Relationship Coach Annmarie Kelly: Valentine’s Day Engagement? Three Reality Shifts to Make Before You Say “YES”

WEST CHESTER, Pa., Feb. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — What if, before the ring is even on your finger, you could reimagine marriage to work better for you?  

“You can!” says Annmarie Kelly, author of The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm. “Today’s smart and savvy women don’t want to get stuck in an unequal patriarchal marriage; yet they don’t know how to do marriage differently. I do!”

Kelly is a teacher, author, and relationship coach. She’s been married SEVEN times–to the same man–for just five years each time. She shows women how to break the destructive stranglehold of the “’til death do you part” traditional marriage.” Using the innovative “new I DO” of marriage divided into five-year segments (the Five-Year Marriage®), she helps them create a partnership designed to grow with them through life’s many changes, starting with the A,B,Cs:

Reality Shift #1: The Adventure of Agreements

“Agreements?” shouted one long-time-married woman. “I didn’t even know I had agreements!”

Most women start marriage with very few clear agreements. There are general agreements like where they’ll live, having children, and building their careers, but not much more. The rest seems to be left to chance (“love will conquer all”) which explains not only the divorce rate, but the high rate of “quiet quitting” in marriage. Instead…

  • Make agreements regularly during the dating and pre-engagement and put those agreements in writing. Start with easy or fun agreements, like what to do on the weekend or for vacation. Move on to more mundane agreements, like who will change the bedsheets, cook dinner, go shopping, or pick up/cook dinner. It may not be easy at first, so practice getting specific and clear about who does what.

  • Ask yourself “how well does my partner make and stick to agreements?” The inability to make and/or live up to realistic agreements is a relationship love-killer. It leads to disappointment, resentment, and eventually, divorce. The sooner you know the answer, the better.

Reality Shift #2: The Bonus of Boundaries

Few women have clear boundaries for their lives and their relationships. As a result, they end up in the passenger seat of life. Or, as Arthur told Iris in The Holiday, “You…are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.” In your life and your relationship, you can’t act like a passenger or best friend. You must stand toe-to-toe with your partner, and it starts with personal boundaries.

Without spoken boundaries, your partner won’t know when they are being violated…until there is an ugly blow-up and hurt feelings.

What are your boundaries? Do you insist on privacy in the bathroom, not to be interrupted while speaking, never to be yelled at by anyone?

The most important part of having boundaries from the beginning is so you can know how well your prospective partner honors them – or not. The partner who ignores your boundaries before marriage won’t suddenly start respecting them – or you – after the wedding.

Reality Shift #3: The Curse of Compromise 

Women are often told marriage is all about compromise. However, most times, the compromise is one-sided. One person is too-often asking for the compromise and the other is giving in. As a result, too many women compromise themselves into oblivion, and then complain that they feel disrespected and become resentful. That’s a pathway to divorce.

Instead of compromising, negotiate. You give something your partner values, and you get something of equal value. “Yes, I’ll go to your company’s event – even though I can’t stand those people – if you go with me for a romantic no-cell-phone weekend in the mountains.”

Will these A-B-C shifts make a difference? Kelly insists they will. “Every marriage is blessed and cursed by the ups and downs that happen with life’s changes. You never know what will happen. These three reality shifts lay the foundation for equality.”

So before you size the ring and say yes to the dress, practice your A,B,Cs to establish a more equal partnership, and put your marriage on more solid ground for making love.

About Annmarie Kelly

Annmarie Kelly is an award-winning teacher, lifestyle expert, relationship coach and author of three books, including The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm. She works with women who want to live their best lives, including as equal partners with a radically different way to live a marriage to avoid the ’til death stranglehold.

Annmarie Kelly


SOURCE Annmarie Kelly