Three Ways to Keep Your Hobbies and Your Marriage


If you have recently gotten married, or even if you’ve been married for years, you may experience conflicts when it comes to having your own hobbies. You may have a hard time finding time to do what you enjoy. You may even feel guilty when you take time to pursue your hobby. In a worst-case scenario, your hobbies may cause resentment and anger in your marriage. However, many people manage to have strong marriages and enjoyable hobbies at the same time, and you can too.

Obviously, marriage offers many benefits. Otherwise, you would have elected to remain single. However, marriage often means adjusting every aspect of your life from your sleeping arrangements to the way you spend your free time. In fact, how you balance your responsibilities to your spouse with your responsibilities to yourself can make the difference between a successful marriage and an unsuccessful one.

Once you get married, your default setting changes from single to together. It can be difficult to adjust to doing so many things together, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to take togetherness too far. Free time is a prime example. Sometimes it seems as though marriage erases free time from your calendar altogether. This doesn’t have to be the case, but it’s up to you to rescue your free time and make the most of it.

It’s normal and even healthy for spouses to have separate hobbies and to spend time on them. If you have a hobby that is suffering due to your marriage, or if you’ve given up on the idea of a hobby altogether, it’s a good idea to rekindle that part of your life. Dust off those bowling shoes, untangle that embroidery silk, get the game controller out of storage, or enroll in an art class. It’s time to introduce a little balance into your marriage.

There seem to be three key things to remember when it comes to maintaining personal hobbies and strong marriages. You have to be respectful towards your spouse, you have to be honest, and you have to have your priorities in line.

Be Respectful
While marriage shouldn’t prevent you from having free time, once you take your vows you are no longer free to take that time whenever you please. This is one of those inevitable trade-offs that life so often demands. Think of it as the price you pay in return for no longer having to shiver alone in a cold bed at night. Now that you are married, you and your partner must be on the same page, and that means cooperating in order to synchronize your schedules. Talk to your husband or wife beforehand about blocking off time for your hobby. Whether that means bringing it up during the monthly planning session or mentioning it at breakfast the same morning depends upon how you and your spouse organize your time and what you are both comfortable with. It’s a small thing, but don’t skip it. Don’t get upset if logistics make it impossible for you to carry out your plans from time to time, either.

Be Honest
If your idea of a suitable hobby is a weekly high-stakes poker game and your husband’s idea of a suitable hobby is a baby-and-me aerobics class, you are going to have to have a discussion at some point. It’s far better for everyone involved if that discussion happens before you lose your weekly pocket money instead of afterwards. You may have to agree to disagree, but as long as you aren’t endangering your family’s finances or hanging out with dangerous felons, you have the right to choose your own hobby. However, it is very important that you be honest about what you are doing, how long you expect to be doing it, and where you will be while you are doing it. Misrepresenting your poker game as a quilting bee or even a friendly card party may lead to less friction in the short term, but the long term consequences will be destroyed trust, resentment, hurt feelings, and a lot of other things that can destroy a good marriage.

No matter how much you love your hobby, your marriage and your family are your first priority now. If this means occasionally disappointing the other members of the band because the baby is sick and your spouse has been up for two days, then the guys will have to accept that. Think of your marriage as the parent on those informational diagrams you see on airplanes. The oxygen mask goes on the parent first because if the parent dies, the baby doesn’t stand much of a chance. Similarly, if your marriage dies, your personal life will suffer. Keep your priorities straight, and this will never be an issue.

As long as you keep these three concepts in mind, you should be able to enjoy the benefits of a marriage and a rich personal life simultaneously. If you follow these guidelines and you still have friction over your hobby, it may be time for a serious discussion about what marriage means to both of you and how the two of you will handle the inevitable conflicts that occur in all human relationships.


Money Decisions to Make Once You Tie the Knot

marc firestone marriage

Got money? If the answer leans toward having a little tucked away for a rainy day or I haven’t yet attained my financial potential, both examples show a sense of financial responsibility to a certain degree. But is that enough to hold a marriage together in good and bad times? You be the judge.

Making good money decisions once you’ve tied the knot takes a little more than just a hope and a dream. Many marriages struggle when the topic of money, how to save, how to spend, how to invest and how to organize isn’t addressed. The start of a good financial plan begins by warming up to handy tips like the ones mentioned below to help your marriage find its desired financial footing.

Premarital Financial Counseling

Let’s just begin by addressing marriage and money in the same sentence. Some folks aren’t particularly comfortable with this type of companionship. If this is you, premarital financial counseling could be the biggest gift you give to yourself and your spouse-to-be.

If this is slightly you or not you at all, premarital financial counseling remains a step in the right direction because money, in all of its splendor, needs to be understood for what it really is after you tie the knot. Otherwise, surprises may ensue. Dare to explore and reap the benefits of premarital financial counseling before you tie the knot. That said…

Post-Marital Financial Partnership

Congratulations! The knot has now been happily tied. Supposing pre-marital financial counseling hadn’t been previously on the horizon, let’s celebrate anyway with a few great tips to help financial issues and this wonderful marriage remain happy, strong and balanced.

ONE – Keep the financial conversational doors wide open. Recognize two incomes may be better than one for a variety of reasons. More income means more expendable money, more benefits and more security in most cases. Strongly consider expenses such as household, home/auto insurance, emergencies, vacations and other extra-curricular variables.

TWO – Make a budget and stick to it. Budgeting may sound old-fashioned; but in today’s financially fast world budgeting is highly effective for keeping heads above water, regardless of how much money there is.

Debit cards are a safer spending tool than credit cards. While credit cards can be beneficial to build a line of credit for larger purchases down the road, they also tack on often lofty interest rates that have enormous potential to drain the pocketbook. Credit cards’ tempting and easy purchasing power is a RED FLAG to danger. Simply, if you don’t have the cash, then you don’t get the stash.

THREE – Talk about steps required that will invite unity, peace and equal partnership now and for the future. Talk about different types of reputable investments that can be utilized now without heavy penalties, tax rates or other savings/investment diversions.

FOUR – Learn about debt brought into a marriage. Eleven community property regulated states like Wisconsin, Washington, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, Louisiana, Idaho, California and Arizona require any debt brought into a marriage belongs only to that person and is not inherited to the spouse. Any debt created after marriage is a legally bound and accountable mutual debt of both spouses. Common law states work variably differently.

FIVE – Mutually agreeable financial terms such as being a two-income family or having two savings account holders in a marriage doesn’t always mean both parties must be in charge. In fact, agreeing to one spouse taking the lead as far as budgeting, organizing and maintenance can actually simplify life.

Along with this agreement should be another discussion about getting together routinely to discuss and overview how various money decisions are going. Keeping that important open door of communication, application and execution of all monies is a significant partnership plus. If disagreements of money handling occur, find and utilize professional support resources like for a fresh perspective.

SIX – Plan for the inevitable. Acquire life insurance as soon as possible. The comfort of this financial benefit is an excellent plan before, during and after the loss of a loved one. Learn more about various life insurance coverage at

Coming together in marriage is a wonderfully bright and exciting step. When it comes to financial success in a marriage, ask questions.

Sites like or are two reliable sources to the path of financial resourcefulness.

Life Insurance for Moms

Everyone should love their moms. They brought us into the world and raised us, for the most part, for the first 18 years of our lives. Our moms taught us good from bad, supported us with encouragement and provided us with nourishing meals and loving kindness.

Since 1908, the second Sunday in May has been set aside as Mother’s Day in his country. That’s the official day where we give thanks to all that our mothers have done for us over the years.

In recent years, people have been questioning the monetary value of that care and hard work our mother’s provide. The answer is shocking and eye-opening to most people.

The numbers vary widely. A recent Pew study stated that 19 percent of mothers do no work outside the home .That’s an increase of 6 percent increase since 1999. The salary equivalent for those stay-at-home moms, according to’s most recent survey of 15,000 moms, was pegged at $118, 905.

This figure is an estimate of what stay-at-home mothers would make if they were paid an annual salary based on the various chores they do and the hours they work.
It’s a common principle of sound family planning that the primary breadwinner of the household should have life insurance. That’s true, based on the outdated idea that the primary breadwinner is male and the supportive wife has no need to carry life insurance. The fact is that even though as a mother who contributes zero income to the family, your loss would cause a tremendous hardship to your husband and children both emotionally and financially.

According to Genworth Financial, 43% of married mothers have no life insurance. For unmarried mothers, 59% have no life insurance.

Why Stay-at-Home Mothers Should Have Life Insurance

The answer is obvious when you look at the salary-equivalent numbers stated above. Without a lump-sum, tax-free life insurance pay off in the event of the mother’s death, dad could find himself mired in a financial struggle trying to replace all of her contributions in running the family.

Looking at the family structure from a strictly financial position, it’s obvious that a mother’s role is as important as dad the breadwinner. Life insurance for the mother, working or not, should be at the core of any family plan.

The Working Mom’s Need for Life Insurance

The death of a working mother means the loss of her income contribution to the family. In many cases in our society, it takes two incomes to support the lifestyle the family has risen to.

A job lost by the mother can be replaces. Her life can’t. The death of a working mother means income replacement for the husband. A life insurance policy valued at some factor of yearly income allows the surviving husband to carry on without financial disruption.

The Single Mom’s Need for Life Insurance

Single mothers should deffinitely have life insurance. Married couples can plan their insurance needs knowing that one spouse will remain to care for the children. Single mothers don’t have this luxury and have to plan accordingly. As they are their children’s only mean of survival, single mothers need to have a policy that funds the children’s upbringing by providing money for the person or persons who will raise them and hopefully contribute toward their education after high school.

Types of Insurance for Mothers

Term life insurance is ideal for all mothers. It’s less expensive than whole life which translates to a higher face value during the years the policy is most important. The critical years of life insurance coverage are from birth to age 18 for the children. Once they’ve reached the age of maturity, the death of the mother no longer has a financial impact on the family.

Term rates are cheap. For instance, if you are healthy woman 30 year of age, the average cost of a 20-year term policy with a face value of $250,000 is as little as $13 per month. In other words, for only $156 per year for 20 years, your children’s financial well-being will be protected by a $250,000 tax-free umbrella through adulthood.

It should be apparent by now that life insurance coverage for mothers of children under 18 is critical in sound family planning. No one likes to think of ever losing the mother, but life doesn’t always play fair. With an insurance payout to help keep the family on a steady course, a mother’s love continuous on after death.

Is Your Spouse Still Your Best Friend?


It’s easy for spouses to say that they love each other, but how many of them still like each other?

Love is something that seems intuitive and thoughtless after we’ve said it so many times on reflex, and it’s not hard to see why that’s the case. Most of the mystique and wonder surrounding love comes from how inexplicable and hard to rationalize it is, but what happens when that mysterious attraction you have to your spouse is really a mystery of whether or not the attraction still exists?

We can easily give specific examples of why we like our friends, but if it’s hard for us to do the same for our spouses, something is amiss. True love for a spouse is powerful and non-negotiable, but when it it’s no longer accompanied by a genuine sense of liking that spouse, love can be more a trap than a thing of beauty.

The Big Questions to Ask

So, how can you tell if you actually like your spouse? Here are some of the hard-hitting questions you might ask to figure out just how much of a friend your spouse really is to you:

  • Can you name specific reasons why you like your ex as a person, besides just being in love with them?
  • Are there at least five things that the two of you like to do with each other outside of the bedroom?
  • Knowing what you’ve learned about your spouse up until now, can you confidently say that you could still be friends with them even if you weren’t married to them?
  • Are you more or less comfortable telling your spouse about daily issues than you are telling your friends about them?
  • Do you and your spouse disagree on more topics than the ones you agree on?

These are some the questions that can be very easy to not even think about for years in a relationship that you’ve grown familiar with; however, familiarity has a way of mutating into apathy. The more familiar we are with something, the easier it is to stop examining it closely. Most people don’t see all of their best friends every day, let alone live with them, and this facilitates a much different perspective on people than the perspective we have of someone who is always around.

Replacing Familiarity With Discovery

Novelty and a lack of instant accessibility create a lasting sense of value, but familiarity can slip into neglect and contempt. Of course this isn’t to say that the immediate course of action should be to only see your spouse once a month, but it does make the need for a renewal of perspective now and then more apparent.

Here are some of the steps you can take to examine just how strong your friendship is with your spouse, and also what you could potentially do to rekindle a stronger friendship with our spouses if we find there’s more room for improvement.

1. Think about what it was that made you first realize that you liked your ex before you fell in love with them
2. Once you’ve worked out the things that made the two of you first start liking each other, consider how prevalent those things are in your relationship today
3. Make an effort to do something with them that can show you whether or not those feelings still rise to the surface

Whenever we’re wondering about whether or not we’re still friends with a spouse, it’s generally a sign that we haven’t done enough to spend quality time with them. There’s a distinct difference between spending quality time and just spending time. Quality time offers an opportunity to cooperatively accomplish or experience something with a person while learning more about them in the process, while simply spending time with a person is exactly what it sounds like.

Think of it this way: You can spend time with an axe murderer in a cell, but unless they were your best friend before the two of you got in there, then chances are you won’t become their best friend just by sharing oxygen with them.

If there’s really nothing that you can think of to do with your spouse that you could both mutually enjoy and rekindle a friendship through, then that lack of ideas might just provide some insight into how much a friend they really are to you in the first place.

Why Opposites Attract


Many people say that opposites attract, while others believe that people are attracted to those most like themselves. Although we may be attracted to a person for qualities dissimilar to our own, those qualities often drive a wedge later on down the road and cause one person, or both, to wish that their spouse was more like them. That being said, those same qualities that drive couples apart are often the driving force behind a long marriage or relationship.

Why Aren’t We More Alike?

Many wonder how couples can last so long in a marriage where they obviously are annoyed by the personality traits of the other. The downward spiral that entraps so many couples often ends their marriage altogether. However, many couples reverse the trend and reignite the spark that led them to get married in the first place.

To put this into context, let’s say a wife goes to a marriage counselor complaining that she feels uncomfortable that her spouse is too social and outgoing, or he’s too introverted or shy. She wonders why he can’t be more like her. A counselor may ask her why she married him partner to begin with. More often than not, the wife will say that she was attracted to her husband because he brings out her talkative side or intellectual side.

They ended up marrying because they bring out the qualities in each other that they couldn’t do on their own. They balance one another out, and in turn, they both feel whole. When both people in a relationship realize this, that’s when they remember why they got married to begin with.

The Upward Spiral

Relationships take work. When you stop and think about all the times your spouse has come to your rescue, you start to realize all the value that they bring to your life. In the beginning, many relationships are easy and don’t take much work at all. Over time, the begin to take more work and understanding to make them function.

When a husband or wife starts to realize the drawbacks of their personality, they can really start to appreciate what their spouse brings to the table. Instead of viewing the personality of the other as a hindrance, they view their partner as an asset. Also, part of making a relationship stand the test of time is knowing what actions to take, and what actions are going to yield the best results for both people.

Differences Are Attractive

People are looking for ways to balance themselves out and make themselves whole. No one is born with a complete personality, and no one has all the skills they need. That’s why we look for others with traits different than ours. Of course, many people don’t want to be dependent on each other, but having a partner that fills in your shortcomings and compliments your strengths is perfect.

Another word for this is “completion”. This refers to a couple that grows together as a couple, and as an individual, because of their unique partnership to each other. They both become more “complete” people during the length of their relationship.

 Finding Your Opposite

If you’re single, don’t go looking for people that are obviously your opposite. At the same time, you don’t want to be looking for someone that is too similar to yourself either. A person that’s too similar to you will cause monotony down the road. Find a partner that shares a few of your traits and the same values as yourself, but is genuinely different personality wise. The difference in personality causes a healthy level of tension, and it keeps the relationship progressing during the initial stages of courtship. It’s also the power supply for long-term stability.

Staying Together

When couples understand why they balance each other out, or “complete” one another, the relationship is rekindled. Couples that realize this after many years of despising each other feel rejuvenated, appreciated, and have a feeling of satisfaction that they married the right person.

It doesn’t take a special kind of person or relationship to build up what you lost. However, you do have to have an understanding of who you are, and why your relationship is failing. This takes work, testing, and time on both ends, but it’s well worth it in the end.

4 Important Considerations When Dating to Marry


Dating to marry nowadays is almost unheard of. The term “dating” has been stripped of its true purpose thanks to the casual implications of apps like Tinder and Bumble. Despite our best efforts and honest intentions, those looking for something more keep hitting roadblocks and dead ends in the form of lackluster text convos and shallow first dates. So what’s a person to do when you finally meet someone who’s also thinking long term?

First, don’t follow the impulse to lock things down ASAP. Just because you found someone who shares one similar goal doesn’t mean they’re the one, and fear that they might be the only person you find who shares your dreams of a happily ever after certainly isn’t a reason to get serious.

But if you really do like someone and consider your dating life to be the trial period for a much longer commitment, keep these 5 important things at the forefront of your mind.

1. Don’t Be Overly Critical

You shouldn’t enter the relationship with any preconceived notions. Although you may have an inarguable list of values that your future spouse must meet, that doesn’t mean you should begin to scrutinize every potential partner before you’ve truly gotten to know one another.

The best relationships come from not just sharing core values, but also being able to have fun together no matter what. Your future husband or wife should be able to talk to you about your deepest secrets and insecurities just as easily as they can indulge your Marvel movie obsession.

Have an initial checklist in mind that helps you gauge whether or not someone is worth investing time in and if they meet that, don’t put any pressure on them or yourself early on. Instead, enjoy the early stages of getting to know someone that leave butterflies in your stomach and your heart racing when their name lights up your phone’s screen.

2. Know Your Own Heart

The best way to truly discern whether someone is right for you is by knowing exactly who you are and what you need to be happy in a marriage. When you’re dating for marriage, being secure in yourself and your values is critical. When you’re introspective and understand everything that you require to be truly happy, you’ll be less likely to waver on the most important subjects and wind up settling for a compromise that isn’t good for you or the other person.

3. Accept New Ideas

We can get so caught up in the fantasy of our dream spouse that we forget it’s exactly that – a fantasy. No one is perfect and we all have sinned, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t any less worthy of love and happiness. Look at others with nonjudgemental eyes and an open heart, while still holding true to your own principles.

When you meet someone who shares your views on the most important matters, don’t be afraid to let go of other notions you once held. One of the greatest things about love is is that it transforms in ways we never thought possible.

Allow your soul to be warmed by someone new and your mind to grow by considering new ideas and perspectives.

4. Have a Firm Support System

Even the most level headed of us can be blinded by love. When dating to marry, it’s important that you surround yourself with trusted advisors who have traveled down the same path and can coach you through the experience. Have them meet the person your dating and accept their honest opinions. Choose mentors who you can go to for advice and whose opinions you respect wholeheartedly.

Dating to marry is hard, but it doesn’t need to be a source of stress and discomfort. Instead of feeling like you’re in a race to the alter, enjoy the experience of getting to meet knew people. Every relationship that doesn’t turn out to be “the one” only puts you one step close toward the one that is.


10 Ways To Love

marc firestone life insurance love

Love is expressed as an action and experienced as a feeling. Yet, love has an essence that resists definition in any single way: it encompasses compassion, determination, endurance, support, faith, and much more. Everyone is capable of love, and there is seemingly no limit to the amount of love you can give or receive. If you struggle to express or receive love, there are ways to help you open to love:

6 Financial Questions You Should Ask Your Partner Before Saying I Do

marc firestone marriageCouples getting ready to walk down the aisle tend to spend a lot of their time focused on things like flowers, color schemes, meals, playlists, guest counts, etc. However, experts say that there is a major part of creating a “happily ever after” that is often not discussed before the long awaited walk down the aisle: finances.

Before you commit to forever with your partner, it is extremely important that you first discuss some strategy for how you plan to make financial decisions. The financial decisions that couples make in the early years together have a huge impact on their future income.

Everyone’s situation is unique, but it all comes back to one simple principle — the earlier you have the conversations about money and the sooner you take action on that discussion, the better off you’ll be.

Financial talk in the midst of wedding planning can seem like it might be a buzz kill, but money is a leading catalyst for marital disputes and a top cause for divorce, according to experts. Wouldn’t you rather have a potentially difficult conversation now, before you’ve committed the rest of your life to someone, than a difficult conversation down the line that could end your marriage?  

Couples should understand they are likely to run into disagreement about one or more aspects of finance, but what matters most is how they handle it.

Here is a list of questions to get the conversation started, click here for more:

  1. In case of an emergency, do you know where your financial and legal documents are?
  2. How confident are you in taking full responsibility for your retirement savings strategy?
  3. Everyone pictures retirement differently. What does yours look like?
  4. You just received a large tax refund. What are you most likely to do with it?
  5. Who manages your day-to-day household finances (paying bills, deposits, budgets, etc.)?
  6. When it comes to investing for your retirement, who takes the lead?

More than anything, you want to ensure that you and your fiancé discuss items like these BEFORE you get married. Half of your stress can be eliminated just by making sure that you and your future spouse are on the same page when it comes to your finances. You don’t have to agree on everything. But you want to make sure you share similar viewpoints when it comes to managing debt, budgeting and your future goals. A shared financial vision can go a long way toward ensuring you both live your happily ever after.

Marc Firestone’s Tips On Restoring Balance In Your Marriage


couple-counseling-on-black-bridal-blissAccording to a recent Pew Study, researchers found that the overall quality of life for parents is decreasing as the work-life balance becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. This is in part because, more than any other time in history, both partners are working full time positions. There are several discrepancies in the data, which shows that college-educated workers are more likely to feel like they aren’t getting enough family and leisure time. One suggestion is that non-college-educated workers are more likely to work hourly. As such, they may be less likely required or expected to work off the clock. However, they more likely have less daytime flexibility or paid leave options.

Either way you look at it, work-life balance is a delicate thing, especially for married couples— and even more so when children are involved. But here’s a few things you can do to restore that balance and maximize your marriage’s potential.

Set Work Boundaries
This is hugely important and easier said than done. Make sure that your time in the office is productive so that you don’t take any work home with you. Once you step outside of the office, you should be living your life the best you can. When work comes home with you, it may send a signal that your job is more important than your spouse. Take a break from the daily grind, and spend that precious time with the one you love. If you have kids, the same principle applies to them, too!

2. Schedule it if You Must
For some people, their job is an all-day affair, and nights and weekends are never ruled out for work. In that case, make a schedule and stick to it for the sake of consistency. Maybe spend a block of time on Sundays in your office, but outside of that you’re looking at time with your family. Doing this gives everyone in your home some degree of expectation for their spouse or parent.

3. Set Quality Time
It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of a quality vacation. Every once in awhile, you need to be able to step back and remove yourself from the usual stimuli that bombard your senses at work and at home. Now, vacationing can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of sites out there offering tips on how to travel on a budget, and sites like Kayak and Google Flights help you find affordable airfare across the globe.

But who said anything about vacation meaning skipping town? Sometimes a vacation can mean classing it up at home, and doing something out of the ordinary. Why not check out these suggestions for a low or no-cost weekend afternoon?