New Year, New You?


New Year, new you, nice try.  We all fall into the same trap of “new year’s resolutions.”  This time, year after year, gym prices become “discounted,” self-help books flood our Instagram feeds, and green shakes capitalize the end caps of our local supermarket.  We are overwhelmed with the idea that we can change ourselves if we try just hard enough, so let’s push ourselves to reach that yearly goal.  Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into this cyclical way of thinking every year.  Are you focusing your energy on changing the right things? Read More

3 Ways to be a Lifelong Learner in Your Relationship

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When you graduated from college, did you say to yourself, “Well, that’s it! I now know everything I need to know. My days of learning are over!” Probably not. In fact, you’ve probably continued to learn about new topics, acquire new skills, and seek out random tidbits of information, even if your days of formal education are over. It’s not only fun and fulfilling, but also keeps your mind open and your heart young, among other tangible and intangible benefits.

Interestingly, in long-term relationships, we often get to a certain point and feel as if we know “everything” about our partner. But whether you’ve been together for 3 years or 30+, there’s a good chance that there are still new things to learn about each other—it just might require more digging than it did when you were first getting to know each other. Read More

Your friends + My friends = Our friends?

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Healthy relationships are vital to life. When cared for, relationships bring us joy. They bring us strength. They bring us connection. And so many other great things. But relationships are work! And, I’m not just talking about relationships that come with a lifelong commitment like a marriage or parenting, but friendships too.

Friendships are relationships we choose to have. We start to take this autonomy of deciding our friends when we are young, even before we truly understand what it means to be a friend. When I was in elementary school, I remember sitting around the dinner table with my family and one of my parents always would ask, “Did you make any new friends today?” I don’t remember what my answer was on a given day, but I’m sure I answered yes.

Back then, a friend was someone who held the door for you while coming inside from recess. Or someone who would trade you their peanut butter and jelly sandwich for your egg salad. Or maybe even the girl who has the pretty bow in her hair … maybe we’ve never actually played together, but she seems cool, so I’ll say she’s my friend. Read More

The Impact of Gradual Change

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I recently read a (fictional) book about a woman, Alice, who takes a fall at the gym and bumps her head. After a series of comical and confusion-filled interactions, she eventually figures out that she has completely forgotten the last ten years of her life. In her head, she’s 30 years old, happily married to the love of her life, and expecting her first child. In reality, she’s getting ready to celebrate the big 4-0, has three children, and is going through a hostile divorce. I’m sure you can imagine the hilarity—and awkwardness—that ensues.

The main storyline of the book revolves around Alice’s inability to reconcile the present-day state of her marriage with the one from ten years ago, which she believes is the present. What could have possibly happened in the past ten years to make them fall out of love with each other? Read More

Why Your Partner Shouldn’t Be Your “Everything”

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Social media has exacerbated the romanticism of your partner being your “#everything.”  We constantly see Instagram posts about our friend’s boyfriend with captions like, “He’s my everything.”  Facebook photos of a picture of a couple’s silhouette in the sunset with cute calligraphy typed over top, “She is my everything.”  Or tweets of a sleeping spouse with hashtags of, “#myeverything.”

What?  Where does that even stem from?  What lead us to the problematic belief that our partners are the one and only person we need in our life? Read More

Maintenance Required

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My husband and I have lived in our house for four years. There are still rooms I consider “unfinished” and boxes shoved in closets. You would think that four years would be enough time to get completely settled in. While we have made significant improvements to the quality of our yard, it is still a constant work in progress. In the last couple of years, our small deck, that seemed nice enough four years ago, has slowly devolved to a state of warped, loose planks and even one that fell off completely.

I’ve learned that being a homeowner is a lot of (ongoing) work, whether we choose to do the work or not. You might even say it’s kind of like being married or in a long-term relationship. Read More

Map Your Marriage

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Your marriage (or future marriage) will be the adventure of a lifetime.

You will literally journey through clearings of joy and fulfillment, canyons of darkness and life’s challenges, and valleys of hope, passion, and love. You will push and pull yourselves through the balance of staying connected to family and friends while establishing yourself as a couple, and you will have the potential to experience the freedom of growing alongside a partner who supports and encourages your individual growth.

It would be nice to have some guidelines, or a map of sorts, to help you out along the journey, would you agree?

Search no more. Read More

Mold Your Melancholy Mondays

Have you ever woken up one morning, nothing is actually wrong, but you feel like you’ve got a huge weight on your shoulders?  Or that your body aches, even though you darn well know you didn’t exercise the night before?  Or that it seems to take much more concentration to smile than usual?  We all have self-pity days – days where nothing is actually wrong but we can’t shake this overwhelming feeling of melancholy.

Discomfort is a natural part of life, not usually one we like to shine a light on.  A part we tend to shove in a dark corner and pretend like it doesn’t exist.  However, we should bring those feelings to light and talk about them so we can normalize a completely natural part of life. Read More

How Being Vulnerable Changed Our Relationship

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Counseling seems scary.
But here’s a secret that could protect your future marriage- it’s not scary!

See, it isn’t counseling itself that is nerve-racking (though seeking help does often come with a stigma), but rather, it is the knowledge that at that counseling appointment, you will have to be vulnerable. You will be asked to bare your heart and soul – that’s what makes most people run the other direction. Then add your fiancé sitting next to you on that couch ALSO being vulnerable – you can see why many couples are unwilling to consider premarital as a part of their pre-wedding preparations.

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Relight the Fire in Your Relationship

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The snow has fallen, wool socks have been pulled out of storage, fire places have been lit, winter is here and it has plateaued: don’t let your relationship do the same.  Here’s the thing about complacency, it’s a natural part of a relationship’s journey, but it can be avoided.  Leading up to National Marriage Week, the team at PREPARE/ENRICH wants to encourage you to keep your relationship on your mind.  When you do this, you are already taking a step in the right direction to combat complacency. Read More