Contract Marriage Featured in Philadelphia Magazine!

This month’s Philadelphia Magazine’s (April 2029) features The Five-Year Marriage®  – contract marriage. It’s one of 10 “different” marriage scenarios. I’m thrilled to be part of it. I tell the story about how and why The Five-Year Marriage started.

This “new I do” is the right story right now. It for all the independent millennial women – and the men who love/will love them – who don’t want to give up their sense of self for the sake of a relationship.

Read the whole story here: Philadelphia Magazine April 2020

Curious about contact marriage? You can read all about it in The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm Also available for your e-reader.

#FiveYearMarriage #MarriageTips #TheNewIDo #TheBetterWaytoIDOe #ModernMarriage #MarriagAdvice #WomensEmpowerment #MarriageContract #HealthyMarriage #RelationshipAdvice #AnnmarieKelly #ContractMarriage #Wedding Vows #CoupleGoals #spouse #marriagecounseling #MarriedCouple #MarriageGoals #Couple #CoupleAdvice #MarriedLife

Is Marriage Broken?

Fix a broken marriage“Incompatibility of temperament between the parties such that they find it impossible to live together as husband and wife” is what Todd Palin, spouse of Sarah Palin, put in the divorce papers. With that, it seems that Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and only the second woman ever to run for Vice-President of the United States, is getting a divorce after 31 years of marriage.

The Palins married in 1988, a month – almost to the day – before the first of my seven five-year marriages. So I relate to challenges of a thirty-one year relationship. And because Sarah Palin is in the news – though it’s none of my business – I’m curious about what happened. Maybe you are too. I think we want to know a little bit because it juicy gossip. But I think we are more interested in whether the same thing is happening in our relationship.

Because of my work, I talk to a lot of women who are divorced…or thinking about it. When it comes to the “why,” I know that it’s seldom one thing that ends a marriage. Yes, there could be a catalyst – like an affair or a big money issue. However, very often that is just “the last straw” in a series of events that troubled the marriage. The affair we hear about could be just the latest one, or there’s an alcohol/drug abuse/domestic violence/hoarding problem. It’s been going on for years.. There were a million promises that weren’t kept. It finally reached a crescendo of intolerance for the partner.

Is the “Forever Marriage” an Impossible Dream?

The fact is that the ’til death do you part” marriage is now longer than anyone ever imagined – even just a generation or two ago. In the olden days, couples who married “until death do you part” were together for twenty or twenty-five years. It was long enough to raise a few kids into young adulthood. Then the man died and the woman lived out her last few years are the mourning widow and kind grandmom. If she married again, chances are that marriage would last an even shorter time.

Those days are long gone.

Thanks to the many fabulous advances in medicine and health, the average life expectancy around the world is about 82 years old. The conventional ‘til death commitment could mean fifty or more years.

Living with your Spouse can be Hard

Every married person knows how hard it is to live with someone. Life happens, stuff happens, and things change. When they do, emotions run hot and cold, words are said, and feelings get hurt…sometimes deeply. Each one of those things changes you. – even when you love the person.

So who, at age 25 or 30, can honestly make that kind of commitment? They can’t. It’s an unreasonable expectation.

The marriage paradigm that is in place now – and has been for the past two thousand or more years doesn’t work now for at least half of today’s married couples. It’s become an unreasonable edict, an impossible dream.

There’s a better way to Structure a Marriage : The Five-Year Marriag

How it works: Before marrying the first time, a couple makes agreements that stretch over five years, revolving around careers, money, children, responsibilities, etc. At the end of five years, the couple pauses their marriage. They assess what’s changed, in life and in themselves. They talk about how those changes impact their relationship and their future together. Looking at the next five years, they renegotiate old agreements and make new agreements. Then they “spiritually” end that marriage and enter into a new one…for five years.

For the typical couple, the focus of the first five years might be on advancing a careers, buying a house, and/or having a child. They focus on whether both partners will continue to work outside or if one partner becomes a stay-at-home parent? They decide who will oversee bill-paying, how will they save money, split household chores, and more.

A marriage agreement that allows couples to change and grow over time

At the end of five years, the couple evaluates the relationship in light of their personal and relationship changes. They rethink what they want and how to partner for the next five years. Maybe in the first marriage, they only wanted two children, but now they want more – or vice versa. Or s/he thought s/he wanted to be a stay-at-home mom/dad but misses the career (or the money) and wants to change course.

In the case of Sarah and Todd Palin, when Sarah decided to run for governor and then vice-president, it affected Todd and the marital relationship. It also impacted the whole family. So did the birth of a special needs child. Did they talk about all those changes? Did they get any outside help with the problems – like a family mediator or couples therapist?

When things get wonky in a Five-Year Marriage® , after they reevaluate and reconnect, they get a fresh start.

What’s Next? A New Idea on Traditional Marriage

If fifty was still the average life span, the ‘til death marriage might still work. It’s a blessing to humankind that our life expectancy is thirty or forty years longer. However, with the extension of life, related things (like marriage) need to adjust to something that is doable in today’s world.

Marriage with Breathing Room

The Five-Year Marriage® gives a couple some breathing room. Their dreams and goals get revisited, discussed, and maybe revised. They can reset their expectations. Problems-in-the-making can get resolved before they become marriage-enders. Marriage counseling may be chosen before the couple hates each other and it’s just a “last chance” (often useless) effort.

Yes – marriage is broken! It’s time we shift the paradigm of marriage to one that makes sense in today’s world for modern couples.

Get your copy of The Five-Year Marriage From Amazon!

To learn more, check out The Five-Year Marriage® : Shifting the Marriage Paradigm in HardCopy or Kindle

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

The Washcloth and The Wall

Unhappy couples can fix their relationship
Can We Fix This?

Have you “hit the wall” in your marriage yet? It happens to just about every married couple at some point. Based on my conversations with women, I’d say it’s most common someplace between 8-15 years. For me it was in my second marriage.

When Joseph and I were in our first month of counselling, there was a lot of anger, tension, and hurt. We had 2½ years left in that marriage and I didn’t know if we could fix the problem. We tried and tried, but didn’t. I was clear about not wanting to have another marriage unless we did. Counseling seemed like the last chance.

But it was hard…really hard. We both had to look at stuff about ourselves we didn’t want to see.

In those days, much as it is still today, Joseph left for work early. He was up and out the door before I was awake. So we didn’t talk and, in those days, that was probably good for us.

One morning, after a particularly difficult counseling session the night before, I got up to get ready for work. One of my “things” is having a fresh washcloth each morning. The cloths were stored in the linen closet in the hallway.

That morning, before going to the linen closet, I went to the bathroom first. There I found a fresh washcloth waiting for me. I was surprised. Joseph never did that before – he just always got his own and I got mine. But that day was different. Though I noticed, I shrugged it off as a quirk.

The next day it was the same thing…and the next day…and the next. Every morning when I saw that fresh washcloth, I knew Joseph thought about me that morning, in a nice way. I realized it was Joseph’s way of telling me that he still loved me and wanted to work things out. I started to see the washcloth as a sign that we might be able to find a way together. In the midst of a very difficult time in our relationship, when our verbal communication was minimal, that fresh washcloth was a lifeline.

Every Five-Year Marriage® will hit a wall. It’s important to recognize what agreements you have that created the challenge. It’s equally important notice the signs that keep you going.

Curious about what a Five-Year Marriage® is? Start with this website and then read the book, available in hard copy and digital: The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm

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

Can Marriage Be Flexible?

marriage - can it be flexible?

Peg, a fun-loving redhead and Dave, her strapping young sweetie, met at their center-city Philadelphia job where they were both social workers for the mentally challenged. They liked each other as co-workers, but it was clear that there was more between them. Their attraction grew. By the time they got engaged, they were so in love that just watching them together made family and friends happy.

As they planned their wedding, they talked about their future. Coming from strong Irish Catholic backgrounds, both Peg and Dave knew they wanted children. And, since Peg was a little older than Dave, she didn’t want to wait too long to get pregnant. They agreed they’d start trying as soon as they were married. Also, because they both grew up with stay-at-home moms and wanted their children to have the same thing, they decided Peg would stay home with the kids.

The sticking point for them was money. Peg and Dave knew, with one meager social worker salary, pulling that off wouldn’t be easy.

But, as it often the case with the young lovers, they believed anything was doable.

The wedding was wonderful! Next, while they still had both incomes, bought a modest twin house just outside Philadelphia. They started building the life they dreamed about together.

By their fifth anniversary, Peg and Dave’s life shifted. They weren’t those carefree kids in love any longer. They were the parents of two beautiful little girls and bill-paying, responsibility-laden homeowners. Still, they were a happy little family. Just the same, living on just Dave’s salary was much harder than they thought.

Dave’s parents offered some help, but they refused it.  After much conversation, Peg started looking for work she could do from home.

For the next couple of years, Peg worked as an insurance agent. It was a job where she could meet clients at night while Dave was home. She was good! Before long Peg was making as much money as Dave. When she started making more, Peg knew she could do even better. If she worked for a larger company, Peg could advance into management and also have healthcare and other benefits that Dave didn’t have. Dave knew it too. However, they both still felt strongly about having a parent at home.

So Peg and Dave renegotiated their marriage agreements. It made perfect sense for Dave to become a stay-at-home dad.

For the next ten years, the burly rough-and-tumble Dave took care of his daughters at home. When they started school, Dave was the parent who helped out at school, the one who chatted with teachers about the girls’ progress and who was there for them when they got home each afternoon. When the girls they needed something or when they got sick in the middle of the night, they called for Dave. 

Over time, the girls thrived. They bonded with their mom as their feminine role-model, the homework person, the problem-solver, etc. Yet, they got to know their father in a way that many girls don’t get to experience until their fathers are older – a common regret of both daughters and their fathers.

By the time they were in high school, the girls were into sports and other activities and Dave was bored out of his mind. And he saw the empty nest coming fast. So he sat down with Peg and, again, they renegotiated their agreements. Their new agreements reflected both their lifestyle and personal changes. They also honored Peg and Dave as individuals, as a couple, and as parents.

Peg and Dave’s story isn’t unusual. More and more women are working in executive positions, many that include long hours and travel. It’s a conundrum for couples. When not dealt with respectfully, it can also sow seeds of discontent, anger, and resentment.

With life changing daily and new roles replacing those of days gone by, the confines of traditional marriage clearly can’t serve today’s couples. It’s time to shift the marriage paradigm to something that makes sense for today’s couples. It’s The Five-Year Marriage®.

The Five-Year Marriage®

The Five-Year Marriage® is a new and better way for couples to live a marriage. In a Five-Year Marriage®, a couple like Peg and Dave don’t have to live with outmoded agreements. They have the clear choice to revisit and re-evaluate those agreements and, at the end of five years, renegotiate them as partners. They can honestly address those ever-happening changes – in life, in each other, and in the relationship. 

The Five-Year Marriage® breaks the “til death do us part” stranglehold that often suffocates relationships. It opens up a logical space for conversation and honest communication. It shines a light on problems early so that they can be solved before she or he starts feeling anger and resentment. The Five-Year Marriage® gives both partners an equal voice, with respect. It facilitates love. And, when a couple is still living in love, they are more open and willing to find ways to solve problems (vs. digging in their heels).

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE? What could you renegotiate in your marriage? 

Want to learn more about The Five-Year Marriage® ?

You can get started by reading The Five-Year Marriag® : Shifting the Marriage Paradigm, available on Amazon. And be sure to sign up for Annmarie Kelly’s Five-Year Marriage®  newsletter to get the latest information on articles, meetups, and workshops.

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

Have Times Changed?

Glenn Close acceptance speech at Golden Globes

Glenn Close was wiping away the tears. “I’m thinking of my mom,” she said, shaking with emotion, “Who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life and, in her eighties, she said to me, ‘I feel I haven’t accomplish anything.’” Then, as she ended her acceptance speech for her Golden Globe best actress win, the power in her voice filled the stage as she told her worldwide audience, “We’re nurturers, that’s what’s expected of us…but we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams. We have to say ‘I can do that,” and ‘I should be allowed to do that.”

Yes and Yayyyy!

Women are nurturers, and that is what is expected of them. But why haven’t we evolved more in our 21st century than in the 3rd, 14th or 20th centuries? Can only women nurture? And can only men fulfill their goals and follow their dreams? Of course not!

Yet we keep putting new wine into old wine-skins. That is, women keep putting their “new wine” independent selves and empowered ideas into the “old wine-skin” of traditional marriage. As a result, they still find themselves doing what Glenn Close’s mother did – sublimating. They put off their goals until the kids are in school and it’s “their time.” Unfortunately,  “their time” sometimes comes at the same time as a divorce. Or they redirect their energies into home-based businesses that are more like hobbies. Their once-sharp skillset is rusty and they settle – for an OK or satisfying life instead of a fulfilling one.

And just like how the new wine in the old wine-skin degrades and sours, a woman is diminished and her spirit withers.  In the end, women’s lives are eerily similar in personal fulfillment and satisfaction to the lives of women like Glenn Close’ mother.

Women don’t have to keep sublimating or withering. Women, and the men who love them, can choose something different. They can choose a lifestyle that gives both of them equal voices and choices. Also, they can choose a lifestyle where they revisit their agreements and periodically adjust.  Just like any contract. It’s the same with your cable company or cellphone carrier.

Of course, a woman has to own her power and make it important. And a man has to recognize it. Your partner typically doesn’t know why you are unhappy or dissatisfied…but chances are, s/her knows something isn’t working well. Still, s/he isn’t a mind-reader. You two have to meet, communicate, and renegotiate.

You do it with your cable carrier, don’t you? Your carried isn’t going to offer you a better bundle of services just because you don’t like what you have now. You have to call them, complain, and ask for something better. When you do, they usually accommodate you. And, frankly, your cable carrier doesn’t have as much to lose as the typical married couple. So, doesn’t it make sense for the two of you to have regular conversations?

The Five-Year Marriage®

The Five-Year Marriage® opens up a space for conversation and honest communication. Here are a few things you’ll find with The Five-Year Marriage® :

  • Both partners have an equal voice
  • Women can keep from losing themselves in the minutia of marriage and children because she doesn’t give up her SELF
  • The five-year format gives women and men a way to shine a light on problems early so that they can be looked at, discussed, and problem solved before she or he starts feeling anger and resentment
  • Because a couple is still living in love, they are open and willing to find ways to solve the problems.

The Five-Year Marriage® is a different but better way for couples to live a marriage. It breaks the “til death do us part” stranglehold.

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE? How do you think a Five-Year Marriage® would affect your relationship – or the relationship of someone you know?

Want to learn more? You can get started by reading The Five-Year Marriage® : Shifting the Marriage Paradigm, available on Amazon. And be sure to sign up for Annmarie Kelly’s Five-Year Marriage newsletter to get the latest information on articles, meetups, and workshops.

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

Aniston: Women, Marriage and Divorce

five year marriage

“It’s a very storybook idea,” Jennifer Aniston says of traditional marriage in a recent Elle magazine interview. She calls marriage a “happily ever after” fantasy. Her reason is valid: “I think for some people it does work…but everybody’s path is different.” Yes, and everyone sees marriage – and divorce – differently.

Though her marriage to Justin Theroux ended earlier this year, Aniston doesn’t consider either of her marriages (the first to Brad Pitt) a failure. Reflecting on the well-publicized splits, she believes both marriages were successful. So what happened? She explains, “When they came to an end, it was a choice that was made because we chose to be happy, and sometimes happiness didn’t exist within that arrangement anymore.”

Are Women Practicing Sexism?

The most interesting part of the Elle interview was (to me) the media dubbing the end her second marriage a failure, and Aniston seeing that as “sexist.”  She has a really good point.

In society – past and present – men aren’t stigmatized in a divorce the same way women are. For starters, a woman has an almost-immediate negative impact on her lifestyle. Next, people are likely to feel sorrier for her than him because, they seem to feel, she will suffer and he won’t.

Unfortunately, Aniston observes, a lot of the pity comes from other women. Aniston wonders if that’s because they may be. “women who haven’t figured out that they have the power, that they have the ability to achieve a sense of inner happiness.” If that’s the case, she thinks that’s the greater failure which, she believes, is an oversight due to “narrow-minded thinking.”

Or, Aniston wonders if “using marriage and children as the ultimate marker of female happiness is just another way to disempower successful women.” Jen’s definitely onto something!

So many women still believe that their life doesn’t begin until they are married. Many powerful, self-sufficient executives still think marriage is a measure of success. Or that their life isn’t complete yet. So, as the old song says, “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” If a woman can’t find the relationship she wants, she settles for the one she can get. That “settling” may mean giving up some of her personal power. That can serve up some tough consequences for both her and him. Sadly, it’s even worse for their children.

What Makes the Five-Year Marriage® Different

Jennifer Aniston realizes something critically important about traditional marriage. It’s really old school because “we have these clichés around all of this that need to be reworked and retooled. That’s what The Five-Year Marriage® gives couples – a modern-day, reworked and retooled version of an old tradition.  It shows couples a new way of thinking about and living their marriage – one that makes practical sense for them.

In the Five-Year Marriage®, a woman doesn’t just see her life through only the prisms of herself as a spouse and mother. Instead, she understands that she (1) has power and (2) has a viable construct for using it in marriage. Both of those are is critically important to her psyche. She also focuses on her own SELF.

So, when she dates a prospective mate, she takes the time to ask the tough questions, even if she doesn’t like the answers. She makes sure they have shared values and goals, they talk about the really tough stuff. Then, unlike many old-school marriages, the woman – and the man who loves her and whom she loves – create a set of agreements before the wedding – in a format more detailed than the simple government-issued marriage contract.

Through the Five-Year Marriage® set-up, regular Family Meetings keep them accountable.  Those meetings also shine a light on what’s working and what’s not…before a lot of anger, resentment, and disconnection build up between the couple.

Over time, as the woman lives her life with her  partner, she pays attention to how the contract is or isn’t serving her and the relationship. If it isn’t, she has the space to renegotiate those agreements. So does he. That’s part of the paradigm-shifting design of The Five-Year Marriage.

What would you renegotiate in your marriage contract?

Interested in starting your own Five-Year Marriage®? Learn more and get the basics, starting with the book:  The Five-Year Marriage®: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm

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

DeNiro and Hightower: One-Sided Divorce?

Trouble in paradise - deniro

Robert De Niro and Grace Hightower recently made headlines – and not for a happy reason. The famed actor filed for a divorce from his long-time spouse after 20 years of marriage. This is the second time DeNiro has filed for divorce. The first time was about ten years ago. The divorce was never finalized because DeNiro and Hightower resolved their differences. They recommitted in a lavish, celebrity-filled ceremony.

So what happened this time?

Reports are surfacing about the reasons. They include Hightower’s lavish spending habits as well as stress over raising their autistic child, one of DeNiro’s two children with Hightower. According to Radar Online, the celebrity insider who confirmed the breakup to Page Six, and also said, “she was blindsided. As of a few weeks ago, everything seemed fine.”

Blindsided?? How could that be? A divorce, like a marriage, involves two people. How does a marriage die – but only one person writes the obituary? A one-sided divorce is something of a puzzle.

Clearly DeNiro and Hightower weren’t connecting in a meaningful way. If there were problems, the two weren’t sitting down to discuss them. Or, if they discussed their problems, they weren’t finding a way to effectively identify and resolve the difficulty. As every long-time married couple knows, partner communication in marriage is more important than sex. Without it, the marriage partners experience a disconnect accompanied by loneliness, anger and/or resentment.

Two Ways the Five-Year Marriage® Shifts the Marriage Paradigm in Your Favor

The Five-Year Marriage® recognizes the communication cornerstone…and human nature. Here’s how:

  • Time-Limits. It’s human nature to put things off until you have to do it. Most people are motivated by deadlines. The Five-Year Marriage® has the built-in end date of five years. Partners cannot lull themselves into thinking they unlimited time (’til death) to fix a problem. They have five years. It creates an incentive for communication, as well as a method for action and accountability.
  • Structured Support. Five-Year couples develop the habit of doing a team temperature check. They do it during their Family Meetings, where they use a format to evaluate their relationship.

How to Have a Family Meeting That Works

  1. Set a definite time and place
  2. Start the meeting with a “high five” list of what’s going right
  3. Next, identify what isn’t going well, and talk about how it isn’t and how that’s a problem – without blame or finger-pointing
  4. Then figure out how to solve the problem; figure out how to get help if you need it (counselor, mediator, books, etc.)
  5. Finally make a commitment for who’s going to do what in the resolution process. For example, if someone is overspending, create a budget. Maybe there already is a budget but it’s not being honored. Then make an agreement that both of you have to agree on anything for which your joint money is being used over a specific dollar amount.
  6. Follow-up on your progress at the next Family Meeting.

If the problem isn’t being resolved, go for mediation or counseling – before resentment builds up and turns to hate or apathy. And before one partner feels so disconnected to the relationship that s/he files for divorce and blindsides the other.

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE? Thinking about couples you know, how would a Family Meeting help their communication?

To learn more about the Five-Year Marriage®, join the Five-Year Marriage community. When you do, you will get a download link for my article on “The Four Traits in a Partner to Avoid at All Costs.

Ready? Here’s what to do now:

Get my Five-Year Marriage® started! Sign-up and receive “The 4 Traits to AVOID AT ALL COSTS in a partner”! (PDF) Plus, be the first to know what’s new with the Five Year Marriage®

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

Would You Walk Away on Your Wedding Day?

marriage advice
What Would You Do?

Casey thought her wedding day would be the happiest day of her life. So, on the night before she was to marry long-time love, Alex, she was totally unprepared for the shock of her life.

While celebrating with her bridal part, Casey started getting some texts. At first she thought they were hot and sexy somethings from Alex. It didn’t take her long to figure out that they weren’t.

To Casey’s amazement, the texts were from Alex to another woman.  They contained pictures and oh-so-hot messages, which she recently posted on her social media, including these:“This weekend. You and I. It is on, hot stuff. Bring your A game.” and “Your body is f-ing incredible. And…you know how to use it. I wish my GF had half the skills you do.”

Casey was confused and devastated. Her outraged girlfriends insisted she call Alex immediately and dump his sorry butt. However, to their surprise, she didn’t.

Casey couldn’t wrap her head around what was happening to her now happiest-day–turned-nightmare.  She didn’t know what to do…until the next day…

As planned, Casey got ready for her wedding. However, when she walked up the aisle, her phone was hidden beneath her bouquet. She got to the front of the church, turned around, and did something that stupefied Alex and astonished her guests. Instead of reading her vows, and with tears streaming down her face, Casey read Alex’s text messages aloud – all of them.

When Alex tried to grab her hand, the scorned Casey didn’t give him any opportunity for redemption.  Shocked, embarrassed and angry, he stormed out of the church. Casey then told her guests that they wouldn’t be going to a wedding reception that day, but to join her for “a celebration of honesty, finding true love and following your heart even when it hurts.”

Could you have done that? Would you?

Casey’s story isn’t as uncommon as you might like to believe. Many brides-to-be have more than second thoughts or wedding day jitters. They have premonitions, misgivings, and “feelings” – that are most often ignored because once the train is on that wedding day track, it’s hard to stop. The money is spent, the invitations are out, and…what will people think?

Also, you want to be in love and have the “happily ever after.” That makes you vulnerable and easily duped into having a fake or doomed relationship…without even knowing it. That’s why the old saying “love is blind and marriage opens the eyes” still sticks; it’s an all-too-common reality.

Was love so blind for Casey? Was this the first time Alex cheated on her? Or, had it happened before, Alex asked for forgiveness and swore it would never happen, and Casey let it slide?

Or, maybe it’s something deeper. Maybe Casey, like most prospective brides (and grooms too) don’t want to believe s/he could have been so fooled or made such a big mistake. Nobody wants to be wrong. And many people would prefer to take a risk on suffering the consequences down the road than be publicly embarrassed.

Not for Casey. She chose short-term embarrassment over long-term pain.

What about you? Is there any way you can stack the deck a bit to avoid the same thing?

Frankly, there are no guarantees in relationships. “Stuff” happening is always possible. However, the Five-Year Marriage® gives you some solid leverage for shifting the marriage paradigm in your favor. Here are three ways that happens:

  • Someone who has the intention of deceiving is looking for a safe space to do it. The traditional “til death do you part” marriage provides cover for their despicable acts. The Five-Year Marriage® is not so protective. It has more accountability built into its design. So it’s harder to hide deceptive or bad behaviors, even as early as dating and courtship.
  • The process of creating the Five-Year Marriage® partnership is more open and transparent. It challenges “feelings” of love and instead calls for fact-based communication and an honesty that puts that love into action…before the wedding.
  • You use Family Meetings to hold both partners to their agreements on a regular basis. If one partner isn’t living up to those agreements before the marriage, you aren’t stuck for ten-fifteen-fifty years or until the relationship sucks all the joy out of you.

Are YOU ready to shift the marriage paradigm in your favor with your own Five-Year Marriage®? Get started by joining the Five-Year Marriage® community where you will be the first to find out about upcoming facebook live, seminars, workshops, retreats and more. Click here: Yes, I want to shift the marriage paradigm in my favor!

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

Are You Kidding Me?

Strong Women
We Can Do It Poster Illustration

“Long before it’s time for Mom to help plan the wedding dress or Dad to give the bride away, it’s time to be raising a future wife in your home. Because wives aren’t born – they are made.” That was the warning author Constance J. Foster gave mothers. And in her 1956 Parents Magazine article “Raise Your Daughter to Be a Wife,” Eve Nelson told mothers to get started early. She wrote, “It’s up to you to create a female aura before she can even say ‘goo’.”

So, good mothers schooled their daughters in cooking, cleaning, having kids, and being a stay-at-home mom. Fathers let their daughters know their main function was to make everything good, happy, and respectful for her spouse, the wage-earner. There was no sense spending thousands of dollars for a college tuition on a girl who was only going to be changing diapers. A better use of his money was for “finishing” school. Was that to finish off the job of learning marital servility? 

The adage was “be an angel in the kitchen, a lady in the living room, and a devil in the bedroom.” Good cooking, good manners and good in bed. That was the recipe for happiness – his – not hers. Sexually, a women was told to submit to sex, whether she wanted it or not. There was no feminism or #METOO anything. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to enjoy sex (still a popular opinion in cultures that support female genital mutilation). Sex was important in the marriage so she could keep her husband – the breadwinner – happy. The idea of marital rape was foreign, because sex was a man’s prerogative and right. She was little more than a depository. And, if a man cheated, it had to be her fault.

Abuse was often part of the package – except that it wasn’t considered abuse to hit or even spank a wife as a form of discipline. Men believed that sometimes a wife needed it just to “keep her in line.” While some religions still believe that, most people consider spanking as discipline to be domestic abuse.

Even though all that was going on in most households, a significant swing in woman-power had begun.  During WWII, when men were at war, women were able to get jobs – and even managerial positions – in places they previously couldn’t – aircraft plants, shipyards, manufacturing.  Most women who worked in those places liked it – and wanted to keep working. They resented being expected to go back to being housewives when the soldiers came home.

However, those women did it…but the genie was already out of the bottle. That resentment fueled the rebellion that later became “women’s liberation” and then the first and second waves of feminism. Though the old-style marriage that allowed a man to be in charge without question, and a woman to shut-up and do what was expected, was the norm, the wheels of change were cranking.

While Foster and Nelson were spewing old school garbage in magazines and books, many women started noticing that Harriet was smarter than Ozzie, women like Lucy and Ethel weren’t ditsy broads, and Ralph Kramden would have fallen apart if it wasn’t for Alice being the brains in the partnership. Then all hell broke loose. Books like The Feminine Mystique and Fear of Flying became bestsellers. The National Organization of Women (NOW) was formed, News-capturing events like Billie Jean King’s “Battle of the Sexes” was the talk of the world. Suddenly feminism took center stage and, when it did, opened doors for many women.

Since then women have grown up and grown into their own power. They own their own homes, have advanced degrees, executive positions, thriving businesses and, more and more, sit on the boards of major corporations. There are still so many issues for women, but the worst of them are history, or at least being addressed with movements like #MeToo.

That’s why The Five-Year Marriage® is so important for today’s empowered woman.   The old-fashioned marriage of yesteryear is simply obsolete. The empowered woman needs a marital structure that honors her needs and desires.

The Five-Year Marriage® does that by shifting the old paradigm, and giving a woman both her voice AND the power to go with that voice. And, at the same time, it honors the men who join them in as an equal in partnership. The marital partnership is key to The Five-Year Marriage® where both partners can expect The Solid Seven of the Five-Year Marriage®:

  • Emotional Chemistry
  • Ongoing Dialogue
  • Dependability
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Freedom
  • Fairness
  • Mutual Respect

The Solid Seven set reasonable relationship parameters for both partners. And, within those parameters, couples build the kind of trust that leads to true intimacy in a marriage. In the end, intimacy is what the empowered woman – and the man who loves her – really wants.

You can read more about the Solid Seven and how to create your own Five-Year Marriage® the book (available on The Five-Year Marriage®: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm

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


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