Fun ideas for a Couples Bucket List

Wow, Valentines is just a couple weeks away, so I thought the next little while I will post things like couple bucket lists, great information on love languages and fun ideas on how to spoil those you LOVE! Cheers to LOVE WEEK(s)!!

I am going to start with a fun idea that can bring any couple together…a COUPLES BUCKET LIST!! What a great time of year to sit down with the one you love and create a fun list of things you want to do together…for valentines, for the month, week or year.

Take the time to connect. This is a great opportunity to see where your other half desires to be—where they want to go, what they want to do, what aspirations they hold. Sharing hopes and dreams will bring you closer, it will help you focus on one another and the future you would like to create. This is your life together, so take the time to create it, to include those things that matter most and make it a life you will LOVE together.

Here are some ideas I came across in my search…

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Here are a bunch of ideas I found…enjoy! Take a nap together, Couples Massage, Go on a spontaneous road trip together, Write one another a love letter, Walk the beach under the stars, Take a bubble bath, Cook a fun meal together, Make pasta from scratch, Swim at night, Fly a kite together, Travel to exotic places together (you decide where), Share random gifts, Go on a cruise, Visit a piano bar, Go to the symphony or ballet, Make a homemade Thanksgiving dinner together, Make a special dessert like Creme Brûlée, Watch an entire television series together (you decide), Hike the Grand Canyon, Train for a sports event together (Marathon, Triathlon, etc), Ride in a hot air balloon, Read a book together, Get a couples massage, Have a picnic on Lake Louise (or another Lake of your choice), Hug a Redwood Tree, Dance under a palm tree in Hawaii, Learn to surf together, Dress up for Halloween in themed costumes, See a live concert together, Build a fort, Take a specific class together, Release floating lanterns, Let go of a balloon with a wish attached to it, Kiss under mistletoe, Spend a day in cuddling, Make snow angels, Kiss at midnight on New Years, Write our own love story, Drive route 66, Visit a rainforest, Make a video montage of our life together, Sleep under the stars, Learn a new language, Adopt a pet, Take photos in a photo booth, Participate in a flashmob, Color a coloring book, Ride a tandem bike, Go to a music festival, Create nicknames for each other, Stay up all night, Go on a specific roller coaster, Kiss at the top of the Ferris Wheel, Take a tram ride, Have a pillow fight, Hike every National Park, Have special couple kisses, Sing together, Skinny dip, Learn to Tango or Ballroom Dance, Go on a motorcycle adventure together, Ride in a sailboat, See whales or dolphins in the wild, Kiss under the Eiffel Tower, Sleep in a hammock together, Learn to truly LOVE…

The list of ideas is endless, so take the time to create your own list with the one you LOVE.

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Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939, translated from French by Lewis Galantière

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A Special Happily Ever After

One of my last posts was about Your Happily Ever After and creating the life you want with someone you love, so I thought this would be a good addition. This is a great love story, so if you haven’t seen it—take the time. It is worth it!
He is also one of the main characters in the movie “Butterfly Circus” that is an inspired short film. If you have not seen this movie—take the time. It is also worth it! It is on my blog. enjoy!

Your Happily Ever After

Image”We need a witness to our lives.  There’s a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything.  The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day.  You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.  Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness’.”                                          -movie, Shall We Dance

I have always loved this quote because it has such truth, such depth about why our relationships are so important in our lives.  I just had a moment of reflection and thought I would expand on it. A couple days ago I asked my husband of almost 19 years (in a month) what he would say were keys to a happy marriage. It was strange, my mind seemed to jump from the conversation to images that began to whirl in my mind of an article I wrote ten years ago. It was an article on “Keys to a Happy Marriage.” It was my first article to be published and I was truly excited about the happening. I couldn’t believe it, it was surreal and my heart was so high at the thought that my words may touch someone—anyone!!

The very next day after the exciting news, my husband had news of his own, he had been emotionally cheating on me. His words began to run through my mind and I couldn’t believe what was happening. Not my husband!! I would never have imagined in a million years that this was my husband, the father of our year old daughter, the man I had spent every day with for the last ten years. Then it dawned on me, “How could this be happening. I am having an article on marriage published. How could I not know. How could I be so deceived…” My heart broke!  It was broken, hurt, and didn’t trust…for a very long time.

My point in telling this story is how funny life can be, how a very phrase can whirl images of events that bring back a time of heartache, but also a time of growth. Relationships are never perfect, they take time to learn as individuals, to grow as a couple, to build again after something shakes it to the core. I would never have traded that time in my life for anything. I learned so much about my spiritual self, what I needed, and how to begin again.

My husband is an incredible man that I would do anything for, he is truly my best friend and the one I lean on for anything. It took time to re-build trust, to find loving communication, to let go of blame and heartache, but in everything you do there is a give and take, a flow of what life needs you to learn, whether it is about yourself or the one you love, as individuals and as a couple. True love will work to endure, it will find a hope for forgiveness, and a light of understanding. We both have learned a lot through our journey together and would never trade the ups and the downs to where our life is today. You have to take everything that comes with love.

So here are my thoughts on what helps a marriage become your happily ever after…

Don’t take the gift of LOVE for granted: be grateful for the relationship you are in, for the opportunity to grow together, to learn from your other half, to have a best friend, to have someone who builds and believes in you, someone who cares about your needs, someone who is a ‘witness to your life.”

Respect one another: Relationships include two INDIVIDUALS working together…I love this analogy…What is the definition of a True Relationship? If you break down the word Re-la-tion-ship: “Taking a journey on a ship with your partner and learning how to relate to one another.  It is a journey to relate or learn from each other and from everything around you. You are taking this life journey together, creating magic moments and working through the hard or tough times, and most importantly growing stronger together. It is like you are consciously merging to become one—not just getting along–which is what I see a lot of my private clients and couples doing today.    Unfortunately they learn about relationships from their parents. And with the divorce rate at close to 50% for first time marriages and 80% for 2nd marriages, it is not a good thing. They also learn from what they see on TV or in the movies, but unfortunately that is not real. This type of learning is make believe and they go  their whole life looking for something that does not exist. That is why there is so much infidelity. They are trying to find this everlasting so-called love or soul-mate, but have mistaken lust for love–which are two different things. So a relationship is the path where 2 consciousnesses merge. It is the journey on a ship to relate to each other. If you have not built a strong relation-ship, then all you have is a Relation-Canoe, and it will sink like the other 50% already do.  -Dr. Dan

Remember: you are two individuals coming together. You need to learn to love yourself before you can offer your love to another.

Invest in one another: Push one another to stretch, to grow, to try new things, to go beyond comfort. There is nothing like being surrounded by someone who is striving to become better at some area of their life. Whether you want to begin reading a book a month, you want to go on a family walk three times a week, or learn something new at a local community class. You will admire and learn from one another. People striving to become better individuals=better relationship.

Be gentle with one another: Keep in mind people come with baggage, a hard childhood, a broken past, etc. Be gentle and lovingly nurture.  “When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”  -Barbara Bloom

Spirit: Pray, meditate, get grateful, go to church, etc. Find a place where you can both be spiritual. Every relationship is different. You may have different feelings about what religion to be part of or not feel comfortable attending a community church. I have found through our differences that as long as you are both seeking some kind of spirituality, love will shine in. Take the time to pray together and give thanks in all you do. Be an example to your children of hope, faith and gratitude.

Healthy Communication: Just talk. No one can read minds, so it is obvious that we need to share feelings–good and bad. It is all in the approach of the conversation, the ability to truly listen and to try to understand where the other person is coming from. Try to see their point of view and if you can’t grasp it or you get angry with the conversation—take a break, breathe and then come back to the conversation. Nothing good comes from anger or frustration. Do a personal ‘feelings’ check—There are only two TRUE emotions–FEAR (frustration, anger, greed, envy, all the negative emotions stem from fear) and the other emotion is LOVE (all the good emotions stem from a loving place). If you are feeling any emotion that is negative or bad–step back, take a break and come back when you can be clear and willing to lovingly listen.  My husband suggests: Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. People can find anything to fight about if they are looking for a fight or they need to be right. Sometimes it is better to let the other person have their way and be right. Is it worth coming to blows over something trivial?  One last thing…never ASSUME…you will make a ASS out of U and ME!

LAUGH often: When things get really tough, laughter seems to be a great medicine at our house. Have a good stash of comedies or funny movies that will bring you out of a negative state.

Connect: On a physical and emotional level. Emotionally be there for one another, truly listen, have meaningful conversations (and lots of plain fun ones), truly care and want the best for one another, encourage, praise, build, be present, be patient and always think of the other first. On a Physical level have fun together, flirt, text, leave love notes, send a fun pic, let go of all your personal insecurities and explore one another, plan a fun lunch date, do things “just because,” think of the other person in all you do, share spontaneous gifts, and make sure you take the time for special getaways together. This is a MUST!! Time alone is a necessity in any relationship and should be planned at every opportunity. Talk about one another’s needs. This is good communication!

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of the other is essential to your own.” -R. Heinlein

 You both need to work at building a happy relationship. It takes two to make things work. If one is working and the other doesn’t=one sided relationship. There will NOT be a healthy relationship balance.

Date Nights: try to incorporate at least one date night in a week. This is time to touch base, to eat something yummy, to connect as a couple.

Be Present: All you are guaranteed is this moment. Live it it!! Don’t get caught in the past or past experiences or mistakes. Think of it this way–you wouldn’t think of driving down the road only looking in you rear-view mirror. It is one thing to glance back and remember where you have been and what you have learned, but constantly looking back will cause an accident for many involved. The past is over. It is a day that is done. It is a chapter that you do not need to re-read over and over. It is done. Do your best to go forward daily.

FYI–My husbands keys: Great communication in all you do, Do fun things together, and make sure to fit in getaways.

“Mature love comes when each person has grown with the other’s help, and when both know how to give and receive–it’s the lifetime achievement award.”  -Harville Hendrix & Helen Hunt, Receiving Love

Well, that is all that I have right now. This is an endless topic that needs lots of attention, so I will continually write about relationships and how we can continually strive for our Happily Ever Afters. I would love any of your thoughts on this topic. Thanks for reading.

Have a Happy Day! Heather

 

What does your ideal life look like?

ImageThe new year tends to bring about resolutions, to-do lists, the changes that you aspire to achieve, but do you really know what your ideal life looks like?

I laugh thinking about my husbands weekly wish lists and meanderings, his seemingly constant comments whirl me into a confusion of his wants and needs. He wants to…move away from winter to sunny southern Utah, then its southern California, then Idaho in the summer. We’ll buy, we’ll sell, we’ll rent, we’ll buy dishes like that when we win the HGTV dream home. He makes me laugh and smile at every turn. I can’t keep up. But even after 19 years of marriage and 14+ moves to Idaho, Arizona, Oregon and back to Utah, I am still a little vague on what would be his ideal.

I understand life is an ever changing canvas and that is the beauty life has to offer…so many colors, choices, kitchens, places to live…

So this new January I ask, What is your ideal life?? Are you satisfied with all that you have? Is it enough? What do you love about your life? Does your life seem to energize or drain? Your life truly is your inspiration, so what is it saying to you right now?

Let’s look at some different areas of your life so you can get a feel for what you need, love and desire for your ideal life…

Take a minute to get some clarity. Say a prayer to help guide the feelings you have within. Your feelings will help guide you to your ideal life, the life you need, the life you are meant to live.

“everything in life responds to the song of the heart.”  -Ernest Holmes

Let’s look at the different areas. Look at the ideas and see if any of them resonate with you. Ask yourself if it is something you need, something you desire, etc.  Does it excite or ignite you? Do you want to skip it all together? Take notice of what your heart is saying. Don’t limit your ideas or needs, there may be something that is not listed that you feel you need–take a note. Listen within for personal clarity and direction.

MIND. BODY. SPIRIT

Personal Time: do you need to have more quiet time, a retreat, more self-care?

Personal Interests: Do you have a hobby you love, but not enough time to do it? Have you made time or desire creativity of some kind?  Do you need time to play? Do you want to serve someone else each week or volunteer for some organization? Is there something you have been desiring to do? What is it? How can you make the time to do it?

Learning and growth: Are you interested in taking a class? reading a book? getting a mentor to help you with some area of your life? Want to learn something online? Listen to a podcast?

Good things for your spirit: Do you want to begin taking a yoga class? Do you need to pray? Meditate? Go on a walk? Get out in nature? Listen to good music? More time to nap?

Health: Do you need to eat better? Begin an exercise routine? Drink more water? Do things that will reduce your stress? Find ways to get better sleep? Take nutritional supplements?

Personal Space: do you have time for just you? Do you have a place in your home where you can go and just be or do something you enjoy? Do you know when to say “when”?

Gratitude: Do you need to keep a gratitude journal? Are you noticing gifts given to you each day? Are you saying thank you? Are you appreciating the little things that are good?

Attitude check: How is your attitude? Do you need to create some personal affirmations that you share each day? How are you talking to yourself? Are you being loving to you?

Self-care: Do you need to take the time to get your hair done or get a mani-pedi? Do you look in the mirror and like what you see? Do you have stress and need a massage? Are you happy with your style? What do you feel you are lacking in taking care of you?

Environment: Do a feel good check. Does your environment(s) stress or sing to your soul? Do you need to paint the walls a soothing color? Do you need things to be clutter free? Do you feel like you have too much stuff and need to dejunk? Do you need to simplify?

Hopes and Dreams: Are there places you want to go? Things you want to do? Something you want to try? What do you look forward to? What do you hope will happen in your life? Make a list and try to find a way to baby step your way dream by dream.

 FAMILY 

Together time: Do you need and want to make the time to have meals together? Do you want to set aside time each month to take each of your children out on a special date? Do you want to have special days where you plan family activities? Do you need a family vacation?  Do you want to get your family involved in local events and activities?

Traditions and Rituals: Do you need to create family rituals? What do you have in mind? Do you need to have time for family prayer? Do you need more play & less routine?

Slowing down: Do you need family quiet time? Do you need to play pretty music to calm everyone down? Do you need to have time for family walks? Do you need to disconnect with technology—limit television, video games, computer, etc? Do you need to do less running around? Do you need to have your kids focus on one extra activity instead of 3?

Communication: Do you need to connect more with your family? Do you and your spouse take the time to talk about everything? Do you need to take more one-on-one time with each person in your family? Do you need more time to talk about the highlights from the day?

Loving boundaries: Do you need to create boundaries for the kids (curfews, phones, gaming, friends, etc), Do you need to create boundaries with your friends? Do you need to create loving boundaries for in-laws or other nearby relatives? Do you need to talk to your spouse about what you both need from one another? What you need from your kids?

HOME

Organization: Do you feel unorganized? Are things too cluttered for you? What do you need to feel more organized? Do you need a trip to IKEA? Do you need to dejunk?

Re-vamp: Do you need to re-vamp and fix up your home a little? Do you need new paint, fixtures, lightbulbs, door knobs, window coverings, a better mattress, etc.

Spring Clean: Do you need to freshen things up throughout your home? Maybe begin to save and have a carpet cleaning budget, paint touch-ups, re-caulk, fix minor damages and give your home a thorough clean, so everything is smelling fresh.

Is everything in working order: Maybe you need to checklist this out to make sure everything is in working order. Do you haven any broken windows, faucets, cabinets, drawers, disposals, etc. Make a plan and create a budget to fix what needs to be done.

Garage & Tools: Do you leave the house and feel overwhelmed when you look at the disarray of your garage? Does everything seem to have a place? Does it need a fresh coat of paint or a deep power wash? Do you have enough garbage/recycling cans? Do you have enough outdoor storage? Is everything labeled, so you feel more organized?

Learn something to inspire you: Do you desire to learn the art of Feng Shui? Do you want to learn about the power of color and how it plays throughout your home?

Find your style: Do you notice a color palette running through your home? Is it calming or do you feel you don’t have any style or pattern? To help find styles you like or are drawn to get a bunch of magazines (store or thrift store) that are home themed. Take some time and flip through the pages and select any image that you are drawn to. You will notice a theme of colors, styles and designs that you may enjoy in your home. Then try changing out pillows, adding a new paint color to a wall, buy a picture that you are drawn to, move around furniture and have fun with the new ideas. Enjoy the process.

MARRIAGE

What do you need: Is there something specific you are needing from your relationship? Do you need a weekly date (at least)? Do you need to hold hands? Love notes, affection? Do celebrations mean a lot to you? Do you know your love languages?  How is your intimacy?

What needs some attention: Do you need more one-on-one time? Better communication? Do your financial pressures affect your relationship? What do you each need on a personal level? Are you a priority to one another?

What can you work on together: Are you communicating your needs? Are you working through challenges with kids together? Are you lifting and building one another through praise and appreciation? Do you need help dealing with anger or addictions? Are you doing anything to nurture your spirituality together? Do you remember the golden rule and think about the other’s needs? Are you leaving a positive or negative legacy for your family?

WORK

Are your enjoying what you do:  Do you get excited or dread going to work? Do you feel drained or creative when you are working? Are you in it for the money?   Do you need to shake things up and do something different? (change dept, go after a promotion, have you tapped out at the top, do you need something different)

Your Power Tools: You shine when you are doing something that you are good at, something you enjoy, something that taps into your natural gifts and talents.

Your Passion: Where does your passion lie? Is there something you desire to do or try? What do you enjoy doing in your free time? (this is often a area that you crave & have passion for)

Invest in your best asset: YOU! You are your best asset, so you need to be constantly investing in your skills, learning new things and challenging yourself. Do you want to take a class? What would it be in? Is there a specific book you want to read? Is there a topic you want to learn about?

FINANCES

Where are you financially: Do you need to save, get out of debt or downsize?

What will help you create a financial plan: Do you need to make a budget?  Do you need to visit with an advisor? Do you need to contact credit card companies to lower your rates? Do you need to refinance your home? Do you need to get a book or program about planning?

Your financial future: Do you need to learn about investing? What about your 401K? Do you need to learn what is the best way to save for the future or for college funds, etc?

SOCIAL

How are your friendships: Do you have any friends that drain your energy? Re-think your friendships with people who are energy drains.  Are your spending quality time with good friends? Do you need to plan a weekend or annual getaway with your friends?  Do you need a weekly or monthly girls night out? Are your friends lifting and building one another or does it seem to be toxic in any way? Are you always gossiping?  Do you leave energized?

Do you feel you need friends or support: Do you need to attend a local church group to connect with others? Do you need to reach out and find a service organization that you can help out? Do you need to volunteer at your child’s school? Are there any community activities that sound fun and get you excited to join?

Feel within and follow your heart to seek what it is that you truly need to create your ideal life. I would love to hear any thoughts or comments about what you feel would add to anyone’s life. Thanks for your support. Cheers to your good life!!

Have a beautiful day! Heather