How Gift Vouchers Can Be The Most Romantic Presents


This is a guest post from Emma Merkas, co-founder of Melt: Massage for Couples.

With Christmas just around the corner, finding just the right gift for your spouse can be fraught. A gift voucher is an easy solution, but they’re impersonal and a lazy way of gift giving, right?


Everyone knows the best presents are thoughtful ones. And guess what? There’s no reason why vouchers can’t be thoughtful! In fact, I would argue that they’re often even more thoughtful than, say, a new sweater in a questionable color or the latest iPad.

The people that hate on gift vouchers have a bunch of arguments. Have you ever heard these?

“It’s like money, but less useful.”

“You’re basically saying you’ve given up on finding an actual present.”

“What kind of present requires work on behalf of the recipient?”

As far as I can tell, the biggest barrier to couples bestowing gift vouchers on each other is that it’s widely considered an impersonal present to give your spouse or lover come Christmas, Valentine’s Day or Birthdays.

Impersonal? Nonsense.

I mean sure, I agree that simply slapping $50 onto a department store card without really thinking it through is positively slothful.

But – done right – gift vouchers can make for some of the most touching and beautiful presents you’ll ever give, or receive.

That comes with a few caveats though. Just hear me out.[Continue Reading…]

Want Your Marriage To Last? Create a Love Map


Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Duana C. Welch of

“Have you seen this?”  Vic, my husband, had found something on the Internet, and he wanted to share it with me.  “Sorry, I can’t stop right now, hon; I’m writing an article on love maps,” I replied, continuing my work.

Oh, the irony.

Great Friendships Build Happy Marriages

If you’re like me, you might be tempted to believe that love makes the marital world go ‘round—that the happiest couples got that way by being the most in-love.  But according to the world’s foremost successful-marriage scientist, Dr. John M. Gottman, it’s friendship.  The thinking and the data go like this: Without friendship, love fades, but with friendship, love grows and grows.

Here’s a bit of what friendship looks like to scientists, and how we can all benefit.

Great Friends Keep Good Love Maps

If you’re partnered, think back to when you were first dating.  Half the fun was getting to know each other, right?  You probably asked one another a lot of questions about what you each enjoyed, liked, thought, believed, and dreamed.  It’s likely you wanted to know all about what your sweetie’s day held in store, and at the end of the day, you wanted to know how it had all gone.  Chances are, you knew their pet peeves, worries at school/work/parenting, and the names of their best and worst friends.

In short, if your mate were a map, you knew that map blindfolded.[Continue Reading…]

The Problem With Date Night


This is a guest post from Emma Merkas of Couples Massage Courses.

We all know we should go on regular dates with our spouse, right?

The same way we know we should eat more Brussels sprouts and floss our teeth every day.

It’s good for us.

More than that, date night is actually enjoyable (for the record, so are Brussels sprouts if you pan fry them with some lemon juice and kosher salt!) but you wouldn’t know it the way some couples manage to avoid it.

The problem with date night is that we humans love the comfort of routine.

Stepping outside our little daily schedules takes a bit of effort. It’s much, much easier to just sit on the couch and watch TV than it is to plan a date night and spend quality time with your spouse.

And hey – I have nothing against sitting on the couch watching TV. My husband and I spent last night doing just that. But doing it every night is hardly the stuff of an impassioned marriage.[Continue Reading…]

5 Ways a Simple Massage Can Transform Your Relationship


This is a post from Denis Merkas of Melt, Massage for Couples

It doesn’t sound like much: a simple back rub for your partner. But actually, massage between couples can have profound and long-lasting effects on your relationship and the quality of your connection with each other.

The promise of deeper intimacy, stronger trust and even a resurgence of lovey-dovey brain chemistry are just a few compelling reasons for you to get your hands all over your sweetie, stat!

Massage is the gift that keeps on giving – I don’t know anyone who gets tired of too many massages. Our aching muscles can always do with a little TLC and who better than to pamper you with healing touch than your spouse?

Here are five incredible ways massage can work to transform your relationship:[Continue Reading…]

How To Make Your Spouse Really Listen


This is a post from Elizabeth Davis of

There are time that are hard in marriage.

You both have your own lives, your own problems, and your own issues. That’s normal.

What isn’t normal is when your partner switches off to your needs and emotions.

Has your partner has ever done one of these things?

  • Switches off when you start speaking and doesn’t pay attention
  • Shuts down as soon as an argument starts, like they don’t even care
  • If you have an issue or problem, they don’t seem to want to help or even understand what’s going on in your life

If so, your partner isn’t giving you the attention you may be looking for.

A relationship is about giving and receiving. If one person in the relationship isn’t giving their fair share, problems will quickly start to arise. And these problems need solving before they develop into resentments or relationship-breaking issues.[Continue Reading…]

3 Ways to Simplify Money When She Makes More


This is a guest post from Farnoosh Torabi.

If you earn more than your husband, you’re more likely to be the primary decision-maker on money matters and take charge of things like paying bills, budgeting, saving, and planning for retirement. That’s all according to my academic survey of over 1,000 women conducted with Dr. Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist.

While that is something to be proud of, such an arrangement could be asking for trouble. After all, a sense of equity between two committed people is important, even if there’s an income disparity.

I can relate to this in my own relationship. When my husband Tim and I first got engaged and began planning our wedding, I was definitely the one who took the reins. Admittedly, I wasn’t the best at delegating but, at the same time, he felt a tad awkward offering suggestions and providing input.[Continue Reading…]