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House Then Marriage? Shifting Priorities for the Modern Couple

Anna Smith



When we think of the term “marriage” in the modern sense of the word, what comes to mind is very different from the way we used to define matrimonial unions. Factors like marriage equality, interracial/interethnic relationships, and the growing recognition of gender inequality have helped, in part, to shape the way we view marriage today. These shifts, patterns, and changes in priority give a tremendous amount of insight into the evolution of modern marital priorities, and what we now view as important to a successful “marriage”. Among the most significant changes in marital attitudes is the desire to cohabitate before tying the knot. Below is a look at modern cohabitation and what couples view as a successful relationship.



According to the Pew Research Center, it is becoming more and more common for people to want to live together before saying “I do”. In fact, cohabitation frequencies are up 29% from the year 2007. As of 2016, 18 million people were living with partners that they were not married to.

Considering that, statistically, most people view love as the top reason for walking down the aisle, cohabitation may, in part, be the way we test drive the logistical parts of marriage without the pressure and complexity of actually being married. With divorce rates being what they are, it isn’t all that shocking that we would want to know as much as we can about what we’re getting into. It makes sense to want to see how responsibilities are shared before taking the plunge into a life-long commitment.


The housing market is always fluctuating, but there’s no denying that buying a house today is a lot more work and money than it was in the past. In 1940 the median home value in the U.S. was just $2,938. By the year 2000, that number had jumped to nearly $119,600. Young couples are looking to save money on traditional wedding expenses in favor of buying necessary items like a new house or apartment. This makes elaborate wedding costs much less necessary. Millennials are also looking to save on housing by taking advantage of lower VA Loans and moving into smaller apartments in bigger, more expensive cities.



When we think of two people in love moving in together, we typically picture a young couple. However, much like society’s idea of marriage, that is beginning to change. While people who are below the age of 35 still account for approximately half of all cohabitating couples, there has been a recent and significant increase in the number of cohabitating couples who are over the age of 50. This could have something to do with the fact that 40% of new marriages include people who have been married before. It is only natural that someone entering the next chapter in their life with someone new would want to be cautious and responsible.


Marriage is a serious and extremely personal commitment. Couples of all varieties want to make sure that they are compatible with their partner before letting the wedding bells ring. Taking steps such as cohabitation and considering small, joint financial commitments can help to determine whether or not a relationship is stable and responsible enough for the next step.


A Tiny Detail, Often Forgotten: The Pre-Marital Check-Up

Congratulations, you’re getting married! A wedding is one of life’s biggest events to plan, and you have probably thought of everything by now, even the prenup. Except there is one detail that brides-to-be often forget before embarking on the blissful honeymoon: a gynecological exam.

Anna Smith



As unpleasant as going to the doctor can be, it is essential to make sure your vaginal health is in good order before the honeymoon. Not only can certain vaginal conditions make sex uncomfortable or impossible, but sex can irritate the vagina and make an existing condition worse. Here are some symptoms and conditions to look out for and ask your doctor to test for before your big day:

STD Tests and Bacterial Tests

If you’re having mysterious symptoms that don’t match any particular criteria, an STD and bacteria screening may be in order. Maybe you have unusual discharge, sores on the genitals, or chronic fatigue. These can be caused by common STD’s or bacterial imbalances, some of which are easily cured by a visit to the doctor. You don’t want to have painful sex on your honeymoon or give an infection to your partner. Be safe and get checked before the wedding for a happy and healthy start to your marriage.

Yeast Infections

Vaginal yeast infections are marked by itchiness, dryness, irritation and pale, sometimes foul-smelling discharge. These infections happen because the pH balance of the vagina is off and yeasts are allowed to grow out of control. They can be caused by things like soaps, chemicals near the vagina, stress, and diet, to name just a few. Sex can irritate the vagina further if there is a yeast infection present, and the smell and discharge can be unpleasant.

Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness could be a particularly surprising ailment that you might not have thought about affecting your marriage. The biggest symptom of vaginal dryness is the inability to become naturally lubricated through arousal. But there are other symptoms such as vaginal discomfort, burning, itching, and irritation. When the cervix is not producing enough moisture for the vaginal walls, sex can be very painful. Also, a dry vagina is not cleaning itself as it should and leaving the area vulnerable to infections. Painful sex and chronic infections don’t make for a happy and healthy sex life. Fortunately, vaginal dryness is relatively easy to diagnose and treat with a little help from your doctor.

Urinary Tract Infections

These infections occur when foreign bacteria (usually from the anal area) makes its way into the urethra. The symptoms include a burning feeling while urinating, blood in the urine, painful sex, pelvic pain and even fever. It is simple for doctors to diagnose and treat these infections, but it should be done right away as a UTI can spread to the kidneys and cause severe damage. Frequent sex and specific birth controls can cause and aggravate UTI’s, so get checked before the big day to avoid unnecessary pain.

If you are looking for more healthy living tips, don’t forget to check out our blog!

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The Truth Behind Common Adoption Myths

Anna Smith



Featured Image: {A Guardian Angel Adoption Agency}

Many common adoption myths may sway prospective parents in the other direction. If you are considering adoption, then you may want to separate what is fact from pure fiction. Here are some of the most common myths and the truth behind the issue:

Myth #1: Adoption Costs a Fortune

This myth is wrong. While it can cost upwards of $20,000 to adopt a child internationally, you can adopt within the United States without paying an exorbitant amount of money. When using the foster care system and Children’s Services, the state will often pay or almost every expense. Because there are so many children waiting in the area in which you live, you can often find the perfect match without paying a cent.

Myth #2: Foster Kids Are Troubled and Problematic

Sure, there have been some “foster kids” that have given a bad name to the whole group. However, they are typical children who have been through a great deal. They may need counseling, medication, and a strong support system to overcome past trauma and other challenges. Some people listen to highly publicized cases about this topic and assume that this will happen to all foster children. Most foster children go on to live happy, healthy, and crime-free lives.

Myth #3: You Must Be Married to Adopt

Many states once had this law. However, these days, anyone can adopt. It comes down to being able mentally and financially to take care of the child. Florida once banned gay adoptions, but the state now welcomes people from all walks of life to adopt.

Myth #4: It Takes Years to Find and Adopt a Child

It depends on the route that you take with adoption. If you go through a state-based agency, then the average time it takes to meet the child you will adopt is 1-12 months. Most states require that the child lives in the home for at least six months before the adoption paperwork can be filed. From the filing point, it takes anywhere from 3-6 months to get your day in court. It all depends on how busy the court docket is in your jurisdiction.

Myth #5: Only Mentally or Physically Ill Children Are Available

One of the craziest common adoption myths around is that only sick children are available. People usually do not put up a child for adoption because they are sick, and they cannot handle their needs, though it does happen. In most instances, a child is taken into protective custody because the parents have a drug or alcohol problem and are ignoring the needs of the child. Some mothers do elect adoption at the infant stage when they feel that their child would be better with someone else.


There are so many rumors and myths that you may have a difficult time separating truth from lies. However, you can find some great children from infant to 17 years of age that need loving homes. It does not matter if you use a public adoption center or go to a private agency the fact is that you find the child that is meant to be yours and build a life with them.


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Dating & Relationships

What Menopause Means for Your Marriage

Anna Smith



Despite being a well-known period in a woman’s life, menopause often takes her and her spouse by surprise. The symptoms can wreak havoc with her physical and mental health, and with the marriage as well. By knowing the symptoms, how to treat them, and taking a few simple steps to deal with it, you can weather the storm of menopause.


The symptoms of menopause are caused by hormonal changes in a woman’s body that occur around middle age. It affects you both physically and emotionally.

Physical symptoms include:

  • hot flashes
  • itchy skin
  • irregular periods
  • night sweats
  • headaches
  • breast tenderness
  • vaginal dryness

Emotional symptoms include:

  • depression
  • exhaustion
  • moodiness
  • confusion
  • loneliness

The brain also changes, with the “mommy brain” unplugging and the communication and emotion circuits seeming to shut down. This all leads to a drop in both communication and sexual interest.

Most menopause symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter menopause relief supplements like Staying Cool (Amazon) or a regime of essential oils. Stronger relief can be prescribed by a doctor if needed.


If a woman is taking medications such as antidepressants, contraceptives, mood stabilizers, sedatives, antihistamines, or medications for blood pressure, these can contribute to a decreased sex drive. Midlife stresses such as career changes, a suddenly empty nest, caring for elderly parents or the loss of a loved one, can also contribute to a declining libido and a lack of communication.

On top of that, men experience their own midlife changes. These changes are more gradual, less noticeable, and not often talked about. However, declining testosterone can affect his libido, mood, physical condition, and sexual performance. He may also be dealing with midlife stresses. However, because his changes are more gradual and less noticeable, neither of them may realize that part of their problem may be hormonal. Men can also benefit from herbal “male menopause” supplements like TestoTrax (Amazon).

What it all means for your marriage

Lowered libidos can make both spouses feel unattractive, unwanted and unloved. Throw in inhibited communication, and you end up with two people who feel alone and unwanted and can’t talk to each other about it. If this problem continues, both parties may start to consider leaving the marriage.

Communication issues can lead to many things being left unsaid, but it can also contribute to arguments. The sometimes wildly changing emotions of menopause can cause tears or anger seemingly out of the blue.

If you’re willing to take extra measures to ensure open communication with your spouse, you can limit those problems. Working with your doctor and using supplements to treat your symptoms can also help ease the transition from one stage of life to the next.

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