What will your wedding day regret be?

On May 17, 2008 I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  A mistake that still makes me cringe when I think about it. A mistake that hurt people that I love and wasted perfectly good money. A mistake that has eternally labelled me as “that bride.”

I made my best friends in the entire world look like this:

Bridesmaid Fail

I am so sorry, dear friends. From the very bottom of my heart. I swear I love each of you, and never meant to cause you (or your eyeballs) harm by choosing this blue monstrosity as your bridesmaid uniform.

I was possibly the worst bride on the face of the planet. I had no clue what I was doing. I am not a planner by any stretch of the imagination and I just assumed everything would fall into place. I never sat down and said, “These are the colors for the wedding and this is the theme and this is the kind of celebration that we want.” Instead, I just made decisions as we went and figured that it would all work itself out.

And that “style” of planning resulted in aqua blue ball gowns for our, in all other respects, low-key wedding (a small church wedding with a reception in the fellowship hall… no ballrooms for those ball gowns at this wedding). To make it worse, on the other side of the aisle were Mark and his groomsmen wearing barongs, traditional formal wear in the Philippines. Because that goes with AQUA BLUE BALL GOWNS.

I am SO sorry.

Regardless, I love our wedding because it is the day Mark and I’s family was born. It is where our lives officially joined together, and even if the entire thing was disorganized and looked like it was put together by a color blind (or just completely blind) person, it makes my heart smile when I think back to that day.

And part of the reason that I still smile about that day is because while our wedding planning was questionable, our marriage planning was not. For two months Mark and I talked about our expectations, learned to fight, learned to listen, and made sure that we had as many tools as we possibly could to navigate this journey towards Happily Ever After. We were not going to simply hope everything would fall into place with the most important decision of our lives.

We are 6 years into this journey. We have lived with in-laws, had an unplanned baby, and said really hurtful things about each other’s cooking… but I cannot imagine this life without him by my side. And I can honestly say that the only regret I have about our wedding day are those damn blue dresses.

Seriously. Will you please forgive me, Bridesmaids?

I hope you’re a better bride than me. I hope that every detail is just how you imagine it. More than that, I hope you know that being prepared for your marriage is just as important AND possible. That there are tools and ways of communicating with one another that will make the inevitable bumps in the road easier to manage. There are conversations you can have today that will make life easier tomorrow.

I hope your biggest regret when you look through your wedding album next year is the color of your bridesmaids’s dresses, and not the man standing next to you.

P.S. Marriage Prep School—our program to get you ready for marriage—starts enrolling on September 15th and I’d like to offer you a sneak peek. Click here to download your FREE intro course of Marriage Prep School. You’ll also get an exclusive invitation to the webinar we’re hosting on September 14th where I’ll personally guide you through the intro course of Marriage Prep School!

P.P.S. If you think about it, my bridesmaids could star in Frozen… maybe I was just ahead of my time… no? Fine. But trust me, I’m much better at marriage planning than wedding planning so get your Marriage Prep School sneak peek now!

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Marriage Links #005

marriage linksMarriage Links are things me, Becca, or you have found around the Internet that made you think differently about marriage. If you have written something you’d like featured here, please send it to marie.mckinney@gmail.com. I’d love to include you!

Since we are about to launch the Marriage Prep School I wanted to highlight some links that are a little more for the engaged/about to be married/newlywed crowd.

Grooms seeing their brides for the first time on Buzzfeed. #Swoon #Gush #Aww

I want to take hold of the joy that we find in each other, right now, when we’re both at our best and say “Hey, let’s work on this, let’s make our relationship better.”
- Transitioning Our Relationship Into a Marriage with Pre-marital Counseling on Offbeat Bride

new report based on a study done by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia actually says the opposite…that a bigger wedding could lead to a better marriage.
- Could a Bigger Wedding Lead to a Better Marriage at Lover.ly

“He once bought me flowers,” Helen said, laughing, “They were all dead.”
- Seriously Adorable Old Couple Reveals the Secret to 80 Years of Happy Marriage at Cosmopolitan

My own decision was a little of that, and a lot about family. I wanted to be known as “The Healys,” I wanted to write “The Healys” on envelopes and I wanted to be secure that our future kids would always know we are “The Healy Family.” I changed my name to create our family identity.
- What’s in a Name? Feminism After Marriage at Kontrary

The Associated Press also reported that Maddox and Pax actually walked Jolie down the aisle, while Zahara and Vivienne threw rose petals. Shiloh and Knox served as ring bearers.
- All the Details: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are Married


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5 People You Probably Shouldn’t Marry

5 People Not to Marry

One of the most common questions I hear is, “Have you ever told a couple they shouldn’t get married?”

Once. Kind of. But they didn’t listen. And now they are divorced. So…

It wasn’t that I thought they weren’t a good couple (they were actually adorable together) or even good people (I would invite both of them over for a dinner party if I ever had dinner parties… or cooked). It is that some people really aren’t meant for an institution like marriage. Marriage is NOT for everyone, but I think a lot of us get roped into thinking that marriage is a magical bridge to adulthood and happiness, and that simply isn’t true.

Here are 5 types of people that, in my opinion, should avoid a trip down the aisle:

Control Freaks
People that demand everything go exactly as they picture in their pretty little head are going to be devastated by marriage. Control freaks want everyone to play parts in their imaginary play and that gets old fast in a marriage.

Bitter People
If you can’t forgive and forget then just put the engagement ring down and back away slowly. Forgiveness is mandatory in a marriage because people (specifically spouses) screw up daily. Without forgiveness bitterness will pile up quickly in even the most well-behaved marriages.

Really Young People
This isn’t an actual age. There are 12 year olds with more wisdom in they pinky finger than some 35 year olds have. Really Young People haven’t figured out who they are, yet. And marriage seems like a great idea because it gives their chaotic life stability and it’s a quick fix to the identity crisis every 20-something is going through (“I’m a wife!”). But getting married before you know who you are is like getting a tattoo proclaiming your undying love for Jersey Shore… not smart.

Mr. Fix-Its
Don’t marry someone that thinks you are broken and marriage might fix you. There are a million things wrong with this dynamic, but mostly you owe it to yourself to find someone that appreciates you for you. And to the Mr./Miss Fix-Its of the world: People aren’t projects. Go build a birdhouse or something.

To-Do List Lovers
Marriage is not an item on the To-Do List of Life. Marriage is a real commitment to someone to build a life and family together. If you’ve said things like, “Well, we might as well get married” or “We’ve been together X years so it’s time” then take a minute to reevaluate your life.

Obviously, none of these things are necessarily permanent. You can learn to go with the flow a little more or pause the rush into holy matrimony until you’ve gotten your partying days out of your system. I’m just saying let’s all do our part to bring America’s divorce rate down by not going into cruise control as we head to the chapel.

We are about to open enrollment for the Marriage Prep School! If you’ve found someone worth spending your forever with then click here to start planning your married life before it begins!

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Marriage Links #004

marriage linksMarriage Links are things me, Becca, or you have found around the Internet that made you think differently about marriage. If you have written something you’d like featured here, please send it to marie.mckinney@gmail.com. I’d love to include you!

I am a huge fan of Gaping Void where Hugh McLeod draws cartoons related to business/entrepreneurial ideas. I love his stuff because so much of it can be applied to marriage, too. The cartoon above is about the Inherent Tension between marketers and engineers. In our marriage it would be the tension between Thinkers and Feelers. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, it’s a good thing. Promise.

This has little to nothing to do with marriage, but Anna’s stages of owning food storage containers felt too universal to not be included. And maybe it IS just like marriage: everyone starts off with high hopes and expectations and in the end we all just have to accept the reality of what is. #wompwomp

Denene Millner from My Brown Baby has had her book, The Vow, turned into a Lifetime Movie! I love this because a) we need more stories from the minority community and b) it’s always inspiring to watch someone’s “imagination come to life right before my eyes.” Beautiful.

Ashlee at Coffee and Crumbs has a letter to her pre-mom self, and I especially love her reminder that the marriage will be different and to not keep score. Amen!

Mariah and Nick might be announcing a separation/divorce soon. I get legit sad when celebs divorce.


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NMS 002: The Fight about the Kitchen

podcast 2 - NMS

Mark and I are on episode 2! In this episode we are talking about saying Sorry and Thank You. Because EVERYONE in this house is a toddler…

What we talk about:

  • Have you ever pretended to be asleep when Otis woke up early? (Mark lies.)
  • Otis doesn’t take a bottle.
  • Marie can be wrong. Shocking!
  • Mark might be a micromanager, Marie might be incompetent.
  • How do you tell someone they are wrong?
  • Our superpowers are our superweaknesses.
  • Marie is an amazing Buddhist.
  • We each bring things to the partnership.
  • Mark is the Grownup, Marie took him for granted.
  • If you break something  SAY SORRY!
  • Marie gets revenge again! With the bread!
  • Mark had chores, Marie didn’t… explains a lot.
  • Mark got screwed in the wife department.
  • We treat our relationships like they’ll go on forever, but that’s not true.
  • If we get divorced it will be because of sandwiches and Marie not cleaning things.
  • Say sorry and thank you! It matters!

Links to things we talk about:

Want our help?

We’d love to help you guys learn the skills to be able to walk through your arguments and misunderstandings with the least amount of damage possible. Check out our coaching services and get a personalized proposal to see if our coaching would work for you!

And for the engaged or newlyweds in the audience, Marriage Prep School which will be officially available on September 1st!

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Facing Your Fears with Your Spouse #guestpost

I don’t read food blogs very often because I am horrible in the kitchen and I hate the reminder. However, I do make rom for Betty Becca in my Feedly reader because a) Becca’s wonderful and b) she used to not know anything about cooking and now she knows TONS and I like to think if I applied myself I might be her when I grow up. If I grow up.
She’s here today sharing what marriage could look like if we started facing our fears instead of running from them!

Inline image 1
This post reminds me about my first time snorkeling with my husband. (Brooke Not on a Diet faces her fears and LOVES kayaking with her husband.)

My husband is scuba certified, and he was excited to introduce me to one of his favorite activities. We were on one of those “Cay” islands that the cruise lines make up out of thin air: food buffet, water adventures!, and expensive watered down drinks. We had even purchased our own masks, snokels, and fins and practiced in our apartment’s pool for a few weeks leading up to the trip. Let’s do this, right?

Now, I have had my fair share of swimming lessons and water time, and this practice was invaluable. But, something about heading out into the open ocean (not really) and lacking confidence about my mastery of BREATHING (hello, I like to be alive) in this situation freaked. me. out. Peace out, husband. Screw this. Screw you. I’m headed back to the beach where I’m safe and cannot die. Can you say overreaction

Somehow this sweet man found it in himself to not get mad at me/my melodrama and looked over the fact that I was kinda peeing in his cornflakes. He realized I was about halfway back to the beach, very patiently calmed my fears, and indulged my DEMANDS to always be touching him at all times while we swam around.

It turned out to be really cool experience. Underwater life is beautiful. We ended up doing something new to me, and by default, held hands doing it. And we’ve snorkeled on several other occasions since then. It could have gone really differently. We both could have found fault in the other person instead of identifying and addressing the fear. I could have missed out on something truly amazing.

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Marriage Links #003

marriage linksMarriage Links are things me, Becca, or you have found around the Internet that made you think differently about marriage. If you have written something you’d like featured here, please send it to marie.mckinney@gmail.com. I’d love to include you!

Gary Vaynerchuk might be one of my favorite people, and I’m loving his #AskGaryVee show. In this episode he says some really great things about his wife, Lizzie, and how their relationship gives him space to do what he does best and succeed.

Lizze’s support, and I mean like utter, one hundred thousand percent support is like a major factor. It gives me the headspace to be all in here at Vayner and doing my thing versus worrying about, ugh, if I’m 5 minutes late.

This website has a technique for making sure a group project keeps flowing, and I thought it could help marriages, too.

Ashley at the Shine Project has a positive word for marriage for the Millenials. I liked what she had to say.

One of the most important things in life is to learn how to love another person above yourself. This will change you. True love comes not from romance and fairy tale stories that look perfect, but from sticking things out, making sacrifices, and putting another person’s needs above your own.

Rebecca at Kontrary (another favorite person… I have lots. Sue me.) is giving you the low down on her ACTUAL wedding budget. With real numbers. Every wedding planning couple should check this post out. 

No BS here. This is an honest all-in accounting of how much our wedding cost. I include the cost of the dress and decorations, all the way down to the cost of airline snacks, sales tax and last-minute wrinkle releaser. If anything, I’m meticulous and that’s what you get here.

Gaby at This Little Port is talking about vegetarianism and her marriage, and wanted to know how you combine completely different lifestyle choices.

I have come to accept that my husband and I will never be on the same page, and that that’s ok. What’s important is that we show respect for each others’ decisions, and model that for Clementine.

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