A great new article from consumer affairs. Great comments

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/thinking-about-getting-married-youll-need-to-talk-about-these-things-first-080613.html

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An author review of my book

After reading Susan Ziggy’s book, Things To Do Before You Say I Do! I realise that expecting a ‘shotgun’ marriage at age 16 to ever work was living in cloud cuckoo land.

And even the second marriage was doomed to fail, because it was done out of need, without seeking proper advice. Even if advice was available back then, nobody in my sphere would have considered it, apart perhaps from seeking an Astrological compatibility chart, or having a quick meeting with the local priest. I don’t even remember what they said at those meetings.

As Ziggy says, we all need to feel valued and loved, but rushing into marriage is not a good idea and I would suggest you read this worthy tome before you even think about tying the knot. With a tone of teacherly authority, Ziggy takes readers through all the stages from dating to empty nest syndrome, advising on the art of compromise, the value of maintaining traditions (something I would never have considered important) and provides a helpful questionnaire to do with your prospective partner, but also with friends and relatives.

She not only shows readers how proper communication, both verbal and via body language, is vital to maintain a happy marriage, but she also covers the ‘games people play’. Saying sorry is one of the most important things to remember in a relationship. Nothing is left to chance here, with topics ranging from replacing the toilet paper to flirting and cheating.

Ziggy ends the book with some very insightful interviews with couples who have been married more than 20 years.

I would recommend Things To Do Before You Say I Do! to anyone considering marriage or a partnership of any kind.

Leone Mary Britt

Be the change you want to see in the world!

I was asked during an interview for a Mission statement. I used one of my favorite quotes. “Be the change you want to see in the world”, start by example!  I see strangers that need help and I help them.

There was a man outside the carpet store where I often do business. It was a hot summer day, the man was lying on the grass and didn’t look well. I noticed him because one of the sales people was talking to him. I walked over and saw the man looked exhausted from heat stroke, it was in the 90’s that day. I asked the man if he was ok. He said he just got out of town court, (about 2 miles back) and he walked passed his street. Without hesitating I asked where he lived. I knew the apartments and offered him a ride back home.
The salesmen that I knew suggested I don’t do that because I didn’t know him and he just got out of court and I didn’t know what his court story was.  I told him it was ok, this man needs help. I helped him to my car, we chatted for the 5 minutes it took to drive him to his apartment. He was very grateful, polite and kind. I said, “I hope you feel better, drink water and have a great day”. He asked me how he could repay me for the help and reached in his pocket as if he were looking for money.

I just told him to “Please pay this kindness forward. When someone needs help, help them.”  He said he would. It was a win-win for both of us. Here is the ah-ha. He just got out of court and was black.

 Lesson here…..when someone needs help you think about the human, not the color of their skin!

 

why is dating so hard????

HOW CAN WE HAVE A FABULOUS RELATIONSHIP IF WE DON’T UNDERSTAND THE OPPOSITE SEX?
Most women wish for their “soul-mate to find them. Today’s women is more assertive and goes out looking for their “soul mate”. Either way, you need to understand what you want and who you are in order to be happy in any relationship.
Are you confident or timid? Are you sensitive or let situations roll off your shoulders? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Are you a work-a-holic or laid back? Do you like to be in control or can you surrender control when the situation asks for it?
It really doesn’t matter your age, type of relationship or length of your relationship. All the above mentioned qualities need to be understood about yourself before you can change your past, present and future. Sit down, pour yourself something cold (or warm if that is your preference) and ask yourself the above questions. Make sure you are honest with yourself. There should be no “test anxiety” because you are only testing yourself!!
Now, consider what kind of person would be compatible with you. If you are a work-a-holic, do you want a partner who is too? Would you have enough time to spend together? If you are a work-a-holic and sensitive, it could be a problem because your partner may not have the time required to make you feel desired, loved, wanted, etc.
On the other hand, if you are a work-a-holic but optimistic, you may realize that time apart is an opportunity to explore hobbies or time with (same sex) friends. There are so many personality traits that have to align before you develop a relationship. You don’t find your soul mate, s/he turns into your soul mate over time!!
Another problem I find common in relationships is the lack of acceptance and understanding of who your partner is. So, here is the short version, the longer version is in my book, “What to do before you say I Do”. Men think in black and white. There is no gray matter. They are analytical and hard wired genetically to be the provider and problem solver! Woman are hard wired to be the nurturer, emotional, and chaotic. The majority of women have had to be the gatherer (groceries), raise the children and take care of the home and all that came with it.
Times really haven’t changed all that much. If you understand that, although men today are more willing to stay home with the children, or make dinner because they love to cook, remember it is not hard wired into them. They are still going to want to take care of you when you feel bad, even if you tell them “you just want to vent!” I like to say, men wear dark sunglasses, style optional! Women wear rose colored glasses, style a “must!” If you understand who you are genetically, psychologically and understand your partner in the same manner………you will get a soul mate!

Susan Ziggy author of “What To Do Before You Say I Do”
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Do you want a better relationship????

Would you like a better relationship?  Do you feel your partner listens and/or understands you? Are you appreciated? Does your partner pay attention to you? Is there equality in the relationship? “What to do before you say I Do” has answers and solutions to everyday issues and more!!!  Answers are here…… www.susanziggy.com

I ask you questions in every chapter so you can discuss them with your partner.

1. Have you agreed to how finances are handled?

2. Do you have fights or arguments:

3. Do you know how to argue fairly?

4. Do you ask your partner for help the second they walk in the door?

5. Can you disagree without it turning into a fight?

6. Are you completely honest with your partner?

7. Do you feel heard when you express your opinion?

8. What happens if you or your partner don’t compromise?

9. Do you have “red flags” in your relationship?

10. Do you feel your partner plays emotional games?

These are questions that I have solutions for plus much, much more.

The book is loaded with ideas to help eliminated conflict in your relationships in clear, simple ideas that can make a huge difference in your relationship!!!!!

If you do these simple, easy ideas you will be amazed at how much better your relationship can be. The hard part is doing these simple ideas everyday, especially when you don’t want to!

Thanks and best wishes for a better relationship  🙂  answers are here   www.susanziggy.com

How can you work with your partner around the house without arguing

I have experienced this for as long as I can remember!. Whether it was cleaning our bedrooms that I shared with 2 of my sisters, remodeling my houses with my first husband or remodeling my current house with my husband. It always seemed to end in an argument when you do something with your partner. My husband and I have finally figured out the secret to working together….it only took me starting my own rehab business and writing my book!

I also have this in my book and I’m hoping my son remembers my tips when he and his soon to be fiancé start work on the house they just purchased! It will require remodeling bathrooms and painting all the rooms in their “new” house!

Here is my checklist to make the job more fun than it would normally be without this checklist:

1. Start with a plan! Be very clear on who will be in charge. Pick the person with the most knowledge of the job you are doing. Women need to stop “directing” and if the man is more qualified for the job, then he is the boss and director!

2. Set yourself enough time! If you think the job will be a weekend project, give yourself 3-4 weekends. There is nothing as frustrating as rushing to get a job done because you did not allow yourself enough time! As a female contractor I know this to be a fact 🙂 My husband is wonderful about giving me complete control over our repairs so we work well together and I don’t try and control everything because there is more than one way to do things!

3. Have a clear budget. Don’t just make up numbers either. Go shopping for all the supplies, pick things out that you like, write down the price and go home and add the items up. Lets say you want to landscape your yard, build a patio. Price out the supplies. If you are not sure of all the supplies you will need you can check the internet for building a deck, patio or whatever you are doing.

4. Let’s say you did your homework and decided your budget is $2000 and materials came to $2300. DO NOT say, “well it’s only 300 dollars more so let’s do it”. Once you have blown your intended budget, the game is over and the arguing begins! I have experienced this when I was an interior decorator and as a contractor!

5. Go shopping together! Don’t leave the shopping up to one partner because, the “shopper” likes to shop, which means they probably enjoy spending money! People can get carried away with the project because there is so much temptation at every store!

6. Make a list of who is responsible for what part of the project! Who does clean up. Who does the prep work. Who is responsible for making sure all tools are available. Who will run for the food. Think of everything you can before undertaking a project! It’s very frustrating when you don’t have the right tool for the job before you start. It’s also confusing when you don’t have enough supplies and you or your partner has to run to the store during the project, doing this takes a lot of time away from the project! It also makes people cranky and frustrated.

7. If tempers START to flare up, STOP, take a break and go do something fun, go out for a beer, dinner, whatever you agreed on before the project even started!

8. Plan on reserving at least 10% of your budget going to unexpected surprises. Plan on 20% or more if you are doing interior work that requires opening walls, it will, more than likely, open up a “can of worms” that will cost more money. If you are doing an outdoor project and have to dig down for a pool, patio leave extra money for hitting a water line, tree root or God only knows what!

9. Keep the checklist of the project taped to a wall near where you are working! Cross off jobs as they are completed so you can feel good about your progress! It will help you stay on track.
When I’m working on a house I always have a plan and a checklist everyday for the work I need to finish for that day!

10. You can expect to have tough moments during the project! Expect it, laugh about it because you were warned!

11. THE MORE PREPARED YOU ARE FOR THE EXPECTED AND UNEXPECTED THE BETTER OFF YOU AND YOUR PARTNER WILL BE!Maintain a sense of humor!!!! Remember the work will get done if you are realistic.

12. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE HOW DIFFICULT THE WORK WILL BE! CONTRACTORS MAKE GOOD MONEY BECAUSE THE WORK IS PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY EXHAUSTING. IT WILL NOT ALWAYS BE FUN!

Life Lessons

Here are some of my favorite sayings and one-liners

I was reminded when I woke up this morning that I didn’t say good morning to my husband. He was great at reminding me of that. So I just said, thank you for reminding me, I added, good morning sunshine.
He added, “well that’s me but more important, sometimes I wake up grumpy and sometimes I let you sleep!” We smiled.
I have always heard that one-liner as: Sometimes I wake up grumpy and other times I let him sleep. I guess it goes both ways.
The lesson here, always try and start your day off with a smile!!!!

My other favorite saying was repeated to me over and over, now I like to repeat it over and over. I guess like father, like daughter! Anyway…..Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man to fish, he eats for life!
I’m sure most of you have heard these, but, they are good reminders!
I will now add a shameless plug for my book!
My book will teach you to fish!
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Why my book is titled wrong….ooops!

I have been talking to a few hundred people lately…yep, I’ve been busy, ok, not really, it only took a day, that’s how much I love to talk:) but they say they don’t need to read this because they are already married. I say, oops on me!
I came up with this title because as most of you know it is always easier to cure an illness if you catch it early, train a puppy vs. a dog and change unwanted behaviors in children than adults….am I right or am I right….I guess I’m right since no one has argued my point

So I would love to take a moment, as a rookie who realizes mistakes after publication rather than during, (those dam publishers gave me too much freedom!) to say, YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS (my husband is a dog trainer so I know:). This book has helped people who have been married over 20 years learn something from the book that has improved their marriage, according to friends and reviews. As I was writing my own book I re-learned things I already knew but had long since forgotten. For example….
1.never underestimate the power of please and thank you in a relationship.
2. always remember the days that made you happy and your partner has to accept your quirks as much as you have to accept theirs.
3. Be honest and kind to your partner when they have upset you! Anger and frustration only breeds more anger and frustration.
4. If you want something, ask for it, don’t expect your significant other to guess!
5. Keep technology on the information highway, not the bedroom highway, that highway can get crowded then the congestion leads to pain and loneliness.
6. Have you ever heard, “you always hurt the ones you love!” That’s because you feel you can take out your personal frustrations on them and since they love you they can take it! WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! You need to let your partner know that you had a bad day, situation or whatever caused your frustration, be honest and say to them, “I need to vent” so apologize for what you may be about to say, or at least thank them at the end for letting you vent (partner does not say anything during the venting stage) and then vent! That way your loved one knows that is may not be personal you just need to get something off your chest!

These are some of my topics. They can remind, even us old, married farts, that we need to remember what’s important!

What do you think?

compatability survey…try it, it’s fun

This survey is from my book. It won’t be the full survey because that’s 30 questions with explanations attached. This will be 10 questions to get you started. If you have been in a relationship for a few years then you answer according to what YOU believe about him/her and vice versa. If you are in a relatively new relationship, answer each question for yourself. When you have answered all the questions, go back and read the questions aloud and tell your partner how you answered and see if you both agree. It opens up dialog and allows you to learn more about your partner or realize that you have a good start on knowing your partner.
The main point is to have fun!
1. Do you consider yourself a patient person? (guage on how quickly you get upset driving or watching sports)

2)Have you lived on your own prior to this relationship? This is helpful because both partners will appreciate the difficulty in cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry and all the other daily boring work!

3)Do you consider yourself an honest person? Now, be honest here, if you tweek your answer, then you already answered your own question:)

4) Do you consider yourself highly emotional (cry during chick flicks) moderately emotional (are moved by touching stories but don’t cry) or reserved emotionally (Crying is for babies)?

5)If you can’t have both (and sometimes you can’t) would you rather be happy or right? Remember you can’t have both! Can you surrender your point to maintain peace or will you keep going until you are both upset?

6)Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Optimists can take an event and realize it’s just a setback and will find another way to achieve their goal, a pessimist will take a setback and not try again.

7) Are you an extrovert or an introvert? ie. extroverts will make friends at parties and engage strangers, introverts will stay with their friends and tend not to engage strangers

8)How important is money to you on a scale from 1-5, other than enough to pay bills and maybe a vacation?

9)Do you have a good sense of humor? What type of “humor” do you have: sarcastic(mean humor), self deprecating (you can laugh at your own mistakes) or hyper(where you always have to be joking)

10)Finish this saying, when the going gets tough I
a)get going and fight for the goal
b)stay cool and work through it
c)give up and walk away
These questions are a start to understanding who you and your partner are. There are 20 more in my book “What to do before you say I Do”
I hope you discuss your answers with your partner or friends to see how well you know yourself!
Most important however, HAVE FUN!
Thanks for stopping by…your friendly blogger Susan Ziggy