The Five-Year Marriage®: Couples And Communication

The Five-Year Marriage® Helps Young Couples And Singles Looking For Commitment

When young couples are in love and want to commit to one another, they may feel as though traditional marriage is their only path. I’m Annmarie Kelly, and I’m here to offer young engaged couples, or soon-to-be engaged couples, marriage advice that can change their expectations of what marriage is and could be with my book The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm. The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm allows couples to explore an alternative to “forever” marriage that encourages communication, consideration, and dedication to one another.

Marriage Advice: Learning To Communicate

One of the most important things that couples can bring to a marriage is the ability to communicate with one another. For The Five-Year Marriage®, communication is essential. After all, every five years both partners will be asked to re-visit their expectations and to communicate with one another clearly what they want from the next five years.

Communication Is A Two-Way Street

Couples, it’s important to remember that communication goes both ways. It’s not enough for one partner to communicate their side of things. Both partners must have an ongoing dialogue with one another. Of course, communication may come more naturally to one partner than to the other. Sometimes one or the other of you may need time to gather their thoughts or time to figure out how to express themself verbally. What’s important is that both parts of a couple make the effort to communicate and leave room for each other to communicate. Practice having an ongoing dialogue with one another. You’ll find that regular open communication prepares you as a couple for your Five-Year Marriage®.

The Five-Year Marriage® Offers The Best Advice For Engaged And Married Couples

I’m Annmarie Kelly. Over my career as an author, empowerment speaker, radio host, and victory strategist, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to help empower many women. Now, I’m offering much-needed advice to singles, engaged and married couples who are looking for an alternative to traditional marriage. If you want to learn more about how The Five-Year Marriage® can offer you the advice you and your partner have been looking for, click through to read more about The Five-Year Marriage® or contact me today.

Maine – My Way

Greetings! I’m glad you found The Maine Diaries! If you want to experience the joys of New England, and specifically the coast of Maine, this is a good guide.

I started The Maine Diaries because I’ve love traveling the Maine coast and want to share my experiences with you.  They are based on my 25 road trips that started in 1994.  My traveling partner – and my partner in life – is my spouse, Joseph Eagle.

On my trips, I leave from West Chester PA (a western suburbs of Philadelphia). The destination is always the same: the area of coastal Maine known as Downeast, on Mt. Desert Island – the largest island off the coast of Maine – and home to Bar Harbor and the breathtaking Acadia National Park.

The road trip Downeast (from Philadelphia), is 10-13 hours, depending on how often you stop. I’ve done it in a one-day drive, and it’s doable. But it’s long with usually at least two traffic bottlenecks (usually in CT and MA). So if you can do an overnight along the way, do it. You’ll enjoy the ride – and the trip – more. However, if you do, don’t just stop at some no-tell-motel. Pick a place to explore and make it fun. Along the coast, there are unlimited places to have an adventure. Many of those places are mentioned, and some detailed, in The Maine Diaries.

The Drive

How I make the trip  is driving straight through PA, NJ, NY, and CT (all places close enough that I can explore another time in a weekend getaway).  Then I meander through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and once in Maine, along the coast through southern Maine, Portland/Casco Bay, and Mid-coast to get to my Downeast destination. You can easily follow the areas on a map.

After years of trying different routes north, Joseph and I found the best – and least stressful – way is the PA Turnpike to Garden State Parkway around NYC and over the TappanZee/Cuomo Bridge, to the Merritt Parkway and I84 in CT, to I90E (Mass Turnpike), 495N (around Boston) to I95N through NH into Maine.

Side Trips and Overnights

Massachusetts

  • Sturbridge/Walden Pond: This is where I typically stop for a meal. Old Sturbridge Village is a “living history museum” and worth seeing one time. Also along the way, as you drive east toward Boston, you could stop at Walden Pond. It’s a townie park now and, on a nice day, crowded with bathers. However, if you’re a fan of Henry David Thoreau there is a small area that would interest you. If not a fan, don’t bother.
  • Boston: You can do an overnight in Boston. but there’s so much history to see and cool things to do in the town, it’s worth a couple overnights, or a trip on its own. On my way to Maine, I like to go just a bit further north until I stop for the overnight.
  • Salem MA: This town is about 5 hours from Bar Harbor. I only stop here if I’m also doing a second overnight in Portland ME. I love a stop here, and have done it a few times. It’s a cute town – lots of witchy stuff to see. I’d pass on most of the touristy “witch trial” stuff. Three fabulous things do for an overnight, presuming you get there in mid-late afternoon:
    • The House of the Seven Gables tour. So interesting! It’s worth reading some – or all – of the book in which Hawthorne describes some of the historical buildings that still exist today.
    • Ghost Tour. There is also a ghost tour presented by a true warlock who is more focused on history than ghosts. He’s fabulous!
      • He took us past the old jail (now condos) and the Monopoly Houses (Parker Brothers games were born in Salem)
    • The Peabody Essex Museum is nice on its own, but the “don’t miss” thing to see at the PEM is the authentic Chinese house. Built in 1800 – bought in China, dismantled there and reassembled here. It’s fascinating to see and the videos of the moving process are something to see.
    • Hotels: I’ve stayed at the historic Hawthorne Hotel on a B&B deal. It was OK, pricey with tiny rooms – but worth taking a look and having a drink in the Tavern and breakfast was good. I loved the Salem Inn. When I was there it included wine and cheese at 5pm, which we enjoyed in the quaint and quiet courtyard, and breakfast. And a ghost…which Joseph and I named Catherine.
    • Marblehead: About 10″ from the town, this is a beautiful port with lots of American Revolution history
  • Cape Anne: Everybody knows Cape Cod in the south, but the northern Cape Anne is home to Rockport, with one of the most painted buildings in the country (“Motif#1”). If you go, enjoy the scenery and the seafood…but don’t miss The Paper House

New Hampshire – about 4-4.5 hours from Bar Harbor

  • Portsmouth is a cool little city. It has some history, a good nightlife, and is easy to walk. The town is very cute during the day, has some historical sections, and the couple bars are hopping – we especially like the Irish Bar.
  • The NH Liquor Store is a good stop for reasonably priced alcohol before going into Maine. It’s an easy on-off from 95. It’s much like Total Wine in DE.

Southern Maine – Lots of cute little beach towns, including…

  • Kittery. From Portsmouth or the liquor, you’re about 10 minutes from the bridge into ME – first town is Kittery. Lots of outlets but pretty much like what we have here. What is worth a stop is When Pigs Fly Bread. It’s a place to get food and drink and, attached to the bar, is the mothership for the best-ever breads. Lots to sample, sweet and savory. I usually bring many loaves home but – since covid – have ordered my favs. In 2020, when I couldn’t vacation in Maine, one of my friends (who owns property nearby) brought bread back for me. But I missed it so much that I had a bunch of loaves sent to me.
  • Ogunquit has awesome scenery. You can grab a bite to eat here during the day and then take the walking path, which meanders along a hill overlooking the ocean – and worth the walk. Also look for Perkins Cove because it is a romantic little place with stores and cafes – small but nice. I can recommend 2 good restaurants: Pizza Napoli, owned by my friends, Robert and Michael, and Roberto’s – where they hang out when not at their own place.
  • Kennebunkport is a quiet town which boasts the Bush compound – which you can only see from a distance
  • Old Orchard Beach may be the most popular family town for summer visitors. It reminded me of Ocean City NJ – and a bit too busy for me. However, if you want a lot of family-friendly activity, it could be your favorite place.

Portland/Casco Bay

  • About an hour north of Kittery and Ogunquit is Portland. This town is a great overnight and even worth a few days. Portland is a major city – but not like Philly and much smaller and very walkable. When I first went to Portland, much of the downtown (Old Port) was a burned-out place, and a little scary. Not anymore. By 2019 it was all small shops and cool bars – and The Holy Donut – another foody place not to be missed. Amazing potato donuts (I don’t much care for either donuts or potatoes, but these potato donuts are dream-worthy!)
    • Where to Stay
      • Uptown – Congress Street is the main drag for traditional stores and there’s lots of activity. I’ve stayed at the Westin and my favorite thing is watching the sunset and having drinks at the rooftop bar. I also loved the small eateries up, down, and around Congress Street.
      • Old Port – I’ve also stayed downtown by the waterfront, e.g. at a Marriott. Both the area and the hotel are just OK – and, I think, a lot more expensive; I like uptown better for its location.
      • Scarborough is just outside of the city and an easy drive into Portland. It has several chain hotels, and less expensive in cash/easier to  exchange points during high season. However, make your reservation early to get your best deal.
    • What To Do
      • There are many things to do in Portland and, during  the summer months, lots of events. So check local listings and the local Patch to find them. Here are some good standards that, if you are only doing an overnight or weekend, your best bets:
        • Portland Art Museum there – decent but not someplace I would visit again.
        • The Victoria Manson is a historical house that was slated for demolition and saved by a history-focused group. It’s been lovingly restored. I’ve seen a couple times – worth it if you like that kind of thing.
        • Portland Headlight is one big place not to be missed. It’s a beautiful lighthouse in a peaceful coastal setting – and the park is a good place to walk, see the sites, take pix, and suck in some of that good Main salt air.
        • Becky’s Diner on Commercial Street is THE place for breakfast. You’re likely to wait 30-60 minutes to get in, but it’s good diner food and real Maine atmosphere…and at an average price.
        • The Holy Donut has a couple locations and, even though I don’t care much for potatoes or donuts, I crave these!
        • The Portland Observatory is on the northern end of the peninsula. It’s a civil engineering feat and the the last historic maritime signal station. It’s a great stop if you have a couple hours. If you time is right, you can visit here and then get something to eat in Munjoy Hill.
        • Walk! During the day, consider walking around the city of Portland. It has several funky neighborhoods that are interesting to observe on foot. I like seeing very old buildings on Congress Street. Also, the intersection of Congress, Free, and High Streets is a bustling place – and, at night – is an amazingly cool visual treat.
        • Enjoy the vibrant Night Life. There are lots of cool places but they turn over fast, so check Yelp or Trip Advisor to see what’s
    • Most of the restaurants have average offerings, but good ones. There are some interesting upscale places in Munjoy Hill section on the northeast section of the peninsula.
    • The Trader Joe’s in Portland carries a large selection of locally brewed beers. Rising Tide is Joseph’s favorite (Portland-made) beer, but he likes to try others too.

Leaving Portland, going north – on the highway I295 – you can stop in Freeport, Home of LL Bean. If you’re a fan, you can get some discounts there. There are some cute shops and also a small When Pigs Fly bread store and a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. However, unless you have a purpose for going, it’s not a “must do” stop.

If you want to drive straight through from Portland to Bar Harbor, you can take I295 north toward Augusta and then pick up I95 at Gardiner into Bangor (where Stephen Kind lives) before going east to Bar Harbor. That drive is about 3 hours.

OR, if you want to meander up in coast, you can take I295 out of Portland and get onto scenic Rt. 1, which takes you through the small towns. I like doing that on the way to Bar Harbor, through tiny towns on Rts 1 and 3, in the way into Ellsworth – the county seat and the city closest to Bar Harbor (and where all the regular grocery stores, Walmart, etc. are). Personally I like doing it on the way up but, on the way back (and because I’m ready to get home) Joseph and I go the more direct route, driving west from Bar Harbor to Bangor and then south on I95 out of Maine.

IF YOU GO SCENIC RT 1: There are lots of little towns along the way – some more interesting than others – but each one having its own special charm. Here are some I’ve been to and visit from time to time:

  • Wiscasset: Off the beaten path, is Wiscasset – home of Red’s Eat – internationally lauded for its lobster rolls. It’s literally a shack in the center of town. Expect to wait in line about an hour to order at the window and another 20” from the time you order until you get your food. If you go between lunch and dinner (around 2-3pm) it’s faster – hardly a line. Either way, if you love lobster roll, it’s the best around. FYI: if you’re with someone who isn’t a fish person…Joseph doesn’t eat it and gets a sirloin steak sandwich.  Both are wicked good!
    • Don’t let the time in line stop you. If you’re friendly, you’re likely to meet some interesting people and have some cool conversations. However, it’s sunny – so wear your hat to guard from too much sun.
  • Boothbay Harbor – about 20 minutes from Wiscasset, this is a quaint coastal town of lighthouses and the longest wooden footbridge in the country. It’s also where the old-time musical Carousel was filmed
  • Monhegan Island: Between Freeport and Wiscasset, and off the coast, is Monhegan Island. This is a magical place where several of the Wyeth family own or have owned houses there. I believe Jaime still do and still paints there. You have to plan this trip in advance – and it makes sense to stay at a B&B overnight – because you can only get to the island by mail ferry, leaving from Port Clyde at 7am, and you return the same way in late afternoon.
    • It’s an adventure if you go, and worth the extra effort. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Port Clyde Lighthouse.
  • Damariscotta: Just past Wiscasset is Damariscotta. This little town is worth stopping in for a short stay…because it’s sooooo Maine. And it’s the home of the original RENY’s – the funky department store you see all over Maine.
  • If you are staying on the coastal road, you’ll practically run right into Rockland, Rockport, and Camden.
    • Rockland is a sweet little town and home to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse (which you can only get to by foot – 3/4 mile one way) and the Farnsworth Art Museum, which houses both local artists and many famous Wyeth family paintings.
    • Just north of Rockland is Rockport, a beautiful harbor town.
    • Same with Camden jut up the road – “jewel of the coast” – with lots of big boats and yachts. You could visit both of those in a day. And, while in Camden, you could go to Camden Hills State Park and take a hike up Mount Battie for some ama zing views of Penobscot Bay.
  • Continuing north you’ll pass through towns like Belfast, Stonington, Deer Isle, and Blue Hill.
    • Blue Hill is called the considered the gateway to Acadia. If you read Charlotte’s Web as a kid…Blue Hill was the home of EB white, who wrote Charlotte’s web. If you go there around Labor Day, you can go to the Blue Hill Fair – and don’t be surprised if you feel like you just walked into Charlotte’s Web…because you are! White fashioned the county fair in his book after the Blue Hill Fair. I didn’t know that when I went to the fair the first time. Still, I noticed how much it reminded me of the book. It was a year or two later that I learned it was White’s hometown – that’s how good his descriptive writing was!
      • If you go to the fair, you’re very likely to see Wilbur there – though Charlotte sees to stay out of site whenever I’ve gone.
  • As you get closer to Bar Harbor, you’ll pass through Bucksport.  This is the place that boasts (what I think) is the scariest bridge ever: The Penobscot Narrows Bridge – one of only 3 such bridges in the country. I don’t drive over it – I drove over the rickety old one, but this one is too much for me. Fortunately it doesn’t bother Joseph. However, there are two things you can enjoy around here:
    • Penobscot Narrows Observatory: This is the tallest bridge observatory in the world. Visitors can go inside the observatory and to the top – and it’s very cool to be there and see the river and adjoining town from almost (I think) a half-mile up.
    • On the same side of the river as the observatory is Fort Knox – and interesting military compound leftover from the Civil War. It’s worth seeing once – and it isn’t very expensive to visit.
    • Just over the bridge is Verona Island – a good place to stop and have a picnic by the Penobscot River.
  • About another half-hour drive and you are in the town of Ellsworth – the county seat and the town that serves Mt. Desert Island.
    • There’s a lot of history here, including the Woodlawn Museum, once owned by wealthy captain who created much of Ellsworth’s trade one hundred or more years ago, and the Ellsworth Bird Sanctuary.
    • Ellsworth features a lot of entrepreneurs, artists, and a few restaurants. My go-to is the Riverside Café but I’ve also enjoyed dinner at the Irish bar (Finn’s Irish Pub). Joseph loves visiting the British me-too pub (Airline Brewing Company). The first time we went they didn’t serve more that picky snacks, but now they have a menu – including bangers and mash and even pasties. Being there is like being in the UK.
    • Ellsworth is also where the main grocery shopping is with a few major grocery stores and Walmart are.

Bar Harbor is east of Ellsworth. BUT, if you go north from Ellsworth, you’ll pass the Schoodic Peninsula and be heading toward Canada – and how you travel if you want to hike Mount Katahdin. I’ve never done it, but I have explored the little towns along the way, including the Quoddy Lighthouse and Campobello, former summer home of FDR.

From Ellsworth, drive about 30” onto Mt. Desert Island. There are 3 main harbors on Mt. Desert:

  • Bar Harbor, touristy but quaint with the largest number of stores and restaurants
  • Southwest Harbor, small and with a slightly upper middle-class vibe
  • Northeast Harbor, where you’ll see the yachts and could even run into a Rockefeller, Dick Wolf, or Martha Stewart.
  • There are other, smaller places, like Pretty Marsh, but unless you know someone there or have something to do there, it’s not a good use of time – but it’s also where some of the best seasonal restaurants can be found. It’s hard to say which ones because those island restaurants can be gangbusters one summer and gone the next.

The primary thing on Mt. Desert is the spectacular Acadia National Park. It’s filled with breathtaking beauty, and more hikes than you can imagine, as well as carriage trails that go through the prettiest parts of the park.

  • Start at the Visitor center and get a park pass. You may have to make a reservation to get into the park – and the rangers will tell you.
  • Drive the Ocean Drive to get a feel for the park. You’ll drive through or past places like Thunder Hole.  You can get out and walk a little bit or a lot.
  • Plan to go up to Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak – and the first place the sun comes up on the east coast.
    • You can hike up the mountain and I’ve done it a couple times – and that’s fun. It’s more fun to hike up the mountain and walk back on the road (but be careful).
    • Drive up the mountain for either sunrise or sunset – two of the best things to do in Acadia.
      • When you go for sunset, go early. Lots of people go, so it gets crowded. One year there was someone who got freaked out by the height and drove about 5mph, and we missed the sunset
      • Once I took friends, who was visiting for the day, up to Cadillac and there was a man on the mountain playing bagpipes…it was amazing!
  • Many of the hikes start of the Jordan Pond House, so it’s hub and gets busy. Get there early for parking. Two good hikes from that hub are the
    • Jordan Pond Path (goes around the pond – takes about 2 hours). Half the path is a flat path and the other is through the woods and over boulders – dress with appropriate foot gear. From Jordan Pond House, I like starting on the left side because it’s the more challenging part. Halfway around, at the base of “The Bubbles” the path flattens out.
    • Jordan Stream Path
      • This is the opposite direction from the Pond and through the woods to Seal Harbor. The return in on a lovely carriage road
    • Popovers at Jordan Pond House are a must – out in the backyard looking at The Bubbles – a good way to end either hike
  • Two other favorite hike are:
    • Ocean Path, which starts  at Sand Beach and is relatively easy – no big boulders to climb over – with amazing views all along. I like doing this one in late afternoon because that’s when it’s the least crowded. I bring a snack to eat at the end of the way out while enjoying the lowering sun. The way back to Sand Beach is during sunset and the changing colors makes the trek even better.
    • Connors Nubble, not as easy one going up the mountain – but not real strenuous. Then, when you come down the mountain, you end up on a flat carriage trail.

Night Life: Don’t expect a lot of nightlife in Bar Harbor. But if you hike all day, that might not matter. If I finish a hike in the latter part of the day, I enjoy having a drink at happy hour in one of the many outdoor bars. The restaurants are good. I like Havana, Café This Way, Jeannie’s Great Maine Breakfast and the Black Friar.

Where to stay: I stay at Windward Cottages – and they are the best! They are housekeeping cottages overlooking Clarks Cove. Owner Ollie Wenger does everything to make sure you have a good stay. Also, I like that all the harbors are about 15” from the cottage. And some of the good eating places are outside of Bar harbor areas…like Mothers Kitchen for lunches (across the street from the cottage), Burning Tree, The Common Good (popovers) and Red Sky (Southwest), Beal’s Lobster Pound, and XYZ.

What Are Good Qualities For A Five-Year Partner?

relationship advice, when I'm sorry isn't enough

Looking For The Right Partner For The Five-Year Marriage® 

Although some of the expectations and practices around marriage have changed over the years, couples who are together in the long term are still largely expected to formalize their relationship through marriage. Some engaged couples find, however, that the “forever” style commitment of traditional commitment isn’t for them. An alternative can be found in The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage ParadigmI’m Annmarie Kelly, and I welcome engaged couples to consider the benefits of The Five-Year Marriage® 

Finding The Right Partner Is The Key To A Solid Relationship 

No matter your reasons for getting married – whether for love, finances, or children – the relationship is made much easier with both partners are compatible with one another. When you are interested in a Five-Year Marriage® style of commitment, you also have to make sure that your partner is suited to The Five-Year Marriage® plan.  

What Qualities Make For A Good Five-Year Partner? 

In The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm, I detail qualities that can make someone a potential candidate for a Five-Year Marriage®. There are, of course, many metrics by which you might measure how well-suited a partner is for you. However, over the years I have identified seven “must haves” for partners who want toThe Five-Year Marriage®. I call thee these“must haves” The Solid Seven. They offer you fast feedback on potential partners, even early on in your relationship. To learn more about The Solid Seven, read The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm

The Five-Year Marriage® Offers The Best Advice For Singles, Engaged And Married Couples 

I’m Annmarie Kelly. Over my career as an author, empowerment speaker, radio host, and victory strategist, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to help and empower many women. Now, I’m offering much-needed advice to engaged and married couples who are looking for an alternative to traditional marriage. If you want to learn more about how The Five-Year Marriage can offer you the advice you and your partner have been looking for, click through to read more about The Five-Year Marriage or contact me today

The Five-Year Marriage®: Finding The Right Partner

The Five-Year Marriage® Gives Engaged Couples Advice On How To Plan For Marriage 

If you’re making a long-term commitment to your partner, shouldn’t planning the marriage be more important than planning the wedding day? I’m Annmarie Kelly, and I encourage all couples considering marriage to read The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage ParadigmThe Five-Year Marriage helps couples learn how to plan for marriage together.  

How Can You Plan For Marriage? 

Although traditional marriage requires a commitment of “til death do us part,” we all know that that promise is no guarantee of success in marriage. After all, about half of marriages in the US end in divorce. The Five-Year Marriage isn’t guaranteed to make your marriage a sure thing, either. In fact, the very premise depends on couples being willing to take the chance that after five years their commitment to one another might be over. What The Five-Year Marriage® can do for you is encourage couples to prioritize their commitment and really think ahead in their marriage. 

It Starts With Finding The Right Partner 

Any successful partnership depends first on finding the right partner. When you want to walk the path of The Five-Year Marriage, you have to ask yourself – what kind of person would want a Five-Year Marriage? Or, rather, what kind of person wouldn’t want a Five-Year Marriage? By starting with that question, couples will be able to figure out if they are a good match for each other in a Five-Year Marriage. 

The Five-Year Marriage® Offers The Best Advice For Engaged And Married Couples 

I’m Annmarie Kelly. Over my career as an author, empowerment speaker, radio host, and victory strategist, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to help and empower many women. Now, I’m offering much-needed advice to engaged and married couples who are looking for an alternative to traditional marriage. If you want to learn more about how The Five-Year Marriage can offer you the advice you and your partner have been looking for, click through to read more about The Five-Year Marriage or contact me today

Is Your Marriage Dishonest?

Is This Marriage Honest?

Janet was second guessing a recent decision and needed a little marriage advice from her long-time girlfriends. “Just don’t tell Tony,” Janet said as she sipped her chardonnay. “He doesn’t know I feel this way, and I don’t think he’d understand.”

Why Janet was so comfortable telling her girlfriends what was in her heart or on her mind, but not her spouse, should have bothered everyone (it didn’t). What Janet probably didn’t realize was that she was confessing to having a dishonest marriage.

The sad truth is that many marriages are dishonest. Maybe most of them are! It isn’t intentional – at least not at first. In fact, it happens easily and almost by accident.

Is Your Marriage Dishonest?

The dishonest marriage often has an innocent start. It happens when one or both partners aren’t truthful with each about what’s happening within the marriage. Very often it starts with one partner not being straight-up about some internal change. The change is likely to be the result of a significant emotional event, like the death of a parent, a serious car accident, or winning the lottery. However, the most common SEE for young couples is the birth of a child.

Have Significant Emotional Events Impacted Your Marriage?

Nearly every couple will tell you that the birth of your first child has a tremendous impact on how you think and feel about almost everything. When it was BC (before children) and it was just you two, you were able to come and go independently. If you wanted to go out for drinks with friends, you could. If you got an idea for a quick trip, on a moment’s notice, you’d do it. If your job required some travel, no problem. Your plans could change on a dime without a big hassle. You thought about what you wanted, what fun things you could do – together or separately – and, most of the time, you focused on NOW.

How Did That Event Change You?

With the birth of your baby, life changed and, now that you have a baby and you can’t just pick up and go. In fact, just getting out the door in the morning takes three times longer than BC. You new experience of last-minute changes is putting on a new shirt because the baby spit up on the first one.

A new baby means another person is totally dependent on you. And, while you expected to kiss quiet nights goodbye, you didn’t expect to spend so much time worrying about how you’ll keep that precious baby safe, or what to teach it so that s/he grows up healthy and well. You also didn’t think you would question your self or your job or wonder what opportunities are elsewhere – ones that will be better for the family.

Gradually your thinking changes  and that’s normal and natural; but here’s the thing: the birth of your child is a significant emotional event that alters the way you think about life and love. You become someone else – maybe a fuller, richer expression of who you really are. It’s a good thing to grow.

Change Can Destroy A Marriage

The downside is that, too many times, partners change and don’t keep pace with each other. Time moves fast and, before they know it, ten years passed. They get into an argument and she says to him (or vice versa) “I don’t know who you are anymore. What happened to us?”

So the BIG question is this: are you sharing (with your life partner instead of your friends) the internal changes resulting from your SEE? If you aren’t, you are hiding your SELF. And you’re make your marriage dishonest.

Dishonesty is how a marriage breaks down. You live together, share your food and your bed, but not yourself. Without the transparency that sharing those intimate details of change brings, the bond between you weakens.

Moreover, your partner knows – even if it’s on an unconscious level – that you aren’t being honest. S/he says, “I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel like something’s wrong. What is it?” And the [dishonest] answer is “nothing.”

Without honesty there can’t be emotional safety. Without that, what do you have together? Do you even have a real marriage?

Worse yet, consider this: if you aren’t being honest about who you are, when s/he says “I love you” how do you know if that love is for you? You don’t. In fact, the likelihood is that the love is really for the person you used to be…because your spouse doesn’t know you aren’t that person now.

There’s a Proven Method for Successfully Handling Change in Your Marriage!

Instead of leaving emotional safety and true intimacy to chance, you have a practical alternative to traditional marriage in The Five-Year Marriage. It isn’t some airy-fairy pact you make one day when you’re both in love and hot for each other. No, in The Five-Year Marriage, you and your partner make a decision to stay connected – in writing.

The Five-Year Marriage® includes (for starters) what your goals are, how you will accomplish those goals together, and what expectations you both have for your five-year marriage. You commit to working together and prioritizing your marriage in your daily life. You stay in touch with each other – mentally and emotionally – through regular family meetings.

While The Five-Year Marriage® is designed to facilitate strong connection

s, it also helps you notice when “shifts” are happening – in life, inside you, in the partnership – early enough to get back on track while you are still orbiting in each other’s emotional energy.

If you want to learn more about how The Five-Year Marriage® can offer you the advice you and your partner have been looking for, click through to read more about The Five-Year Marriage or contact me today.

The Five-Year Marriage: Making Your Marriage A Priority

couple reconnecting after fighting

The Five-Year Marriage Helps Engaged Couples Learn To Prioritize Their Marriage 

Many people today have mixed opinions about marriage. Many are aware of the high divorce rates in our country and rightfully worry that marriages won’t last. At the same time, many of those people also want to get married. Couples who are considering marriage have to ask themselves – is marriage worth it? How can we make our marriage different? How can our marriage last? I’m Annemarie Kelly, and in my book The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage ParadigmI offer an alternative take on marriage. The Five-Year Marriage is the plan my husband and I have followed for our 30+ years together, and it can work for you too. 

What Is A Five-Year Marriage? 

In its simplest terms, a five-year marriage is just what it says on the tin. It’s marriage wherein you and your partner commit not ‘til death do you part, but just for a length of five years. Below that surface level, though, many couples find that the five-year marriage offers them an amount of control and freedom in their marriage that makes for a longer-lasting, more committed relationship than they might have accomplished through traditional marriage.  

Learn To Make Your Marriage A Priority 

The five-year marriage commitment forces married couples to rely on working together through their marriage rather than assuming it will work out on its own. Together, you and your partner draft a contract for your five-year marriage. You decide what your goals are, how you will accomplish those goals, and what expectations you both have for your five-year marriage. You have to commit to working together and prioritizing your marriage in your daily lives. Learn more about how this arrangement could work for you when you read The Five-Year Marriage

The Five-Year Marriage Offers The Best Advice For Engaged And Married Couples 

I’m Annmarie Kelly. Over my career as an author, empowerment speaker, radio host, and victory strategist, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to help and empower many women. Now, I’m offering much-needed advice to engaged and married couples who are looking for an alternative to traditional marriage. If you want to learn more about how The Five-Year Marriage can offer you the advice you and your partner have been looking for, click through to read more about The Five-Year Marriage or contact me today

Are you Putting Off Your Midlife Reinvention?

Does Your Reinvention Feel Stalled?

MidLife Reinvention
Is your MidLife Reinvention stuck?

Does your midlife reinvention feel stuck someplace? Is there something holding you back from taking that next step to getting a fresh start in your personal life or your career? You might be surprised to find the problem – or the “glitch” – could be a something small. Or maybe it’s not a glitch but a piling up of a bunch of small things.

Little Tasks can Overwhelm You and Stall Your Goals

Here’s my story: Last week I got two things done that I’d been putting off.  Two things doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? Not only was it just two things, but neither one was a big deal. In fact, I’d call both of them mildly important and neither one had a real deadline – so, frankly, I wasn’t overly motivated.  The first one required resending a Christmas card. I sent it in mid-December but put the wrong address on it. It came back a few weeks later. I could easily have just forgotten about it, but I always send Christmas cards – it’s sort of my holiday “thing” instead of doing gifts. Also, by the time it came back, I had news for the recipients, so I wanted to add an extra note. So I put it in “my pile” – the stuff I’m going to get to doing at some point.

The other task was cancelling a subscription. I delayed cancelling it because only part of me wanted to cancel. I could have let the subscription ride and cancelled it next year. But doing either made me feel bad. So it, too, ended up in “my pile” of to-do stuff.

A week went by…then two…tree… And I just wasn’t getting them done.

Have Your Midlife Reinvention Plans Stalled? Are You Feeling Stuck?

You know…you aren’t sure what to do, so you do nothing …but then can’t get away from it, so it’s always on your mind? Somehow doing nothing weighs on your mind. It’s like they nag at you…making you feel like a slug and putting a guilt-shadow over your whole mind.

That was me. In the month I delayed taking action, those two little thing nagged at me. Every time I went through the pile, I saw them…and put them back…always with a feeling like I was screwing something and disappointing someone (me!) and, of course, that made me feel bad.  Every time I did it I felt a twinge of something – indecisiveness…guilt…something that didn’t feel good.

Reinvention Solution: Block Out Time for the “Little” Tasks

One day I got so annoyed that I blocked off an hour in my daytime to do it (yes, really…it just took an hour).  First I made the phone call. I was half-hoping that person on the other end would have talked me out of it, but he didn’t. So it got cancelled. Done!

Next I typed up a short note, cut it to fit flat in the card, signed it, found another envelope, put them together, and sealed it. Took me about 30 minutes. I put the letter in the mail pile. It would go out in the next day’s mail.

Whew! Those two little things that nagged at me for over a month were finally done. Yayyy!

What Happened Next is the “Big Secret” to Achieving Your Midlife Reinvention

Once both things were done, I went back to work. What surprised me was how different I felt – like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Or like I could breathe some wonderful fresh air for the first time. I noticed that felt more relaxed.  I found it kind of amusing…until I started to getting some good ideas for a project I was working on – ideas that simply hadn’t been coming, no matter how hard I tried to inspire my creativity.

Then  I remembered…

Little Tasks Weigh on our Minds, Stifling our Creativity & Motivation

A while back I learned about something called the “Clean Sweep” program. I did it while I was in coach training class.  It’s an old, but tried and true method developed by the late Thomas Leonard for [what was then] CoachU.  The idea behind the Clean Sweep  is “that by strengthening the accompanying 100 items in your life, you will reduce stress, increase your energy, and attract better people and opportunities into your life.” When I used it regularly, I got more done , more easily, with less stress. That was because all the little nagging things weren’t slowing me down or holding me back.

What’s Hanging Over You?

“I’m going to [lost weight, start exercising, go back to school, start my business, return to teaching, get a divorce, or whatever] – as soon as I [get through the holidays, when winter is over, organize my files, catalog my crafts/writing/courses, get enough money, find the right school, digitize my pictures]. Then you don’t. Every day or week or month, and every time you feel down or read about someone who is doing what you want to do, it nags at you. It’s lowers your energy level, zaps your creativity, and pushes you in front of the TV for some mindless viewing.

Do You Need a Clean Sweep to Get Your Midlife Reinvention Back on Track?

Give this a try, it can’t hurt and you might just find it really helpful! Here’s what to do:

  1. Set a goal for yourself – something related to your reinvention
  2. Do the Clean Sweep and input your scores.
  3. Decide how often you’ll repeat the Clean Sweep. Once a month for the 1st 3 months is good. You can lengthen or shorten the space depending on what you need.
  4. Pick a couple things to get started with and do them.
  5. Notice what happens – mentally, emotionally, physically.
  6. Keep track – file your clean sweeps, keep a journal, or get an accountability partner.

 

Ready for your Clean Sweep?

Use this worksheet to guide your Clean Sweep!

We’ll email it to you INSTANTLY!
Be sure to check your spam folder
and add annmarie@annmariekelly.com to your contacts!

Get the CLean Sweep PDF

*I won’t share or sell your email address, ever!

Should A Marriage Be A ‘Forever’ Agreement?

rebuild intimacy in your marriage

Are You Really Ready For ‘Forever’? Marriage Advice For Engaged Couples 

Engaged couples, if the ‘forever’ aspect of marriage makes you feel uneasy, you aren’t alone. Forever is a long time – longer than any one person can truly comprehend. What if you could get married without ‘forever’ hanging over your head? My name is Annmarie Kelly, and I’d like to introduce you to the idea of The Five-Year Marriage®. Through The Five-Year Marriage®, I’ve been with my husband for 30+ years, each time agreeing to be married for 5 years. You can learn more about this type of marriage in The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm. 

Why Is Marriage Supposed To Be Forever? 

Traditionally, marriage is said to last “‘til death do you part.” Why? 

Well, historically speaking, the “til death” period wasn’t all that long. For example, in the early 1900s men got married around the age of 25. Life expectancy for men was around 46 years of age. So, a marriage would last around 20 years.  

Today, the “til death” period is much, much longer. Life expectancy has changed drastically, and a couple marrying in their 20s could easily expect to live until their 80s or later! That’s 60 years total together. Nothing stays the same over the course of sixty years – not people, and not the world they live in. 

“Forever” Marriage Encourages Couples To Take Their Relationship For Granted 

Because marriages as “supposed” to last forever, couples rarely actually plan for how to make a marriage work. Married couples often assume it’ll just happen. They love each other and it should just work out because of that love, right? 

Unfortunately, relationships don’t work that way. Relationships take work, communication, and a willingness by both parties to stick to their plans together. That is what The Five-Year Marriage® encourages couples to work for. In your five-year marriage, you and your partner decide together what you expect out of your five-year commitment. You can’t take for granted that you’ll stay together forever because your contact with each other lasts only 5 years. It forces both parties to put the work necessary into making the relationship thrive. If you’re ready to learn how to do that, read The Five-Year Marriage with your partner. 

The Five-Year Marriage® Offers The Best Advice For Engaged And Married Couples 

I’m Annmarie Kelly. Over my career as an author, empowerment speaker, radio host, and victory strategist, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to help and empower many women. Now, I’m offering much-needed advice to engaged and married couples who are looking for an alternative to traditional marriage. If you want to learn more about how The Five-Year Marriage® can offer you the advice you and your partner have been looking for, click through to read more about The Five-Year Marriage or contact me today

Love this review!

Five year marriage relationship successThanks, Laurie Leahey for this fabulous review – so happy you like The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm!

Laurie writes:

What is a “five-year marriage”? I’m glad you asked. When I participated in a webinar with Annmarie and her book’s publicists, she started off by telling us that she’d been married six times and each time for only five years. What?

That’s right. Annmarie and her husband started off their time together by committing to marriage for only five years. At the end of those five years, they reevaluated their priorities, both individually and together, and decided if they wanted to commit to another five years. They even had another wedding celebration!

I so wish this book had been written before I’d gotten married because I think it has great advice on what to look for (and look out for) in a partner, plus there seem to be a lot of positives about looking at marriage through this unique lens: more open communication, both partners’ needs are being heard and (hopefully) met, and your marriage can grow and change along with how your lives grow and change.

If you, like me, are already married, I don’t think it’s too late to start some of the Five-Year Marriage practices. I love the idea of monthly Family Meetings to discuss finances or whatever else is important to you at that time. It might be difficult to establish these new habits with your partner since he or she is already so accustomed to the way you’ve been doing marriage, but it could be well worth it.

There is also a website where you can find more information and guidance from the author.

The Five-Year Marriage is published by Optimal Living Press and is available to purchase now. I received a free review copy in exchange for my honest review.

http://cookscrapcraft.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-five-year-marriage-book-review.html

Can You Fall in Love Again?

valentines tips for single's and couples
Valentines card with decorative paper hearts and pink flowers. Vector illustration

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s that time of year for…chocolate! And, oh yes, for celebrating love. Frankly, not everyone in a relationship is happy about doing it. Covid confinement has been rough on many relationships. Last year a woman said to me, “I just can’t look at his face anymore” and recently a woman told me she let her sweetie know, about sex, “I’m done with that.” Neither of those is conducive to cuddling and love talk. However, most likely that’s NOT you, so you have options.

Valentine’s Day Tips for Couples

Even if you and your sweetie have been together for a while, with a little planning, Valentine’s Day can open up a whole new set of possibilities. Here are some suggestions that could help you “feel the love” this Valentine’s Day:

1. Have a Plan!

You and your sweetie have a couple of days, so talk about it together. What do you want to do? Sometimes starting with “if time/money/kids weren’t an issue, how would we spend the day?” Sometimes just talking about that is fun. And maybe it will jog some ideas in your head. Also, the anticipation of something special – for now or for the future – lifts your spirits.

Here are a few practical ideas:

  • …Plan for takeout or to cook a special meal together
  • …Get some hearty appetizers that you can cook at home and plan an appetizer-only extended Happy Hour (instead of dinner)
  • …Is there a special movie that gets you in the mood for romance? A favorite for me is Somewhere in Time. I have it on DVD but I’m pretty sure it’s on Netflix
  • …What about going through old pictures together…of vacations or special trips. Going back over those old memories of your good times together is like greasing the engine of your car – it minimizes friction and allows things to flow more smoothly between you.
  • …Do you need a sitter? Get one for just an hour or two. Then take a long drive together to someplace where you can stop and watch the sunset – but first stop for hot chocolate at the convenience store (Philly locals know Wawa has the best – unless you make your own).

2. Be NICE!

When you’re together a long time, it’s easy to forget to be polite and appreciative. Being treated with respect and getting a thankyou from time-to-time is something everyone wants – and you and your partner are no exception. One woman told me that she started to notice the things her sweetie was doing. They were little niceties that he always did – like making her a cup of tea at night. She realized that she’d gotten so used to those things that she stopped thanking him. One night, as he put her tea on the end table next to her, she looked him in the eyes and said, “You know, I don’t always say it but I appreciate it when you make me tea at night – and it’s how I like it. That makes me feel special.” She said the look on his face almost brought tears to her eyes. When she realized that tiny little courtesy made him feel so good, she started looking for other things. It took him a few weeeks, but eventually he starated doing the same. Those little things reingivorated her marriage!

So…when you’re making your plan, include an agreement to say please, thankyou, excuse me – even if you agree together to focus on being nice just for the day. And don’t forget to add and “I love you” once in a while too!

3. Share a Soft Touch

A soft touch from a loved one can be like gold! Remember when you were “new” together and s/he would brush the hair off your face and you liked it so much? Or how just holding hands made you feel good?

Something as simple as stroking your hand or face, rubbing his/her shoulders, a long hug, or a snuggle in bed – are the small things that say “I still love you.” Soft touches can be both soothing and healing. No, it doesn’t have to lead to sex (unless you want it to happen). 

When was the last time you two held hands?

Making Valentine’s Day special doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive or over-the-top crazy. In fact, the longer you two are together, the less all those “externals” matter. What most people want in marriage is the love and respect that results in true intimacy – emotional intimacy. That’s how you can fall in love all over again.

You can choose to let love be all around you this weekend. So go for it…and enjoy!

With love  and in victory,
Annmarie

Annmarie Kelly, speaker, author, lifestyle influencer for women over 40

I’m Annmarie Kelly, award-winning author, speaker, and lifestyle expert. I’m also the founder of The Victorious Woman Project, the empowerment resource for midlife women looking to make a change in their life or their relationship. Check it out…it’s full of helpful and inspiring articles, interviews with fabulous women who have been there and done that, and also classes and other tools that will help you find and nourish your inner spark. Oh…and that’s also where you can get one of my inspiring and motivating self-help books. Victorious Woman: Shaping Life’s Challenges into Personal VictoriesVictory by Design, and marriage game-changer, The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm.

I know how the past year has challenged you – body, mind, and soul. They’ve challenged me too. It’s been hard on everyone! But there’s good news – the future is what you make it! So it’s time to look forward to better days. And you can start RIGHT NOW. 

Now’s the time to uncover the happiness and passions you put on hold. 

You can make 2021 your best year yet!

Join the Savvy Sizzle ‘No Regrets’ Master class or the 30-Day Relationship Reset class.

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