February Book of The Month

Did you know you have a particular way you enjoy giving and receiving love?

With Valentine’s Day next week, this month’s Books to Live By choice highlights our February membership program theme, New Ways to Look at Love.

This New York Times best seller, written by a marriage counselor with more than 35 years of experience, explores the different ways we express and receive love.

Our February selection is….

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts (amazon link) by Dr. Gary Chapman

The Five Love Languages is one of my favorite books on love and relationships, and my husband Rob and I have have incorporated Dr. Chapman’s insights into our own relationship for many years.

Dr. Chapman guides you to discover your own unique relationship to love through five expressions:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

These five different communication channels are the keys to better expressing love in a way that your partner understands. Having the ability to love your partner in the way he or she needs to be loved can be the greatest gift you will ever give to them.

But you don’t have to have a partner to benefit from Dr. Chapman’s insights.  There are other volumes in The Five Love Languages series for you if you are currently single or have young children or teenagers. And love isn’t the only act that has a designated language; Dr. Chapman has also explored the languages behind apologies and appreciation.

This quick read will give your heart and head a healthy dose of inspiration!

Check out Dr. Chapman’s website and take the quiz there to find out which language of love, apology and appreciation is unique to you. Even if you’ve already read this book, it is worth picking up again!  I always learn something new every time I read it.

Enjoy. And I look forward to hearing what your love language is in the comment section below!

Two secrets to strengthen your intimate relationship

If you are new to Women on Fire, welcome! Each week we bring you inspiration, strategies and support to live a life closer to what you truly want.

And, because your intimate relationship should contribute to a deeply satisfying life, this week I have two powerful strategies to keep strong a precious relationship — that with your significant other.

If you are not currently in a relationship, but look forward to having one in the future, you can keep these strategies in mind for when you meet “the one.” You can even practice these on your own as a way to connect with yourself.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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Studies show that one of the keys to a successful marriage is for each partner to come into the relationship content with themselves.

Before I tell you two ways we stay strong as a couple year-after-year, if you’ve not yet met my husband Rob Berkley, please let me introduce you …

Rob is usually the one behind the camera but he let me photograph him this past weekend in New York City in a cab on the way to the theater!

We have been together for nearly 14 years.

We were both married and divorced before that. So when we came together as a couple, he in his late 30s, me in my early 40s, we set an intention to stay connected and keep our love strong and growing over the long haul.

We knew from the beginning we’d be living busy lives as entrepreneurs packed with work and family and friends.  We were determined to find ways to slow things down and stay focused and connected to each other.

And, after all these years … so far, so good!

The secret?

Sacred weekends and quarterly getaways.

And here’s how it works for us:

Sacred weekendsRob and I agree that one weekend each month is sacred and we schedule it in our calendars. What that means is that we don’t accept invitations, or plan specific activities, or schedule anything. Once the weekend arrives, we decide together in the moment what we want to do.

Sometimes it’s a project together in the house, or we go to the movies, or we lie  on the couch together and read.  There have been sacred weekends we’ve reviewed our goals and set new ones or we’ve grabbed cameras and headed to the woods or beach.

We’ve had conflict during a sacred weekend because we finally have the time to resolve some issue! (Having a framework to resolve conflict is a whole other important subject for a future Spark!🙂

The key is that we are very conscious to spend our sacred weekends to be as relaxed as possible, connected and in sync with each other. The energy and peace  we get from our sacred weekends are a springboard for everything else we do.

Quarterly getaways — mini-trips of two or three days away three or four times a year usually to a city or someplace beautiful that we both enjoy. We’ve taken trips to Key West, Quechee, Vermont, Miami, Columbus and New York City.  These are days to simply be together and refresh ourselves.

As with sacred weekends, our quarterly getaways aren’t jammed with activities. Instead, we focus on each other and just “be” rather than “do.”  This past weekend was a quarterly getaway and we chose to spend it in New York City, which we both love.

We did see the Broadway show “Pippin.” Other than that, we walked a lot, slept in later than usual, shared a couple of meals with close friends, and spent each evening staring out our hotel room window at the Empire State Building!

With all the losses of loved ones in my life recently, our getaway was “a way to get” just what I’ve needed these past few hectic weeks to fill up my depleted tank.

One of the surprising causes of divorce is “misaligned expectations.” As I look back over the years, having sacred weekends and quarterly getaways to look forward to has been an important and powerful expectation for both of us in our relationship.

I love knowing when our next special times together are coming and even more the renewal and connection with Rob that I get from them.

I know many of you have strategies for keeping your own relationships strong and connected.  Please share on the blog your own experiences so that all Women on Fire can dip into this ocean of information to live a more deeply fulfilled life.

Have a great week. I’ll be in Columbus and looking so forward to seeing many of you!

October Book Of The Month

This month’s Books To Live By choice highlights our October membership theme — Strengthening Your Intimate Relationship.

Whether you are in a committed relationship, healing from a break-up or death of a beloved, or in hopes of finding your life’s partner, the strategies in our featured book will uplift, inspire and serve you!

Our October selection is….

75 Habits For A Happy Marriage: Marriage Advice to Recharge and Reconnect Every Day (amazon link) by Ashley Davis Bush and Daniel Arthur Bush

In addition to recommending this book, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Davis Bush for our Women on Fire membership CD this month.

Following a divorce, remarriage and blending a family of many children and pets, Ashley wrote her newest book with her husband Daniel. Together they crafted a compelling guide and resource for couples looking to enrich their bond.

What I loved most about the book is that it speaks to all types of relationships, including the one with yourself!

Their daily practices and easy, simple activities are designed to promote and restore intimacy and joy between you and your partner, no matter where you are in your relationship.

Ashley is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in couples therapy and grief counseling. I also encourage you to check out some of her past books here.

If you’ve received October’s Women on Fire membership package, I look forward to hearing how Ashley’s wisdom and strategies touched you.  You also have a chance to win a copy of 75 Habits For A Happy Marriage during our members’ LIVE CHAT on October 15!

Enjoy tapping into this fun and insightful resource. I hope you find it as beneficial as my husband Rob and I have.