being blissfully happy takes work. and commitment.

Hope Mirlis

Hope Mirlis is today's fabulous guest writer. Please check out her work and insights at

{I'm thrilled to share this post today from the fabulous Hope Mirlis of A More Perfect Union. While she works primarily with engaged couples and newlyweds, Hope's unique perspective on relationships is one we can all learn from: whether they be in respect to family, partners, friends, co-workers... I know you will appreciate her ideas as much as I do. Hope is a Secular/Non-denominational Wedding Officiant and Pre-marital Counselor living in New York City. She brings a zen approach to all her work - integrating the body and mind in yoga, counseling and officiating ceremonies. Recently, she developed and began offering The Zen Bride -- a workshop for brides-to-be to celebrate their engagement, share stories & challenges, release tension and process their emotions around this amazing rite of passage. Hope blogs regularly and shares her gratitudes weekly at Please check her out! And now, onto the good stuff...}

A few weeks ago I attended a Wedding Professionals networking lunch. Over salad and lasagna (and a bit of wine) we shared who we are and what we do – like you do at every networking lunch. Getting bored with the same repetition of my ‘elevator pitch’ I sat with someone new. As Jeremy told me about his business, he mentioned that he recently celebrated his one-year wedding anniversary. So, I hijacked the conversation a bit and asked how marriage changed his relationship. As a Wedding Officiant and Pre-marital counselor, I tell my couples that even if they have been with their partner for years and even if they live together, their relationship will change when they get married. So, I’ve started asking people to tell me about the changes – as well as what keeps them together.

As you can imagine, I hear that good communication, great sex, spending time as a couple keeps the marriage going. When I asked Jeremy about the changes brought on just by getting married, he mentioned that tension was high during the wedding planning stages. There was lots of stress and conflict with his fiancée. I asked why he thought that was, and he replied that this is the only time you vow to love another person for the rest of your life. I countered with the relationship between parent and child. But he kept firm in his stance and said that in the case of marriage, the vow is aloud. You vow to love another for the rest of your life in front of your family and friends.

Out loud. In public. And in most cases, standing before all of the people who care and support you most. Talk about pressure.

If the realization of the vow doesn’t bring the necessary weight and responsibility to the institution of marriage, I don’t know what else will. It certainly shifted my way of thinking of preparing couples for marriage.

Hope's Top 5 Tips for Happy Pre-marital Bliss

I am beyond humbled to work with couples during this very exciting and scary time in their lives. Here are a few tips for keeping those months tension-free and joyous:

1. Continue to go on regular dates. After months or years of being together, we often forget about courtship. Take turns inviting each other to nice meals, walks in the park or weekend getaways.

2. If something is bothering you, talk about it. The little things add up, people. If your partner says or does something that rubs you the wrong way, let him or her know.

3. Count the reasons you love your partner. Extra points if you share them with each other and seal them with a kiss. 

4. Help each other out. We live in a fast-paced world. We’re all trying to do lots in limited time. What can you do to make it easier for your beloved? If you’re not sure, ask him or her! 

5. Laugh together. Research shows that laughter releases tension and strengthens intimacy. Allow yourselves to be silly. Put on some rockin’ tunes and dance around the living room. Or put on your favorite comedic movie or TV show and snuggle on the couch.

Many thanks to the growing number of people who continue to share their stories with me – especially Jeremy for your candor and for allowing a little detour in our networking. If you would like to share your story or have a question, comment or epiphany, you can find me at

*feature photo courtesy of Laura Marie Duncan Photography (another fabulous lady to know when it comes to getting married in New York!)

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