Wedding season is upon us and, if you’re already married, nothing beats watching other people say their vows to remind you of what you once promised. The following excerpt from the Bishop of London's sermon at William and Kate’s wedding is brilliant and one of my favourite takeaways from the service:
“Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom.”
Hanging around other couples who shower each other with respect and adoration is another positive force for a relationship. Just as great friends elevate you to your best, inspiring couples rub off on your coupledom.
We just arrived home from four days in Las Vegas with some of our best friends, a beautiful couple who’ve just celebrated their first wedding anniversary. I love the way these two pepper each other with thoughtful compliments, are affectionate without being gross, and are quick to resolve disagreements. They are both also incredibly upbeat people who love to have fun and anyone in their company is bound to do the same.
Another way to inject more sparkle into your relationship is to glean advice from relationship books. I love self-help books and below are a few of my relationship faves.
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray
This is a classic for a reason – it’s an easy (and hilarious) read and has really great advice.
Here’s what the publishers have to say about the book:
“Based on years of successful counseling of couples and individuals, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus has helped millions of couples transform their relationships. Now viewed as a modern classic, this phenomenal book has helped men and women realize how different they really are and how to communicate their needs in such a way that conflict doesn't arise and intimacy is given every chance to grow.”
The First Years Of Forever by Ed Wheat
Even though this book is written from a Christian point of view, it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, it has wise advice for building and maintaining a strong marriage for anyone.
Here’s what the publishers have to say:
“It is written as a marriage handbook to be read and then referred to again and again. Dr. Ed Wheat, co-author of the best-selling Love Life for Every Married Couple, draws on his training and experiences as a family physician and certified sex therapist to prepare couples for their lifelong journey together. The First Years of Forever provides the practical wisdom most people have to learn the hard way – or not at all. It tells how to develop skills in communicating with each other and resolving conflicts.”
Hitched: The Go-Girl Guide to the First Year of Marriage by Julia Bourland
From the publisher:
“If you're like most brides, you've spent more time pondering wedding favors and exotic honeymoon destinations than considering all the ways marriage will change your relationship. In Hitched, Julia Bourland provides the ultimate insider's guide to the joys, hopes, challenges, conflicting emotions, and endless compromises of the year that follows the 'I dos'.
"Drawing on dozens of interviews with newly married women, plus her own real-life experience, Bourland offers wise answers to crucial post-knot questions about sex, finances, friends, in-laws, and everything beyond, including:
- What to do when your libido soars (yay!) or sinks (eek!)
- How to keep important friendships – and nourish new ones
- The pros and cons of name changing
- How to carve out personal space within marriage
- The best ways to divide household responsibilities
- How to start planning for your financial future
"Candid, witty, and wise, HITCHED will steer you through the ups and occasional downs of newlywed life and set you on the path to a loving, happy, and secure future together.”
As a personal trainer, I’ve worked with a lot of brides-to-be and newly married gals, and the one thing that always irks me to no end is the way that so many people focus on the wedding, and not the marriage. I’ve seen a lot of women dust off their hands, their work done, once the wedding is over, expecting the rest of their lives to sail on smoothly. A good marriage takes some work and attention, and this is a great book for reminding you to mind the little things.