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10 Takeaways for a Successful Marriage

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Hoan and I will be getting married in less than 7 months! It’s kinda crazy to think that it’s coming up so soon. We recently finished our catholic engaged encounter which essentially is a pre-marriage retreat for engaged couples that is a weekend long. This actually wasn’t our first time taking a class like this since we had taken another pre-marriage class from Cottonwood church, and that was every week for five weeks. I think a lot of the topics they covered were very similar to one another but after experiencing both I wanted to round up 10 take-aways we took from our pre-marriage classes for all of you since V-day is right around the corner! So here are 5 things I thought all couples who plan on getting married or are married could benefit from:

  1. Do not threaten with the D-word

    When you’re in a relationship where there is always an exit sign, you’ll never feel secure. It’s important to realize you’re in this together, forever and if you’re seeing red flags now… that may be a sign to re-evaluate

  2. A covenant is the most powerful promise you can make

    A covenant is more than a promise, it’s an eternal agreement you make between your spouse and God. The beauty of being able to declare your love in front of God and your loved ones on your wedding day is just the beginning. Being able to carry out that covenant daily is speaking with love, acting in love and being a model of God’s love.

  3. 2 are truly becoming 1

    I always believed that it was so important to be a complete whole person before getting into a relationship and allowing the relationship to compliment your life. However, when we look back at how God created woman out of Adam’s ribs, we find that God decided to take ribs from Adam to create a woman so perfectly made for him. If we looked at this in its’ purest form, that would mean that God made this exact person for you, and we’re just fortunate enough to find and recognize each other. However, if we really think about it, if God had made this exact person for you, he would have eventually worked his magic to bring these two beings together

  4. Do things that are life-giving

    Constantly ask yourself if what you are saying to your partner or what you are doing for them is life-giving. And what I mean by this is, living a fuller life, the life Jesus taught us to live. To be supportive of one another, generous beyond measure, sensitive to each other’s feelings and essentially to be selfless for our partner

  5. Intimacy is more than just sex

    You can easily be intimate and feel close to one another and this could mean being fully present with each other during a heartfelt conversation or just holding hands in public.

  6. Talk about finances before marriage

    It’s important to be aware of each other’s net worth, each other’s debt and how you plan to take care of your finances after marriage. Will you only have one joint account to share, or just have separate accounts, or both?

  7. Practice open communication every SINGLE day

    It’s important to be open and honest every single day. The most powerful thing we took away was the 5 A’s which is in itself a whole post itself.

  8. Speak with love your partner will understand

    This goes back to knowing each other’s 5 love languages and speaking in the way the give and receive love. Because otherwise it may not necessarily be felt.

  9. Race to repentance

    Relationships are not easy, and conflicts will arise.. maybe every day even. And it doesn’t have to be big, it could even be a slight disagreement on where to have lunch but both small or large… it’s important to apologize and forgive with our whole hearts. It doesn’t mean you can’t be upset anymore, but it’s about forgiving, truly letting go and not letting it come up later as ammunition.

  10. WEDDING IS A DAY, A MARRIAGE IS A LIFETIME

    I feel like society has put so much emphasis on the wedding day. Most likely because it marks a true milestone, but the milestone is only the beginning of the chapter, so what about the rest of it? It might start out with a big bang but it’s important to constantly nurture the storyline. As time goes on, relationships change and people change, it’s so easy to get comfortable and think everything will work out in the end but marriage, just like everything else needs to be invested in.

So there you have it, those are the 10 biggest takeaways I took from our marriage classes. I really hope that you invest in a pre-marriage class before marriage. It really helps to open communication and better yet, some states even give marriage application discounts if you give proof you’ve taken one. Happy love month beauties <3

 

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How to Have a Successful Relationship – the 5 A’s

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The most powerful thing I took away from our pre-marriage class was the idea of constant open communication through daily practice of the 5 A’s. Which are: Appreciate, Affection, Apologize, Ask, Amen. It is a daily activity you can easily do with your partner at the end of each day. And how it works is each person takes a turn to do the 5 A’s and then the other partner will go and it usually ends with a prayer. Hoan and I have been doing this EVERY single day since we learned of it. It’s definitely been helpful for us in continuing to stay open to one another and share what ever is on our hearts.

  1. Appreciate

    You first start out by telling your partner all of the things you appreciated about them today. Ie. “I appreciate you washing my car today, picking up my laundry, your humor and making me laugh in the morning when I was stressed about being late, etc.”

  2. Affection

    Once you are done telling them what you appreciate about them, you give them a kiss or a hug.

  3. Apologize

    Next you want to ask your partner if there was anything from the day that upset them. This is a great time to be able to share what small little things irked you such as, “leaving the toilet seat up again, not washing the dishes when you were done with lunch and there was a pile when we got home, etc.” I know for myself, little things can get to me so it’s nice to be able to get it off your chest and also help your partner become more aware of your likes and preferences this way.

  4. Ask

    You want to ask your partner if there is anything you can do for them? For example, you may ask, “can you please help edit my paper tomorrow, or pick up dry cleaning for me after work, etc.” And make sure you are honest about whether or not you can fulfill these tasks and if not, it’s okay, tell them what you are able to do.

  5. Amen

    Finally, ask your partner what they’d like you to pray for.

Once your turn is done, repeat the process and let your partner go through their 5 A’s. Once you each have gone, then it’s time to pray. Hoan and I usually pray by him starting off and I finish it off. But really, anything works!

Hoan and I have been doing this every day since we learned about the activity last May and have not missed a single day! It’s truly helped us to continue to have open communication, especially when we are upset. We all know open communication is the key to a successful relationship, but what’s challenging sometimes is when something so small irked you and you don’t know how to bring it up so instead you just let it go… but really deep down it’s still bothersome and if/when it does come up again, it’s become even more frustrating. And we find ourselves in a bigger mess than what it really was to begin with. I really hope these 5 A’s can help you and your partner grow as a unit and help strengthen your faith in one another and in God. <3 Lmk how it goes!

 

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Before I die Proposal

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The day of the proposal I was still jetlagged from my red eye flight into Minneapolis but also stressed because I had an online presentation for class that evening and I had found out earlier that my slides had gotten deleted so I was just really anxious to get home. My best friend Ann and I had gotten a late lunch that day and I told her I should probably get home early to work on my presentation so after a little stalling on her end she said “ok, but before we go home can we quick run an errand? I have to go pick up tickets at the Orpheum.” I said, “sure” and we were on our way to downtown.

She decided to park in this parking lot near the Orpheum and I thought… hmm this looks oddly familiar. And as we drove in and parked, I looked up and said, “oh hey this is where Hoan and I had the [before I die] wall date! “And she was like, “oh yeah?” And I was like, “…yeah!!”

Proposal Time

Once the car came to a stop I told her I would sit in the car and wait for her since it was sprinkling out and she said, “oh… I need two people to pick them up.” In my head, I was thinking, that’s odd… I’ve never heard of that before. I noticed she grabbed an umbrella and walked over to my passenger car side and got me out of the car. I got out and was still thinking, this is so weird that she is having me go pick up tickets with her. As we continue bickering, all of a sudden Ann goes, “ugh, just look over there” So then I look over and there is Hoan standing under an umbrella in front of a “Before I die” wall and I literally just bawled my eyes out.

In that moment, it felt like time just stood still because I was completely floored! I had a variety of different emotions run through me from shock, to guilt, to feeling so incredibly loved. I couldn’t believe he had been working on all of this without my knowledge! I also couldn’t believe it was me who was getting proposed to… It’s like you dream of it as a child, you think about it growing up and wonder what your proposal would look like and here it was happening right before my eyes. It’s a good thing it got documented because looking back now it felt like such a whirlwind.. but the most dreamy, thoughtful, romantic whirlwinds of all time.

Proposal Video here

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4 Tips on How to Have a Successful Relationship

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Hoan and I have been together for 2.5 years. While our relationship is not perfect, we’ve been able to maintain a happy, healthy, successful relationship. Granted we’ve been long distance for the entire duration of our relationship but like any other relationship we have differences that can make things difficult. Despite it we’ve been able to maintain a happy, healthy, successful relationship. 

1. Communication is Key

It’s imperative to be transparent in any relationship but especially a romantic relationship because your significant other needs to know how you feel. If we shut down because we’re put off by something and don’t let our significant other know, that’s going to lead to confusion and frustration and eventually withdrawal of efforts if they don’t see that their prying is making any progress.

2. Compromise

You’re going to have differences every single day but it’s key to know when to pick your battles and know when you can compromise. Not everything is going to go your way because a relationship involves two people with obviously different opinions.

3. Continue to Hold on 

One of the best pieces of advice we ever got was that you should always hold on. And hold on means that whenever you have an issue, one person should always hold on. For example, if you guys are arguing over the phone, don’t hang up if you know there’s more you need to talk through, continue the conversation until you’re both able to feel better about the situation.

4. Your significant other is your number one

Priorities are a huge thing that drives our daily activities. It’s important to make your significant other your number one priority, (of course after God for us). This allows for both people in the relationship to feel certainty and love which is one of our human needs. A lot of times, marriages begin breaking apart because they aren’t receiving the love they need from their spouse and then turn to their children for the love that they yearn for. Eventually, this cycle allows for separation and disconnect.

All of these practices have really helped Hoan and I in our relationship but again, it’s definitely not a guarantee because it’s also important to note that not every person is the right person for you. Regardless, i hope these practices can help you to have a successful relationship! Happy loving

 

 

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Vulnerability is Who I Am at My Core

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Something I’ve realized is that I haven’t been fully vulnerable lately. I’m not quite sure why that is but it could be that I’ve been tapping more into my airy side. The side that enjoys chillin’ and having a good time because I’m in sunny So-Cal.

After writing just these two sentences, I felt a gut-wrenching emotion telling me this doesn’t sound right.  Because I know this isn’t who I am at my core. In this moment of desperation, I looked up at my vision board for some answers. This is actually where I look and refer to to remind myself of who I am, what I want to achieve and I what I value. I inherently knew authenticity and vulnerability had to be somewhere on the fricken board.

And what do you know, front and center with the definitions of who Anh Thu is: “Continue to be authentic and vulnerable.” And that’s when it hit me… I don’t feel like I’ve been myself because I haven’t chosen to be real or very open with many people.  So really, it’s my fault that I haven’t been feeling like myself. Because this is a decision I made but this is also where it ends. 

THoughts

So, who are you at your core? I think it’s important to reflect upon who you are and how it’s being reflected in your daily life because your actions may not necessarily show it. Would be curious to hear your thoughts!

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What to Ask Yourself when You’re About to Walk Away

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Some of the most difficult things we’ll ever have to do are usually the most important things that could make or break our relationships. And as I’m trying to figure out whether I should bring it up or walk away… one of the questions I need to ask myself is

Is it worth it?

I’ve found that over the years, I can easily let go and set camp up elsewhere. Since my move here.. I feel like it’s gotten incredibly easy to do that because you’re not held to a certain standard or peer group because of the circumstances. In a new city, no one knows who you are… so you have more freedom to do as you please without judgement.

But as I ponder on the question of whether it’s worth it to bring up, I think about the relations that are involved and which option I’d be more okay living with. And that brings me to my answer, “I have to say something.”
Wish me luck, gulp.

 

 

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