Our Favorites and a GIVEAWAY – Sensible Singles Week

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The very best time to improve your marriage is when you are single. Understanding who you really are and cultivating within yourself the ability to really listen to and serve other people are things that a lot of us married people wish we’d done before we made our vows. To finish out our Sensible Singles Week, we wanted to share with you some of our very favorite resources and, of course, host a giveaway to thank you all for sticking with us this week!

:: Discovering Yourself ::

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

7 Habits of Highly Effective People - #staymarried blog

As Dr. Rachel Terrill mentioned in her post How to Find Your Soulmate in 5 Easy Steps, Self Improvement is key to finding and making yourself ready to be in a great relationship. Seven Habits is a classic, full of insight and self-discovery about what it takes to be effective in your world. Adding even one of the seven habits that you’ll learn about in this book can really change your perspective on the world around you. It was from this book that Tony and I learned the concept, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” which we shared more about in our post Same Team.
Find out more about Seven Habits of Highly Effective People here.

Strengths Finder 2.0

Strengths Finder 2.0 on the #staymarried blog

The first time I’d heard of Strengths based research was from the book Now, Discover Your Strengths. While most people become aware of their weaknesses and make efforts to improve themselves, this research instead shows that if we can understand our strengths and lean into them, our efforts will produce much greater results in life- including career and family. This book not only provides insights into the research, but an access code so that you can take the self-assessment and discover your own strengths. Having this insight has truly changed and enlightened Tony and I and helped us navigate our own daily triumphs and struggles, as well as better understand each others.
Find out more about Strengths Finder 2.0 here.

 The Five Love Languages – Singles Edition

The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition on the #staymarried blog

Gary Chapman did so much for couples with his book The Five Love Languages, but Tony and I have since learned how valuable it’s been for us to know how we best express and receive love even outside of our marriage! The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition will help you better express your emotions and affection in friendships, working relationships, or in a dating environment. Rather than being hung up on the topic of being single, Dr. Chapman will help you understand how you and others communicate love in a way that can transform any relationship.
Check out the book here.
Find out YOUR Love Language by taking this FREE online assessment.


:: Discovering Your Partner ::

Boundaries in Dating

Boundaries in Dating on the #staymarried blog

When I read Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, I knew it was revolutionary. But they made it that much more practical and personal when they published Boundaries in Dating. This book is the full picture of rules for romance that can help you find the love of your life. Between singleness and marriage lies the journey of dating. Want to make your road as smooth as possible? Set and maintain healthy boundaries – boundaries that will help you grow in freedom, honesty, and self-control. If many of your dating experiences have been difficult, this book could revolutionize the way you handle relationships. Even if you’re doing well, the insights you’ll gain from this practical book can help you fine-tune or even completely readjust important areas of your dating life. Boundaries in Dating is your roadmap to the kind of enjoyable, rewarding dating that can take you from weekends alone to a lifetime with the soul mate you’ve longed for.
Check it out here.

Date or Soul Mate?
How to Know if Someone is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less

Date Or Soul Mate? on the #staymarried blog

The author of this phenomenal book is none other than Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony.com. This matchmaking site has now seen over 565,000 of their matches get married! In this practical, quick read, Dr. Warren helps men and women who want healthy and satisfying marriages identify the early warning signs of an unhealthy relationship. Dr. Warren shows readers how to hold out for God’s best for their lives instead of settling for the first one to come along and outlines the factors that increase the chances for marital success. For those who want to become wiser in their relationship choices, this practical guide will help them find the love they want and avoid the pain they don’t need.
You can find Date or Soul Mate here.

For Men Only and For Women Only
What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of the Opposite Sex

For Women Only and For Men Only on the #staymarried blog

Tony and I first discovered these books on our honeymoon! We were both shocked by what we read, and our eyes were opened to the truth about the way we each think and feel and what really causes each of us the most pain. We shared some of those insights with you in our post The Truth About Tony. These books have since been revised with new research and information learned in the 10 years since their original release, including the brain science behind why men and women often feel the way they do.
You can find out more about these books by clicking on either of these links: For Men Only and For Women Only.


:: The GIVEAWAY! ::

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Sensible Singles Giveaway on the #staymarried blog

6 Reasons to Take Your Date to Breakfast

6 Reasons to Take Your Date to Breakfast - a #staymarried blog on Sensible Singles Week

If you read yesterday’s post from Emily, she sort of called us out for meeting in a bar. It’s true. Tony and I did meet at a bar. While it was “Holy Crap! He’s HOT!” at first sight for me, we didn’t actually start dating until a few years later. When we did, our very first date was at Chace’s Pancake Corral over breakfast. It was perfect.

I didn’t know at the time why it was perfect. I thought it was perfect because Tony was perfect. We had such a good time, we went on several more breakfast dates trying out new places together around our city. It was fun!

I’ve since thought a lot about what made those breakfast dates so great, and every time a single person asks my advice about dating (ok, maybe only four single people ever have asked for my advice), I tell them all about The Breakfast Date. And now it’s time for me to give you the same advice. Here are some reasons why you should also try dating over breakfast.

6 Reasons to Take Your Date to Breakfast - a #staymarried blog on Sensible Singles Week

1. It’s Cheap

Regardless of who is paying, although guys, I think you should at least offer once in a while, a breakfast date will be a lot less expensive than a dinner date. If you’re considering your date an investment in both time and money, better to save up and take someone you know you really like on a more expensive date, no?

2. You always have the right outfit

I don’t know if guys go through this, but when a woman is about to go on a date she can easily spend quite a bit of energy figuring out just what to wear. When it comes to meeting up for breakfast, it’s a lot easier to keep things casual and wear something normal like jeans and a sweatshirt and rely more on who you really are than your cute outfit to keep your date interested.

3. No Beer Goggles

For some reason– ok, we know the reasons– when alcohol is involved, we tend not to make our very best decisions about people or impressions on them. Dating over breakfast, with juice and coffee, keeps things light and hopefully your true personalities shine brighter without the influence of alcohol. Though, if you’re feeling nervous, go ahead and order that bloody mary. Just maybe don’t order three.

4. Happy conversation

Of course you can have a happy conversation over dinner, but the benefits of conversations over breakfast is that they can tend to be about the future, the day ahead, hopes and dreams. Conversations over dinner can easily fall into the past, what your day was like, how crappy your work week was, and before you know it you are bashing your ex right in front of them.

5. The rest of the day is yours

Typically you wouldn’t make plans to run errands or hang out with your friends after a dinner date. In fact, I think it would be rude to do so. After breakfast, however, you’ve potentially got your whole day of errands and the rest of life ahead of you. Maybe you’re meeting your mom for lunch, or headed to a friend’s birthday BBQ. If the date was mediocre, you simply move on with your day telling them, “It was great to meet you!” If it was fantastic, you now have the option to invite your date to join you in whatever else you’ve got planned. Tony and I often left our breakfast dates and went for walks around the lake or to browse some shops downtown. We liked being together and now we had the whole day to do it.

6. Post-Breakfast Nookie is Weird

Ok, I don’t really know the protocol anymore about how soon into a relationship people are sleeping together. Tony and I abstained for three years, and I know that’s not exactly common. But, seriously, it’s going to be a lot easier to (oops) sleep with someone you are only mildly interested in after an evening date than it would be after a breakfast date. Sex complicates things for both men and women. If you want to be in a serious relationship and seriously get to know someone, avoiding sex is just a good idea. Unless you think making out in the back of a car at 10am in a Denny’s parking lot sounds like a good idea. (It’s not.)

So there you have it. Breakfast dates are less expensive, there’s less pressure, and they’re lots more fun! I hope you go on lots of them even after you are no longer single. Tony and I still love our breakfast dates and feel like they are a great way to keep conversation light and really enjoy each other so we can #staymarried.

If you’re just joining us for Sensible Singles Week, check out Emily’s post on 8 Tips for Online Dating. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on Finding Your Soulmate!

Sensible Singles Week

Yes, I'm Single - kicking off Sensible Singles Week on the #staymarried blogYep, you read that title correctly. Why on earth are we talking about being single on a marriage blog? Simple! We’re kicking off our Sensible Singles week here at #staymarried!

From the get-go, while our intention was always to write for married couples, we’ve seen our single friends comment and give us feedback that these posts were making a difference in their lives, too. Though we were surprised at first, we now recognize that there are single people out there who don’t actually want to be single forever. They hope to be married someday, and happily, so they are taking the time to read and invest in their future relationships by learning what they can now. We think that’s BRILLIANT! (But “Sensible Singles” is a little more catchy, so that’s why it isn’t “Brilliant Singles Week.”)

Whether you are single, single and dating, or single again, we have dedicated this week to you! This week, we’ll be introducing you to our single friend and housemate, Emily, and hear her 8 Tips for Online Dating. We’ll also share why we think breakfast dates are the way to go. Then, we’ve got an actual Love Doctor sharing 5 Easy Steps to Finding Your Soulmate. Finally, we’ll finish out the week by highlighting some resources we think you’ll love… and maybe even A GIVEAWAY!

So, while you faithfully attend your friends’ weddings, baby showers, and bachelor parties this summer, we want you to know we are in your corner. We’re not going to be like Aunt Jane prodding you with, “When will it be your turn?” or shoving you out to the dance floor to catch the bouquet or garter at the wedding. We are here for you. We don’t think you will be phenomenal when you get married someday. We think you’re phenomenal RIGHT NOW! If you’re already married, tell your single friends that this week is all about them!