This Bleep is Hard – Book Trailer

The marriage book all new parents should read.

Have you ever wished someone in your mommy group would get honest about their marriage ups and downs now that Baby is here? Do you want to get practical, kid-tested and mom-approved advice on how to make your marriage better?

This Bleep is Hard is the book you’ve been waiting for. Part marriage therapist, part keeping it real best friend, Marie will give you advice, encouragement, and a reassuring hug that this bleep is indeed hard for all of us.

In This Bleep is Hard you’ll find:

  • Over 20 simple communication rules that can dramatically change your marriage.
  • Conversations that every couple needs to have about what they are really expecting from marriage post-baby.
  • Discover how to use those Attachment Parenting skills on your marriage (remember, always protect the bond!).
  • Hear real life stories about arguments that marriage coaches have, and how they walk through them.
  • Know that, even though no one is saying it, being married with kids is not for the weak of heart. This Bleep is Hard.

Get your copy today!

3 Easy Ways to Sneak in More Hanky Panky

3 Easy Ways to Sneak in More Hanky Panky

The engaged and newlywed among us won’t believe it, but hanky panky does not always come easily for the married set.

Once you’ve been together a while things start to… change.

You get older which means you probably get tired easily and are maybe a little, um, softer than you used to be.

You get used to each other’s “moves.” And you might have fallen asleep a couple of times because you already know how this movie ends.

You lose that loving feeling. There’s something about saying “I do” that stops the romantic part of our brain from working, and if sex was bread then romance would be the yeast. Absolutely necessary.

One. Walk down memory lane.
Sometimes we just need to remember that it wasn’t always this way. Think back on one of y’alls sexier nights (or mornings… or lunch breaks…). What made it a night to remember? What were you wearing? What did you think when she suggested that? How did you feel when he did that thing?

Use your own history to write your own Fifty Shades of Grey short story.

Two. Don’t put out.
There’s a tendency to simply go through the motions when it comes to married sex. He touches this, she takes this off, he kisses there, and bam. It’s over.

When you take intercourse (the destination for most couples) off the table you make room for more foreplay. Because when you don’t have a destination you’re much more likely to take the scenic route.

Remember. True love waits.

Three. Fall in love with the person in the mirror.
Yes. You’re older. Things are sagging and your knees hurt when it rains. Please don’t let your insecurities tell you that you don’t deserve to be loved until you lose those last twenty five pounds of baby weight.

Look in the mirror. Remind that sexy beast looking back at you that there’s a person madly in love with her waiting to devour her like a basket of O’Charley rolls if she’d just let him in. Because all of this touching and kissing and fondling is about connecting with a person you love, admire, and trust. It’s not about trying out for the Victoria’s Secret catalog. And if you’d quit listening to the negative voices in your own head about why you need to keep the lights off you might be able to hear him tell you how beautiful you. Right now. Today.

Entirely Loved


We were in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner, Mark washing dishes at the sink and me organizing leftovers in the fridge.

“I am turning This Bleep is Hard into a paperback book,” I said.

“That’s cool. What’s next?”

“I don’t know really. I guess buy a 1,000 or so copies and just start hustling.”

Silence. And then, without turning around to look at me, “Well, how much per copy?”

“I can get them for $10 each.”

More silence because I just told my husband I wanted to spend $10,000 on my dream. And I could feel his prayers shouting to God, “How do I tell her with love and kindness that she’s lost her effing mind?

“I’m just kidding, Sweetie. I’m not going to buy 1,000 copies of the book. Promise.”


“That is the meanest joke you’ve ever played.”

this bleep is hard paperback

Sometimes I wonder what makes a great couple. Or even just a healthy one. More than that, am I always sure that we’re an example of what other people should want? I mean, we fight about how to spend money and who forgot to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer. Shouldn’t we be above that with all of our fancy communication skills and conflict resolution?

But then that little conversation happens. My husband fighting every frugal, play-it-safe cell in his body (and he has lots of them) to support me. To let me chase a dream with reckless abandon. To love my creativity. To love my we’ll-figure-it-out-as-we-crash-and-burn spirit. To love my beauty, insanity, and ugliness.

He fought every part of who he is naturally because he wanted to love me entirely.

That’s what makes a great couple. Seeing the entirety of each other and still choosing to love.

Choosing to love the person that doesn’t make sense.

Choosing to love the person that doesn’t always fit.

Choosing to love the person that makes you stretch.

A great couple stands together, cheering each other on as they become the people they were created to be, no matter how crazy it may look from the outside.

When an Atomic Bomb Goes Off in Your Marriage

One of the first couples I saw when I started Nashville Marriage Studio had just been rocked by some crazy news: she had started an emotional affair with one of his close friends. It hadn’t become physical, and she wanted to work their marriage because something was clearly off  if she was falling for someone new.

Everyone was hurt for obvious reasons. He was hurt that he had been betrayed by people he cared deeply about. She was hurt that she had been so lonely in their marriage that it was almost destroyed her entire family.

An atomic bomb went off in their marriage, and it got everyone’s attention. He realized that just because she isn’t saying anything is wrong doesn’t mean that nothing is wrong. And she realized that suffering in silence won’t win you any martyr points.

Thankfully for them, the atomic bomb was just the right level of destruction. It showed them where their structure was weak, and left just enough of the foundation so that they could rebuild something truly beautiful.

Some of us are so thankful, arrogant even, because we’ve never experienced an atomic bomb. We think that because we’ve never heard the words “I’ve been lying to you” or “I’m leaving” that we’re healthy enough. We get conned into believing that we’re somehow immune to having our world torn to shreds because “we would never do that to each other.”

And sometimes that arrogance wields much more power than an atomic bomb ever could.

I don’t want the devastation that comes with news like an affair, but I don’t want to to be numb to my marriage problems. I don’t want to look at each other as nothing more than roommates and be ok with that. I don’t want to drift apart in the Sea of Good Enough. I don’t want to ever think we’re invincible simply because the atomic bomb hasn’t dropped on us, yet.

Because the truth is that many times the ingredients in the atomic bomb I’m terrified of are complacence and arrogance. Once I believe that we can go on “cruise control” I have opened the door to the potential of disaster.

In the same way that my health nut friends aren’t waiting to hear “You have cancer” before they get rid of McDonald’s from their diet, don’t wait until you’ve googled “Nashville divorce lawyers” to become proactive about your marriage.

Never be afraid to say that something doesn’t feel right between the two of you. Never be afraid to say that you want more. Never be afraid to ask for help. Never think that atomic bombs can’t happen to you.

Stuck in a rut? Consider one-on-one coaching with us.

Did an atomic bomb drop for you guys? Tell us about it and we’ll see if we can help or if we can point you in a good direction.

Skype Your Way to a Better Marriage

skype your way to a better marriage


Last year this blog blew up when I wrote the post about New Moms and the one about New Dads. Instead of blog traffic coming from just around little ol’ Nashville, we started seeing visitors from across the country. More than that, we started getting questions about whether there were Marriage Studios in California or Wisconsin because they wanted to find marriage coaches close to them. As much as we hate to admit it, Nashville Marriage Studio is not big enough to franchise quite yet, but we feel like we might have a next-best-thing…

We are officially offering marriage coaching sessions via Skype!

Admittedly, it’s not the best way to do marriage coaching. There is something special about sharing a cup of coffee with a couple and being able to pick up on those little things that make their relationship unique. But in a world where we can’t be a million places at once, it really is the next best option for couples that are looking for someone to help them find ways to fight better and love better.

So if you aren’t lucky enough to live in Nashville or you do live in Nashville and you just want to do some marriage coaching without worrying about what pants to wear email me at and we’ll set up a time to make it happen.

Want to learn more about coaching? Check that out here.

Stay Impressed with Your Marriage

We’ve been watching the Olympics most nights for the past two weeks. And by “watching” of course I mean it’s on in the background as we compete in the nightly Bedtime Triathlon (brush teeth, bedtime story, and a 2 year old insisting on putting his pjs on by himself…yay).

You’ve probably heard about studies that say that bronze medalists are happier than silver medalists.

I mean, remember how unimpressed McKayla Maroney was with her silver medal in the vault?

The there’s Noelle Pikus-Pace who won the silver medal last week in the Women’s Skeleton. And she was overjoyed. Like, barely got off of her sled before she was running into the stands to hug her husband and kids who have followed her all over the country as she chased her Olympic dreams.

It fascinates me that there are so many reactions to getting a medal. And because everything is so intense it’s almost impossible for an athlete to hide their true feelings about what they’ve accomplished.

And when I think about anyone that’s sulking after winning a medal of any kind I think, “Well, that’s just silly! I’d be happy with anything! It’s the freakin’ Olympics!”

But that’s because I don’t have any expectations, especially Olympic-sized ones. Unless, of course, Cheeto-eating becomes a sport.

Expectations. That’s where we lose perspective. It isn’t bad, and it’s totally human, but it’s a great place to start looking when you’re in an unnatural funk.

Marriage expectations are the worst. Because I’m pretty sure that McKayla is pretty much over not winning the gold. I mean, I’m sure it isn’t her favorite memory, but I’m fairly certain she can laugh about it now.

But the unmet expectations of marriage don’t happen just once every four years. No, this can be a daily thing. Heck, on a bad weekend, it can be an hourly thing! And boy can it eat away at a perfectly good relationship.

Be Realistic
If you’re going into marriage expecting it to be all perfect triple toe loops and flawless trips down the slopes, um, brace yourself. Marriage is bumpy and ugly and hard. He’s going to annoy you and do stupid things. You’re going to say something hurtful and lose your cool. The best way to not be destroyed by unmet expectations is to make sure the ones you have are realistic.

I married a matter-of-fact introvert that has an aversion to spending money on the frivolous. I’m probably never going to get a diamond encrusted iPhone case accompanied by a sonnet he wrote about how deep his love runs for me. This is ok with me because I know who I’m married to and (more importantly) I love who I’m married to.

Be Clear
If I did expect fancy iPhone cases and sonnets, I need to be really clear about that because my man is never gonna figure that one out on his own. If your spouse doesn’t know what you want he can’t give it to you.

Also, if you’re not being clear with him he’s probably going to assume that he’s doing a damn fine job and will be bewildered when you come to him saying that marriage is not what you expected. Mind reading is not romance, Ladies. TELL HIM WHAT YOU NEED.

Pop quiz: Go ask your husband if you’ve ever been mad at him and he thought (even for a split second), “Why is she pissed? Any other lady would be happy with me. I come home, I pay the bills, I don’t hurt her…. WHY CAN’T SHE JUST BE HAPPY?!?!”

Ok, you’re not in the Olympics, but remember where you are at. You are in a marriage. You are building a life with this person. You have someone to play footsies with on cold nights. You have someone to call when you get dreadful news. You have someone to stay home and eat Chinese with when the idea of putting heels on makes you die a little inside. You have someone that pretends to cares about your opinion about Syria. You have a guaranteed hug before you leave the house. You have someone’s heart.

So, yes, things probably aren’t going to be everything you want and more. And you might be in a season of marriage where you’re feeling more like 2014 Shaun White than 2010 Shaun White, but that’s ok. Unlike the Olympics, you have a chance to win every single day, not just every 4 years.

Isn’t it romantic? #thrivinginmarriage

Link Party Thriving Marriage

What does romance look like in your marriage?

For the very first Thriving in Marriage link party we’re talking about romance in marriage. Does it exist? Can marriage feel like dating? Can it exist despite knowing what his dirty underwear looks (and smells) like?

True story: there is no way you’d look at my marriage and ever use the word “romantic”.

Mark’s never sent me flowers at the office, and most of the gifts he’s given me have been accompanied with the sentence “You needed a (insert a necessary item, like a phone charger)! Hey! Why is my pillow on the couch?”

And the lack of (traditional) romance goes both ways. I don’t shave in the winter (hairy legs: the original long underwear), and who seriously has time for lingerie? A wardrobe change at bedtime after hanging out with a toddler all day sounds like a horrible idea.

If romance was limited to gifts and creative nookie then Mark and I would be in tons of trouble. Thankfully, romance is much more creative than Hallmark gives it credit for.

Romance is in the magical moments that I share with Mark.

Our romance is in Mark scouring Netflix for an agenda-filled documentary because he knows I love them.

Our romance is in always greeting Mark with a legit kiss when we get home for the evening. No passive pop kissing in this house, Mister.

Our romance is in Mark pausing in the middle of a conversation just to tell me how pretty I look in that very moment.

Our romance is in  calling my mom to come get the kid so that we can enjoy each other (and a conversation without Caillou in the background).

For us, especially with a tantrum-loving toddler running around, the idea of grand gestures of love is simply exhausting. Instead, we are wooing each other daily with small gestures that will, if everything goes as planned, add up to the most romantic idea of them all:

Happily Ever After.

Make sure to go check out the Thriving Wives and see what romance looks like for them, and I hope you link up below to let us know how Romance is Thriving in YOUR Marriage!