How to Pick the Most Romantic Flowers for Anniversaries and More

Flowers are the quintessential romantic gift. Do you know how to pick the most romantic flowers for your anniversary? For a surprise gesture? For a birthday? In this guest post florist Lisa Bernshaw explains the traditional meaning behind flowers to help you pick the best bunch.

Giving flowers has been one of the most romantic and heartfelt gestures now for thousands of years. Just as you might give flowers to a loved one today so too did the Ancient Romans or Egyptians before you. Of course flowers have stood the test of time and proven so popular mostly because of their beauty – but there is more to it than that. Continue reading How to Pick the Most Romantic Flowers for Anniversaries and More

Media Mondays: A modern marriage

“How valid is marriage, in our times?” asks the narrator.

“The dream of a home of your own when you go looking forward can turn into a nightmare. An economic deadlock called housing – this is what often shelters young family life in our time. It’s not surprising that young people are given pause by the fears of our age. It’s an age of unrest and change, both individual and social. An age of confused personal values, of widespread domestic difficulties culminating in a fabulous number of broken homes. Where can the young men and women of today find the courage and hope of take on the responsibility of making what should be the most secure of all worlds, a home, in the atmosphere of competition and chaos that seems to be the world around us?”

Surprisingly, this sound bite is not from a recent NBC special on the state of the marital union. It comes from a 60-year-old educational film called “Marriage for Moderns.” Continue reading Media Mondays: A modern marriage

Video game talks to your wife so you don’t have to

The Relationship Pro is a “hot new device” that “helps couples drag out their doomed relationship that extra month or two,” reports The Onion. The game controller allows wives to feel like they are interacting with a great husband who listens, sympathizes and gives advice, while husbands can continue to play their own video games.

“It’s amazing. It’s like talking to a fully developed person,” says Pam, a wife who tested out the game.

She demonstrated by asking the controller a common question about the state of their relationship. “What is this? What are we doing?” she pleaded.

“You’re right, I know I have a lot to change,” responded the device. “I know our best days are ahead of us.”

Both spouses credited the Relationship Pro with saving their relationship, at least for another month or so.

“It’s great. Now I can focus on my game instead of worrying about all that stuff she said there,” added Eric, Pam’s husband.

Okay, so the Relationship Pro doesn’t exist, and The Onion is a satirical news website. This clip is quite hilarious and, like all good satire, makes you think.

Marriage tip: In marriage as in life, problems don’t go away by ignoring them. At the same time, finding the right time to talk about relationship issues is important to a successful conversation. Interrupting your spouse in the middle of a game, a favorite TV show, or other engaging activity is a recipe for trouble. Not only will your partner be less likely to focus on what you have to say, he or she will also likely respond with irritation or defensiveness. The best time to talk about sensitive subjects is when you are both fed, rested, and not distracted. Try agreeing on a specific time that you can both set aside to “workshop” any issues that have come up in the past week.

 


How One Hot New Device Helps Couples Drag Out Their Doomed Relationship That Extra Month Or Two

Wedding proposal fail ends in 4 arrests

In the history of how to not propose to your girlfriend, this wedding proposal fail wins a gold star for complete ridiculousness:

All was well along the 10 Freeway in West Covina around lunchtime on January 7th. That was, until approximately 200 to 250 motorcyclists stopped simultaneously, blocking all lanes and surrounding a bike with a man and his girlfriend. After his girlfriend–clearly confused–got off the motorcycle, it released a giant puff of pink smoke, and the driver got down on one knee to propose. She said yes, some bikes did wheelies, and they hugged. Continue reading Wedding proposal fail ends in 4 arrests

25 crazy wedding dresses

For some weddings the crazy wedding dresses are really what the event is remembered for. From haute couture to home-sewn whimsy, wedding gowns exist in an amazing array of fantastic to terrifying. For this post I’ve picked out the 20 craziest wedding dresses I could find. I hope you find them as entertaining as I do.

As much fun as it is to laugh at ridiculous fashion choices on the internet, crazy wedding dresses can be a real problem area of wedding planning. If you are close to the bride, giving feedback about a particularly ugly choice can be helpful when done tactfully and gently. Try using “I” statements and “yes…and…” instead of “but” when sharing your opinion (brush up on PO2’s skills for how to communicate in a relationship for some tips). Once she’s made her choice, no matter how trashy, ridiculous or ugly we may find that choice to be, we must keep our comments to ourselves at the wedding. Weddings are about the bride and groom and what they think is fun, not our fashion sensibilities. I may not have chosen the bikini wedding “dress” for myself, but I think it’s wonderful that the couple went and did something so outrageous and unique. They are expressing who they are. And just as the wedding is a celebration of the two betrothed taking and loving each other for who they are, so should we–their friends and family–celebrate  and accept the couple for who they are.

 

1. Never mind the medallion lace chest thing–this is probably my favorite of all the crazy wedding dresses just for her headpiece. I see a crab, an action figure, a bicycle…what else can you spy with your little eye?

Crazy wedding dresses--sometimes fun, sometimes terrifying!

2. Hello kitty!

Crazy wedding dresses--Hello Kitty style!

3. I actually don’t know if this counts as a wedding dress…

Crazy wedding dresses, ready for the beach.

4. The Octo-Bride!

"The Octo-bride." Crazy wedding dresses.

5. Next up: The bride is just glowing…no, literally, she’s glowing! This is a wild art project, and I think it would be quite fun to dance in later in the night at the reception.

Glowing crazy wedding dress art.

6. Another luminescent gown design made of a fabric of thousands of flat LEDs. First featured in WIRED magazine.

Another glowing wedding gown.

7. Many couples are patriotic, but this bride takes it to the next level! Perhaps she got married on the Fourth of July?

"I pledge allegiance to my husband..."

8. Wedding gown trains became popular in the 1870s and have grown to elaborate proportions. Like much else about the wedding, the overflowing and ridiculously long train symbolizes plentitude, opulence and fertility. This one may be a little overboard…

Crazy wedding dresses: the longest train.

9. The bride is a work of art!

Nature calls...

10. Nothing can extinguish their passion.

Nothing can put out their passion.

11. Real crazy wedding dresses require at least 8 helpers to move in.

Crazy wedding dresses

12. Is the groom in there somewhere?

Crazy wedding dress Cinderella

The best Fathers Day video ever.

It’s an oldie, but a goodie!

Ok, so this fathers day video is only from 2010. I’m sure you’ve seen it before–at the same time, every time I watch I find it equally hilarious. This video by Church on the Move (who also made a great Mothers Day video) pokes fun at and celebrates dads in all their suburban glory: changing diapers, taking care of the house, and bringing home the bacon. And their rapping isn’t half bad….! Those rhymes definitely make it into my list of best parenting quotes.

My favorite part of the video is when dad #1 starts watching videos with this kids and cries during Aladdin. Watching children’s entertainment can be both mind numbing and eye-opening. I know many parents who quite openly enjoy movies aimed at kids. They can be funny, poignant, and clever without all the violence and darkness of adult movies–which, frankly, we all need a break from once and a while.

As this fathers day video shows, the dads in our lives deserve a big shout out for what they do for their families…and they totally have the bragging rights to rap about it. It also made me think: since being a dad takes up so much of a dad’s life, maybe this year we encourage our dads and husbands to pursue their own interests and take a break from the job. Give him the day to do what ever he wants…without the kids. This sounds like exactly the opposite of how fathers day should be celebrated–it’s all about the fact that this wonderful man has kids, right? It should be celebrated with the family! At the same time, he’s a father 365 days a year, so maybe today is the day he should get the day off!

Enjoy this fathers day video and have fun this weekend–whatever you end up doing!

Fathers Day video via Church on the Move

The funny side of problems in marriage

Author Jenna McCarthy takes a humorous look at the unrealistic expectations of marriage in this funny and smart TED talk. It’s important to step back once and a while and look at the funny side of the problems in marriage. What are we really promising in those well worn oaths?

The big day comes, and they’ll stand before God and family, and some guy her dad once did business with, and they’ll vow that nothing, not abject poverty, not life-threatening illness, not complete and utter misery, will ever put the tiniest damper on their eternal love and devotion.

Hearing it like that, you realize that this is some pretty far-fetched promise, especially in thelight of America’s nearly %50 divorce rate. The truth is, every single married couple faces problems in marriage. Life goes by with its successes and challenges and this puts stresses on us and affects all our relationships. In addition, through the years you spend together–the rest of your lives–you will change and grow as a person. You will find new interests and hobbies, your way of looking at life may change.

How can your relationship last through this and the problems in marriage it brings? Perhaps by making a new kind of promise. To be partners in life, helping each other to navigate its twists and turns, respecting and trusting each other while you grow. Recognize that love will be of changing qualities–at times fierce and warming, and at others a cool undercurrent. I believe that with open dialogue about the real difficulties, and less stressing expectations, is part of the path to longer, stronger marriages.

Have fun with this video. Jenna is a great speaker, and she ends with a positive note in spite of all her funny marriage problems griping!

 

Bully: a brave new film

Bullying is a very real, life-changing and potentially life-threatening experience that millions of kids go through every year. It has received more attention in recent years do to what seems like an epidemic of young children ending their lives because of it. I remember first feeling the outrage in 2009 when I heard that an 11 year old hung himself after enduring constant anti-gay bulling. Yes, an 11 year old.

Why are certain kids bullied? Because they are socially awkward, or (perceived to be) gay, or have an accent, or are smaller than others or have a learning disability. Sometimes it seems for no reason at all. Once a kid begins being bullied, he immediately falls into a ruthless pattern of repeated abuse. He becomes the pariah.

How do we communicate to our children–both the bullies, the victims, and the bystanders–that this behavior is wrong? Also important, how do we communicate to adults that it is unacceptable to turn a blind eye and that action must be taken? I believe it will be very difficult to cultivate a just, civil society if we teach our children that violence is an acceptable form of expression towards those we dislike, that turning a blind eye to injustice is expected, and that society will provide no help for its victims. Additionally, the idea that it is natural to be dominated and to dominate others will interfere with their ability to form healthy relationships as adults. “Bullying” of one’s spouse is a type of marriage problem that is very serious and devastatingly common–in some cases we call is abuse. It should not be tolerated in children or adults.

There is an amazing new documentary coming out March 30th titled “Bully.” This film has the potential to reach both children and adults in a profound way. School administrators are considering screening it in middle and high schools across the country, and you can watch the trailer below. Recently, the film has hit a major road bump: the MPAA has given it an R rating. This means that no children under 17 can see it without a parent and it will not be allowed to be shown at schools. As far as I can tell, the movie was just one vote short of being approved as PG-13, and the objection was rough language used by some of the bullies. The producers appealed the decision and it was denied again.

Katy Butler is a high school student from Wisconson who has started an online petition to get the MPAA to downgrade the rating to PG-13. She herself is a victim of bullying. As Katy puts it, the MPAA’s decision “means that a film documenting the abuse that millions of kids experience through bullying won’t be seen by the audience that needs to see it the most.” As of this post, the petition had 115,604 signatures.

Watch the trailer, decide for yourself, and let me know what you think! How do you approach the topic of bullying with your child? Were you bullied or a bully in school?

Learn how to make a marriage work before you get married

If you love someone enough to consider marrying them, the best gift you can give them is learning how to make a marriage work before you exchange vows. Chances are you’ve already been together long enough to know each other’s flaws and to recognize your own areas for improvement. Perhaps you’ve been together through thick and thin, broken up, reconciled differences, and moved forwards together. Knowing how you work through issues together and having the commitment to getting marriage counseling to better your skills will set your marriage off on the right track.

I fell in love with this “Save the Date” video (below) because not only is it artistically done but tells a beautiful story. This was a great portrait of a relationship that has the skills for how to make a marriage work. Before getting hitched this couple had already learned to work together to overcome differences, showed commitment and compassion for the other’s concerns and desires, and were willing to be flexible an open-minded for each other. These are key elements of how to make a relationship last.

 The two lovers start out seeming very different: the woman is a fashionista who loves shopping and elegance; the man is a football fan who is never without his junk food. They meet and realize they have much more in common than first appears. At the same time, their relationship runs into problems because of their superficial differences–they can’t appreciate each other’s lifestyles. In the end, time passes, they learn and grow, adventures are had and…well, you’ll see!

Watch the video and let me know what you think. How do you know when/if you are ready to get married? What kind of issues did you deal with during your engagement? What do you think is the most important pre-marital step in how to make a marriage work?

The I Love Lucy guide to a happy marriage

Here’s a witty compilation from a Youtube poster, a tongue-in-cheek look at advice for a happy marriage from I Love Lucy. The areas of advice are (1) discuss things kindly, (2) never lose you temper, (3) listen to your partner, (4) be honest, (5) be considerate, (6) appreciate your spouse’s work, and (7) never let the flame go cold. Sounds like good advice to me! Of course, when it comes to Lucille and Desi, nothing is that simple. This is one of the most well-known and popular couples in pop culture history. What do you think: do they have a good marriage?

It’s interesting to see the differences in the accepted roles of man and wife 50 years ago versus today. Desi is in control of the finances; Lucy gets an allowance from him. Lucy doesn’t work and is portrayed as a relatively childish, trouble-making girl who is always causing disasters. The two have separate beds! The spouses are constantly playing games with each other in an endless loop of give and take. They insult each other openly. Desi appears to physically threaten Lucy many times, although they never have any violent moments.

When I really think about it, much of the marriages portrayed in the show are disturbing. So what makes them so funny and enjoyable at the same time?

What I like about I Love Lucy, when I get past the sexist faux-pas, is that Lucy is feisty and independent and Desi is infinitely patient. They seem like equals. And they always manage to resolve their problems in a loving and forgiving manner. There’s a lot of passion and understanding between them and they do seem to have a happy marriage.

There’s always danger analyzing something meant to be funny in a serious way because, after all, comedy works by exaggerating normal behavior. Still, it’s fodder for some interesting conversation. So check out this clip and chime in. What rubs you the wrong way about their relationship? What do you like? Is this still, or was it ever, a good model for a happy marriage?