like to feel safe. If you are a man, make your lady feel safe...and you will probably have a really nice relationship.

Of course there is more to it which is why I hope you will go to our store and buy the book. It really does have something to say that would make a big difference in today's marital relationships.

Check out our book store . Explore every tab, which includes General Marriage Books, Communication, Conflict Resolution and Relationship Roles. Let us know some books you would like to see featured, we'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Marital Bliss: A beautiful garden or a weed patch?

posted by Michele Olson

Pretty much anyone who starts out a marriage imagines that their days will be filled with bliss.
Bliss is defined as supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment. Look at anyone’s wedding pictures and you will see many faces of bliss.

The question is: how do you maintain bliss in a marriage?

Instead of thinking of it as a marriage, take a moment and think about it as a living growing thing, like a garden. Growing things take attention. Neglected things seem to die. Yet, we wonder why a marriage diminishes when the truth is; it hasn’t been cared for and nurtured.
Gardens take work. Tilling the soil, planting the seeds, and getting rid of the weeds. Watering and keeping pests away.

Marriages take work too. Usually four major areas cause conflict.

Money. There never seems to be enough, or couples don’t agree on how it should be spent.

Sex. One partner may want more sex than the other, or have differences of what is acceptable.

Kids. Couples may disagree over how to raise and discipline children.

Work. There can be different role expectations both inside and outside of the home.

Research shows that unhappy couples tend to start out by criticizing the way their partner behaves. Negative comments follow and the person being spoken about gets defensive. This is the perfect climate for a conflict with no positive outcome. It just happens again and again and never accomplishes anything.

Couples who seek bliss use positive language, including body language. They aren’t afraid to use appropriate humor and express affection to maintain a calm atmosphere. They have empathy for their partner, even if it doesn’t match up with their point of view.
The good news is; this positive style of communication can be learned. At we have workshops both in-person and online that can help you learn how to dissolve tension, communicate so you feel heard without resorting to any nasty habits and to be treated the way you’d like to be treated in an adult conversation.

If you want a beautiful garden, you have to tend it. If you want a blissful marriage, you have to learn how to have one. Just like seeds and gardening supplies, it’s all available to you.

Visit, click on the store and get your free Marriage Myth Buster Guide.

Whether you have a “weed patch” or a blissful experience in your marriage is really up to you.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

You Should Be In The Hall of Fame!

posted by Michele Olson
There’s a little gem in our website that I want you to see. It’s called our Marriage Hall of Fame. It’s time to add more couples. If you are married, we’d really like you to consider being on this treasure of a page.
You may not be there because you have a few questions. Let’s clear those up and get your marriage on our page!

Do we need to be nominated by someone else?
No! In fact if someone is nominated by someone else, we still need the permission of the nominated couple before we would post anything. Mainly, we want you as a couple, or as a husband or wife, to nominate yourselves.

What qualifies someone to be in the Hall of Fame?
Are you married? Do you cherish your spouse? Do you believe in upholding marriage, yours and others? That’s about all it takes! We don’t believe there are any perfect couples out there, just real people willing to work on real marriages. You don’t have to be married tons of years or have a particularly unique story.

Why would I nominate my marriage for the Hall of Fame?
It’s a great birthday/ anniversary gesture, an everyday way to say “I love you” and “we matter”, and a way to encourage other couples who come to our website.

What do I send in?

A little of who you are and the story of your marriage and family. The couples currently on the page are a good example of the type of info to supply. Short and simple works and we’ll write it for you when you supply the facts. If you have a jpeg picture of you as a couple or a family, we’d love to post that with your story. You can fill in the bottom section on the web page or email You will see what is written and approve it before it’s posted.

So as you can see, it’s very easy to become a member of our Marriage Hall of Fame.
One more question; what are you waiting for?
While you're at it, why not become a follower of our blog? Look to the right and you'll see how.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Are you an emotionally abusive person?

posted by Michele Olson

Here's a big question: Are you emotionally abusive?
Writing for Psychology Today, Steven Stosney gives a very good definition and portrayal of what emotional abuse is. There's also a quiz you can take, but to wet your appetite to find out are some questions you can answer as a man or a woman to find out more about yourself. From the article:

If you're a man, ask yourself these questions:
Does it feel like your wife or girlfriend pushes your buttons?
Does she have a way of putting you in a bad mood?
Are there times when you don't want to speak to her or be around her?
Do you feel like you overlook a lot or swallow a lot, until you can't stand it anymore?
Does she frequently "do things the wrong way?"
Can you be having a nice time and then out of nowhere she says or does something to set you off?
Are you sometimes on edge about having a bad or unpleasant evening?
Does it feel like you have to criticize her for not being more efficient, reliable, or a better person?
Does it feel like she makes you yell or shut down when you really don't want to raise your voice or be in a bad mood at all?
Do you treat her in ways you couldn't have imagined when you first started loving her?

If you answered yes to any of the above, here are some things that your wife or girlfriend probably says about you:

He's so moody.
He doesn't see or hear me.
I feel like I'm his possession.
I can't be myself; I have to think, feel, and behave the way he wants.
Nothing I do is good enough.
I feel like I'm walking on eggshells.

If you're a woman, ask yourself these questions:
Do you sometimes make your man feel like a failure as a provider, partner, parent, or lover?
Do you feel like you have to tell him the same thing over and over and over?
Does he tell you that you sometimes yell and scream or lash out at him?
Do your girlfriends ever remark that you might treat him badly?
Do you automatically blame him when things go wrong?
Do you resort to name-calling, swearing at him, or putting him down?
Do you demean or belittle him in front of other people or your children?
Do you threaten to take his children away so he will never see them?
Are you often jealous and want to know where he is at all times?
Would your family and friends be surprised to know how you treat him behind closed doors?
If you answered yes to any of the above, here are some things that your husband or boyfriend probably says about you:
She's a nag.
She's so moody.
She's so unpleasant to be around.
I just want her to leave me alone.
Nothing I do is good enough.
I feel like I'm walking on eggshells.

Steven's article gives you some insight into the way out of being an emotionally abusive person.

Read the article, and don't be afraid to ask yourself this tough question. Comments to share with our readers?