The unique ability of women to create deep, personal bonds that enrich lives. With strength and grace, investing in others while maintaining boundaries in order to build healthy connections, and work to repair those that are not

My Independence Day—Choosing Between My Self-Worth and His Selfishness

My Independence Day—Choosing Between His Selfishness and My Self-Worth

When I stormed out of Jimmy’s apartment, mid-dinner on the Fourth of July, I left the peach and raspberry pie I had made behind. We’d spent the morning apart. I stayed at my apartment baking and thought he was sleeping late at his. Instead, he went water skiing with a mutual friend. I loved water skiing, and he knew it. I’d Gotten Used to His Selfishness at the Cost of My Self-Worth His ability to push me aside started to feel like a natural reflex. The missing sensitivity in him was made up by his family, so it took me a while to realize he was truly a jerk. There on his balcony, mid-bite into my hamburger, he bragged about his morning. […]

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Marriage Advice that Will Change Things More than You Think

Marriage Advice That Will Change Things More Than You Think…

A wise friend once told me that before you get married, ask all the couples in your life whom you respect and have a marriage worth emulating what their best marriage advice to you would be. I thought this was quite brilliant, and I spent the months leading up to my wedding doing just that. My favorite words of wisdom came from my mother-in-law, Pam, who has been happily married for 40 years and who is involved in marriage ministry. She told me four simple words: “Weed your own garden.” Needing some elaboration, I asked her to explain. She said one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your marriage is to constantly focus on what is wrong with your spouse, on their

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You, Your Man, and His Baby Mama All Need Grit and Grace

So your man is a pretty wonderful guy. Things are going so well. You might have even married him. What in the world could mess this up? Oh, the mother of his kids! Baby mama drama began with the start of civilization—think Abraham from the Bible. Sparks were going off between Sarah (his wife) and Hagar (baby mama). Abraham couldn’t deal with the drama and finally shipped Hagar off with their child—never to be seen again. Even if that is your fantasy, it isn’t going to happen—nor should it. The modern reality is that almost half (46%) of marriages involve a step-parent situation.1 When your relationship first started, dreams of the Brady Bunch may have been circling in your head. But reality

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How to Make Your Man Feel Like a Great Father

How to Make Your Man Feel Like a Great Father

Good or bad, how people speak to you or act around you often does have an influence on how we think about ourselves. The greater the importance of that person to you, the greater the influence. In the delicate dance of parenting, our words and actions with one another have a greater power than we think to build up or tear down. A sideways glance or condescending tone can be detrimental to our confidence as a person and especially as a parent.  Often I don’t think it’s our intention to tear one another down, but because men and women can be so inherently different in their parenting styles (and life in general!), we tend to attack those differences rather then learn from them and

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How to Navigate Love and Money: The Importance of Being Financially Saavy as a Couple

When you get married, you are not only marrying that person, but you are also marrying their family and their credit score. We love our significant others and we need money to survive, but how do we talk about our finances together? Do you know what kind of spending habits you are marrying into? Is the person you’re marrying a saver or a spender? Those questions are all things that need to be considered before the wedding bells ring. Being a financially savvy couple takes open communication and hard conversations to avoid marriage pitfalls. What Money Mindsets Do We Value in Our Relationships? According to the Jimenez Law Firm, “Money is widely known as one of the leading causes of divorce in

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5 Things I Know About True Friendship

5 Things I Know About True Friendship

What is a true friendship? I know, such a loaded question. Especially because as humans, we are constantly evolving, changing, growing, and morphing into newer, hopefully better, versions of ourselves. What I might have needed in a friendship in my 20s is profoundly different than what I need now as a 40-year-old woman. Some friends come and some friends go. Some friends are there for the mountaintops and others for the valley lows. Some friendships are seasonal, while others are lifelong. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned, both good and bad, through many types of friendship. Have a Safe Place, But Beware! I remember my younger days of chatting on the land line with a certain friend of mine. We were

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Real Courage is Not What You Think

Real Courage Is Not What You Think

Mary Anne Radmacher said, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” Like a calm response in the face of a bully, real courage is often quiet, but calculated. Those who possess it don’t demonstrate it by chance. They make choices and a conscious effort to stand for the right thing, even though their knees are wobbling. This is what real courage really looks like… When you speak out against injustice, even though your voice is shaking. When you leave the boyfriend who doesn’t want the same things as you, even though tears are streaming down your face as you walk away. When you assure your recently diagnosed

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My Story of Becoming a Relieved Widow

Why The Relieved Widow? A single gunshot shatters the quiet early morning, and in an instant, transforms a wife into a widow. However, upon discovering her husband had taken his own life, shock and dismay quickly gave way to something truly surprising: relief. Amanda-Lee retraces her 15-year marriage through a lens of grief to uncover the truth: Her marriage was tumultuous and unpredictable, thanks to his undiagnosed mental health battle, and it looked a lot like caring for a terminally ill partner. Coming to the surface allows her to breathe the air she had been choked off from and relearn the importance of boundary setting, giving grace to herself, and the building the courage to imagine and embrace a better future. For

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Here Are 13 Things Only Siblings Will Get

Here Are 13 Things Only Siblings Will Get

There are some things that only siblings understand because you’ve known each other the longest. Have a laugh and share with your sibling(s): 1. You ask the waitress to change your order because your younger sibling just copied yours (so annoying). 2. They’re the person you want to be like the most, although you’d never admit it because they don’t really embrace the whole “imitation is the highest form of flattery” thought process (review point number 1). 3. When your new shirt is missing, you know exactly who took it… 4. When the guy you like likes your sister. Maddening. When it’s your younger sister—even worse. 5. The sheer satisfaction you get when your sibling gets in trouble instead of you. 6. When

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What Your Grieving Friend Really Wants You to Know 2019

What Your Grieving Friend Wants You to Know

When I first lost my mom, I had so many well-meaning friends, and relatives offer help, advice, and words of encouragement. The outpouring of support was amazing, yet a little overwhelming at the same time. Everyone meant well, and I certainly appreciated the sentiments, but it was difficult for me to express what I really needed at any given time. It wasn’t until I started speaking with several friends and relatives who also lost loved ones that I discovered I wasn’t alone. Several told me they too, had a difficult time figuring out how to help their friends help them through the grieving process. People have a tendency to want to “fix” the bereaved, but many times, all we’re looking for is

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Establishing Healthy Boundaries in the Grit and Grace Life

Healthy personal boundaries are the key to healthy relationships. Without them, healthy relationships are impossible. Yes, you heard that right. Impossible. That is because boundaries provide a necessary and very important distinction between yourself and other people. It is where you end and others begin, and vice versa. Every kind of relationship can benefit from healthy personal boundaries, whether it’s a spouse, boyfriend, co-worker, family member, friend, child, or parent. What Are Boundaries? Boundaries are described as guidelines, rules, or limits that determine the safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around you or treat you. They are based on your beliefs, values, preferences, likes, and dislikes, and help you develop a healthy and secure sense of “self.” They also

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3 things to do when you feel broken and unlovable

3 Things to Do When You Feel Broken and Unlovable

How many of us can honestly say we’ve made it through life with no regrets? It seems almost inevitable that we’ll make some poor decision, say something wrong, or choose the wrong door at some point. But what do you do when it feels like your choices make you unlovable? Years ago, I sat on a hilltop in North Dakota with my then-boyfriend. I knew within hours of my plane landing that this relationship wasn’t going to work out. We weren’t connecting, and I had followed him all over his rain-soaked farm more like a lost duckling than an endearing girlfriend. As the wind whipped against the side of the truck, he stared out the windshield, tears welling in his eyes. I

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7 Money Tips When You Are Thinking Marriage

7 Money Tips When You’re Thinking Marriage

Before you take the plunge from dating to marriage, there are a few things that you and that “oh he’s so darn cute and sweet—nothing else matters!” guy you’re smitten with need to discuss. One biggie that every couple needs to have a serious conversation about is money. Yep, the subject we all want to avoid… but this is one of the top issues that lead to divorce. So a smart girl takes care of business applying these money tips before it ever becomes a problem. Here are the top money tips you need to know and do: 1. Talk about it! You need to discuss everything before you put on that wedding dress, so don’t avoid this subject; jump in. It

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If Your Man Didn’t Propose But Should Have Read This

If Your Man Didn’t Propose (But Should Have) Read This

To the girl who didn’t get the engagement you were expecting, this is what you need to do to finally get a commitment… You tried not to get your hopes up, but deep down you feel like it is time. He’s the man of your dreams and he says you are the woman of his. You’ve been together long enough for him to know if he wants to make that big commitment. And it doesn’t help that it seems like everyone’s boyfriend is popping the question these days! Maybe you were hoping it would happen over the holidays… Then, Valentine’s Day… Or, perhaps you were daydreaming about the perfectly planned summer proposal leading to a beautiful fall marriage. You even dropped some

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How to Know if Your Boyfriend is a Charity Case

How to Know if Your Boyfriend is a Charity Case

Defining a Fixer  What is a “fixer”? A fixer is someone who feels best when helping others. If they see someone who is less fortunate, their first inclination is to try to remedy the situation. They have a keen sense of the unfairness in the world and strive to correct it. They will volunteer to help and are generally charitable people. If you recognize that you are a fixer, that’s great! It’s a wonderful quality to have. Fixers are nurturing, giving, and empathic. They often do a great amount of good, meaningful work in this world—think Mother Teresa and Ghandi. But unfortunately, many fixers expand that need to fix into their romantic relationships, causing devastation for all. Ask Yourself These to Know if

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He Brings Me Flowers, Is that Enough?

My Boyfriend Brings Me Flowers, Is That Enough?

Your boyfriend brings you flowers, treats you to dinner, and maybe even buys you a gift. Sweet things that indicate he could be the “rest of my life” partner but is that all you want? Or perhaps that’s what he did when you first started dating, but less so now. And the other things you might be looking for haven’t yet appeared. Maybe you’ve compromised on some things you thought were important. Or accepted some that you didn’t think you would accept. This happens to nearly every woman who is seeking that ever-after relationship. The concessions don’t happen quickly; they occur slowly, often without even realizing you’re giving up what you thought you had found. Settling for the opposite of what you

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Ask Dr. Zoe – Is He Unhappy in Marriage or Mid-Life Crisis?

‘Johanna’ Asked: How do I work on my marriage when my husband tells me everything in his life is in the air right now , he’s unhappy in marriage OR tells you “I’m sorry I’ve been living your life. You wanted kids and to get married, not me!” We’ve been together for 17 years now. How can I move on from that? I’m hurting right now. Dr. Zoe Answered: Your husband is going through something right now that’s making him question all of his choices in life. Unfortunately, that includes you and the kids, too. Maybe it’s true that he felt pressured to get married and have children. Maybe it’s actually that he’s unhappy in marriage, with how his life is turning

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