Tag Archives: marriage mantras

How Financially Compatible Are You?

Rock n Roll Bride Wedding | Lisa Devlin

Remember when you were a lovestruck teenager, you’d find the boy you liked and do compatibility tests to figure out if you were destined to run off into the sunset together? I seem to remember one in particular where you wrote down both your full names, assigned a number to each letter, added them together and then the higher your resulting score, the more likely you were to fall in love and have babies.

Obviously such highly scientific tests as these never amounted to anything, but there is something to be said for figuring out how compatible you are with a person before the relationship gets serious.

So when the peeps at Experian emailed me to let me know about their new financial compatibility guide, the money and relationship quiz, I couldn’t resist downing tools and giving it a whirl for myself.

It is still just a bit of fun, but there is a serious message behind the idea too. If you’re not on the same page with your future spouse on big issues such as money, children, or lifestyle choices, it is very likely the relationship will not last. Gareth and I actually did a pre-marriage course to make sure we spoke about and worked through any of our differences before we made such a big commitment. It felt a bit strange at first because when you’re engaged all you really want to be thinking about is dresses, flowers and cake, but it was definitely the best thing we’ve ever done for our relationship.

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What Does Marriage Mean To You?

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Working in the wedding industry means than when I meet new people, after the usual queries about “what makes a wedding alternative?” and “what’s the weirdest wedding you’ve seen?” are answered, our conversations often turn into a discussion about marriage.

I feel like I’ve had these conversations with a very broad spectrum of people, all with very differing thoughts on what makes a healthy marriage. I’ve met people who have sexually open relationships and others that didn’t go to bed together before they said I do. I’ve chatted with those who cohabited within days of meeting and others that are married but still chose to live separately.

Over the years, these conversations have quickly made me realise that while I might be all for the most unconventional of weddings, I really do have quite a traditional view of marriage. Sure, our roles might be slightly unusual as I’m the main breadwinner whereas Gareth takes on more of the household chores, but in terms of what it actually means to us to be husband and wife, we’re pretty damn vanilla.

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50 Husband and Wife Date Night Ideas


Just because you’re married, doesn’t mean date night should go out the window. I actually think it’s more important to make sure to keep it up once you’re hitched. It’s all too easy for life to get in the way and to forget just how wonderful spending time together is.

Here are 50 fun and affordable date night ideas for all you lovebirds out there.

1. The supermarket challenge (aka set a spend limit, separate and go and buy each other fun gifts!)

2. Cook dinner for each other

3. Wine tasting

4. Go for a romantic picnic

5. Stargaze

6. Make something together

7. Go for brunch

8. Go to a museum or gallery

9. Hop on the train and see where it takes you

10. Model village!

11. Set up a scavenger hunt

12. At home movie night

13. Take a class together

14. Paint your bedroom

15. Go thrift shopping

16. Jumble sale!

17. Watch the sunrise or sunset

18. Go to the beach

19. Walk the dog together (if you don’t have one, just walk!)

20. Play video games together

21. Get up early and go to a car boot

22. Go bowling

23. Ice skating!

24. Play tourist in your own city


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Six Things I’ve Learnt in Six Years of Marriage


Tomorrow is Gareth and my six year wedding anniversary. Instead of writing yet another “Oh I love him so much, he is my rock, without him I am nothing…” blog post (It’s true by the way but… well… you know… snoooooze) I thought I’d share six of the most important lessons I’ve learnt in these six short years.

1. Marriage does change things

For the better of course! When we were first married, nothing felt different. We lived together beforehand and, if I’m honest, I struggled to see what the big fuss was about. But after being married for a few years I did start to notice some changes… in both of us.

The safety and security you feel when you’re married is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Knowing that this person has chosen to be with you, and only you, for the rest of their life is quite a powerful feeling. The bond you have post-marriage is, for us anyway, so much stronger. The trivialities of the everyday don’t really matter as much, and any arguments don’t have the same devastating effect. We’re both ultimately in agreement and it’s us against the world – forever.

2. When in doubt, the relationship always comes first

I’ve given this advice to so many of my friends over the past few years and now I impart it to you! Whatever the issue, whatever the drama or trauma or stress, always remember that your relationship comes first. Period.

If you’re stressing about something external (like money, your job or a family drama), make sure you’re on the same team and you tackle it together. The worst thing you can do is shut them out, or worse still, blame them for it. Even if you don’t vocalise that blame, it can be all to easy to think things like “well if she did this differently…” or “if only he wouldn’t stand in my way…”

IT CAN BE SO HARD not to do this, but as long as you know that they are your priority, no matter what, then you won’t go far wrong.

This might sound frightfully un-feminist, but if Gareth had a problem with how much travel I was doing with The Blogcademy, for example, then I wouldn’t be doing it. He comes first. I love my job, but I love my husband more.

3. Your house is both of your homes

We have a rule in our house that neither of us (ahem, it’s really aimed at me) is allowed to buy anything ‘for the house’ without the other person’s consent. As someone who loves an impulse buy, this was difficult for me to come to terms with!

But this isn’t just my house – it’s his home too. Although our tastes might be quite different, it’s important that we agree on the things that decorate and furnish the space we both live in.

As much as I might dream of painting our front door pink and covering our dining table in glitter perspex (!!) that just isn’t going to fly with him. While his excessive wiring (it really is everywhere!) might drive me crazy, he did put up bright pink wallpaper up in our kitchen for me, so I can’t really complain!

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Marriage Mantras: 50 Pieces of Advice for a Happy Marriage

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As this Marriage Mantras series comes to a close, I thought I’d conclude with 50 bite-sized pieces of advice that you can implement today, tomorrow and forever.

1. Say “I love you” multiple times a day.
2. Spend as much time together as you can…
3. … but don’t be afraid of time apart.
4. Buy small gifts for each other. A bunch of flowers or a Mars Bar can go a long way.
5. Take baths together.
6. Eat dinner together.
7. Volunteer to do the crappy jobs.
8. Sex is important but snuggling afterwards is imperative.
9. Touch often (research consistently shows that touching more creates a stronger bond by releasing oxytocin).
10. Learn how to argue productively and without hurting each other.

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11. Write love letters.
12. Say thank you.
13. Realise that romance isn’t all flowers and chocolates. Bring a take-away home now and again… take-aways can be totally romantic.
14. Accept each other 100%.
15. Realise when it’s better to just let things go.
16. You can never kiss too often.
17. Sometimes going to bed angry is better than arguing when you’re tired.
18. Be kind, gentle and patient with each other.
19. Have a regular date night.
20. Put down your mobile phone.

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Marriage Mantras: Time Apart

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I’ve been away from Gareth for three weeks today – the longest time we’ve had apart since I was at University. I’m not going to lie, it’s been really, really difficult. As a couple that spend 99% of our time together when we’re in the same country (!) I’ve missed him terribly. Although I’ve been busy working and having an awesome time with my girls, every night I’ve been going to bed wishing he was beside me.

9. Time Apart

For many couples, spending a lot of time away from each other is an unavoidable fact of life – it might be that one of you travels a lot or works away, or it could just be that you work very different shift patterns and have limited time together each week. So just how do you do it without the relationship suffering as a consequence?

I think the most important thing is that you still need to make quality time for each other. I’ve written about this before in this series but I feel that it’s even more vital when your schedules clash or you have a lot of other stuff going on.

So how do we personally make it work? Well it sounds simple but keeping that communication going is vital. While we can’t speak on the phone when I’m on the other side of the world, daily emails and scheduling in time for online chats has been really crucial (we used to do this for hours at a time while I was at Uni – on MSN Chat, remember that!?) Otherwise, it can be very easy to get into the habit of not thinking about them because they’re not there with you. Daily communication where we share what we’ve been up to, as we would if we were together in person, has made being physically apart a whole lot easier.

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