Tag Archives: Healthy

When to Know if Conflict Is Toxic

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By Doug Noll

Unless you are living in an isolated cave, social conflict is inevitable. Our needs, interests, and desires collide with each other, getting in the way of our happiness. Conflict is not inherently bad, however. We need conflict to teach us, entertain us, and help us grow. We can probably do without Jerry Springer’s craziness, but a certain amount of conflict is healthy. On the other hand, we have also experience unhealthy conflict. When the conflict becomes chronic and repetitive, it is toxic.

Worse, emerging research shows that toxic conflict kills just as surely as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Recent studies reveal that frequent arguments with partners, relatives, friends or neighbors are associated with a doubling to tripling in the risk of death from any cause. We are social beings and toxic conflict apparently creates stressors that shorten our lives.

Knowing the difference between healthy, good conflict and unhealthy, toxic conflict is important information.

Here are some signs that indicate toxic conflict: Continue reading

Recipe: Kale and Quinoa Salad For Refreshing Lunch or Dinner

kale and quinoa saladI’ve been trying to lose weight since…well, since birth pretty much. I’ve been trying a lot harder now that I live on my own and have a lot more control over what I eat. One of the first things every diet (and I’ve been on most of them so I’m pretty knowledgeable of the field) is that it’s important to be able to cook for yourself. For the past three years I’ve learned to live mostly off of microwavable Lean Cuisines (have you tried their french bread pizza? Delicious!) but a few weeks ago I decided to give real cooking a try.

It turns out I’m kind of good at it! I started with a few recipe’s from Dr. Mark Hyman‘s book “The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook” because sugar is a huge weakness for me. My dad swears that I must be half ant. Anyway, I made my through sweet potato burgers, lemon garlic chicken, and a few great smoothies. Then shortly into the cooking expedition I started experimenting on my own! I made some really awesome yorkshire puddings and chicken olive oil pasta… before realizing I was heading back into my old carb heavy (and carbs are just bread sugars) habits. So I took some inspiration from Dr. Hyman and from my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles – Franklin & Co. and perfected a kale and quinoa salad that I wanted to share with all of you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium boneless chicken breast / pre-cut chicken strips (can leave out for vegetarian/vegan options)
  • kale (I prefer Trader Joes kale because it’s already washed and cut, but to each their own!)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 avocado
  • dried cranberries
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (Have a bottle ready if you’re going with chicken)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Preparations:

Chicken – If you’re going for the carnivore version of this salad, defrost a medium or small size chicken breast or frozen chicken strips. (I found some really great pre-cut chicken pieces, boneless and not mechanically processed at my nearby Super Target, go figure).  Fill a medium sauce pan with just enough olive oil to cover the bottom the pan and cook chicken on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to flip over about half-way through. Chicken is properly cooked when the pinkness from the center has disappeared. Add seasoning as you wish – I like a small dash of garlic herb or lemon and pepper – but add a pinch of whatever you like. If you used a chicken breast, cut into desired pieces to add into the salad.

Quinoa – The first time I tried this I used a full cup of quinoa and had some left over for weeks, so I’ve learned to cut down (1 cup of uncooked quinoa = 3 cups cooked, jeez). Add 1/2 cup of quinoa with 1 cup of water in a small pot and cook on medium to low heat until the water is absorbed into the quinoa (Usually about 10-12 minutes, but may vary depending on your oven).

Kale – To prepare the kale, wash the leaves and cut away any extra long and thick stems. Add 1bsp olive oil, 1tbsp lemon juice and 1/4 tsp of sea salt to the leaves. Then using your hands massage the mixture into the kale (just like you’re rubbing someone’s shoulders). You’ll see the kale curl into a rich dark green and you’ll know it’s ready.

Salad – Add the dried cranberries, tomatoes, chicken, quinoa and avocado to the salad and mix. The lemon juice and olive oil you used to massage the kale mix well enough that you won’t need any additional dressing (calorie save, what!).

This has been my staple lunch for a few weeks now because once I got the hang of cooking the chicken it only takes a few minutes to make! Feel free to change up the cranberries for something different if you aren’t a fan (I’ve tried it with strawberries or olives instead, but cranberries are still my favorite). Even with chicken the salad comes in under 300 calories if you are conservative with the olive oil. I’ve heard many of my friends complain about kale’s bitter taste which makes them reluctant to eat it. When you massage it with this scrub it makes it so delicious though. It’s such a refreshing dish.

This post has been part of my intent to cook more and get more confident in the kitchen. Please support my intent or help out by sharing your favorite recipes with me! 

From Intent.com: 30 Days of Okay

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I was 24 when I had my first panic attack. I seriously had no idea what was happening. I was driving a car and I was fresh from a situation where I felt like there was no escape. Before I knew it, I was pulled over on the side of the road, crying and trying to catch my breath.

Your body will let you do a lot of the steering of your life, but it is during an anxiety attack that you feel a little bit like a PC being taken down into Safe Mode. At a certain point, everything shuts down until you can get your head back on straight and that is a scary thought. To think that as an adult, my body might still have to say “she’s not ready to handle mess when it comes our way” is more scary to me than the actual panic attack.

It’s been a long time of learning about panic attacks- what causes them, what ends them, what is actually happening in the middle of them. I wish I could say I haven’t had one in years, but that’d be incorrect. So the other day on Intent.com, I posted my new intent to practice “30 Days of Okay”.

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For 30 days, when I feel myself start to freak out, I’m going to focus on this intent.
I am, in fact, okay.
And while things might not be ideal at the moment, in the grand scheme of things, I am going to live.

I have good friends and family.
I have a job I love.
I have opportunities that I don’t even close to deserve.
And tomorrow is always a new day.
I’m going to be okay.

I’ve been super inspired by some of the other 30 day intents on Intent.com.
Like,

So what about you?
In 30 days, who would you want to be?

How Awareness and Positivity Will Lead You to Lasting Wellness

photo remix: Yoga woman on exercise ball - flickr_enthusiast_rocks_Nilmarie_Yoga-001Whenever you start a new diet or weight loss program there is one important question to ask yourself: why? Don’t stop yourself at the simple answer “Oh, I want to lose a few pounds to fit in those new jeans” or “I don’t want to feel self-conscious in a bathing suit.” Dig deeper. Many people begin the journey to permanent weight loss and overall wellness because they feel that being healthier will make them happier. While being healthier does give you more energy and confidence, you can’t expect it to cure all of your unhappiness. In fact, in Deepak Chopra’s new book “What Are You Hungry For?” he argues that tending to your personal and emotional wellbeing as you begin your weight loss program is absolutely key to making the changes stick.

While no one can claim to be happy constantly, Deepak advocates that being in tune and aware of your body and emotional state allows you to better fill its needs. “It’s an infallible kind of radar,” Deepak says, “Awareness allows you to sort out what you’re doing, how you feel, what you fear, hope and wish for – indeed everything in your life.”

You are living an unaware life when you unconsciously follow habits and rote behavior without question. Do you often let others take charge of your life or feel emotionally trapped by those around you? Isolating yourself and cutting off your connections to close friends and family can be another sign that you are out of tune with your body and need to increase your awareness to make permanent change.

You can help gain awareness by including a yoga practice or meditation in your diet and exercise plan. “Peaceful practices such as yoga or meditation to help build a refreshed sense of self,” explains Sports Club/LA nutritionist Karen Sherwood. “This is the glue that seals in the new lifestyle as the body begins to change physically, resulting in a new stream of motivation.

Being aware and working to keep a positive attitude will inevitably help keep you motivated as you progress towards your goal, and push you over hurdles or plateaus you reach along the way.

“Making any change is very emotional, so if you are starting this change from a negative, pessimistic place or allow yourself to go to that negative place, you won’t succeed.” Ginger Mallory of Sports Club/LA says. “However, if you vow to remain positive no matter what challenges may come with making this change, you will succeed! Your state of mind going into this will absolutely make or break you.”

But how do you find that awareness and keep that positive attitude? If you feel yourself slipping try these tips from Deepak.

  • Remember that you are both loved and loveable
  • Appreciate where you are – Even if you are just starting out, recognize the power in making the decision to make a change versus where you were before you took the first step.
  • Feel good about who you are – You are more than your shape or waist size. Remember that you are a worthy person and this process is only to make you healthier, not to change you in any way because you’re amazing the way you are.
  • Maintain loving and supportive relationships – Support will be key in this process. Stay close to those who inspire you, push you to be better and support you on the days when you can’t get to that place of positivity by yourself. Let them help hold you up.
  • Experience a deeper connection with a higher form of love – It doesn’t mean you have to prescribe to any specific religion, but connecting with a force or faith bigger than yourself can help you channel frustrations and negative feelings that arise out of your system. It can help buoy you during this transition and be another force to propel you forward.

This blog is part of our “What Are You Hungry For?” series with Sports Club/LA and to celebrate the release of Deepak Chopra’s latest book. Find out how you can win a copy of your own here and tell us what you are hungry for in the comments below. If you don’t want to wait for the give away you can purchase a copy of Deepak’s book today. 

photo by: adria.richards

Master Purity Energy and Balance to Achieve Total Wellness

balanceTo lose weight you need two major components – weight loss and nutrition, but how do you create a program that lasts? In Deepak Chopra’s latest book “What Are You Hungry For?” he explains that to really make that life change you have to use weight loss and nutrition with the three tenants of purity, energy and balance.

How does that work? In part one of the book Deepak lays out the three tenants and the tips you need to bring them into your life to maintain your new healthy lifestyle.

Purity

“Eliminating toxins awakens in the body’s capacity for renewal and returning to a natural balance. Toxins need to be eliminated from the body, mind, and soul,” Deepak says. While there are several toxins that can invade your life, let’s start with food. Here are a few tips to purify your diet.

  • Throw out old, stale food.
  • Minimized processed foods
  • Keep fruits and vegetables as fresh as possible when storing
  • Prefer whole grains and natural sweeteners
  • Eliminate hydrogenated and trans fats
  • Buy organic produce (if affordable)
  • Favor deeply green vegetables like spinach and kale, and the rest of the of cabbage family

Juice cleanses have become an all-too popular trend when trying to purify your body of toxins. While cleanses can help you purify your system, you have to be careful not to overdo it or deplete your body of necessary nutrients.

“Short-term cleanses and fasts do not help us have a healthy, detoxified life. Those extreme shifts from very unhealthy to very healthy (for a very short time) only teach us to be extreme. I believe in a longer-term cleanse of at least 6-8 weeks, which is enough time to truly cleanse and discover what your body feels like in a pure state,” says Sports Club/LA nutritionist Ginger Mallory.  “After really learning about your body during this time, you can gradually reintroduce some items back into your diet, observe how those items make you feel, and then make an informed decision about whether you’d like to keep these items in your diet or in what proportions.”

You should know that purifying the body takes time, and that it can’t all be done at once. If you approach your life change as a beginning process then it is much more likely to become a permanent state of mind.

As fellow nutritionist Karen Sherwood says, “Taking baby steps and ‘leaning’ into a new way of being is key. This enables us to pave a new foundation and build from there. It must begin with nutrition, and include an active life-style with focus on self-care, rest, and stress management. When all of these wheels are working in harmony, the body and its relationship to food and the outside world begins to make sustainable change.”

Energy

Once you have purified your body and life of toxins then you can begin to change why you eat food. Food is the beginning nourishing source for our bodies and if we eat correctly then it energizes the body without making us feel stuffed or lethargic. Deepak prescribes the following tips for crafting a diet that boosts your overall energy.

  • Eat less when you are inactive
  • Eat only until you are nicely satisfied and no more
  • Choose lighter and more easily digested food
  • Avoid animal based fats and refined sugar
  • Make your food colorful and pleasing to the eye
  • Satisfy as many of the senses as possible including taste, smell and texture.

Eating specifics type of food can also increase your energy. “I like a combination of a complex carbohydrate, a lean protein, and a bit of healthy fat at every meal. This assures an even balance of blood sugar, when eating every 3-4 hours or so,” advises Karen Sherwood, “In addition to keeping this balance of macronutrients, consuming what I like to call, “power foods” helps support every system of the body. Specific foods I love for energy include chia seeds, maca powder, whey protein, spirulina, and coconut products. I have all of my active clients and athletes consume these super foods on a daily basis in the form of a smoothie.”

Balance

It is great to research and take on all the new tips, but the most important key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is balance. When you take all of your new habits and form them into a routine that fits your life and schedule you can make your body in the way that works best for your needs. To create balance Deepak offers the following pointers.

  • Eat when you are in a satisfied state
  • Consume a variety of fresh foods
  • Make sure you are taking care of the basics like drinking enough water and getting enough sleep
  • Eat at regular hours with balanced intervals in-between
  • Vary your calorie intake to balance your activity level

Balance is the key factor why fad diets have such varying results for different people – it is the same exact instructions for everyone, no matter what their current lifestyle or schedule is. By using these tips you can use all the wellness tips and research you do to best apply them to your life, and when you have a balanced plan that is custom built for what you want your body to do you are more likely to succeed, not just in losing weight but in achieving total wellness.

***

This blog is part of our “What Are You Hungry For?” series with Sports Club LA and to celebrate the release of Deepak Chopra’s latest book. Find out how you can win a copy of your own here and tell us what you are hungry for in the comments below. If you don’t want to wait for the give away you can purchase a copy of Deepak’s book today. 

Why You Should Stop Making Excuses & Cook at Home

IMG_4493As a fitness expert, I know everyone wants to look like a supermodel and eat like Miss Piggy. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work unless you are one of those rare individuals with exceptional genetics and metabolism. Eating out all the time is too tempting and thus we blow our diets. So I recommend that most people cook at home. In most cases I encounter initial resistance, and a lot of “genuine” excuses. From my experience, the best training results from being careful about what you consume and eating a healthy, balanced, protein-rich diet with fiber, healthy carbs, and healthy oils. Unless you have a personal chef, you will need to shop wisely for healthy, affordable food and cook at least some of the time.

Let me share with you some objections to healthy food preparation that I have heard from my clients, along with my own commentary and insights:

“It’s too expensive for me”
True, it costs more to buy healthy food, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it to add a few more dollars to the grocery bill in order to boost your intake of essential vitamins and minerals for the benefit of your skin, hair, body and immune system. There’s no doubt organic food is more expensive than conventionally grown food, but it’s so worth it. It’s your body and you only get one. Even if you buy organic, cooking at home ends up being cheaper when you factor in the cost of health care. Food is prevention; food is a cure to whatever ails us. So many diseases are stopped dead in their tracks by your immune system when you get the nutrition your body needs. We are all exposed to the same environmental stressors (viruses, pollutants and so forth), but not everyone gets sick or to the same degree. Viruses are more likely to thrive in an unhealthy body that is full of pollutants such as chemical additives, preservatives and saturated fats and lacking in vitamins and minerals. Your immune system needs proper fuel to function. Invest in yourself and your health by cooking at home, and spare yourself the days off work, the medication, and the medical bills.

“I don’t have time”
Maintaining health takes time: time to train, to shop, to cook, to research, to plan, to attend workshops, to watch educational or inspirational videos. He who doesn’t invest time in his health will eventually spend that valuable time treating and recuperating from disease. Those who want something badly enough will find the time to accomplish it. If you are a busy person, simply cook for the whole week in advance on the weekend — partition the food into meal-sized portions in Tupperware containers and freeze half of it. Before you leave the house, just grab a container of prepared food and you have a healthy meal ready to eat. If mornings are chaotic and rushed, prepare your breakfast the day before. For example, prepare your shake/smoothie the night before by loading the blender with the various fruits and vegetables and put it in the refrigerator; then in the morning simply take it out, and the ice, liquids (almond milk etc.), powders (protein powder, green powder, etc.) and hit the Smoothie button. Or prepare steel-cut organic oatmeal the night before and reheat it in the morning for a quick and healthy breakfast.

“I have no idea how to cook”
Everyone has family (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins) or friends who know how to cook. Spend some quality time with them in the kitchen and — who knows — you might even enjoy it! Also, we live in the Internet age, with so many recipes, tips, and instructional videos available at our fingertips. With this wealth of information there’s no way you won’t understand how to cook. Be willing to experiment, to make mistakes, and it will turn out fine.

“I’m not a good cook”
This one is a total cop-out. This means you haven’t put enough effort into it. With enough trial and error, you will get to competence. There’s no need to cook gourmet meals to eat well and healthy. Start with something simple, like an omelet, and move on from there. Take it one step at a time, like a child learning to walk. You wouldn’t expect a baby to run long distances at one year old, so don’t set unreasonable expectations of yourself as a cook either. Encourage yourself every step of the way, celebrate your successes, and be patient with yourself. Like anything, the more you do it, the better you’ll be at it. One day you just might surprise yourself by teaching someone else to cook.

You can find me online at www.orionsmethod.com

The Closest We Can Get to Healthy Candy

Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 1.19.47 PMHealthy candy? Is there such thing? Well, not exactly, but some are better than others. These Chocolate Tahini cups have the goodness of tahini going for them, along with the antioxidants founds in good dark chocolate. Yes, there is sugar, and all sugars should be kept in check, but sometimes you have to live a little.

Candy is normally packed with GMO-High Fructose Corn Syrup, preservatives, “natural” flavors and dyes. So, when this time of year rolls around, I prefer to have a healthier alternative. Rather than keep my boys away from any candy at all (which frankly wouldn’t be any fun) I make candy like these chocolate tahini cups and sour gummy bears , or I order from www.naturalcandystore.com and ‘trade’ for the candy they get trick or treating.

Chocolate Tahini Cups

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Place paper mini muffin baking cups in a mini muffin tray.

Melt a 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips on the stove. It only takes a couple of minutes. Stir the chips continuously and don’t let them burn!

Spoon out @3/4 of a teaspoon of melted chocolate into each paper baking cup.

Place tray in the refrigerator. Allow to cool for @5 minutes or until the chocolate is almost hard.

While the chocolate is cooling, mix the tahini, honey and salt together in a small bowl. You can use almond, cashew, peanut or sunflower butter in place of the tahini. I chose tahini because I love it’s nutrient profile plus, I am making these for my younger son’s school which is tree-nut free.

When the chocolate is nearly hard, spoon out @1/4 teaspoon of the tahini mixture into each baking cup.

Melt the remaining 3/4 cup of chocolate chips on the stove.

Spoon the newly melted chocolate on top of the mixture already in the baking cups.

Smooth the surface with the side of a spoon.

Put in the refrigerator to cool for @10 minutes or until chocolate is hard.

After the chocolate is completely hard, tear away the paper baking cups.

These can be kept in the fridge or on the counter.

Originally posted on my website Tapp’s Tips.com

Do you have any favorite chocolate or candy recipes? Share them in the comments below!

How to Make the Versatile Asian Peanut Sauce

aisan-sauce-small-210x150My favorite recipes are those that you can use for multiple purposes. When you’re trying to balance home life with work or taking your kids to a million extra curricular activities – it’s good to have a few recipes that can work for several occasions. One of my favorites is the Asian Peanut Sauce. I adopted it from a website Elena’s Pantry, made a few adjustments and now my family loves it!

It’s really simple and can be used as a pasta sauce, salad dressing or a vegetable dipping sauce.  I personally use it on my grilled chicken satay or in wraps, so really it can go with most everything! The best part is that it lasts for weeks in the refrigerator so you make it once and you have it on tap for a while! Here’s how you make it:

Ingredients

Instructions

I throw all of the ingredients into a high speed blender. Because of this I don’t bother mincing my garlic or my ginger. My lovely Blendtech does it for me. If you don’t have one of these awesome machines, you will need to chop the galic and the ginger finely and then place all of the ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously.

This sauce adds some flavor to just about any dish. Use as you wish.

Store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy! Do you have any recipes that are your multi-purpose go to items? Share them in the comments below! Or let us know if you try the peanut sauce and how it works out! 

Originally posted on my website, TappsTips.com

Sweeten Up Your Fall with Cinnamon Baked Apples and Cashew Cream

baked-apple-2sm-1024x682Cinnamon and apples are two of my favorite fall flavors. There are a lot of savory things that come with the cooler temperatures – pumpkin and squash, stuffing recipes, etc, which are great for the holidays. But I think fall also lends it self to amazing desserts, and why shouldn’t we give in to our sweet tooth every now and again? Together apple and cinnamon create delicious sweet treats that are still healthy.  Using cashew cream also erases some of the guilt you’d get from pairing with regular ice cream. This recipe is a great fall dessert – and it’s vegan. It is definitely enough by itself but you could also pair it with a nice apple pie if you are feeling indulgent.

Cashew Cream 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Soak the cashews for at least 4 hours.

Rinse the cashews until the water runs clear.

Put cashews, water and salt in blender.

Blend until smooth. It will have the consistency of heavy cream.

 

Cinnamon Baked Apples with Cashew Cream

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Wash and core apples

In a bowl combine all ingredients except the cashew cream and the honey.

Mix well.

Stuff the apples with the mixture

Pour @1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish and add the apples.

Cover with tin foil

Bake for @20 minutes or until the apples are soft

Put oven onto Hi Broil, remove tinfoil and broil the apples for @ 3 minutes or until the oats look brown and toasted.

Take the apple out and place in individual bowls.

Drizzle each one with a little bit of the liquid from the bottom of the pan.

Drizzle each one with one tablespoon of cashew cream.

For an added bit of decadence, drizzle with a little bit of raw honey.

Yum.

Originally posted on my website, Tapp’s Tips.com

Two Essential Questions Before Saying “I do”

Wedding ringsBy: Sasha Stone

Recently I caused a minor Facebook frenzy with the following comment:

“It is my observation that marriage for my generation is irrelevant and represents the death of love. I have a few examples in my life that prove otherwise, which is beautiful and wonderful. What about you? What’s your experience?”

I will admit, I did this partially to provoke people. I knew it would strike a chord and married people would get defensive. I was curious to see what that defense would be, because honestly, I would rather my observation be inaccurate. No surprise, most responses had a lot to do with romantic notions of forever, family, and devotion. Those that said their marriage was thriving sited communication, honesty, and respect. This, though, was my favorite response of all:

“Marriage is not just a piece of paper. It is not a piece of paper to prove love. My husband proved that to me well before we got married — which is why we got married in the first place! However, it does open up a lot of options legally – think about health care decisions, financial combinations, term life decisions etc…”

Why my favorite? Because this is real. This has a purpose.

Since my divorce in 2009 I’ve kept a close eye on my views on marriage, observing any changes and fluctuations that might occur and why. In the midst of my divorce, I felt fairly certain I would never get married again. Not because I was bitter and jaded, and not because I didn’t want to have a family, but because marriage had lost its meaning to me.

I got married very young (age 25), and though in love, we hadn’t really spent any time discussing our motives for taking such a huge next step in our relationship. There was the practical consideration of me being able to stay in the U.S., and the idea of wanting to be together forever. Beyond that, we didn’t really look at the deeper currents of why, and consequently nor whether this move was truly in the greatest good for either of our lives.

Whether consciously or not, I think many people get married to hold on to that relationship and that person forever, no matter what, even if there are massive gaps in values, vision, and priorities. As though somehow, having that official certificate guarantees your idealized vision of love and that the person will be yours forever. Clearly, divorce rates indicate otherwise, but people still seem to think, for them it will be different.

What happens all too often though, for my generation at least, is the paper gets signed and the relationship takes a nosedive. I know that is not the case for everyone, but it is strikingly common. I could probably write a 1000 page essay on this topic, there’s so much to it. But I am going to stick my neck out and say the main reason this occurs is because despite our social evolution, we still cling and grasp onto the romance saturated view of marriage that is fed to us through fairytales, both classic and contemporary. Our starving mind (our hearts are usually wiser) latches on to that idea and laps it up voraciously. Then we get married, and our socially evolved self revolts, does not want to accept the illusion of this arrangement, and suddenly, desperately, wants out.

Last year, I had the honor of officiating a wedding for a beloved student and friend (yes, that’s right, minister Sash). I had to be very thoughtful about it because I didn’t want to be a fraud standing up there, guiding two people into an institution for which I hadn’t yet made peace. So I asked the couple tying the knot to answer two questions for me (an assignment they had to do separately, without consulting each other).

#1) Why are you getting married?

Seems straight forward enough, but many people answer this question with something basically along the lines of, “I love this person, I want to be with them forever, and I want to build a family and life with them.” That is awesome! I say go for it, but guess what, you don’t need to be married to do any of those things (at least not in the Western world). Love and commitment are beautiful and wonderful, but you can be married and completely not committed. You can also be fully devoted and not married.

Dig deeper. What are some REAL reasons for making this massive commitment? I find the answers that are deeply spiritual, deeply traditional, and/or deeply practical to be the most compelling. If you and your spouse-to-be have those reasons in common, then there is a much more substantial backing to walking down the aisle than simply the forever story. You have no idea what life is going to hurl your way, but if you have super strong convictions about why marriage is essential to the progress and evolution of your relationship and life together, then you have a firm foundation to stand on.

#2) Why are you marrying this person?

Ok, here is where you get to be romantic and gushy. Still though, I encourage you to dig deep. What makes this person so highly unique and dear to you that you are willing to make a lifelong commitment to them? Get it all down. Be extremely personal, reflective, and specific. Then, when you hit those rough spots in your relationship, come back to this document and remind yourself what a precious being you have the privilege of sharing your life with.

Of course, there are many more questions to ask oneself, but this is not intended to be a guide on finding the right partner (when I figure that out I’ll get back to you ;). My intention is simply to draw your attention to two basic questions whose answers are often taken for granted rather than sincerely discussed.

Yes, I do believe in Love. I believe in commitment, I believe in family, and I believe that humans are meant to live their lives in togetherness, not isolation. I want love, I want babies, and I want to experience the crazy journey of being with someone for a very long time. Would I get married again? Only if the reasons for it truly make sense, and that if I decide to take that step with someone, that we have been openly thoughtful about it and see eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart on the why.

Take action now:

  1. Share your reaction to this article in the comments below.
  2. Send this to someone preparing to embark on the marriage journey. It might offer them a little guidance before taking the plunge.

Originally published on Sasha’s blog 

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