Happy New Year! Welcome to our premiere edition of our Marriage 411 newsletter! We are excited to offer you this newsletter designed to help newlyweds with useful resources and advice and encourage you to keep dancing and romancing! We wish you a happily ever after! Sincerely, Mrs. Deborah Joy and Mr. Brian Block, Founders of The Wedding Dance Specialists
Dollars and Sense : Financial Tips for Newlyweds
As newlyweds, you have a long road ahead of you and many great things to look forward to in life. Make sure you take time out to communicate about your finances. Financial issues are the most common cause of problems in a marriage and are also the number one cause for divorce. Here are some suggestions to help you keep a handle on your finances:
- If you haven’t done this already, come clean about your debt. Many couples go into marriage knowing their partner has some form of debt, but knowing exactly how much debt and where it has come from is very important. Share information about credit-card balances, personal or car loans outstanding, and even owed income taxes. Remember when it comes time to make a large joint purchase like a house or car, the bank will run your credit and you don’t want any surprises. It is essential to get copies of your credit reports--you may be surprised at what you see. Most importantly don’t create new debt by using credit cards; spend only what you can payoff at the end of each month.
- Create a Budget. For a couple of months try to keep of record of each penny you spend. This may take a bit of effort, but that $25 you spend on coffee each week can add up to $1200 in a year. Once you have an idea of your expenses create a budget and try stick to it, you may not get it right the first time around, but it’s yours so modify it accordingly. Budgets can help a couple to modify their spending and saving habits in a positive way.
- Develop good saving habits. It’s not how much you save, but more that you practice the habit of saving. Discuss your long term goals like retirement, education and children. You can also consider short term goals like a much needed vacation. Check out your 401k plans through work, and also Roth IRAs which offer a benefit of tax deferred earnings. If you own a family business or are self-employed, consider investing in a SEP which allows you to invest a lot more per year than a Roth. You might also consider hiring an accountant who can help save you money in the long run.
A good financial planner can help you sit down together and get your communication started, check to see if your job will provide one for you or ask friends and family for referrals in your area.
You Deserve a Vacation! Consider Curacao!
Curaçao is a perfect place for diving, but you will find, the island has so much more to offer. There
are dozens of undiscovered adventures to be enjoyed. Ranging from water sports to visiting 17th
century architecture sites, from enjoying tennis to enjoying world-class cuisine, from playing golf in the
sunny climate to visiting high-standard casinos. So if you are looking for more than just a dive vacation,
Curaçao has something out-of-the-ordinary for everybody.
Marriage Maintenance: Healthy Communication Suggestions
When you were dating you had endless time to communicate with each other on a daily basis and you felt as though your partner had really taken the time to listen to what you were saying. But now that you are married it seems like kids, jobs, homes, financial pressures, family commitments, and social engagements begin to fill your days and lives, and to be honest, you just don’t feel listened to anymore. So, while you are living this busy lifestyle, how can you get things back to how they used to be? Just remember: If I’m hearing, it’s what I get out of it. If I’m listening, it’s what you get out of it.
- When a question is asked, make sure you repeat the question and get feedback from your spouse. This will eliminate unnecessary disagreements. For example, if you are asked to take out the garbage, say some thing like, “I will be happy to take out the garbage, but do you need me to do it now or can I do it when I have a minute?” This way your spouse knows you have heard exactly what he/she has asked, and you are giving him/her a chance to respond.
- Try not to listen with your “motor running”. Meaning, that while your partner is talking, you are already formulating what you are going to say in retaliation. If you are doing this you are not listening. Listening involves experiencing what the other person is going through. This is something that may take some practice, but try to stay focused on what your spouse is saying instead of thinking about your own experiences, be interested in exactly what they are saying.
- Do not be a passive listener. Try not to multi task while your spouse is speaking, stop doing the dishes or using the computer and make eye contact with him/her. If you are not positively involved in the discussion, you may be hearing what your partner is saying, but you are not really listening.
- Prepare yourself to be a listener. You cannot just turn listening on and off; you have to look forward to communicating with the person and take an active interest in what is going on inside of him/her.
- Listening is more than paying attention; it is being attentive to a person. Show your spouse you are attentive by offering a touch while they are speaking. Touch shows that you are really present in the conversation.
Unfortunately listening doesn’t happen by accident. It is something you have to work on especially during busy times in a marriage. Working on listening can help couples to stay close and understand each others feelings. Remember it doesn’t come naturally so make a point to concentrate on this skill and help remind each other (gently) that there is always room for improvement.
Filling the Nest: Are you ready for Parenthood?
Many couples know that they want children, but finding the right time in ones life to actually start a family is the difficult part. The responsibility of parenthood should be discussed openly with your spouse. Share your honest opinions about parenting including financial considerations, impacts on your careers and the freedoms you may have to give up or modify after the baby is born. Discuss your hopes and fears about being a parent. Raising a child is not all hugs and laughter; sometimes there are disappointments and difficult issues that arise. Talk about the change parenting may have on your relationship. Remember you are adding another human being into your life and he or she is going to take attention away from your marriage, especially in the first few months. Throughout the years, communication will continue to play a key part in parenthood so it’s best to start being frank about your feelings before you get pregnant.
Go to www.babycenter.com for information on your entire pregnancy. This site offers information on pre-conception through the first few years of your child’s life. Sign up with the site and they will send you weekly update. Baby Center contains lots of resources along with ways to find support in your community.
Find your area store by visiting www.babiesrus.com and call the store to find out about FREE special events for parents and children. such as; lactation classes, baby sign language, baby shower showcases.
Keep the Honeymoon Alive : The Gift of Massage
The skin is the largest sensory organ on the body and by giving a massage you can share an intensely sensual moment with your partner. Massage has been said to be a “dance of love with your fingertips”.
Begin by setting the perfect scene:
- Set up on a sturdy table top or on the floor. Make sure that each area is comfortably padded for your recipient’s enjoyment.
- Ensure that the room is quiet by turning off all phones and electronic devices.
- Make sure you have access to both the left and right sides of your partner.
- Keep the temperature in the room warm; if your partner gets cold easily keep a blanket or towel to cover the body parts you are not going to be working on.
- Create at “temple of love” by setting up candles, incense and flowers ahead of time.
- Make sure your hands are clean and warm
Have all materials set up and /or within reach:
- Your partner’s favorite oil or lotion.
- Extra towels in case of a spill or to use as a cover
- Relaxing classical, jazzy or mood music
- Any props you would like to add to make the massage more sensual like feathers, a silk scarf, flowers, or heated stones
- Make sure your partner is comfortable and doesn’t need anything.
- Before asking your partner to lay down give a simple head or shoulder massage. This will get you into conversation with each other and allow your partner to get used to your touch.
- Ask your partner lie down on his/her stomach. Straddle your partner's body and stroke them lightly from the neck down. Your strokes should begin at the spine and roll off the sides of your partner’s body.
- Make sure your movements blend together; your strokes should be fluid and never jerky.
- Often change the massage rhythm and tempo, you want to relax your partner, not put them to sleep.
- If you are unsure about how much pressure to use, lighter is usually better.
- Check that your recipient is enjoying what you are doing, you can usually tell, but if you are not sure ask.
- Finally, be confident in each stroke you give and enjoy yourself!
On the Town: Live Theatre - "Tuesdays with Morrie"
By: Mitch Albom and Jeffery Hatcher
When: January 24 – 29
Where: The Warner Theatre, 513 13th St., NW
Contact: 202-783-4000 0r www.warnertheatre.com
Overview: Tuesdays With Morrie is the autobiographical story of Detroit sports writer Mitch Albom and his former sociology professor Morrie Schwartz. Sixteen years after graduating college, Mitch finds himself a career-obsessed journalist with something lacking in his life. By chance, he catches his ex-professor Morrie on the evening news. His beloved mentor is suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease. Faced with his own broken promises to keep in touch, and wanting the peace he once found in Morrie's guidance, he rushes to see Morrie the next Tuesday to say good-bye. Once he is there, Morrie's lessons in sociology are now replaced with lessons on the meaning of life and love.
Dinner and Dancing Date Night
Show off your dance steps every third Thursday at Timpano’s Italian Chophouse. The Radio King Orchestra performs from 9:30 pm - 12:00 am with plenty of opportunity to swing dance. Admission is free and the restaurant is great for having dinner before dancing starts.
Timpano's Italian Chophouse
12021 Rockville Pike
Phone: 301 881-6939
Vendor Special Offers
We pre-screen vendors and negotiate on your behalf to save you time, money and energy so you can focus on enjoying newlywed bliss!
Brian Block - RE/MAX Allegiance
Now that you are about to merge your life with your fiance, you may be looking to sell or purchase real estate. Click the banner below to leisurely view Northern Virginia Area homes from the comfort of your home. Brian Block is a Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Attorney plus a newlywed, Co-Founder of The Wedding Dance Specialists and Assistant Instructor for Wedding Dance Practice Sessions.Click on the banner to go to www.BrianBlock.com Present this coupon to recieve:
1. A FREE Homebuyer's Seminar with expert advice from a real estate professional and a mortgage lender. (value priceless) Scheduled for Saturday, February 25, 10:30am -noon, Holiday Inn Ballston, 4610 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA (2 blocks from Ballston Metro stop)
1. a FREE HOME APPRAISAL (value $350)
2. 2 FREE private ballroom dance lessons when you use his services for purchasing your home. (value $170)
Whatcha Cooking Good Looking?
Recipe for Strawberry Crepes
Crepes are tissue-thin pancakes that can be used to make any number of delicious desserts. In this recipe, you will fill crepes with ice cream and smother with Strawberry Sauce and whipped cream.
I pint strawberries, washed
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 cups vanilla ice cream
4 cups whipped cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons milk
1 large egg
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pinch salt
as needed vegetable spray or oil
Combine flour, milk, egg, oil, and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend into a smooth batter, stopping motor a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Cover and refrigerate batter for 1 hour. Blend batter well before making crepes.
Over moderate heat, lightly oil a preheated, 6-inch, nonstick sauté pan. Add enough batter to make a thin coat; tilt pan so batter forms a thin, even covering over bottom of sauté pan. Cook each crepe until it sets, about 45 seconds, flip over and cook other side for 30 seconds.
Place cooked crepe on waxed paper or clean, dry surface. Do not stack crepes while hot. Cooled crepes may be stacked, wrapped in aluminums foil, and refrigerated for a few days or frozen for a few months. If frozen, thaw in refrigerator for 6 hours before use.
Pick stems off strawberries and slice; place in mixing bowl with sugar and water. Lay crepes out flat and place a scoop of ice cream in middle. Roll up crepes and place on plates. Smother with strawberries and sauce. Garnish with whipped cream and serve immediately
Dance and Romance Date Night Ideas
Event: Swan Lake
Dates: January 17 - 22
Location: The Kennedy Center Opera House - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street, NW , Washington, DC 20566
Details: The National Ballet of Canada under the direction of Karin Kain will perform Swan Lake at the Kennedy Center Opera House.
Cost: Tickets range from $29 - $84
Reviews: "The entire company soars…pure gold"--The Toronto Sun
“Visually spectacular”--Toronto’s National Post
Enjoy a romantic dinner before the show at the Roof Terrace Restaurant located above the Hall of Nations on the Roof Terrace level of the Kennedy Center. The restaurant offers modern American cuisine and a spectacular skyline view of the Potomac River through two story windows. Reservations are highly recommended for dinner at 202-416-8555
Date Night At Home:
Event: Dance TV Series: Dancing With The Stars
Airs: Every Thursday at 8pm starting Jan. 5 on ABC
Details: http://abc.go.com/primetime/dancing/ Demonstrations of Waltz, Foxtrot and Cha Cha Cha.
Starring: Tia Carrere – Television and movie star partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy.Giselle Fernandez – Emmy Award-winning journalist partnered with Jonathan Roberts, from last season.George Hamilton – Actor and international bon vivant, partnered with Edyta Sliwinska, second appearance.Stacy Keibler – World Wrestling entertainment diva partnered with Tony Dovolani, Drew Lachey – Recording artist and former 98 Degrees partnered with Cheryl Burke.Kenny Mayne – One of ESPN's most-recognized personalities, partnered with Andrea Hale.
Valentine's Day Surprise !
Valentine's Day is only a few weeks away! Why not surpise your honey with dance lessons for Valentine's Day! Now that the hectic wedding planning is behind you, relax and enjoy some quality time with your new spouse. Gift certificates are available for any of our dance lessons. Giving the gift of dance is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Since social dancing enriches lives and relationships it is a thoughtful and elegant gift to give and what more romantic day to give it then on Valentine’s Day? Payment by check or credit card is accepted. We can email or snail maill the gift certificate to you or whomever you designate as the recipient. Click here for details: http://www.theweddingdancespecialists.com/packages-other.php#Gift
Everyday Etiquette: Cell Phone Savvy
Cell phones are a fun and a convenient way to communicate when on the go. Follow these 10 guidelines to help ensure proper cell phone etiquette in any area.
- Don’t use one of those funky cell phone rings that is loud and annoying, it is not only unprofessional but destroys concentration.
- While at work, try to limit incoming calls, remind family members that cell phone calls during work are for urgent calls only.
- Never talk in elevators, libraries, museums, restaurants, cemeteries, theaters, dentist or doctor waiting rooms, places of worship, auditoriums or other enclosed public spaces, such as hospital emergency rooms or buses. And don’t have any emotional conversations in public.
- Explain to callers you are talking to them on a cell phone, so they can anticipate distractions or disconnections.
- Don't make a call during a date. It's rude and offensive - unless of course you want to send you date a signal that you are not interested.
- Always avoid extensive phone calls and keep conversations quiet, keep your voice low and at a relaxed normal level.
- Maintain at least a 10-foot zone from anyone while talking.
- Don’t multi task by taking or making calls while shopping, banking, and waiting in line or conducting other personal business.
- Respect public cell phone rules and when asked by an establishment or airline to refrain from using a cell phone, do so.
- Unless you have hands free phone, driving while talking on a cell phone can be dangerous. In some places it is against the law and you may get a ticket or a fine.
A happy marriage has in it all the pleasures of friendship, all the enjoyments of sense and reason and indeed, all the sweets of life. - Author Unknown