28 articles Articles posted in Relationships

The 8 Secrets To A Happy Marriage

What is it that makes a successful marriage? Every marriage is different and has different successes and challenges. For some marriages the challenge might balancing raising children with respective careers. For others it might be their husband’s insomnia or for some it might be that the wife seems permanently attached to her mobile phone – especially true of mummy bloggers.  However, before we all  get on the phone to Austin Kemp Divorce Solicitors we need to take the time to ask ourselves what is it that makes some people have a successful marriage? Are they simply lucky or is there more to it than that? Does the success of a marriage depend on how we respond to these challenges?  We all know some “smug marrieds”. The couple who seemingly have the perfect marriage. But can any marriage really be that perfect? Do any of us really know what goes on behind that closed front door? For all we know that perfect married couple could be having weekly therapy sessions and that is why their marriage really works.

Is marriage therapy the secret to a successful marriage? Not according to this article which claims to know the secrets for a happy marriage.

What Are The Secrets To A Happy Marriage?

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1) Never change each other. Yes, in theory but then sometimes we all need to encourage change. If a woman was married to a man who dropped his socks on the floor and left the toilet seat up, then she would definitely be trying to change him!  Being a wife does not make a woman a maid. The husband might also find that they are bought the classic book  ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’

2) Compliment them. We all love to receive a compliment and we should be giving them too. Compliments are even more important when it comes to parenting little ones. Parenting is a tough gig and one where we all need plenty of compliments and reassurance.

3) Revisit the past. Sometimes a trip down memory lane can be good. It can also be a good laugh to go through some of your old photos from the past. Even the ones where you are both sporting rather dubious haircuts!

4) Always listen to each other. YES! Although, we can all be guilty of switching off. Sometimes we have a million things going on in our brain and we are trying to get lots of jobs done. We then realise that we haven’t listened to anything that has been said to us. Whoops. On the other-hand it drives us all insane if we think that our husbands aren’t listening to us. There are only so many times we are prepared to ask the same question, again and again….!  We are all guilty of not always listening.

5) Don’t get comfortable. It seems that suggestion being made here is that we shouldn’t be happy to laze around together watching Netflix. Do they not realise that the saying “Netflix and chill” (as in relax, not the other meaning) is popular amongst sleep-deprived parents for a reason. The article implies that women should probably be heading down to Ann Summers for some sexy lingerie. It’s autumn and the weather is getting a bit chilly and most of the female population would prefer getting comfy in their Marks & Spencer pjs, Netflix, a cup of tea and some chocolates. That is the secret to a happy marriage.

6) Do chores together. Yes, we aren’t in the 1950s anymore. Marriage should always be about equality. The serial housework-avoiders amongst us would  prefer it even more if they won the lottery and then they could pay for a cleaner to do the chores for them. That would make for a very happy marriage!

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7) Workout together. Does any married couple want to see their wife or husband grunting and sweating all over the gym floor? Workout time is far better when done alone!

8) Take a weekly walk. It doesn’t make it clear if this involves walking to your local pub, that is a weekly walk most parents would be very happy to take. A weekly walk is probably a good idea but for parents it is less romantic walk for two, and more like an endurance test because you have the whole family in tow.

What do you think? Do you agree that these really are the 8 secrets to a happy marriage? Perhaps you know the real secret to a happy marriage…

Forget Your Wedding Day Jitters: 10 Signs That He Really Is The Man For You

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Most people get nervous before the wedding, and it’s a perfectly normal reaction. Nagging doubts creep in. Is he the man for me? Does he love me? Am I doing the right thing? Should you be about to get married, you have probably experienced some of those pre-wedding jitters yourself. Considering the wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life, you don’t want to waste your time walking down the aisle with the wrong guy.

We can’t tell you if you’re making the right decision or not. However, it’s still good to remind yourself why you’re marrying the guy you have chosen. Here are ten signs leading up to the wedding that should indicate he really is the guy for you.

1. Your engagement ring is closer to something from 77 Diamonds than anything resembling a novelty gift from a Christmas cracker. When he is willing to spend his hard earned money on you, it’s a good sign that he’s probably a keeper!

2. He can’t stop talking about the wedding and is as excited as you are about the big day. From looking at wedding catalogues to watching wedding programmes on tv, he literally can’t contain himself when it comes to thinking about your forthcoming nuptials.

3. Despite being allergic to horses, he is still going along with your plans for a horse-drawn carriage on the big day. He is sacrificing his own needs for your idea of a dream wedding.

4. Nobody else is convinced about your paper bouquet idea, but he is behind your creativity 100%. Respecting your ideas even when other people don’t is a sure fire way of knowing he cares about your feelings.

5. He surprises you every day with a romantic gesture. A bunch of flowers one day, a box of chocolates the next. The next day…well, you will just have to wait and see.

6. He knows how you’re feeling, despite your emotional mood swings. Feeling stressed? He’s there to calm your worries. Feeling down? He’s there with a comforting word and a cuddle. Need to be left alone for awhile? He respects your space. He knows you!

7. Despite having a bad day himself, he will still listen to your woes before telling you about his own. Not only does he listen, but he asks questions, pays attention, and genuinely seems to care.

8. He still wants to marry you, despite knowing all of your deepest, darkest secrets. What’s more, he wouldn’t tell another living soul, not even his mother!

9. Despite not liking some of your friends, he is willing to put up with them just to be in your company and has even let you reserve seats for them at the wedding.

10. He tells you he loves you on a daily basis. Sentimental? Maybe. Reassuring? Definitely!

If your guy lives up to each of those signs, then he is bordering on perfect, so don’t worry if you can’t relate to all of them. Provided your husband-to-be shows you love and care on a daily basis, then you should have no reason to worry about the big day. We wish you every happiness!

 


Husband and I Take a #CouplesQuiz for Bed Guru @bedguru

This weekend is my 33rd birthday and I realised that this means that Husband and I have been together for a third of my life, which is pretty damn significant in this day and age. We don’t claim to have a “perfect” relationship (is there even such a thing?) but the fact that we’ve lasted this long is pretty damn impressive when you consider how common divorce is these days (and how difficult I am to live with!).

Just recently, Bed Guru got in touch to ask us to collaborate with them and take a Couples Quiz as part of their campaign to show that couples who sleep in the same bed don’t always have the same needs in terms of sleep comfort. Bed Guru is an online bed retailer who are sleep specialists, they understand that no two people share the same sleeping requirements and see it not just as a belief but an obligation to ensure that everybody gets a great night’s sleep!

They sent us a list of questions to answer, which we did independently of each other and here’s what the outcome was! (Husband’s answers are RED, mine are TURQUOISE)

1)      How did you meet?

We met through mutual friends although it turned out we’d been drinking in the same places for years and our paths had never crossed.

Through friends

2)      How long have you known each other?

4139 days, to be precise! 11  years and 4 months – we got married after knowing each other just 6 months.

11 and a bit years.

3)      What do you do to keep the love alive?

When you’ve got kids, it can be hard to find time as a couple but we make sure we do things together as regularly as we can, even if that means going for a walk or watching the boxing together.

We don’t need to do anything to ‘keep it alive’. 

4)      What are your partners pet peeves?

He hates dishonesty more than anything else.

Loud chewing, impoliteness (especially on the road), poor time-keeping, Tories.

5)      What do you love the most about each other?

We have a really similar sense of humour and makes jokes with one another than no-one else would ever get! We like a lot of the same things but also learn a lot from each other. We make a good team and he’s always got my back. 

Kindness. 

6)      What is the most memorable gift you have received from your partner?

That is a hard one for me to answer because he’s RIDICULOUSLY good at buying me gifts! I’m literally typing this out on on the laptop he bought be for my birthday whilst wearing the Pandora bracelet I’ve wanted for months that he also surprised me with. The best gift of all though was the vintage working Teddy Ruxpin that he sourced from America and had shipped over. He knew it was a toy I’d wanted as a child and never got so he went to all that effort to get it for me, which meant so, so much to me.

Not strictly a ‘gift’ but the best thing I’ve ever received is my children.

7)      What is your favourite memory as a couple?

Oh gosh, that’s difficult too! Looking out of the window of the seaplane that took us to the Maldives and seeing the islands dotted through the Indian Ocean…adopting Chuck…having our babies…seeing some of our favourite bands and comedians together, as well as watching Liverpool play at Anfield.

The births of our children. The day we adopted our dog. Our wedding and honeymoon…(the 4-1 drubbing of West Brom we took our eldest to at Anfield, it was her first game).

8)      What is the most key component of your relationship? e.g. trust, loyalty etc

Trust. Nothing lasts without trust.

Honesty, caring nature, trustworthiness.

9)      Where is your dream destination for a couple’s holiday?

Back to the Maldives, maybe?! Or anywhere Scandinavian.

Iceland.

10)   What are your favourite things to do as a couple?

Going to Ikea 😉

Go out to eat, go to the cinema, talk.

I think our answers show that we’re pretty compatible actually, and I laughed out loud when I read Husband’s assesment of my pet peeves because they are SO spot on! The irony is, Husband and I have often said that we’re totally incompatible in terms of sleep because he likes a memory foam mattress and I find them uncomfortable, so we’ve often joked about getting two totally different single mattresses and pushing them together so that we an each be comfortable on our own sides – but with Bed Guru’s couples mattresses we wouldn’t need to do this as their mattresses can be separately zoned.

Are you and your partner sleep compatible? Leave me a comment below.

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In collaboration with Bed Guru

Creative Date Ideas You’re Underestimating

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Any sort of date should be a fun date, but why not consider something a bit unconventional? Here’s a quick list of creative date ideas that you and your partner shouldn’t underestimate. The less well-worn the path of your date is, the more memorable it will be!

Try a new recipe

Find a recipe that you’ve never tried before and cook it together. The results may not be perfect, but working together on something like this will definitely create interesting memories! Besides, it could be argued that a recipe that doesn’t come out perfectly can actually make the whole thing a bit more fun. Try looking for recipes in diets that you don’t follow – for example, if you eat meat, then be adventurous and try a vegan dish.

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Watch a strange film

A lot of couples go out and watch the latest blockbusters or romantic comedies. But why not find an independent cinema in a less obvious location and watching some arthouse flick or documentary film? You may discover new areas of cinematic interest for the both of you. These sorts of films are also more likely to produce engaging conversation afterwards. As fun as I’m sure Thor 3 will be, how likely is it that you’ll both have anything much to say afterwards other than “that was awesome!”?

Go to a jazz bar

Most cities these days have a jazz bar hidden away somewhere, even though many people think that jazz bars are long-forgotten relics that are nowhere to be found these days. A jazz night is a classic date night idea, but it’s in no way antiquated. Some bars will play old-time stuff, but many will feature musicians playing new and original material – and modern jazz still continues to be as fun and adventurous as it always was. Get some formal wear ready – find a nice suit or a long evening dress online – and search for a nearby jazz bar for a truly different evening.

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Have a games night

People are always underestimating the power of board games. Of course, it could be argued that board games are best played in a group. But there are actually a bunch of board games out there that are perfectly fun with two people. Try out the best board games for couples – or, if you’re really not into the board game scene, consider taking turns with a video game.

Have a picnic

Sure, you could have a nice lunch indoors. Or you could go to a restaurant, which is where most couples will go if they want to have a date that features food. But why not save a bunch of money (those restaurants are not kind to your wallet, after all) and have a picnic? The season is right for it, after all. (Or, at least, it’s getting there.) Be careful about your wine selection, though – you don’t want to end up drinking too much in a public field! If you really feel like having a wine-heavy picnic, then even a back garden picnic can be amazing.

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Walk the dog

A lot of dog owners tend to see walking the dog as a pretty banal daily duty. Sure, when you first get the dog it can be pretty exciting, but over time it tends to be something just one person in the household does, with people often taking it in turns just like any other chore. But consider actually going on a long walk together with your dog. And if you don’t have a dog, offer to walk your friend’s dog, or consider searching for people online who need the occasional dog walker.

Go for a hot air balloon ride

Not for those afraid of heights! This is another ‘classic’ date idea that seems to be grossly underused these days. As long as there’s a big enough field nearby, you can probably find a business nearby that offers hot air balloon rides for couples. Remember that there will probably be someone else in the basket with you, though, unless one of you happens to be a licensed air balloon pilot!

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Recreate your first date

Assuming that you’ve been with your partner for some time, it may be a good idea to try recreating your first date. Go to the same restaurant or watch the film you first saw together. You can recreate this at home, too – cook the same meals you ate that night and rent the same film you saw, or see if you can find it on Netflix. A trip down memory lane can really bring back some sparks.

Smarten Up Your Man!

man-at-barberBeing a woman in her thirties with two kids means that I spend an inordinate amount of time listening to other women moan about the men in their lives (come on, it’s a fact of life that MOST women moan about their fellas). Obviously, there’s the usual moans about how they don’t do enough housework or they spend too much time with their mates, but I’ve also heard other women moan about how their man is a bit of a scruff! With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some gentle ways you can help your bloke to smarten up a bit…so that I don’t have to listen to you moan anymore!! 😉

Send Him to The Barber

A lot of men are growing long hair and bushy beards these days and think it’s an excuse to avoid grooming altogether, but in my humble opinion beards and long hair require just as much care if not MORE if you don’t want to look like a scarecrow. Why not find a local barber who does beard care and buy your man a voucher for a session? He’ll look smarter and you’ll find his beard FAR softer to kiss!

Take Him Shopping

A lot of men don’t invest in their clothes, but buying decent men’s desinger clothes doesn’t have to be a chore. Why not spend an evening looking online and encouraging him to treat himself to some new threads? He’ll get to look better and you’ll get to veto anything that you hate!

Get Him a Gym Subscription

Okay, this one may sound a little insensitive and I guarantee if I read a blog written by a man suggesting other men force their WAGS into the gym, I’d be incandescent. But I don’t mean it in a “tell him to lose weight” way – going to the gym, even if it’s just to give him an outlet for his energy, can be a great way to improve self-esteem and can also work wonders on a person’s mental health.

Send Him to The Pub!

If you’ve got a bloke who goes out every week without fail, I can understand how this suggestion might seem a bit of a joke, but if your bloke rarely goes out, an evening at the pub might be just what he needs to help him decompress. Giving him the change to chat to his mates and forget his worries will win you some brownie points and, more to the point, give him an excuse to get dressed in something other than work clothes or loungewear!

Give Him Some Attention

Just like us ladies, bloke often don’t see the point in getting dressed up or taking care of their appearance if there’s no one to appreciate it. Make sure you remind your bloke how much you fancy him and give him plenty of compliments on occasions when he does get dressed up to make him feel appreciated and he’ll likely make more effort in the future.

How to Make Your Wedding Day Different


For a while, in my mid-twenties, it seemed like my social media timelines were showing a different wedding every week. Husband and I went abroad and got married by ourselves and I wouldn’t change that for the world, but if I did organise a wedding here in the UK, there are definitely a few things that I’d love to have on the Big Day to make it a little different. Here’s a few ideas:

Vintage Rings

Husband and I planned our wedding in the space of about two weeks, so some of the details were a case of what we could get in the time we had. One thing I really like the idea of is vintage wedding and engagement rings. They often have so much more character and I love the thought of my ring having a story before it found it was to me.

Non-wedding wedding dress

Whilst planning our wedding, I realised that the whole “long white gown” thing was just SO not me, and I ended up buying a dress from a high street shop, which just so happened to be perfect for getting married on a tropical beach. Looking around at dresses which aren’t specifically wedding dresses could really inspire you in terms of styles and colours and would probably save you an absolute fortune, too.

Venue

There are so many amazing places to get married, both here in the UK and abroad and it’s really worth taking a look around to find one you love. If you aren’t the traditional type, you could find somewhere super fun for your reception – I know someone who hired a vintage bowling alley for their reception and they served beer and hotdogs! Literally THE most fun and memorable wedding reception ever!

Shoes

If you’re wearing a long dress, I really LOVE it when brides wear shoes that you absolutely wouldn’t expect to see underneath. Giving a flash of some bejewelled Converse All-Stars will give a glimpse of your personality and will also allow you to be really comfortable all day, too.

Photography

Wedding photography is BIG business and can take up one of the largest chunks of your budget. Choosing a photographer is about more than their photos, it’s about finding someone who really GETS you so that they can capture you in the exact light that you’re hoping for. Getting to know your photographer before the day can make all the difference and thinking outside the box, in terms of the actual shots, is what will set your photos apart.

3 Essential Ingredients of a Satisfying Sex Life

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Keeping The Spark Alive

One of the things that often slides first in a relationship, once you’ve had kids, is “what goes on in the bedroom” which can cause a spiral of other issues in its wake. Lack of intimacy can put a real strain on a relationship and before you know it, you’re barely giving each other a peck on the cheek as you leave the house in the mornings. Like all things, relationships (and especially the physical side of things) takes effort on both sides and getting back to that special place where you give each other butterflies in your tummy can seem like climbing Everest when you’ve got baby sick in your hair and the dog is rubbing his arse on the carpet.

With that in mind, I’ve teamed up with Vagisil and their new ProHydrate range, which relieves intimate dryness so that you can feel comfortable, confident and enjoy intimacy when you want to.

Sexting

Okay, so this may sound like something that is reserved for young’uns, but sexting is an amazing way to open communication. Vagisil’s survey shows that 56% of women want to feel more connected to their partner and this is the perfect way to start. Typing things out gives you the opportunity to think about what you’re saying (and edit it before you send, if you want to!) and it allows you to say things to your partner that you might never have the guts to say out loud. Install a dedicated messaging app such as Signal or Telegram and ONLY add your partner as a contact. When you see the little message icon pop into your notifications bar, I guarantee you’ll get a little flutter of excitement!

Get Playful

Using toys together can be a really amazing way to enhance your sex life if you feel like things have gone a little bit stale. Either browse a site like LoveHoney together or order something as a surprise and set aside some time to play together.

Make an Effort

If you’re falling asleep on the sofa wearing a dirty hoody with unwashed hair, there’s a very good chance that you’re not giving off a very “ready for loving” vibe. It’s so important to have mind and body in the same place and while we aren’t suggesting that you go for a full-on makeover to give your partner THE SIGN, making a little effort to shower, wear something without holes in it and maybe a bit of mascara is far more likely to inspire lust. Obviously, that goes both ways and if your partner is still sitting in a sweaty haze after going to the gym when you want to get busy, tell him to get his arse into the shower too – maybe even together!

Time

I know SO many couples who claim lack of time as a reason for a dead bedroom, but I think we all need to be a little bit more creative about how we use our time. If you find that you’re exhausted by 9pm, why not have an early night but set your alarm a little early to surprise your other half with some morning fun? Or drop the kids off with a friend or relative for a couple of hours while you “go shopping” and head home for some uninterrupted intimacy.

Space

Just recently, I was reading a thread about co-sleeping and how it can put a real dampener on things. If retreating to a grown-ups only bedroom isn’t always an option, try to create a space somewhere else where you can steal some time together, such as a sofa bed in a home office space. Knowing you’ve got somewhere just for you can really take the angst out of everything.

Do you have any other tips that Mum’s the Word readers might benefit from? Leave me a comment below. The Vagisil ProHydrate range is available at Boots and Superdrug.

Cheap Ideas for a Fun Night In

I don’t know about you, but Husband and I rarely get the chance to go out for a ‘date night’ and even when we do, we invariably end up cutting it short because we feel bad about leaving the girls! Often, we make plans for a night together and end up jacking it in, in favour of a night at home instead. With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you some ideas for ways to have a night in whilst keeping the costs down (takeaways and bottles of wine can all add up, you know!)

Play Together

There are plenty of online games, like no deposit bingo, which don’t require you to pay large sums of money in advance, and playing together can be really fun! You also get the atmosphere and chatter of a bingo hall in an online window without having to leave your home. Husband and I also love board games, such as Scrabble, and it hardly ever ends in a huge argument…HA!

Cook Together

Cooking together for your date night can have a number of advantages – firstly, providing you aren’t cooking fillet steak, you’ll save money by avoiding the takeaway. Home cooked food is usually healthier and you’ll also have the added bonus of spending time together and bonding over the skillet.

Bathe Together

If you have a big enough bath, you can share a bath with your other half! It doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be saucy, but wait til the kids are in bed, slip into the bubbles and enjoy the advantages of having someone close by to wash your back. If anything develops from there, all the better!

Have an Early Night

Alright, alright, this isn’t turning into a NAUGHTY blog post, but seriously; when was the last time you and your significant other slipped into bed and just laid together, talking, snuggling up, and just relaxing in each other’s company? Many of us could probably say that this is something you did when you first met, or pre-kids, but it’s not something we do much now, favouring instead to just flop into bed and fall asleep!

Watch Together

Watching a film is a classic ‘night in’ activity, but you should take the time to really think about what you watch. Try watching something completely new which is perhaps a bit different to what you would usually choose. Couples often argue about who’s in control of the remote, so choosing a neutral option is the best way to keep you both happy.

Almost a Third of my Life…

Today is a bit of a special day here in the MTW house – it marks the exact day TEN years ago that Husband and I became a couple. Ten years have passed, not without some major ups and downs, but quite honestly, I think Husband and I have basically beat the odds. No-one expected us to last as long as we did, especially when we announced our engagement just six weeks after meeting, but a decade later, almost a third of my life, one dog, two babies, eight house-moves, new careers and a whole load of life in between, here we are. As much as I’d like to remain dignified in my self-satisfaction, what I actually want to do is give a MASSIVE middle finger to all of our doubters.

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I think most people who’ve been with someone for a whole decade will agree that marriage takes work. Unless you’re one of those weird couples who never argue (and I’m not sure they truly even exist, if I’m being honest), there will always be friction. Sometimes that friction feels too much to bear and I’m terribly guilty of failing to communicate at times, but Husband and I both work to make sure our relationship stays strong.

What I will say, though, is that although we sometimes argue, although things aren’t 100% perfect all the time, I’m still convinced that I made the right choice. I still find Husband absolutely hilarious, I still love our shared interests and tastes in music and films, as well as our differences and the fact that we learn from one another all the time. And, obviously, I still fancy him rotten *blush*.

With all that in mind, in honour of a DECADE of not killing one another, I thought I’d write some new vows for the next ten years together, just because no relationship is completely unchanged after ten years and I’m certainly not the same person I was when I was 21.

I promise…

…to do my best not to turn into my mother.

…to try to keep my tendency to over-react and be passive aggressive to a minimum

…to avoid rolling my eyes when you tell me how much you hate washing up

…to try stay awake through at least ONE film per week

…to be considerate of the fact that you’re not a happy passenger in cars and not take it as criticism when you point things out when I drive

…to never use the kids as a weapon or use you as a method of discipline when you aren’t here

…to put up with your farts…as long as you put up with mine

…to serve you smaller portions of dinner because I KNOW you can’t not clear your plate

…to try to stay young at heart and enjoy each other as the years go by

Romantic, huh? Maybe not, but sometimes it’s the practical considerations that we make for one another that remind us how much we’re loved. The fact that Husband knows how I like my coffee, or when he hoovers the car out even though I’m the one who let it get disgusting, or when he listens to me talk endlessly about the dramas which have turned me upside down over the past couple of years, always remaining on my side. That’s love, that is.

So, here’s to another ten years with my best friend and the best Dad I could wish for, for Sausage and Burrito Baby. Now, if he’d just vow to put his clothes in the washing basket, life would be perfect…!

Maldives, August 2006Look how young we look! (Ignore the random Maldivian man in the background…!)