A Marriage Plan With Room For Growth And Change

Starting over, midlife transformation after 40

Engaged Couples: Consider The Five-Year Marriage’s Marriage Advice 

For couples who are considering marriage and newlyweds looking for marriage advice, consider reading Annmarie Kelly’s The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage ParadigmThis unique approach to marriage is a game-changer for couples who want to leave room for growth and change in their relationship. The Five-Year Marriage has allowed Annmarie Kelly and her husband to experience growth alongside one another as a couple for the last 30 years by taking it just five years at a time. Now you can do the same! 

Tips For Newlyweds: Expect Change And Allow Growth 

Nothing and no one ever remains the same, which is why, for many people, a ‘til death marriage can seem so intimidating. The truth is, that the ‘til death idea of marriage is outdated. While it might have made sense about 100 years ago when life expectancy was much lower and you could expect to be dead by 50 or 60, it doesn’t make much sense now. 

The Five-Year Marriage is a marriage that allows – and expects – changes. Every five years, you and your partner approach your marriage with fresh eyes. You have the opportunity to rethink your relationship and consider your priorities. This plan allows you and your partner the room to grow and become your best selves together while experience safety, love, and mutual respect and trust. 

The Five-Year Marriage is the key to marrying your partner with clear expectations, understanding, and respect for one another. It is perhaps the most useful piece of advice for marriage that newlyweds or couples considering marriage. Don’t feel stuck in your marriage by succumbing to the pressure to do things the way they’ve always been done. Choose the marriage style that allows both you and your partner a level of independence and safety that will encourage you to feel closer and more intimate. 

Annmarie Kelly’s The Five-Year Marriage Offers The Best Marriage Advice 

Annmarie Kelly is a successful author, empowerment speaker, radio host, and victory strategist. She has made a career out of empowering and helping out women. Now, she offers much-needed advice to 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 Annmarie Kelly

Five-Year Marriage® Featured on The Philadelphia Inquirer

“The first time Joseph said he’d like to marry her, Annmarie was overwhelmed with dread.

She loved him. He loved her. A marriage could ruin everything!”

I’m blown away by the beautiful job columnist Kellie Patrick Gates did on this article in today’s The Philadelphia Inquirer. She managed to capture the essence of the Five Year Marriage® and described my 7 marriages in the most loving way (which, if your read her column regularly, you know “loving” is her style). Thank you Kellie for featuring Joseph Eagle and me in this article!!

Read the full article here: https://www.inquirer.com/life/annmarie-kellly-joseph-eagle-reiki-marriage-personal-goals-five-year-commitments-20200809.html

five-year marriage on the Philadelphia inquirer

My Five Year Marriage featured on Medium.com

I’m excited to have my marriage story & The Five Year Marriage featured in this great article on medium.com! It was a fun interview with Vicki Larson back in February – pre-covid. Vicki is on the same page about marriage – can’t wait to turn the tables and interview her on my new podcast…coming soon!

Read it here: https://medium.com/@OMGchronicles/why-all-women-need-renewable-marriage-contracts-1ce134c89890

…AND a Honeymoon!

Otsego Lake in Cooperstown NY

The wedding is over, and it was a beautiful day.  Now Joseph Eagle and I are starting our new marriage…and doing it with a honeymoon!

Realistically speaking, and from the perspective of two self-employed people, we had no business taking another (unpaid) week off.  After all, Joseph and I got back from our annual vacation on Mt. Desert, Maine on September 7. Between then and now, we were catching up from that AND getting ready for our September 22 wedding. We shouldn’t be going away again, right?

Joseph and I fussed about it and then he came to an uncharacteristic conclusion. After thinking it through, Joseph reasoned , “In ten years, I’m not going to remember who came in that week for a massage, but I will remember what we did on our honeymoon.” That made great sense to me. So we planned our week away.

On Lake George

Originally we were going to travel to Myrtle Beach, SC. But the week before the wedding, Hurricane Florence hit that area hard. All the devastation put the kibosh on that trip.

Sagamore Resort Hotel from Lake George

Looking for an alternative, we chose Lake George, Saratoga Springs, and Cooperstown NY.  The first two came to our minds because we were in both of those towns on our very first honeymoon in1988. But we were in both town only briefly on our road-trip to Montreal and Quebec Canada.

In Lake George we enjoyed dinner at the famous Sagamore resort, took an afternoon cruise up Lake George, spent a rainy day sheltered in a room overlooking a lake and visioning our future.

Harness Racing in Saratoga Springs

Our time in Saratoga included walking down the main drag of the charming town, watching a couple of the harness races (I lost $5), visiting the famous springs, and walking through the Spa Park.

We added Cooperstown to the trip because I’m a huge baseball fan and I love that little town. And it was sort of on the route home from Saratoga Springs. So, if I was that close to the Baseball Hall of Fame (for me) and the Ommegang Brewery (for Joseph), we had to stop for a couple days.

Cooperstown Diner – Seats 20 – MAX!

I love Cooperstown…from everything baseball to the lake and the Fenimore Museum and right down to the tiny Cooperstown Diner.

Happy Hour at the Otesaga Fire Pit

And then there’s the historic Otesaga Resort Hotel. It was our last honeymoon night and we wanted a special dinner. Instead of going to the main dining room, we made reservations at the less stuffy Hawkeye Bar and Grill. We got there a little bit early so we could watch the sun set over the Otesgo Lake. Then we had a drink around the fire-pit on the veranda. It got a little chilly, so we went inside. However, our table wasn’t quite ready so we sat at the bar and people-watched and chatted with other bar folk.

When we got seated, we had a couple more drinks and ordered from the pub-style menu. While we were there, a birthday cake was delivered to a man sitting at a nearby table…and before he knew it, the whole restaurant was singing Happy Birthday to him. You should have seen that man’s face light up!

Joseph and I meandered through our dinner while a band set up near the bar. When the band started playing, we paid our check and moved to the music area. We watched a soon-to-be bride and groom dancing with some of their bridal party, and a eighty-year-old couple cutting a rug – beautifully, and Joseph and I got up and managed a little rumba and jitterbugging. I think it was my favorite night of our honeymoon.

Here’s the very cool thing: When in Lake George for an afternoon in 1988, I didn’t see much of the town. That was because, when Joseph and I got out of our car, I realized I locked my keys in it. We spent a couple hours with the police trying to get into my car.

Fast forward to now. When we got there this time, I was driving and wondered if I could find that spot. My brain said, “Seriously? What do you think is the likelihood that you could find the same spot 30 years later?” I decided to let it go.

About fifteen minutes later,  as Joseph and I explored Canada Street, the main drag, I felt compelled to make a turn.

“Where are you going,” Joseph pressed – he was hungry and wanted dinner.

“Just checking things out,” I replied.

Fort William Henry….smae spoit, 30 years later. Only, this time, I didn’t lock my keys in the car

And I thought that’s what I was doing…until I finished that turn and felt an instant sense of familiarity. “This is it!” I screamed. “This is where I locked my keys in the car!”

Joseph wasn’t sure, but as soon as we got closer to the parking area where we spent all our Lake George time in 1988, he agreed.  Much had changed, but that parking area was almost identical. And so, too, was the view of Lake George.

Tears came to my eyes.

Back then we had just started our first Five-Year Marriage® – with hopes and dreams and a ton of uncertainty. We had a plan but everything was a question mark.

This time we were starting our seventh five-year marriage®. Still with hopes and dreams but, by now, we also a track record of being able to work together to make our dreams our reality.

I think one of the most fun things about the Five-Year Marriage® is the honeymoon. You will too!


Joseph having cake-cutting fun!

What a wonderful wedding day!

While Joseph and I have, to-date, have a wedding ceremony to start our new marriage, we don’t usually have a party. However, over the summer a few things happened that were either sad, or made us stop and think. They made us realize that we haven’t been celebrating the good stuff – at least not the way we used to…

When we were dating, and in our first marriage, Joseph and I celebrated even the smallest things. But, over time, the celebrations have gotten chewed up by the normal busyness and pressures of life.


So the decision to celebrate this way was important to both of us. And everything came together in such a perfect way, and with relative ease…thanks to Lori at Faunbrook and the fabulous Merrill, who did the catering.

I made these programs so people would know how the day was going and who was who. Joseph and I worked on adding the filigree and ribbon. The back side included the poem, Blessings for a Wedding, by James Dillet Freeman. It’s one of my favorites…and Dr. Freeman was an important figure in my life during a very difficult time.

Joseph and I started the day by delivering the alcohol and programs to Faunbrook. Then we had breakfast in West Chester. Then there wasn’t much else to do, so we had time to gather pictures of our other weddings. Because of The Five-Year Marriage®, I had them “around” but not in frames. We framed and boxed them. By then it was time to get ready. We were excited. I think I might have been more than excited because, when I was trying to put makeup on, the sweat was pouring down my face. And, you know, trying to put powder on sweaty skin is yucky. Joseph clicked on the air conditioning and set up a table fan. They helped…

We arrived at Faunbrook just after Kim, our florist, had decorated the tables. They looked beautiful! I loved the lavender roses and white hydrangeas. They looked fabulous with the navy blue tablecloths and purple napkins.

Vincent and his spouse, Joann, got there just before us and were setting up the music. Vincent was doing some of the music on keyboard (he’s fabulous!) and some as a DJ. We put our past wedding pictures on the fireplace mantle in the charming Victorian living room.

Our guests started arriving at 3pm, and for the next hour, we enjoyed their company – and the awesome horsd’oeuvres. As soon as we were ready, we invited everyone to gather on the patio. Vincent started some music and our Vows of the Heart celebrant, Pattie Painter, began the ceremony. Pattie wrote the ceremony and Joseph and I picked our readings and we loved it all.

The ceremony was followed by a toast given by Harry, brother of Joseph’s best friend, Dan, who was the best man at our first wedding. Dan passed away just after his fiftieth birthday. It was a real treat to have most of Dan’s family at our wedding, and especially for Harry to do the toast.

Actually, while waiting for everyone to get a drink for the toast, I looked around at the twenty or so people who were there and felt such joy. Every person there had an important place in our lives and I loved everyone who was at the wedding.

Then it was time to eat. Fabulous food, a beautiful wedding cake, lots of love and laughter with the some of the beautiful people of my life…what more could anyone want?

Oh, wait…pictures! Photographer Jayne Tooey was busy snapping everyone and taking great shots of Joseph and me. I can’t wait to see them! I’ll post a wedding page on the website.

In the meantime, for this post, I’m thanking author Doreen McGettigan for taking the ones on this post!

#FiveYearMarriage #Wedding #AnnmarieKelly

And Ending…and a Beginning


As Joseph and I are planning the end of our marriage, we’ve gotten far enough in our re-negotiating phase to decide to go another five years. We still have plenty to discuss and stuff to work out, but we decided to get married on September 22.

Until now, we didn’t know where to have our ceremony….or if we wanted a big party or not. And, since this is August, the likelihood of getting any venue seemed like it would be in the slim-to-none category. I called the place where I have my annual fundraiser, The Girlfriend Gala. They are booked Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Then I thought about my old high school. There’s a mansion there, where we have the annual alumni luncheon. It has a chapel and great hall – enough for the ceremony followed by drinks and a light buffet.

On a whim, I emailed Lori at the Faunbrook B&B. It’s a place I’ve looked at for Five-Year Marriage® couples retreats. My emailed started with “I know this is probably a crazy question at this late date…” I expected an “I’ve been booked for this date since spring.”

To my surprise, Lori told me that date was the only date she has open all fall. She doesn’t have someone penciled in, but that couple hasn’t given a deposit. She wondered if I could wait until she contacted them. Seriously? Of course I could wait. About a week later, Lori got back to me. The other couple decided to have their ceremony in someone’s backyard. The B&B would be available.

What are the odds?!?


Today Joseph and I went over to Faunbrook. We booked the date and gave Lori the money for the venue (it’s too late for just a deposit). She gave Joseph and I the tour as she suggested different places to have the ceremony, where the guests would be seated, how she would set up the food, bar, etc.

Joseph and I decided we’d have the ceremony on the side porch section of the beautiful wraparound porch, the bar will be around the corner of the porch and our guests will be seated on the patio – where there will still be a canopy/tent for fall weddings.

We decided to have a cocktail hour at 3pm, before the 4pm ceremony.  I like that idea because everyone will be in a more relaxed mood for our ceremony. After we are married, we’ll have a toast, followed by a buffet dinner. We’re meeting with the caterer, Merrill Johnston, next week…right before we leave for our Maine vacation. I think I want a wedding cake…what a wedding without a cake?? And a little while ago Joseph asked our friend, Vincent James, to do the music….and he will.

It’s a little late to order paper invitations. So I’m going to send evites – the “paid version” – which are very pretty.

I’m a little shocked by how fast this came together – especially since this was so last minute. But I’m glad – and EXCITED!

Now…to find a dress…

#FiveYearMarriage, #LoveAndMarriage, #PartnershipMarriage, #MarriageContract, #RelationshipAdvice, #AnnmarieKelly, #ContractMarriage

My Marriage is Ending

On Jordan Pond

Recently I was talking to a twenty-something, newly-engaged woman who loves the idea of The Five-Year Marriage®. “It keeps things fresh,” she affirmed. And she was correct. A Five-Year Marriage® does keep things fresh…and that’s the good part. However, the new beginning follows an old ending.

The end of a marriage is always a challenge. As Joseph and I are ending this one, we’ve taken some time to reflect on what went right and what didn’t. That includes figuring out how to resolve the latter and get more of the former. We expect a lot of changes in the next few years. So a lot of the stuff we have to resolve is around shifting roles, both in our home and in our careers. It also means a lot of letting go of things like:

  • Stale beliefs: that includes those “not good enough” and “not enough” beliefs as well a misconception: “we have plenty of time”
  • Responsibilities that we no longer have to keep. Some of those are family obligations, others are considerations for people and things that no longer have purpose or meaning and can leave our lives
  • Old lifestyle habits that no longer serve us
    • For Joseph and me, that’s about organization. If there’s a flat surface, we put something on it – end tables, island, steps…and then the place looks a mess, so that needs to change
  • Clutter: Letting go of actual things we no longer need or feelings that create negativity or limitation between us

And it means embracing new things:

  • Lifestyle habits that support our upcoming marriage
    • One is such a simple thing: putting everything away at night. It seems simple, but we haven’t been doing it. Now we are agreeing to change an old pattern
  • A different budget
    • We need to pay attention to what our retirement funds look like…because, at some point, that’s going to happen – whether we are ready or not
  • Making more time for R&R – something self-employed people never seem to get enough of

So, the young woman was correct. The Five-Year Marriage® does keep things fresh. However, as I say in the book, the Five-Year Marriage® ain’t for sissies. “Fresh” doesn’t happen accidentally or by magic. It happens with purpose and focus and and communication, all of which can be (at times) uncomfortable. However, the result is that you and your partner gain more trust with each other. And, with trust, comes greater intimacy. And, if it not for intimacy, why would anyone – especially in today’s changing world – ever get married? The result is worth the effort.

#FiveYearMarriage, #MarriageTips. #LoveAndMarriage, #PartnershipMarriage, #ModernMarriage #WomensEmpowerment, #MarriageContract, #RelationshipAdvice, #AnnmarieKelly, #ContractMarriage,

The Five-Year Marriage® Launched!

Annmarie at book launch for the five year marriage relationship guide

Yesterday was the big day! The Five-Year Marriage is officially published! It’s not out to the public yet, but this week I invited some of my friends to my office to share the celebration.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. I’ve been talking about – and living – the Five-Year Marriage® for a long time. Some have loved the idea and others have hated it. But that was always on a small scale. And I always thought “who cares. This is my life and my marriage and it makes sense for me.”  But I knew from the beginning, once the book is launched, that can all change.

So, with that in mind, I started with a few “behind the scenes” stories. For example, most people don’t know that I wrote the first draft of Five-Year Marriage® (then titled “Reinventing Marriage”) twenty-five years ago – at the start of my second marriage. I spent hours and hours writing, editing and prepping a book proposal that I sent to many, many publishers.

However, after about a year of watching the rejection letters pile up, I boxed-up the manuscript and all the research. That’s how it stayed until 2009, when I gave it to Professor Lisa Jobs as a project for her masters degree program in publishing at Rosemont College.  Those students did excellent work with focus groups and marketing plans.

Stack of Five-Year Marriage books - relationship guide

Still, I didn’t focus on updating and finishing the book – even though, for several years, I kept getting “nudges” from the universe that it was time. I didn’t exactly ignore those ignored that prodding from above, but I did take any serious action.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2016 when someone said something to me that flipped the switch in my head. That year I took the original manuscript with me on vacation. My plan was to read what I’d written in 1993-5 to see if it was any good.

It was! Not that it was a big surprise to me – I knew I’d worked hard on it then. That’s why so much of the writing was as on-target now as it was then.

Still, I could tell it needed freshening up. After all, the generation of couples who would read and benefit from this book would be different from the mid-90’s couple. For one thing, we barely had home computers then, car phones hadn’t even mainstream then. Cell phones were still somewhere on the horizon. And a social network was the group you played cards with or the friends you met for a Friday happy hour.  Those to things dramatically changed the dynamics of every relationship we have – for better and for worse.

Something else was clear to me then. By 2016, I had years more “marriage experience” that I could share with new and newer couples. I knew things that I couldn’t have even understood as I started my second marriage.

I took stock. When I assessed what had to change and what could stay, I got serious about rewriting and updating that old manuscript.

Annmarie & Joseph at Book Launch for Five Year Marriage

While some of my “launch guests” knew that story, it surprised others who only knew me as the author of Victorious Woman and the founder of the Victorious Woman Project.

Once I told that story, I read some passages from The Five-Year Marriage® . I included parts about why traditional marriage is old-school. Also, how the 48% divorce rate has remained steady (mostly because so many couples are choosing to live together instead of making the “til death” commitment). I also shared part of the chapter called “The Five-Year Marriage® Partner” which explains how to figure out who makes a good Five-Year Marriage® partner.

At Saturday’s party, I was glad to see so many friends in the audience. More importantly, it was an interesting mix of people: singles, long-time and short-time marrieds, two widows and a couple divorced and remarried couples.  Afterward, as guests ate great food and drank some very good wine, they chatted with me and each other. Everyone has a story about the challenges of traditional marriages – either their own, or friends, or even their own kids.

Of course, I sold and signed books. My guests had interesting comments about the five-year concept. One man, a long-time married psychologist, told me that he thought the idea of a five-year commitment wasn’t serious.  However, after listening to what I had to say, and hearing Joseph’s reasoning, “it’s not just the two of us…it’s me, Annmarie and the marriage” he is now a believer.

With that kind of a send-off, I am even more confident about and excited to share The Five-Year Marriage® : Shifting the Marriage Paradigm with the world! Thank you to everyone who joined me as I launched the Five-Year Marriage® into the world.

UPDATE 10/1/18: OK, the book is now available on Amazon: The Five-Year Marriage® : Shifting the Marriage Paradigm

#FiveYearMarriage, #MarriageTips. #LoveAndMarriage, #PartnershipMarriage, #ModernMarriage #WomensEmpowerment, #MarriageContract, #RelationshipAdvice, #AnnmarieKelly, #ContractMarriage