Does Having Kids Change Marriage?

Does Having Kids Change MarriageDoes having kids change marriage? Like most people, you might have asked yourself this question at some point in your life. No doubt, bringing a life into existence is one of the most magical things that you and your loved one will ever share in this lifetime. Ideally, your child should fit perfectly into your lives and make very little impact to your marriage, right? Sorry, but that is practically impossible unless you are one of the few lucky ones out there. If you are anything close to the millions of other couples around, this magical experience will feel less of a blessing and more of a curse to your relationship especially in the initial days.

It is bittersweet – on one hand you are sinking deep into this unconditional love you have for your child but on the other hand, you know you are compromising on the quality of your marriage – and you can see it being damaged right before your very eyes.

So does having kids change marriage? Yes it does. As soon as you hold that cute little being in your arms, you will come into the painful realization that it is the end of your married life as you know it so far. Having children affects marriage; in fact it changes the entire dynamic of your relationship. The transition from coupledom to tripledom is exciting, wonderful, and exhausting. The combination of all these extreme emotions can be toxic to any romantic relationship if not handled well.

Does having kids change marriage? How?

When a baby arrives, he/she comes with added responsibilities, which means added pressure that is likely to make both of you unusually edgy. You might find things that didn’t bother you before annoying. Your partner’s spontaneous trait, the one that made him/her fun, now goes by a new name; disorganization. You might even find that you will hate your partner a little courtesy of the infamous baby blues.

The bad news is that maintaining keeping your marriage strong after kids requires the one thing you are running low of right now, energy. The not-so-bad news is that you are going to use your energy anyway, either working on your marriage or staying annoyed at your spouse. The only difference is that the latter does not benefit anyone and will lead to marriage problems after children. So, how do you work on your marriage after having a baby? Here are a few tips on how to resolve marriage problems after children.

Duties

Chores will double if not triple once a baby comes into the picture. At first go, you might not see how this is even an issue since most of these chores were there long before the baby came into the picture. Sure, laundry and cleaning had to be done before but now there is little room for procrastination, if any. Laundry has to be done daily, sometimes more than once, or it will stain and stink; the baby has to be fed on time and the mess to be cleaned up is likely to be messier. With an infant in your arms, chores will be a loathsome experience. With so much to be done, getting everything done and still maintaining your sanity can be tricky.

You can keep score and complete the chores using a system that divides the chores equally among both partners. However, most people tend to feel nagged, which can eventually result in resentment being built up. To avoid this, make a duty roster and switch the duties daily or weekly. That way, you will not have to ask your spouse to do things constantly. Even with a duty roster, you might feel like your partner is not pulling his/her weight. In such situations, remind yourself and them that the household tasks have significantly increased and the need to step up.

If you still feel overburdened, do not let it get to you to the point of acting out. Instead ask for help. Do not assume that stating what needs to be done means your spouse will volunteer to take care of it. Your partner is likely to help you with something when you ask for it directly. Finally, thank your partner for the tasks successfully completed. It may seem unfair that you should thank someone for doing their duties but a simple ‘thank you’ will make your partner more receptive to requests in future. Furthermore, it will create a more conducive atmosphere around your home, which is a major aspect of keeping your marriage strong after kids.

Quality time

Having a strong marriage after having a baby requires that you spend time together. However, with all the things that you have to do in one day, you are unlikely to cover everything on your to-do list. Spending quality time with your partner is most likely to fall below the cutoff line on your to-do list.

You have probably heard that the best way to strengthen your marriage after having a baby would be to plan dates, just like you did before the baby. However, with so much in your plate, you probably won’t have time for those all so special date nights. In case you DO get a chance to go out on dates, you may not even enjoy it as much. You will have to take the baby with you or you will be on your phone half the time checking on the baby, or you will be worried about all the things the sitter could miss or get wrong the entire time.

For the ladies, date night is that time when you get to find out how uncomfortably strong your bond with the baby is. That is the turning point, the time when the answer to the question – does having kids change marriage hits you like a hammer. There is an innate instinct that will bond you and the baby but you should remind yourself that being away from the baby for a short time. Spending time with your spouse will keep both of you sane and strengthen your relationship. At the beginning it will be hard but do it anyway, it gets easier and the best part is it pays in spades.

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Sex

As you might have gathered, your priorities turn upside down immediately the baby arrives, and this includes your sex life. If you have a good libido and are left wondering does having kids change marriage, then this is going to be an important point for you. First, you will have to wait about 42 days after delivery before you can have sex. After the 6 weeks you will get a go ahead from your doctor but your body might not be ready for it. After everything the woman’s body goes through sex might be slightly uncomfortable, it might even hurt.  Throw stress, sleepless nights, exhaustion and hormonal imbalance in the mix and you could be looking at months of a sexless marriage. If you are not ready to get naked under the sheets, do not rush into it but communicate to your partner. Explain how you feel and discuss the way forward together.

When you do get in the mood, you will find that sex will be a hassle. It is almost impossible to have sex in between nap times when you are tired and running around to get chores done while covered in slobber. Having date nights will help you in creating time and the mood for sex. Get a sitter, dress up and flirt like you used to will definitely light a spark. Lastly, make your bedroom a baby free zone. Having toys poking out on your back when you are trying to have sex will kill the mood faster than any amount of slobber ever will.

Parenting

Making good decisions is a great part of parenting. From feeding and sleeping times to disciplining methods to important child-rearing philosophies, you will have your hands full. The unfortunate thing is that you are unlikely to agree on each of these decisions. Even if you have talked about some of these issues, you are unlikely to predict how you will feel about certain issues when they come up. When you are on your fifth night up with the baby, you might find that your views on different sleep-training methods might change.

When your parenting styles clash, it might help to let each party deal with the consequences of his/her parenting style. If your partner who is babysitting decides to let the baby sleep outside of the scheduled naps, do not fight over it but instead let he/she stay up with the baby at night if that is the consequence. Don’t be shy to seek assistance from books, professionals, family and friends.

So does having kids change marriage? Yes, having children affects marriage. There are going to be challenges but bringing a new life into existence and caring for it as a team will make your relationship stronger than you could have possibly imagined. Even with the ups and downs on the road, you will have moments when you will fall in love all over again. If you can find ways of keeping your marriage strong after kids, you can make it through just about anything.

What are your thoughts on this? If you care to share some of your tips on this fascinating topic, don’t hesitate to use the comments section below! And while you are at it, take a look at this fantastic article that we found on this topic.

We look forward to hearing from you 🙂

Travel Gifts for Women

Travel is part of most of our lives these days. So is the fine art of gifting people. But what if you combine the both? How and where can you find the best travel gifts for women? But before we get into that, let us briefly talk about gifting, since this is something most of us do only for an occasion. You know what? Randomly gifting the people you love and care about with something special is a great way to convey your feelings. In a relationship or marriage, this is obviously crucial and in many cases, defines the strength of your bond.

A good partnership is usually filled with gifts – even if they are simple. As they say, it is the thought that matters. But often, you want to go that extra mile and get your sweetheart something more than just a bunch of flowers or a mushy card.

If your lady loves to travel then there is a lot that you can do with regards to travel gifts for her. Personalized travel gifts are a great way of saying goodbye to a loved one for a while. A travel gift basket is good idea when the idea is of indulgence and spoiling the other person. It goes without saying – every time she reaches out to the travel gift basket she will be thinking of you and smiling!

Travel gifts for her convey that you care for her to be comfortable and secure no matter where her business or adventures take her. Personalized travel gifts go one step further and shout out your love to her! From beauty to accessories and safety to comfort, the departments that you can search for travel gifts for women are endless. Good gifts for women are not hard to find if you know what you are looking for. We’ve put together a great list to get you started!

Stylish Anti-theft Body Bag

Stylish Anti-theft Body BagThe anti-theft cross-body bag is one of the best travel gifts for women who travel alone. You may not be able to join your special lady in every trip of hers plus her space and yours are after all, both equally important. In such cases, this is a handy present with Slash-Proof Adjustable Straps which helps in preventing the straps from being cut out by thieves. She can save her important stuff in it and keep it snuggly against herself without worrying about the body panels being slashed either. This product provides locking compartments and straps so that the content inside is safe from pickpockets and grab and go thieves. Additionally there is a RFID Blocking Card and Passport Slots which helps in protecting the identity from electronic pickpockets.

Packing Organizer Set

Packing Organizer SetThis is a great gift for the frequent traveler as it has everything that one could imagine to pack appropriately. It makes for one of the good gifts for women especially since they always seem to have a lot to carry. The set comes with 2 pieces of clothes cubes and 1 set each of toiletries, shoes and a bag for electronics. It makes packing hassle free and hence the journey is more enjoyable. Unpacking and repacking becomes easier too. Clothes remain wrinkle free and the toiletries bag is big enough to be able to take every required article. Your shoes remain clean and are placed away from the other luggage. Even electronics are accommodated and you can pack the cords and batteries all together!

Women’s Compression Socks

Women's Compression SocksIf you’ve already swept your lady love off her feet, who else will understand and care for her feet more than you do? Jokes apart, what better way is there to show this love and care than by gifting her a pair of compression socks? These are not only great if she regularly complains of sore feet but also good to promote healthy blood circulation during long journeys. The premium fabric provides utmost comfort and care to feet. The sole is supportive and the toes are seamless and made using a micro brush technology which protects the feet and reduces friction. This means that the socks are ideal to wear if she is going to be in flight or on the road for long hours where stretching may not necessarily be an option. If she needs to walk a lot too these are perfect since they are meant to support running and exercising. It is a great travel gift for a woman by itself or it can be part of a well thought-of travel gift basket for her.

Best Resistance Bands Exercise Kit

Best Resistance Bands Exercise KitThis is for the exercise freak in your woman that misses the gym like crazy when she is on holiday. She can use this low resistance portable exercise kit anywhere (even when not traveling) and it is the perfect answer to the travel blues while getting adjusted to a new environment. This portable exercise machine can be targeted on arms, legs and even full body muscles. If she has recently begun working out and doesn’t know her way around without a trainer then this is just the perfect gift since she can use the machine without any doubts of an injury. The resistance can be changed when working out at an intermediate or expert level. There is a DVD that comes with the product as well!

Dangly Dominican Earrings

Dangly Dominican EarringsA good pair of earrings is a must for a girl whether she is out for business or for fun. These affordable yet stylish pair of earrings are handmade by impoverished women from the Dominican Republic. So by buying them, you will help to support these women AND impress your girl too! Remind her of yourself and make her miss you while she is away with this gift! These earrings are beautiful and will match any outfit that she chooses to club it with. If you wish to see other designs, those are available too. Just ensure they are in stock when you buy! How can a lady feel alone during a trip when there are such awesome travel gifts for women available out there?

PackingPup: The Ultimate Travel Companion

PackingPup The Ultimate Travel CompanionSo you aren’t able to accompany her on a trip but want to gift her with something memorable that she can take on such occasions. Good on you! How about a travel companion that is cute as well as functional? If you don’t believe us, check out the image to the left. She can rest, sleep and play on this awesome pillow that doubles up as a puppy when it is not in use as a pillow. She will not have to carry that dreadful looking U shaped pillow anymore – let’s not even start on how unfashionable that is! Also, as a bonus, this pillow is bacteria and germ resistant which helps prevent acne. So in your absence, she can hug, squeeze and squish this little guy like crazy!

Toiletry Bag – Essential Travel Gifts for Women

Toiletry Bag - Essential Travel Gifts for WomenSometimes, buying good gifts for women requires you to really know them inside out! This gift is a good option for a woman who is frequently traveling and who you know well! The toiletry bag we have featured here is small enough to be used inside a bathroom, on the road when traveling or even in a closet. It is the perfect size and weight and is compatible for small travels as well as long vacations. Help your better half keep her toiletries and make up organized and neatly tucked in the luggage. The quality used in making this product is user friendly and great to use. What’s more is that men can use this too – it is unisex in that way! And if you are traveling with children this bag can be used to store small baby bottles and wipes.

Premium Travel Blanket

Premium Travel BlanketThis is a very practical travel gift for a woman, something that ideally should be a part of every travel gift basket. At 38 x 60 inches or 40 x 72 inches size options, she will be well protected inside this blanket no matter where she is.  It is styled like a poncho which covers the shoulders and won’t slip from its place. It is the ultimate luxury while on long journey since it is warm, comfortable, cozy and ultra-plush. The blanket comes packed in a carry case which helps maintain the cleanliness of the product. It is light weight and can be used as back support and a pillow too. The folded blanket is much more compact and can be carried easily.

Nintendo Travel Case

Nintendo Travel CaseIs your lady love into Nintendo gaming, especially when she travels? Well, guess what, here is one of the most awesome travel gifts for her then – an easy to carry, light-weight travel case. Her travel experience is just about to get a whole lot better, all thanks to your sense of judgment when it comes to travel gifts for women. But don’t tell her we helped you! Jokes aside, this case has a strong exterior and the capacity to carry up to 12 game cartridges and console. The shoulder straps are detachable and the overall feel of the product is luxurious. She can take it along on a business trip or an extended weekend vacation where she does not have to sacrifice her screen time.

So that brings us to the end of this post on travel gifts for her. In general, good gifts for women are not easy to find and impressing your partner depends on how choosy she is. Add travel to that equation and one can easily spend hours looking for the right gift. So hopefully this post will help you the next time you are looking for that travel gift basket or just a few good travel gifts for her.

Always remember though that when it comes to travel gifts for women, ensure you get something stylish, functional and value for money.

Do you have some ideas for good gifts for women, particularly for travelers? Or perhaps you have a travel anecdote or story to share with us? We love traveling and we love hearing from you, so feel free to use the comments section below!

9 Best Marriage Help Books

9 best marriage help booksLet’s be honest – how often it is that when you are feeling distressed and helpless in your relationship, you find you asking yourself if you committed to your other half a tad too soon? All relationships matter, no doubt, but one of the most important, long-term relationships that you will have in your adult life is the one that you have with your marriage partner! If things hit the wrong note between yourselves, shouldn’t there be a serious attempt to make it work, not just because you have heavily invested in it but also because there IS a real chance to solve it? Happiness is what we all want from our marriage but we might have to be ready to use external help to solve the matters. That is where the power of books comes in. In this article, we discuss the 9 best marriage help books out there.

You can consult whoever you want or spend money on counselors or confide your problems with a close family member or friend, but nothing beats having a good book or two to leaf through and find the answers for yourself.

There are plenty of how to save your marriage books in the market but how does one separate the wheat from the chaff? Although the best way is to browse through the book yourself, there are just so many choices out there that it can get overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 9 best marriage help books that provides marriage advice for couples.  These are the best-selling marriage books in the market so go ahead and take your pick without a worry!

eBook/Kindle – ’47 Little Love Boosters For a Happy Marriage’

47 Little Love Boosters For a Happy MarriageIn his widely popular eBook, Marko Petkovic chases the monotony that sets into married relationships because people start taking each other for granted. He has discussed 47 simple things that can help you make your partner happy. When you are in a relationship where you are working towards the other person’s happiness, why wouldn’t things work out? This book is full of ideas that couples can try out to ignite that elusive intimacy and get closer to one another. It is a helpful guide and helps couples work things out without getting into costly, time consuming or over-bearing options. Marko talks about the ups and downs in a marriage as something normal – but often we need reminders about that! He discusses in detail about what can be done to make life more fun. Although the tricks are simple, their application in real life can bring about a great deal of positive change in relationship. His hand-picked ‘boosters’ instill trust, respect, team work and fun elements in life through the suggested activities.

Kindle/eBook – ‘Marriage: How To Save And Rebuild Your Connection, Trust, Communication And Intimacy’

Marriage - How to Save and Rebuild Your Connection, Trust, Communication and IntimacyResearch shows that when couples are able to look back at their time together and reflect on the good times spent together, the marriage can definitely be saved. In such cases the spice in the marriage needs to be reintroduced and that is what this book is all about. The book is about the reality of marriage and how you can make the marriage stronger. It deals with the foundation of any successful marriage and in particular dwells on communicating effectively, which is very important. It also speaks about how to rebuild that vital connection with your spouse, infuse trust and the importance of intimacy. In cases when one or both parties in the marriage struggle with one or more of these aspects or need some support, that’s when the best marriage help books such as this can do the magic. It will help them see the reasons behind why they got married and work from there. If that doesn’t work, a counselor is highly suggested. This book should be considered as that last step before going to a counsellor.

Paperback – ‘Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted’

Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You've Always WantedMarcia Naomi Berger, who is a clinical social worker as well as a psychotherapist has suggested ways in which a couple who are able to spend just 30 minutes of time (or sometimes even less) together every week have it in them to make the relationship last. This excellent book is not just for the marriages that are on the verge of breaking but also for everyday couples who want to get closer and make their relationship stronger. The best part about this book has to be the fact that the techniques suggested to rekindle the love are just so simple! From developing active listening skills to sorting out religious differences with your spouse, this book has something for every marriage and the tips are tailor-made for every couple to try out.

Kindle/eBook – ’40 Proven Tips on How To Save Your Marriage’

40 Proven Tips on How To Save Your MarriageThis popular eBook is for couples who are looking for quick help to save their marriage. It is the kind of counselling that couples can seek when they have problems dealing with things like marriage habits, its hidden obstacles or if they struggle with respect issues and have emotional differences with their spouse. At 29 pages, it is a compact little eBook that can be read in a jiffy. It helps couples gain a good view of their lives together and reminds them of why they are married. Claire Wilson, the author, tries to remove the complacency that dictates marriages and due to which couples start taking each other for granted. A good read if you are looking for a quick boost to your married life!

Kindle/eBook/Paperback – ‘One More Try: What to Do When Your Marriage Is Falling Apart’

One More Try: What to Do When Your Marriage Is Falling ApartThis is a great example of a book which deals with problems such as anger and frustration in a marriage. The best marriage help books are usually written by authors that are experts in the field of marriage counselling and have experience in dealing with marital problems. Gary Chapman, the author of this book, has written about marital loneliness explicitly well and empathizes with the audience to engage with them on a personal level. He is not just an author but a speaker and a counselor who believes in people having lasting relationships, even when it seems that there is no further way to deal with it. The author has been in the counselling profession and is considered an expert at solving a disastrous marriage situation. Reconciliation of intimate relationship and understanding between partners is his forte. In his opinion, happiness can be found in simply giving to your partner! This book is must have for couples that are facing marital issues.

Kindle/eBook/Paperback – ‘The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts’

The 5 Love Languages The Secret to Love that LastsThis is another awesome book by famous marriage counselor Gary Chapman. It deals with the 5 love languages that Gary came across during his experience as a counselor the past 30 years. Yes, that is the wealth of experience that he has! Anyways, the 5 languages according to the author are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. A self-help marriage book like this is a great way to start when you are stuck and want to get back to the best phase of your relationship – the time when you exchanged your “I do’s”. That’s when most people knew and practiced the 5 languages and that is where they need to get back to with the help of this book. But beware, because even the best marriage help books  are better to be used as prevention than as a cure. So don’t wait, at the first signs of your marriage falling apart, seek help whether it is in form of a book like this or through counseling.

eBook/Kindle – ‘Understanding Marriage; one of 9 Best Marriage Help Books’

Understanding MarriageAmanda Wallingson’s how to save your marriage book is a popular book among our list of 9 best marriage help books and for a good reason. The author has, in 30 short pages (yes, nobody likes to read 300 pages of advice anyway!), explains how to cope with work, busy schedules, kids AND keep the marriage alive at the same time. She has given excellent rebuilding and recommitting exercises which are easy to put to practice. She strongly believes unlike popular opinion that two people who have different personalities can make a strong couple. Steps and strategies are suggested by her that work around the fact that nothing in life is perfect, you have to work towards it. Taking emotional control of life will help couples see what they have been doing wrong. It can give answers to what led to frustration and the buildup of anger towards each other. Working through these differences is the key to a successful relationship and even acceptance itself has the ability to bring people closer to each other.

Kindle/Paperback/eBook: ‘The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work’

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage WorkJohn Gottman has sold over a million copies of this book. Wondering how that happened? Well its because the book helps people understand, in the simplest of ways, what they can do to repair and strengthen a marriage. Each principle talks about a resource or a strategy that will help couples to deal with daily marital issues, even if these issues are not necessarily causing the marriage to fall apart. In our opinion, the BEST principle of all the 7 is this: Letting One’s Partner Influence You. Overall  it is a book that focuses on conflict resolution through various means and how to come up with innovative solutions to get more satisfied in a married relationship. A word of caution though – the book takes an unconventional route to discuss these matters so don’t be alarmed! As you progress with the chapters, you’ll see everything falling into place and it will make sense!

eBook/Kindle/Paperback: ‘Save Your Marriage- The Secret to Intimacy and Communication Skills’

Save Your Marriage The Secret to Intimacy and Communication SkillsLisa Robinson, the author of one of the most popular best-selling marriage books is convinced that couples can keep the same enthusiasm in their marriage with which they started together. In her opinion, it is essential to focus on improving day to day life  than start by solving complex marital issues. According to her, conflict management and communication can fix any problem between a couple. This is an informative book written by someone who herself believes in the power of marriage – which by default is a mandatory requirement to be featured in our 9 best marriage help books! It also covers effective communication, and how one can learn about dealing with emotions in a better manner. It tries to instill good faith in couples towards each other which in turn makes problem solving easier. The net result is a happy marriage – which is what all of us want!

The best marriage help books are the ones that offer wholesome, practical solutions which no doubt is the best marriage advice for couples. Self-help marriage books and best-selling marriage books are strongly recommended if you are looking for answers in what seems like a lost cause of a marriage.

The best tip when you are buying such a book is to look for its reviews online. The more and better the reviews are, the bigger the chances of it being providing good marriage advice for couples.

If your marriage is in a desperate state and you are constantly thinking about how to save your marriage, we hope these 9 best marriage help books are of use to you. Transition from a desperate marriage to a happily ever after one is possible. It can be done with just some investment of time and effort towards your partner. But you need to know the right way to approach the problem – that is crucial. If you have come across a great marriage help book then do share it by using the comments sections.

Signs that He wants to Marry You

Signs that he wants to marry youPicture this scenario girls: You’ve been in a relationship long enough and have now started wondering what the future has in store for you. But the fact is that you have no idea what is going on in your partners’ mind. You are craving to see some signs that he wants to marry you!

How do you start that difficult conversation with your man which is subtle yet direct enough to figure out if he wants to marry you?

Of course, the easiest way is to keep a look out for subtle hints which will lead you to understand if there are any signs that he wants to marry you. Some interesting cues are given here where a variety of signs are discussed.  But don’t worry, we’ve put our own list together too!

The good thing is that we women have a strong sense of intuition, so you already have a hunch on where you are headed. If he holds you as the queen of his heart then you are bound to be feeling the glow anyways! It’s now down to the last details about whether or not he is ready to pop the question yet.

One thing is for sure, if your man does not treat you like the princess that you are and is dragging the relationship then you perhaps don’t want to be with him in the first place! But don’t throw away the relationship before you are sure about where he stands. Here are five signs that he wants to marry you that will help answer that gnawing question that you have been asking yourself – does he want to marry me?

Signs that He wants to Marry You – You’re the one for me!

When your man is ring shopping behind your back or at least thinking about it then he is sure to feel and show some extra romance when he is with you. A good sign that he wants to marry you is when he makes you feel like you are the ultimate and have ticked all the right boxes for him. If he has said things like that you are the one for him, then it is, to an extent, obvious that he will want to take the relationship ahead. It is also, a part of the characteristics of a good husband to show his partner that they are the one for them. You are special, but let him show you that!

Family functions

Now this is not a sure sign of wanting to walk down the aisle immediately but when you are invited to all of his family events and he feels comfortable with having you around his parents then take it one of the signs that he wants to marry you! If he is taking initiatives to make you feel more welcome then that is what makes a good husband. No guy would want his family and friends to get comfy with you if he is not planning to stick around.

Sharing work news

The more a guy gets closer to proposing to you, the more you’ll find him opening up. That’s just how guys are. When a guy is serious about getting that new tuxedo and waiting for you down the aisle then among other things the one thing he will be comfortable doing is talking about his work life with you. Promotions, office politics, deadlines and bosses are not amongst the most interesting topics but career is amongst the most important things (whether he admits to it or not) and discussions about such things are usually a part of serious relationships only. It is also a part of the characteristics of a good husband too.

Financial planning

One of the most important characteristics of a good husband includes his interest in planning your future together. Your answer to the question ‘does he want to marry me?’ is a clear yes if he is interested in making financial plans with you. Finance is something that is kept private even from the closest people. It is therefore one of the most essential things to share in a serious relationship. If he is comfortable talking about expenses that include yours (read sharing car mortgage or talking about investing in a home together) then he sure to stick around. So this is one of the most important signs that he wants to marry you!

Planning vacations and kids together

When he wants to take you out on grand vacations in order to try to impress you, take it as a sign that he wants to marry you. A romantic location could just be where he wants to ask you out for life! Another great hint is if he talks about having kids then is a sure give away! If he wants to have kids with you and is not running for the hills when you talk about it then he seriously wants you for life.

Guess what? YOU can help your man make that big decision of committing his life with you. Yes! Subtle signs work both ways. If you are confident that he has what it takes to be a good husband then there are things that you can do too (women have to be on top of everything now, don’t they?). When one is sure of where they are and what they want then the next steps always come in easily. But the signs that you can give to show him that you are ready are perhaps for another day.

So don’t just keep asking “does he want to marry me?” Find out for yourself! If you are already married, what were some of the hints that you experienced from your man before he popped that question? If you aren’t married yet but are engaged, the signs that he wants to marry you may still be fresh in your mind – share it with us! If you have more tips and hints that are a sure give away then let us know by commenting below. We’d love to hear from you!

Surviving Long-distance Marriage

Surviving Long-distance MarriageOur life styles today lead us away from home, sometimes for extended periods of time. Work, interests, social lives; the reasons are many, but the end result is the same – in marriages, people are increasingly away from their spouses, in many cases in faraway lands. In these circumstances one wonders can long distance relationships last? This post from us is a guide of sorts on surviving long distance marriage. We’ve put together a list of long distance marriage tips that you will find handy when faced with the unavoidable circumstance of being away from your spouse.

Communicate, communicate and communicate some more

If there was one thing that we had to choose to surviving long distance marriage, it would be communication.  When communication can fail while sitting face to face with each other, imagine what could fail if you were separated by thousands of miles, with communication disruptions and poor reception to boot. Getting the picture? Well that’s why one needs to take the extra efforts to communicate as much as one can. It is best to use all channels in one’s disposition to get this done and with today’s technological advancements there is no excuse! There is instant chat on mobile, there are video calls, and there are the good old voice calls to name a few. So the first step to surviving long distance marriage is communication, preferably on a daily basis!

Surviving Long-distance Marriage: Planning to travel

There really is no substitute for the presence of a loved one, no matter what other options may be available. It is absolutely necessary to ensure that the long-distance between spouses can be made bearable with small breaks of togetherness in between. It might be a financial strain for some, but when it comes to priorities, it should be the relationship that takes precedence. What’s the fun in making all that money and then losing the one you were making it for!

Be more understanding and generous

Long distance marriages that remain long distant for a long time are bound to go through a sad plight that incidentally arises out of love. The partners tend to get insecure and hence clingy and their expectations turn into demands which may not be good for the relationship. One of the most important long distance marriage tips we can offer is that both partners should decide to give each other the space and emotional support to go through the tough times, rather than to burden each other with unfair demands that make it all the more harder.

Find things to do

This may not be a direct tip, but it is nevertheless a useful one. Haven’t we all heard of the famous adage “An empty mind is the devils workshop”? It cannot be truer than in long distance relationships – the more one wallows in the loneliness and separation, the more it tends to strain the relationship. It is therefore important for the partners to do the things that can help them take their minds off and improve themselves. It will make the temporary separation easier to handle.

Get creative

This is a bonus tip. There is nothing like the extra effort you put in to make your loved one smile. If you are a guy, you could order online and deliver a bunch of roses to her. If you are a girl, you could send him a postcard with a mushy message. You could also schedule a virtual Skype date with both of you having a meal and conversing with each other. The more creative the idea, the better. The more you try to normalize the separation, the more the relationship will strengthen.

While all of the above can help in surviving long distance marriage, nothing works like plain good old love and honesty. No matter how far apart you are, don’t forget to love and express it to your partner!

We hope you found our long distance marriage tips useful. We would love to hear more ideas from you. Please feel free to use the comments section and fill us in with your ideas and thoughts.

How to Balance Work and Marriage

How to Balance Work and MarriageEvery couple goes through a phase in their life where they wonder how to balance work and home life. Today’s work life involves working twelve hours a day with constant pressure and challenging targets to be met. If one is not willing to do it, there is always someone else to the job – that is the common refrain. This kind of a pressure is bound to be a strain on the marriage and gets you wondering how to balance work and marriage. For all of you in this predicament and struggle at managing work and home life, read on, this article is especially for you.

How to balance work and marriage – the basics

Most people take their marriages for granted. When it comes to making a decision of which aspect of life to make a sacrifice on first, marriage is at the altar at the blink of an eye. Somehow the innate thought is that spouses and family will always understand and therefore are taken for granted. While this may hold true for a while, with time and consistent neglect, the marriage begins to erode. Therefore the first step in managing home and work life is to realize that family is as important as work. Most of us think that between the ages of 30 and 40, careers should take precedence over everything else. Sure it should to an extent; but not at the cost of a failing marriage!

Set right expectations

The first thing you need to do when trying to balance work and marriage is to set clear expectations. Set expectations at work as well as at home and be honest while doing it. For example, it makes sense to tell your boss that you have a toddler at home and you may have to cut down work hours to 8 hours a day instead of 10, even if it means a delayed promotion. After all what is a promotion worth if you don’t have your family to share it with! Also, if your work demands collaboration with one or more colleagues, keep them all informed of your availability so you can plan your work accordingly.

On a similar note, one needs to let their partners and kids know what they can expect of you in terms of your time and presence at home. You cannot keep making promises and renege on them consistently; it whittles away the trust each time and over time it affects the marriage permanently.

Plan your time

The truth about time is that it follows the famous Parkinson’s law – “Work expands so as to fill the time available”.  Therefore it is imperative to plan one’s time. Work will never end, as you complete one task, the next one will stare at you in the face. Managing work and home life demands that you plan your time and activities. While you can choose to work as per the demands of your boss or targets, if you are among the ones wondering how to balance work and marriage, the best thing to do is to define a time limit up to which you will work. While one can always break this time limit on special cases, having this schedule at normal times will help in managing work and home life.

Set boundaries and stick to ’em!

Unlike earlier times work today comes through multiple channels — e-mail, phone calls, text messages, Whatsapp and what not! With the proliferation of mobile devices, one is never too far away from work. While this may come to your rescue every now and then, it is important to set boundaries. When managing work and home life, it is vital to decide that family time is sacred and work shouldn’t interfere with it. For example, family dinner is a widely recognized family time, and checking e-mails while at it can take you away from it. You may be there physically, but your mental presence is what matters more. Similarly, while you are at work, it is important that you give your best to your work and not indulge in any personal affairs like being on the phone for long, shopping online or checking your Facebook notifications. This will help you get more efficient at work and soon enough you will see yourself getting home on time!

We hope you found the above pointers useful on your quest of how to balance work and marriage. All that it really takes is a little effort and some discipline – it will go a long way in making your marriage a happy and fulfilling one. Please do let us know things that you do in managing work and marriage life through the comments section. We would love to hear from you!

Top Gardening Gifts for Women

Top Gardening Gifts for WomenWe all know it. At times, marriage can get very frustrating with all the give and take, endless sacrifices and trying to keep the spouse or kids happy while still going through the daily 9 to 5 grind. That is why having a hobby or interest that will give you some alone time is essential for both partners. It helps you take time off from the marriage, even if it is for just 15 minutes daily, and helps you focus on things that are close to your heart. It ultimately helps one relax and be rejuvenated to be a better person both at home and the workplace. There are tons of hobby ideas out there but today, our post pertains to the hobby of gardening and the top gardening gifts for women.

Let’s face it – there is something wonderful about being in the sun, working away at creating something awesome and seeing its beauty bloom, all thanks to your care and nurturing.

If you have a lady in your life who is into gardening and would like to gift her something, you are in the right place!

Even if she doesn’t like gardening yet, we encourage you to introduce her to it and buy her something to start the hobby – it might turn out to be one of the best gift ideas and something she will be grateful for!

So here we go – below are some awesome gardening gifts that made it to our list of cool gifts for women. To make your life easier, we’ve split them into a few relevant categories so that you can quickly pick and choose. We hope you will enjoy the first step in your gifting process!

Top Gardening Gifts for Women – for the First-times

1. For those wondering “Where do I begin?”

Guide to GardeningThe ideal gift for the ones who want to begin gardening but don’t know how is this Beginners Illustrated Guide to Gardening. It has information on how to start, how to manage and everything in between. It is vouched for by readers to be the ultimate guide to budding gardeners. As a bonus the book carries information on landscaping – so not only does one grow a beautiful garden, they also learn to arrange it in ways that beautifies their homes! For the ones that find it hard to visualize the words described – fret not, the book is richly illustrated with step by step guides on everything related to gardening. So go on get the book and give it to her – she’ll love it!

2. For those asking – “How does one do it?”

Garden Tool SetNow that the theory part is taken care of, it’s time for the exciting practical application.  But wait, doesn’t gardening involve a little more than just the knowledge on how it’s done? You’re right, what is now needed is the basic gardening tool kit. What makes the tool kit one of the good gifts for women is that it is a package that will provide her with all the metal that she needs to get that project done! Check out this 3 piece Garden tool set. It has the basic tools required to carry out all the digging, scooping and padding. What makes it one of the cool gifts for women is that it is designed ergonomically and is sturdy – lesser strain on the hand and lasts longer.

3. For those wondering – “Will it be rough?”

Gardening GlovesGardening involves extensive use of one’s hands. It involves using tools and working in the soil that may have insects and germs.  So yes, it might be a little rough. That’s why you have an awesome gifting opportunity right there. Gift her a pair of gardening gloves that would protect her hands and let her do what she does best without worries of her hands getting soiled or hurt! Check out these gloves that serve the purpose extremely well and also come in some nice colors. It makes it to the list of cool gifts for women for the fact that is designed especially for them!

For the pros

Among the top gardening gifts for women are options for a pro who has been there, done that before. For such a lady you’ll have to dig deeper to impress- so here are a few ideas that can make great birthday or anniversary gifts for women no matter how pro they are!

1. Soil moisture Measurer

Soil Moisture MeterHow much water is really needed for this patch of my garden might be a question even the seasoned gardener is bound to ask. That is why we recommend you gift the seasoned gardener a soil moisture sensor. Check out the Etekcity soil moisture sensor meter that is easy to use and gives the measurement instantly. All one has to do is place it in the soil and the reading is had. Why does this make it to the list of cool gifts for women? It’s easy to use, highly relevant to gardening and is priced to suit ones pocket, that’s why.

2. Compost Bin

Compost BinThe seasoned gardener understands the importance of nutrients for her plants. That is why she can be found creating compost. But compost is not a very pleasant thing to work with. For starters they smell bad and another thing about them is that they leach through plastic if it is thin, messing the place up. That’s why you need to gift the pro gardener the pro compost bin that keeps the odor locked in and the compost free from any contamination that could harm the plants it is being used on. We recommend this stainless steel compost bin that serves the purpose beautifully. You may wonder if a compost bin is actually one of the better birthday or anniversary gifts for women, doubt not, it will work out beautifully – the gardener in her will be delighted with it.

3. All purpose Garden Hose Nozzle

Garden Hose NozzleWatering the garden is a daily chore for the gardener and having a hose that makes the work easier can be a life saver. A good all purpose garden hose nozzle is one of the cool gifts for women as far as gardening is concerned. It helps conserve water and also regulate the amount of water to be used for different plants. The Homwe garden hose nozzle makes it to our list for the purposes mentioned above. Multiple patterns of water spray to suit the plant and soil makes gardening all the more easy and fun!

4. The Gardening Stool

Gardening StoolGardening is a time taking task and the joy of doing it increases manifold if the person doing it is comfortable while at the task. The task becomes easier if the tools can be kept handy. This is where the next gifting idea comes in. This folding stool will solve multiple problems faced by the pro gardeners. It provides seating space and has pouches from which the gardening tools can be accessed. It comes with its own set of tools and is the complete gardener package. All of that for less than 40 dollars – it’s definitely on our list of the good gifts for women.

The Indoor Gardener

While gardening is predominantly done outdoors there are a lot of people who maintain gardens in their balconies or indoors or on their roofs. If you are looking for the top gardening gifts for women, for the indoor gardener you cannot go past the below recommendations!

1. The Indoor Tool Kit

Indoor Tool KitThe thing about the indoor tool kits is that they come specially designed for indoor gardening. They have specially sized tools to fit the indoor planting surroundings that make it easier to handle. Have a look at this indoor gardening kit that is complete with all the tools and even a stylish glass bottle spray to water the plants. All of these come in a stylish bag that even looks like a chic woman’s handbag. Light weight and heavily loaded with features the indoor tool kit is one of the cool gifts for women.

2. Pruning Shears

Pruning ShearsUnlike outdoor plants, the indoor variety needs pruning a little more regularly as any unnecessary growth renders it out of proportion and visually unappealing. That’s why we suggest pruning shears as a suitable gift for the indoor gardener. Easy to use and light weighted ones would be ideal. This pruner fits the bill perfectly. Sized to fit in the hand easily and designed to cut with ease, this would make and ideal gardening partner for the indoor gardener.

3. Creative Indoor Pots

Creative Indoor PotsOne of the major motivations for having indoor plants is to let it serve as decorative pieces. And so gifting the indoor gardener with the right set of pots for their indoor plants can be a wonderful idea. It would help them achieve their goal of enhancing the aesthetics of their homes through their plants. These creative plant pots do exactly that – they make the plants appear more visually appealing. Designed to look sophisticated and sized to fit on even small ledges they make the perfect indoor gardeners gift. They also come in multiple colors.

So those are the top gardening gifts for women that we suggest for the women in your lives who have this special hobby. The best part of having this hobby is that you can join in and create some wonderful moments together. There is no better gift than giving your loved ones your time, and that time coupled with these gift ideas could be some of the times you can have with your partner. So go ahead and surprise them today!

While you’re at that, do let us know what you think of these ideas. We would also love to hear your ideas on other gifts that we might have missed.

Can Separation Save A Marriage? Let’s Find Out!

Can Separation Save a MarriageCan Separation Save a Marriage? It is a question that is common in the minds of many a couple going through a bitter phase of their married lives. At the outset it may seem counter-intuitive to think that a separation could save a marriage. Yes, there are cases when it can work and many instances when it cannot as well. With managing work and home life becoming harder by the day and with kids complicating things further, couples out there cannot be blamed for thinking of the easiest exit out of their predicament – and this is often in the form of a separation. As always at MBH, we would like to thoroughly discuss this topic, talk about the pros and cons of separation and discuss its role in saving a marriage. We will also look at the prerequisites which form an important step in making a success out of this exercise!

When does separation actually work?

separatedMarriages cannot be described or categorized into a finite number of emotional types. They vary vastly and it is quite impossible to say exactly in which case a separation will work. But whatever be the case, if it is a separation that you are looking for, ensure that it is not permanent. This post is also going to discuss only a temporary separation (usually of two weeks to 2 months duration) in detail.

So let’s talk about the situations in which a separation might work. Usually, there will be a few tell-tale signs in a marriage that point to this option. Here are a few scenarios when a separation can work:

1. A Clingy Relationship

It’s a sad fact of relationships that they become an emotional strain, a chain of restrain rather than a form of liberation that it should be. When one partner feels suffocated by the relationship and some breathing space could make things better, a separation temporarily might be the right choice.  But again this will only work if both partners agree mutually and decide to work on the relationship to make the necessary space for each other.

2. Bitter Fights & Arguments

There are times when partners in a relationship begin to do things that deteriorate the relationship to levels of no turning back. An example could be when one partner publicly disrespects the other or both decide to go into their shells and communication comes to a standstill. Under these circumstances of debilitating negativity, it makes sense to take a short break and look at things a little more calmly from a distance.

3. When its Time to Think

In our daily grind that include managing family and work life, kids and social lives, it becomes hard to actually find time to think for ourselves. We are hard pressed for the time needed to think about our lives and the relationship with our partners. In a life like that, it becomes difficult to focus on the problems at hand and taking a temporary break for solitude may be the solution.

While these are just a few examples of when a temporary separation might help, there could be many more.  Interested in reading more? Well, here’s a true story of how a separation saved a marriage.

Can separation save a marriage without any side effects?

Pros and ConsAt the onset, it might seem otherwise to you, especially if you are a person who is heavily involved mentally, emotionally and physically with your partner. But in reality, you’ll be surprised that many experts recommend separation as a marriage saver despite few of its side effects because effective separation has been tried and tested and often with some great results. Here’s a psychologists view on this matter if you would like to go deeper into the topic. But what are some of the pros and cons of this arrangement?

The Pros

  1. “Familiarity breeds contempt” goes the famous saying. If that is truly the case in your marriage, perhaps a temporary separation may solve things. In a toxic relationship, the partners have lost the ability to see everything they fell for in their spouse earlier. Some cooling space can give them the much needed space and time to find it again.
  1. A temporary separation can serve as a testing phase to understand what went wrong and also as a phase to realize that one actually misses and wants to be with their spouse. A little bit of loneliness is enough to remind one of a warm home filled with love and care. Who wouldn’t want to get back to that?
  1. Many failed marriages are more about losing one’s identity rather than any problem with their spouse. Imagine a situation where an ambitious person in a marriage (usually the wife) has to let go of their career for the sake of their kids? A separation could give the time and space to decide on a way forward that would benefit both partners.
  1. A temporary separation can bring out the romance all over again. Many couples get into a routine in marriage that keeps out romance and surprises. A separation recreates the magic of the dating days, which could be the spark that is required to bring back the love that’s lost.
  1. Clear communication can finally return to the table. When separation happens, partners realize that they can now communicate without the bickering and shouting. It’s easier to focus on what can make the marriage work rather than on trying to play the blame game or giving the silent treatment. Communication without the anger and resentment is a vital step in building the relationship, especially a failing one.

The Cons

  1. When the separation is done without a proper intention to make things better, the chances of it going to naught are high. It makes no sense to go for a separation where the partners fail to put effort in making the relationship work during that time out. Remember, a temporary separation is NOT in any way dissolution of the marriage, but this is exactly what it would degrade into if not properly planned.
  1. Having kids affects marriage in a multitude of ways and can be a strain to the relationship, especially when you are trying separation to make things work. While the parents may know that the separation is temporary, the kids might not get it. It may breed insecurity and cause distress in them, especially if they are in the age group of 5-15.
  1. Being separated for too long comes with its risks. No one likes to be lonely and if even one partner decided to mitigate the loneliness through new relationships, the entire purpose behind the exercise has been ruined. That is why it becomes imperative for partners to at least talk over the phone and be in touch even during the separation phase.
  1. Failure to communicate. One of the biggest problems in relationships today is the failure to communicate honestly and frequently. If a temporary distance causes more strain to the communication, it kills the whole purpose of separation. It is better to be in a row with the spouse and communicate a bit rather than be away and have no touch at all.

Moving on, what are the prerequisites for a temporary separation to work?

The Prerequisites

A separation done without considering the necessary prerequisites will hardly produce desirable results, on the contrary it could create further lasting issues. Here are a few important facts to be considered when thinking of a temporary separation to save a marriage.

  1. Both partners should agree to a separation: It cannot be that one decides to separate and walks off leaving the other one fuming. That’s a sure short cut for taking the conflict to divorce!
  1. Both partners should intend to get back together: Discuss and agree on a time frame to get back together. Any time between a few weeks to a month is a good starting point in most cases. If either of the partners actually wants a permanent separation while feigning interest to get back, there is just no point in it at all. They would end up hurting their spouses and causing irreparable damage.
  1. Get professional help during the time out: There are tons of marriage and family counseling programs both offline and online that can help this time out well worth it. A third party professional’s advice is strongly recommended so you have an intelligent, unbiased take on the situation you find yourselves in. Here is an interesting read on what a professional has to say about separation as a solution to save one’s marriage.
  1. You’ve tried other options before thinking of separation: It is not a good idea to think of a temporary separation (how much ever temporary it is) at the first sign of any conflict. So if you’ve been fighting about who gets to watch what on TV and decide to separate just because you did not have your way, then STOP! You need help.
  1. No adultery – Well that’s self explanatory, it just does not help the problem at hand!

Key Performance IndicatorSo now that you’ve gone through the pros, cons and prerequisites of separation, you are probably one step closer to answering the question, can separation save a marriage? Great! However, there is one final thing you must have in mind before deciding – and that is a few key performance indicators (KPIs) to see if everything is going to plan. Here is a quick list we’ve put together for you to check yourselves against during or after the s

  • Has the communication improved since your separation started? Unlike the past, are you able to open up about the issues that are plaguing your marriage?
  • Have you missed your spouse? Are there things that you miss about him/her that were otherwise taken for granted?
  • Are you able to find out tangible, practical things you can do to make things better between yourself and your spouse?
  • Does your counselor/therapist (if you are consulting one) see improvement in your interactions and attitudes towards the issues at hand?

These are few of the things you can mark yourself against to check your progress in this temporary phase.

So can separation save a marriage? It certainly can in our opinion and it need not be taboo in this day and age. But it has to be done the right way and for the right reason – which is to make the marriage work and not just to live with the problems!

If you are unable to handle separation on your own, speak to a professional counselor and enroll for marriage and family counseling programs which can assist you greatly.  Do not attempt to do something without the necessary guidance and support if you are not fully convinced that it will work.

We would love to hear your viewpoints about this topic including any stories or experiences that you can share with us that go for or against the topic! Feel free to use the comments section below. And don’t forget to be happy in marriage always!

Top Gifts for Guys this Season

Gifting the man in your life can sometimes seem harder than figuring out rocket science. You might think you have finally figured out your man’s tastes but lo and behold, he simply does not like that sweater you just got him after weeks of research and contemplation! Does this situation sound familiar? If it does, then that is precisely why this post is all about the Top Gifts for Guys!

When we talk of gifts for guys there are usually three relationships to keep in mind: it could be for a man friend, your partner or for your dad. But there are several resources out there that deal with gifts in general.

So, in our quest to find the best gifts for all of them AND be unique, we have chosen three unique categories. Gift ideas for a new dad, personalized engraved gifts for men and general (but still unique) gifts.

We’ve also tried hard to select options that fall in a range that is affordable to everyone. So go ahead and begin your gift selection process!

Top Gifts for Guys – Gifts for a New Dad

How often is it that you find a section in a store dedicated exclusively for new dad gifts? Very rarely! Most of the floor space goes towards the new mum and new baby (and rightly so!). But what about the men who rightfully want their new status as dad to be celebrated? Well here are 3 super ideas to gift such dads:

Changing Tool-belt

Top Gifts for Guys - Changing Tool BeltThis is hands down one of the best gifts for a new father. It’s wacky, extremely relevant and you guessed it, it will make him smile every time its his turn to change diapers. Not only will you be giving him something essential for his new role in life, you are also nudging him to some responsibility in the cleaning department by encouraging him to take the necessary precautionary measures. This belt is going to make his nappy changing experience quick, efficient and well prepared for. Did I forget to say fun, too? The tool-kit comes with a disposable changing pad, wipes, goggles, gloves, diapers, and even a toy for the baby while their nappy change is happening. And so the new father-to-be has all the tools for the most important job in the world – changing diapers!

Diaper bag for Men

Top Gifts for Guys -Diaper Bag for MenLet’s face it, diaper bags are primarily designed for women and seem to only come in pink. It’s like once you’re a dad, you can only carry pink diaper bags around. Or that diaper bags are meant only for women. Well, here is your chance to prove both of those things wrong. The second idea in our list of gifts for a new dad is the uber-cool diaper bag for men. It comes with internal and external pockets in a fresh funky color with ample space for all of baby’s stuff and some of daddy’s stuff as well. And the best part is that it even has a cross body strap! All this just means daddy-baby trips have officially become fashionable! And it’s throwing out there an oft-neglected but true statement – Daddy’s can be cool too! The best gift for a dad may be his newborn but nothing beats this awesome diaper bag that comes a close second!

Stroller Organizer

Top Gifts for Guys -Stroller OrganizerPicture this: Dad is enjoying a walk with the baby in the stroller, enjoying a latte on-the-go and wants to check his cell phone for the latest baseball score. Now that’s going to take more than two hands to do it all. That’s where this awesome stroller organizer comes in. With multiple compartments and ample space, it can hold your cell phone; the baby’s bottles and other things like wipes and such. What’s more, it can also be converted into a shoulder bag on detaching it from the stroller. And the icing on the proverbial cake? This organizer also has insulated bottle holders to keep milk warm or cold as needed! Finding gifts for a new father isn’t the easiest of tasks – simply because there aren’t many out there exclusively for men! So a gift like this, while very useful for men, can also help the mums too!

Personalized Engraved Gifts for Men

You can call it as old-fashioned as you want but there is something evergreen about getting a gift engraved with your initials or a special message. It may be 2016 but it sure ain’t out of fashion! At MBH, we still highly recommend the following engraved gifts!

Multipurpose Knife

Top Gifts for Guys -Engraved Pocket KnifeDespite the comforts of modern life, every man, deep down, has an instinct and love towards survival tactics and adventure. One look at the most popular shows on TV or Netflix will easily confirm that fact. You’ll find dozens of shows or movies that focus around the fine art of surviving – it makes for fantastic viewing! In reality, most men consider themselves to be adventurous and that is why this multipurpose knife is our top recommendation when it comes to personalized engraved gifts for him. This pocket knife also doubles up as an LED flashlight and bottle opener – two things you will agree any man definitely needs to survive! You can choose to engrave anything you fancy on it – it could be his name or it could be a small but special message. But whatever you choose, be assured, this will be one gift that he is sure to like and cherish.

Gunmetal Pocket Watch

Top Gifts for Guys -Engraved Pocket WatchThe gunmetal pocket watch featured here is guaranteed to be a hit as a wedding gift or for the elderly men in your life. The silver watch comes with a beautiful stainless steel chain and has the option of selecting your personalized message to be engraved on the lid of the watch. Just remember to place your order of engraving after ordering the watch! This gift while serving the obvious function of time-keeping stands out for being different from a usual wrist watch while adding a personal touch to it.  It comes with a beautiful finish and quite frankly, we simply had to include it in our list of top gifts for guys.

Engraved Wood-handle Steel Hammer

Top Gifts for Guys -Engraved HammerThis one is our personal favorite when it comes to personalized engraved gifts for him. Any DIY type of man will love this, and for those who are not into DIY it would serve as a lovely keepsake and perhaps encourage them to think about DIY projects!  Don’t let the looks foll you – the hammer is fully functional with a good grip and feels sturdy in the hand. It comes with a polished steel head and shock absorbing, hard wood handle. By default, it comes with the engraving “Thank you for helping me build my life” which we think is awfully thoughtful! And of course, the pun is funny too. Make no mistake, it is one of the top gifts for guys that you can lay your hands on this season!

General Gift Ideas

If you aren’t looking for the best gift for a new dad or engraved stuff, the section below has four general gift ideas that will test your creative skills (without damaging your wallet!). Let’s dive straight in:

Cards against Humanity Party Game

Top Gifts for Guys -Cards Against HumanityThis is a game that has been designed for horrible people aka men. You disagree? Well here is a disclaimer then. This game is known to sit on the dark side of fun and humor, so be prepared for your man (and yourself!) to be a little shocked and surprised – but all for some good fun! If you find it a little extreme, feel free to go for another gift option for your man. So with that out of the way, do we still have your attention? Great! The cards are a set of printed questions and answers with one member of the party holding the question cards and the rest holding the answer cards. The person holding the question card – referred to as the judge states a phrase or poses a question to which the rest need to match the best ending from their cards. The judge then selects the best option and gives it a point. The game in itself is simple; it’s the content that will make the man in someone smile with glee. So go on and consider one of the top gifts for guys this season!

Money belt and Travel Wallet

Top Gifts for Guys -Money BeltTravel is something we all enjoy from time to time. One of the most important things when travelling is to have your favorite stuff at hand when it is most required. The normal wallet is often not sufficient as it cannot hold your cell phone, passport, iPod etc. That’s where this money belt comes in! It is very thoughtfully designed with features that are simply mind blowing. It is sleek and has compartments for multiple items like your important documents, credit cards and more. The best part? It has a built in hole to allow your head phones to function while your iPod or mobile phone remains inside.  This awesome belt is functional and cool – and therefore we heart it as part of our top gifts for guys!

Car Trunk Organizer

Top Gifts for Guys -Trunk OrganizerIf there is one thing every man loves without a doubt, it is his ride. Allow us to introduce this simple to use and extremely functional car trunk organizer which can be one of the top gifts for guys this season, especially if they own an SUV. If you are sick of your man having the most untidy car in the neighborhood, banish your worries by choosing this gift for him! Forget about that untidy back seat and don’t worry about stuff rolling around in the floor of the car making obnoxious sounds. With this little accessory, it all fits in. All you have to do is lift your trunk and go crazy with organized happiness! The organizer can hold up to 75lbs and also comes with a lifetime warranty.  What’s not to like in it? Go ahead and save your man space, time and effort – it is a winner for sure.

Portable Mobile Charger

Top Gifts for Guys -Portable ChargerMen are generally not fans of jewelry or fashion accessories. But most of us will agree that it is impossible to live without a smartphone these days. That is one thing that we use to get rid of everything else like a watch, to-do lists and alarm clock. And if your phone is anything like mine, you will agree how quickly your battery runs out, usually when it is needed the most!  So get your favorite man a portable mobile charger, one that can charge his phone at high speed when he is mobile and has no access to a power source. This beast can charge an iPhone 6 up to 6 times before running out of steam. Worried about the fashion police? Well don’t! These are sleek, almost sexy looking portable chargers that can be used to charge any mobile phone, laptop and tablet. Be assured you are making a good choice  – that’s why it features here in the top 10 gifts for guys!

So that’s our hand-picked list of top 10 gifts for guys.

You know what? Here is a strong suggestion: go ahead, pick something that you fancy and surprise the men in your life today. Don’t wait for an occasion.

It makes the gift all the more special when it is a surprise and given for no other reason than them being present in your lives and you valuing that relationship!

That wraps it up then. Hope you found our recommendations useful and different from the usual stuff that you find all over the internet. Whether it is the best gift for a dad or for your aging grand dad or personalized engraved gifts for men, are you going yay or nay with our suggestions? We’d love to know! And we’d also like to hear from you on your ideas on what makes a good gift for guys. Please feel free to use the comments section to tell us what you think.

Happy Gifting!

How to Plan a Cheap Wedding

How to Plan a Cheap WeddingMarrying the love of your life is something priceless, but unfortunately, it is impossible to put the same tag of ‘price less’ to the process of getting married these days. With newer traditions being added every passing year and the pressure to make one’s wedding unique and special, it can quickly burn a hole in your pocket. In fact, many young couples stay away from marriage simply because they are intimidated by the spiralling costs or because they believe that they haven’t saved enough yet. If how to plan a cheap wedding is keeping you sleepless at night, let’s try to put to bed some of your fears right away!

How to Plan a Cheap Wedding

At Married but Happy, we believe that your wedding can be the most memorable day of your life without costing you an arm and a leg.

The first thing to do of course is to define a budget. We’ve zeroed in on the magic number of 1000 and believe it is a good middle point to have a great wedding without breaking the bank. But what can be included for a wedding under 1000 dollars? Wondering if such a budget is even possible or is just a fantasy?

For starters, that number does not include the cost of the venue or your honeymoon. This is because if you choose your wedding venue or honeymoon to be in exotic Thailand, for example, then it is obviously going to cost you more than $1000. But barring the venue and honeymoon costs, we’ve put together a great list of things which should make it possible to design your wedding under 1000 dollars. To make it easier, we’ve broken down your wedding plan into the most important parts and shared our money-saving tips and cost-benefits for each section that can actually help you in planning a low budget wedding. Let’s get started!

The Venue

porch-264890_640The venue, as you can imagine, is one of the top contributors to the overall cost when you are planning a low budget wedding. It doesn’t matter how many low cost wedding ideas you consider, but if you fail to control your costs in this area, the rest of your budgeting can go out of the window. But that’s why we’re here – to give you some crazy ideas!

Low cost weddings abroad – Yes, there are a variety of wedding packages arranged by tour operators, resorts and wedding planners who can organize the entire wedding for you in places ranging from exotic Mauritius to crazy Las Vegas. While you obviously cannot go for these options if you have a super tight budget, you can still consider some of the low cost options that may not burn a hole in your pocket! It all depends on where you are based and where you want to celebrate your wedding but in general, the exchange rate will work exceptionally well to your advantage in locations like Indonesia, Thailand, Mauritius, and the Caribbean Islands.  You may also have to limit the number of people you invite – but that will ensure only the most important ones are there, which also makes sense! Here’s a helpful resource on some exquisite locales when planning for a cheap wedding.

Off-beat venues – If you are okay with having the function locally, then planning a wedding budget will immediately become lighter on the pocket. However, it makes sense to think out of the box. Not only will doing that make the event memorable but it also saves you a lot! So instead of the usual wedding halls or community centers, why not book a spot in a beautiful public park (if the weather is right) or, if the numbers of invitees are limited, maybe even a fabulous B&B in the middle of the wilderness?  The only thing to remember here is to plan well and visit the venue that you like several times before the D-day to ensure accessibility, basic facilities, organize permits and arrangements for your big day!

Cost-benefit: In the USA, national parks usually charge between $50-$250 as a location fee (depending on your preferred location) but permits are issued free-of-charge.

Bonus read: Here’s a great article with more tips on planning a park wedding.

Decorations

Fresh flowers are usually an absolute necessity to make your wedding special but it is one area where you can also save on costs. For starters, limiting the quantity is a good idea. Instead of dozens of roses for each of the bridesmaids, why not focus on just one beautiful rose per person? You can also try and order bouquets that are smaller in size – these tips will surely contribute in your mission of how to plan a wedding on a small budget!

lamp-558122_640For decorations, choose artificial paper options over expensive fresh flowers and store-bought options. These days, they are crafted with so much finesse that nobody is probably even going to notice the difference! What’s more is that they last longer and cost much lesser – usually not more than $100 for a party of around 50 people. It is a win-win whichever way you look at it! So if you are looking to restrict the budget for your wedding under 1000 dollars, make sure you use this easy tip!

Cost-benefit: For a party catering to around 50 guests, get your flowers and decorations organized for under $100.

Outfits

It is every girl’s dream to look her best on her special day. Most guys aren’t far behind when it comes to those dreams too! Make no mistake, your outfits form an important part of the wedding budget. Usually, it is also the deal breaker when it comes to low cost wedding ideas. But don’t worry, here are some low budget wedding ideas that can help you save on those important outfits!

Hand-me-down dresses – A lot of women these days choose to give away their bridal clothes than hang on to them forever uselessly. Such pre-loved dresses obviously come at a cost that is way lesser than buying a new wedding dress. A good seamstress can alter it to fit you perfectly and it will be as good as new after a dry cleaning session. Looking for more details before deciding? Here’s some great advice for you if you are considering wearing hand-me-down gowns for your wedding.

Rent-a-dress – Many men and women are increasingly finding it unnecessary to own a wedding dress; the logic being, what is the point when it will be used only once and then thrown away into a corner of your wardrobe? So why not rent a wedding dress or tuxedo instead? The benefits range from having many options to choose from and getting them at phenomenally lower costs than owning one. You can rent most wedding dresses from less than 100 dollars. Interested to know more? Here’s a site that rents out wedding dresses and here’s the icing on the cake – they even have a home delivery service!

Cost-benefit: Bridal dresses and tuxedos on rent start from under $100, with savings of 70-80% and upwards over the cost of a new outfit.

Catering & Entertainment

wedding-cake-975342_640When it comes to food and beverage, one of the least thought of low cost wedding ideas is to ask your family for help! This is particularly doable if your guest list is say below 50 people. At the very least, ask your folks or relatives to help you with simple finger foods or if they are talented (and up for it), let them even take care of the entire job! Most of us have a friend or relative who can bake up a storm. Why not give them a chance to shine bright for a big occasion like this, if they are up for it and have the talent? Another idea is to give the catering order to a smaller family run local restaurant than look for the large expensive ones.  They are generally better at service, can make great tasting food and usually are flexible to your requirements while planning a low cost budget wedding.

Another idea is to time the party in such a way that the food and drink is served between traditional meal times. For example, think of a well designed ‘high tea’ that is slotted between lunch and dinner times. Not only will this be something unique for the guests to experience, it will substantially cut your costs too!

Similarly, to save some big bucks on the guest entertainment, crank up your own playlist instead of depending on a professional DJ. Yes, simply connect that iPod to some sexy speaker systems and play the tunes that you have selected together with your fiancé! It’s your wedding, so why not? If you need to hire a stereo system – ask your friends and family if they can help out or use sites like Craigslist.

Cost-benefit: For a party of 50 people, you are looking at under $500 for a high-tea spread designed by yourself and executed by your family and friends!

Bonus read – go through this article for more on wedding food and drinks that will help with your low cost wedding ideas.

Invitations

Some simple out-of-the-box thinking can help you save a lot on the invitations:

invitation-907771_640Make the invitations yourselves – There is nothing like adding a personal touch to the invitations that you create. The bonus is the joy of designing it yourself and if you do it along with your fiancé – it will be a lot of fun (and maybe even an argument or two!), you can be sure of that. Your personal invitations will stand out for being personal and unique. I received one from a colleague once and that is the only one that I have kept with me till now, simply because it was different. It even had a personal note for me! Download your wedding invitation template here and start!

If you don’t think you have the creative bug, get a freelancer to design the invitation, or even better, use online free resources to download designs (make sure they’re not copyrighted though) and you can get it printed locally. All you have to do is buy envelopes and voila you have your invitations ready. This will work out to be much more cost effective than picking invitations off the shelf at an expensive greeting card store.

Cost-benefit: For around 100 invitation cards, the entire cost of designing and printing using a template will be under 100 dollars.

Photography

Hiring a professional photographer for your wedding might seem like the best thing to do, but is it really necessary, especially when you are planning a low budget wedding? These days, with DSLR cameras readily available, almost everybody is a photographer. Choose someone from among your friends circle who can handle a DSLR camera well and ask them to help you out – and if possible, offer to pay them too! Or if you are more creative-minded, why not just crowd source your wedding photos to your guests (maybe even make a contest out of it!) and offer a prize like an fancy restaurant voucher to the one with the best collection? These ideas will still work out to be much cheaper than hiring a professional. All you have to do is publish and share the photos on a common online location like Flickr and get your friends and family to vote.

camera-1081821_640Craigslist, Facebook and a whole lot of other sites are exploding with amateur photographers looking for work. Hire one for your wedding at a low cost if you do want someone reliable. Just make sure to check their work before so you are certain that they walk the talk! Many amateur photographers are looking for professional experience and are ready to work for free or a fraction of the actual costs in exchange for the work experience or rights over the photographs so they can use it as part of their portfolio. If how to plan a cheap wedding is on your mind, you cannot skip this easy tip!

Cost-benefit: FREE, if you work out something with an amateur photographer looking for some experience!

Honeymoon

Going on a honeymoon is something most couples want to do right after the wedding. While this may be the ideal way to start off your marriage, you might have to consider a couple of points if you are still a follower of how to plan a cheap wedding! The major factor of course, is where you want to honeymoon. This is as important as choosing your wedding location, for obvious reasons.

greece-820415_640One idea is to choose places off the beaten track as they often cost less and more importantly they offer you more space and spending money. The more famous a place is, the more chances of it being too expensive or crowded for your together time. Don’t be pressured into following the trend when it comes to honeymooning, set your own! If this means having to wait a while after your wedding, then so be it!

Here are a few tips to maximize your savings and fun during your honeymoon:

Go during the shoulder season: Every holiday destination has a peak-season, off-season and a shoulder season which is somewhere in the middle of the other two seasons. Find this out to schedule your honeymoon when planning a low budget wedding. Or if you can only go during the peak-season, choose weekdays over weekends. These tips will help you save on a lot – for example, a weekend at a resort is sure to be more expensive than a weekday stay by at least 20 -30%.

Several hotels and resorts offer honeymoon packages so you don’t have to worry about organizing all the details during your special time together. Jump online and you will find an array of honeymoon packages for every budget. For most locations in the USA, you can expect a honeymoon package to start from around $150 per night (maybe with some meals included too!) and upwards. So plan ahead and enjoy the savings!

No matter where you go or when, remember to focus on what’s important. What usually stays in your memory long after the honeymoon is the experience and moments you shared with your partner.

Flying half way around the world to an exotic location without the time to unwind and spend time together may not actually make either of you happier. A small budget getaway to a nearer place might instead DELIGHT all three of you – yourself, your partner and your wallet!

Bonus tip – the seasons in the Southern hemisphere (popular countries in this half of the world include South Africa, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji) is opposite to that of the Northern hemisphere! So remember to plan your getaway accordingly!

Here are some off-beat honeymoon destinations to get you thinking!

married-925455_640How to plan a cheap wedding is something a lot of us have on our minds especially if we are on a tight budget. Planning a wedding is a lot of fun but it can be super stressful as well, depending on the kind of person you are. Fact of the matter is that it is not an expensive wedding that counts in the end, it is the simple things like the presence of loved ones, a stress-free environment, moments that you can cherish for a lifetime with your partner, and the creation of memories that will keep the happiness going long after the party has ended.

We hope the ideas above have given you a starting point on how to plan a cheap wedding. Do you have some unique ideas that have worked for you or are you in the process of planning a wedding budget even as you read this? We’d love to hear from you!

Feel free to use the comments section to share with us your thoughts and ideas!