25 reasons your marriage probably sucks (or is about to)…

Sorry if the word “Suck” irritates you. It’s actually not allowed in our house, yet although I have tried, I can not think of a more perfect word for what some spouses either are encountering or are about to encounter by the way they act or the things they say.

When I was that 8 year old child standing on the sidewalk as my father drove away, I can still remember thinking to my self how easy it would be to fix this situation. I knew if my dad just didn’t do “A” then my mom wouldn’t react like “B” and visa versa. Even before that day, when hearing some of my parents arguments I remember thinking, “what is wrong with these two? Don’t they get it?”

Now, as a mentor, my job is to let my clients find out their own answers through theunhappy couple questions I ask, not to just come out and tell them. I teach the tools and principles and they have to implement them. However, sometimes, when listening to the rational, the selfishness and the complaints, it tests my will-power not to say, ”Are you freaking kidding me?”, “What makes you think that is a good idea?” or “How did you think that would work out?” ending with, ”Well then, your marriage is about to suck!”

Yes, in most cases, they are meeting with me because their marriage needs help, and it’s still surprising to hear a grown man say, “She’s just trying to control me. I shouldn’t have to tell her when I am coming home?” Or when a woman says, “I work hard all day, why should I have to tell him how I spend the money?”

Think those sound a bit silly? Well, here is a list of actual situations or comments said or to me, admittedly not all are clients, some are just people who want to share (read, complain) to me when they find out what I do.

Your marriage probably sucks (or is about to) if your…

  1. Being more concerned about getting to hang with your friends than the time you are spending with your spouse.
  2. Treating sex as a weapon or reward as opposed to a connector.
  3. Accusing your spouse of wanting to control you when they want you to give up bad habbits like drinking, drugs or porn.
  4. Spending money your spouse knows nothing about.
  5. Focusing on being your children’s buddy instead of being your spouses lover.
  6. Using demeaning words like stupid, idiot or looser when talking to or describing your spouse.
  7. Expecting them to be more like your mom/dad or being disappointed when your spouse doesn’t do “it” the way mommy/daddy did.
  8. Becoming upset or angry when they admit to being attracted to another person. (I’ll wait for the emails on that one)
  9. Saying, “I work hard all day so I shouldn’t have to…”
  10. Saying, “You don’t know what I go through all day while you’re having a good time at home/work.
  11. Thinking he (and she in some situations) can go weeks without sex and not hold resentment, frustration and be a bit grumpy.
  12. Thinking she can go weeks without a real date (no not just fast food and a movie) or you being romantic and hold resentment, frustration and be a bit grumpy.
  13. Confiding your hopes and dreams, worries or concerns in another person other than your spouse. (Especially when they are of the opposite sex)
  14. Talking negatively or complaining about your spouse to others. (especially someone of the opposite sex)
  15. Being upset when you have a self discovery moment and your spouse does not. (“I’m stepping into my power now, so you should too”)
  16. Being unwilling to say, “Im sorry”, “I was wrong” or “You were right.” (This is for both the husband and the wife)
  17. Criticizing your spouse for their appearance.
  18. Expecting them to read your mind or think you can read theirs.
  19. Believing that doubting your love means you must have made a mistake.
  20. Blame them for your choices instead of taking responsibility for yourself.
  21. Take sides with your children when they are being rude, dismissive or disrespectful to your spouse.
  22. Making everything else a priority, including kids, above your relationship.
  23. Thinking the use of porn (that includes mommy-porn) is not that big of a deal to your spouse.
  24. Believing your spouse is responsible for your happiness.
  25. Believing you don’t have a important role to play in their happiness.

Of course there are more situations that can or are making your marriage suck right now, but that looks like a good start for some self reflection.

What scenarios or complaints have you heard or seen from a “friend”? Please share what you think.

Happy marriages are not secrets: Success always leaves clues!

I don’t know what it is about lists, but we seem to love them. Top 10 this, Best 21 of that. We like to have something to check off. I think it makes us feel like even if we can only get a few things checked off, we are on the right track. One of the most popular segments of our training is when we give our list of the 13 Traits of Happy Couples. I’ll share that one tomorrow. For now. Here is a list from Yahoo and Redbook that gives us some insight into the Secrets of Happy Couples. Do you agree or disagree with them? If so, which ones?

They look lovingly at each other across rooms, finish their partners’ sentences, and playfully poke fun at one another. Here’s how those blissful twosomes keep the romance alive. REDBOOK.

1. They celebrate a unique anniversary
Your wedding anniversary is a lovely date to remember, but it’s not the only milestone that matters. It’s even more intimate to celebrate less public moments of which only you two know the true meaning, such as your first kiss, first vacation together or – hey – even the first time the pregnancy test turned blue.

2. They stash pleasure money
Sure, you have funds earmarked for bills and savings, but every couple also needs a just-for-fun account to fund the occasional, much-need indulgence, says Brown University psychiatry professor Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men. “Put some money aside that won’t destroy your budget when you use it,” he says. Spend it on a spur-of-the-moment weekend trip, a pricey bottle of champagne or front-row tickets to a concert you’re dying to see.

Continue Reading here.

Is empathy the secret to a happy marriage?

What is the number one thing you think that can improve your marriage? How do you get from breakdown in your relationship to build up?

We often talk about how turning your spouses little things that “bug you” into silly little quarks in your mind is a very powerful tool in stay in love with your spouse.

In her report, Julie Hanks explains that one of the most important things you can do is to show empathy for your spouse.

The following article gives you an insight into the 10 things happy couples do to increase their empathy for one another.

Check it out here.

An evening spent with Jack Canfield helped my marriage

On a rainy night in February, Dino and I braved the traffic and drove to downtown Salt Lake to spend an evening with Jack Canfield. I have heard him speak before, but I was optimistic that I’d get a deeper understanding or a new perspective on something if I went.

And boy was I right.

Of course the presentation was meant for individual, personal development and business strategies, but I saw them through my marriage mentor eyes, and immediately applied them into my own relationship.

8 nuggets if wisdom for increasing my marriage:

1. Take 100% responsibility- act as if I created it all. If I am willing to accept how I created, or allowed every circumstance in my life, then I’ll also realize I have the power to change it. Instead of being a victim to my spouse’s actions or attitude, I will be able to create my own reality of the situation.

2. Event + Response= Outcome- This is a classic Success Principle out of Jack’s book. Instead of blaming the event, I need to change my response. So much of my mentoring work with couples is spent trying to apply this in their relationship. Even if your spouse does something “wrong”, the way you react largely determines what will happen next. Will this be a learning/come together moment? Or will your emotions flare and create disconnect between the two of you?

3. There are 3 steps to my successful & happy relationship:

  1.  Stop doing things that don’t work
  2.  keep doing the things that do work
  3.  try on new things that I’ve never tried before

4. Have to give up the evil twins of blame & complain. These are 2 of the most toxic elements in a marriage. This echoes back to step #1 – stop projecting my negative feelings and results onto others, and taking ownership of them myself.

You can’t complain about something you can’t change. We only complain about stuff we know can be different & changeable.

A more honest definition of Complaint is, “I have something to change, but am not willing to take the time or effort to create it.”

Dino & I have a  motto that “There are no obstacles, only problems to be solved.”

5.  3 responses we have control over:

  • behavior- How I react, the actions I take.
  • thoughts-  What I allow to linger in my mind, belief systems I accept.
  • imagery- Mental pictures I use to create my outer world.

We have the ability to affect matter through our mind, and I don’t think most of us, including myself, completely comprehend how much power we truly have or we’d utilize it better.

6. Replace “I can’t” with “I won’t”- This one stings sometimes when I own it, but man it’s powerful. Anytime I catch myself saying “I can’t”, I replace it with “I won’t”, which is a more accurate description of what’s really going on. Ouch! Again, it goes back to the  100% responsibility for myself, and not blaming others.

7. Eliminate guilt. Man, can you think of a more debilitating emotion than guilt? According to Jack, a good definition of guilt is: Having a belief that I, or my spouse, are supposed to be different than we are. That’s a no win proposition.

Instead, I’m choosing to:

  • Change belief that I’m supposed to be is different than I am
  •  Live up to belief of who I really am

8. Take action daily- It’s one thing to learn great principles, and it’s another to actually put them into practice. What I’m doing, and I suggest you do as well is to take 5 steps daily towards creating the marriage I want.

Some ideas for taking action daily:

  • demonstrate gratitude
  • give compliments and praise liberally
  • acknowledge my spouse for all the little & big things they do for me and the family
  • laugh and find the humor in life
  • connect emotionally, spiritually & physically every day

These are  some starting tips for how to proactively strengthen your marriage, and they’ll create amazing results.

Final thought I have for you:

Keep your feet pointed forward. Usually breakdown in marriage comes when we are looking back at our evidence from our past instead of the future we want and can create. When I am confused, cranky or unhappy in my marriage, a great question I ask myself is: What am I not seeing because I’m focused on what is or has been, rather than my desired vision?” That usually shifts my perspective to where it needs to be-forward thinking.

I hope you find value in this relationship advice, and that you will  incorporate them into your marriage.

I am curious, which nuggets resonated most with you? Please share in the comments below. I read every one of them, and I’d love to hear from you!


“Don’t ask for easier problems in marriage, ask for a greater you.” -Jim Rohn



Cool Wedding Apps


Say “I Do” to wedding apps 

Thanks to the advent of smartphones and the iPad, people are online more than ever. A boom in application software or ‘apps’ for these various electronic devices, it hasn’t taken long for developers to create a whole slew of wedding-related apps as well. As wedding season is around the corner, here are 10 handy wedding apps for guys and gals getting married.

For Him:
1. Marriage Proposal Ideas for iPhone, 99 cents
Stumped about how to deliver the perfect marriage proposal? This app contains hundreds of suggestions to match a variety of occasions and locales.

2. Tiffany & Co. Engagement Ring Finder for iPhone, 99 cents
While obviously geared towards promSay oting Tiffany diamonds, this app still provides a useful starting point for those unfamiliar with the various considerations that go into shopping for a ring, whether it be cut, color, clarity, ring size, and beyond.

3. Wedding Speeches For The Best Man & Groomsman for iPhone, 99 cents
For the tongue-tied groomsman or best man, this app provides several speech etiquette tips and speech templates that you can tailor to suit any wedding.

4. Fun Wedding for iPhone, 99 cents
This clever app provides access to music charts updated monthly from actual song request lists made to wedding DJ’s around the country. Sure to keep your wedding song-list popular with guests.

5. Wedding Day for iPhone, 99 cents
For the forgetful groom (or bride) to-be, this fun little app provides a real-time countdown to the wedding day.

For Her:
1. iWedding Deluxe for iPhone, $9.99
This isn’t the cheapest app going, but it’s easily the most sophisticated wedding planning app around. Loaded with tools and resources that will keep your planning on track for the big day.

2. Wedding Wire for Android, Free
Though not nearly as authoritative, Android users should check out this free app that contains plenty of planning resources. One great advantage is the app’s access to an exhaustive catalog of vendors.

3. Wedding 911 by The Knot for iPhone, Free
Wedding 911 is one of the most popular wedding apps available on the market. From etiquette to budgeting to beauty tips, it’s all here, plus you can post questions to other users for advice.

4. Wedding Flowers Moodboard for iPhone, $1.99

This new app should come in useful for brides-to-be. It contains a large library of images and suggestions that will help you come up with the right floral bouquet to fit your wedding.

5. iBridalGown: Wedding Dress Shop Assistant for iPhone, $3.99
Just as the name indicates, this handy app helps you keep track of the various wedding dress options you’ve tried on, then lets you compare them all side by side with photos and relevant information.

Story by Evan Kanarakis

Read the full article HERE


Business of Marriage seminar testimonials- Part 3

ok, humor me one last time!

It’s been fun hearing your comments on facebook, and emails sent to me, so I thought I’d share one last round of testimonials from attendees at our latest Business of Marriage live event.

“These 3 days were some of the most fun and connecting times we’ve shared together! We have the awesome opportunity to be mentored by Dino & Shannon in a group mentoring program where we are gleaning powerful tools each week, and we still learned a TON here! The talk on making love, as well as the talk on money was so insightful. Wow, I will never forget some of the breakthroughs I experienced. I love being married and share the Watt’s vision of wanting to reverse the direction of divorce across the globe. This weekend set me on fire to share that vision~ bring it on!”  - CR married 8.5 yrs.

” After the first day I didn’t want to be here because I had exposed myself to where I was in our marriage, and it wasn’t good. But I came back and learned valuable tools and how to argue & communicate, and how to have fun in my marriage. I also learned how to meet mine & my spouse’s needs (sexually and other areas of our life). This class has helped me see things differently, and helped me to set goals & improve our marriage. I wish, oh how I wish I had the tools and your help 34 yrs. ago. Now for the rest of our lives we can have a happier, more fulfilling and FUN marriage. Thank you, thank you!”    -BP, married 34 yrs.

“I am so glad that I didn’t cop out and I actually showed up at the Business of Marriage. I have anxiety and panic attacks, and almost didn’t get on the plane to fly here, but I did. You will learn so many tools that will not only improve your relationship with your spouse, but also with your children. This weekend really opened my eyes to see how broken my communication was with my family. I am excited to go home and implement what I learned to strengthen my family.”   – HM, married 14 yrs.

” I thought our marriage was doing good, but we know that there’s always improvements to be made, so we were excited to grow together. I didn’t expect to find that I had been sabotaging our financial success & holding myself back from moving forward in my life like I wanted to. I found that I had some blindspots, but I learned some tools to STOP the SaBOTAGE once and for all! It will take work and dedication but I know that as I implement the things I’ve learned at the Business of Marriage my relationships will improve. Thank you Dino & Shannon for living your life purpose so taht I can move closer to mine!”    - CV, married 7.5 yrs.

“Several months ago I wrote a letter to my dad, who seemed to have checked out on his marriage to my mother of 30 years. In my letter I asked him that if two people who’ve been married for 30 years can’t stay together, what assurance to my wife and I have that we can avoid the same fate? Miraculously my parents seemed to put aside the daggers and all of a sudden they were doing well. We were so confused. This past Christmas my question was answered when my dad said The Business of Marriage class was instrumental in turning things around. He said they attended the class and got personal mentoring to ensure a better chance of a happy future together, and it’s made all the difference. While our marriage is good, the tools and ideas presented here are necessary for any couple wishing to advance in their relationship. Thanks for showing me & my parents the way.”                          -JP, married 2.5 yrs.

Watching couples rise up and claim a strong marriage and create a family legacy….Life doesn’t get much better than that!

Wishing you health & happiness,


5 Steps to True Transformation

True transformations happen only under pressure and challenge.- Blair Singer

I have found that when you want a comprehensive transformation, it needs to happen in all areas of your life. This is best achieved by learning to let go, and release any negative emotions attached to an experience or a person.

People tend to create minimal results, or temporary results, when they only focus on working on one to two areas of their life. Then, they get frustrated and revert back to old behaviors and attitudes, thinking that their effort didn’t pay off.

In my experience as a mentor, I have studied and come to understand that the person has the ability to experience dramatic, lasting results if new actions are taken in ALL 5 areas of a person’s life.

1. Mental
2. Physical
3. Emotional
4. Spiritual
5. Behavioral

How can you create permanent transformation in your marriage?  By looking at your challenge through all 5 paradigms and choosing at least one action step in each area.

If you are experiencing difficulty in your finances & money in your marriage, ask yourself the following questions:

“How can I think differently about this?”

“What’s a physical action I can take to improve the situation?”

“What emotion is attached to this? And how can I release it?”

“How can I shift my  relationship to this, and create more spiritual connection in this area of my life?”

“What behaviors am I indulging in that are sabotaging my results? What actions & habits can I chose to support my goal?”

Looking at any area of your life through these 5 paradigms will assist you in getting lasting, effective improvement in your life.”